Nancy Burton L.Ac.

Snacking and Skipping Meals

If you have pets you know they insist on eating on time, the same time every day. Your body isn’t any different; it expects regular meals at regular times. Skipping meals, or not eating regularly, creates internal stress and can actually make you gain weight. It can also induce pain, and contribute to other serious health problems.

Erratic eating habits, or eating meals lacking in nutrients, confuses your body and triggers storage mode. Not knowing when it’ll get the nutrients it needs to function, it hangs on to whatever is available to get through potential famine.

Over the centuries enlightened rulers stockpiled food to distribute in times of famine, when drought, floods, or wars ruined crops. It kept the masses happy, and the rulers in control by preventing civil unrest. This is the reason Cleopatra was loved by her people and Marie Antionette was executed. If you don’t give your body the nutrients it requires there will be civil unrest: hoarding, agitation, anger, break down of proper function, and eventually open rebellion: weight gain, pain, and disease.

Before the exhaustion of starvation sets in, an adrenal rush gives people the energy to fight for food. Hunger causes physical, mental, and emotional stress. Who doesn’t get crabby when they’re hungry?

If you overwork your adrenals they’re going to take a vacation and leave you exhausted. Regular meals take a load off your adrenals. Happy adrenals mean more energy for you.

You need nutrients, not just “food,” about every four hours. Some people need to eat more often throughout the day. Others can go a bit longer. When patients tell me they only eat two meals a day, they’re typically having two meals and a snack, or two, or three.

So instead of snacks think in terms of mini meals: an opportunity to give your body nutrients needed to avoid high tension and open rebellion. Giving your body what it requires on a regular basis throughout the day increases your energy and decreases your stress.

The first phase of Liver Detoxification is when toxins are released from fat cells. Fasting and exercise can initiate this phase. When toxins are released from fat cells without being quickly expelled from the body they wreak havoc, causing agitation and likely pain.

When old toxins, stored in fat cells, are released they can have the same devastating effects as originally encountered, unless quickly expelled by the second phase of Liver Detoxification. An example is a nicotine fit: an uncontrollable urge for a cigarette decades after no longer smoking.

Flu-like achey feelings, when you’ve gone too long without eating, is an indication the first phase of Liver Detoxification is occurring. If you want to stop hurting you better launch the second phase which pushes toxins out of your body. That requires nutrients. Real Food! Toxin free food with ingredients needed for the body to function at peak performance in order to expel toxins. Snacks don’t do that. Mini meals that are balanced and nutrient rich do! Chronic pain and fatigue can be greatly reduced and often eliminated by providing regular, healthy meals throughout the day.

If you go too long between meals your body takes over. You’ve lost the right to decide what goes into your mouth. When your blood sugar drops your adrenals (survival mode) kicks in. What your body is demanding is a surge of energy from sugar, empty carbs, caffeine, anything to keep it going short term. As with all short term solutions they don’t work for any length of time. Unless the long term is addressed, by ingesting appropriate nutrients, your blood sugar will fluctuate from snack to snack. Therefore your energy, pain level, and mood can fluctuate from snack to snack, peaking and crashing throughout the day.

The key to deciding what goes in your mouth is to give your body what it really wants: protein and a wide variety of vegetables. Starches (sweet potatoes, yams, and whole grains, excluding wheat and corn) can help you go a bit longer between meals, as long as you can digest them, and you don’t eat so much that you body has to store the excess. Good fats slow down the assimilation of starches and can stabilize your blood sugar, helping you lose weight if needed.


If you feel tired after eating you’re eating the wrong food or are having trouble digesting it. We’re all different, so find nutritious food that works for you. If you need help assimilating your food find a licensed holistic practitioner to prescribe appropriate supplements.

So as all good rulers discover, their subjects ultimately rule them. You decide. Do you want to be Cleopatra, loved by her people, or Marie Antionette? Keep your body fed well and it will serve you well.


Health & Happiness,

Nancy Burton, L.Ac.

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Nancy Burton, L.Ac. is a Licensed Acupuncturist. She incorporates Acupuncture, Herbs, Tui Na (Chinese Medicinal Massage), Homeopathics, Nutritional Supplements, Muscle Testing, and Nutritional Counseling and Therapy in her practice. Her goal is to give patients the tools they need to achieve and maintain good health.

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