Are you curious about the pro-metabolic diet? Keep reading to discover what it is, why you should do it, and everything else you need to know about pro-metabolic eating.
My diet and eating habits have been all over the place for the past 10 years.
I spent over 10 years living with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease and in an attempt to heal my body and feel better I’ve tried it all.
I’ve done the Atkins diet, the Whole30, I ate paleo for years and years. More recently I was into keto and intermittent fasting. I’ve been gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and I even stopped eating meat at one point for a while.
I truly believe that food not only plays a crucial role in the development of autoimmune diseases but I also believe that it plays a crucial role in healing as well.
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But unfortunately, I believe now that all those drastic diet changes I did in an attempt to heal my body actually did more harm than good.
Over the past two years, I’ve been learning about cellular energy production and really just basic human physiology.
Our bodies need macronutrients and micronutrients to function properly on a cellular level. When you restrict calories, restrict macros (ie: carbs), when you starve yourself for prolonged periods of time (ie: intermittent fasting), you are not providing your body with the macronutrients and micronutrients your cells require to perform essential functions in the body.
This is basic human physiology. But I was admittedly ignorant of this information.
Learning all of this kind of blew my mind and it was what ultimately led me to pro-metabolic eating.
I’ve been eating pro-metabolically for about a year now and I can’t believe how much my health has improved and my life has changed.
And I get to eat carbs! A lot of carbs! Good carbs, of course.
And I feel better than ever!
So what exactly is the pro-metabolic diet?
What is the Pro-Metabolic Diet?
First and foremost, I really dislike the term diet when referring to pro-metabolic eating because it’s not a fad diet. It’s a lifestyle and it has been around for quite a while.
I would venture to say that it is the original way of eating. It’s the way most of our ancestors ate.
In a nutshell, pro-metabolic eating is simply eating traditional foods that nourish and support your cellular metabolism and avoiding foods that damage or harm your cellular metabolism.
Pro-metabolic eating is feeding our bodies the way they were designed to be fed.
What is Metabolism?
I used to think that having a healthy metabolism meant just being able to burn calories quickly, and a healthy metabolism does enable your body to burn calories at a fast rate, but it does so much more than just that.
Metabolism is the sum of every metabolic process in the body. When your metabolism is healthy, metabolic processes in the body will function properly.
Metabolism affects digestion, the immune system, sex drive, hormones, and basically every function that goes on inside the body.
If your body cannot convert food to energy on a cellular level, it will not be able to perform all of its necessary functions.
How the Metabolism Works
Most of the cells in your body get energy from glucose. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy. This process is called cellular respiration.
During cellular respiration, the glucose molecule is gradually broken down and eventually converted to energy which is captured by the cell in the form of ATP.
Cells require a constant supply of energy and although they can use fats and proteins for energy, their preferred source of energy is glucose which comes from carbohydrates.
So many people restrict carbs, especially good carbs like fruit, honey, maple syrup, and root vegetables. I know I was guilty of this for years.
When you restrict good carbs, you are withholding fuel from your cells. Your cells can not do what they need to do without their proper fuel source.
Signs of a Healthy Metabolism
When the metabolism is getting the support it needs it will be able to function properly and convert calories and oxygen into energy at a very high rate and use that energy to support your bodily functions.
So how do you know if your metabolism is functioning properly? Below are some indicators of a healthy metabolism.
- Good digestion
- Strong libido
- Warm hands & feet
- Good / stable mood
- Pain-free periods / no PMS
- Steady energy
- Strong immune system
- Clear skin
- Strong hair & nails
- Good sleep
Signs of a Slow Metabolism
As I mentioned before, your metabolism is responsible for pretty much every function in the body. When it doesn’t get the support it needs to function properly it will stop supporting certain bodily functions that aren’t necessary to keep you alive.
Most of the indicators of a slow metabolism are the exact opposite of a healthy metabolism.
- Poor digestion
- Cold hands & feet
- Low sex drive
- Painful periods / PMS
- Depression & anxiety
- Dry hair & brittle nails
- Weak immune sytem
- Inability to cope with stress
- Skin problems
Your metabolism is responsible for keeping you alive and when it’s not getting the proper fuel that it needs to function, it will stop supporting the bodily functions that aren’t necessary for survival.
Benefits of a Pro-Metabolic Diet
There are many benefits of a pro-metabolic diet. When you are providing your body with proper nourishment you can expect your body to function properly.
If you have symptoms of a slow metabolism, over time you’ll notice many of those symptoms begin to reverse.
The biggest changes I’ve noticed since I began pro-metabolic eating are steady energy throughout my entire day, deeper sleep, my eyebrows are growing back, my mood is more stable, and so much more.
What are Pro-Metabolic Foods?
Pro-metabolic foods are foods that contain bioavailable nutrients and minerals, are easy to digest, and increase metabolic function rather than inhibit it.
Best Pro-Metabolic Foods
Some of the best pro-metabolic foods are listed below.
- Raw carrots
- Beef and liver from grass-fed cows
- White potatoes
- Orange juice
- Organic eggs
- Raw milk from grass-fed cows
- Raw cheese from grass-fed cows
- Raw butter from grass-fed cows
- Bone broth
- White fish
- Coconut oil
- White rice
- Maple syrup
Many of the foods on this list have been demonized over the years. If you’ve been submersed in diet culture, like I was, you have a lot of unlearning to do.
Unfortunately, diet culture and giant food corporations have led us to believe that food in its most natural state is bad for us. And instead, foods that are not actually foods, but are frankenfoods, are good for us.
Worst Foods for Your Metabolism
The worst foods for your metabolism are foods that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
PUFAs are highly unstable and begin to oxidize when they are exposed to light, heat, and oxygen. So as you can imagine this is not good for the human body which is very warm and requires oxygen.
PUFAs slow your thyroid and decrease cellular energy. Saturated fats (believe it or not) are a much healthier option.
PUFAs are in so many foods, even in the so-called healthy foods. Foods high in PUFAs are listed below.
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
- Fish oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Walnut oil
- Almond milk
- Almond butter
- Nuts & seeds
- And so much more!
Basically all nut butters, nut milks, vegetable and seed oils, and seeds and nuts are high in PUFAs.
PUFAs are hidden in many so-called healthy prepackaged snack foods as well.
It’s almost impossible to completely avoid PUFAs. But it is important to cut back as much as possible.
Think about bears and squirrels when they hibernate in the winter – they eat a diet high in nuts, seeds, and berries prior to hibernation.
The high amount of PUFAs in these foods helps to slow down their metabolic rate which allows them to sleep through the winter.
Aside from slowing down your metabolism, PUFAs can also encourage cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
You can read this post – What Are PUFAs & Why You Should Avoid Them – to learn more about PUFAs.
How to Eat for Metabolic Health
Metabolic eating isn’t just about what you eat but it is also about how you eat.
Changing how and when you eat can have a huge impact on your metabolic health.
Eat 30-60 Minutes After Waking
Not being hungry in the morning is a red flag for a slow metabolism. If you’ve gone 7-10 hours or more without eating, you should be hungry.
If you’re not, that is a sign that your metabolism is shot and your body is running on stress hormones for energy which is suppressing your appetite.
Try to eat at least 30-60 minutes after waking every day. If you have no appetite, force yourself to eat.
I’ve never been a breakfast person. But this past year, I basically forced myself to eat breakfast every morning soon after waking and gradually my appetite began to increase in the mornings.
I actually have an appetite in the morning now and I look forward to breakfast every morning.
If you’re not used to eating breakfast right away in the morning, I recommend starting small. You don’t have to eat a huge breakfast.
Try a little bit of fruit and some scrambled eggs or even just a small glass of milk. As you start to heal your metabolism your morning appetite will increase.
Eat Every 3-4 Hours
A healthy metabolism means stable blood sugar levels. Eating every 3-4 hours will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
Stable blood sugar levels will decrease stress in the body and allow your metabolism to heal.
Only Drink Coffee After a Meal
Although coffee is a pro-metabolic food, you should never drink it on an empty stomach. Drinking black coffee on an empty stomach can drop your blood sugar levels and cause your stress hormones to increase.
So only drink coffee after a meal and add some maple syrup and raw milk rather than drinking it black. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
Eat the Right Amount of Carbs, Proteins, & Fats
It is so important to eat all three macronutrients with each meal. You need carbs for energy, protein for repair and metabolic function, and fats are needed to transport fat-soluble nutrients and to slow the absorbency of sugars into the blood.
It’s important to always eat all three macronutrients together to help keep your blood sugar levels balanced as well.
Carbs should make up 40-60% of your meal. Proteins should make up around 25%-30% of your meal. And fats should make up around 20%-30% of your meal.
Every person is different. I suggest using an app to track your macros until you figure out the combination that makes you feel best.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re not used to eating a lot of carbs, you’ll want to increase your carb consumption slowly.
Trusting Your Instincts & Eating Real Food
I really hope all this information about pro-metabolic eating isn’t too overwhelming.
It may seem kind of restrictive and like there are a lot of rules to follow but the pro-metabolic diet at its core is basically just eating real food that your body was intended to eat.
And listening to your God-given intuition.
Unfortunately, grocery stores are filled with highly processed, genetically modified, pasteurized “foods”.
The next time that you are at the grocery store, I challenge you to try to find foods that are in their actual natural / pure form. Basically, foods that man has not altered in some way.
They are very hard to find in most grocery stores.
The majority of the foods are processed. Some fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and most are sprayed with pesticides. Most dairy products have been pasteurized and have added hormones, antibiotics, and synthetic vitamins.
The majority of the meat in grocery stores is from animals that are fed a diet high in PUFAs to plump them up rather than being fed what they would eat naturally in the wild.
Not to mention the animals are usually given hormones and antibiotics as well.
It’s really sad how disconnected we are from real food. We don’t even know how to recognize it anymore.
And we are being told more and more that meat is bad, that dairy is bad, that sugar is bad, and that plant-based diets are superior. All the while cancer, chronic illnesses, and autoimmune diseases are on the rise.
Something isn’t right.
And I think the sooner we get back to consuming food that is actually food, the better off we’ll be.
Most people naturally crave fruits and meat and dairy. Think about all the nut milks, plant-based meats, and artificial sweeteners.
People who don’t eat meat still try to make their food taste like meat. Or people who don’t drink milk, instead drink milk made from nuts.
Why do they do this? Because their bodies are craving real meat and real milk because it’s craving the minerals and nutrients in those foods.
Your body knows what it needs and it knows what it is doing.
Pro-metabolic eating is listening to your body and nourishing it with the real foods that it craves. Not the artificial frankenfoods version.
And lastly, with all of that being said, please don’t stress too much about food. Do your best to avoid foods that have been altered by man, eat breakfast shortly after waking, stop drinking coffee on an empty stomach, get your macros in at every meal, add in good foods as much as you can, enjoy your life, and don’t stress about the rest.
Final Thoughts About the Pro-Metabolic Diet
I’ll be sharing the ultimate guide to pro-metabolic living soon to help you live a lifestyle that supports your metabolism.
If you have any questions about the pro-metabolic diet, please let me know below.