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The information here is for educational purposes only. This is not medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care professional before making any dietary changes.
Pro-metabolic eating can be overwhelming when it comes to figuring out what to eat. You are most likely eating a lot more often than you are used to and having food prepared ahead of time is so important to really be successful with pro-metabolic eating. Without food on hand its easy to fall into the habit of just skipping a meal or eating something that is not supportive of your metabolic health.
Pro-metabolic eating can be incredibly beneficial to many people. It is especially beneficial to women in their child-bearing years and those that are breastfeeding. However many people have used pro-metabolic eating to not only heal their body’s metabolism but their relationship with food as well.
We are a culture with so much food confusion. There is constantly new, better and contradicting information coming at us about what, how and when to eat. I have struggled myself with the information overload but I eventually found pro-metabolic eating. Pro-metabloic eating is where the real healing finally began and food started to make sense to me again.
What does Pro-metabloic eating mean?
Pro-metabolic eating simply means to eat in way that supports your metabolism. Having a healthy thriving metabolism is key in feeling good and energized. Being able to metabolize food properly brings more meaning to our experiences. A healthy metabolism means lower stress hormones which in turn shapes how we see situations in our daily lives.
What is a Pro-metabolic diet?
Pro-metabolic eating is not a diet. A diet refers to restrictive eating, either by cutting calories or deliberately avoiding specific foods or food groups.
Can you explain more about restrictive eating?
Restrictive dieting has been rampant in our culture for decades. Any and all fat as well as carbs have been targeted the most by diet culture. More specifically dairy and bread have been vilified for decades. We have even been told that too much meat and too much fruit is unhealthy when meat and fruit are some of the best things for us. A lot of fear has been stirred up around these very nutritious foods and it has been detrimental to the heath of many people. A low carb diet and a low fat diet are often seen as healthy by many people when carbs, fat and protein are all necessary nutrients. Eating enough calories is something many people especially women struggle with. Diet culture has disproportionately affected women, although I think a lot of men are affected by it too without even realizing.
What is the metabolism?
Our body’s metabolism is everything. It is the reactions in our cells that converts food into energy. Processes like digestion, immune response and tissue repair just to name a few will run off of food that gets converted to energy. Supporting a healthy metabolism through nutrition is key in maintaining our overall health on a cellular level.
Signs of a healthy metabolism
A healthy metabolism will reach and impact so many aspects of our being. There are obvious signs of a healthy metabolism and more subtle yet profound signs.
The obvious signs are
- consistent energy
- daily bowel movements
- restful sleep
- healthy immune system
- steady blood sugar levels
- high libido
- healthy stress response
If you are not experiencing most of these then there is a chance your metabolism is struggling.
How does thyroid function have to do with the metabolism?
The thyriod is the driver of the metabolism. A healthy, thriving thyroid means a healthy, thriving metabolism. Supporting the thyroid through pro-metabolic eating and reducing stress is so important. When stress hormones go up, thyroid hormones go down. We as humans are not meant to be running on stress hormones all the time.
What are the basic principles of pro-metabolic eating?
Some key principles of pro-metabolic eating are
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking in the morning
- Only drink coffee after eating, never on an empty stomach
- Eat enough and often
- Eat a bedtime snack
- Never eat a carb alone, always combine with a protein and vice versa
I go into more detail in this post.
While pro-metabolic eating is about more than just eating certain foods there still are types of foods that do support our metabolic health:
Raw milk and other Raw dairy
Raw dairy is full of many bioavailable nutrients. Furthermore, raw milk is a complete food meaning it provides all the proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Visit realmilk.com to find raw milk near you.
Life giving bone broth supports healthy joints, boosts gut health and helps improve metabolism among many other things. Bone broth contains minerals that the body can easily absorb, collagen, essential amino acids and the list goes on
Grass-fed beef or lamb
Grass- fed meat is better for the planet and better for you. Grass-fed beef and lamb graze on open pasture for their entire lives. They consume a diverse diet that was intended for them by nature.
Pasture raised eggs and chicken
As someone who has been raising my own chickens on pasture for several years, I can tell you for sure that pasture raised is best. The chickens are so much happier foraging a wild diverse diet of bugs and plants. This matters. It matters to you and it matters to the earth.
Liver and other organ meats
Liver is natures multivitamin. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods there is. Other organ meats are also incredibly nutrtious.
Maple Syrup and Honey
The body needs sugar to live. Maple syrup and honey are natural sweeteners that contains loads of nutrients.
Although it gets a bad reputation, i just love bread! And I especially love sourdough. Sourdough is easier to digest for all people but espeically those that are sensitive to gluten.
These are the best fats for cooking and baking in my opinion. Vegetable oils like canola are inflammatory and not easily digested. Animal fats are high in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids. Humans have used animal fats for cooking for most of human history. Vegetable oils and shortening are newer inventions.
Grass-fed Butter Butter is full of nutrients like fat soluble vitamins A, D and K. As well as trace minerals
What are the benefits of pro-metabolic eating?
The benefits of pro-metabolic eating are vast but the most sought after are:
- Increased energy
- Increased libido
- Stable mood
- Hormone balance
Foods to Avoid
One of the most important things to avoid for your metabolic health are vegetable oils or PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids). These vegetable oils seem innocent but they are highly processed and are not good for you. In fact they are made deoderizers because if we knew how they really smelled we wouldn’t be able to eat or cook with them.
Useful Tools in a Pro-Metabolic Kitchen
Cooking nourishing meals from scratch for yourself and family will be one of the best investments of your time. Over the years I have found a few things that help me work more efficiently in the kitchen.
Rotary Grater: I use my rotary grater regularly for grating whole blocks of cheese. I find it a lot cheaper to grate a big block all at once and freeze half to use on tacos and homemade sourdough pizza. I also use it to grate carrots.
Souper Cubes: I just love souper cubes when it comes to batch cooking because they make it so easy to freeze in portions. I first got the 1 cup silicone tray and used it constantly to freeze bone broth, sauce and soup. More recently my husband got me the gift set and the cookie tray and every piece has come in handy!
Dutch Oven: Every kitchen needs a dutch oven in my opinion. It can be used on the stove to make stews, soups, fry, anything. Its also oven safe for braising meat, roasting whole chickens and baking a loaf of sourdough.
Instant Pot: I debated on adding this or not but the truth is it really comes in handy. Its amazing how fast the instant pot can tenderize those though cuts of meat like pork shoulder and chuck roast. Also if you are a busy mom and/or homesteader like me, then the instant pot will save the day during the busy growing season.
Stock Pot: The Stock Pot is the only way I make bone broth. My family gets so excited when the see my stock pot on the stove because they know it means Mama is making broth.
Deep Freezer: A few years ago when we decided to start raising our own meat birds we got this deep freezer. It has been so incredibly useful! We can fit our meat birds along with all the organs like livers, heart, spleen that I use in pate. It can also store the bulk beef share we purchase once a year. As well as the few bags of strawberries I save from the garden and the bulks meals I freeze with the souper cubes. It is a great investment that we are so happy to have! We live in a small cottage so space is limited and this freezer hardly takes up any room in our basement.
Meal Prep for Pro-metabolic eating
Egg bites or quiche
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. All eggs are nutritious but eggs that are pasture raised are the most nutrient dense. Some people go as far to say that pasture raised eggs are not even the same food as conventional eggs. They go by the same name and look the same but pasture raised is just way beyond conventional eggs. We eat eggs nearly everyday in our home. On the weekend I will make a few quiches or egg bites (scrambled eggs baked in muffin tins) for us to have with breakfast throughout the week.
Kefir is a fermented drink made by soaking something called kefir grains in milk. The milk (preferably raw, grassfed and whole) becomes fermented like yogurt but thinner in consistency. I make a gallons worth every 2 weeks and use it to make daily smoothies for the family. My go to recipe is kefir, frozen blueberries, a scoop of collagen, maple syrup and bee pollen. To learn more read my post all about milk kefir.
Eating a raw carrot salad daily is really important for pro-metabolic eating. Raw carrots mixed with a little coconut oil and apple cider vinegar is great for gut health. I shred anywhere from 5-10 carrots at a time depending on their size using my rotary grater. Then store it in a zip loc bag with a little bit of water to keep them from drying out.
Cube and Shred Cheese
Every two weeks I order raw milk and a few big blocks of raw cheddar cheese from a farm in Pennsylvania. I drive from New Jersey to PA to pick up location to get my order. Raw dairy is illegal in NJ so I need to travel out of state for it. The raw cheddar comes in a big block that a cut into cubes and store in an airtight container in the fridge for quick snacks during the week for myself and my kids. With the other block I shred with my rotary grater and freeze for tacos and casseroles. We usually pair cubes with slices of apple or some other fruit. Another snack option is to add a drop of honey onto the cheese and sprinkle with bee pollen.
Hard boiled eggs
Hard boiled eggs are great for a snack or to eat on the side with one your main meals. Making a 6-12 hard boiled eggs are great to have on hand and store really well in the refrigerator.
Roast Whole Chicken
I love roasting a whole chicken every week. My family loves it too. A 5 pound pasture raised chicken in enough for 1 dinner plus a couple lunches throughout the week for our family of 4. As soon as I pull the chicken out of the oven, my family immediately crowds around it trying to get a taste. My favorite way to prepare it is to season well with salt, pepper and a couple tablespoons of melted butter. Then chop up onions, carrots and potatoes, season and place them in the bottom of my dutch oven with 1 cup of water. Then add the chicken and cover and bake in oven at 425℉ for at least 1 hour. It is ready when the thickest part is 165℉.
With the carcass from the roasted whole chicken I always make bone broth. My children love to sip a mug first thing in the morning and I love always have delicious broth on hand for cooking. I also love to make beef bone broth. In fact, last year I purchased a quarter cow share from a local 100% grassfed farm and with it came the bones. So i made a super nutritious beef bone broth. See my recipe here. I think bone broth is the best way to easily get nutrients in especially first thing in the morning.
Rice cooked in broth
Rice is so effortless to batch cook. It reheats well and is an easy side for lunch and dinner. I like to make a big batch for the week to put in my husbands lunch. And I always try to cook it in broth for to make it a little more nutritious.
Sourdough pancakes are easy to batch cook and reheat throughout the week. Try this recipe!
I always keep fruit in the house to pair with cheese or cup of bone broth. However, I go for local and in season as much as possible.
I love ice cream. And so do my kids! I honestly don’t think it’s bad for you for the most part, as long as it’s made with the right ingredients. That’s why I make my own with raw cream, raw milk, organic sugar and organic cacao powder. It’s all the additives in commercial ice cream like carrageenan that are disruptive to health.
My favorite resources for going deeper with pro-metabolic eating
If you desire to learn more about pro-metabolic eating then I highly recommend checking out The Freely Rooted Podcast. This podcast is a great resource for all things pro-metabolic eating. Once you have listened to podcast and decide you need more in depth information then there is also a Freely Rooted course that I took myself and gained so much knowlegde from it.
Weston A Price was a dentist who traveled the world in the 1930’s. He wanted to study traditional diets around the world.
Some other foods I keep on hand:
I personally love being in the kitchen all day long. Meal prepping is a lot of work but it gives a real sense of satisfaction. However, having two toddlers around means there are times when I need convenience items. Here are some things I also keep stocked.
Sardines Sardines are loaded in vitamin D. I personally like the wild caught, skinless and boneless. i just pop open the can, drain it a little and eat it with a side of rice. My kids love them too!
Breakfast sausage I keep fully cooked applegate breakfast sausage in my freezer for those busier, slightly chaotic mornings.
What if all of this is too much?
I know how overwhleming it can feel to implement changes. The best way to making lasting changes is to go slow and try one thing at a time. As a matter of fact when it comes to food i think a great way to start is to focus on real food. Real food or unprocessed food is what is best for the body. Do not worry too much in the beginning if something is considered part of pro-metabolic eating or not. Remember that this is not a diet. Eating high quality food should be a pleasurable experience.