It is well known that the Western diet/Standard American Diet (SAD) are high in processed carbohydrates (especially sugar) which results in gastrointestinal and systemic inflammation. This further contributes to the development of increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) which can lead to all kind of diseases and imbalances (allergies, autoimmune diseases, blood sugar imbalances, obesity etc). By eating refined carbohydrates and not enough fiber we feed the pathogenic bacteria and fungi (especially those higher up in the digestive tract). By eating complex carbohydrates with fiber, we feed the beneficial bacteria in the lower part of the gut.
High carb diet also favors weight gain. Excess carbs are stored as fat.
Now let’s explore a low carbohydrate diet.
Low carb diets have been popular on and off since the dawn of the Atkins fame (and maybe even earlier?). But, what exactly defines low carb? Does eating this way actually help with weight loss? Are there any other health benefits to eating fewer carbs?
What is a carb?
A carb, or carbohydrate, is one of our three main macronutrients. Carbs, along with protein and fat that are needed for optimal health in quantities larger than vitamins and minerals which are micronutrients.
Carbohydrates come in three main types:
Sugars are the smallest (molecule) carb. There are many different kinds of sugars, beyond the well-known table sugar (sucrose) or fruit sugar (fructose).
Starches are longer chains of many sugars bound together. Starches are broken down by our digestive enzymes into sugars. These sugars are then absorbed and metabolized in much the same way as if we ate sugar itself.
Fiber, on the other hand, is also a long chain of sugars, but these are not broken down by our digestive enzymes. Fiber passes through our system, feeds our friendly gut bacteria, and then takes food waste out the other end.
Because fiber isn’t digested like sugars and starches, it’s often excluded from the carb calculation.
How we metabolize carbs
When we eat carbs, our body absorbs the broken down sugar into our blood, thus raising our blood sugar. Depending on how high and fast our blood sugar rises, our body releases insulin to tell our cells to absorb that sugar out of our blood and use it as energy now or store it for later.
This is part of the theory as to why eating low carb diets may help with weight loss – by preventing the release of insulin, thus preventing the storage of excess calories.
But, our bodies are a bit more complicated than that!
Low carb for weight loss?
Yes, our bodies are burning fat more efficiently than sugar (carbs). While burning sugar a lot of free radicals are created. Low carb diet helps with insulin balancing (insulin resistance).
A few studies recently put low carb diets head-to-head against low-fat diets for weight loss.
How many carbs is low carb?
There isn’t one single definition.
The average American eats about 300 g of carbs per day. Some people consider eating under 250 g of carbs per day to be the first threshold of a low carb diet. That’s really not that low in carbs, it’s lower carb, rather than low carb. Plus, if you’re new to cutting carbs, this level is easy to maintain and a good start (if you want to cut your carbs).
Taking that a step further, eating about 50 g per day of carbs is considered a typical low carb diet.
On the extreme side, eating less than 50 g of carbs per day is considered to be very low carb – it falls under the ketogenic diet range. Eating so few carbs can actually change your metabolism into a ketogenic state. That means we are burning fat for energy (fat burner vs. sugar burner).
Other health benefits of low carb diets
Low carb diets have the benefit of preserving muscle mass during weight loss. They can also improve heart health biomarkers like cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Not to mention that eating fewer carbs can improve how our bodies manage those carbs in terms of insulin and fasting blood sugar levels.
There can definitely be some non-weight-loss health benefits to eating fewer carbs!
Eating a low carb diet can be healthy, as long as it contains enough of all the essential nutrients. Some people may lose weight by eating fewer carbs, and others won’t.
Low carb diets can help to improve how the body manages blood lipids and blood sugar, so it can be a healthy choice for some people.
As with most things in nutrition, there isn’t a one size fits all rule. Low carb diets can be a good choice for many people, but it’s not the magic bullet that some people claim.
What about you – have you tried (or do you currently) eat low carb? How many carbs do you eat per day? Have you had any great (or not so great) health effects from it? Let me know in the comments below.
Low Carb Baked “Breaded” Chicken
2 pounds chicken drumsticks
½ cup almond flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp rosemary or thyme
½ tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 450F. Cover a large baking dish with parchment paper. In a large food storage bag, combine all ingredients except chicken. Place a couple of pieces of chicken in the bag and shake until coated. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Place chicken on a lined dish and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn over and bake 15 minutes longer. Ensure the internal temperature of chicken reaches 165F.
Serve & enjoy!
I opened up a few spots for strategy sessions. Let’s have a virtual latte and create the roadmap to radiant health for you. Just click on the link to schedule https://my.timetrade.com/book/6ZDTG
To your radiant health, with love,
During the hot summer days we reach for a refreshing cold drink. It really feels great for a dehydrated and overheated body to cool down with a glass of cold water or lemonade.
Everyone will agree with that. Right?
Unfortunately, the problem is that most of the refreshing drinks (juices, teas, lemonades, sodas) are high is sugar or have artificial sweeteners (the bad ones). If someone tries to lose weight it makes sense to drink a zero-calorie drink. After all it doesn’t have sugar, so it won’t impact our blood sugar levels. Right? Yes and no. Here are some facts.
Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners negatively impact our health. Researchers were astonished to discover that regular drinkers of diet soda were three timesmore likely to develop stroke and dementia. Consuming artificial sweeteners has also been linked to higher rates of depression, kidney damage, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, headaches and migraines, hyperthyroidism, lupus, brain tumors, low blood sugar, and cardiovascular disease!
When we consume diet or sugar-free products, the zero-calorie artificial sweeteners play tricks on our taste buds and on your brain. Your brain senses sweetness, and our bodies expect the calories that usually follow with the sweet signal. Studies show your body can still produce an insulin spike, hence the relationship between sugar-free sweeteners and diabetes.
Another large contributor to the dangers of artificial sweeteners is the effect that they have on the gut microbiome. Artificial sweeteners disturb the bacteria in your gut, which can cause glucose intolerance even in healthy people.
Where can you find artificial sweeteners?
- Diet soda
- Sugar-free desserts (ice cream, sugar-free baked goods)
- Low-sugar/Sugar-free fruit juice
- Flavored water
- Diet iced tea
- Flavored coffee syrups
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Salad dressing
- Packaged Meats
- Sugar-free gum and mints
- Sports and nutrition bars
- Meal replacement shakes and snacks
- Sports drinks
- Sugar-free candy
As you can see, they are everywhere.
So being mindful and reading labels will empower us to make right decisions and keep our focus on our health. How many times we act like in a “hypnotic state” reaching to the nearest “thing” without realizing what damage we are doing to our health. Been there, done that.
Can we quench our thirst the healthy way? Absolutely!!!
Here are the healthy sweeteners:
- Monk fruit
- Coconut palm sugar
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
Just to clarify a few things. If you struggle with insulin resistance you have to be careful some of natural sweeteners. Example dates. They are high in fructose and will cause insulin spike. In that case best bet would be Stevia (powder or drops).
Here are a few tips for healthy cool summer drinks:
- Home-made ice tea
- Flavored water
- Sparkling water (plain or added natural flavor; mint leaves, a few slices of berries or lemon)
- Natural ginger ale (if you are adventurous enough to ferment ginger. More is coming soon on this topic)
- Iced coffee (healthy one; meaning organic coffee with full fat coconut milk or MCT oil)
If you have some great ideas, I would like to hear from you.
One of my favorite summer drinks is homemade kombucha mixed with hibiscus tea. It’s so delicious.
I know, I know…not everyone brews kombucha. I am including a great recipe with strawberries (low glycemic) so everyone can enjoy!!!
1 lbs organic strawberries
8 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Stevia
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!!
You may garnish with slices of strawberries, lemons or herbs to your liking.
You know how nice it feels to drive your car home after getting a tune up? The oil is squeaky clean, the fluids have been topped off, windshield wipers have been changed, tire pressure is at that perfect level, and it’s been washed inside and out? Well, just like our cars need a tune up, a seasonal detox allows our bodies to become shiny and new again too. It allows our body to reboot our metabolism, boost our immunity, clears the cobwebs from our minds, gives our skin a chance to glow, and allows us to lose weight effortlessly.
Are you afraid that it will be too hard or that maybe you aren’t worth it? I know for a fact that you ARE worth it, because I know deep down you are just like me. You want to be happy. You want to feel energetic, vibrant, and full of joy. Do you remember what that feels like? You can be confident in the fact that you are worth it. You are enough! AND, I will be with you every step of the way supporting you, answering your questions, and cheering you on, because I know you can do this.
Maybe a little fear comes up for you at the thought of not being able to eat your favorite foods.
Are you concerned about giving up your daily coffee, chocolate, or evening cocktails perhaps?
Are you afraid I’m going to make you drink juice and smoothies all day?
Maybe you think that you will feel hungry or deprived. No worries, my friend, because I’ve created this detox so you can pick which level of detox adventure you want to go on. Having all these feelings are natural, but you know what is not natural? Feeling like we have to constantly count calories, not eat any fat, and go around in circles from one diet to the next. The thought of doing that for the rest of my life sounds just plain exhausting!
There is no reason to be scared because you will NOT feel deprived. We are going to keep it simple and eat wholesome, nourishing foods. The only thing you have to lose is some unwanted poundage, dark circles and puffiness under your eyes, and that feeling of lethargy that has been dragging you down. You will discover your blueprint for the foods that work for your unique body.
I have everything you will need: a step-by-step guide, the recipes, a shopping list and meal planner, as well as a transition recipe packet & food diary. I will be with you every step of the way with daily e-mail support and to cheer you on.
Register now and change your life forever!
“Fasting is the greatest remedy –the physician within.”
For a decade or more, fasting, cleanses, and detox diets were all the rage. Nutritionists and medical professionals downplayed the benefits, but today research shows that periodic fasting can be useful for a wide range of issues from weight loss to mitigating the effects of chemotherapy. Recent studies suggest that a three day fast may even regenerate the entire immune system. Not only is fasting good for the body, it can have profound effects in many areas of our lives.
Fasting for the body
The human body is capable of miraculous feats of healing and regeneration. Fasting jump-starts the body’s healing capabilities, and though there is no one-size-fits-all prescription, nearly any ailment may show improvement after a fast. Fasting appears to be particularly beneficial for asthma, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, skin conditions, digestive disorders, and even cardiovascular disease. Modern eating habits keep our bodies in a constant state of overload, and fasting allows the body to catch up and begin to clear out built-up toxins.
Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, may promote weight loss; but more than that it creates a break in eating patterns, allowing us to take a step back and take a clear look at our relationship with food. Clarifying why we eat what we do, and when, can help create new and healthy patterns.
Fasting for the mind
Fasting promotes focus and clarity of mind. On a more physical level, there is even evidence that it may protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression, and against age-related degenerative brain diseases.
Fasting can also help improve concentration, reduce anxiety levels, and promote better sleep. One of the perils of modern life is feeling the need to rush through everything; fasting allows us to slow down, focus inward, examine our motivations and responses and recalibrate our minds along with our bodies. Old patterns or blockages may be more easily released or reshaped.
Fasting for the spirit
Nearly every spiritual practice advocates some form of fasting. Because it teaches us to focus inward, it demands that we become quiet and listen. Fasting is akin to a physical form of meditation. When we become still and listen, when we quiet the chatter of the body and the mind, we are able to subtly separate ourselves from mundane reality, and become attuned to higher realms. Meditation or prayer become easier, messages or guidance received clearer. Balance becomes attainable.
Fasting can be a tool for transformation, both physical and psychological. For body, mind, and spirit, it may truly be the simplest and the greatest remedy.