Time Between Meals
How long should we wait between eating meals? Is there a proper amount of time? How long does it it take for our meal to digest? These questions are quite common.
Although it may sound silly, the need for answers is quite real. With the health problems faced by so many people world wide, this is an altogether genuine question!
If you are trying to lose weight, how often should you eat? If you are trying to gain weight, how many meals a day should you eat? If you are trying to improve your health, what and how much food should you consume?
Why Are You Listening To Me?
I am not an expert, but a mother with three children who are sensitive (allergic) to various foods. I have had to watch out for certain foods all my life, and have discovered some interesting things about myself, diet, and nutrition along the way. We always want to do the best by our children, and this fired my desire to learn as much as I could to create excellent health and happiness in my house! My studies have led me to look at how nutritious various foods are, and how easily they are digested, among other things.
Should I Eat When I Am Hungry?
Most advice that we can find today tells us to follow our internal guide.. our stomach. When you feel hungry, you should eat! While that is sage advice, there are considerations to be made.
How do you tell when you are hungry? Is it an aching in your stomach? Is it a gurgling sound arising from your stomach? Do you notice you are getting crabby, and then realize it is from hunger? Do you start feeling weak, and then pay attention to meal times? These are all normal ways that we decide if we are hungry.
But what if there is something else?
With food allergies, you quickly realize that hunger is not always hunger, but can also be a reaction brought on by the need for more of the food you are addicted to. With sensitivities or allergies, the feeling we think of as hunger is mislabeled.
I say this only as a caution to anyone who thinks or knows that they have a food sensitivity or allergy.
I Am Still Looking For An Answer!
I would also caution that everyone is different, and has different nutritional needs.
Some of us thrive on a vegan diet, while others require meat to be healthy. Some of us thrive on raw foods with their nutrition fully intact, while others require cooked foods.
A personal recommendation: Everyone can benefit from adding more fresh produce into their diets. Juicing is a fabulous and easy way to get the recommended amount of servings in each day, and enjoy doing it!
I say this from empirical evidence, as well as research. My body requires certain foods, prepared in certain ways in order to get enough nutrition. Vitamin supplements are not digested and absorbed. Cooked food does not leave the nutrition readily available to me. Frozen foods don't give me a lot of energy.
For me, raw foods, or lightly steamed foods are best. Fresh foods are the best, but frozen is better than canned. And the absolute best way to get nutrition (translate that to energy to keep up with my three homeschooled kids) is to consume fresh vegetable juice ( not the cooked stuff from the store) each and every day.
* A side note. I know that is what is best for me because it is when I feel at my best, and my doctors confirm it. Regardless, I do not eat this way every day, nor do I get my fresh produce juice every day. I'm still working on it!
Time Between Meals
Armed with this information, it is fair to say that the amount of time between meals should depend on what type of food you last ate, and how your body handles that food. The more nutritious the food, the less of it you need to eat, and the further the time between hungry feelings. The better able your body is to digest the food, the more nutrition will be extracted form it.
And no matter what you ultimately decide to try, consult your doctor about your health. You may wish to follow any suggestions they give you, or you may wish to simply have them give you a clean bill of health to proceed or continue doing what you are doing.
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