Don’t fear carbs… get to know them (glycemic load)

potato  

If you’ve never heard of the glycemic index and glycemic load, then this article is going to forever change your relationship with the carbohydrate containing foods you eat… in a good way!

 

This impacts general health, weight management, and type 2 diabetes.

 

Before I get into it, I want you to understand that you don’t have to know the exact values to benefit from this. Just a basic understanding will most likely shift many of your daily food choices, and that can make all the difference.

 

I don’t know about you, but I need at least a little “why” before I’m willing to put any effort in.

 

Insulin is a master metabolic hormone whose main job is to keep our blood sugar levels in a safe range, but it does so much more. It also has a lot of say in whether we are burning fat or making fat... and whether we are breaking down cholesterol or producing it.

 

When we eat carbs, our blood sugar levels increase. An appropriate amount of insulin is released...

Test for Insulin Resistance at Home

glucometer  

Last weeks article ran a little long, so I’m going to make it up to you and make this one pretty short.

 

Before we dive into the test, it’s important to note that there are several other markers that can be used to help you and your doctor understand how you may be managing sugar (fasting glucose, cholesterol, cholesterol/triglyceride ratio, insulin, c-peptide, and HA1c). The following test is quick, cheap, and will tell you much more about the way you are currently managing sugar than any single blood test.

 

Disclaimer: Please talk to your doctor before taking this test at home.

 

The test is called the glucose tolerance test and it’s dead simple. All you are really doing is drinking some sugar and charting how your body is managing your blood sugar levels over a 2 hour period. What could be easier than that?

 

What you’ll need

  1. Glucometer - It’s the device diabetics use to monitor their blood sugar. You can get one at the drugstore or Walmart for around $15-20.

  2. 8 test...

How to resist insulin resistance… be sensitive to insulin sensitivity

meditationDemonstrating how easy it is to increase insulin sensitivity by de-stressing

Last week we talked about the main cause of insulin resistance (consuming too much sugar) ,and some of the health risks associated with it. If you missed it, here’s the link.

 

What I failed to touch on last week is just how insane this problem is. As of 2011, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, that’s 8.3%... and 79 million have prediabetes, which is over 25% of us! These numbers are rising quickly and are guaranteed to be worse today. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of the problem, which means that the vast majority of diabetes is within our control.

 

Below we will look at several things that have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity (decrease insulin resistance). Going into a lot of detail on each of the following points would have made this article too long to digest in one sitting.

 

Sugar / Fructose

We covered a lot of this in the first article. One of the best things...

Insulin, an 1825% Increase in Sugar, and You

factory
A basic understanding of the role insulin plays in the body will demystify and change your relationship with the foods you eat, especially sugar. Everyone knows they should eat fewer carbs and most have some idea about things like insulin, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes… yet there’s a disconnect.  

While there is an amazingly elegant cascade of chemical and cellular reactions that allows insulin to do what it does, we will benefit much more from understanding what it does rather than how it does it.

 

I like to think of the body as a massive factory. The blood vessels are the hallways, the organs are departments, the cells are the rooms within the departments where all the real work gets done, and insulin are the workers responsible for managing the fuel supply. Insulin has several responsibilities, but for the sake of this discussion, we are going to focus on three of them.

 
  1. Keep the glucose fuel at the right level in the hallways

  2. Maintain a steady supply of...

13 Ways To Support Your Heart (only unlucky if you don’t read this)

heart

Unlucky 13?  Nope, the folks that ignore this list are the unlucky ones.  Even if you just pick one or two of these to focus on right now, your heart will thank you.

 

Dark Chocolate

Flavanols in cocoa have been shown to decrease blood pressure, make our blood platelets less sticky, and increase blood flow to the heart and brain.  (enjoy some real dark chocolate… no, not the stuff in your kids Halloween bag)

 

Magnesium

A major study that looked at 7,664 people over 10.5 years found that those with the lowest levels of urinary magnesium were 70% more like to die from heart disease.  Good food sources include: spinich, kale, kelp, almonds, brown rice, flaxseeds, beens, avocado, walnuts, salmon, yogurt, bananas, and dark chocolate.  (get at least 400mg per day)

 

Stress

The mind-body connection is not just some treehugger talk.  Stress has very real effects on our body and body chemistry.  Stress can increase cortisol levels, raise blood pressure, disrupt sleep, and increase insulin resistance.  Did you know that...

Your great great great great great grandmother would like you to eat…

Sauerkraut
This topic itself seems sort of boring on the surface… like mildly interesting, with a “so what” aftertaste. Talking about water feels that way, but there’s nothing “so what” about water,  just go a day or 2 without it. What I’m saying is; please stick around a bit and see if we can’t turn this seemly “so what” into a “holy crap”.  

Whether it’s vitamin D, multi-vitamins, probiotics, you name it, I’m always asked “Why is this  so important NOW? People have been living without supplements and other newage treehugger garbage for thousands of years. So why should we care now?”. Creationists and evolutionists can both agree that we haven’t changed much over the last couple thousand years. What has changed drastically is what we eat.

 

To really drive this point home, let’s imagine one of our ancestors living 300 years ago. If you’re familiar with your heritage, then you can imagine what foods they might have had available, how they were stored, and how they were prepared. Now that you’re...

9 Tips For A Healthier Thyroid

Kelp
1. Eggs and Raw Milk (eat)

Is it still taboo to talk about raw milk? I love it and both eggs and raw milk contain iodine.

 

2. Sea Vegetables (eat)

Kelp and dulse are both high in iodine and other nutrients. Your thyroid would like you to eat these on a regular basis.

 

3. Butter (eat)

Butter get’s a bad rap, but it’s high in vitamin A and iodine… and the thyroid loves both.

 

4. Coconut Oil (eat)

Polyunsaturated fats from many of our cooking oils can negatively affect the function of the thyroid gland by blocking thyroid hormone secretion, and affects how tissues react to the hormone. Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride that may benefit the thyroid, but at the very least, it’s a healthy replacement for vegetable cooking oils.

 

5. Cruciferous Vegetables (limit or avoid)

Foods like kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts contain goitrogens.  Goitrogens = goitrogenic = goiters. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid and that can disrupt normal function. It’s not that...

Skin: Take Control of Premature Aging

aging skin
Let’s get right to the nitty gritty. There are several very well documented causes of premature aging and good science beyond what we all can do to stop, or even reverse those effects. You’ll notice that a lot of these overlap. I’m not going into detail, but tobacco use and excess alcohol can both be major contributors to premature aging of the skin.  

Too Much Sun

A little sun is great and allows our bodies to produce much needed Vitamin D. Over time, too much sun exposure can lead to premature aging in several ways. The primary way is by damaging collagen (firmness) and elastin (elasticity). It does this by increasing an enzyme responsible for degrading collagen called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). If that’s not enough, it can increase inflammation, damage DNA, damage keratinocytes, and increase oxidative stress by decreasing antioxidant levels in the skin.

 

Too Much Sugar

Ok, so you already knew about the sun, but have you ever heard of glycation? Diets high in sugar can cause problems that...

Leaky Gut – filling in the holes

Wheat

During digestion, our intestines are designed to allow certain nutrients to pass into the bloodstream, and send the rest downstream. When the intestinal lining becomes damaged or disrupted, it can allow unwanted elements to get through and block absorption of nutrients… this is known as Leaky Gut (increased intestinal permeability).

 

Leaky Gut is an extremely important issue for all of us due to the sum of the following reasons...

  • The gut is the gatekeeper of nutrients, toxins, chemicals, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and whatever else we ingest.

  • Our immune system is dependent on the health of our gut.

  • Leaky Gut can cause a large number of symptoms that seem unrelated.

  • It’s hard to pinpoint that Leaky Gut is making a pre-existing condition worse, like arthritis.

  • It can be caused by a number of factors or a combination of many.

  • There is no test to specifically say that you have Leaky Gut.

  • Our actions have a LOT to do with our chances of having Leaky...

Stress and Cancer

Other studies have shown a connection between stress and cancer, thereby making stress a risk factor for cancer. This new study first analyzed samples from 300 breast-cancer patients. They found a direct association between the activation of a stress gene called ATF3 in certain immune cells, with the spread of cancer cells.

 

Next, they tested mice that were either normal or could not express the ATF3 gene. The cancer in the normal mice metastasized to the lungs much faster and to a greater degree. The ATF3 gene creates an ATF3 protein used to signal other genes to turn on or off. Using the mice data, researchers were able to find an ATF3 gene “signature”, which may be used to help predict cancer mortality risks.

 

There are several ways to turn on the ATF3 gene in addition to chronic stress… some others are; high fat diets, UV damage, radiation, chemo, and even stress signals from the cancer cells themselves.

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