E12 - Don't eat to survive, eat to thrive

Learn how to manage blood sugar levels to maximize focus.

Hi everyone,

My name is Lemmy and this is my story of how I became The Attention Master.

In Episode 12, I want to help you understand the impact of food on focus.

Here is what you are going to learn today:

  • Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman’s eating routine

  • How blood sugar affects your focus

  • What and when to eat

  • How to manage your blood sugar

This week’s community challenge

Start your meals with vegetables

- Lemmy, the Attention Master

Happy 2024, folks. I hope you have digested the Christmas feast and started the New Year with some great resolutions. Like better eating habits.

But instead of starting another diet that fails two weeks later, how about getting a new perspective on eating?

Most people eat not to starve. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman eats to thrive, because food is first and foremost energy. And if you eat the right things at the right times of the day, there is no need to eat less.

1. Huberman’s eating routine

  1. Breakfast: No food, just water with lemon and salt.

  2. Lunch: Around 11:30 a.m. Meat, chicken or fish with vegetables or legumes.

  3. Afternoon: Nuts.

  4. Dinner: No later than 9:00 p.m., pasta or rice with vegetables.

2. The secret behind his schedule

It all comes down to managing your blood sugar, a.k.a. glucose levels throughout the day. They significantly impact your ability to focus.

When your blood glucose is relatively low, you can think and behave in a very concentrated way.

On the other hand, your brain needs sufficient blood glucose to process information clearly.

But be careful. When you overeat, blood enters your gut. This makes you feel sleepy and reduces the blood flow to your brain. Both of these things impact your ability to think and focus.

So, it's not just about what you eat, but also how much you eat.

Rule of thumb for blood glucose: None and too much of it hurts your focus.

3. Why avoid food in the morning?

Huberman starts his day in a fasted state to avoid digestion and glucose spikes for maximum focus and concentration. He drinks water with a bit of lemon juice and salt to give his brain the minimum amount of electrolytes it needs to think properly.

Certain foods and substances like cinnamon, lemon and lime juice can lower blood glucose.

Adding salt, ideally sea salt or Himalayan salt, to your water can help manage your mental and physical state during periods of fasting. This is because salt has a stabilizing effect on blood volume, which can counteract the shakiness or lightheadedness that often comes with low blood sugar.

4. Lunch - Get energy and avoid the crash

Protein-rich foods such as meat, chicken, or salmon help produce dopamine. Dopamine promotes alertness and motivation.

However, you run the risk of crashing and falling into a “food coma”. This is also known as a blood sugar crash. It occurs when your blood glucose levels drop significantly after a spike.

To avoid a blood sugar crash after lunch, there are two strategies you can use:

  1. Movement: Engage in some form of physical activity before or after your meal. This can be as simple as a 30-minute walk. Movement helps transport glucose to other parts of your body, such as muscle and glycogen stores instead of body fat stores.

  2. Veggies Go First: Starting your meal with fibrous vegetables, can lead to a more modest and steady increase in glucose. It can also help you feel full earlier in the meal, preventing overeating.

5. The ideal afternoon snack

Healthy fats: Foods like nuts and butter can also support alertness, as long as they're not consumed in excess.

Tyrosine: It’s a precursor to dopamine, which is crucial for focus. Foods high in tyrosine include parmesan cheese, certain meats, and nuts.

If you have a sweet tooth, there is hope: Not all sweet foods cause the same blood sugar spikes.

Check this list to consider foods with a lower glycemic index, such as ice cream instead of table sugar or mangoes.

6.Dinner is your cheat meal

You’ve been disciplined all day, now you can be naughty. Carbohydrate-rich meals like pasta or rice will make you tired. It’s just important that you don’t eat too late, or your digestion will kill your deep sleep.

7. The Protocol to take ACTION

Managing blood glucose involves a combination of dietary and lifestyle practices. Here are a few additional strategies:

Avoid processed foods

Why it works: Processed foods are often loaded with emulsifiers. They damage your gut and limit its ability to detect what's in the food you are eating. This can interfere with the signals that your gut sends to your brain to tell you that you are full. This is why processed foods lead to overeating.

Do cardio

Why it works: Regular zone 2 cardio (= where you can breathe through your nose), can help stabilize blood sugar. Doing this for 30 to 60 minutes, three to four times a week, can make your blood sugar more stable.

No refills for 20-minutes

Why it works: Before you start eating, set a timer for 20 minutes. Eat only one portion during that time. Refills are only allowed after that. This trick takes advantage of your natural satiety signals. When you eat, the stomach wall expands. This expansion triggers satiety signals that are sent to the brain. The conscious feeling of fullness sets in after about 15-20 minutes. However, the average person only needs ten minutes for a normal meal.

Put down your cutlery after every bite

Why it works: We tend to eat too fast, to swallow more than we should and to already refill our spoon/fork while we are still chewing the last bite. By simply putting down your cutlery, you will extend your eating time, chew longer and take breaks.

Remember, these are general guidelines and individual responses may vary. Always listen to your body and adjust as needed.

And every good action needs a trigger.

That's why I'm providing a different visual for each community challenge. Add it to your lock screen and you'll see it every time you open your phone.

Then it's your choice: Screen time or life time?

Here's the E12 Challenge DOWNLOAD and below is a video showing you how to add it to your lock screen.

Let me know if this works for you via
our brand new Whatsapp community
& see ya next week
Lemmy

Recap:

  • Community Challenge: Start your meals with vegetables.

  • Low and stable blood sugar = better ability to focus → fasting in the morning if you can.

  • Overeating → blood enters your gut → sleepy.

  • Lunch: Protein-rich and fibrous carbohydrates → they lead to a more modest and steady increase in glucose.

  • Movement helps transport glucose to other parts of your body.

  • Healthy fats → alertness.

  • Tyrosine → dopamine → alertness and motivation.

  • Find sweets with a lower glycemic index.

  • Dinner: carbohydrates will make you tired.

Sources:

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