Thanksgiving, a day filled with gratitude, people who matter the most and then there’s the feast, but it shouldn’t be a day with just one big meal. Sending starvation signals to the brain and then putting blood sugar uptake in overload is a rollercoaster ride that can send your hormones off its tracks.
Keeping your blood sugar balanced is about beginning the day with a fiber and protein rich meal. Food is nourishment to the cells, tissues, body and brain if the choices you make are filled with a range of phytonutrients and minerals. Nutrients control the function of every enzyme reaction in the body which then become the critical catalysts for how optimally your body will perform its job to stay balanced and healthy.
Enzymes come from raw foods and are one of thousands of proteins created from your DNA that help you function optimally or if inadequately supported your core system can result in illness, mental disorders and weight gain.
We are what we eat, but more what we digest!
To aid in the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates this celebratory day of giving thanks, a complex digestive enzyme may be helpful to assist in the breakdown of foods so that your metabolic engine stays revved. As we age, inflammation and lifestyle can deplete these very vital co-factors and can be one of the missing keys to imbalance within.
Now more on the meal…
Let’s get an idea on how that turkey dinner can boost your mood. For example serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is basically produced in the gut is known as your happy and calming hormone. We don’t eat serotonin but it gets produced from the amino acid tryptophan that comes from the protein that most will carve into on Thanksgiving. The essential elements needed to perform these conversions is vitamin B12 or B6(pyridoxine).
What if there’s a deficiency of this other critical component-no happy mood and the result could be depression or a host of other potential problems. This could potentially be a methylation problem for some who’s gene’s are not created equal, too much GI inflammation but for most it trickles down to a lack of better choices.
It’s all about the proper balance and delivery of proteins, healthy fats and friendly carbohydrates approximately every four hours can keep you from going into that blood sugar surge and energy dive.
Highly Nutritious TOP Choices…
Yes to cultured yogurt, also known as Kefir and Amasai to help nurture the digestive tract, aiding in digestion and purging the bad bacteria out. It contains calcium a good protein source and omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and CLA(Conjugated Linoleic Acid) to help burn the fat. Again these cultures should be organic or grass fed processed and mindful of being raw, free of the harmful protein called bet-casein A1. Plus with all the other vital immune boosting minerals it can be 300-500% more nutrient rich that cows fed corn and grain. As long as it is plain and void of added sugars and honey like plain Greek yogurt that rates a 12 on the glycemic index score which is relatively low making for a good choice to add to smoothies, or a mid-day snack. A misconception about store bought yogurt being a probiotic enhancer is that the pasteurization kills off those essential good bacteria’s taking away the efficacy of its beneficial bacteria.
Make more of your morning count by turning on the skillet and preparing a veggie omelet or have more sautéed greens and a soft boiled egg with a side of vital omega-3’s. Aside from controlling your gene function, regulating your immune system, boosting your brain power and improving your metabolism essential fatty acids are the key component for communicating messages across the cells membranes.
Real sources of these omega-3 fats are from fatty, cold-water wild fish or game, nuts, seeds, avocado’s, seaweeds, algae, coconut, olive or cod liver oil and eggs hatched from vegetarian fed organic chickens. These are all anti-inflammatory fats, which mean they put out the smoldering fires in your body preventing you from burning fat. Incorporate a serving or two with each meal so they will fill you up faster while speeding up your fat burn mechanism.
You’ve heard the saying butter is better, but now you know why, but did you also know it’s actually grass-fed butter that is so much higher than grain-fed butter in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA(Conjugated Linoleic Acid), beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E, and antioxidants. You can actually see the difference in the colors of the butter where butter that is coming from sick, nutrient depleted sources lacks the sunny yellow color.
Grass-fed butter is nutrient dense having more carotenes than carrots and is high in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid. Studies have proven that butyrate can both prevent and decrease inflammation in humans and is believed to help protect against mental illness, increase metabolism, and improve gut health.
So go for a slab or a dab of grass-fed butter in your coffee, topped off with a good dusting of cinnamon as studies have shown that as little as a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can significantly reduce fasting blood glucose levels while balancing insulin sensitivity.
Do you want to try the most delicious cup of java? I begin my day with a bullet proof cup of coffee, Yes you read right, I’m a Nutritional Health Coach and Holistic Practitioner who enjoys the taste of a good cup of caffeine. While not for the need of a wake up call, but a foodie that loves quality and knows it’s all fulfilling.
First our bodies need healthy fats that help boost our metabolism. Medium chain triglycerides(MCT’s) are a special class of fat that produce molecules that fuel your brain instead of glucose. These molecules are called ketones that chemically put you into ketosis. This is when and how fast the body burns fat instead of carbs for a cleaner burning source of fuel that will enhance its efficiency.
Caprylic acid is a source of this medium chain that converts ketones within minutes, making it very powerful for suppressing hunger and fueling your brain. This flavorless, odorless liquid is easily digested in the stomach and it synergistically enhances the absorption of the good constituents organic coffee possesses.
Not all coffee is created equal as most contain mycotoxins causing more inflammation, stress on the adrenals while taking your body on a see saw ride. As you get low on energy, your stomach and intestines send a powerful little messenger called ghrelin up to your brain. When this hormone gets to the brain, it starts to demand more fuel. Ghrelin’s nicknamed the “hunger hormone” because it’s largely responsible for the sensation of hunger. Your stomach keeps pumping out more and more of this hormone until you eat and then begins to slow down until CCK(Cholecystokinin) tells the brain its full. MCT’s turn into ketones and suppress ghrelin the growling hunger hormone and enhances CCK.
The result could be going from a sugar burner to a fat burner as you stay satiated and energized for hours on a small amount of MCT oil not only increasing your metabolic rate but decreasing the amount of fat you store.
Say good morning also with oatmeal, it has beta-glucan fiber that helps sweep cholesterol out from the digestive tract and slows the breakdown of glucose into insulin. This time of year, there’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of gluten free steel cut oats(not a prepackaged, sugar laden container).
Now think nuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil, cashew’s and pistachio’s. They are power packed sources of protein, raw and unsalted equals a healthy unsaturated fat with fiber to stabilize blood sugar levels. Be careful here, as nuts are also packed with plenty of calories so substitute a small handful as opposed to a higher carbohydrate food like croutons(stuffing) or pretzels and chips.
Sprinkle them on your oatmeal, yogurt or nibble on them for a healthier snack. For added creaminess consider almond, cashew or coconut milk without the added sugar which makes for another winning anti-inflammatory choice other than dairy.
My three top super-seed choices are flax, hemp and chia seeds. High in protein and loaded with fiber and rich in omega-3 fatty acids to counter inflammation, a great source of vitamin B’s, high in fiber and low in carbs making them a great go to for those who want to fill up by feeling fuller longer.
Flax seeds are very high in lignan’s which means they have beneficial estrogen and antioxidant qualities and can easily be sprinkled on your morning oatmeal, added to a smoothie or baked into a nutritious granola for those who like a crunch.
How about hemp…today it’s recognized as one of the most nutritious plant food sources packed with pure digestible protein, essential fatty acids(omega-3’s and 6’s), a multitude of minerals, B’s, antioxidants, phospholipids and GLA(gamma linoleum acid)an amino acid that supports brain health and just like chia seeds will help your body absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K and CoQ10.
Wow, chia seeds are very high in fiber, with a whopping 11 grams per ounce and one serving can help boost the daily intake of needed fiber according to the American Dietetic Association. Fiber just doesn’t fill you up, it is an absolute essential for your body’s ability to detoxify and both flax and chia seeds can be used as a natural laxative for this reason. There is more calcium available in a single serving of these seeds then from a normal serving of dairy which only has its adverse effects, creating more excess mucus and inflammation.
Let the feast happen making sure your sides that you are indulging in are proportionately greater with more glorious greens, cruciferous vegetables; like brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower than the more glycemic loaded baked potatoes and the blood sugar boosting buns.
Go get your greens on…spinach, arugula, kale, chard, collard or other leafy one’s are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients all of which have virtually no impact on your blood sugar levels and help your hormonal and digestive health. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution calls leafy greens “free foods”, meaning you may eat as many of them as you can. As the bonus is the fiber in
which leafy greens slows absorption of any carbohydrate(ex. sweet potatoes, quinoa)they’re paired with in a meal to maintain a lower glycemic load.
Are you a Legume lover or go bonkers for beans? Maybe you need to learn to love your lentils and let beans help balance your blood sugar. Lentils and chickpeas contain a good amount of resistant starch which is like nutrition for the probiotic bacteria in the colon. They are satisfying because as they travel down thru the gastrointestinal tract without breaking down becoming fuel for the cells until it reaches the colon. With both their soluble and insoluble dietary fiber which turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion, not affecting blood sugar only helping the colon to rebuild, repair and replenish itself. The same for beans that are resistant to getting into the bloodstream too quickly allowing bacteria to make a meal from the formed beneficial fatty acids promoting better use of the insulin and creating healthier colon cells. Adding them into your favorite salads, soup, dip or entree.
Quinoa, another plant protein that’s considered a super grain. Being that it has all of at the essential amino acids the body needs to build protein molecules while being a whole grain with germ, endosperm and bran intact slowing down its conversion into glucose yet delivering a host of nutrients and healthy fat to help fill up completely. This powerhouse mixes up well with nuts, squashes, vegetables, legumes, beans, herbs and tossed using extra virgin olive oil to make this a side dish of choice.
How do you feel about Hummus? While this Middle Eastern specialty should become an American staple for its 12 grams of dietary fiber and perfect protein content(15 grams) per cup. This alone helps regulate the absorption of sugars from the starch and the healthy fats from the tahini(made from ground sesame seeds) and olive oil slows it down even more. Put this on your table or pair it with an assortment of raw vegetables.
So the Scandinavian in me says open up a can of sardines to snack on or fill up your plate with essential sources of fat and protein needed to slow down absorption of blood sugars while protecting your cardiovascular system, which irregular blood sugar fluctuations can damage.
Hot air organic popped corn wins the kid choice award in my family, just don’t forget to drizzle on the butter, some nutritional yeast and if you want to kick up your metabolism add a dash of hot sauce. Three cups contain more than 3 grams of fiber, it’s cholesterol free with almost zero fat, very few calories and a low glycemic index food-there you have the perfect snack.
Of course, we know that there is more to the benefits of food choices than its impact on blood sugar. Science has revealed how the microbiota has a significant role in metabolism and its benevolent relationship to the inner eco-system enhancing the microbiomes strains required for digestion.
Feeding your micro biome with resistant starch, means cooking boiled potatoes and letting them cool. While potatoes can make you fat when baked and fried this is not true for whole plain boiled potatoes. This fiber like substance can help you lose weight by curbing your appetite. Evidence points to this partly mediated protein in potatoes called protease inhibitor 2 has a beneficial effects on appetite hormones while only impacting the glycemic scale by half of a baked white or sweet potato.
There’s a scale called the satiety index which measures the ability of certain foods to cause fullness while lowering one’s consumption of calories during a meal. Yay to the yummy organic yams which carry an even lower inducer of blood sugar stimulants.
We’ve also learned that the same food affects all differently as we are all bio-individual beings. Food goes way beyond how it makes us feel and look, as its information, energetic and completely complex in how it synergistically works internally that we are now beginning to understand.
Optimally supporting our immune system with needed antioxidants, essential fatty acids, enzymes and minerals comes only from eating raw super sources of foods that nature has provided us. Berries are the lowest on the glycemic index scale, but the best source of antioxidant power so make these fiber rich gems a daily part of your day. It’s recommended 20 to 35 grams per day and make for a great snack between meals or sweeten up your smoothie with these sugar swapping beauties.
There hasn’t been any testing to specifically validate how one’s glycemic load will help suppress the appetite, but to keep insulin levels balanced when the sweet tooth
craving occurs or insulin levels drop its the healthier choice that matters.
I hear testimonies from many individuals on a single serving of bee pollen, that even though it has a significantly low glycemic rating which gives a bigger between meal punch for killing the hunger pangs. Bee pollen has a superfoods nutritional profile with its very highly bioactive sources of enzymes, minerals, amino and fatty acids delivering life energy protein to sustain balance boosting how the body functions.
We also know that blood sugar instability comes in the form of insulin resistance and diabetes as well as reactive hypoglycemia. It’s the autonomic nervous system and associated individualized differences in enzymatic innervation that will dictate whether one person thrives on a higher vegetarian carb diet or another prefers a paleo lifestyle.
One thing is for certain no one can tank on honoring an anti-inflammatory diet and most can feel the difference in a matter of weeks by making lifestyle choices that deliver fibers and foods which are not genetically modified and organic in nature.
Happy mindful eating,