Wednesday, February 19, 2020

7 Tips and Considerations for Eating One Meal a Day

tips for one meal a dayAs the practice of eating one meal a day has grown in popularity, the questions have poured in. Foremost among them is some variation of the most basic: Is eating one meal a day a good idea? Is it safe? Is it smart? Should you do it? And on, and on.

I’m not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t eat one meal a day. That’s a decision for you to make. What I can do is, if it’s something you’re leaning toward, give you some things to consider before trying and some tips for optimizing it.

After all, one meal a day is relatively novel. Six to eight small meals a day is highly novel in the human experience, don’t get me wrong, and I would never advise something like that. But, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are relatively well-preserved across the spectrum of human traditions. Most populations eat at least twice a day. Although individual exceptions exist, few if any populations eat one meal a day in perpetuity.

So, what are some things to consider?

Don’t expect it be optimal for mass gain.

When you’re trying to gain muscle mass, you need to eat. You need to eat more food than you’re used to eating. Calories in need to exceed calories out. Funnily enough, it’s during a phase of desired mass gain that calorie counting really begins to matter. Focusing on the quality of the food you eat is great for inadvertent calorie reduction and weight loss; emphasizing the quantity while maintaining the quality is usually required for desired weight gain.

It’s really hard to eat enough food in one meal to gain weight. Lose fat while maintaining muscle, perhaps even making neuromuscular or efficiency-based strength gains? Sure. But very few get huge eating OMAD.

If that’s your goal, OMAD every day might not be the best option.

Focus on protein.

Protein is the most essential nutrient, biologically-speaking. We can’t make it ourselves. We can only eat it or pull it from existing tissues. For the sake of your health, your physical function, and your aesthetics, you should do the former and avoid the latter.

Protein is also incredibly filling. Your protein intake might not make the cut eating one meal a day. You might eat too little.

Plus, recent evidence suggests that to maximize muscle gain, spreading your protein intake across four meals a day with around 0.4 g protein per kg of bodyweight per meal is the best or “optimal” method. That’s mostly based on studies in “normal” people, not “weirdos” eating grass-fed meat or going keto or (gasp) eating a single meal a day. I suspect there’s some level of adaptation in us “weirdos” that improves our ability to utilize all the protein.

On paper, there’s a lot riding against you getting enough protein.

In reality, you will absorb all the protein you eat, even if it’s a ton in a single sitting. The real trick is making sure you eat enough—that can be hard.

Don’t do it every day.

This is my general advice to everyone who wants to eat one meal a day. Doing it every single day is hard. It makes it tough to hit your required protein. It makes it hard to get enough calories. It can wear on your social relationships. It can be stressful on your body.

But if you do OMAD two or three days a week, suddenly the stress becomes hormetic. Instead of being something that wears on you, it’s something that forces an adaptation. Suddenly you’re cycling calories—high one day, low the next—and life tends to work better when it cycles back and forth.

Do it on rest days.

Workout days? Maybe eat more frequently. Maybe do a shorter eating window with two or three meals shoved in there. You’re demanding a lot from your body, and one meal simply may not cut it.

But rest days? OMAD to your heart’s content. The break from digestion and nutrient infusions will actually help your body recover from the training. In fact, OMAD on rest days, and two to three MAD on training days might be the best possible way of doing it.

Take some electrolytes in the morning.

Why? Just like fasting and going keto or very low-carb for the first time, OMAD places a greater demand on your electrolytes. It lowers insulin, which depletes sodium and then potassium and magnesium. A big glass of sparkling mineral water with plenty of fresh lime or lemon juice and a spoonful of salt and maybe a scoop of magnesium powder should do the trick. Gerolsteiner is the most mineral-rich of the readily-available waters (and it’s delicious). That’s my go-to for days when I’ll be fasting or getting back into keto after a time off, and OMAD operates along similar lines.

It doesn’t contain enough calories to nullify the OMAD, and it will keep you energized and your stores topped up.  You’ve also got Robb Wolf’s electrolyte mix if you don’t want to mix your own. He always does his homework.

Be careful if you’re a woman.

It’s just a reality that women—in general—are more vulnerable to caloric insufficiency. For the reasoning and mechanisms, read this post on women and fasting (OMAD is basically a daily fast). Some people might take offense at that, but it’s the truth and I care about all my readers. I want you all to succeed. I don’t want you to try something that not only doesn’t work, but also actually harms you.

I’ve seen OMAD work for ladies, but I’ve seen it fail more than not. What seemed to work was not doing it daily (see previous section), not going too low-carb, and making sure to eat enough food.

Just be careful and don’t ignore warning signs.

Chill out on the coffee.

Coffee can be a lifesaver on OMAD. You get up and, instead of wolfing down breakfast, drink a cup of coffee. This upregulates your fat-burning and keeps you going ’til your single meal. Thousands of people probably couldn’t manage intermittent fasting without coffee, and the same goes for OMAD. Well, maybe they could, but it certainly makes it easier. That’s hard to argue with—and I won’t try. I’m a big fan of coffee when I fast.

However, coffee also has the potential to spike cortisol and exacerbate stress. It can make the OMAD work better in the short term but worse in the long term.

Don’t do the “drink-coffee-when-you’re-bored-and-thinking-of-food” thing. Don’t drink it throughout the day. If, by the time dinner rolls around, you’ve had a dozen cups of coffee, you’re doing it wrong. Are those last eight cups really helping your productivity and energy levels? I doubt it.

Wait a couple hours to drink coffee in the morning (if you can). There’s a natural cortisol spike upon waking, and drinking coffee at the same time it’s spiking naturally will elevate cortisol even further and shortchange the boost you get. Better to wait til 9 a.m. or so.

Drink green tea or matcha or take L-theanine with your coffee. The L-theanine (present in green tea and matcha) synergizes with the caffeine, limiting the cortisol response, reducing jitters, and improving the boost to cognition.

OMAD has the potential to really help a lot of people get a handle on their eating. But there’s also the chance for it go really, really wrong. I hope these seven items help nudge you in the right direction.

If you have any further input or questions, let me know down below. How do you do OMAD? What tips do you have for others who want to try? What do you wish you knew when you started?

Thanks for reading, everyone.

References

Owen GN, Parnell H, De bruin EA, Rycroft JA. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008;11(4):193-8.

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You Won’t Want to Put This Down – Feeding You Lies now in Audio & Paperback

I’ve been waiting months for this, and now it’s time! 

My bestselling book Feeding You Lies is now available in two new versions…

  1. Paperback 
  2. Personally-narrated audiobook

This book was not easy to write. But I wrote it for you. Your friends. Your children. Your family. 

I hoped it would help people to stop believing the lie that everything on the shelf is safe and that even foods advertised as “healthy” are often far from it. In this book, I wanted to make it easy for people to stop falling for food industry tricks and transform their food choices. That’s why it makes me SO HAPPY to see reviews like this…

Just when I thought my family was eating good, BOOM……MIND BLOWN !! After reading this book, our family will never shop for our food the same way again! We are now in the process of slowly restocking our kitchen and refrigerator with nothing but “real” food with the knowledge and ideas from this book.” – Terry

“This book is the real deal. Big bucks are paid by companies to NOT get the word out on how our food supply has poisoned us. If you feel GMO is fine, conventional foods are fine, etc, you’ve been duped. The propaganda of big bucks has influenced you. READ THIS BOOK. And don’t stop there. Continue to educate yourself on good nutrition. You’ll live a lot longer, feel better, look better, and be a lot happier. Most Americans are addicted to garbage foods. AS I SAID, read this book.” – Emily

“I shudder to think how much trust I had previously put into “Big Food”, most especially as it relates to my child and the foods I thought “must be safe or they wouldn’t be selling it”. This book is a MUST if you want to protect your loved ones. It’s horrifying to discover how much damage can be caused by ingesting dishonest foods and this book arms you with the tools you need to make the best decisions.” Amazon customer

“We’ve been eating clean for years, but I still learned a LOT from reading this book. I can’t believe that food companies have the power and ability to manipulate the press the way they do. Just goes to show you that there is not a single news outlet out there that you can trust anymore. There is no such thing as an unbiased view when it involves making or losing money. Big Food has been winning at this garbage for TOO LONG! It has to stop.” Happy Shopper

This book almost didn’t get published…

Calling out specific food brands, industry experts, and front groups is VERY RISKY to report on. Newspapers, TV networks, and publishers don’t want to touch this information because it could hurt their ad accounts (yes, I’ve been told this point blank). And although I struggled to get a publisher who was courageous enough to move forward with this book, my persistence has been worth it. I’m really thankful that I didn’t let the naysayers and critics scare me off from writing it. This book has already helped so many people, and for that, I’m so grateful!

I wrote this book to expose the unethical tactics used by certain corporations who are feeding the world, because they are hurting and misleading a lot of people with their lies. And it needs to stop. We need to tell everyone all about this – and that is why this book is so important.  

Feeding You Lies is not like any diet or health book you’ve ever read…

It’s a tell-all on the food industry in one book that’s super easy to share with your friends and family. You’ll learn how to cut the toxins from your food and improve your health.

And now you can listen to the audiobook (narrated by yours truly!) while you’re out running errands or while you’re cooking dinner. Or, pick up the paperback that you can easily pack and read anywhere. It makes an incredible gift too. 

Pick up your copies here:

ORDER NOW

Feeding You Lies

Available in stores everywhere

Know anyone who needs to read or listen to Feeding You Lies? Please share this post or pick up a copy for them as a gift. 

Xo,

Vani

 

Feeding You Lies - Book

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How to Apply Skincare Products in the Right Order

I’m sharing what I’ve learned about the steps of a beauty routine and why it’s important to apply your skincare products in the right order. It seems overwhelming at first, but it’s really quite simple: cleanse, prep, treat, protect. 

Why it’s important to put skincare on in the correct order

Many people who don’t have a skincare regimen admit they are overwhelmed by all the steps. I definitely was! It’s the main reason I never bought a regimen myself. Analysis paralysis. Most of us know to start with cleanser, but what’s the order of toner, serum, face oil, sunscreen, moisturizers, and makeup? Should your sunscreen go on first or last?

By using a regimen vs just random products or skipping some steps, you’ll see a more noticeable difference in your skin since the products are designed to work together. I think this was my biggest mistake prior to switching to a Beautycounter regimen. I was mixing samples from Birchbox in all kinds of different combinations from different brands so nothing was working synergistically. Remember that skin is alive, so you might vary your routine slightly or there could be times when steps swap or your skin responds in a non-traditional way, but here are general recommendations for a basic routine.


How to Apply Skincare Products in the Right Order

You can follow these steps with any regimen from any brand you choose. Most collections will follow the same format of cleanse – prep – treat – protect. You can see my whole shebang on this page. It seems like a lot of products when you line them all up, but it only takes me about a minute or two from start to finish, morning and night. The average woman uses at least 16 beauty products in her routine! So make sure what you do choose is safe and high performing.

Step 1: Cleanse

Wash your face to remove and rinse away makeup, excess oil, dirt, and environmental toxins that accumulate during the day. If you’re using a cleansing oil or balm, that can sometimes double as a makeup remover. Or if you prefer use a makeup remover first and then cleanse second. If you love beauty, you might hop on the double cleanse trend and start with a balm or oil and follow with a targeted foaming, cream, or gel cleanser. Squeaky clean!

I use: Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil (AM) or cleansing wipes (PM) and makeup remover when I have extra to take off my eyes. I massage the cleansing oil onto my dry face with dry hands and then rinse it off with water. If I’m in the shower, I keep a towel over my shower stall to dry my hands and wash my face first so it’s still dry when I start.

Step 2: Prep

This is a step that many people leave out. If you’re trying to save money on your routine, you probably want to try to get by with the least amount of products. But if you’re going to spend money on serum, treatments, and moisturizer, you want those to be doing their very best job! Toners and essences prep skin to receive the nutrients in the treat step to follow by balancing pH and preparing open pores for serum.

I use: Countertime Mineral Boost Essence

I have always loved the feeling of toner application. I have very dry skin that feels super tight when I first get out of the shower. In fact, I panic if I have to wash my face and don’t have anything to put on right after (like a quick rinse at the pool). Even though toner’s role isn’t necessarily to add moisture, I find it really quenches my skin’s thirst and helps with overall hydration. I think of all the products I use, the Countertime Essence is my very favorite step! I pat it onto skin after cleansing and move to to serum before it dries.

Kath pointing to the Beautycounter Countermatch toner

Step 3: Treat

This is where things can get a bit wishy-washy because there are so many options in this step! Most people use a serum, which is a super-concentrated dose of nutrients designed to target a specific concern like hydration, acne spot treatments, or anti aging. Products like acne treatments, salicylic acid, vitamin C serums, and retinol fit into this category. This is where I used to get overwhelmed because my concerns were always “all of the above!” A lot of serums are multipurpose, so unless you have a specific need I wouldn’t let yourself get too overwhelmed.

If you do have more than one targeted treatment, it’s best to use one at a time instead of layering them all on at once. To get the best bang for your buck, do not cause a traffic jam in there of competing products! Surface area is limited. Some products can even cause others to be less effective. You want your treatment step to penetrate as deep into pores as possible, which is why you should use it after cleansing and toner and before moisturizer, which may inhibit absorption with its thickness.

I use: Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum (AM) and Overnight Resurfacing Peel (every other PM)

The Countertime Serum has a blend of peptides, amino acids, Bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol) and Swiss Alpine Rose to increase skin firmness, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and improve the moisture barrier. I like to think this is where the magic happens! And the Overnight Resurfacing Peel is magic in a bottle. It is composed of 15 different ingredients, including glycolic, malic, and botanically derived lactic acid. I think this product is the gold star to make skin look smooth and radiant and erase dark spots over time.

Step 4: Protect

After you’ve opened pores and cleansed them, prepped them with toner, added nutrition with serum, you want to seal that barrier shut and protect your skin from all the environmental toxins you might come across. Start with eye cream dotted around the eye area and follow with moisturizer. A natural sunscreen (zinc based) should go on last because the zinc is a physical blocker of sun’s rays.

I use: Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream (AM) and Countertime Supreme Cream (PM) plus Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream. The Soft Cream has Nasturtium flower extract that provides oxygenation benefits and protects your skin from drying environmental stressors. All three have the Retinatural Complex to give results comparable to retinol without the risks of irritation or sun exposure.

For my daily sunscreen, I use our Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer which has zinc-based SPF 20. It also includes black currant, peony flower root extract, and vitamin C to enhance skin brightness and hyaluronic Acid hydrates for a smooth look. If I’m going to be in direct sun for a long time, I use a heavier layer of mineral sunscreen for better coverage.


More Skincare Routine Tips

1. Face oil

Use your face oil as a final moisturizing step, after your night cream, because oil is thicker than cream.

2. Exfoliating with scrubs

Be careful not to over-exfoliate too harshly, which can cause worsening dryness and breakouts.

3. Less is more

Most people use too much of their products. Use just enough to cover face in a very thin layer. You don’t want to be able to feel it after it sinks in. Excess will sit on top. Skincare is expensive and pores are small – make it last.

4. Use half of makeup wipes

Tear makeup wipes in half to double how long a pack lasts. Before tossing, wipe down your sink! (FYI, the Beautycounter face wipes are compostable!) .

5. Chemical sunscreens

If you’re going to use a chemical sunscreen, you want to apply that protection step before your moisturizer because you don’t want to block its absorption and reduce your protection.


The Beauty Of A Regimen: Get a Free Gift

If you are on the market for a new regimen, and using safer skincare is important to you, all of the Beautycounter regimens come with a free gift this week!

beautycounter skincare regimens

If you don’t know where to start, fill out this questionnaire and I’ll email you some recommendations!

Or you can use this flow chart to pick the one that is best for your skin type:

beautycounter regimen flow chart

More safer skincare:

What is your all-time favorite skincare product?!

Tell me in the comments!

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