From raw vegan and intermittent fasting to the paleo and keto diets, there are a lot of options when it comes to what (and how) to eat. But for many of us, dieting has been replaced by a more intuitive approach to eating, with a focus on truly nourishing our bodies. Enter: pro-metabolic eating. But what is the metabolic diet?
Conversations highlighting the importance of metabolism have exploded over the past couple of years. Curious to discover what it’s all about, we sat down with health coach and metabolic expert, Kori Meloy, for her approach to how we can better support our metabolisms, and why the metabolic diet is turning heads.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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With a background in fitness and nutrition and time training elite athletes, Meloy started her journey into holistic health and pro-metabolic eating when she wasn’t finding the answers she was looking for in conventional medicine. She quickly discovered the power of a well-supported metabolism. As she’s gained knowledge in the area, she’s shifted her focus to help women find their way back to their healthiest, most abundant self.
Scroll on for everything you need to know about supporting your metabolism and whether it could be the missing piece in your health journey. (And try not to be jealous of Meloy’s dreamy Hawaiian lifestyle.)
Be sure to scroll to the end for three pro-metabolic recipes from metabolic recipe developer, Fallon’s Table.
Meloy lives on Maui with her husband (a surfboard builder) and young children. She’s passionate about holistic health and simple living—which lends itself to life on the island. As a health coach, she aims to empower women to step into their most vital selves by restoring their metabolism. After coaching women one-on-one for nearly four years, she wanted to reach a larger audience, and thus created her self-paced online course with her step-by-step guidance to restoring metabolism through mindset, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.
How did you discover holistic health and pro-metabolic eating?
While I grew up in a “crunchy” home with a home-birthing mom who cooked organic and from scratch, I didn’t truly understand what it meant to steward my body well and live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t drink sodas and I didn’t eat junk food, that’s all I have to worry about right? (Wrong).
My health journey hit an all-time low in 2016. I had made an uninformed choice to get on birth control pills when I got married the year prior, and I watched my health deteriorate that entire year. When I finally made the decision to get off the pill, I found myself on the bathroom floor every month for two to three days: blacking out, throwing up, doubled over in pain. After finally looking for answers from a healthcare professional, I received a diagnosis for Endometriosis and was told that I would have this for life and that there was no cure. I had three options to manage my symptoms—pharmaceuticals, surgery, or get pregnant and hope it goes away.
This was the first time I realized that our conventional healthcare system is not designed to find the root cause and truly heal our health issues. We are our own best advocates if we want to reverse our disorders, dysfunction, and diseases at the root. That was the moment that started my journey into holistic health and pro-metabolic eating. I found a holistic practitioner who helped me not only pinpoint the root causes of my Endometriosis, but together we reversed it completely in only two months. More important to me than healing, however, was to ask myself the question: “How did I regress into Endometriosis in the first place?
This led me to the importance of my metabolism. The metabolism describes how your entire body functions at the cellular level, so the health of your metabolism affects your hormones, reproductive system, thyroid, detoxification, digestion, energy, and much more. You cannot truly heal your hormone imbalance, infertility, thyroid disorder, gut issues, etc. without healing your metabolism. This is because imbalances of these cellular functions simply indicate an under-functioning metabolism. When I made the switch to restore and support my metabolism for life, that was the moment I set the foundation to restore and support my overall health for life.
Your metabolism is your greatest assessment of your overall health.
What is the metabolic diet?
Believe it or not, the metabolic diet goes against pretty much every diet trend that you might have seen over the last 50+ years.
What do you think of when you picture “healthy” food? Maybe superfood green smoothies, raw kale salads, or nut milk, right? What if I told you that sometimes, the overconsumption of these foods can stress our digestive system, thyroid, and metabolism?
Metabolic eating is reconnecting to food and its role in our unique human design. It’s a restoration of ancestral wisdom and a return to biologically-supporting foods that nourish our bodies down to the cellular level.
How does the metabolic diet work?
The metabolic diet simply means prioritizing foods that are bioavailable. This means the foods and nutrients that are easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body for energy.
We live in a stressful world, and I’m not referring to just emotional or financial stress. It’s the combination of environmental toxins, heavy metals in our water and food, electromagnetic frequencies, drugs and medication, dogmatic diet culture habits, and the overall demands of our fast-paced lives that create a significant amount of stress on our bodies.
Stress hormones have an inverse relationship with our thyroid hormones, and the thyroid is the conductor of our entire metabolism. The more stress we add to our bodies, the more our metabolisms slow down to conserve energy.
Some stress is completely unavoidable and out of our control, but metabolic eating is the way to make the most of what we can control. By supporting your metabolism, you not only make lifestyle choices that take unnecessary stress off of the body, but you actually strengthen your body to become more resilient to life’s stressors that we can’t control.
What are symptoms that could point to a slow metabolism?
- low libido
- afternoon crashes
- thyroid issues
- lack of hunger in the morning
- cold hands + feet
- PMS, bloating
- anxiety or depression
- hair loss
- brittle nails
- waking up during the night
- irritability, and much more.
Why does the metabolic diet work? What sets it apart from other ways of eating?
Choosing metabolically-supportive foods means choosing foods that support the very cells of your body. Let’s take the popular low-carb diet as one example: Did you know that our cells have a preferred source of energy? That source of energy is glucose (carbohydrates). Glucose is our brain’s main source of energy. We need glucose to be able to produce the active (T3) form of our thyroid, our livers need glucose to be able to detox efficiently, and quite literally every cell of our body runs on glucose.
Can our bodies learn to use another source of fuel? Sure, but it does not come without its consequences. If we starve our livers of glucose, our body will start breaking down its own tissues, muscles, organs, and more through the process of gluconeogenesis. This process requires raising our stress hormones to create glucose out of our own body parts.
What decreases as a result of elevated stress hormones? Your thyroid function and your metabolism. We do not want that!
If we took a simple, logical, biological approach to our body’s tremendous need for glucose, would we demonize carbs? Ideally, we would begin to understand our body’s biological function first, and then eat in a way that allows our bodies to thrive exactly as they were designed.
It all comes down to asking yourself, “How can I eat in a way that takes the most stress off of my body and supports how my body wants to function?
I can tell you right now that it’s not by restricting calories or carbs, it’s not by demonizing foods such as quality meat or raw dairy, and it’s not found in expensive greens powders. What sets the metabolic “diet” apart is that it’s not a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle choice to understand, honor, and nourish your body with an abundance of real foods that have been vilified over the decades.
What are some tips for easing into pro-metabolic eating?
My number one tip is to allow for a clean slate when it comes to how we view food and nourishment. It requires an enormous amount of unlearning and relearning when it comes to detaching yourself from dogmatic or fad nutrition tips. I’m passionate about teaching true nourishment, not signing up for the next popular diet plan. You want to ease into these lifestyle changes and truly learn the why behind them.
It’s all about easing into this way of eating and being. For example, you can’t jump back into eating carbs right away if you have been restricting carbs throughout your life. Your body quite literally has to relearn how to utilize those carbs. Slow and steady wins the race. No true or sustainable health practice has even been found in quick results.
What types of changes can people expect to see when their metabolism is properly supported?
When you choose to eat in a way that is supportive to your whole body versus a number on the scale or a desired look, it completely changes how you see nourishment. Since your metabolism describes every cell function of the body, metabolic markers will include the quality of your sleep, your digestion, your energy, your appetite, your menstrual cycle and your libido, and more. With a well-supported metabolism you should feel alive, grounded, free, energetic, vital, and strong.
What are some examples of how to eat to support a healthy metabolism?
Some of the most important lifestyle and nutrition changes you can make for yourself to support your metabolism are the following:
Eat more, not less
The grand majority of the women that I have worked with over the years were eating around 1,200 calories a day before working with me. This is barely enough for a small child. If our energy out is consistently higher than our energy coming in, guess what slows down to keep us alive? Our metabolisms! As women, we should be aiming to eat at least 2,000 calories per day to fuel our cells well and keep our metabolisms healthy. Healthy metabolisms don’t just yield a happier and healthier body, they actually burn more fat, too.
Stop limiting saturated fats and pounding nuts and seeds
The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease and raise your cholesterol has been thoroughly debunked for decades. Saturated fats are the fatty acids that help raise our metabolic rate and assist in detoxification. Nuts and seeds are still somehow praised as heart-healthy fats when these fatty acids can directly disrupt our metabolisms, thyroid, hormones, and the health of our cells. Nuts aren’t bad, but where in nature would we be going out and eating pounds of nuts like we are today? Use nature as a clue to what is biologically appropriate for our cells. Focus instead on nourishing saturated fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and cacao (YUM).
Swap your cardio for strength training
The number one thing I would do if I wanted to slow down my metabolism would be cardio. When we regularly do cardio, our bodies directly adapt to that stress on our bodies. They adapt by decreasing the amount of energy (calories) burned during your workouts and throughout the rest of the day. This is why women typically see big changes at the beginning of a new cardio routine, then it slows to a halt and they can’t seem to lose any weight no matter what. The direct opposite of this is strength training. Strength training is incredible for your metabolism. When you regularly strength train the right way, you build lean muscle, and you burn more calories at rest.
Never skip breakfast
Skipping meals and drinking coffee on an empty stomach is like hopping on the fast-lane to a trashed metabolism and thyroid. When you provide your body consistent fuel (eating within 30-60 minutes of waking up and eating every three to four hours throughout the day), you are balancing your blood sugar, keeping stress hormones at bay, and providing consistent nourishment to your cells.
Eat balanced meals
This means creating your meals with the appropriate balance of protein, carbs, and fats. I like to make my meals with about 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fats. I make sure my carbs sources are easy to digest (like root vegetables, fruit, and honey), my protein sources are bioavailable (like quality meat and dairy, bone broth, gelatin, and collagen), and my fats are saturated (like pastured egg yolks and grass-fed butter).
3 Metabolism-Supporting Recipes From Fallon’s Table
Bone Broth Hot Chocolate
1/2 cup lightly flavored chicken bone broth (most store bought brands work great!)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream + 1/2 cup milk or 1 cup whole milk
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs cacao powder
1 tsp of vanilla
pinch of sea salt
optional tbs of collagen for added gut goodness
Simmer on stove until combined and warm! Top with homemade marshmallows (see Fallon’s Table meal plans for a great recipe!) or whipped cream.
Vanilla Pomegranate Gummies
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup water
2.5 tbs grass-fed, organic beef gelatin
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbs coconut milk
Add the liquid to a medium-sized saucepan, without heat on. Sprinkle gelatin in a thin, evenly distributed layer on top and let sit for a minute to bloom. Turn stove on medium heat and slowly stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. If you have any gelatin clumps, use the back of a spoon to flatten them out. Turn off heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
Pour into candy molds or an 8×8 parchment paper-lined baking dish and allow to set in fridge for 1-2 hours (you can use the freezer for 15-20 minutes to speed up the setting process).
Classic, Mayo-Free Deviled Eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
2 tbs greek yogurt
1 tsp yellow mustard (or Dijon)
¼ tsp + 1 tsp salt
paprika for garnish
Once eggs are cooled, remove yolk and add to a small bowl with all other ingredients. Mash until smooth and scoop into egg whites. Sprinkle paprika on top once plated!
All recipes are courtesy of Fallon’s Table.
For Further Support
Connect with Kori on Instagram at @korimeloy, where she shares all about restoring your metabolism through nutrition, lifestyle, and exercise. She also has a free five-step guide on restoring your metabolism, and you can find her full online course, Freely Rooted here.
This post was originally published on February 20, 2021, and has since been updated.
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