At my book launch party, I served a dandelion tea that many guests thought was a regular sweetened iced tea. They were shocked to discover it had no sweetener in it, at all! It was made from dandelion tea, crushed cranberries and lemon, all of which are more on the bitter side but somehow mixed together have a very pleasing taste.
Often called the wonder beverage because it is a century old remedy for many conditions, dandelion tea is a rich source of vitamins A, K and calcium. It is good for bone health, joints, blood pressure, brain function and a healthy metabolism. Dandelions are rich in C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. Dandelion is best known for its detox function. It is the “go to” remedy for improving liver and kidney function and combats fatty liver disease and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. It keeps our blood sugar levels regular and our metabolism working by producing insulin. Dandelion is a natural diuretic and assists in the removal of toxins from the body. It is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and elimination. If you suffer from constipation, try dandelion as it is extremely high in fiber.
The dandelion roots, leaves, stems and flowers are all edible and super rich in nutrients. The sap inside of the stem is highly alkaline. It is a germicide, insecticide, an analgesic and has fungal properties. If you suffer from itching, eczema, psoriasis or other skin irritation, try a little dandelion sap mixed in a carrier oil and apply topically. As the sap is high in antioxidants, it prevents cellular deterioration. Perhaps, this will be the next big anti-aging remedy!
Dandelion is one of those all around amazing superfoods (more nutritious than spinach or kale) that works on so many levels to heal the body and restore the immune systems and yet we think of it as a burdensome weed that needs to be destroyed. It is time to rethink the dandelion and dandelion tea is a great place to start.
Important Note: Do NOT eat dandelions from a yard that has been sprayed with chemicals. Also, the leaves, themselves, should be eaten in moderation as they contain oxalates (as does spinach) which can cause kidney stones. Every part of the plant is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flowers are sweet and crunchy. You can find dandelion in grocery stores, natural health markets and farmers markets. I like Traditional Medicines Herbal Teas as they are organic, non-GMO and reasonably priced.
I love this time of year! It’s the beginning of summer-like weather. It is warm out but not too hot and cool enough to sleep comfortably at night without turning the air conditioning on. I also love all the summer fruits that pop up in the garden and at the market. I love that more local fruit and vegetables are available like strawberries and rhubarb. I find myself entertaining more this time of year and that means making a dessert that’s not loaded with white sugar and flour. My “go to” is always a crisp made with a variety of fruits and a topping made with oats, and nuts. Anything goes in terms of fruit and fruit combinations. I love combinations of berries and stone fruits
like peaches, pears and apples. Rhubarb is a favorite. I often use organic frozen fruit when something I crave isn’t in season or too expensive, but defrost and drain before cooking. Many options for sweeteners are available but if your fruit is sweet I don’t feel you need to add sweetener to the actual fruit base.. Get used to tasting the actual flavor of the fruit. Try stevia, monk fruit, coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup if you need it.
Here’s my favorite recipe:
5 to 6 cups of fruit – rhubarb, berries, peeled and chopped apples, etc.
1/3 cup gluten free flour
1/3 to 1 cup gluten free oats
¼ to 1/3 cup coconut sugar, or your favorite sweetener
½ cup pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ to ½ cup butter
Place fruit in an 8 x 8 or 9 by 11 baking pan. In a medium sized bowl mix the remaining ingredients until it resembles a course meal using a fork or pastry blender. Place evenly over the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for
45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is slightly browned.
If you are looking for a grain free option for the topping try:
Grain Free Crisp
5 cups fruit (cut into bite size pieces)
½ cup dates
½ cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
½ cup coconut flakes
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Place fruit in a greased 9 x 11 baking dish. Place remaining ingredients in food processor or blender and process until nuts are ground. Place on top of fruit. Bake in 350° oven for 30 to 45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping cooked.
My topic today is an alternate treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for your body. Specifically, I’d like to highlight the work of Dr. Jason Fung, MD a Toronto physician and the author of The Obesity Code. Dr. Fung is reversing type 2 diabetes using a treatment protocol that deviates from the model mandated by diabetic associations and probably your own doctor. In fact, he believes that the current model of treatment is harmful.
Dr. Fung, in his books and lectures, outlines 2 myths that are widely believed about diabetes and weight gain. He debunks the myth that diabetes is an inevitable and progressively worsening disease regardless of medical treatment. He does not believe that diabetes is an incurable disease. He has helped many diabetics get off insulin reversing their diagnoses.
The second myth, is that diabetes is a disease of abnormal glucose levels for which increasing doses of insulin is the answer. He argues that diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance with excessive insulin secretion, unlike Type 1, and that in prescribing insulin you are worsening the outcome for the individual. This is pretty revolutionary as most everyone I know who has developed type 2 diabetes has been prescribed insulin. As it turns out, insulin causes sugar cravings and leads to weight gain in most people further advancing their disease.
The protocol Dr. Fung recommends is a carbohydrate restricted, high fat diet with intermittent fasting and he is supported by many colleagues in this view point. His research has been based on the understanding that diabetes is caused by a hormonal imbalance and that irregular sugar levels are a symptom of this condition. Therefore, we must look at not just what increases our blood sugar levels but what increases our insulin levels and these are not always the same thing.
The hormones that drive weight gain are insulin and cortisol. These hormones create a body set weight that is too high and leads to weight gain and insulin resistance. An exaggerated insulin response to food makes you fat regardless of the foods you eat. Both of these hormones are key to carbohydrate metabolism which is why a diet low in carbohydrates is recommended.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is downloaded into our systems when we are in fight or flight mode or in a continual state of stress. It keeps our glucose and insulin levels high. High cortisol levels are due to poor eating habits, lack of sleep, toxins, technology, constant eating, etc.
Dr. Fung states, “Excess calories do not cause weight gain, so reduced calories do not fix it. Lack of exercise did not cause obesity, so increased exercise can not cure it.” The low fat, calorie reduced diet prescribed for years has been ineffective and has led to rising obesity rates and diabetes in our society. Again this goes against what most people, doctors and weight loss experts believe and prescribe for their patients. As it turns out all calories consumed are not equal and what you eat and when you eat it are of the utmost importance. We can therefore conclude that the “eat less, move more” strategy is ineffective for most people battling weight issues.
So what does work? How can we lose weight and control our insulin levels to prevent diabetes:
When I need a quick nourishing meal with lots of vegetables I often make this soup. I get my daily serving of bone broth, use up my odds and ends of vegetables and have a quick lunch for days to come (unless my family gets to it first). I used bone broth from Heritage Cattle Company, a Keene, Ontario farm and distributed through, truLocal, a high-end, locally sourced meat supplier that delivers right to your door. Buying local is very important and I love that their beef is both grass fed and finished. The both is made from pure ingredients with no preservatives, additives or MSG, and no gluten. They cook it for 24 hours which is required to get the maximum nutrients from the bones.
Studies show that bone broth is beneficial for many aspects of health including:
1. our immune system - bone broth contains essential amino acids such as glutamine, arginine and cysteine.
2. our gut health - it is soothing to the stomach and helps to heal leaky gut
3. it promotes weight loss- it is believed that the l-glutamine content fights inflammation and strengthens our bones and teeth. A cup a day keeps the doctor away. Add in a pile of vegetables and you have a recipe for good health.
4. relieves joint pain and osteoarthritis - especially if eaten with phytonutrient rich vegetables which aid collagen production.
Bone Broth Vegetable Soup
2 tbsp. avocado or coconut oil
1/2 cup of onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cubes, minced
1/2 cup broccoli, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup cauliflower, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 cup vegetables such as zucchini or asparagus
Handful of spinach or kale
1 can of beans, black beans, navy or cannellini
6 -8 cups of bone broth
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions, celery and garlic. Add in remaining vegetables except for spinach or kale. Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add beans and spinach or kale. Season with salt and pepper and any other spices you enjoy.
The liver is an amazing vital organ. It performs over 500 functions in the body and drives many of the critical systems in the body. It’s a power source, pharmacy, chemical factory and natural detoxification system and it works 24 hours a day.
Specifically, it is part of the digestive process: producing bile, providing us with energy, fighting
infections, influencing our immune function, helping our blood to cot, regulating our hormones, cleaning our blood, metabolizing everything we digest, regulating cholesterol and helping our bodies to absorb essential minerals and vitamins. The liver has to process everything we eat, drink, breath in and put on or near our body. The average women uses 34 products while getting ready in the morning many full of toxic substances that the liver has to process. For example, if you use perfume or cologne you are absorbing approximately 48 chemicals. If you eat processed food full of additives and preservatives you are putting a straining on your liver. If you eat non-organic food, unhealthy vegetable oils, or have a diet high in sugars and low in whole foods, you are putting your liver at risk every single day. If you are taking drugs, (over the counter, recreational or prescribed) and/or are partaking in alcoholic beverages you are putting your liver and health at risk. Our liver can only take so much. A recent study provides upsetting evidence of the damage being done to this vital organ. The UK study, presented evidence that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise among teenagers and young adults and is so bad many of the participants displayed fibrosis a precursor to cirrhosis. Fatty liver is a public health crisis and a manifestation of metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to many fatal health issues. Fatty liver is when an abundance of lipids or fats are found in the liver and is closely associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. It affects 20 to 40 per cent of the population. We are even seeing young children with liver disease due to poor diet and an abundance of sugar. . Symptoms of fatty liver disease are mild until the later stages so many people don’t
know they have it until it is its more dangerous stages. You might experience fatigue,mild abdominal discomfort, and maybe nausea. Some people experience weight loss and a decrease in appetite. Of course, jaundice and fluid build up are late stage symptoms and require immediate medical attention. Fatty liver can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and is linked to an increase in liver cancer.
The good news is that the liver is really, really good at rejuvenating itself so it is not too late to reverse liver damage as long as it is not to advanced. Here are some tips for improving your liver function:
* Reduce your use of over the counter pain pills. Tylenol contains acetametaphine which can
damage the liver. Don’t exceed recommended doses and never mix with alcohol. Other
prescription drugs are also dangerous. Speak to a health care professional.
* If you diabetic or prediabetic control your sugar levels by eating foods low on the glycemic
index. A low carbohydrate and a diet high in healthy fats can help. Fatty Liver Disease is not caused by good fats, it is a result of too much sugar and toxins.
* Avoid alcohol.
*Avoid sugar. (see previous posts)
*Avoid toxins especially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as BPA found in plastics, and
*Try a ketogenic or Mediterranean diet both high in healthy fats and detoxifying vegetables.
*Avoid packaged goods that contain refined vegetable oils, artificial foods, chemicals and
preservatives, sweeteners and dyes. Avoid pesticides and herbicides by buying organic. Factory farmed meats and fish should also be avoided.
* Foods that decrease inflammation while also aiding the body in the use of insulin are
recommended. These would be monounsaturated fats like olives, olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids- wild caught fish, chia seeds, and walnuts. Foods high in anti-oxidants particularly Vitamin E like sunflower seeds and almonds should be included in your diet as they help in the repair process. The liver loves bitter foods like arugula, mustard greens, dandelion, and artichokes.
* Drink green tea rich in catechins.
*Consider supplementing with vitamins E, C, and D. Garlic, cinnamon, ginger, quercetin,
curcumin, prebiotics and probiotics help keep inflammation at bay, aid digestion and help with insulin resistance all important to rejuvenate the liver.
Incorporate some of these tips for caring for your liver into your life and your liver will thank you for many years to come. Never take your liver for granted.
The average person consumes too many carbs and sugars in their diet resulting in a roller coaster ride for our blood sugar levels and changing moods and energy levels. Most people don't worry about their blood sugar levels unless they have diabetes but monitoring blood sugar is important as type 2 diabetes just doesn't happen overnight, it appears after years of inconsistent blood sugar levels. This inconsistency leads to a host of health issues before you even get to diabetes and complications from diabetes are serious risk factors to longevity.
Some of the problems that result from elevated blood sugar are:
1. Nutrient Deficiencies - prevents the small intestine from absorbing nutrients such as vitamin C, D, calcium, magnesium, and chromium.
2. Energy High and Lows - high sugar foods lead to a surge of energy and then a crash. Often people use more sugar or carbs to" keep going" and an endless roller coaster ride ensues.
3. Weakens Blood Vessels and Organs - hardening of the arteries is caused by sugar which causes inflammation. Lack of oxygen and blood flow due to hardened blood vessels result in compromised organs, heart disease, eye sight issues and amputations.
4. Brain Strain -sugar consumption has been linked to brain fog, dementia, Alzheimer's, impaired cognitive ability, depression and mental health disorders.
5. Hormone Imbalances - everything we consume influences our hormones and the glands that are producing them such as the pituitary and thyroid glands.
6. Adrenal Gland Destruction - high blood sugar leads to chronically high cortisol levels putting us in a constant state of stress.
7. Fatty Liver - the liver performs 500 functions, and sugar regulation is a main function. Liver disease is rampant in our society due to high carb food, processed foods and toxins.
8. Pancreatic Stress - resulting in an inability of the pancreas to make insulin.
9. Hypoglycemia - when blood sugar levels drop resulting in fatigue, jittery feeling, trouble sleeping, mood disorders and infertility.
10. Hyperglycemia - excessive sugar intake leads to extremely high blood sugar.
11. Prediabetes - insulin resistance comes with many of the complications of diabetes such as weight gain, fatigue, slow healing, joint pain, thyroid problems and much more.
12. Metabolic Syndrome - when cells are unresponsive to insulin resulting in a host of health conditions such as heart disease. Usually diagnosed by excess belly fat.
type 1 and 2 diabetes have become a major health crisis. High blood sugar levels interrupt all functions in our bodies including endocrine function, immune function, cardiovascular function and our ability to detoxify. Therefore, management of sugar levels are vital to our survival. Aside from cutting sugar out of our diet and incorporating a low carbohydrate diet, we can also add foods that aid in blood sugar regulation. Each food contains vitamins or minerals which aid in blood sugar regulation, act as insulins would, or play a role in hormone activity.
Adding these foods into your diet is a positive step to regulating your blood sugar. Taking supplements such as chromium, or cinnamon, reducing stress levels, being in the parasympathetic nervous state for part of your day and getting a good nights sleep are also important.
I hope you now understand the importance of avoiding diabetes and all its complications. Take action now and you will reap the benefits into your old age.
Our bodies need bugs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, archea) to exist. These bugs, referred to as our microbiome, are a complex composition of creatures that effect our immune system, and our ability to absorb nutrients,. Declining gut bacteria are linked to increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and depression in our society.
As the levels of healthy microbiome in our stomachs have plummeted the rates of illness have soared in society. So what is destroying our microbiome?
1. the use of Antibiotics (an atom bomb for the bug culture)
2. our diet - every little thing we put in our mouths effects our microbiome
3. an increase in the pH levels of our stomach acid or low stomach acid
4. the introduction of processed and refined foods
5. pasteurization and the sanitizing of our environment and food.
So what are we to do? The food industry has certainly jumped in to help solve our problems by providing us with probiotics and fermented foods. The shelves are full of yogurt, kimchi, fermented vegetables, etc. but not all contain enough bacteria to alter our gut health. Some bacteria in these products stay in our body, but most are just passing through. Of course, as they pass through they do eat, metabolize and excrete on their journey and this process does alter our microbiome but how much is questionable.
Fermented foods are similiar. Most commercial products don't contain enough bacteria, or the right strains of bacteria to alter our gut biome. Hint: only buy fermented products from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. If it is not refrigerated it probably doesn"t contain enough bacteria.
The most important reason probiotics and fermented foods aren't the total answer to digestive health is because our bodies might not be good "hosts" to the invited bacteria. In other words, there is no good food for the bacteria to feed off of so they leave.
By changing our diet to include more fiber or prebiotics we can assist the probiotics and help them become more effective. It turns out that not only does fiber keep us regular and help control our blood sugar, it is what the microbiome like to feast on. Studies indicate that the average person only consumes 10 to 15 percent of the necessary fiber in our diet. And societies that are based on a high fiber diet have less disease and illness. including mental illness.
Foods high in fiber are difficult for our bodies to digest so the microbiome love to feast on them. And conversely, if we have a diet devoid of fiber, the microorganisms will turn to eating us. This results in gut rot which leads to a host of digestive issues, food allergies and a weakened immune system.
To have a healthy microbiome we need to introduce fiber rich, prebiotic foods into our diets such as:
1. Chicory root - contains inulin which nourishes the gut bacteria, improves digestion,
and helps relieve constipation. Also increases bile production which
helps with fat digestion.
2. Garlic, onions and leeks - contain both inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and
promotes growth of good bacteria and prevents bad
bacteria from growing.
3. Asparagus - promotes gut bacteria, is high in antioxidants, and may help prevent
4. Bananas - are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unripe bananas are high in
resistant starch which has prebiotic effects.
5. Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes - are showing up at markets more often because
they are full of health benefits. High in fiber,
and inulin they increase friendly bacteria in
These are just a few of my favourite prebiotic foods that contain the special types of fiber that support digestive health and work with your probiotics to improve your immune system and prevent certain diseases. 'Try them today and your gut will thank you!
This soup never made my book, Fight Fire with Food (which is coming soon) but is so delicious and contains tarragon which is a very healing spice. The plant is used to treat digestion, increase appetite, prevent water retention, can help with tooth pain, and promotes sleep. I love the taste and look of tarragon and it is so easy to grow in your garden or on your windowsill. Zucchini has many health benefits as well. Interesting fact: botanically, zucchini is a fruit. Like tarragon it also aids in digestion, is loaded with nutrients, is high in water content and in fiber. This summer squash is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. For those with blood sugar issues, it is good to know that zucchini lowers your blood sugar levels, due to its high fiber content. Also good for heart health, eye health, weight loss, thyroid and adrenal functions. It almost sounds too good to be true! It is so easy to grow in your garden but don't plant it next to a watermelon plant as they will cross pollinate and you will get a watermelon looking zucchini that is tough in the center. True story. Hope you enjoy this recipe. Picture by Kelly Reeve, kellyreevephotography.
Zucchini Soup with Fresh Tarragon
4 large zucchinis, diced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil
1 small shallot, diced
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
4 tablespoons (60 ml) slivered almonds, for garnish
1 teaspoon (5 ml) finely chopped fresh tarragon
Fresh lemon zest
Cook the zucchini in a large skillet over medium heat with the coconut oil, shallot, sea salt, and pepper, until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken broth and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until soup is warm throughout. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Divide into serving bowls and serve warm, garnished with almonds, tarragon and lemon zest.
Every day that I study our bodies, and its relationship to food I learn something new. Hippocrates said nearly 2500 years ago that, “all disease begins in the gut”. All aspects of our health depend on good digestion and yet its importance is often underestimated by many people. The gastrointestinal system contain more health determining bacteria than any other part of our body. It not only digests our foods, it effects our immune system, metabolism and inflammation levels. This week I would like to share some interesting facts and tips on how to improve your digestion and deal with “leaky gut”. Here are some interesting facts about digestion:
* Satiation is a major clue in letting us know whether we are well nourished or absorbing nutrients efficiently. Hungry all the time? No appetite at all? Your body is talking to you.
* Do you feel bloated, have gas or indigestion after eating? Conversely, having no desire to eat means that food sits in your stomach for too long- a sign of low stomach acid. 90 per cent of
people have too low stomach acid so those antacids you are popping are not the answer and
could be making your situation worse.
* Symptoms of low or high acid are the same. Reflux happens when food stays in the stomach too long, due to a weak cardiac sphincter. The food comes back up the esophagus. Antacids do
more harm than good, causing the food to sit in your stomach even longer. Long term they
deplete your body of nutrients and have a host of unpleasant side effects.
* Low stomach acid may be the result of stress, excessive carbohydrates, allergies, alcohol use,
carbonated beverages, and nutrient deficiencies especially zinc and B6.
* Optimal digestion can only happen when you are in a parasympathetic state, relaxed, stress free and focused on eating. Wow, I see a big problem here with our present day, eat on the run way of life. And where multi-tasking is often the norm.
* Digestion begins in your brain when you begin thinking of food.
* The production of stomach acid is reliant on a hormone called gastrin which is created in the stomach. Stomach acids are necessary to break down food, and protect you from parasites and bad bacteria. We need our stomach acids to be between 1.5 and 3 on the pH scale. So we need stomach acids to break down protein and conversely too much protein and too little acid will result in undigested food hanging around in your gut causing irritation and inflammation in the lining of the stomach, and this is why too much protein isn’t good for us.
* We get a new stomach lining every 21 days. There is hope!
* Carbs are digested in the mouth, proteins in the stomach and fats in the duodenum, the first and shortest part of the small intestine.
* People with optimal gut health should poop two snakes (S shaped) a day!
* Toxic stress can also negatively effect our ability to digest. Polluted air, perfumes, toxic
exposure all inhibit our saliva production and the production of salivary amylase. When this
happens those carbohydrates that are supposed to be broken down in the mouth instead work
there way down the digestive tract and begin to ferment. Here comes gas and bloating!
* The top threats to your gut microbiome are: stress, a poor diet of processed foods, refined
grains and sugars, contraceptives, and overuse of antibiotics and other drugs.
* The top consequences of poor digestion are stomach ulcers, autoimmune diseases, mental
illness but lesser but still serious are also caused by poor gut biome such as ear and yeast
infections, nail fungus, hormonal imbalances, eczema and acne. Also, without a sufficient
amount of acids you cannot absorb calcium and magnesium both which help the heart muscle
contract. So there is a connection between digestion and heart issues. (More on this in a future blog).
* Good bacteria in your gut produce important B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and
cobalamin (B12). And 90 per cent of serotonin is produced by good bacteria in the gut.
* We need to eat foods that create an environment for bacteria to grow. These prebiotics feed the microbes in the gut. Eat low sugar fruits such as berries, vegetables such as dark leafy
greens, herbs and spices, and dark chocolate.
* Probiotics may be necessary to get your microbiome in good working order especially if you
have had your appendix removed ( a bacteria generator) or if antibiotics have been taken.
* Fiber rich foods helps control blood sugar levels and prevent constipation.
Improve your digestion and you improve your health. All aspects of your life! Keep tuning in for more help in improving your digestion. And keep eating healthy vegetables and greens! Please share.
Wildly popular is the low carb diet and for good reason. Simple carbohydrates, nutrients that are
composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, are high on the glycemic index and having been getting a lot of attention lately as the cause of most of our health issues. Simple carbs are fruits and fruit juices, table sugar, corn syrups, and all foods that are refined and processed. Simple carbs are addicting and result in constant feelings of hunger and cravings that never seem to go away. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have fiber in them such as greens, squash, broccoli and are low on the glycemic index and have considerably less impact on our blood sugar. Many diets recommend 60 per cent of your diet be composed of carbs. The proponents of these diets are living in the past where sugar was glorified and fat demonized. These recommendations have led to the demise of our health and well-being. It is carbohydrates that have led to our obesity epidemic, crisis in health due to nutrient deficiencies, fatty liver disease and diabetes. In fact, when people rely on carbs to get their nutrition their deficient bodies will pull nutrients from their bones to get what they need. It may be surprising to you, that our bodies are composed of only 2 per cent carbohydrates and inside the human body there is only one teaspoon of glucose. These facts alone should make one realize that overloading the body with carbs just doesn’t make sense. Another fact is that if you didn’t eat any carbs your body could make sugar on its own, converting some of the protein and fats you consume, to glucose.
One way to check how your body reacts to carbs is to use a glucometer. This is the same device
diabetics use to test their blood sugar. You can do your own experiment by testing blood sugar before and after eating a carbohydrate to see how your body responds and what you can tolerate. If blood sugar takes a big spike you’re body may not be tolerating sugars well and these foods should be avoided to prevent becoming diabetic.
Some points to consider regarding eating carbohydrates:
* Healthy carbs like leafy green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, and berries can provide a
quick fuel source, are full of fiber, help lubricate our joints and feed our good gut bacteria.
* Try to eat as many colours of vegetables when in season and eat local and organic when
* If you can tolerate some carbs eat whole fruits versus juices. If you are diabetic think of fruit as natures candy and avoid it. Like vegetables eat fruit low in sugar , in season and organic.
Strawberries are excellent for you but buy organic as most are full of pesticides.
* If you add a healthy fat to your fruit it will blunt the effect of the sugar. Strawberries and
whipped cream anyone!
* All sugars even “healthy sugars” are sugar to our bodies. It can’t tell the difference between
white sugar and honey. They are equally high on the glycemic index. They may have other
nutrient benefits but if you have carbohydrate intolerance you need to avoid them all, even my
favourite, maple syrup.
* Incorporate fermented foods into your diet to replenish your intestines with good healthy
bacteria and help you absorb minerals properly. Only buy fermented foods that are found in the
refrigerated section of your grocery store and introduce them slowly to avoid gas and bloating.
In conclusion, we now know that healthy fats are good for us and we need to limit our carbs particularly those refined sugary types. I recommend a gradual approach to eliminating carbs to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms that often mimic the flu. Sugar is like a drug and it is one that does a lot of damage to our body and our brains so we all need to make this change.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.