In Part I of this blog series, we talked about gluten, diabetes and obesity, and how they are threats to our health. Now let’s look at how we can avoid these threats. Our bodies are resilient, and we can turn our health around even if we have received a diagnosis and are headed toward one or more of these problems.
The common denominator is sugar, wheat, and other starchy, processed carbohydrates. Processed carbohydrates ultimately break down into sugar or glucose. Foods such as pasta, bread, cereal, pizza dough, you know what I’m talking about. What we need to do is to remove that sugar from our food intake. That will level out insulin resistance, stop celiac and gluten reactions, and lower our weight.
How does it work?
Our bodies have two sources of energy:
We are all familiar with sugar or glucose as an energy source. Did you know that fat is the other source of energy?
When glucose is used as a source of energy, the body digests and burns it leaving some residue behind that causes inflammatory reactions and free radical release. What’s the problem with that? Well, It is now commonly understood and agreed upon that the basis for all disease is inflammation. So when we continue to eat an overabundance of sugar and processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, our bodies are set up for sustained and even increased inflammation. That means that as we continue to eat our traditional meals of mac & cheese, sandwiches, toast, cereal, pizza, etc., we continue to build an accumulation of glucose/sugar in our system daily.
Fat, on the other hand, is a much cleaner (non-inflammatory) way to obtain energy. Burning fat is more efficient than burning glucose because there is no residue to produce an inflammatory response, such as we see in the burning of glucose. But we’ve all heard that there’s problems with fat. We’ve all been convinced that fat causes an increase in cholesterol and that it causes us to gain weight, especially around our middles. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the problems is the low fat and fat-free foods we eat are not helping us but hurting us.
Actually, if you remember from Part I of this blog series, excess sugar is stored in the liver until the liver cannot hold any more, and then the excess sugar is stored as body fat. That’s the weight gain around our middles. This is the kind of fat that is dangerous to our health in many ways, one of which being that it causes the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that sets up inflammatory responses in weak places in our individual organ systems. A buildup of cortisol also contributes to vascular thinningm the buildup of bad cholesterol and amyloid plaque.
Another problem with excess sugar
Another problem today is that our bodies are very accustomed to burning sugar instead of fat because for so long our bodies have been burning sugar. There’s an endless supply, right? We eat it nonstop. So our bodies don’t need to switch over to burning our fat because we continue to feed ourselves with sugar daily. We have an abundance of sugar, in fact, too much, and our bodies can’t burn it all. When this happens, there’s no need for our bodies to burn the other source – fat.
But I want to burn fat!
What does it take to burn fat? We need to slow our body’s intake of sugar or eliminate it entirely, and then begin to replace the sugar/processed carb items with good fats instead. Current dietary science is proving this to be correct.
I’ve tried but there are cravings!
The problem arises from the cravings we get. We have been sugar addicts all these years. But take heart. There is a way to do this without starving ourselves, endangering our health, or having to eat boring meals.
How do I address gluten issues, obesity, and prediabetes?
We need to develop new traditions with food. We must transition from burning sugar for energy to burning fat. We need to trade in our traditional high carb meals for low carb (veggies) or no carb meals that contain good protein and ONLY excellent fats. (Excellent fats include saturated olive, avocado, and coconut oils, nuts, seeds, full fat cheeses, yogurt and ghee, eggs, etc.) The shift starts as we add some good fats into each meal. I know this flies in the face of everything that you have read, and the dietary guidelines we have been given.
There is a way to jump start this process. We’re covering this information and more on April 21. I encourage you to consider joining us for “The Sticky Facts About Gluten” workshop on April 21. See the "events" page for details.
If you can’t be there, we will be streaming the morning teaching sessions. But the advantage of attending allows you to participate in all the afternoon food workshops. You can learn to transition safely and effectively from burning sugar to burning fat. If you can’t attend, your other option is to contact our office and work one-on-one to get you back on the road to health.
All three health issues are on the rise. More and more young and middle aged people are being screened and treated for pre-diabetes than ever before - these conditions and many other immune and metabolic problems. The question is why? And how can we avoid being one of the rising statistics? How can we help our loved ones who are suffering?
One common denominator is the food we eat. The types of food are not what you think. Understanding what those foods are and more importantly, why those foods are the common denominator, is important to motivating us to change our eating lifestyle.
What about gluten?
Gluten is a substance in grain-related products that is part of the original plant makeup. Gluten actually repels insects and bacteria in order to protect the grain plant. It is a category of proteins that has a "sticky" property to it when liquid is added. Gluten is a large protein molecule, and because of its sticky character, it attaches to bacteria and viruses and other foreign particles including the fiber in grains that help to remove toxins out of our system. Those with a diagnosis of celiac disease are actually allergic to gluten. Conversely, a gluten sensitivity can be one reason for gastric distress. Gluten molecules are too big to go through the digestive lining unless the lining is inflamed or torn or if the cells have been separated. This presents an opening through the digestive lining and allows big molecules such as gluten that would not normally be able, to enter into the bloodstream. Too much irritation caused by an overabundance of eating gluten-containing foods can result over time in leaky gut syndrome.
Gluten is found in more complex, starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cereal, etc. Gluten is also found in legumes (beans) and starchy veggies such as peas, corn, and acorn squash, just to name a few. Gluten is also used as fillers in many other products. Folks with celiac disease need to steer away from those foods and those who are sensitive need to be careful not to eat too many; but we can all benefit by avoiding these foods on a daily basis.
A Diagnosis of Diabetes
Diabetes is a case of insulin resistance. Insulin plays a major role in metabolism (the way our bodies produce energy). Sugars and starches break down into glucose during digestion. Then the glucose enters the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that assists the entry of glucose into the cells of the body so that glucose can be used to produce energy. After a meal when the levels of glucose rise in the bloodstream, our pancreas releases insulin into the blood to help the glucose enter the cells throughout the body. There is a very important balance keeping blood glucose and insulin levels at the correct level. Excess glucose is stored in our liver unless the liver already has enough, otherwise glucose is stored as fat.
How Insulin resistance happens
Insulin resistance occurs when there is continually too much glucose in the bloodstream. Too much glucose is a result of the foods we eat that provide more glucose than our cells need. The pancreas is forced to keep up with the amount of insulin that is needed for the body to absorb glucose. When the pancreas cannot keep up with the amount of insulin needed, the excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. And this is what leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes. This also leads to heart disease and other health disorders. Prediabetes is an indication that the glucose levels in our blood are becoming too high. The U.S. Department of Health estimates that at least 84 million U.S. adults ages 18 or older had prediabetes in 2015 and the numbers continue to increase.
The Problem of Obesity
Obesity is often seen in diabetic patients. Obesity is also becoming a threatening disorder of its own. It is now common in children and young adults at early ages. There seems to be a cultural eating disorder that is leading our population in the U.S. toward a cataclysmic epidemic. Science is beginning to give us clues about what we have overlooked in our dietary guidelines.
In Part II of this blog series, we will take a look at what those missing pieces are and where we can start to change our eating habits to avoid ill health.
What can I do now?
In the meantime, consider joining us on April 21 for "The Sticky Facts About Gluten". We will discuss these issues in more depth; learn how to avoid food that hurt us; learn about correcting our food intake so that we don't go down the road to ill health; and participate in afternoon food workshops to learn better cooking and food combining. We will also give you shortcuts and keys to overcome gluten sensitivity, diabetes and obesity and simplify the roadmap back to health. Look for the April 21 details on our "Events" page. It promises to be a day to turn your health around.
Are you feeling bloated and crampy after you eat? Science is showing us that digestive problems from inflammation in our digestive tract can impact our health, organ systems and brain. Healing an inflamed digestive lining can help with absorption of key nutrients. There are some foods that are naturally irritating to the stomach lining like grains, processed carbohydrates and hydrogenated oils.
Bone broth has become a buzz word in the food community because of it's ability to help heal the gut lining. Here is a soup great for cold, wintry days that not only tastes good but helps in that healing process:
1/2 cup dry lentils, simmered 1/2 hour in 2 cups water, drained and set aside
1 large sweet potato
1 large handful spinach or kale
1 red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped dill or 1 tsp dried
1 handful cashews or walnuts roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 small onice chopped
1 cup bone broth or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Chop onion and garlic & warm gently in large scaucepan with the coconut oil.
Peel and chop sweet potatos, carrots, and pepper and add to pan to coat with oil, about 2 minutes.
Add the bone broth and simmer 10 minutes until vegetables are warmed through but not overcooked
Add the lentils for last five minutes.
Transfer to blender or food processor (do in batches if you need to) Add the avocado, spinach and dill.
Blend until smooth and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Drizzle with a little olive oil as you serve.
Enjoy!! And be well!!