Did you know that your body runs to three 8-hour cycles per day? This is known as the circadian rhythms.
The following information is invaluable. I first came across it years ago in the bestselling health classic Fit for Life, by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond. Utilizing this knowledge throughout my own healthy eating/ raw food journey has made all the difference.
The 3 cycles are:
1) Elimination (of body wastes and food debris) 4am-12pm
2) Appropriation (eating and digestion)12pm-8pm
3) Assimilation (absorption and use) 8pm-4am
Although the body can be eating, digesting, using food and cleaning all at the same time to varying degrees, it has been found that from approximately 4am until noon, the body is cleansing itself (eliminating) - this is why, for example, people wake up with headaches, crusty eyes, furred tongues and so on - this is the debris coming out. It makes most sense for the body to be doing its housecleaning while we are asleep, because it's then that we are not exerting any extra energy and can let nature take its course.
ELIMINATION-During this first 8 hour period, the best foods we can possibly eat (if we want to) are fruits or fruit, veg or green juices, because they require minimal digestion and are the only foods which have been found not to interfere with this cleansing process. Therefore the ideal scenario is to try and incorporate as much fresh fruit or juice into your morning routine and slowly cut down (and ideally, out) on other items. Basically, as soon as you eat anything else, the cleansing stops. I'm convinced that my keeping to this routine for so long is largely responsible for keeping my weight low and my energy high. And you just feel so clean too!
Harvey states, “The elimination cycle is without question your greatest ally in the prevention of health and prevention of disease”..in their second book Fit for life, Living Health.
He also explains “ If a blood test were to be taken every hour for 24 hours, it would show that the bloodstream is most heavily burdened with the by-products of metabolism during the hours between 4am-12noon, indicating the stepped up elimination cycle, because it is the blood that carries waste material to the four channels of elimination:the bowels, bladder, lungs, and skin.
APPROPRIATION-The second eight hour cycle, is between noon and 8pm which, when you think about it, is when most of us eat our two main meals of the day - lunch and dinner. This is the time when the body is most efficient at digesting and dealing with foods. It's also the time when we are burning them up the fastest because we're at our most active. As long as we are eating according the dictates of our appetite, we should be merrily refuelling and burning, refuelling and burning in a fairly steady and comfortable way, which makes for a really comfortable feeling in the body.
Eating when one is truly hungry can take a bit of getting used to, but is far more enjoyable than eating just because the clock dictates it's lunchtime. And it makes so much sense!
ASSIMILATION-The third cycle, is the time for utilising the food you have consumed during the day. Assimilation takes place between (approximately) 8pm and 4am, i.e. the time you're most likely to be relaxed, asleep or least active. During this time the body can get to work drawing all of the goodness out of your food from the day, and working on healing and rebuilding. As this phase starts drawing to a close it leads neatly back into the first cycle, cleansing, as it gets rid of everything it doesn't need.
Dr John McDougall says “The best sleep is on an empty stomach”