Eating and Sleeping

Fall Break is over and it is time to get back to normal, and by normal I mean get back to work and I found some interesting things to share with you in all my reading.

I think you will approve, gentle reader.

There is new research out on two of my favorite subjects, eating and sleeping. If the research bears out and if we play our cards right, it can be a holiday every day and we won’t have to go to warm climes to rejuvenate.

Let’s start with the new research concerning pasta. For a while there it was thought, and frankly, the U.S. Government is still flogging the idea,that to lose weight and be healthy we should  eat a diet high in carbohydrates. Oh, sure, we were supposed to be eating vegetables, beans and grains, with limited fats and protein.

imagesBut recent research suggests that, really, it is not grains, even whole grains, that aid in weight loss but the low carb diet, with what few carbs one does enjoy, coming from vegetables like broccoli and sprouts.sanjay gupta

Even Sanjay Gupta says so.

And yet, one of the most comforting foods, one of the easiest foods to prepare in delightful and surprising ways is pasta. I love the Italians for their great art and sense of style, but I would trade every Pieta in existence for a big ole bowl of fettuccine.

Pasta makes us fat because it turns to sugar very quickly and much too quickly for most of us to use the energy it produces, so it is stored as fat. But before that happy trick, the starch in pasta spikes our blood sugar, and that does all sorts of things to us, none of them good or pleasant.

According to Dr. Denise Robinson, a senior nutrition scientist at the University of Surrey, this is how normal starch reacts in the body, and that it is made up of tangled chains of glucose sugar molecules that break down easily and are quickly stored. Blood sugar spikes, insulin spikes, and then you get that sugar drop and feel hungrier than before you ate.


But, you all.

images copy 2New research suggests that if we cook our pasta first, let it cool, then re-heat it, the starch in the pasta changes from normal starch to resistant starch, and that is a very good thing. It means that the starches take longer to break down, and in fact, are no longer broken down in the small intestine but in the large intestine, where it takes longer to digest, avoiding the sugar spikes, and much of it gets passed around your system as fiber—aways a welcome traveler.

There are other health benefits, too, and I don’t know about you but I find this outstanding research and pray it continues. So, experiment with it. Fix it, refrigerate it, reheat it, you won’t know the difference. Any Italian restaurant will tell you

Then, there is this about sleep. We know that the hormones that regulate metabolism are produced at night while we sleep. But we must experience a certain quality of sleep to reap the most health benefits.

We also know that the light from iPads, cell phones, and televisions emit blue light, which is the same wavelength as morning light, and it wakes our brains up, just when they should be powering down to rest.

images-1 copy It is believed that for humans to get full and restorative sleep, they should sleep in the pitch black. Even ambient light from the streetlamp can disrupt our snooze time. The subtle glow from the alarm clock, ditto. All of this messes with our circadian rhythms and that hurts our metabolisms.

I do a lot of tossing and turning at night, waking at odd times and feeling out of sorts, so I decided to experiment with this. I can’t fix the ambient light that comes into my bedroom. I don’t have an eye mask, thinking, as I do, they are a bit affected.

So last week I couldn’t sleep and I rooted around until I found an old bandana and I tied it over my eyes, and lay there, like a goner, due to be shot at dawn. I don’t know if it was the lateness of the hour or what, but I fell right into a deep and restful slumber, and slept right through dawn, thankfully, and into morning, and would be sleeping still if it weren’t for my cell phone chirping away.

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