By Matt Stone
There are three quick answers to this common question…
- Because you’re stressed.
- Because you didn’t sleep enough.
- Because you ate enough.
Everyone in the health industry thinks that eating a meal should make you perk up and want to instantly break out into the Humpty Dance or other similar variant. Maybe throw in a high-intensity interval while you’re at it. Just for kicks. If you do get sleepy after eating, your nutritionist or dietitian is ready to send you off to the lab for food allergy testing or start pulling out every delicious thing in the world from your diet. No more sugar, dairy, or wheat for you. Enjoy your brown rice and lean turkey breast. Oh dear please don’t go swimming for at least an hour after a feast like that!
Ironically, your health advocate will probably, at the same time, suggest that you do relaxing activities like meditation, deep breathing, taking warm baths, getting a massage, and hitting the sauna. These activities make you deeply relaxed, warm all over, and drowsy. Just like eating a really good, complete meal that has everything your body needs.
You should feel a little tired after a meal – certainly more relaxed, with little desire to jump up and run. If you don’t, there’s something seriously wrong with your meal. It must not have enough carbs, fat, protein, salt, or calories – and your body’s desire to hunt down more food stays on instead of powering down for digestion.
When we eat a good meal, insulin rises. When insulin rises, cortisol and the entire action of the sympathetic nervous system shuts down, leaving us feeling relaxed and warm and fuzzy all over. The higher your stress levels are prior to eating, the more complete that shutdown is. Thus, the longer you go without food, the more sleep-deprived you are, or the longer you’ve been strung out on stress hormones in a stressful situation… the bigger the postmeal coma.
The coma itself is the antidote to your stressful life. It’s not an enemy, something to be avoided, or something to be lambasted by your highly caffeinated nutritionist. It’s perfectly healthy, normal, natural, and in many cases quite therapeutic (just like a massage or sauna) to feel drowsy after a good meal. If you were to treat it as such and not think there is something “wrong” with it or assume the next step will be The Beetus, you could really enjoy the feeling – making lots of “ahhhhhh” and “mmmmm” sounds and grinning. I mean, what about Bob?
I conclude this with some examples of this horrendous postmeal relaxation state, and a call for immediate extreme diet interventions…
Oh no! Get this kid on a gluten and casein free diet immediately before he develops the Ass Burgers!
Gah! It’s breakfast cereal! Is that Cap’n Satan or Lucifer Charms? Too much sugar! Do a candida cleanse before yeast possesses his whole body and makes him want to eat carbs all day! Beat those carb cravings!
Dude! Way too many carbs in shrimp, and crabs in carbs! You’re allergic! Stick to fish and kelp only!