BRANDI – Thank you so much for your expertise and contribution! Stay tuned for next Monday’s post – I will be interviewing Brandi and getting a few more tidbits for the month of January! Show her some love by tuning in!
Sugar, Simple Carbs, and Hormones
We all know that sugar/simple carbs are “bad” for us, why else would there be such a large variety of sugar and carb alternatives? But why are they so bad for us? Besides adding inches to our waists and pound to the scale, sugar and simple carbs can cause a host of physiological responses that can eventually lead to chronic illness, obesity, and type two diabetes. When we consume sugar or simple carbs, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. This reaction is primarily to remove the sugar from the blood and put it either in the cells of the muscle or the liver where the sugar can be stored as energy. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body are no longer sensitive to the insulin and the high levels of sugars stay in the blood stream. This can you lead to vision loss, hearing loss, gum disease, and high blood pressure. Once insulin resistance happens, the pancreas continues to produce the hormone despite the lack of sensitivity, making it harder for us to digest carbs and absorb nutrients. Yikes! We need those nutrients to feel good! The pancreas will eventually become exhausted and cease the production of insulin, leaving high levels of sugar in the blood; this is type two diabetes, and a lifestyle related disease. Type two diabetes puts us at risk for further weight gain, thyroid problems, and several types of cancer. UGH, all from sugar and simple carbs.
As if this wasn’t dire enough, the downward spiral continues. Metabolic syndrome, which is a group of metabolic risk factors appearing together, (such as abdominal obesity, diabetes, high level of triglycerides, and high blood pressure) are caused by chronically high levels of sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia). The more of these metabolic risk factors we have the higher the risk of heart disease and stroke to occur. Hyperglycemia experienced chronically can eventually halt thyroid production and even destroy the thyroid gland leading us further down the road of sickness to autoimmune diseases.
Here is why that matters to you and I. 29 million Americans have type two diabetes, one in four of those diabetics, do not know they have the disease. An additional 1.4 million are diagnosed with it every year. These are intense numbers and can be blamed for the health care crisis we are experiencing in our country. So chances are that if this disease is not affecting you personally you probably know and love and least one person who suffers from it.
Metabolic diseases are predicted to be the cause of our impending health care bankruptcy. This is mind blowing to me. A lifestyle and dietary related group of diseases have become such an epidemic and yet very few doctors are talking about preventing it through making healthier choices. The mentality seems to be that of, making the same choices that got us sick while taking prescriptions to do the damage control. An example:
I was in Walgreens awhile back, I was in the supplement isle just checking out what they had available. To my left is the frozen food section where three ladies stood picking out some Ben and Jerry’s. I heard one lady say to her friends “That’s what the insulin is for”. They then turned towards me and began to walk to the pharmacy. My face must have said it all (never been good at hiding my feelings) the ladies walked by me with a look of guilt, though I mustered a smile for them as they passed.
My Grandmother use to say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This rings truer now than the first time I heard her say it! So how do we prevent metabolic syndromes? It has everything to do with those 10 inches from your plate to your mouth. Abstaining from simple carbs such as white flour products (bread, pasta, white rice, and tortillas) and replacing them with sprouted whole grain products is the first place you can start reducing your blood sugar levels. Whole grain carbs (and sprouted whole grain even better) are less refined, contain more fiber, have more nutrients, and take longer to break down during digestion. This means that your blood sugar levels do not spike and then drop rapidly. Instead it’s a slower more usable form of energy that promotes being fuller longer and curbing craving for sweets later on. Please read your labels because they are sneaking sugar into everything. I remember looking for a loaf of bread that had no added sugar and out 30 brands of bread I found two with no added sugar. My favorite is Ezekiel sprouted breads, the cinnamon raisin is delicious. My wife and I like to enjoy homemade pasta made from whole grain heirloom wheat. Sure it takes longer and I have to work a little harder, but man is it yummy!
How to avoid Metabolic Syndrome
Avoid sugar, syrups, and candy. American sweet treats have become tainted with processed sugar and other harmful ingredients that save the manufacturer money while putting your health at risk; this should piss you off because it is all about their bottom line financially while your health and well-being is not taken into consideration. Get mad! My wife and I also like to make our own chocolate sweetened with raw honey (not the honey you find in the cute little teddy bear bottle). I have never binged on these chocolates the way I have main stream chocolates. I have a couple pieces and I’m satisfied. Please email me for the recipe. Fruit and dried fruit (without added sugar) are great ways to curb a sweet tooth. Dates are one of my favorites to snack on with some cashews. There are lots of alternatives out there, get curious and look for them.
Take a cinnamon supplement. Cinnamon is widely known and used for its ability to lower your blood sugar and help it maintain an even keeled demeanor. When we are free of blood sugar spiking and blood sugar drops we crave less sugary foods and are more in control of our choices. We stay fuller longer and have more sustained energy throughout the day.
Get moving! What kind of Personal Trainer would I be if I didn’t mention the oodles and oodles of benefits to moving your butt!?! Exercise can, and will decrease blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure. Exercise increases your self-confidence and fires up the metabolism. Exercise improves serotonin levels in your brain giving you a heightened sense of feeling good. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety so if you like to eat your emotions this can relieve you of causation. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins in your brain, a feel good chemical that comes with sustained movement. The better you feel emotionally the less likely you will binge on unhealthy foods so exercise is as much for your mental wellbeing as your physical. You don’t have to run out and join a cross fit gym, 60 minutes of walking most or all the days of the week will give you all of the above listed benefits and all you need is your walking shoes for that!
With any nutritional program I recommend for healing, I encourage you to eat whole (organic if possible) foods. This means you will be doing more cooking from scratch. Whole foods are minimally processed foods that remain in or are close to their original state. Eating the majority of your calories from the plant based food group will not only nourish your body but will inspire vitality and energy in your body so that you can continue being a bad ass in your life without the struggle of fatigue and hormone imbalance. Fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, lean proteins, beans and lentils, seed like grains, and whole grains should be the foundation of a healthy diet, keeping in mind the 90-10 rule. 90% of your diet clean and pure and 10% wiggle room for “treats”.
Finding the nutritional program that makes you feel your best can be a continual process. Keep an open mind, try new things, learn how to cook from scratch, and visit local farmers markets and health food stores. Be creative and have fun with the food you prepare and consume, you can do this, I believe in you!
Thanks for taking the time to hear a little of my story. Please feel free to message me on Facebook any comments, questions, or inspirational shares. You can check out my website at www.TigerTrainingTemple.com. Follow me on Instagram BranditheTiger.
Want more? I am offering free 20 minute Health History Consultations, there is no obligation, and the consultation is simply a tool to help you understand where to focus for positive change in your health.
Thank you so much!
Brandi Mahan – 619-756-2931