I recently had two days where I was eating two meals a day and also above my set caloric intake of 1500-1600kcal per day. This intake now seems to maintain my weight if I eat it in one meal and make sure that it is assimilated optimally.
But the last two days OMAD seemed somehow really hard and I gave in to eating lunch. But I guess I have learned a valuable lesson from this. The week leading upto those days I was not able to follow my meditation schedule. I had to start working much earlier than usual and did not meditate for my usual 60 minutes in the morning. And in the evenings I somehow did not have the motivation to do the full session.
So I ended up meditating for only 15-20 minutes a day and those sessions did not really get me into the desired zone of stillness, centeredness and clarity.
And now that I was able to meditate for longer again on Saturday, I could feel the full power again of a good meditation session. I put me right back into the content state of mind where I am not looking for the next thing to satisfy my longing and feeling of emptiness inside.
Therefore I think it is only possible for me to live on OMAD long term when I also stay in that mental state of inner content with what I have. Only then do I not want to seek satisfaction and numbing of my feelings through food.
I also experienced many of the bad side effects again of eating too many calories. I know those side effects well. As I have basically been eating a caloric surplus for many years. Even on a high carb whole foods vegan diet. Because I wanted to gain weight and build muscle I was always eating massive amounts of food. Comparing that to the amount I eat now, that seems enormous and totally unnecessary and possibly unhealthy.
So the bottom line is: to live on OMAD without any feelings of deprivation and suffering you have to grow mentally and spiritually. Therefore I think it is precious to have a daily meditative practice set in place that is followed with rigidity and if possible without deviation.
In my experience, skipping the daily meditation quickly sets one back into a state of restlessness and unhappiness which creates suffering if one cannot immediately stop small feelings of hunger one perceives on OMAD.
Especially temptations become harder to resist as one is not in a centered state of mind. Thoughts amount uncontrolled to a "rational" conclusion why it is okay for one to deviate from the protocol of eating one meal a day. With enough mindfulness gained through daily meditative practice one can see the root and beginning of those thoughts. And see that they are ultimately groundless.
It might sound strange at first: consuming fewer calories leading to a feeling of increased energy. But there is scientific evidence showing that a lower caloric intake optimizes the mitochondrial energy production. That increase in cellular energy efficiency is caused by two factors, which are known today. For once the heat that is a byproduct of ATP production is reduced through an altered gene expression and modulated enzymatic reaction. This is elaborated in detail in AIR Volume 1 by Dr. Amen-Ra.
Secondly regenerative and restorative processes known as autophagy are increased. On the one hand this saves energy through a lower amount of inactive and damaged cellular components that inhibit an efficient conversion of food energy to ATP. On the other hand this increases the life span of individual cells and their components and at the same time renewing them more efficiently with a higher recycling rate.
Through those two mechanism and probably more that have not yet been discovered, a lower energy intake can yield the same amount of cellular energy with less resources being utilized.
In my own experience this leads to a greatly increased feeling of energy and mental clarity. But it took a considerable time to adapt to a lowered caloric intake in order to feel these changes. But in combination with intermittent fasting and a high fat plant based diet, the human body can feel truly efficient and adequately fueled without the feeling of deprivation.
Even though the adaptation to a very short eating window (1-2h) is not easy, it has led to a great change in how I approach food and how much satisfaction I derive from it. While resisting all the food temptation during the fasting phase, takes some initial discipline, it slowly transforms into a feeling of superior fuel utilization. That is the utilization of stored body fat to fuel all energy-requirements in the most efficient way during the fasting period. After some time all tissues adjust with an adaptation on the cellular level. They increase enzymes to utilize fat as fuel and become less dependent on glucose as fuel. Even the brain can derive a large portion of its energetic needs from ketone bodies and can reduce its glucose demand to a minimum. I think this is what most noticeably increases the feeling of energy.
What should a meal consist of, especially if it's the only meal of the day? To augment the purposes of the one meal a day protocol, the meal needs to be designed in a certain way. It needs to be easily digested to allow for quick and efficient assimilation of nutrients.
Only in that way is the metabolism able to switch back over to fasting quickly. Which is the purpose of an intermittent fasting protocol. In the fasted state the body uses stored fat for energy. This allows for increased autophagy: the regeneration of proteins that lost their function. This process increases the robustness of the organism on a cellular level. Increased health and longevity is the intended outcome.
In order to achieve this I think the one meal of the day needs to fulfill following requirements:
- limited in calories, as to not exceed digestive capacity
- foods are to be consumed in the order of their digestion-time
- to be eaten in a relaxed state and with full appreciation
- no strenuous exercise after the meal, but moving the body is optimal for digestion
The order of the meal is in my experience also important:
- starting out with a nutrient dense liquid drink/smoothie (raw leafy greens and powders, limited fruit, multivitamin and -mineral supplement, ginger, enzymes, sweetener)
- taking a short break to allow for full emptying of the stomach (20-30min)
- consuming a calorically dense (raw) vegan meal high in fat and moderate in protein and carbs
- unblended nuts and seeds should be eaten at the end, as they take the longest to digest
What my meal looks like:
First I prepare a green smoothie. For example:
10gr Wheatgrass powder
After slowly drinking the smoothie I start to prepare a salad which I start eating about 30min after finishing my smoothie. By that time I can feel that my stomach is empty again. If not, I will try to wait a little more.
The salad might look like this for example:
1 small zucchini, 1 tomato, 1 bell pepper, 1 onion, green leaf lettuce, 4-5 olives (everything cut in very small pieces, the overall quantity is not very much)
Blended-Nuts-and-Seeds-Dressing: (main source of calories)
- Sprouted Seeds and Nuts or at least soaked (changing daily between a mixture of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, coconut, cacao-powder, peanuts, almonds)
- spices (also changing daily)
This meal absolutely satisfying even though I restrict my calories to about 1300-1500 per day. I often find it difficult to finish the meal because of complete satiety. Something I do not experience on a high carb diet.
Here you can read an update on what and how I eat now.
Here you can read an update on what and how I eat now.
After my two week trial with the breakfast OMAD Regimen I switched back to eating Dinner as my one meal of the day. I immediately noticed how much easier this is to implement into my day. I just have more time to exercise and prepare a good meal in the evening.
I was concerned to get hungry now in the morning. But my digestive system is not looking forward to food in the morning as I have thought. I enjoy fasting again throughout the day. Being more productive and in a clearer mental state throughout the working hours. No thoughts of food interrupt my day and I am not bothered by a lot of food being digested in my stomach.
The downside of this dinner regime is that I do not have an empty stomach when I go to bed. That has a recognizable effect on my quality of sleep. I do not sleep as deeply and do not feel so nicely rested in the morning as I did on the breakfast regimen. Therefore I am experimenting at the moment with different meal compositions and ways to prepare my food with the goal of shortening the time of digestions and assimilation. My theory is that consuming a calorically dense drink at the beginning of the meal and then waiting before eating vegetables might optimize digestion time. In that way the calorically dense foods at mixed with the most digestive enzymes first and leave the stomach faster. The calorically dilute vegetables then have more time to digest, do not dilute the digestive enzymes and do not affect the fasted state as much when they leave the stomach a couple of hours after the meal.
I will post updates on how this affect digestion time and my quality of sleep. The calorically dense smoothie consists of a mixture of soaked nuts and seeds (100-150gr in total), 5gr spirulina, 20gr soy protein, 10gr wheatgrass powder, 100-200gr frozen spinach, 200ml soy milk and sweetener (I recommend stevia or sucralose).
After that smoothie I wait around ½ hour before consuming a variety of vegetables and legumes which change daily.
Why aren't we able to change our global environmental behavior in spite of the consequences?
We humans are social beings. We like to be part of a group of people that are behaving in the same way and have more or less the same values. And I think this is part of the root cause of all the environmental issues we see today.
In the 20th and 21st century we have gained enormous power fueled by fossil energy to shape the environment to our greatest comfort. Along with that we have gradually lost leaders in our society with highly developed consciousnesses and a deep understanding of our human nature (or psyche, psychology). What we now know about human psychology is far more impractical than the insights gained by deep and thorough introspection. The kind of introspection that you can only achieve through regular and long-lasting concentration on the present moment. Serious meditation is today practiced only by a small minority of people.
We lack to understand our own psyche on a global scale. Therefore we missed the opportunity to use the outcomes of our gain in scientific understanding in our favor. This can be seen directly if one compares western societies to the traditional middle eastern societies. Communities, still grounding their behavior on the active exploration of the human psyche, have a far greater understanding of how outer circumstances lead to inner happiness. Their way of life, sustainable intertwined with natures processes, lead to happiness without all the inefficiencies and destructive outcomes of "modern" western societies.
Why is it than difficult for people to behave in an environmentally sustainable way, in spite of understanding the consequences?
It is difficult because of our underdeveloped understanding of mind and psyche. Most people today are in a fragile psychological state. And in my experience this becomes only obvious after you have had some "enlightenment" experiences in the context of exploring your inner psyche with meditation. And it is therefore difficult to convey to people without such insight. But being in such a fragile (childish) state, every action taken serves the purpose of increasing feelings of well being and social integration. Even little tragedy can produce great fear and unhappiness. Many people have basically zero happiness routed in their own being. Clinging to the outer world and seeking for happiness outside of ones own mind. Lack of even the most basic understanding of the mind (e.g. that happiness is a product of the mind) leaves the human population without direction and desperate on the search for happiness in places it cannot be found.
Coming back to the original hypothesis. The feeling of social integration is what produces a high degree of safety and comfort. Being part of a larger group of people and mimicking their behavior is what covers the feeling of being lost.
Therefore we are unwilling of change to an environmentally sustainable way of living on a broader scale. Fear of being different and loosing this comforting behavior is what keeps people unconsciously from changing. On the conscious surface this is explained with rational arguments. But ultimately they are all grounded in a deep existential fear. And that is, as I already explained, coming from a lack of understanding our human nature.
In order to conserve our the natural environment we therefore must begin with clearing the fog inside our global consciousness. This starts with individuals exploring and understanding our inner psychological workings and teaching and spreading this way to other beings.
I have now been eating the one meal a day diet for about two month. I feel better on this eating-regimen than on any other I tried before. And I tried many: Alternate Day Fasting, 16-18h-Fasting, 3 meals a day, 5 meals a day, etc.
But with this one meal a day diet in combination with a high fat diet, I feel my best mentally and physically.
For 10 days now, I have been eating the one meal in the morning between 7am-9am but within one hour.
If you switch over your eating times, be prepared to be hungry for a couple of days. Because your body will expect food at your usual eating times. After a couple of days this should not be the case anymore. You wont really be hungry outside of you one eating window of the day. Usually hunger should start maybe an hour before you are going to eat. That way you know that you body is ready to process the upcoming meal.
I now enjoy the "only eating breakfast"-pattern because of the following reasons:
- Not hungry for most of the day (in fact I am so satisfied I do not even want to eat until very late in the day)
- Having fully digested the meal when it is time to exercise in the evening (around 5-6pm)
- The workout blunts any hunger (if there is any at all) and I can go to bed without having been hungry.
- Going to bed on an empty stomach seems to improve the quality of my sleep. I feel incredibly rested when I wake up in the morning. And because insulin is very low at this time and fat burning high, the hormones that are associated with fat burning are also high. That means cortisol is produced in higher quantities at this time. This is especially helpful at the moment because it is still dark when I have to wake up.
- Motivation to get up and going is high, because after a short workout (sprints or body-weight exercises) it is time to eat again.
- By the time I have eaten my one meal, I have a whole day in front of me where I do not need to spend time on food. No need to think about it or prepare it. I can focus on work and pursue my own goals in the evening when I come home from work.
Downsides I observed now after trying it out for 10 days:
- Socially difficult, as eating dinner is the main meal for most people.
- If working all day: looking forward to dinner at the end of the day can be motivating. (First the labor then the reward ;)
- Fasting and having an empty stomach during the day, in combination with drinking tea all day long can also be a nice experience.
- Fasting after a hard workout might not be optimal for muscle synthesis.
I am thinking about switching back to the night-time eating pattern next week. I want to experience how my hunger adjusts back to the night time eating. Because right now I get really hungry in the morning. We will see if this changes again if I eat only in the evening for some time.
You can judge how developed your consciousness is by observing yourself throughout the day. In this post I will explain how you do this.
Your degree of happiness can easily tell you how far you are on your quest to increase the quality of your consciousness. Residing with your awareness in the present moment throughout every action you do will not allow unhappiness to develop. Being fully present lets you see reality more clearly with little room for unhappiness. The direct experience of the present moment is so rich that after some time you will find out that nothing is missing. And that way, if you are unhappy you know that the quality of your consciousness can still be developed further.
It is easy to go through your day almost unconscious. Always thinking a few second or minutes ahead, planning the day, the week or your life. Interacting with people but at the same time having your own projector running and overshadow what is actually going on. We do this automatically and it is mostly unconscious. We only feel it as unhappiness when our projections and ideas about how the world should be do not match up with reality.
To solve this issue and accelerate your progress, extend your meditation practice to every moment of you life. Find an anchor in the present moment that you can easily concentrate on. It will remind you to stay present. Automatically you will also observe your other thoughts and feelings. This anchor can be a body sensation for example. Or even resting your awareness in your body as a whole, trying to observe everything that is going on.
Over time you should observe that this practice grounds you so powerfully in the present moment that you will not be truly depressed or unhappy anymore. Try it out and it might become a life long habit for you. One that changes your whole outlook on life for the better.
I started my meal today with a small apple and a small fresh fig. Those are so delicious. But compared to my diet before where I would it massive amounts of them until I was full, now fruit tastes even better and I can enjoy it in smaller quantities.
Then I cooked spinach, green peas, onion, garlic, cucumber, carrot, curry powder and salt. All together in one pot. After it was done I added coconut cream (which I make from shredded coconut in the blender) and peanut butter. This soaks up the remaining liquid and makes the meal look like spinach with cream. It was very delicious. I ate that with some mustard and some further coconut-flaxseed yogurt.
I noticed this meal was not so optimal to have as the one meal of the day. Mainly because it was to high in water content and I could barely eat it all. Next time I will go back to cook this kind of meal in a pan and let the water evaporate slowly.
At the end of the meal I felt more then 100% satisfied. No more food for the day. I ate this meal between 9am-10am.
With an increased interest in developing an optimal morning routine (which I will share in the future) I found out about the benefits of early morning sunlight exposure from a podcast by bengreenfieldfitness.com.
After I learned from his guest Dr. Mercola about the benefits of early morning (real) sunlight exposure on our circadian rhythm I experimented with it myself for some time. It is supposed to regulate the wake-sleep cycle, give you natural energy throughout the day and make your sleep more restful.
Since then I incorporated a short run into my morning routine, where I intentionally look up into the bright sky but of course not directly into the sun. Just so that I can get as much sunshine onto my eyes as possible.
I can now confirm the above mentioned benefits. I felt very awake afterwards and generally more balanced, calm and happy. And this with such an easy and free technique that takes almost no effort and no motivation to do. Just spending several minutes outside looking into the bright sky. It seems to be effective.
Therefore I recommend this simple and free technique to everyone. Especially in the wintertime it is important to catch the little sunlight that there is. Try to spend some time outside just after sunris
I first heared about All Day Awareness (ADA) as a technique to increase the chance of having a lucid dream. It is used to develop a particular mindset where you are constantly aware of your sensory input in the present moment. This should help with recognizing the dream-state because this mindset is supposed to carry over into the dream. But for ADA to work for lucid dreaming, one has to combine it also with the awareness of the nature of the state one is in. It is not enough to be only present in the moment, but one has also to be aware of the quality of the state: namely is it the waking state or the dream state. This will over time develop the ability to distinguish the two and become aware in ones dreams that it is in fact the dream state.
The second use of ADA can be seen as a spiritual practice. It is the extension of the meditative practice into ones daily life. Integrated into every aspect of life, it serves as the perfect basis from which to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness of the present moment develops over time a deep understanding of ones own inner psychological workings. Observing the present moment means observing the mind. You will recognize the reactions of the mind as they arise. And not, as with most peoples perception, much later in the train of thought. It is normal to perceive reality not directly as it is, but as it appears to be after it is filtered through the mind. And this leads to most of the unhappiness.
And the practice of ADA is really a long term practice. It takes a lot of time to develop the mental ability to stay aware of the present moment. And here is how I recommend to go about this practice:
- Choose one sense you want to start with and focus only on this. For example, chose the feelings of the body. For several weeks you will try to always feel your body. Besides everything you do try to be simultaneously aware of the sensations throughout your body. This is a vast field. You will have many different sensations. Focus on the most prominent ones first. After some time this presence will become automatic. At least partly. You will come back to this more often and easier over time.
- After you feel comfortable with one sensory input, choose a second one that you try to be aware of at the same time. I would recommend sound, as sight is to complex in the beginning. For sound the procedure is the same as for the body sensations. Constantly remind yourself to focus on all the sounds around you.
Try this practice and let me know how it worked out for you after you gave it a serious try.