Creating Your Best Self
By Zoltan Nagy | Photography by Romona Robbins
From a very young age, I was interested in fitness and healthy eating. I knew if I was curious enough and learned all I could about it, I could eventually share my knowledge with others. But first, I realized, I needed to learn how to take care of myself rather than letting my health fall into the hands of the Western medical system. I saw how my family members were treated and mistreated by the system, along with the harsh conditions and costs that could come with basic health care.
I was determined to find a way to help people in any way possible—helping them understand how to be their own healers, how to be more responsible, and how to have faith in the process. That’s why I became a personal trainer and then a health coach, and I started to understand the more in-depth, personalized nutrition needs of my clients.
I came across Fit for Life in my early thirties. It’s a wellness and weight management program that shaped and bettered a lot of the concepts I already used in my very disciplined eating rules and guidelines. After trying the program myself and finding the results truly impressive, I implemented the program with my clients—and the results were amazing. The more personalized the program is, the more effective it becomes; we have to be open to new ideas and leap into the rewarding practice of following a nutrition plan that’s unique to our individual bodies.
After trying the program myself and finding the results truly impressive, I implemented the program with my clients—and the results were amazing.
The universe is living proof of what a real miracle can be. Everything has a cycle: the moon and the sun, the flora and fauna, the seasons, the economy, and, above all, the cycle of life. Did you know that your body also has a cycle? The human body undergoes three eight-hour cycles a day. If you consider and care for this correctly, it will improve your digestive system functions, help you maintain a stable weight, reduce or even eliminate your fatigue, and maximize your metabolism.
Let’s look at the three cycles of the body:
- 4:00 a.m. to Noon – Elimination
- Noon to 8:00 p.m. – Appropriation
- 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. – Assimilation
1. Elimination cycle: From 4:00 a.m. to noon, you can eat or drink moisturizing foods such as freshly juiced fruits or vegetables. During this eight-hour cycle, the body can cleanse, release, and remove toxins most efficiently. It is best to take in a lot of liquids and foods rich in moisture at this time, promoting detoxification. When eating during this time, it is important to take into account that you need food that requires minimal digestion, such as fresh fruit or green juice, to make the cleansing cycle easier. You have often heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—that is precisely what it is, not the biggest or the greasiest meal. Eat easy to feel easy!
2. Appropriation cycle: During the period from noon to 8:00 p.m., we are the most active and more vigilant. This is when the best digestion and burning of highly concentrated foods can take place. That’s why most of our meals—lunch, dinner, and snacks—are consumed during this cycle. The most important thing you can do is to eat when you are hungry and eat only small amounts. Eat healthy foods a few times per day and don’t overindulge, which will make you feel sluggish. By adhering to the “few times” eating rule, your body will break down foods with the least effort and maintain energy for other daily activities.
3. Assimilation cycle: In this cycle, from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., people are mostly calm or asleep. During this time, minerals and food nutrients are absorbed from the foods taken in during the day, and through the bloodstream, they reach the organs, bones, and cells. This cycle allows renewal, rebuilding, and healing of the body from daily activities.
I challenge you to try this method of healthy eating for ten days and observe your body’s grateful reaction!
Next are some tips on how to combine certain foods to make you healthier and, in a certain sense, more efficient. The principles of combining specific foods to avoid digestive disorders should be a common practice, but many people don’t know the effects that food combinations can have on the body. It is not only a matter of what we eat but also how our bodies can (or can’t) break it down.
Unhindered digestion can be guaranteed by paying attention to food combinations and avoiding any difficult digestion, which can be damaging both physically and mentally. Based on the right food combination rules, you can make excellent recipes that form a healthy diet.
Let’s see what the “wrong” and “right” food combinations are:
- Do not consume carbohydrates and acidic foods in the same meal. For example, this could be bread, potatoes, beans, bananas, or other starches mixed with lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, tomato, or other sour or citrus fruits. Fruit not only inhibits carbohydrate digestion but also promotes fermentation that slows metabolism.
- Do not consume concentrated protein and concentrated carbohydrates together. Examples of this would be combining seeds, nuts, meat, eggs, cheese, or other proteins with bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet fruits, or cake. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) and proteins digest very differently, and when they mix in the stomach, they interfere with each other. Avoid all kinds of beans except green beans with low starch content.
- Do not consume two concentrated proteins in the same meal. For example, do not eat nuts and meat, eggs and meat, cheese and nuts, or cheese and eggs or drink milk with one of the previous items in the same meal. Milk is best consumed by itself, or you can replace it with a nondairy option. Everything contains protein, but in most foods, it’s only found in small amounts.
Unhindered digestion can be guaranteed by paying attention to food combinations and avoiding any difficult digestion, which can be damaging both physically and mentally.
- Do not consume protein with fats. Don’t use creams, butter, and oils with meat, eggs, cheese, and nuts. Fat delays the secretion of gastric glands and inhibits the pouring out of proper gastric juices to digest meats, nuts, eggs, and other protein.
- Do not consume starch and sugar together. For example, avoid jelly, jam, fruit butter, sugar, honey, or syrup on bread and cakes or in the same meal as cereals, potatoes, oats, or other starches. Honey or syrup with pancakes and bread will cause the carbohydrate digestion to deteriorate and lead to fermentation in the stomach.
- Do not consume acidic fruits and proteins together. An example of this would be eating oranges or lemons with meat or eggs. Acidic fruits ferment in the stomach and inhibit the gastric juices that are needed to digest proteins properly.
If you consider these few principles and try to feed on cycles, your body will be grateful, and in the long run, it will reward you with a healthier and longer life.
If you decide to change the patterns that have not rewarded you so far, start doing it as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the new year, spring, bikini season, the month before your next cruise vacation, or even next Monday—go for it immediately! You have to make a pact with yourself, stick to it, and believe in it even on days when you don’t feel like it. Ditch the excuses and form a routine. When you keep up with it for a long enough time, you’ll find yourself with new habits and, essentially, a new lifestyle. You will love the results.
Don’t wait until tomorrow; take the first step toward the healthiest, most efficient you today!
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Zoltan “Zoli” Nagy is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist as well as the proprietor of Destin Athletic Club in Destin, Florida. As a former professional athlete and now a full-time trainer/coach, his passion lies in helping others achieve their health and fitness goals. Visit BeyondFit.org to learn more or book his services.