According to the time-tested principles of Ayurvedic medicine eating heavy, hard to digest foods at night is the seed for all disorders – from fatigue, excess weight through to serious disease.
These problems are magnified if also eating late. Eating a ‘light’ dinner (according to appetite) reasonably early (digested by the time you go to bed) is one of the single most important things you can do for your lifelong health, happiness and personal performance.
Where possible dinner is ideally ‘meat-free’ (avoiding cheese/heavy sweet is also good), however this should only be done very gradually. If cutting out meat entirely from your evening meal is not practical for you to begin with, realise that all meats are not digested the same – if you are going to eat meat at night favour ‘lighter’ meats – fish, turkey, chicken and avoid ‘heavier’ meats – pork, lamb, beef etc
* A piece of grilled fish and vegies is much better than a steak or pork chops.
If you are in the habit of eating meat at night, it is not necessary to immediately withdraw it from the evening meal (or easy to know how to substitute for it). The following can be used while you get used to lighter (meat-free) dinners. Instead of eliminating meat completely, start by simply reducing the quantity of meat – E.g. rather than a full steak; eat ¾- then ½, then ¼ etc.
Aim to just gradually increase the number of meat-free dinners – E.g if meat-free twice a week now, increase to 3 times a week, then 4 times etc. When happy to eat ‘meat-free’ – options include:
- Pasta or Rice (with tomato based sauce, dahl as sauce – or very light cheese sauce)
- Khichari (rice and dahl cooked together – recipe available)
- Noodle dishes – stir-fries etc
- Soups – vegetable, pumpkin, dahl/lentil soups etc etc
*** Note; this is just a guide – basically there is no restriction other than that your meal should be largely digested by the time you go to sleep.
Generally, if you wake-up in the morning feeling ‘light’, clear and refreshed – dinner was appropriate. If you wake-up feeling heavy, sluggish or dull – you may need to lighten your dinner, eat earlier and/or get to bed earlier. These recommendations are based on the eternal, universal principles governing human digestion – without question, the more you follow them the healthier you will be and the better you will feel!
Something to inspire you:
We have just received an email from an attendee to one of our seminars. He wrote as follows:
Just a quick note to say thanks for some great advice in your book– ever since the FMG conference earlier this year – I’ve been meaning to put into practise some of your tips but you know what it’s like – putting off and putting off and then in July my wife and I went overseas for almost 2 months on holiday etc., which made the advice about changing sleep patterns to the more healthy difficult to implement until we got back.
But finally, and since Thursday night of last week, I’ve been making sure I’ve been in bed and asleep by 10pm each night. This would be a first time for me since childhood??? – as its usually either close to midnight and often after that I normally go to bed and then struggle to arise at 7am. Worse I sleep-in on weekend mornings thinking that was doing me good – but feeling no better.
Well – the results so far have been amazing – usually it’s an on-going war with the bedside clock to drag myself out of bed – but only after 5 days I’m now waking at around 5am bright and alert and could easily get up then. My sleep too has been very deep and satisfying….Next step is to actually get out of bed AT 5am J
I’ve also started putting into place having only a light dinner meal and have implemented that at the same time…things are looking up! Thanks again mate
All the best Mike
Head of Research – FMG New Zealand