Here’s a scenario, you are working hard, say chopping wood for winter, or perhaps you are starting your garden this spring, you have been working hard for hours, you realize it’s lunchtime, your stomach is growling, you need to refuel. Now you have some options, what to eat for lunch… often times after eating our bodies (and mind) slows down, instead of wanting to go back to work, you are looking at the recliner, or even the bed (that’s me, raising hand!)… how many times have you eaten and right afterward all you wanted to do was sleep? That is not what you want to have happen, you need to refuel and go back to work. What if I told you that what you eat can have an effect on whether you are ready to go back to work or you are ready to go to sleep?
Before I go any further here, I want to say that I’m not a doctor, nurse, or dietician, I am in no way any sort of medical professional, this is merely my observations of how my body reacts and what I have observed in other people, I am passing on these observations, you can try them and see how it works for you.
It’s all too easy to grab a cup of coffee, or an energy drink to try to keep us awake when all we want to do is go to sleep… well for many of us, going to sleep right after lunch isn’t an option, and while the caffeine and sugar might give us a jolt for a little bit, there is usually the rebound effect that makes you feel worse off than before. I learned that for me, specific types of food can be used to keep me alert or put me to sleep, depending on what I choose to consume I can work with my body or against my body, and these aren’t hard choices to make.
This is simple, very very simple, bottom line, eat protein and keep active, eat carbs and slow down. When I used to work in retail, specifically sales, the after lunch slump was something that was all too common, but was something we wanted to avoid, I had read that eating a light lunch of fish or some other protein would help keep your body and brain going for the rest of the day, but if you ate carbs, heavy foods, breads, sweets, then your body would slow down, your brain would slow down, you would become sleepy, groggy, that meant I could lose sales and money, not good for me or the company I worked for. I tested this and it worked for me, I would avoid heavy meals and high carb meals for breakfast & lunch, and I was more on my game.
I have translated this to my off-grid life, and aging, yup I’m getting older and foods affect me more than they used to. I am also getting wiser with age, something we all try to attain, no use in having all these grey hairs without the wisdom that should go with it. :) Anything I do that gives me an edge to doing the day to day things I need to do living off-grid is a good thing for me.
So instead of using pills and potions to keep myself awake, and help me go to sleep, I use food to do the same thing. For me breakfast is best if it’s higher in protein, more eggs, milk, less toast & jam… same thing goes for lunch, higher protein intake, fish, chicken, some vegetables, less breads, sweets and such and I am able to stay awake, alert, fresh and doing the things I need to do. Now one food that is a protein but tends to make most of us sleepy is turkey, remember how you feel after eating Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings? Well it’s known that tryptophan in turkey is the culprit there, well that and all the other “trimmings” we tend to eat with the meal, so eat chicken to stay awake, eat turkey to get sleepy.
Now when it comes to dinner (or supper, whatever you want to call it), that’s when I am likely to add on the carbs, the breads, desserts and such, I love eating a bowl of oatmeal or cereal for dessert or a snack, these things slow me down, make me sleepy, that’s when I need to be able to go to sleep for the night.
I don’t know if this is scientific or medically sound, I just know this is what works for me, while I’m not a health nut, I do try to eat healthy, or at the very least, make healthier choices. Perhaps if you are having that after lunch slump, you could try eating more protein and less carbs, see if that helps you get through from lunch to dinner in a more alert state. Same applies for later in the day, if you have trouble going to sleep, see if eating a few more carbs doesn’t help you get sleepy.
This doesn’t work for everyone, for some people eating carbs late in the day will keep them awake, so you will have to experiment to see what works best for you, I am merely stating what works for me, protein to stay awake and alert, carbs to make me sleepy.
Once upon a time it gave me a caffeine high but I think it was the years spent in the Army that basically conditioned my body to ignore it, haha. A cup or two of coffee or one cup a tea in the late evening and I go right to sleep too :-)
I believe conditioning has a lot to do with it as well. After years of relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea before bed I notice that I tend to get MORE sleepy/relaxed after a cup (no matter when I drink it).
I especially like pickles here in the AZ desert. Amazingly refreshing when I’ve spent all morning outside on the ranch.
Another great lunch treat that wont slow you down is corn chips served with fresh pico de gallo. The corn is broken down slower than the bleached flower counterparts and the fresh veggies give you a wonderful pick-me-up.
I know what you mean about coffee or tea, caffeine doesn’t seem to affect me like it does most people, I can drink it and go right to sleep.
One word … “PICKLES” !!!
The high electrolyte content paired with the naturally refreshing nature perks you right up. Add a big pickle (or several smaller ones) to your lunch.
Also, I slowed my diet of breakfast eggs and instead consume them hard boiled with lunch.
Keep in mind the difference between simple carbs and complex carbs. All carbs are heavy on the gut and induce sleepiness but complex carbs dont give you the glucose crash that drives you straight into that oh so comfy looking recliner ;-)
I love it! Yes, you are so correct about pickles. I enjoy learning about what specific foods do for me, such as perking me up and putting me to sleep. :)