Tag: cortisol

Insomnia, Fatigue, Stress & Weight Loss Success

sleep and weight loss

How much you sleep and the quality of your sleep play a crucial part in weight management. For the millions of Americans who suffer from insomnia, the most pressing concern is the stress and anxiety caused by chronic lack of sleep.  

Few people think of the connection between weight management and sleep. I think the link between diet and sleep quality is fascinating. Let's explore…

sleep facts

The Link Between Obesity & Insomnia

But first, let me briefly explain why I think the link between diet and sleep quality is fascinating. Mostly, it’s because few people think of the connection between weight management and sleep. For the millions of Americans who suffer from insomnia, the most pressing concern is the stress and anxiety caused by chronic lack of sleep.

While habit-forming sleeping pills are the most common solution, perhaps the easiest and most overlooked sleep remedy is eating a healthier diet. After all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the obesity epidemic has been paralleled by a trend of reduced sleep duration and quality.

In 2023, ChefV.com products were the focus of an independent clinical trial by Citrus Labs. The 38 participants who completed a 21 DAY DETOX and then continued on a GREEN DRINK plan for 7 days saw vast improvements in all areas of their life. This includes a 34% reduction in inflammation and an average weight loss of nearly 8 pounds, and a 44% improvement in sleep quality.

Calcium In Leafy Greens

When most people think of the bone-building mineral, calcium, they think of milk and other dairy products. But dairy can promote inflammation in the body. A much better source of calcium is green leafy veggies, like the two kinds of kale in my Green Drink recipe.

Research suggests that if you don’t get enough calcium, you may have a more difficult time falling asleep. But there’s far more sleep benefits in green leafy veggies, according to research. These plants also contain micronutrients which may also influence sleep, such as tryptophan, potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin, choline, complex carbs, and beta carotene.

And when you drink cold-blended Green Drink, the fiber is preserved. Fiber has been shown to be associated with deeper and more restorative sleep.

Green veggies (and yellow ones) also contain the eye-health promoting antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. Not only do these antioxidants help you see better in the dark, they also help you sleep better. That’s because lutein and zeaxanthin filter out blue light.

Blue light, which is emitted from your smart phone, TV and other devices interferes with production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

In addition, green leafy veggies contain lycopene (another great source: tomato paste)  and beta carotene, which have also been associated with less difficulty falling asleep.

chef v and green drink

Selenium For Sleep

The trace mineral, selenium has also been linked to sleep quality. If you eat sustainable sources of seafood along with nuts, you’re getting enough selenium. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources. They are high in calories so make sure you limit the serving size to just one handful.

Besides its effect on sleep, this macronutrient is also linked to immune function and inflammation response.

Vitamin C

Less Vitamin C intake was associated with non-restorative sleep. Red and yellow peppers contain mega C. Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, strawberries and cauliflower are other healthy sources rich in C.

Vitamin B6

I don’t eat that much animal protein. But one reason I include wild salmon in my diet (along with the occasional tuna when I’m at a sushi restaurant) is because it contains a good amount of vitamin B6. Among the many benefits of this water-soluble vitamin (also called pyridoxine), one of them is melatonin production.


Magnesium is important for sleep because not getting enough of this mineral in your diet is linked to problems staying asleep. A great source of magnesium is grains. Not all grains are good for you, however, especially ones that don’t have a lot of nutrients and get digested too quickly. Barley, wild rice, amaranth, and triticale are a few examples of magnesium-rich grains that your body takes a long time to digest. (The longer it takes to digest, the less cravings you’ll have.

eat this not that

Don’t Eat This And That If You Want A Good Night’s Sleep

If you want to fall asleep fast, limit your intake of dairy and meat. Palmitic acid is a saturated fat. It’s found in butter, cheese, milk, and meat. One study shows that diets high in palmitic acid led to an increased difficulty in falling asleep. Another study reported rats fed a diet rich in palmitic acid, were unable to regulate their food intake.

The bottom line is that if you want to sleep better, it’s yet another reason you should get lots of green leafy veggies in your diet. I created the Organic Green Drink to make it very easy to get your daily dose of them. So Drink Up!

And if you need more guidance on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat, when you sign up for a Green Drink Plan, or one of my Cleanse & Detox programs, you’ll receive all my healthy eating guidelines for long-term weight loss success!

To your health,
Veronica — Founder, Chef V


Sleep Symptoms Associated with Intake of Specific Dietary Nutrients

Influence of Dietary Intake on Sleeping Patterns of Medical Students

Sleep and obesity

Chef V and kale

Chef V Warns: Don’t Drink Coffee First Thing In The AM On An Empty Stomach!

coffee t-shirts

Are you a first-thing-in-the-morning coffee drinker? After reading the advice of certified nutritional therapist and ChefV.com founder, Veronica Wheat, you may want to wait a little bit before having your first cup. 

“But first…COFFEE!”

“A day without coffee is like … just kidding I have no idea.”

“Coffee spelled backwards is EEFFOC. Just know that I don’t give EEFFOC until I’ve had my coffee.”

“Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat.” 

Even though I don’t drink coffee, I can’t help but laugh at ironic coffee t-shirts. 

But let’s take a closer look at the “Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat” slogan. 

A more accurate ironic slogan for many people would be, “Wake up. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.” That’s because most people race out the door on their way to work with a cup or two or three of coffee well before they eat anything. 

And I’m not talking about functional coffee drinks that contain coconut oil and mushroom powder. 

Nope, I’m referring to the straight black stuff some people wish they could inject directly into their veins in order to feel alive in the morning. 

If nothing can resurrect you in the morning except for coffee, I’m not going to try and convince you to give it up. (Unless you’re about to do a CLEANSE, which requires a coffee-free pre-cleanse phase.)

I am, however, going to ask you to reconsider drinking coffee on an empty stomach. 

woman with coffee in bed

But First…Cortisol!

You’re probably familiar with the term “cortisol.” But just in case you need a refresher, in plain English, cortisol is known as the body’s major stress hormone. 

Cortisol helps our body physically deal with stress, sending us into fight or flight or freeze mode. It’s a good thing that we have cortisol because it regulates our body’s stress response.

So when a distracted A-hole driver swerves into your lane and is heading right towards you, you can thank cortisol for giving you the superpower to be alert and steer your way to safety. 

But just like 10 cups of coffee or glasses of wine a day, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. And when we’re constantly stressed out, we can have too much cortisol coursing through our system. 

Having excess cortisol is no bueno! It can cause elevated blood sugar levels, even contributing to type 2 diabetes. It can also wreak havoc on your immune system. And ladies: too much cortisol can screw up your cycle and may cause an imbalance of other hormones. 

And if that’s not bad enough, having too much cortisol may lead to an increase of the most dangerous kind of fat: visceral fat. Visceral fat is the deep belly fat that surrounds the organs in your abdomen. 

Now, normally, levels of cortisol are naturally high in the morning. Why then do we need coffee if our body should be more alert? Why do we feel dead to the world without coffee if cortisol is supposed to be our natural alarm clock? 

—-> 3 Ways To Feel Unstoppable In The Morning Without Coffee 

It could be because you’re not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you’re drinking too much coffee, which can screw up normal cortisol fluctuations during the day. 

coffee mug in bed

How Drinking Coffee First Thing In The AM Affects Cortisol 

The important thing to understand is that drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach might be harmful to your health for a couple reasons. 

First, drinking lots of coffee can itself cause excess cortisol, which can lead to having high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

And secondly, if you have GI problems like acid reflux, drinking coffee first thing in the morning can increase acid production, making your GI issues worse. 

Drinking Coffee & Brain Function

There’s actually plenty of research that supports moderate coffee consumption. To reiterate: my point of emphasis here is not that drinking coffee is bad … it’s that drinking it on an empty stomach may be for some people. 

People drink coffee to fire up their neurons so they can function at work. But what are the effects of having early-morning excess cortisol and brain function? Well, a  study published in Neurology that was summarized in Scientific American looked at the effects of early-morning high cortisol on brain performance in more than 2,000 people. 

Most of the participants were in their 40s. The study found that those with the highest levels of cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.

To make matters worse, the brains of people with the highest levels of cortisol showed precursors to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. 

I’m not trying to scare the bejeezus out of you. I’m not suggesting that if you drink coffee first thing in the morning, your brain will deteriorate. Just think twice about drinking it on an empty stomach—especially black coffee. (Sorry, a splash of cream and a packet of sugar won’t help prevent a cortisol spike.)

Fonio grain

Here’s What To Do In The Morning Before Drinking Coffee

If you can’t wait to have coffee until noon or early afternoon, when cortisol levels are naturally lower, then I have a simple solution for you. It’s something I’ve been preaching for years but it works. 

Step 1: After you wake up, drink a tall glass of water with lemon juice. This will help you naturally detox your body before introducing any stimulants into your system. 

Step 2: Wait 20 minutes after drinking water and then have 8 ounces of Organic Green Drink

No, this is not just some promotional plug for my nationwide Green Drink delivery plan. My recommendation, I’ll have you know, is science-based. Minerals such as magnesium in green leafy veggies help regulate and lower cortisol, research (like this) shows. 

Step 3: About half an hour after having CHEF V GREEN DRINK, if you must, have your coffee. I also recommend doing some parasympathetic (relaxing) exercise like yoga in the morning to regulate your cortisol levels. 

Step 4 (optional): wear your ironic coffee t-shirt.

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.