Who decided that sleep is expendable? I cringe when people say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. I think they’re selling themselves short by ignoring the fact that sleep is crucial, a time when our bodies heal, repair and rejuvenate. Think of how fabulous you feel after a great sleep. Who doesn’t want to feel like that every day?
You probably don’t see any connection between what you eat and how well you sleep. Sure, we all know that caffeine can make you more alert than you’d like to be at 3 am, but did you know that the cheese you nibbled on for lunch or the spaghetti you ate for dinner might also be the culprit? You’re shaking your head, aren’t you? Hear me out….
Certain foods are considered “inflammatory” which means they may cause damage or an immune reaction at the cellular level. Inflammation can show up on our skin, in our joints and muscles, and within our immune system. It’s been linked to premature aging, allergies, heart disease, cancer and various forms of digestive distress (everything from mild bloating to Crohn’s disease). Inflammation can be triggered by environmental toxins, stress, alcohol, food sensitivities and allergenic foods and it’s become rampant in our society.
Food sensitivities don’t produce the classic “allergic” reactions of hives, itchiness or difficulty breathing. Rather, they result in more gradual, subtle and often delayed effects that can help explain why sometimes you just feel “off”. You might experience headaches or sluggishness, your kids might be hyper or you may suffer from either constipation or diarrhea. Reactions vary from person to person.
What are the most allergenic, inflammatory foods? Wheat, sugar and dairy are at the top of the list. They’re also at the top of the list of most people’s favourite foods…..think about it. If these foods are burdening your digestive system, which is the focal point of your immune system and general health, then your body is in a heightened state of alert. This is not conducive to a restful, rejuvenating night’s sleep.
Over the coming days I’ll share tips on foods to help bring your body back to balance and enhance the quality of your sleep. Before I leave you, however, I have to share my new favourite green smoothie recipe that I’ve hinted about but haven’t yet revealed. You can be certain that it is chock full of anti-infammatory compounds and it will keep you feeling energized on those days when you need a little boost. This was a big hit with the extended family over Thanksgiving weekend, even with the picky teens!
Combine 8 ounces of organic almond milk, 2 cups of organic spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp natural almond butter. (Optional: 1 scoop of protein powder) Blend at high speed for 30-40 seconds and drink up. It’s not a pretty colour but it is deeelish!
Coming soon: anti-inflammatory meal and snack ideas, why you want to increase those healthy fats and more reasons to keep eating (and drinking) your greens! Wishing you all a good night’s sleep!