Ep. 129: Does everyone need to avoid gluten?

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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On today's episode, reverse interviewer Brigid asks me if gluten should be avoided even if you don't suspect you have a wheat gluten sensitivity.

Fed and Fit podcast graphic, episode 129 does everyone need to avoid wheat gluten with Cassy Joy

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Episode 129 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast! I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. Owner, author, nutritionist, all those good things, blogger, podcaster behind the brand Fed and Fit. And today, we’re back with another reader reverse interview. And for the hundredth time; I apologize to longtime listeners. But I’m going to explain briefly what a reverse interview is.

A Fed and Fit listener/reader will write in with a great question, and instead of obliging them via email, I invite them to come on the show to ask their questions so we can have a nice little dialogue with the hopes that somebody out there can also benefit from the conversation.

So today, I’m welcoming Brigid onto the show. She lives in a small town in Alabama where she is a research assistant. Welcome to the show!

Brigid: Thank you Cassy! I am super excited to be here. And I’m just super pumped to jump into these questions.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, me too! I know you’ve got a list of them. So let’s get after it. Feel free to tell folks a little bit about yourself if you want beforehand so they kind of know where you're coming from. And I’d love to dive into a little bit deeper conversation.

Brigid: Yeah, of course. So, I’m originally from Virginia. I went to Virginia Tech; go Hokies! {laughs} And I basically, my senior year of college I was really struggling with the food that I was trying to eat. I thought that I was eating healthy during the week. I was in a weight training class. And then on the weekends, I just; you know, what every typical college student does. Just drank way too much, and ate way too much. It was honestly making me feel horrible. I thought that it was normal for my stomach to hurt, like 24/7. Basically after every single meal.

Once I graduated and got a job, and kind of had to learn to cook for myself, and do things pretty much independently, I decided that that lifestyle was over with, and I needed to figure out kind of what was causing my stomach issues, and how to feel as best as possible.

So around last October, I started eating paleo. Mostly paleo. I still don’t eat 100% paleo. It’s definitely a slow transition for me. But I feel so much better. I feel absolutely fantastic. So yeah, this is kind of the middle of my journey. I still have a long way to go. But I’m definitely taking big strides towards where I want to be.

Cassy Joy: Awesome.

Brigid: Yeah. So, my first question I guess is about the infamous gluten protein. I guess I’ll just read off what I wrote in my email. My biggest struggle is that I don’t think; at least that I know of, I don’t seem to have a gluten intolerance. So I was wondering what your opinion was on deciding when to eat gluten, and whether it was worth or not if you don’t have an intolerance? Because something that I’ve noticed with these elimination programs, along with yours as well. Which I’m obsessed with the book.

But it seems that most of these food groups that we’re trying to eliminate to see how our body reacts to them, a lot of people can add in small doses as part of their perfect you plan, or afterwards. Like corn, or dairy, and stuff like that. But as far as gluten is concerned, that one it seems like a lot of people just completely steer clear of that. So I guess I’m wondering what your thoughts are on if it’s something we should completely steer clear of, even if we don’t have a gluten intolerance, or if it’s something that we can enjoy in moderation?

Cassy Joy: That’s a really, really good question. And the answer is going to range across a wide spectrum, right? It sounds like you're definitely at one end of the spectrum in terms of not sensitive to wheat gluten. I would say that for myself, that is unfortunately not the case. I’ve actually never been tested for celiac, mostly because I don’t want to spend two weeks glutening myself. {laughs} But I am extremely sensitive. So I think the spectrum ranges dramatically in there.

And I am one of those nutritionists that really likes to recommend; it’s not so much about hoeing down the few foods that we can eat so much as it is about healing our gut so that we can eat as many foods as possible. Right? And so if I could personally get away with eating wheat/gluten products, I guarantee I would. I guarantee I would occasionally go for it. But I would see them as occasional indulgences versus a mainstay in my diet. The same way that I see corn. Right?

I don’t have an intolerance the same as I do to wheat gluten that I do to corn, right, or to dairy? But I still treat them on the occasion sort of the exception to the rule. I probably have corn maybe once or twice a week, usually via corn tortillas. And dairy occasionally more now since I’m pregnant and my body is a little bit more tolerant of dairy for whatever reason. But I’m kind of giving that example to give you an overview. It sounds like wheat gluten to you may be what corn is to me. And even though I don’t show up necessarily as completely intolerant, necessarily, to those foods doesn’t mean that they become the mainstay in my diet. But they do occasionally rotate in.

So why aren’t they a mainstay if I don’t have a noticeable sensitivity to them? Well, the sensitivity, again, is relative. There could be some sort of a reaction that you're not noticing. But at the end of the day, those are inflammatory foods. And that’s really what it boils down to, right? If we’re interested in long-term gut health for optimal digestion, optimal nutrient absorption, right? Then we want to really help protect our gut as much as possible by putting mostly anti-inflammatory foods in, and trying to limit the number of inflammatory foods that also come in.

So that’s kind of how I see it. Even though you may not be extremely sensitive to wheat gluten, wheat is still an extremely inflammatory food. And so it’s one of those; if you can get away with enjoying it moderately, go for it. I don’t think there’s anything really wrong with that. I just would; word of caution to folks who think they can have it all the time. Probably, if they have it over and over and over again, start to notice other symptoms and other foods may start to bother them because of the damage to the gut. Right? Caused by this really aggressive protein. So I hope that makes sense, but that’s kind of how I would boil it down.

Brigid: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I was wondering; when did you, I guess, figure out that you had a gluten intolerance, even if it’s not… because I think in the past you said that you get headaches or you feel fatigued. And those kinds of symptoms are hard for me to pinpoint, I guess. So I was wondering how you were able to determine with such a variety in your diet how it was gluten causing those symptoms.

Cassy Joy: That’s a great question, Brigid. Really it’s because I had a lot of data points. And I’m a really slow learner, so it took me even more data points, probably, than it would take a more reasonable person. And one way to track that is through journaling. It does not have to be a very detailed food journal. But just, let’s say you do have a headache. You wake up one morning, and all of a sudden you have one. And you think; gosh, where is this coming from. This doesn’t make sense. Maybe hormonal cycle-wise it doesn’t make sense. Other things aren’t quite adding up. That would be a really good time to pull out a journal, and as far as you can recall what you ate in the two days prior.

Brigid: Ok.

Cassy Joy: Write those things down. Or you’re feeling especially fatigued. Or just not sharp. Your mental acuity is pretty low in whatever you're working on. Your focus is; you're having a really hard time zeroing in and getting into the zone in your work. Your workouts are suffering. Those kinds of things. We usually see them in hindsight, right? Those symptoms. What I would do is I would sit down when you have one of those that confronts you, try to write down, try to recall what you’ve done, what you’ve eaten, and what you have consumed in terms of water and rest in the last 48 hours. And start highlighting similarities that start to pop up.

Ok? So for example the other day I had a work day here at my house. When was it? It was Tuesday. And on Monday, I was driving home from being out of town. And my husband and I drove through, and I got a bunless burger from In and Out. {laughs} Not a mainstay in my diet, but I know that the way they prepare it, they’re actually usually pretty celiac friendly if you ask a few strategic questions.

Anyway, I got my bunless burger, and I also got a French fry. And the next day, I had a headache hit me. It is, for me, it is my food intolerance headache. I can pinpoint it from a mile away. I know exactly what it is now. And what I’ve realized, because I’ve started to track. Especially with pregnancy, because the body chemistry is even different now. But I started to track what the heck is triggering these 24-hour headaches. It’s not a migraine; or if it is, it’s a very mild one. But it’s a 24-hour headache. And for me, it’s turning out to be probably the oils that some fast foods or restaurants are cooking their foods in.

So it just; I had to have the headache, and rewind the clock. Look at what I ate; what stuck out as weird. I was in College Station, Texas, for an Aggie football game, and I tried a new kind of gluten free bread that we bought at the store. But that really didn’t make sense because the ingredients are exactly the same as what’s in another bread that I usually have, you know? So I started just process of elimination. What is different, and what could have caused this? I was not dehydrated. I had gotten plenty of sleep. So what could it have been? It also could have been hormones, of course.

But I’ve noticed a correlation with the oils. So it’s that kind of deductive reasoning. That kind of processing. When something pops up that could be a symptom. Even if you're tempted to brush it off. And say; something that would happen to me is I would just get a little puffy or get a little bloated, right? It’s so easy to just write that off and say, “I’m just a little bloated today.” Or, maybe I’m just gaining weight. That’s what we always want to tell ourselves. {laughs}

But at the end of the day, it’s probably some sort of an inflammation response; inflammatory response to maybe something that you ate. So I would just stay diligent to those symptoms, and see if you can’t sniff out a cause.

Brigid: Awesome. That’s great advice. Cool. So, another question that kind of stems off from that one, and this might be a dumb question. But my mom’s side of the family, including my mom. They have a lot of stomach issues. Like my grandma has had to eat gluten free for a few years, and IBS all that fun stuff. I guess I was wondering if, for me personally, if I avoid those types of inflammatory foods, will that help me in the long run prevent those kinds of issues from popping up with me? Or is it a matter of genetics where I’m kind of always predispositioned to it, in your opinion?

Cassy Joy: Oh, what a good question. Man you came armed with some brain busters! I would say, Brigid; you're going to get probably a different answer to all the different nutritionists you talk to. My personal bias; my professional bias is towards your first guess. Now. It’s kind of the old adage; everyone has heard this phrase. Genetics load the gun, but we pull the trigger. So you might have some sort of a genetic predisposition to an intolerance that can turn into a chronic condition.

You might have a genetic predisposition to that; in fact, I would probably say that you do. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean. Let’s say you have two folks walking side by side. Both have the same genetic predisposition. Let’s say you have an identical twin. One of you decides to just live as if that’s just the way life is going to be anyways. You know that you're going to have these conditions later on in life. You know you're going to have to deal with it, so might as well eat whatever the heck we want now.

And then the other one tries to follow an anti-inflammatory protocol as much as possible. And protocol is just a really fancy word for, it’s just the way you eat. Right? So you just avoid certain foods. You try to think critically about, I’m just going to try to take really good care of my body. And at the end of the day, when you get there. Let’s say fast-forward 20, 30, 40 years; the person who took really good care of their body, their finger is probably putting less pressure on that trigger than the other person who’s ready to just go ahead and pull it and jump into these chronic conditions.

So I think lifestyle has a big impact on how much we respond to whatever our genetic predisposition is. I’m genetic predisposed to high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Oh gosh, what are all of them? Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s. A lot of those things. Rheumatoid arthritis. A lot of autoimmune diseases run in my family. Now, I really didn’t know that. I didn’t think the relevance that that had over the decisions I make in terms of my lifestyle in my 20s and 30s, right? But it has a big impact.

Because in making the changes, like you were saying earlier. Having done this for a little while now, you feel great. You're making those same changes that I made as well. My body started to feel better, and I started to get healthier overall, and more able to process and endure certain things that maybe I would not have if I were in a sick state. If that makes any sense.

So I would say that we’re all better off; definitely better off pursuing an anti-inflammatory life plan so that we are really prepared to handle whatever our genetics have to throw at us later down the road.

Brigid: Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. For sure.

Cassy Joy: Awesome. Good.

Brigid: Yay! So another one of my big questions is about kind of a preworkout/mid-afternoon snack. So I’ve gotten really used to having some type of bar, whether it’s an RX bar or a Larabar or however you say that word, before my workout. Which I usually do once I get off of work. And I’ve heard a lot of people say that you really shouldn’t get in the habit of eating those kinds of bars on a daily basis. They should be treated more as an emergency snack. But I’ve also heard from other people that it’s completely fine since I’m using it as a preworkout meal, it’s totally doable.

And in the past, I haven’t exactly pinpointed the reason behind this. But in the past, I’ve tried, when I try working out without that snack, my stomach actually starts hurting and cramping up really bad during my workout. So, I guess I was just wondering kind of what your thoughts are on those types of bars. If they’re ok to have every day, or if it is too much sugar, or I should be trying to focus on eating more real food as that preworkout.

Cassy Joy: Another really good question. So this comes down to personal judgement call on your part. Let’s look at it in terms of priorities; what’s more important, going to the gym and getting through a workout and feeling great, or having an ideal predinner. Let’s call it a predinner snack. So what’s more important, having the ideal perfect predinner snack, or going to the workout and getting in a good workout? I would actually prioritize, in this case, the workout. Right? And if that means that an imperfect; I’m going to qualify this in a second. But if that means that an imperfect snack is what helps you get there, I’m all for it.

Brigid: Ok.

Cassy Joy: I love RX bars, also, and I have nothing against them. I have nothing against Larabars. I may be saying it wrong, too. Who knows. I think that they’re great. I personally eat; gosh, I probably have half of an RX bar every morning. It’s not an ideal snack. And the reason that I have it is because I like to have a cup of coffee when I wake up, but I don’t necessarily have my whole breakfast already made. But I like to have food with my coffee. So I will cut an RX bar in half, because I know nutritionally I really only need half of a bar at that point in time. And I will have half of a bar almost every morning.

Now, if I had my act really together, the best thing would be a hardboiled egg. Right? Just having it ready to go. But that’s not always reality. A hardboiled egg and maybe a small handful of grapes is what I’ve got in my fridge right now, so it’s what comes to mind. But that, of course, would be ideal. A little bit of fat, a little protein. Maybe a little carbohydrate right before your workout would be ideal. Of course it’s preferable that it comes from food that you prepared. That it does not come out of a package. Of course that’s preferable.

But at the end of the day, if that RX bar is what empowers you to go to the gym day after day and get a really good workout in and feel good during your workout. And then you go home and you're not starving because you didn’t skip the preworkout because you were afraid of having another bar. So you made really not great dinner decisions because you were just too hungry, right? IN that scenario, have the bar. Have the bar every day as far as I’m concerned.

And if you have it in you, maybe to prepare snacks. To prepare hardboiled eggs. To bring some turkey. To bring some nuts with you. Just whatever works for you and your tastes; cater to that. But if that doesn’t play in, it doesn’t mean that you're doing it wrong.

Brigid: Ok. Yeah, I was wondering if it was kind of hindering my; not training, because I’m not training for anything. But my workout, if I was eating that kind of bar every day versus, you know, a hardboiled egg or something. But I think in the grand scheme of things that makes a lot of sense.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. I mean, if you want to break it down, you can maybe experience with half a bar. RX bars they do have a good amount of sugar, as do Larabars. It’s sugar in the natural form; they’re both made with dates. So maybe try experimenting with cutting the bars in half. And see if that gets you through the workout. And that would be an ideal bite, in my mind. Would be half of a bar.

That way, it saves you money also in the long run, if it winds up working out for you. But maybe try something like that just so you aren’t getting a huge burst of sugar right before a workout. Your body can start to become a little bit more fat adapted at the end of the day, versus sugar adapted metabolically waiting for that punch of sugar. But at the end of the day, again, if that half of a bar doesn’t cut it and you’re 10 minutes into your warmup and you're like, Nope! {laughs} This is not going to work. Then eat the rest of it.

Brigid: Awesome. Ok. That’s definitely something I will try doing.

Cassy Joy: Awesome.

Brigid: Ok, I think I have two more questions. So this one is related to my period. And so I basically, long story short, I haven’t had it for a few months. Probably close to 6 months now. And just completely out of the blue stopped having it. So I was wondering from your standpoint; all the tests have come back fine, all of that. And I’m not; I’m kind of not wanting to have to take a pill every day to force it come back type thing. So I guess I was wondering if you had any suggestions nutrition wise or related to how I workout, if there’s kind of things I can do to naturally get it back.

Cassy Joy: This is a really, really good question. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this on the blog before. So, let’s assume, like you said, you’ve been to the doctor, and you’ve been through all the tests. So for anybody listening who feels they may identify with this as well, that’s going to be your first step. To go to the physician and go ahead and get some tests run just to make sure; to rule out more problematic causes.

So, I would say from a holistic food perspective, what are we going to do that can really help our body calm down. Sometimes our cycles, our periods will stop when we’re in a state of stress. Ok? And it could be linked somewhat to adrenal fatigue a little bit. Would you say that maybe have your workouts become more intense in the last 6 months? Is there any sort of a correlation there?

Brigid: I would say, I don’t think they’ve become more intense. I have tried to get up and do; I mean, ideally I will do cardio in the morning and then weight lifting after work. So before I probably only did weight lifting after work. So I have been trying to get up before my alarm in the past couple of months to either go out on a run, or even just walk or do yoga or something in the morning. But that’s about it.

Cassy Joy: Ok. That’s good. How many days a week are you doing that?

Brigid: Getting up in the morning as well?

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Brigid: Probably anywhere between 3 and 5 days a week.

Cassy Joy: Ok. And then how many days a week are you going to your weight lifting class?

Brigid: I try to; so I have been trying to take more rest days. More active rest days. I would usually probably weight lift 5 days a week, and then do like a long run or something on Saturdays, and try not to do anything on Sundays. But I have been trying to do less; trying to only lift four times a week. But sometimes; it’s either four or five, usually.

Cassy Joy: Ok, yeah. Got it. And then 3 to 5 of those you're waking up in the morning for some sort of dedicated cardio.

Brigid: Correct.

Cassy Joy: Ok. Awesome. That helps a lot. So it could be for a period of time; and this would be something. It sounds like you have a routine that you love, right?

Brigid: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: That sounds awesome.

Brigid: I’m definitely trying to tweak it. My morning routine kind of does vary a lot. But I really do like getting up before work and just doing something. And I have been trying to do more low-impact exercises in the morning to see if that helps. Whether it’s just a meditation with some walking or doing some yoga instead of going on a sprint interval run or something. I have been trying to tweak it a little that way.

But I also really love running in the morning. And I feel my best when I’m running when it is before work. It is kind of hard mentally for me to try to…

Cassy Joy: To change that?

Brigid: Yeah, exactly. Because I know a lot of people say, “You might be running too much. You might want to stop running.” So that’s kind of something I’m struggling with currently.

Cassy Joy: That’s, it’s a very reasonable struggle. I went through something similar when I was training for marathons and crossfitting and yogaing. My schedule, I loved it. And it was, I get it. I get not wanting to give any one of those up.

So what I would recommend doing; I’m not going to pick on any one of those activities. Because it’s going to be whatever works for you. It could be that your body is just in a state of stress in general, and you can tackle it in terms of how your exerting yourself, and then of course what you're inputting in terms of nutrition. Right? So we’ll talk about both sides. How to maybe tackle it from both angles.

And then there’s also just in general wellness ideas, sleep and hydration. I would assume, if you're working out this much you're probably just tanked at the end of the day. And you're eating well, and it sounds like you're active, so I would assume that your sleep is pretty good? Pretty restful?

Brigid: Yeah, that’s another thing I’ve been trying to put a big focus on. I definitely try to get ideally 8 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes between 7 and 8, but usually no less than 7.

Cassy Joy: Perfect. I figured as much. Ok. That sounds good. I don’t know why I assumed that, but that’s what my instinct said. {laughs}

Brigid: Oh, yeah, no it’s all based off the beginning of your book. I just devoured that section. I was like, I’m going to do all of this stuff! {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh you're the best. Ok, so I would say; and this does not have to be a forever thing, Brigid. I would look at it as an experiment, to see if we can get it to come back. And again, looping in your physician as often as you feel comfortable. But from just a very soft; not soft. But from a lifestyle, holistic approach, some very easy things that we can do that aren’t going to be very extreme. I would say, let’s say on the long side, the 5 workouts; the 5 weight lifting, plus a long run, so we’re at 6, plus let’s say, go in the middle, 4 early morning some sort of activities. So we’re at about 10 workouts a week.

Now, even though some of those are walks, combined with yoga, combined with meditation, I would still, just for the sake of this conversation, let’s lump them in there. I would pick; actually that’s not fair. Let’s do the 5 weight lifting, plus your long run, so we’re at 6, plus let’s say 2 of those mornings are runs. We’re at 8 real workouts, where your heart rate is elevated. A week. I would try to reduce that down; I don’t know which one you're going to pick. It’s up to you. But try to reduce that down to 4 to 5 a week.

Brigid: Ok.

Cassy Joy: Ok. Now I understand the love of ritual in wanting to go and do something. So I think restorative yoga, like a hatha yoga class would be a really good one. I wouldn’t jump into bikram or ashtanga right now. Because that would qualify as a more intense workout. I would think you can have as many easy, restorative kind of activities as you want to sprinkle in there. But try to keep your real deal workouts between 4 and 5. And maybe one of those is a long run, 3 of those are weight lifting, and one of them is a mid-week run. Ok?

And I would give yourself two full rest days. And that’s going to be probably one of the harder parts, if you're really used to getting up and going. I would not do them back to back. Just, I feel like we might be birds of a feather a little bit, and that would mess with my psyche a little too much. So pick maybe a midweek day that works a little bit better with your schedule to give yourself a break. And you can go for a long walk that morning, but try not to do anything that gets your heart rate elevated. And the on the other day, again another full day of rest. So not even a jog. No light running. No moderate to intense yoga classes.

So I would try to limit the workouts to 4 to 5 for a period. I’m talking maybe one to two months, just see what happens and see if we can get it to come back. Just from the exertion side of things. And the only reason we’re doing this is to try to temporarily reduce stress. And then when it comes back, we can experiment with adding things back in. Right? And you can go from there. So I would say that’s one thing to do.

Now from the food side, this is the really fun part. I think that some things worth doing, without knowing what you’re currently eating. I’m sure you're on top of it all. But I would place a focus on fruits. I would try to up your fruit intake across all the different categories, not just berries. I’m partial to berries. But try to get in some of those tropical fruits. We’re really trying to up our vitamin C. Sprinkle fresh lemon juice on as many things as you can, really just for that vitamin C punch.

Try to get in at least one really dense serving of cooked leafy greens a day. So a full cup of steamed spinach, or sautéed kale, or something like that. At least once a day. And then I would try to make it a point to have; iron is important. You can get some of that from the spinach and the leafy greens. Of course beef is going to be a really good source of it, so if you're open to eating red meats then I would make it a focus every week to try to get in a couple of servings of red meat where you can. Try to pair that with vitamin C; it will help with absorption.

And then I would, every single day, try to get in some sort of a really generous serving of a starchy vegetable. So, maybe that is every night for dinner, you have a medium sized sweet potato. You know? Or you have with breakfast half of a plantain. It would be even better if you have that with two out of three meals a day, but definitely make it a priority to get it in at least one of them.

So that would be a place to start. Start snacking on fruit. Try eating a little bit more fruit as much as you can. Fructose can work wonders for women’s health. And then I would make it a point to get in a cooked cup of leafy greens; cooked just so we can get in more. Right? And if you sprinkle a little fresh lemon juice on it at the end, you're making up for what you might have lost in the cooking process. And then the red meat would be great if you're open to it, especially grass-fed pastured sources. And then the starches.

Brigid: Awesome. Yeah, it definitely is hard when you're not where you want to be, I guess long-term, to dial back, you know what I mean, and eat more starchy vegetables and more fruit and stuff like that. But I also think I need to realize that I need to listen to my body and figure out kind of what it’s asking for.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. And you know what, you might even find that your body responds positively.

Brigid: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: You may just be someone who is a more carb tolerate person. And so you may find that by cutting back a little bit on workouts and by eating more carbohydrates, magically your body starts to fall into a form that you feel more comfortable with. Juli Bauer is a really good example of that, if you’ve ever read her testimony, over at PaleOMG. But that’s essentially what she did. She cut back on the intensity of her workouts, and started eating more carbs. That’s the highlight reel. But she did essentially those two things, and all of a sudden her body composition changed dramatically. So it’s worth a try.

Brigid: Yeah, definitely. That’s awesome advice. I will definitely try that. And you said to do it for one to two months.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I would start with one month. See how you feel. But definitely try to stick it out for two.

Brigid: Awesome. Cool. So I just have one more question, if that’s ok.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Brigid: So I tend to eat bigger breakfasts, and I know you're a big believer in three square meals a day. And so I guess my concern is I’m trying to figure out if my portion sizes are a little too big? Because I like to eat, I usually eat breakfast between 6 and 6:30 in the morning. And I don’t really get hungry until sometimes 5 or 6 hours later. And at that point, sometimes I’m even not hungry by 12:30, but I’m like, “Oh, it’s lunchtime. I need to be eating, because it’s been 6 hours.” So I guess I’m wondering if I’m not getting hungry until then, does that mean that my portions are too big at breakfast and I should try to dial that down so I get hungry earlier? Or is that totally doable?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s important to be hungry when we sit down for a meal. And really, we’re going to be hungry when we’ve burned up the fuel that we previously ate, for the most part. To put it very basically. During the day. So if your lunchtime comes before you're really ready for lunch, your body is ready for lunch, then you can absolutely cut back a little bit on breakfast.

Brigid: Ok.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s a great thing to do. Not dramatically. Maybe just very slightly see if you can trim away on some of the portions, just until you're hungry for lunch. Not starving, but ready to eat. That’s important. And then that will kind of help you eat just a little bit more intuitively, and then start getting in the right amount of nutrients for you.

Something else that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. But really mostly for everybody else listening. I think it’s important to audit how much good fats are on your plate. In terms of your monthly cycle. I would try to make sure you have at least one to two tablespoons of healthy fat on your plate at every meal. So whether that is part of an avocado, or a good drizzle of olive oil dressing. Or maybe it’s a piece of really nice fatty salmon that you cooked in butter with some sort of a nice sauce. I would not be afraid of the fat, also.

Brigid: Ok. Yeah, because sometimes I’m like; if I eat from 6 to 6:30, then maybe I should be getting hungry around 10:30. But that’s not really lunch time. I’ll definitely work with the portions and see how I can tweak that a little.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Definitely. Something you can always try to shift up the plate in general. Breakfast salads are one of my favorite things to eat early in the morning if I want something nice and big but not that’s going to keep me full for 7 hours, you know. Then you get to have still a big breakfast because there was a big pile of greens underneath. But you still have the protein and the fat and the carbohydrates that you wanted on top of it.

Brigid: Gotcha. Awesome. I will definitely look into that, and hopefully figure out those portion sizes. I think that’s my biggest downfall currently. I eat pretty clean, but definitely my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

Cassy Joy: I hear you.

Brigid: Definitely something I’m working on.

Cassy Joy: Awesome. Well it sounds like you’ve got a really great handle on things. I cannot wait to get updates from you.

Brigid: Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much for taking this time. It really means the world; I’m a huge fan of you. And I actually heard about you from Juli Bauer. So yeah, love you both. And I just really appreciate this.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, it is so my pleasure, Brigid. Thank you so much for making the time out of your schedule to come and chat with us today. I know this was a really helpful conversation for all kinds of folks. So it means a lot.

And to everybody listening, thanks so much for dialing in. As always, you can find a complete transcript of today’s show over at www.FedandFit.com. And as always, we’ll be back again next week.


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  1. Elle says:

    I LOVED this episode!! I love all of your podcast episodes but this one really hit the nail on the head on a lot of questions I’ve had since starting this journey to health. Thank you for posting!

    1. Cassy says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Elle!