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How to avoid feeling tired and sleepy after lunch

Asian diet is usually heavy in the composition of carbohydrate- predominantly using rice and noddles. Unlike our Western counterparts, we are not used to taking just meat and salad without solid carbohydrates. Some friends have tried to shift towards a more Westernized but healthy diet consisting of salad and meat.

But often, this diet is tough to work out in the long run, because everywhere we go, from restaurants to parties and gathering would consist of the typical diet such as fried rice, chicken rice, curry rice (mamak food), Indian rice, laksa mee, etc- which one finds difficult to resist. The other option is fast food which is very fattening, not to mention expensive.

If you always feel tired, bloated, unable to move or sleepy after lunch, you would need to cut down the carbs that you are taking with your lunch as well as the MSG content on the food. I used to feel tired after lunch but after making a simple adaptation, I find that I need not go for long walks after lunch:

Photo of my lunch box

Photo of my lunch box

Above is a three tiered Tupperware that I have been using for years. The first and largest portion is used to fill up my lunch. In the example above, it is fried rice. Then, the 2 portions consists of salad of green, red and yellow peppers, cabbage and carrots. You can also add things like guava, unripe mangos, tomatos- whatever your imagination takes you. And I use mayonnaise- as indicated in the small sauce plate next to it. I only use a tablespoon of mayo- which I add lime to increase its volume. You can also use sour plum sauce or other non fattening salad dressing.

However, whatever choice of dressing that you use, you need to make sure it is palatable and taste nice enough for you to continue to want to eat it day after day. If you use some kind of dressing that is low fat/sugar but does not taste nice, you would not be able to continue eating this long term. A bit of mayo, thousand island or tartar sauce is fine and not a sin, provided you really limit the portion- to just give you the taste. It’s also best if you prepare this yourself because you can ensure the vegetables are washed clean and you can go easy on the dressing (restaurant salads usually contains items like fried bread crumbs that really adds up the calories).

If you are used to heavy carbohydrate diet, the first few days of combining this type of diet would make you feel not full enough. But after a few days, you would be amazed how alert you feel and less tired. That should be incentive enough for you to continue adopting this diet. Basically, I have been eating this way for a few months and the results, I do not feel so tired and also I do not get hit by the 3pm/4pm energy dip where I felt I had to have more carbs. I also find that if you take care of your main meal by being more mindful and combining more carbs with fiber, there would be less hypogliceamic attacks or hunger pangs- even though you eat less.

However, an important pointer to take note is that raw vegetables are essentially ‘yin’ or cooling in its effect. When your body is too cooling, you may feel more joint pains, have more colds, etc. To counter this, avoid iced drinks, bathing at night and learn to take more ginger.

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