An EASY & FAST recipe to bust nighttime carb cravings

+ all about NES (Night Eating Syndrome)

Feels indulgent but isn’t really

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN CHAI SPICE LATTE RECIPE

TIRED of scrolling to the recipe? Me too!

From now on, all RECIPES AT THE TOP, and stories below!

STEP 1 – COLLECT INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bags Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea
  • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin purée from a can (not sweetened pie filling)
  • ½ cup organic canned coconut milk (not homogenized)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut syrup or similar, optional

YOUR 4 STEPS / INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mug, steep a strong cup of chai – as concentrated as you can get. I steeped my Bengal Spice bags for about 4-5 min in 3/4 cup fresh boiling water (and then kept the two bags for another use).
  2. In a small pot, whisk coconut milk and pumpkin purée over medium heat until the components are warmed through and blended together – no clumps.
  3. Remove the tea bags from your mug and squeeze, then stir in a little coconut syrup and dissolve it. Pour this sweetened tea into the pot and blend with the whisk. You’ll want the drink smooth and creamy, and you may wish to create a bit of froth.
  4. Pour it into your mug, which should still be warm, and enjoy!

PUMPKIN CHAI LATTE NOTES

This is a spicy chai latte for before bed, made caffeine-free through my choice of tea.

  • The choice of tea is up to you – of course!

I have tried many lovely loose versions of chai over the years that are more sophisticated and authentic than this, but this is my favourite simple bagged type, with lots of flavour for little cost.

  • I make the latte thick and creamy using pumpkin and the fat from the coconut milk, but you can do it up with whipped cream or whatever. Blending it can make it very fluffy.

This is not like Starbucks. I find their versions have so much liquid sugar they give me a terrible headache and a huge crash, my sugar tolerance is low, so please sweeten accordingly.

Why you choose the chocolate…

ABOUT LATE NIGHT CRAVINGS and CARB CRAVINGS

I find this tea latte recipe a good late night snack for when I am trying not to snack but am craving things late.

When that happens not snacking is seriously hard y’all.

Do ya feel me? Late night munchies?

NIGHT EATING

Night eating is so common, there is such a thing as “Night Eating Syndrome” or NES, which was a term first coined in 1955.

When I get the urge to “night eat”, I know it is usually a sign that my serotonin and mood are a little low. So this snack is for night when I need to boost my serotonin and have some slower release carbs like pumpkin before bed.

If you also get these cravings, it is possible that low serotonin a one cause and is tryptophan a possible solution.

By using a carb-only snack at night (no protein) I help get tryptophan into my brain (a trick developed by doctor Kathleen DesMaisons, author of “Potatoes not Prozac”). Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin. Boom! Cravings subside, sleep is deep.

HORMONES AND LATE NIGHT SNACKING

We know that people with NES have different hormone levels.

Yes yes y’all, it is not your self-discipline that is the problem.

Or it is, but it is your hormones fault, more accurately.

Studies have shown that the hormones involved in appetite regulation are markedly different in folks with NES and with normal eating patterns.

We know NES is probably connected to low serotonin because it responds to treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors antidepressants.

Read SSRIs help patients with Night Eating Syndrome.

Dr. DesMaisons did work with diet, helping people to quit alcohol and sugar.

According to doctor DesMaisons, addiction to alcohol and craving sugar are linked, and often found in the same (rather obsessive) people. The commonality is a lower than normal chemistry of neurohormones like dopamine, beta-endorphin and serotonin. She calls it sugar sensitivity.

I am sugar sensitive – what about you?

SUGAR SENSITIVITY, CRAVINGS AND SEROTONIN FACTS

1 –Simple starches and sweet carbs can raise low beta-endorphin or serotonin levels as well as raising blood sugar levels.

2 – Since serotonin levels are lower later in the day and at night, these sugar and alcohol cravings are most intense later in the day.

3 – If you eat simple carbs, and not enough fibre, fat or protein during the day, blood sugar will also crash at night.

These factors ^^^^ can cause cravings and hunger at night for the stuff you’re trying not to eat.

If you’re also trying to limit calories, look out for extreme hunger at night. I know, if my blood sugar drops at night, and it wakes me, I need to get up and eat to be able to fall back asleep.

-> I am sugar sensitive, and must NOT eat too many simple carbs.

If I do, or if I am feeling low, I can develop Night Eating Syndrome.

And, I am not alone…

According to this study

“Patients … demonstrate a phase delay in the circadian pattern of food intake, manifested by evening hyperphagia, nocturnal awakenings with food intake, and morning anorexia.”

– Circadian Rhythm Profiles in Women with Night Eating Syndrome

What that quote above means is normal language is:

In a 24 hour time period … (A.K.A. circadian pattern)

these folx eat later in the evening than ‘normal’ (they demonstrate a ‘phase delay’)

triggered by extreme nighttime hunger (manifested by evening hyperphasia)

and they wake up to eat (nocturnal awakenings with food intake)

and lack the urge to eat when they wake up (morning anorexia)

There is a clear dysregulation of the daily rhythm of hormone secretion, sleeping and hunger in people who eat late at night.

EATING AFTER DARK

DID YOU KNOW? Your body does not use carbs the same way after dark.

We know calories of healthy food and calories of junk are not going to have the same effect, but the same food doesn’t even have the same effect at a different time of day!

It is a good idea to now eat carbs after dark if you are not trying to put on fat.

One of the reasons for the disrupted eating cycle in NES may prove to be exposure to bright blue lights after dark and a lack of natural full spectrum light exposure during early morning hours.

Two Studies show that morning light exposure can be helpful to reset this pattern.

So get up and greet the sun in the morning kids!

Wine and Cheez-its? Is it low serotonin?

Are you a Night Snacker? Wondering if you may have NES?

You could try taking The Night Eating Diagnostic Questionnaire (NEDQ) here.

… or if you wish, ask yourself some of these questions.

If you get the munchies all the time at night, you can ask yourself if you are sugar sensitive, and:

  • Do I eat enough fiber, fat and protein during the day to steady my blood sugar?
  • Do I have frequent insomnia, night-time waking, or TMJ?
  • Do I have carb cravings or alcohol cravings, especially at night?
  • Am I a neurotic perfectionist?
  • Am I often irritable?
  • Do I stay up at night looking at my phone and stay inside in the morning?
  • Do I know if I have low dopamine (like in ADHD)?
  • Or low serotonin (a mood disorder, depression, low self-esteem, imposter syndrome)?
  • Do I worry, ruminate, or have anxiety?
  • Did either parent struggle with alcohol, sugar or drugs?
  • Do I have trouble staying motivated?
  • Do I engage in emotional eating?

WHAT TO TRY

Potential routes of treatment include

  • eat at regular intervals
  • making sure to eat balanced meals
  • That means meals with proteins, fibre-rich carbs like veggies and healthy fats
  • avoid eating sugary foods and alcohol
  • expose yourself to adequate light, especially bright light first thing in the morning

The above steps work and are free and simple.

If you did not eat right during the day (not enough protein, fiber or fat) and have night time carb craving and irritability, or you are seeking a drink to chill out, try eating a roast tuber.

A whole-food high-fiber source of carb before bed, without any protein, like a small sweet potato in the jacket, or even like the pumpkin spiced chai latte above can supply a rich source of tryptophan.

I hope this helps explain night eating, some causes of carb cravings and emotional eating and makes it easier for you to manage your moods and night snacking.

Some people get relief from Time Restricted Eating or Keto, as that can help to manage blood sugar, but those are better with some personal guidance.

It can also help to put some CBD oil into an afternoon or nighttime beverage to stave off alcohol cravings, and often food cravings – but it can take some experimentation to know which types will help you. The same strains and terpenes may affect people differently.

CBD can work, for some people.

It is also quite safe to try amino acid therapy, taking a small dose of tryptophan (also known as L-Tryptophan), or in some cases, 5-HTP, as a supplement, in order to raise serotonin levels.

I have tried this, liked it, and recommended it to others, but again, please reach out to a pro for a little guidance.

Something worth trying…?

If you have a question feel free to text or call me at 778 322 9270.

Enjoy!

xox

Dana

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