Tag Archives: Low Gi

The Cure (to a variety of sugar cravings & bad days)

I was having a rough morning, for pathetic reasons – turns out my old laptop is too old to run the game I’ve been dying to play, yes I know…sad – , but I have fixed it! My day, I mean, not my computer – that would cost nearly as much money as it would to buy a new one, so that’s just going to have to wait.

I’ve been digging around online the last couple of days, trying to figure out what more there is to bake with almond meal, just because well, I bake and I get cravings… I stumbled across a site that talked about using almond meal in combo with protein powder to make pancakes. Now, I’ve never used protein powder – being LCHF makes me paranoid about consuming any sort of ‘substitute powders’, and I try to eat whole food whenever I can – and I don’t have any in the pantry, so I made Almond-Psyllium Chocolate Pancakes instead and slathered them with crunchy peanut butter (because I’m a peanut butter freak!).

The recipe is something like this:

2 Tbs Almond Meal
1 Tbs Psyllium Husk
1 Egg
A pinch of salt
A touch of vanilla essence (organic if you can get it!)
~ 2-5g pieces of dark chocolate, chopped
~ 100ml water, cool

Mix all of it together barring the chocolate. Tip into a hot – buttered! – frying pan and wait till the bottom is sealed. Sprinkle on the dark chocolate and wait till it feels like you can flip it – around 2mins. Flip, seal that side, and flip back over. Use a good non-stick pan to avoid the chocolate from getting stuck! Keep flipping until its cooked through – or whack it under a salamander grill – if you’ve got one – until it’s slightly fluffy. Turn out onto a plate, cover in peanut butter if you want. Devour.

You can technically leave out the psyllium husk and then replace the water with thick cream or another liquid substitute like almond milk, soy, or whatever you prefer. I try to avoid too much dairy, thus the water.

Clear skies,

Vee

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Lifestyle vs. Diet

Today I want to ramble on a bit about what it really feels like to change your lifestyle from whatever it was before to a LC one. Please note that I use the term ‘lifestyle’ here; I know I’ve called this a ‘diet’ in the past, but I’m not comfortable with the connotations behind that word so I’m going to elaborate somewhat. For me, the word ‘diet’ infers either a temporary change of what you eat, or, to follow the literal definition, simply ‘what you eat’.

So what’s the difference then between a LC diet and a LC lifestyle?

Simply put: an LC diet is a temporary diet change that will – in theory – let you lose weight over a set amount of time before you go back to eating whatever it was that you were eating before. Like most ‘diets’, doing this is likely to cause you to regain the weight you’ve lost over time, but we don’t judge, so if you’re aiming to lose those 10kg before your wedding next year, by all means go for your life. A lifestyle change – no matter if it’s dietary, physical, whatever – is permanent. And by permanent I mean, ongoing for the foreseeable future. I’ve made a lifestyle change, as I know most of you have too. For me this means reducing the amount of carbs – especially processed ones! – that I consume for the rest of my life. It’s not just a passing fad for us ‘LC lifestylers’, but before any of you start to pity us, it’s okay. Just because we’re in this with both feet, we’re also in it with both eyes open, and if that means we’re going to need a cheat week once every six months, hell, let’s do it! It means that we’ve committed to a dietary lifestyle that aims to keep our blood sugar level by eating low carb and/or low gi. We – mostly – avoid caffeine, fight off cravings by dealing with their chemical and psychological sources, manage our constipation with high-fibre foods, and above all, aim to maintain a healthy weight – this is after we’ve lost the excess! It’s not a constant battle, per se, but rather, it’s something that we’ve chosen. It’s a way of life, just as say, vegetarianism, veganism, or halal choices are a lifestyle/cultural/religious choice, low-carbing can be a choice as well.

Some of us have made the switch for health reasons – like me, with the PCOS and the no-gallbladder thing – while others want to avoid certain processed foods and have made the decision to eat ‘cleaner’. Whatever the reason, it’s an acknowledgement that some things just don’t have quick or easy fixes and require a complete change of living.

When you start out, it’s important that you keep that in mind: what are you doing? Is this a lifestyle change or a diet? Are you going to be in it for the long haul or just the short term? No judging, just make sure you know what you’re going to be doing: this is a commitment thing. If you’re going to do this, make a plan for it. For example, last year in November (2013) I weighed in at 82.2kg. I set myself the rather steep goal of losing 30kg in a year. As I progressed, I realised this wasn’t going to be that easy, given the pitfalls and curve balls that life throws, so I extended that to a year and a half. It’s November 2014 and currently weigh 60.8kg. That’s a 21.4kg loss and that’s bloody awesome, but yes, it’s around 9kg short of what I’d aimed for in the beginning. I realised about half way through the year that I was losing weight too fast; I admit I kind of freaked out when I realised one week that I’d lost 3.4kg. That’s too fast, and not sustainable, so I readdressed the weight loss and now I’m more comfortable. Keep in mind that I’m not in a rush, sure, I’ve set myself a timeframe in which to lose the weight, but I’m more concerned about maintaining it when I get there than getting there as fast as I can.

So what does it feel like? I feel better! I feel awesome. It’s not just the clear headedness that comes from removing processed junk out of my system, but also from losing all that weight. I look at pictures of myself from a year ago and wonder how I didn’t notice that I was lugging all that extra around. At the time I didn’t think it made much of a difference, but golly gee wiz, it makes a difference! I feel more energetic, and yes, occasionally when I slip up some I feel dizzy or nauseous, but I know how to fix it now. I’ve become more in tune with my body, and I know what to listen to and what to ignore. I know that dizzy means I need some protein, nauseous means I need a low gi hit of ‘good’ carbs – usually a carrot or a tomato with some salt! – and I know that headachey means I need to eat now. I also know that I need to eat every 2-3 hours or those symptoms start. This means I now carry snacks around in my bag to avoid me turning to easy available things that might lose me my carb count. I’m being overly cautious at the moment, obviously, because I’m still in the losing weight part of this lifestyle. I’ll tackle the ‘maintaining weight’ bridge when I get there…

Clear skies,

Vee

Sites of Interest: ‘Fat Girl Living Low Carb’, ‘Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes’ & ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” ~Maya Angelou

So, my second ‘Sites of Interest’ post! Exciting. I’m going to try and do one of these every month so that you’ve all got fresh information to look at instead of getting stuck with my rambling words every day.

This month we’re taking a look at my new favourite blog for motivation and recipes: Fat Girl Living Low Carb. I stumbled across this blog quite by accident only to find a wealth of information pertaining to LC recipes, foods, ideas, and just general fun. Those of you who are stuck for something to eat really need to hop over there and have a look! Her writing style is fresh and entertaining, and her articles are always honest and tend to be accompanied by fantastic pictures. There’s nothing like some serious visual aids to help the imagination along. The recipes she provides are very simple, but provide beautiful complex flavours, and on top of that, they’re divided into categories for easy access!

If you need even more recipes, why not jump over to Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes, another great resource for a diverse amount of recipes. Linda’s got a great variety, classifying all her recipes into courses and including some scrumptious snack and dessert recipes. This site also has a page dedicated to ‘Odds and Ends’ which contains all sorts of useful tools for anyone’s weight loss journey,  such as tips and notes on sugar-free syrups, exercise tapes and dvds, and a hidden carb calculator. I like using this site for ideas and its resources, the links Linda provides are very useful and should be part of an LCers arsenal.

Finally, you’ve got to look at Mark’s Daily Apple. Focusing on a ‘Primal’ diet, this site is chock full of awesome information, tips, links, and resources. If you’re looking for a place to start a Primal LC diet, this is the place to go. The only ‘downside’, if you can call it that, is that is a sponsored site; I don’t really care about that, but someone else might so I thought I’d put it up there. But hey, keep in mind that sometimes you’ve got to consult expert advice to temper all the great grassroots information we’re building here! 🙂

And that’s it from me for today! Happy browsing and happy Low-carbing!

Clear Skies,
Vee

Vitamins & Supplements

Today, I want to take a look at vitamins and supplements. I take a lot of vitamins and supplements because of my PCOS, the lack of a gallbladder, and now because of LC. So, just off the bat here’s what I’m taking – I’m not sure about the doses:

  • Women’s Multivitamin
  • Magnesium
  • CoQ10
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc + Vitamin C (I usually only take this one when I’m feeling extra run down)
  • Dairy-Free Probiotic
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Iron + Potassium (only every other day during my period)
  • Fish Oil Capsules (or Krill, depending on what’s on the shelf at the moment)

 “Hang on a sec, Vee,” you must be thinking, “you’re doubling up on a few things there aren’t you?”

Yes, I guess I am. Obviously a multivitamin has most of those things in it already, but along with all the other things you get in it – ginseng, green tea extract, or whatnot – you don’t really get enough of any of the things you need, possibly with the exception of folic acid – which you’d be taking in larger amounts if you were trying to conceive!

Most of these things we should be getting from our food, but sometimes, especially when we’ve cut out certain things to attain a healthier weight, that’s just not possible. Before I go any further I’d like to suggest that you all go and see your GP and ask about getting yourself testing for any vitamin/mineral deficiencies, that way you know what you should be targeting!

I haven’t taken my own advice here yet, but the next time I visit with my GP I will definitely ask her for a test! Things I think I should probably be taking but aren’t sure about:

  • Chromium (again, only when I’m feeling like I really need an extra push)
  • Calcium

Let’s break it down so it doesn’t get all muddled:

Magnesium

We need magnesium for more than 300 different bodily functions. A lot of us don’t get enough magnesium through our diet, and that’s not our fault, we just don’t eat enough of the right foods to get the requisite amount. On top of that soil – especially in Australia – is low in magnesium so plants that normally have perfectly adequate amounts of magnesium, don’t. So if you’ve ever suffered from cramps – either stomach cramps, leg cramps, or what I used to call ‘growing pains’ even as an adult – you might want to look into magnesium. Ladies, lots of studies show that women with PCOS tend to be low in magnesium so it’s a definite go for us!

Vitamin D

The sun’s gift to all of us! Except that for one reason or another, most of us don’t get enough. By most of us, I’m primarily referring to those of us who work indoors for most of the day or live in places around the world where we don’t get a lot of direct sunlight. There have been direct links shown between depression and lack of Vitamin D! Not to mention the fact that D helps us absorb and regulate a whole heap of other vital minerals such as calcium and iron. So, the easy way to get your dosage, is to spend some time in the sun – I think the approved time is somewhere around half and hour with your legs and skin bared, but be mindful of any UV issues you might have! Too much sun is dangerous! The other way you can do it is to hop over to your local pharmacy and buy Vitamin D3, make sure it’s D3 and not D2. D2 is not the same as D3. When we absorb Vitamin D from the sun it’s D3, not D2; in high concentrations D2 can be toxic.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, we rely on C to boost our immune system, keep our skin healthy, and a whole bunch of bodily functions most of us aren’t even aware of. It also helps us absorb things more easily, like iron and potassium. Most of us make sufficient amounts ourselves, but sometimes, like when we’re sick, not eating well, or stressed, a little boost can help us out of a rut.

Vitamin Bs

Here’s one you really should be taking, especially if you’re on an LC diet and/or have PCOS.  Vitamin Bs help maintain and control blood sugar levels and are vital in ketosis; if you don’t have enough B in you, your body won’t be able to efficiently render energy from non-carb sources.

Iron

This comes in two forms: heme and noneheme, both of which are found in animal and plant matter. Most of us will get our iron in it’s heme form, usually through the vegetables and meat we eat. Iron helps keep the immune system running as well as being a vital component of our circulatory (blood) system. Those who don’t have enough iron in their system become anaemic, and often experience dizziness, nausea and lack of energy. This is especially true for those of us with PCOS! If we aren’t regulating our periods, we might experience heavy ongoing bleeding: that’s blood loss, girls, and iron loss to boot. Try and take a supplement of iron, Vitamin B and magnesium and see if you don’t feel better!

Probiotics

Sometimes you’ve eaten or drunk something that hasn’t done you any good – say you’ve had just a few too many red wines on a cheat day or something – and you feel awful, and I don’t just mean hungover! Your digestive system has a whole heap of helpful bacteria helping you digest whatever you’ve consumed. These little guys are awesome, but sometimes you need to send in some reinforcements. This is especially the case if, like me, you have no gallbladder and really need all the help you can get to digest whatever it is I’ve eaten this time. If you take nothing else I highly recommend taking at least a probiotic a day along with a multivitamin. Not only will your digestive system run better, but you’ll notice that your skin starts looking just that much more awesome. I specifically take a dairy-free one because I find that sometimes the dairy ones just don’t sit right with the phantom gallbladder attacks, but that’s just me.

CoQ10 – Co-Enzyme Q10

You’ve probably never heard of this, right? That’s okay. The thing is, I hadn’t heard of it until I’d started doing some research into PCOS and then into insulin resistance. Turns out, CoQ10 is a vital enzyme needed to ensure that body cells function properly. There are current studies showing hopeful results in using it to help deal with the symptoms of heart conditions, PCOS, cancer, diabetes, and a whole host of other diseases. The older you are, the more you’ll likely need to take a supplement. I would advise that you ask your GP about this before you start taking it, however, seeing as how some people can suffer from side effects like heart palpitations and the like. SO CHECK FIRST.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids  

Found in abundance in fish or krill oils, these little puppies not only help with your digestive system but are also an immune booster and it helps maintain healthy internal organs. The body cannot make this stuff itself so it’s essential that it comes from your diet or a supplement.

Zinc

Like iron, we need zinc to fight off viruses and bacteria. Children and infants need zinc to develop their bone structure and brains so it’s likely to be included in any pre/post/pregnancy multivitamins for those of you who are headed that way. Most of us get our zinc through the foods we eat: red meat, poultry, crustacean seafood, beans, and nuts. Some of us might be low in zinc due to geographical reason – like magnesium, the soils growing your foods might be low in zinc. In addition, you could be low in zinc if you’ve had a loss of gastrointestinal surgery, digestive issues, or Chron’s disease. Just something to keep in mind.

 

I’ll leave the list at that, we’ll probably end up revisiting this since I’m constantly finding out new things!

Keep in mind that we should be getting enough of all of these things through our diet, but most of us won’t be. In addition, those of us on an LC diet will be losing more amounts of minerals and vitamins more rapidly because we’re losing fat and water: two things which vitamins and minerals need to be absorbed correctly into the body! So make an effort to check out what you’re low in and either build those things into your diet or take some appropriate supplements.

Clear Skies,
Vee

Recommended reading:

National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements    

A Word About: Diabetes

Over the last few decades, we have seen a drastic rise in diabetes. As we’ve turned to more and more processed food, pre-packed convenient meals, and given into the spread of readily available soft drinks, diabetes has erupted all over the world. In a lot of ways, it can be likened to a pandemic.  And yes, it can kill you.

In the last few entries I’ve been harping on and on about insulin resistance, low GI, low carb and diabetes, mostly assuming that we’re all on the same page. I figure most of us who have stumbled across this blog will know something about diabetes, whether or not we have firsthand experience or not. Those of you following LCO because of PCOS will hopefully know that we are considered high-risk pre-diabetic because of the insulin resistance that’s triggered a lot of our issues. So I figured it was time to have a closer look at this disease, especially given that we are now all at risk of diabetes because it isn’t always clear what we’re eating.

The fact is, just as I can’t talk about Low Carb Lifestyles without discussing PCOS or eating disorders, I can’t write about it without dedicated space to Diabetes, not with it becoming as widespread as it is, and not without it being tied in directly with this particular lifestyle change.

Now, before I start rambling, Diabetes Australia has a great explanation of the disease here.

So, in my own words…

Diabetes lasts a very, very long time; often a person’s entire life. It can start at any age, from the very young to the elderly and some people are more susceptible to it than others due to genetic markers and other influences beyond their control.

Now while most of us on a low carb or low GI diet are juggling all sorts of things, no other ‘thing’ needs careful low Gi/Carb monitoring as diabetes. What it comes down to is this: sugar in your bloodstream is toxic. This is why your body prioritizes sugar for energy burning; as soon as it hits your bloodstream, insulin is released to ferry the sugar to the liver where it can then be converted. When you’re diabetic, your body isn’t producing the right amount of insulin to deal with any sugars in your blood, leading to blood-sugar toxicity or hyperglycaemia. Hyperglycaemic symptoms include extreme thirst, weight loss, heavy urination, blurred vision, exhaustion and a drop in immune system functionality – this is often evidenced by infection, such as yeast infections, or wounds not healing as they should. The causes of this are very simple: you’ve eaten too many carbs in too short a time – and we’re talking primarily simple carbs here: potatoes, rice, cake, pasta, bread, candy/sweets, ice cream, milk, etc. -, the flu – or another sickness – that’s messing with your internal body chemistry, stress – a biggie! Stress can mess with your body’s natural insulin production and immune system! –, medications – some of these can not only knock your system about but can actual inhibit the body’s production of hormones that it needs –, and of course not having taken your insulin on time, or simply not getting enough of a dose for whatever reason.

The opposite can happen with hypoglycaemia, which is when your blood sugar is too low. This can happen when a person has skipped meals, isn’t eating enough carbohydrates – I know, it’s a frustrating balance! -, experiences extreme physical exercise, consumes too much alcohol, or has taken too much insulin. Most people with Type 2 Diabetes (see below) have less of a hard time avoiding hypoglycaemia through appropriate dietary intakes, while Type 1s run a greater risk. The symptoms of this extremely low blood sugar include moodiness – and in some cases, sever mood swings – and depression, weakness – trembling, shaking, that sort of thing -, profuse sweating, dizziness and/or light headedness, lack of concentration, hunger, and numbness around the fingers and lips. A quick fix is to find a quick sugar boost – a bit of soda pop, a glass of juice, some jellybeans, glucose tablets. If you’re prone to low blood sugar, eat accordingly – eat more often, or add in some heavier carbs to sustain yourself between meals.

Now, we’ve got two main types of diabetes. With Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas no longer produces any insulin. This means that the body’s not burning that sugar at all. People with Type 1 require regular doses of insulin to stay alive, it’s as simple as that; without an external source of insulin they die, no questions asked, no second chances. There’s no cure, and people with Type 1 can really only manage their disease as best they can with a healthy low GI lifestyle and regular insulin doses.

Type 2 Diabetes is more common. If you’ve been told you’re pre-diabetic or at risk of becoming diabetic, chances are you’re lined up for Type 2. In this case, your pancreas is still producing insulin but you’ve effectively developed a resistance to it to such an extent that it’s not enough and certainly not as effective.  As with Type 1, there’s no cure, but it’s easier to manage Type 2 with a low carb/low gi lifestyle. Occasionally, people require an external insulin source to keep them alive, but for the most part a change to a healthier, low sugar lifestyle seems to allow them to manage it.

The other type of diabetes I’ll talk about quickly is gestational diabetes, which pops up during pregnancy. When with child, women require a lot more insulin than they normally would – unsurprising really, given that they’re carrying a whole other person around! Gestational diabetes raises the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and can put the mother at risk of developing Type 2 after the pregnancy. However, if managed correctly during the pregnancy, these risks can be drastically alleviated. If you’re thinking about conceiving, especially if you’re pre-diabetic – or you have PCOS! – talk to your gynaecologist or GP about the how to best deal with this risk.

So there we have it, in a nutshell, and no doubt we’ll talk about it again: diabetes, spreading like wild fire.

Clear Skies,

Vee

 

Eating Nuts

We’ve talked briefly about things you should avoid – pastas, bread, flour, sugar, sodas, candy-bars, etc. – but what about the stuff you can eat?

I’ve mentioned that I eat a lot of veggies like cauliflower and lettuces and things like that, but those you can’t exactly live on vegetables – well, you can, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. You need protein as well as fats, carbs and fibre to survive. Protein and fats in the right combinations are what make us feel satiated. So while eating a bowl of lettuce will definitely boost your fibre count and possibly give you a negative carb reading (those are always fun!), you’re not getting what you need out of it. Remember, we’re not aiming to starve ourselves here, we’re looking to lose weight in a healthy way, and that means making sure we’re getting the right nutrients, proteins, fats and yes, carbs, into our systems. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Say you’re having a steak for dinner at a restaurant. Awesome, steak = fat and protein and no carbs. Eat as much of that as you want. Ask for the sauce on the side if there is any – avoid it if you can, sauces can sometimes have thickeners in there which are chock full of carbs – and instead of chips or potatoes ask if you can have a garden salad. Most places can replace things and change things for you if you ask – obviously, it’s better to be polite about these things, remember: you’re the one on the special diet, so it’s your responsibility to fix it so that you can eat what they serve you.

What I always aim for is a balance between protein, fat, and complex carbs. My breakfasts tend to be one-egg omelettes – made without cream or milk! – with tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. With a meal like that I get protein and fat from the egg, carbs and fibre from the veggies so I feel full and comfortable and I get the energy I need to last me for a few hours. If I feel like I’m going to be extremely hungry I’ll make it a two-egg omelette for the extra boost, which will means I won’t be craving food right after I’ve eaten. I tend to need a snack ever 2-3 hours, which isn’t unheard of, so when I get hungry again between main meals I go for a celery stick, a bit of ham, or some almonds.

Which brings me to nuts – almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc – and seeds – sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc. These things will rescue you in your darkest hour, I promise. I’ve always tried to have almonds in the house, because they’re a great snack and because they’re crunchy they make you feel like you’ve actually eaten something. They’re also full of omega oils which makes them great brain food, as are with most nuts. Have a look at this table which I found here, I’ve rearranged them so they run lowest net carb to highest.

Cal Tot. Carb Fiber Net Carb Sat. Fat Mono Fat ω-3 Fat ω-6 Fat
Flax Seeds 150 8.1 7.6 .5 1 2.1 6.3 1.7
Pecans 193 3.9 2.7 1.2 1.7 11.4 0.28 5.8
Brazil Nuts 184 3.4 2.1 1.3 4.2 6.9 0.05 5.8
Madadamia Nuts 201 4 2.4 1.6 3.4 16.5 0.06 .36
Chia Seeds 137 12.3 10.6 1.7 0.9 0.6 4.9 1.6
Walnuts 183 3.8 1.9 1.9 1.7 2.5 2.5 10.7
Coconut* 185 6.6 4.6 2 16 0.8 0 0.2
Hazelnuts 176 4.7 2.7 2 1.3 12.8 0.24 2.2
Peanuts 159 4.5 2.4 2.1 1.9 6.8 0 4.4
Almonds 161 6.1 3.4 2.7 1 8.6 0.2 3.4
Pine Nuts 188 3.7 1 2.7 1.4 5.3 0.31 9.4
Sunflower Seeds 164 5.6 2.4 3.2 1.2 5.2 0.21 6.5
Sesame Seeds 160 6.6 3.3 3.3 1.9 5.3 0.11 6
Pumpkin Seeds 151 5 1.1 3.9 2.4 4 0.51 5.8
Pistachios 156 7.8 2.9 5.8 1.5 6.5 0.71 3.7
Cashews 155 9.2 0.9 8.1 2.2 6.7 0.2 2.2
Chestnuts 60 12.8 2.3 10.5 0.1 0.2 0.03 0.22

So according to this my almond addiction is justified, though I should probably be tracking down some more flax seeds and pecans. Unfortunately for me, pecans tend to slight pricier than my dearly beloved almonds so it’s a matter of tossing up whether I want extra treats or not. Still, it’s a good thing to keep a hold of – in fact, I might print this off and stick it in my purse so I can look at it next time I’m shopping.

‘Does that mean I can have peanut butter and tahini?’

Definitely, just check the label – some peanut butters will contain more sugars than others for example – and double check what your makes up that specific brand. A snack that can carry you through between meals, one I regularly rely on, is the renown celery sticks with peanut butter/tahini on top – leave off the dried sultanas or currants though, people, those things are too sugary for our purposes! With this snack you get the crunch from the celery – which pretty much counts as 0 Net Carbs, by the way – and the fat and minimal protein from the tahina or peanut butter; you’ll feel satisfied and you’ll hopefully not need to eat again before dinner.

Clear Skies,

Vee

The Comfort of Cooking » Creamy Lemon Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes

I came across this recipe that I’m definitely going to try out. If you’re stuck for LC ideas, Low Carb is Not Boring is a great way to have a look: not only does she post awesome recipes, but she’s got great ideas too. It’s important to look at a wide range of sources! The best way to lose weight is to find what works for you, and that won’t happen if you only look at a small silce of the wealth of information that’s out there!

Clear Skies,
Vee

PattyOpinion

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it looks absolutely fresh and delicious!

Creamy Lemon Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes

YIELD: Makes 2 large servings / 4 side dish servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. reduced-fat (Neufchatel) or regular cream cheese

1 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and peeled with a julienne peeler into “noodles”

1 heaping cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large nonstick skillet set to medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cream cheese and lemon juice, stirring until cream cheese has melted into a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Add zucchini noodles, tossing to coat in sauce, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the zucchini noodles – They…

View original post 43 more words

Insulin Talk

Insulin.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s okay, you’re not alone. I imagine most of us who don’t have a close relationship with diabetes only really get a picture about insulin from the movies; syringes, blood pricks to test sugar, that sort of thing. Let’s explore a little so we know what we’re talking about, and I promise, we’ll soon get to the good bits: LC recipes, side effects like carb flu (I know, sounds awful, but it’s good to know about!), and foods you can enjoy to the end of the world. They’re coming, I promise.

So. Insulin. Master hormone, expert sugar manager, secreted by the pancreas. It can kill you, save your life, or just go about its business without you ever knowing a thing about it. A couple of years ago someone very close to me nearly died of pancreatitis (this is what happens when the pancreas goes postal for whatever reason) and one of the godlike nurses said: ‘Forget liver failure, we can fix that. If your pancreas goes you drop dead, no questions asked.’  That’s the thing: when your pancreas fails, it can dump insulin into your system, and too much insulin in your system will kill you.

But apart from that morbid anecdote, insulin is quite awesome. Wikipedia will tell you that insulin is a ‘peptide hormone’, which means a lot of complicated medically things that aren’t really important; what we need to know here is that insulin is vital in the regulation of carbohydrates and fat metabolism. Here, let me give you an excerpt from Diabetes Australia – an excellent source of information for diabetics, I must add:

“Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. When we eat, insulin is released into the blood stream where it helps to move glucose from the food we have eaten into cells to be used as energy. In people with diabetes the body produces little or no insulin.

For Type 1 – In people with type 1 diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin as the cells that produce insulin have been destroyed by an autoimmune reaction in the body. Insulin replacement is required by daily injections.

For Type 2 – In people with type 2 diabetes the body produces insulin but the insulin does not work as well as it should. This is often referred to as insulin resistance.  To compensate the body makes more but eventually cannot make enough to keep the balance right. Lifestyle changes can delay the need for tablets and/or insulin to stabilise blood glucose levels. When insulin is required, it is important to understand that this is just the natural progression of the disease.”

At this stage, insulin can only be injected.

Insulin cannot be given in tablet form as it would be destroyed in the stomach. This means that the insulin would not be available to convert glucose into energy.”

In a nutshell: insulin makes sure that the sugars we consume don’t stay in the bloodstream where they can become poisonous. This means that the moment you eat something carby, like a piece of bread, your body releases a certain amount of insulin to turn the sugars you get out of the bread into energy that you then use for energy. What we need to remember here is this: sugars are considered toxic – glucose toxicity I believe it’s called, please correct me if I’m wrong! – so the body will burn them up as quick as it can. People with diabetes (I & II) or high insulin resistence (pre-diabetics, for example) don’t get enough of the hormone to deal with the sugars in their food, thus the insulin injections and blood testing. Insulin aims at keeping the body running by maintaining a steady flow of energy – i.e. high blood sugar = bad, too low blood sugar = can also be bad. When there’s no sugar left to burn, insulin turns its attention to sugar it’s put aside earlier which is when we finally start losing weight. Your liver – a big player in all this right along side your pancreas – is where this all really happens; your liver, with the aid of all that insulin, transforms sugars into fuel and once the fuel guage is full, it’ll turn it into fatty acids (there’s the fat you were looking for!) that’s then stored throughout the body – which is where body fat comes from.  Too fatty can lead to organ damage, which (obviously!) be extremely detrimental to your health! It raises blood pressure, decreases metabolism, and can mess up your immune system – all of which can lead to things like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalances.

This is why a lot of people turn to Low Gi or Low Carb lifestyles: one of the goals of these diets is to keep your blood sugar as level as possible.

So, summary: Insulin is important, you need it to turn carbs into fuel. Excess sugar carbs turn into fat. Too much fat is bad.

And that’s enough about insulin for now. There’s a lot more information about it out there online, from far more reputable people than I so if my ramblings haven’t made too much sense, do a Google search.

Most definitely check out http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/, and as always, make sure sources you use are reliable, don’t just use Wikipedia as gospel. Be smart.

Clear Skies, Vee