Today’s article is a follow on from my previous article about Breakfast. I recommend that you read that post first as it will give you a better understanding into my general approach towards nutrition.
OK, lets see what happens after Breakfast…
If you eat a good breakfast that suits your requirements then you shouldn’t need any further food for 3-4 hours.
However for early starters who eat breakfast between 6 – 7am, like I do, then you may find you start to get hungry before lunch. If this is the case then I suggest you embrace the 2nd Breakfast principle.
The 2nd Breakfast
The 2nd breakfast works well for early risers, those with physical jobs or those in training.
The 2nd breakfast eater has 3 options depending on their circumstances:
- Eat a small breakfast upon waking eg. Nuts, Juiced Veg, Oats, (if you can tolerate them), then a larger breakfast at around 9 – 10am.
- Eat a larger breakfast upon waking eg. Eggs, Organic Bacon, Smoked Salmon, Veg, Leftovers from the day before, then a smaller breakfast at around 10am.
- Eat 2 larger breakfasts both first thing and at around 10am.
As with all nutrition you need to listen to your body and give it what it needs at that particular time.
I will always be the first to say that no nutrition plan is suitable for everyone. Everybody is different and everybody has different requirements based upon their metabolic makeup and their daily demands.
Lets look at 3 examples:
The Manual Worker or Bodybuilder
If you work a physical job that is constantly breaking down muscle tissue then you probably need more protein and fat in your diet. The body needs fat in order to metabolize protein so you should NEVER increase protein without fats. Eating excessive amounts of lean protein is a recipe for disaster and puts a serious strain on the body. All proteins should be organic and beef should be grass fed.
If you cycle to work or perform a lot of cardiovascular based activities then your demands for carbohydrate may be higher. Most people have bad diets and so have too much carbohydrate in their diet already so generally don’t need to add anymore but if you eat a clean and strict diet and eliminate grains then you may need to consider tweaking your carbohydrate levels. Home made Vegetable juices are a great option here.
Your ultimate goal is to burn fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. If you have too much carbohydrate in your body then this will be your priority energy source so be careful supplementing with carbs. I would definitely never recommend adding any sports or energy drinks.
The Office Worker
If you are sitting in a chair all day then a good balanced diet will treat you just fine. The brain requires a lot of good fats so eating oily fish is a great option. Most sedentary people eat too much food. Remember that food is fuel. If you are not using the fuel then it’s going to get stored. Try to run on a quarter tank of fuel as much as possible.
Fast Oxidizer vs Slow Oxidizer
Some people are able to deal with carbohydrates better than others. Fast Oxidizers are able to tolerate higher levels of Carbohydrate without storing fat whereas Slow Oxidizers struggle with Carbs and store fat more easily.
There are tests that you can take to determine which type of Oxidizer you are but generally we know which category we fall into. If you find that even the slightest sniff of a sugar or grain sees you piling on the pounds then you are probably a Slow Oxidizer. If you find that you can eat all sorts ofÂ Carbs and just burn them off then you are probably a Fast Oxidizer. Your ancestral origins will also play a part in how your body processes sugars. For more information on this topic see:
The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price
This of course doesn’t mean that just because you are a Fast Oxidizer you should gorge yourself on Sugars and Grains it is purely a reason why you may not gain weight as easily as others. Fast Oxidizers tend to need a little more protein and fat to keep then satisfied.
Preparation for Lunch
No matter where you live or where you work you are going to need to think about what you will be eating for lunch and make plans. Without a plan, you will fail, sorry!
Here are my preparation tips for lunch:
Plan your meals ahead of time
This may seem like a real chore but planning your weekly meals is vital for success. It not only helps you balance your diet but also simplify your food shopping. You can do a 7 day plan, 5 day plan or 3 day plan, it is up to you. Eventually you will want to plan out your breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day but for now just focus on your lunch. What will you be eating for the next 3 lunches? Make a list on your phone, on a spreadsheet or simply write it on a piece of paper.
Take lunch to work with you
Once you have your lunches planned out then all you need to do is prepare for them, right? One option is to cook the meals at home and then take them to work with you. Big healthy salads, with Tuna, Olives, Chicken, Nuts, Seeds, Avocado, are always an easy option, just remember to get some fat and protein into your salads or they won’t fill you up. You can also try left overs from the day before. I like to cook up huge meals and then eat them again either for breakfast or lunch the next day.
Find a safe place to eat out
Whenever I’m in London training clients I buy my lunch. My 2 favourites restaurants in London are POD and Leon they offer lots of healthy food that is Gluten and Dairy free. The important thing to note is where you can eat good food and that the food fits into your nutritional requirements.
Some Lunch time options
So you are probably wondering by now exactly what you should be eating for lunch.
Well we know that certain foods should be off the menu:
- Grain Based Foods like Pasta and Bread (see Going Against the Grain for reasons why)
- Dairy Based Foods that have been Pasteurised like Cheese and Milk (see Breakfast for problems with dairy)
- Food High in Sugar like Fruit Juices and Sauces (see Breakfast for problems with sugars)
I know what you are thinking, hang on then Greg exactly what can I eat then…
Here’s a Video I shot last year of a Typical Lunch:
And here’s Another Typical Lunch:
Tweaking Your Lunch
Just because a lunch works for me doesn’t necessary mean it will work for you. Your lunch should keep you full, energised and satisfied for at least 3 hours. If you find you are hungry an hour after eating then your meal selection wasn’t right for you.
Here’s how to tweak your lunch so it suits you better:
1. Think of your meal as containing 3 elements:
- Protein – all Animals and Fish, Beans, Eggs, Nuts and Lentils
- Carbohydrates – all foods containing natural sugars and starch like Vegetables, Fruit, Beans, and Rice
- Fats – fat from Animals, Seeds, Nuts, Fish, Avocado
2. Divide your plate into an 3 equal portions of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. If you are eating a sandwich then you are already eating way too much carbohydrate!
3. If you find that you are still hungry after eating a balanced meal then add more protein and fats.
Most people eat too many carbs and not enough protein and fats. Protein and fat will give you a feeling of fullness, whereas excessive carbohydrate will increase blood sugar levels and then drop you like a stone. If you have ever felt that afternoon slump where you want to reach for a chocolate bar or cup of coffee then the chances are you have eaten too many carbs for lunch.
Basically listen to your body and keep making adjustments until you find a combination that satisfies you for 3+ hours. You will also want to pay attention to how your energy levels are effected by your lunch and also your guts reaction.
Chill Out for Lunch
There are 2 very important sides to our nervous system:
We have the sympathetic nervous system on one side, this is responsible for survival responses. When you are stressed you activate your Sympathetic Nervous system and this releases energy into your body, creates focus, and produces a state of action. In survival situations this side of the nervous system helps us get out of trouble.
On the other side we have the Parasympathetic Nervous system that is responsible for repair and digesting. When this side of the nervous system is active we are better able to digest food, heal and repair the body. Deep diaphragm breathing, meditation, massage, beautiful peaceful surroundings, will all help to promote this side of the nervous system.
The Sympathetic Nervous System is the Yang and the Parasympathetic is the Yin.
So when you eat lunch you need to be activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System, the one responsible for digesting food. However, if you eat at your desk or on the run then you activate the opposite nervous system and this in turn shuts down your digestion.
So choose somewhere stress free to eat your lunch!
“Meals create natural breaks in the day so take time to enjoy them and work with your body and not against it”
Finally, don’t finish your meal with a drink high in caffeine as this too will turn on your Sympathetic Nervous system, activate a stress response and shut down your digestion. The buzz we get from caffeine is evidence of the stress response we receive.
How you Cook Your Food Matters
Here’s a Video on the Importance of Food Preparation:
Greg’s Lemon Chicken
Here’s a great recipe that you can cook in the evening and then save for the next day to eat cold for lunch or reheat if you have access to an oven. Do not microwave this meal!!!
This recipe can be prepared in 5-10 minutes and then just put in the oven. If you don’t cook then now is the time to start, this recipe is fail proof.
I don’t read recipe books so maybe there is a similar recipe out there but I just go with my instincts 🙂
For a very easy and nutritious meal that tastes delicious give this a go:
Stage 1 – The Ingredients
- Can of Organic Pinto or Cannellini Beans (No added Sugar or Salt, just in Water)
- Can of Organic Tomatoes
- 4 Organic Carrots (just wash, don’t peel)
- 1 Unwaxed Lemon (if waxed just remove the skin)
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 2 Teaspoons of Hot Paprika (I like Santo Domingo from Spain)
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil for Flash Frying Chicken
- 1-2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt (I use Danival, French Sea Salt)
- 5-6 Good Turns of Black Pepper
- 3-4 Skinless Chicken Quarters or Thighs (I buy skin on and remove myself)
Stage 2 – Flash Fry the Chicken
- Heat Up 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil on a high heat
- When Hot add the Chicken and Fry for 3-5 minutes until browned on both sides
- Add 2 good 3 finger pinches of the Sea Salt
- No need to fully cook the chicken, just brown on both sides
Stage 3 – Add the Beans and Carrots
- Wash the Beans in a sieve under cold water to remove all the excess starch
- Add the beans to the bottom of the Oven Proof Dish
- Add the 4 carrots on top
Stage 4 – Add the Remaining Ingredients
- Next add the Chicken
- Then add the tomatoes on top
- Squeeze over the juice of the whole lemon and include the 2 halves in the dish
- Add the 3 Bay Leaves, Paprika, Salt and Pepper
- Finally Mix it around a bit so everything is coated
Stage 5 – Into the Oven
- Put on the lid
- Cook in an Oven at 180 degrees (Gas Mark 4-5) for 45-60 minutes
Stage 6 – Eat and Enjoy
You can serve the following meal with any seasonal veg. At present (May) Asparagus is beautiful so that’s my choice of vegetable or simply eat it on its own.
This meal also tastes great cold so feel free to take it to work with you the next day, just add some salad. Do not microwave it!
Spice things Up
If you want to really spice up the dish then you can add slices of Chorizo or a whole hot pepper or two 🙂 The great thing about this dish is the diversity it can offer you. Try your own variations and let me know your favorites in the comments section below.
As with all meals you need to eat what is right for you. There are certain principles that I believe you should stick to like avoiding Grains and keeping sugar to a minimum. Listening to your body and the reactions you have from certain foods is a good sign as to whether that food is right for you. A good meal should leave you full with no cravings for at least 3 hours. In the long term you should not carry any excess weight and your energy levels should stay consistent throughout the day if you eat well.
I know its a cliche but you really are what you eat. Eat Dead Food and you create a dead body, Eat food brimming with life and your life will be radiant!
Finally, don’t panic trying to get everything 100% right. Eat well most of the time (90%) and then when you do find yourself slipping up just accept it, enjoy it and then get back on with your healthy living!
Got Questions? Leave Me a Comment Belowâ€¦.