200 Daily Food Decisions – Do You Know How Many You Make?

In two research studies by Cornell University,  the researchers found that individuals were unaware of all the food decisions they were making on a daily basis and they were unaware about how their environment influenced their decisions. Many people believed they were making 15 food choices when in fact they were making 219.

One of the reasons people underestimated the number of food choices was because they only considered food choice and forgot about food consumption.

Food choice decisions often focus on what is eaten, while food consumption
decisions are a subset of food choice which focuses more specifically on volume
decisions. The former determine what we eat (soup or salad); the latter determine how  much we eat (half of the bowl or all of it).
The other reason people underestimated the number of decisions they made was because they did not believe their environment was an influence on their food consumption and did not want to believe that they were susceptible to that kind of environmental manipulation.

Sleep Matters – Research about Sleep and What You Eat

Yesterday, I shared an infographic about how much sleep you need. If you are getting less than five hours of sleep you need to rethink your sleeping habits.

Why is sleep so important? According to the sleep foundation, if you do not get enough sleep, you disrupt the balance of your hormones that regulate hunger and appetite and put yourself at risk of gaining weight.

If you are having trouble sleeping, it may be the foods you are eating during the day.  if you are following the Metabolic Balance. ® plan, then you are off to a good start in regards to food choices but, as you enter phase 4 and you are adding foods to your diet, you must pay attention to how those foods affect your sleep.

If sleep alludes you, the following foods which contain Tryptophan can help:

  • Lobster (there are 195 different seafoods with Tryptophan)
  • Spinach  (there are 60 different types of vegetables with Tryptophan)
  • Seaweed Spirulina
  • Beef  (58 different Beef products)
  • Eggs (29 different dairy and egg products)
  • Chicken (223 different poultry products with Tryptophan)
  • Sunflower seeds (there are 7 different kinds of seeds/nuts with Tryptophan)
  • Basil (the only herb with Tryptophan)

Do you want a complete list?  you can check out this Nutrition Data list of foods high in Tryptophan.

If you enjoy a nightcap before bed, you may want to change your routine.   A review of 27 Research studies has shown that alcohol will not help you get a good night sleep and will disrupt your REM sleep which is considered the restorative part of your sleep.

If you find yourself getting sleepy around 2p.m. you are not alone. It is a biological trait that we become tired at 2pm and 2am. If your body is telling you to sleep at 2 p.m., you can take a short 10 minute nap to get yourself back on track but keep the nap short so that you stay in a lighter phase of sleep and avoid getting groggy and disrupting your normal sleep pattern.  If you don’t like the idea of taking a ten minute nap at work, put on your walking shoes and take a ten minute walk to get a cup of coffee. The walk will give you a quick pick me up and a cup of caffeine early in the afternoon does not interfere with your evening sleep.

Note: We like sharing as much information with you as possible so you can make informed decisions about your life and how to keep on track with Metabolic Balance. ®  If there is a topic you would like us to cover or discuss, please email me at emmy@usa.metabolic-balance.com. If you would like to share your Metabolic Balance ®story with us, we are sharing stories and testimonials on livecleanmb.com.  If you like challenging yourself but are not willing to join our Dietbet challenge, you can share your experiences on our Facebook group livecleanmb. I will be making daily posts there and responding to anything you share with me. (I’m not on 24/7 so within 24 hours I will check in and say hello and I hope you will stop by and say hello too.)

Tomatoes Add To Your Life – Information You May Want to Read About Tomatoes

Today, we are sharing research about tomatoes. UC Davis has a great link page to articles about tomatoes focusing mostly on growing and tomato issues.  We are only sharing information about eating and cooking with tomatoes but if you are interested in tomatoes, you can follow the main link to the extensive list.


Photo of tomatoes by Jeremy Segrott

Current Research Related to Women’s Health Issues

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is the way to go if you are suffering from hot flashes, says an article on NPR. The expert panel looked at all the different ways women were trying to deal with hot flashes and determined that more research needed to be done on herbal remedies.  At this time, they suggested using Cognitive behavioral therapy and clinical hypnosis.  The article pointed out that the experts did not suggest using yoga or acupuncture to relieve menopausal symptom.
  • Men and Women differ on how they experience disease and respond to treatments.  A Venus v. Mars situation it seems.  According to this article, current research has shown that women process pain in a different part of their brains and that women used different immune cells to treat pain even though medical treatment for both genders was the same.  How women’s bodies deal with medicine seems to be a new field of interest helping to highlight how women’s and men’s bodies interact differently when prescribed the same medicines for pain and depression.
  • Another research study published in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reported that women’s fertility increased when they exercised and improved their diets. Preconception weight loss and exercise improved women’s reproductive and metabolic health.
  • There is no cure for migraines but scientists have discovered potential biomarkers for migraines in the blood.  13 % of women in the US suffer from migraines. Approximately 14 million people in the US suffer from chronic headaches which has accounted for a yearly loss of 133 million work days and costs employers 13 billion US dollars.
  • Taking a nap will significantly impact rates of heart attack.
  • It seems that patients diagnosed with osteoporosis are not being treated for the disease.  According to this article, the Indiana University study found that men were less likely to receive treatment than women and patients with multiple chronic conditions would find their osteoporosis left untreated.   The study was one of the first comprehensive data study examining data from patients in urban, rural and different ethnic groups.  Research suggests that one in two women age 50 and older will break bones due to osteoporosis.
  • If you are a woman, higher insulin resistance can cause language problems.  One interesting comment by Dr. Ekblad is that the men from the risk group usually die earlier from heart disease so are no around to develop Alzheimers.  This study does not show cause and effect just correlation.  The study is a warning to younger adults who have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.  Dr. Ekblad states “It’s likely that simple lifestyle interventions such as physical exercise and a healthier diet will have a positive effect on cognitive skills and possibly even reduce the risk for dementia.”

Time to Switch off the TV and Hit the Books

School is in session for millions of students around the world and we encourage you to hit the books even if you left the classroom years ago. Eating the right foods helps your mind but you must also work the brain to keep it healthy.

  • According to this article, “It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially…”
  • Cognitive exercised can produce lasting results.  According to this article, people who were provided were training were still seeing positive results five years later.
  • Learn German to improve your aging brain and read all the metabolic balance cookbooks. If German isn’t the challenge you want to tackle, try another foreign language. According to the BBC, learning a second language has positive effects on the brain with the strongest effects seen in general intelligence and reading.
  • Lastly, below is a video discussing language and other cognitive processes. (Geeky video worth watching)

If you want to take a challenging and free course online, you can try to learn coding at the code academy.  Coding is a language which will be challenging to learn and will offer you a valuable skill for the current workforce environment.  If you want to learn a spoken language, you can try Thai or maybe Cantonese. (Links to more language can be found here.)


Below is an academic lecture about language and cognitive processes (Very geeky and long but worth listening to if you want to know more about this topic.)

Research into Self Regulation – Values and Regulatory Orientation

Regulation of attention and emotions were listed as part of the science of mindfulness in yesterday’s infographic. If you would like to dive into how self regulation works with our eating habits, you can read this article that discusses our self regulation when it comes to eating.

What does it mean to self regulate? According to Pyschology Today, 

Behaviorally, self-regulation is the ability to act in your long-term best interest, consistent with your deepest values. (Violation of one’s deepest values causes guilt,shame, and anxiety, which undermine well being.) Emotionally, self-regulation is the ability to calm yourself down when you’re upset and cheer yourself up when you’re down.

Do you have problems self regulating your behaviour or emotions?  Consistent self-regulation requires you to focus on your deepest values rather than just how you feel. This is addressed in this paper that discusses how self regulation creates distinct values.  In this research paper, E. Tory Higgins, states:

At any moment in time a person has particular concerns or interests that guide self-regulation. A regulatory orientation could arise from physiological needs such as hunger, moods such as anger, epistemic needs such as a need for closure, social forces such as role prescriptions, and so on. As will be illustrated later, decision makers with different regulatory orientations will assign different importance to the same outcome of a choice alternative as a function of the relevance of the outcome to their regulatory orientation.

If you are wondering why you think something is important but you struggle to accomplish it (lose weight, get in shape, be healthier) read the article… I know it is a bit long and dry but it will make you think about how you regulate your actions.

Three components of self regulation outlines in the article are Means, Outcome and Regulatory Orientation.

At any moment in time a person has particular concerns or interests that guide self-regulation. A regulatory orientation could arise from physiological needs such as hunger, moods such as anger, epistemic needs such as a need for closure, social forces such as role prescriptions, and so on.

Now that you have read your fill of academic articles focused on self regulation, step back and remember the metabolic balance rules which can help you achieve your higher goals of losing weight, getting in shape and being a healthier person.

Eat only three meals a day.
Ensure there is a five hour break between meals.
Make sure each meals lasts no longer than 60 minutes.
Begin every meal with one or two bites of the protein portion.
Be sure to have only kind of protein at each meal.
Do not eat anything after 9:00 pm.
Drink lots of water.
Eat your fruit portion (including an apple every day) at the end of your meals.

Mindfulness Research – Being Mindful Will Help you Sleep and Maintain a Healthy Weight

On Monday I gave you a recipe for grilled chickpeas.  Research has shown that certain chemicals inside of chickpeas make you sleepy. Mindfulness also can help you sleep.

The American Mindfulness Research Association shared information about a recent study published in JAMA internal medicine. The sleep study focused on older adults who reported having issues falling or staying asleep. The adults were assigned to one of two groups.  The first group received 12 hours of group instruction on Mindfulness Awareness Practices for Daily Living (MAP) and were given at home assignments. In their 12 hours of instruction, they were shown how to sit, walk, move, eat and meditate.  The second group focused on sleep hygeine education (SHE). The participants in the second group were instructed on sleep self monitoring, relaxation techniques and sleep hygiene strategies.  The study showed that participants in the MAP group had significant improvements in their sleep, less fatigue and less depression. (Mindfulness also helps people who suffer from Insomnia.)

Other Mindfulness articles that are interesting:

Mindful women less likely to be obese.  I found this article very interesting.  Mindfulness helped women more than men.  Men tended to still be overweight even if they were mindful.

Newsweek article – personal story about mindfulness  – This is a personal story about someone who attended a mindfulness retreat and how their body chemistry changed in a very short time just by learning to be mindful.