Wakeup Diet & Exercise Program Restores natural circadian rhythms
Wakeup Diet FAQ, Part 2

Diet Details

QUESTION. Does the amount that I eat matter?

ANSWER. Yes it does. Overeating, bingeing or feasting is never good for narcolepsy, jet lag or other phasal disorders. Stay on the diet. No excuses!

When you go out or attend a holiday celebration, control your portion size. Your protein should be about the size of a card pack. Imagine the plate that you normally eat off at home. Don't eat any more than would normally fit on that plate. Avoid starches, such as potatoes (any type, including potato salad). Avoid breads, breadsticks, tacos, and muffins. Decline additional helpings. Skip dessert, including pie, cake, ice cream, or other sweets. Turn down the usual substitutes: Fruit, yogurt, gelato or Italian Ice. Don't drink coffee or soda pop or alcoholic beverages, even near beer. For your beverage, stick to unflavored water. Ice water is even better. Turn down that after-dinner cordial or cigar.

Keep your dinner entree to about 300 calories, maximum. If you miss sharing those extra calories, request a doggy bag. Eat the food over several days and fit it into your normal routine.

When you get home after dinner, exercise as usual. In the hour before bed, you may eat the recommended sleepy foods. Our favorites are these...

  • One slice of bread with natural peanut butter. (We recommend Smucker's® natural peanut butter. Crunchy, of course.)

  • One serving of plain, non-fat yogurt. (We recommend Fage® Total Greek yogurt.)

These foods assure restful sleep. These foods also add back the calories that you declined at the holiday celebration. Now that you don't need to be as alert, these foods are okay.

QUESTION. Could I combine some other diet with the Wakeup Diet® and still normalize my phase shifts?

ANSWER. Probably not. Some diets are consistent with Wakeup Diet™ policies, but most diets differ in some way. Few diets schedule food groups and exercises to readjust circadian rhythms. Instead, most diets concentrate on weight reduction. Some diets, such as the Ornish diet, promote a healthy heart or some other health cause.

You don't give any details of your proposed diet. From this lacking information, I draw this conclusion: You're trying to see how lenient that the Wakeup Diet™ is. Here's the answer to that question: The Wakeup Diet™ doesn't allow arbitrary variation by followers. Yet some thoughtful variations are legal. For example, at breakfast, instead of sardines, you may substitute a like portion of salmon. One serving of Egg Beaters® is another acceptable choice. Otherwise, observing the diet means maintaining its rules.

QUESTION. In a day, how often does a Wakeup Diet follower eat? (For example, South Beach® encourages three meals, two snacks, and low-glycemic desserts.)

ANSWER. The Wakeup Diet™ is a close match, but there are differences. Let's look at Day Plan A. On this plan, observers eat three meals per day. I'd call the breakfast and dinner “square meals,” but the lunch is small. No worry. Dinner takes up the slack. Observers also eat a couple of small snacks. Sorry, but the Wakeup Diet doesn't allow desserts.

In truth, comparing the Wakeup Diet™ to weight-loss diets is like comparing apples and oranges. On the Wakeup Diet™, the number of meals isn't as important as when you eat protein, fat or starches. Morning and evening exercises are also key. Unlike South Beach, the Wakeup Diet™ entrains the body to a schedule.

QUESTION. What snacks does the Wakeup Diet allow?

ANSWER. Normally during work dayparts, there are no snacks. If you become hungry in the late afternoon, you may drink one can of Pritikin® clear broth. You may have either the chicken or the vegetable type. This late-afternoon snack is seldom necessary. Your lunchtime soy burger suppresses your appetite.

In the evening, you snack just before exercising. Here are some suggestions. The first snack is a banana. With that, you eat a handful of edamame (soy beans). Instead of the edamame, you may substitute two slices of Morningstar® soy bacon. You can wrap these in a slice of Galaxy Foods® soy cheese. You may have a little yellow mustard on the bacon. At the midpoint of exercises, you may eat an apple.

QUESTION. I read that narcolepsy medications modulate neurotransmitters. No diet plan can do that. So your diet can't be as good as medications, can it?

ANSWER. False. Science proves that like medications, eating and exercise alter levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Fact: The Wakeup Diet also modulates neurotransmitters. For example...

  • Tryptophan. Have you ever become sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast? Turkey contains L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid. Yogurt and oatmeal are two other common foods with L-tryptophan content. L-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you relax.

  • Endorphins. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins. Acting much like morphine, these powerful peptide hormones numb pain and cause feelings of satisfaction. Endorphins also act as neurotransmitters. Scientists think that endorphins might be the basis of the so-called "runner's high."

QUESTION. I'm a vegetarian. Can I remain vegetarian and follow the Wakeup Diet?

ANSWER. Yes, you can!

For vegetarians, I don't yet have specific guidelines. The Wakeup Diet's basic principles should help you though.

At breakfast and dinner, you'll have to come up with substitute proteins. For these two meals, carbohydrates and fats will be the same as in the stock diet.

At lunch, our soyburger should be fine for you. Otherwise, during the day, eat only protein and restrict calories to the minimum. Also, don't eat starches, fats, or dense proteins.

The two exercise sessions will be the same as for omnivores.

If you're a vegan, the Fage® Greek plain yogurt has to go. I recommend replacing it with fat-free, soy yogurt (or kefir). Unfortunately, local stores don't carry a plain, fat-free, soy yogurt. I don't even know if anyone makes a fat-free, Greek-style, soy yogurt. Flavored soy yogurts such as Silk® are excellent. For me, the sweet-tart flavor is superior to the sweeter, dairy yogurt flavor. Unfortunately, flavored soy yogurts contain about 25 grams of sugar (or other sweeteners). This is as much sugar as you'll find in soda pop products! If you have a phasal problem, particularly narcolepsy, extra carbohydrates cause problems. If you're concerned about diabetes, avoid the extra sugar. Below are some products that I'm looking for in local stores. All these yogurts include live cultures...

QUESTION. Is the Wakeup Diet™ a ketogenic diet?

ANSWER. No. A ketogenic diet involves starving the body of carbohydrates. As a result, the body burns fat cells and produces excess ketones in the urine. The Wakeup Diet™ isn't ketogenic. This is true despite the very low-carb, noon meal. With the split-breakfast option, the answer is still no.

In the split-breakfast option, one consumes the carbohydrate part of breakfast in the middle of the night. After morning exercises, the dieter eats the main breakfast, consisting solely of sardines (or a suitable substitute). If you awaken at night and have difficulty sleeping afterward, I recommend splitting the breakfast. The carb “pre-breakfast” will send you right back to sleep! Yet if you stay asleep at night, a “pre-breakfast” isn't the best way. Instead, eating breakfast at one sitting is probably superior.

I've been on the Wakeup Diet™ for decades. In spring 2011, I tested my urine with ketosis test strips by URS. These convenient and reasonably inexpensive urinalysis strips showed that I didn't enter ketosis. I rerun the test every so often, but the result is the same. As I've stressed before, the Wakeup Diet™ is no starvation diet. The diet follows Department of Agriculture guidelines and balances over each full day.

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