OMAD: Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. Which is best?


Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner? Here is my list of advantages and disadvantages for all of them when you eat one meal per day.





Breakfast: 

Positives: 

  1. Not "hungry" for long times of the day afterwards
  2. Combined with a high fat diet, it should not leave you tired after the meal
  3. Feeling warmer during the day in winter times
  4. going to bed on an empty stomach increases night time HGH, probably better regeneration, increased muscle growth 
  5. deeper sleep which leads to less sleep needed
  6. movement of the body after the meal aids digestion
Negatives:
  1. difficult for some people because of social circumstances
  2. naturally less hunger in the morning
  3. some do not like to sleep on an empty stomach
Lunch:
Positives: 
  1. Same positives as with Breakfast
  2. only short time of "hunger" in the morning 
  3. socially more feasible
  4. best of both worlds: food is digested by bed-time - good HGH release
Negatives: 
  1. difficult as well for some people because of social and work circumstances
  2. many people are working during that time and need to prepare food to eat an optimal OMAD-meal
Dinner
Positives:
  1. "Reward-Meal" at the end of a productive day to look forward to
  2. feeling cold during hot summers during the day
  3. after a workout: increased nutrient absorption and favorable nutrient partition
Negatives:
  1. Being hungry or rather "empty-stomach-feeling" for many hours of the day
  2. Going to bed on a full stomach might impair HGH release during sleep
  3. More sleep needed than compared to lunch or breakfast as OMAD-meal
  4. feeling hot during the night as the body processes the food
  5. feeling cold during the day in the winter
I have the most experience with the dinner routine so far, as I was eating the one meal a day mostly at night. And I only experimented for a couple of days with eating at different times of the day. But in the future I am going to try out the breakfast and the lunch eating pattern. I feel they have specific benefits in and of themselves.
About the dinner regimen: I really liked the idea of being productive during the day and having that reward meal at the end of the day.  But I really disliked my body having to process all the food during the night. My feeling is that food is processed better when the body also moves and one can make direct use of some of that energy. Whereas heavy workouts shortly after the meal are probably not ideal.


(edit: I no longer eat a high-fat vegan diet and not a lot coconut-fat anymore. You can read about why here.) From a high fat meal I also get a great energy boost which is more important in the morning or afternoon, rather than in the evening. With the high fat diet I do not get tired after the meal so I can eat that OMAD-meal also for breakfast or lunch.
I still want to workout before the meal, so I have to figure out how I can do that. I will post updates about the breakfast regimen in the future.

The Pros and Cons of drinking green tea while fasting

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of green tea during intermittent fasting which I observed during many month of omad and 16/8 time restricted feeding.  Here I will explain them based on my understanding of the research behind caffeine and fasting.

Let me begin with a short introduction of the effects of caffeine on the human body that are relevant to fasting. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to release  cortisol and adrenaline. Those two small glands above the liver will be forced to produce more than necessary for the moment. This causes a rush of energy above normal levels. A good feeling of arousal and alertness is the result. Free fatty acids are increased in the blood to be oxidized for energy. So far so good. The fasting energy state of the body is enhanced in the short term.

But in the long term, an adaptation to the intake of caffeine will take place. Habitual consumers of caffeine have been shown to not have an increased release of cortisol anymore. That is actually a good adaptation. You would not want to have high levels of cortisol in your body in the long term.
This also means though that your body will become dependent on caffeine to a degree in order to release those "normal" levels of hormones. Your body strives for homeostasis.

And caffeine causes a constant low level of stress for the adrenal glands. And so they will compensate with lower levels of cortisol and adrenaline without the stimulation of caffeine. This results in a disruption of the circadian rhythm, result in tiredness in the morning and arousal late at night. And in my own experience this leads to a low level depression or uneasiness and tiredness.  Whenever I am through the caffeine-withdrawal symptoms, I feel much more stable in my mood. No green tea high, no green tea low.

With further experimentation I have found out that I was consuming the green tea wrong though. Because cortisol is not constant in the body throughout the day, it follows a curve. Right after waking up, the release of cortisol reaches it's peak. And if you want to avoid most of the negative side effects of caffeine, it is best not to take first thing in the morning. So I guess most people consume it wrong.

As you can see in the graph below, it is best to wait about two to three hours after waking before starting to consume anything with caffeine. That is when your cortisol has started to drop again and caffeine will not cause the peak to be even higher. Increasing the cortisol level beyond that natural peak is just causing you to feel fatigued in the long-term and become dependent on caffeine to wake up in the morning.

Cortisol Curve
Don't drink that coffee right after waking up!

Fasting itself raises cortisol. So be careful here and closely observe how you feel and react to caffeine in the long term, if you are eating only one meal per day or use extended intermittent fasting. In my experience I do best while I consume 2-3 cups of green tea and on cup of decaf coffee per day. I usually consume the green tea between 9am and 1pm and the decaf coffee before my workout. That gives my body enough time to clear the caffeine from my system before I go to bed.

In addition, green tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine. This amino acid has been shown to have amazing effects on the brain. You can watch this video for a summary of the research results.
L-theanine counteracts some of the effects of caffeine. Green tea therefore makes you calm and focused at the same time. Compared to coffee, which usually only makes you more alert, but also leaves you feeling a little jittery. 

Be aware though that you will also develop a dependency towards green tea. If you start consuming it daily, even in the optimal window, you will want to consume it daily to reach your normal levels of energy. But as there are only positive side effects to green tea consumption, there is no reason to not consume it on a daily basis. Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. But in my experience they are quite strong and I have a bad headache for 2-3 days and also feel quite low in motivation and even depressed for a couple of days. 

A typical vegan ketogenic day - Eating only one meal a day

Click to enlarge...
This is what a typical day for me looks like on the vegan ketogenic one meal a day diet.

First I had the smoothie: Spinach, banana, flaxseeds, ginger, dandelion, rosemary.
I ate that with some of coconut-butter and sprouted sunflower seeds.

Then I heated the mushrooms, lentil-sprouts and an onion in some coconut oil (which I counted as shredded coconut as well). This I ate together with some more coconut cream. I ended my meal with a handful of peanuts. I lately added low-sodium salt which consists of 50% sodium and 50% potassium. This seems to help with the muscle twitching I experienced when starting this diet.

My Experience eating a keto OMAD vegan diet

You can read an update on my diet here.



The first three weeks have passed since I have consistently been eating a ketogenic high fat vegan diet. Combined with only eating one meal a day (OMAD). That means I fast for 22-23 hours each day. My regiment includes one or two short aerobic exercise sessions each day and one body weight strength training session. Aerobic exercise is done in the morning and midday (if possible) and the strength training session in the evening before the meal.
Nuts are a big part of my diet
I love nuts for their flavor and the slow-release of energy

The meal consists of: (1500kcal, 60-75% fat, 10-20% protein(50-70gr), 10-20% carbs(50-80gr))
1. Nutrient-dense green drink (wheatgrass, spirulina)
2. Small portion of legumes (30-50gr dried)
3. Flaxseeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy,  etc. in different forms (sprouted, nutbutter, raw, roasted, yogurt)
4. A mixture of seasonal vegetables (soup, stir-fried with coconut-oil or steamed)
5. Multi-vitamin / multi-mineral, Q10, Condroitinsulphate, Creatine

I copied most parts from the Amen-Protocol from Dr. Amen-Ra. I will start from there and experiment with what works for me. As you can see, I slightly changed my macro-nutrient ratios.

Let me quickly share with you what I observed so far.

The first few days were brutal. I was considerably more tired. My energy levels fell down rapidly as I was used to a high carb diet for several years. I guess my body had to adjust and turn enzyme production around 180°. I was not doing much sport these first days. After several days I continued to feel better.

After two weeks my energy-levels were not only back to normal but I honestly feel better and more stable energy-levels throughout the fast. I tried long intermittent fasting intervals (around 20h) before with a high carb diet. But this did not produce the same results. I was hungry and needed the energy from food. Now I can feel that I am much better able to tap into body-fat as an energy-source.

Hunger was present in the beginning. But, because I had the same eating window every day, my digestion quickly adjusted. I am still getting the feeling of an empty stomach regularly but this does not feel so extreme that I need to eat to handle it. It actually feels good to embrace this emptiness. It makes me feel alert and gives me the energy for mental tasks. The blood can go where it is needed and is not drawn to the digestive system for assimilation.

I can honestly say I do not want to go back to eating 3 meals a day. Even if it were only for the mental  clarity and focus this combination of intermittent fasting (OMAD) and the ketogenic diet provides. It feels truly wonderful to live in a body that runs on the clean, efficient fuel of body-fat during the day.

Another thing I observed on this calorically restricted diet is my quality of sleep: even though it is now getting darker in the mornings, it is easier for me to wake up. I often wake up long before my alarm and can use that time to meditate and go for a short run. I think I require less time to regenerate due to less food and less calories that need to be processed. Caloric restriction is associated with increased life-span and part of that is a slightly elevated cortisol level in the body. And therefore it makes sense that you wake up easily on this diet. Cortisol is the hormone that is released in the morning to increase energy and arousal. In combination with the high fat diet, this leads to optimal utilization of fatty acids for energy. Combined with the protein-sparing effect of ketones, increased human growth hormone  and the anabolic effect of eating all protein and calories in one meal, this should favor a lean body-composition with increased muscle mass.

Before this two week strict OMAD-period I had several occasions where I had to eat lunch due to work. I choose to eat a big salad without dressing or anything that contains significant calories. It consisted mainly of lettuce, onion, tomatoes… So it did not really break my fast.

But I also observed some issues:
  1. It was (is) a challenging mental process to view food differently. In order to thrive on this lifestyle you need to find satisfaction in other things than food for more hours of the day. I still greatly enjoy the one meal, but I had to fill the other times with something else. Constantly thinking about food will inevitably make you fail on this lifestyle.
  2. I am getting leaner. I am now at the point where people ask me already if I am feeling well. And they mention I am “soo thin”. This level of leanness is not really considered normal anymore by many. But I still feel great and I have a little bit of fat to lose to look my best visually. Muscles already look more defined. 
  3. I am still trying to find the right sodium/potassium balance. I do not get cramps, but headaches that get better after ingesting potassium. I switched to salt that is 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride. This seems to help, but I introduce it slowly.
  4. Long-term increase in muscle mass can be difficult. I will have to incorporate oils into my diet in order to give my body the calories it needs to build muscle. 
An important thing for every beginner on this diet is to know that it will get better energy and mood-wise. And it can take several weeks for the metabolism to switch to very efficient fat burning. I am also still looking forward to how this will develop  in my own experience.


Update 06 Feb. 2018:
I had been eating like this for several month but suffered digestive issues throughout and thought they were related to this approach. But I this was not the case. I found out recently that I am highly allergic to yeast. On this diet I was regularly eating peanuts flavored also with yeast. Since excluding all yeast from my diet, the issues have resolved.

So I am giving this diet another try. Now my additional challenge is the goal of gaining muscle. I will see how it goes and am going to post updates after several weeks of doing this.
The changes I have made so far: increased caloric intake, incorporation of oils, protein-shake before the workout and a higher intake of salt (4g of sodium or 10g of salt per day). 

Use Science To Deepen Your Fascination For Nature And Psychology



If you look at modern physics you are going to find out that the theories about the structure of our world basically say that everything is nothingness. Physical models of matter have revealed that there is no solid core. No solid underlying structure can be found.

I encourage you to read up on the newest scientific models (e.g. the higgs-field that is giving everything it's mass). And when you do that and get to a certain degree of understanding of those theories than you can use this knowledge to enhance your spiritual practice.

Many traditions have the idea of emptiness and nothingness as underlying themes in their teachings. And if you are form the west and grew up with a solid believe in science than you might at first have problems understanding those teachings.

But with the understanding of recent scientific discoveries (the higgs particle has been found at CERN) it becomes much easier for scientific oriented people to relate to ancient teachings and ideas. In my experience this greatly increased my motivation to deepen my understanding of those teachings. It even led me to experience one of my most powerful enlightenment experiences. During a meditation-session I was able to experience a feeling of incredible vast emptiness. A feeling of being reduce to an infinitely small point in space but at the same being all the surrounding emptiness.

What we receive as solid matter is only information interacting with each other, following defined rules. For example why does matter feel solid. If everything is basically empty, why can we not push our hand through wood? It is because on the smallest scales subatomic particles (I also like to imagine them as infinitely small points in space which represent certain properties) interact with each-other and resist being pushed to close together. Like the force you can observe between the same poles of a magnet. Just on a much smaller scale.

And this information between the smallest particles is transferred through the different layers of the structure up until we are able to observe it with some messenger particles like photons or electrons.

I like to compare this situation with the brain: The structure of your brain is much less important to you then what comes out of this structure as an observable reality. Your thoughts and feelings are not on the level of matter anymore. But are created by the most complex interplay of particles known in the observable universe. This transcends matter all together.

But knowing that your direct experience is based on the very structure of the universe and rests on billions of years of particles interacting with each other randomly, should inspire the greatest sense of awe in every human being. Because everyone of us is carrying this greatest miracle and highest outcome of this process between our ears.

Do not let this incredible opportunity slip through your fingers. Use it wisely for whatever higher goal you feel propelled towards.

Diet Update: Adapting to a vegan high fat intermittent fasting diet



I recently turned my diet completely around. From an unrestricted vegan high carb three meals a day diet to a carloric-restricted vegan high fat one meal a day diet. Let me explain in this post why I did this and what the benefits I noticed so far.

Starting out with why I ate the high carb diet. Coming to veganism many years ago I read about the McDougall starch based diet and also the raw version of it, the 80/10/10 diet. I experimented with those for many years but never really felt good on them. I was always bothered by digestive issues.

While I wanted to gain muscle I learned from all sides that I needed to increase my calories to gain weight. This always resulted in even worse digestion and feeling more tired.

I was also during that time experimenting with intermittent fasting. But the sheer quantity and volume of food I had to eat with the reduced meal frequency did not make me feel better. And eating carbohydrates and fasting are two different metabolic states. Switching between those on a regular basis was not working for me. During fasting I was hungry and after eating I was still hungry but too full to eat anymore.

So on my current diet I eat only one meal a day. More precisely I have around 90% of my calories in one meal and for the other 10% of my calories I eat a nutrient dense snack like a big salad or smoothie around 1-2 hours before or after my main meal. So I am fasting for 22-23 hours each day.

My calories mainly come from: coconut (-cream), hazelnuts, peanuts, flaxseeds, almonds, soybeans, black beans and legumes in general.

For nutrients I consume vegetables like spinach, lettuce, broccoli, wheatgrass-juice,...

I take a multi-vitamin/-mineral (Alpha Men von myprotein), Glucosamine Sulphate, Q10 and B12 with my meal. To be on the save side with all nutrients.

Over the last couple of weeks my diet has thus been roughly:
20-30% Carbohydrates
10-20% Protein
50-60% Fat

With the long fast this should put me in a state of ketosis for most of the day.

Know with this macronutrient ration intermittent fasting has become so much more enjoyable. At the beginning I felt very weak. But I knew that the body needs time to ramp up its production of enzymes to generate energy from fat more efficiently. Besides some body-weight exercises and the necessary bike rides my exercise level was almost zero. And I am now slowly starting to have the energy to exercise more again without feeling totally weak.

And the greatest part about it is that the hunger during fasting has totally lost its edge. I do not crave eating anymore. I feel that my brain now can use ketones instead of glucose and this makes energy levels much more stable even without food.

It feels amazing to have an empty stomach all day long and still be productive. Even more productive as I am not getting that serious tiredness after lunch. And moderating portion size with meals never worked for me. Once I started eating I always wanted so much that I could not eat more. Especially with carbs.

Now with the fat-based diet satisfaction sets in much earlier with much less calories and I have been consuming 1200-1500 calories daily without any problems. 

Visually my body has not lost any muscle and I am getting more defined. 

I was on a calorically restricted high carb diet before for several month. But I lost a lot of muscle and was never able to see a weel defined six-pack. Now I can see that I am getting closer to it.

Overall I feel amazing on this diet and have no more digestive issues. Big salads or portions of sauted vegetables with a lot of nuts (-butters) are now the most delicious and satisfying food for me. Food tastes really good now even without sugar.

On some days I tried eating a couple pieces of fruit before my meal and felt that I did not really crave them that much anymore and immediately felt that they were not giving me the satisfaction I gain from a fat-based meal. And also they produced a lot more digestive issues again.

I will continue to post updates on this diet in the future.


How you can use your degree of enlightenment to better the world

If you consider yourself to be on the path of enlightenment you might have reached a certain point in which you clearly see so many things that are going wrong in today’s society and world at large. And if you are further advanced on the path you clearly see the psychological reasons for the misguided behaviors of so many people. It becomes painful to see the state of mind so many are in.

But because you have likely developed yourself from a similar point of being you also understand very well how one can be in such a state. And it is very likely that you yourself still fall prey to many bugs in your mental operating system. But it will take time for you to reveal those. In the future you are likely to look back at your current situation and see how you are living out those subconscious bugs right now.

But to see through so many mental operating bugs in your friends and family and other people around can be a very tough experience. There is still a good way to use this knowledge to help others and yourself life the best life possible. This involves you understanding as much as possible about human psychology through direct experience. Awareness in everyday life, meditation, self-inquiry work and thorough introspection and reflection.

Do not think of yourself as superior to others only because you have seen through some of those psychological failures. There are likely hundreds more that you share and act out with everyone else. 

Feel compassion for other people even if they act out stupid mental models. Try to explain the situation to them from a standpoint of deep understanding of the psychological situation that leads to such behavior. See were their self-harming behavior come from and try to see those tendencies in yourself. And from there you are able to guide them.

In relation to your overall life strategy, use your insights to live a life that increases awareness in the people around you. Changes in behavior that act against the given norms of society are hard to establish for highly unconscious people. But with a certain degree of self-understanding and degree of enlightenment you can act out of your greatest understanding with great confidence. Many people know intuitively what is right or wrong. But they act differently because of unconscious mental habits, fear and uncertainty.

So stay on the path to enlightenment and try to give the people around you as much of the knowledge you gained with your practice. But this cannot be done through preaching or explaining. It is much easier to act from a more complete and thorough understanding of how your mind works and how we all carry bugs in our mental operating systems.

I challenge you to find as many of those mental viruses as possible and erase them from your life.

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