Did you know the body can actually survive without carbohydrates? You would be missing serious nutrients that aren’t found in fats and protein, but it could survive.
Vegetables are a carb- let’s just get that out there. There are two kinds of carbs: complex and simple. Complex carbs are loaded with minerals, vitamins and fiber – all the things our bodies need to function optimally and you won’t get them without eating these. These high-fiber, low sugar carbs are slowly digested so you don’t get a blood sugar or insulin spike.
Simple carbs are refined – think breakfast cereals, pasta, donuts, crackers, ice cream, flour, starch and sugar; these are ones to avoid like the plague (or at least as often as possible). They are often finagled in a lab, highly processed, stripped of their nutrients and fiber and filled with fake sweeteners and chemicals. These empty calorie carbs don’t carry fiber so they are quickly absorbed into the body, spiking blood sugar and kicking off high insulin which increases storage of belly fat and inflammation, raises triglycerides and lowers HDL and raises blood pressure and then lowers blood sugar which leaves you hungry and craving more carbs and sugar. Whew. It’s a vicious cycle.
The Power of Food
What you put in your body can completely eliminate medication.
We can reverse [type 2] diabetes. Medication cannot/will not do this. And it’s not by removing ALL carbs from your diet.
According to Dr Mark Hymans and his The Blood Sugar Solution book, even if you have more than 25 pounds to lose and are currently taking medication to manage blood pressure, diabetes or cholesterol, 10 – 15% of your total daily calories should be carbs. His key tips are to focus on non-starchy vegetables, avoid beans, dairy, grain and most fruit (except berries) in the beginning.
Feel overwhelming? Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, try shining a spotlight on all the amazing food you get to eat:
Leafy & Green! Fill your plate with anything that is leafy and green. Saute them, chop them up and stuff them into sauces or loafs – you can’t really overdo these.
The rest of the diet matters as much or more!
Carbs are one important part of the trio but everything else you eat matters too. Balancing blood sugar requires a trio of protein, fat and carbs at every meal, but even eating the right amounts of these isn’t going to help if those choices are from very poor quality food. Choosing the right version of these foods affects the rest of your health
The right kind of fats don’t make us fat – think extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts seeds ghee or even grass-fed butter. Unhealthy fats like vegetable and seed oils (canola, soybean and corn oils) are highly processed oil that contain harmful additives that oxidize easily, are from genetically modified crops, and raise our omega-6-to-omega-3 fatty acid ratios. What this all means is inflammation, low energy, brain fog and increase incidences of asthma, heart disease, IBS, diabetes, osteoarthritis and other chronic diseases.
The third leg of the trio is protein, which provides the building blocks of life – helping us make muscle, hair, blood, connective tissue and more. Quality of protein matters. Plant and animal protein are not equal, but neither is protein from a chicken kept in a little cage and only being fed grain with no access to to the outdoors VS a pasture raised chicken who gets sunshine and eats a varied diet. Small, oily fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies and sardines are great protein options rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Loading up your plate every day with processed or red meat and bacon increases the risk of colon cancers and cardiovascular disease.
What about sugar?
Sugar hides in plain sight. The biggest source of sugar in the American diet (roughly 15 to 20% of calories) is soda. Sugars from beverages are sneaky. We see athletes downing Gatorade during a game so we follow suit; but those athletes are involved in hours of strenuous exercise to burn that sugar. Truth is that these drinks are sugar bombs and they contain chemicals proven harmful for the body like red dye and caramel food coloring. Replacing your electrolytes could be as easy as adding pink Himalayan salt and lemon to your water.
Other offenders of hidden sugar are salad dressings (a McDonald’s salad has more sugar in it than a Big Mac!), granola bars and jarred sauces. Eating a bowl of breakfast cereals is basically starting your day with a bowl of sugar! Often it’s not about the sugar we are adding to our food, it’s more about the sugar big corporations are adding to our food.
It’s NOT only about CARBS. But it’s also not only about FOOD.
Stress impacts our health too. Underlying stress- hidden angst, anger, resentment and fear puts us into flight or flight mode. Oxidative stress occurs from what we eat, drink, but also what we breath and think, from circulating toxins and from what we slather on our skin. Even lack of exercise increases insulin resistance. It’s amazing how just simple walking is helpful!
How and when you eat makes huge impact on your health as well. I didn’t really believe that until I got serious and made changes in my own life. Are you eating on the run, in front of the tv/computer or standing over the kitchen sink? Are you grazing all day? Are you over eating or just stuffing it in as fast as you can? Eating hygiene sounds mundane, but it affects the entire digestion system.
So go eat some carbs! Make it complex carbs. But pay attention to the every thing else too – it makes a difference.