We are food happy people. And who can blame us? We are marketed to have snacks with us all the time. Protein bars, crackers, popcorn, fruit gummies, dehydrated veggie chips, meat sticks and so on. The amount of food we have available to us is astounding. Head into a grocery store, gas station, or look at a restaurant menu and it's obvious, we have choices.
There is also true food scarcity out there, but chances are if you're reading this, you have plenty of food at your disposal.
What ever happened to eating when you're physically hungry? Our emotional hunger gets in the way. We go for the snack when we're bored, angry, sad, or it's simply that time of day. "I always have a snack at 10am." Ya, that's my old self talking and if she didn't get a snack at 10am, watch out for hangry Natalie. ;)
So, let's hop into it. The big picture reason why we should not be snacking between meals is to elevate the physical and mental bodies to perform at optimal levels. Aka, you feeling your best!
The body and mind best function on an empty stomach
Because we have an abundance of food at our finger tips, we often "top off the tank" when finishing a meal. Although it might feel good in the moment to do so, the body and mind thrive with clear internal channels. If the body is receiving food every two hours it will only focus on digestion. All the while your immune system, hormones, energy and nervous system are getting backed up and clogged up. That's when all sorts of symptoms show up on the surface. Skin issues, digestive issues, respiratory issues, mental health issues, joint pain, allergies, even disease.
The key to longevity with few to no health problems is to eat whole meals and drink water in between, that way your digestive system can rest and be ready for the next meal.
You are able to eat intuitively
Let's be real. Having an empty stomach can cause some to freak out. "I'm hungry!" Your blood sugar is dropping, you might get a headache, stomachache, feel dizzy or act cranky. It is possible to ease past this phase and find a calm space to operate.
The moment you feel hungry is not necessarily the moment you need to grab a snack. It's an opportunity to ask a few questions.
"What do I need?"
"What am I actually hungry for?"
"When was the last time I ate food or drank water?"
With honest answers to these questions and less food constantly in your body, you can make better food choices. Your gut and instincts work in your favor and request veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds, legumes, plant/animal protein and good fats. Your pallet and cravings get smarter.
Now you can eat what you want AND need. Boom!
Food tastes better and is easier to digest
According to the wise teachings of Ayurveda, leaving 3 hours between meals allows proper digestion to occur. One of the added bonuses is once you arrive at your next meal, good and hungry, food tastes amazing! You've stoked your digestive juices and the body can receive all the vibrant tastes, textures, and colors to bring the senses alive.
Think of the last really good meal you had. Were you hungry before you ate or not?
Less eating = more living
It's a chain reaction. When you ditch snacking, you spend less time thinking, prepping and eating food during the day. You create more space in your life to live. It's that simple. Eating times are natural breaks in the day and when you add multiple snacks on top of those, it becomes a whole day of eating.
Clear your internal windshield to experience your life with clarity, light, energy and joy.
**Important note: for pregnant woman, diabetics, athletes, those under weight, or children, it is best to still minimize snacking and eat whole meals. This may mean you're eating 3-5 meals a day to maintain weight, mental stability and nutritional intake. Simply eat when you're hungry.
Here are a few strategies of how to snack less to uplevel your body + mind
Eat a bigger meal midday with fat, fiber, protein and greens
Drink room temperature water in between meals
Take a walk or call a friend when you feel the urge to snack when you're not actually hungry
Remind yourself you are safe and cared for when your stomach growls
Plan your meals with excitement and anticipation. Make them super yummy!
Replace sweets with fruit
Stop buying the snacks in the first place! Keep them out of the house. Enjoy dessert on special occasions
At the end of the day, moderation in moderation. Don't deny yourself food if you're truly hungry.