Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling as if you swallowed a bag of bricks? Perhaps you toss and turn trying to find a comfortable position, but alas, it is of no avail.
A quick recap of your day has you thinking about the late dinner you ate. Pasta, garlic bread and a chocolate chip muffin for desert. Nothing short of carbohydrate overload. It is not just that fact that your dinner contained a lot of carbohydrates that caused your swollen belly it is that the carbs came mostly from grains.
The popular opinion for some time has been that grains are healthy for us. The USDA food pyramid recommends 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, pasta and rice per day. Interestingly enough, grains have not always been a part of the human diet. Our ancient ancestors spent their time collecting and feasting on nuts, fish legumes vegetables, berries. There was no wheat or refined sugar in their diet at all. I bet they slept well!
A late night pasta overload triggers a couple of bodily reactions that can lead to discomfort. The first is that all grains, even whole grains cause a spike in blood sugar. The second problem is that grains contain a whole lot of stuff that our bodies are not designed to handle. Things like phytates, lectins, and gluten are impostors that serve no nutritional purpose and only drag down the digestive process. This causes us to feel heavy and bloated.
Grains, especially refined grains like white pasta are easy to overeat. Who consumes just a cup of spaghetti with a dab of sauce? Not Americans, that is for sure. Our plates are big, and our portions are massive. We see nothing wrong with eating two to three times as much as we really should. Then we go to bed? All those carbs just swimming around in our belly, no wonder we cannot sleep. Now, if we were running a marathon that might be a different story. With no place for all that sugar to go, it simply churns around a while and turns to fat.
So, what is the answer to the pasta sleep predicament? The best place to start is to be sure that you eat your dinner early as digestion takes considerable time and energy. Aim to have your last meal at least three hours before retiring. Try reducing the number of carbs that you get from grain. A meal that is centered around fresh vegetables and fruits is far easier for your digestive system and provides a tremendous number of vitamins, fiber and minerals. Remember that each time you have an adverse reaction to food, it is your body’s way of saying “ please don’t feed me that anymore.” Listen to your body, it is smarter than you think and always knows whats best. Sweet dreams!
Has an extremely full belly ever woken you up at night? Did you change your eating habits afterwards?
– The Alternative Daily