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Eat Often, Eat Well: Enjoy 5 smalls each day!

Sound too good to be true?

It is true! Eating often is a healthy approach to food intake—but keep the key concept of this healthful way to eating in mind: SMALL portions.

When we eat often, our body is better able to regulate the balance between blood glucose and insulin. When we eat infrequently and/or take in too much food at one meal, the balance of glucose and insulin is adversely affected, leading to weight gain in the short run, and an increased risk to develop Type 2 diabetes in the long run.

Glucose is the marvelous source of fuel that is derived from eating carbohydrates, and which is used efficiently by our body as energy. Our brain needs energy to compose a piece of music, pay bills, or write a business proposal and our body requires energy to unload groceries, walk up stairs, or ride a bicycle.

Carbohydrates are digested into glucose (sugar) and packaged up to be used as energy. Eating carbohydrates often throughout the day will allow for a relatively stable blood glucose level, keeping our brain and muscles well fueled. A stable blood glucose level will also diminish the chance for becoming ravenous, which may lead to a too-large meal being eaten in response.

Insulin is the hormone, manufactured in the pancreas, which moves glucose into the cell so it can be used as this effective fuel source. When the pancreas is stimulated frequently due to eating small meals often, it releases a regulated amount of insulin—just the right amount required to aid in the proper metabolism of the small meal that was just eaten.  The balance between glucose and insulin is maintained.

When a large meal is ingested, both blood glucose and insulin levels become out of balance. The blood glucose level soars in response to the increased amount of carbohydrates now needing to be digested. The pancreas responds by going into an overtime mode and pumps out the additional insulin required to digest that large meal, leading to a rise in blood insulin levels. Unfortunately, the presence of elevated insulin in the blood is closely linked to weight gain and the onset of diabetes.

Eating infrequently may seem sensible if weight loss is the goal. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth! Less frequent meals leads the body to perceive a state of deprivation, which actually leads to hoarding of fat and stored fuel (glucose), as the body is not sure when the next meal is coming in! In addition, overall metabolism becomes sluggish with infrequent meals, similar to a car that sits in the garage without being driven often. Stimulating metabolism frequently keeps the process of digestion lean, mean, and efficient.

Side note: Whole grains, beans, legumes, and vegetables are more complex carbohydrates, and take longer to metabolize than simple carbohydrates such as processed white flour products, soda, juice, and alcohol. The longer a carbohydrate takes to be broken down, the more gentle the rise of blood glucose level and the corresponding release of insulin is slower and proportional. Again, this helps to maintain a balance between blood glucose and insulin levels.

Side note 2: Regardless of the complexity of a carbohydrate, the digestion time is still relatively short, compared to that of a protein or fat. It is recommended that carbohydrates be eaten alongside of a good quality, fatty protein. Examples of this combination are: a slice of whole grain bread with a smear of almond butter; a colorful salad with a 3-ounce serving of ahi, chicken breast, or tempeh; yogurt or cottage cheese which have the mix of carb, protein, and fat in one food; or a lentil and barley salad.  You get the idea!

You have permission to, and are encouraged to:

Eat well, eat often. Enjoy 5 small meals each day!

Robin Mallery

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"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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