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Teresa Reversed Her Diabetes!

 

I am VERY honored to introduce y’all to a very special friend of mine.  I have known Teresa since our children were in kindergarten together, about 25  years ago.  She recently reached out to KetoNurses, looking for something different.  Here is her story in her words.

Teresa Toten, July, 2017

 

My name is Teresa, and I live in rural Mississippi.  I am a wife, a mother of four boys, and a grandmother to four.  Over the years, I have worked and taken care of my family, but I really did not pay attention to my health.  My weight slowly continued to creep up on me; after the birth of my children, I never really did go back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I accepted the “fluffiness” as my new norm.  I worked, I came home, and the cycle repeated itself daily for years, leaving little time for exercise.

 

I have worked as a legal assistant for almost 17 years, during which time most of my work surrounded workers’ compensation claims and social security disability claims.  Little did I know, that I would also be injured on the job.  On February 20th, 2015, I underwent a multi-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).  Recovery was slow and painful; in addition, I suffered another injury just weeks after my ACDF surgery – this time to my sternoclavicular (shoulder) joint and collarbone.  The doctor felt that the best course of action would be to undergo steroid injections along with trigger point injections.  Over the course of the next two years, I underwent many of these injections with little to no relief.

June, 2017

In July, 2016, I noticed that I was losing weight without trying; my hair was thinning and falling out in clumps; my face was red and splotchy; my vision was rapidly blurring, and I just all-around did not feel good at all.  I assumed that I was having an issue with my thyroid as thyroid problems do run in my family.  So, in August, 2016, I decided to see a doctor about my concerns.  He ordered the usual rounds of blood work and said he’d get back to me within a few days with the results.  Two days passed, and I received a call from the doctor’s office and said I needed to come in immediately to discuss the results.  I just knew it was my thyroid but at least I had an answer.

 

Day 1 of Keto Nutrition, April, 2017

I went in to the appointment the next morning, and he asked me if anyone had ever talked to me about the big “D”.  I must have looked confused so he patted me on the knee and said that it was diabetes.  We discussed my family history of diabetes (grandmother was diabetic; mother was hypoglycemic).  We discussed my personal history, my eating habits, my lack of exercise, my weight (200 pounds) and my recent surgery and ongoing injections.  He was concerned that my workers’ compensation doctor had not disclosed to me the dangers of rising blood glucose levels while on the injections, and I had been getting them for two years. He told me that my A1C was 12.8.  He explained to me that my blood was telling him the average blood glucose over the last three months was around 375; he also told me that those numbers were not good at all.  He immediately started me on Metformin ER, 500 mg twice a day but also wanted to test my kidney function before beginning.  The results came in… kidneys were okay.  So, he started me out on a long acting one called Tresiba.  I started out at 10 units.  My numbers remained high.  The next week, he added 2 units.  My numbers continued to climb.  My fasting blood glucose levels remained above 200.  My afternoon glucose levels barely dropped.  Insulin dosage increased.  So, after months of trying to stabilize my blood glucose levels, he added Novolog at mealtime.  This addition of mealtime insulin helped my afternoon blood glucose numbers come down a bit, but not where they needed to be.  So, he increased my Metformin to 2000 mg a day.

 

May, 2017

I attended every class that this small town offered to help me learn to manage my diabetes.  I followed the ADA guidelines to the letter.  My numbers continued to rise even though I was eating the way a diabetic is instructed to do.  I just did not understand why I could not get a grasp on my health, and this diabetes was trying to take over my life.  I meticulously kept a log of what I would eat on a daily basis, making sure that I had the proper amounts of protein, carbs and vegetables per the ADA recommendations.  My numbers continued to rise.  Yes, I managed to lose a few pounds in the process but was still grossly overweight at 188 pounds.
So, in frustration and heartache, I reached out to a friend of mine here at KetoNurses for advice on lowering my numbers.  She sent me links to articles on the blog, and she added me to a Facebook group whose main goal is to educate people on methods to use nutrition to help lower glucose and reverse diabetes.  I mean, what did I have to lose besides 2000 mg of Metformin, 30 units of Tresiba, and 16 units of Novolog (per meal) three times a day.  I was ready to get my life back in order, take control of my health, and come off of the medication I was on.

 

So, in April 2017, my keto food list in hand, I made my way to the grocery store to start my new way of eating.  I loaded my cart with items from the meat department, and produce department.  I did not shop down the center aisles for anything.  There were no foods in packages, boxes or bags.  There were no cereals, pastas, rice or potatoes.  There were no fruits, candies, cakes or cookies.  The only thing in my cart was good, wholesome and keto approved foods  I was ready to tackle this way of eating.

On day 1, I took a full length photo of myself.  I weighed in at 188 pounds.  And, I ate.  And, I ate.  I cooked using bacon grease.  I added fat to my vegetables.  I made a cinnamon apple butter tea.  I tracked everything that I did.  I measured all of my food so that my logs were precise.  Day 2 was more of the same.  On or about the 4th or 5th day, keto flu kicked in.  My friend advised me to drink salted broth.  I did and I muddled through the aches and tiredness.  Weeks went by, and I continued to count, to log, to experiment with my foods and my fats.  I got the hang of it.  However, it was not until my first doctor’s appointment after I started this way of eating that the realization kicked in.

My doctor made note of my weight.  He made note of my leaner appearance.   But what really got his attention was my blood glucose numbers; they rapidly fell and stabilized.  So, he had me decrease my insulin dosages and instructed me how to decrease it on my own so that I could do it by myself.  This visit was the first positive appointment I had with him since my diagnosis in 2016.  I was impressed.  So, I continued this way of eating.  I began to notice that my pants were looser, my acne was disappearing, my face was losing its puffiness, my energy levels were increasing, and I just felt better.  I discontinued my Novolog (3 injections a day) and my numbers did not go back up.  I was consistently getting blood glucose readings in the 80’s and 90’s which were a far cry from the 250-300 I was used to seeing.  So, I cut back on my Tresiba.  My dose was 30 units and I am down to 14 units per day.  I also saw my doctor this past week, and he said that he was proud of me.  He said that with the way I am going, that I should be off of my medications (blood pressure meds included) within the next 6 months.

My most recent A1C was done last week and the results are in…..  Last year it was 12.8…  Last week, it was 5.2.  What a tremendous drop!  My cholesterol was a little high at 205 but all other numbers were fantastic.  I enjoyed a great checkup, a great prognosis, a resounding “I’m proud of you” and a “keep up the great work” from my doctor.  He said to keep doing what I am doing, it obviously works. So, I will keto on and continue this way of eating.  It has saved my life, one buttery delicious morsel at a time.
As nurses, we recognize that diabetes has always been considered a progressive condition that always worsens, but we are here to offer another perspective and a totally different outcome for Type 2 Diabetes.  While diabetes may remain on your medical chart as a permanent diagnosis, it IS possible to reverse the condition to a point where complications are minimized or completely eliminated. 

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Fiber – Useful or Harmful?

Fiber has been encouraged for many years in the hopes that it would improve gastrointestinal motility, and many products have been sold advocating such use. Fiber has been recommended by all sorts of health care providers, including doctors, nurses, nutritionists and therapists. Is fiber truly helpful, though? Recent independent studies indicate fiber may be contributing to more symptoms and problems than it’s helping.  As a bulking agent, fiber is used to literally, fill up the space inside the large intestine. The large intestine cannot absorb fiber, nor break it down any further as it moves through the gut. Fiber that enters the colon will absorb excess water, swelling to its maximal capability, filling every space it can occupy. Over days and even weeks of regular fiber use, more fiber enters the large intestine and swells even more, gently pushing swollen fibers forward through the intestines. This action is very slow and can take 2-3 weeks in an average adult. The slow motility means that taking a fiber supplement today will not contribute to today’s bowel movement – not even tomorrow’s. It is the combination of these 2 factors that make us now question the benefits of fiber supplementation: swelling of the fiber and slow motility through the system. With fiber supplementation, many patients report worsening constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, weight gain, gas, cramping, shortness of breath, obstruction and even diarrhea within days of beginning a supplement. While the theoretical goal of fiber supplementation is to slowly clean out the large intestine, the mechanism by which this system actually occurs is problematic and poses some serious health consequences.

We’ve known for a long time now, that some people who consume a high fiber diet often develop diverticulosis – or enlarged pockets along the large intestine. What we have not known or understood is why/how the enlargement occurs, but I would venture to say with this new research data available, that the most likely causes of diverticulosis would be chronic constipation and/or possible high fiber supplement use. Allowing stool to move too slowly through the gut contributes to build-up of wastes, blocking adequate absorption, filling the pockets and getting “stuck” in them. Over time, these static wastes are pushed further and further into those pockets, forcing them to stretch out of shape and become enlarged, even though some stool continues to pass right on by that stuck stool. No symptoms are typically felt or noticed. This problem can create serious illness and severe complication in the form of diverticulitis and obstruction – both of which can be life-threatening.

Moving on to other nutritional aspects of fiber takes us into the nutritional info of foods. Counting carbohydrates is a common nutrition plan for lowering glucose and reversing many chronic conditions. Many low carb experts often instruct people to subtract fiber grams from total grams of carbohydrates, because the fiber is not absorbed or converted into glucose. For example, 1 cup of almonds contains approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates and 11 of them make up the fiber content; some low carbers will say that eating 1 cup of almonds actually only contains 9 grams of net carbs, and thus you only have to count the 9 grams in your calculation of carbs consumed. However, many people with diabetes find that they will have a rise in glucose above and beyond the 9 grams of carbs in that cup of almonds. Why? Some low carb experts suggest that some of the insoluble fiber can impact glucose in many people; in addition, normal gut flora include a variety of healthy bacteria that ARE able to break down some of that insoluble fiber, possibly resulting in glucose release into the GI tract/bloodstream. In addition, some of these insoluble fibers are used as artificial sweeteners, like mannitol, xylitol, & erythritol; manufacturers are catching on to the “net carb” craze and are beginning to produce and label many processed foods using these sugar alcohols. However, there are a couple of problems here; one problem is the elevated glucose with use of these products. The other problem is because these sugar alcohols are insoluble and not easily digestible, they often trigger abdominal cramping and diarrhea in patients, which alters normal gut flora, resulting in even more damage to the gastrointestinal tract and overall health.


Gut flora? Hey, what is that? Well, our intestines are lined with millions of microscopic bacteria that aid in intestinal lining protection, digestion, absorption, and immunity. In fact, some experts now believe that more than 90% of our immune system lies within our intestines. Nearly all of our bodies’ healthy bacteria are located within the intestines, and the job of these bacteria is to break down fiber that your body wasn’t able to break down. During this bacterial digestion of fiber, short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, are formed and are used to help maintain a feeling of fullness for a long time and maintain the health of the lining of the intestines.

Once the normal balance of healthy bacteria is altered, digestion and absorption are impaired, the lining of the gut is damaged, and inflammation develops. Inflammation within the gut can trigger a wide variety of symptoms and health conditions, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, obesity, diabetes, Crohn’s and more. If altered gut flora is contributing to poor digestion, absorption, and diarrhea, how will the body obtain nutrients? How will the large intestine properly push wastes on through the system? If the short-chain fatty acids are no longer produced by the healthy gut bacteria, we get hungry again and again – we eat more often, and we’re more likely to eat nutrient-poor fake foods. If the specific short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, is not available for increasing energy production and for cell replication, damage to the lining of the intestines may be serious, resulting in a variety of illnesses including cancer. Combine all these factors and significant intestinal conditions develop or worsen and health is impaired.


So what does all of this information mean? In summary, it means that fiber may be useful for digestion, but not as added supplements, tablets, or pills; rather, the body much prefers natural forms of fiber – low carb vegetables and pre-biotic vegetables – but because of likely glycemic impact, fiber grams should always be counted on a low carb nutrition plan. The only way to know for sure if these insoluble fibers impact your glucose is test. Use a glucometer to check blood sugar prior to eating insoluble fiber. At 1 hour increments, re-check glucose levels and watch the trend over 4-6 hours.

Probiotics can be purchased over the counter and come in a variety of formulations; some come in single strains, while others come with a combination of healthy bacteria. Probiotic supplements contain active, live healthy bacteria, that are released during digestion to colonize the intestines. There are no specific recommendations or guidelines to take probiotics, although many people claim daily is optimal, while others say weekly is sufficient.

Another digestive aid is called a pre-biotic, certain vegetables or foods that actually serve as nutrition sources for the healthy bacteria within the gut. Pre-biotics include asparagus, sauerkraut, kefir, kumbucha, fresh garlic, leeks, and onions.

As mentioned previously, short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are essential to our digestive system. While there are several SCFAs, butyrate is probably the most common and one of the most useful; butyrate is helpful at maintaining intestinal health and one of the best sources of butyrate is real butter.

What causes altered gut flora? Well, let’s start by taking a look at some causes. Smokers often have higher risks of GI conditions, including ulcers. Diabetes and the medicines used to treat it often cause terrible gut flora, especially metformin. Approximately 85% of people with reflux have been found to also have chronic constipation, and the medicines used to treat reflux significantly alter the pH and thus impair the ability of healthy bacteria to enjoy an optimal environment. Antibiotics are designed to kill off fast-growing bacteria, in order to treat infections, but the antibiotics have no idea that they are supposed to only kill the bacteria causing your sinus or skin infection; antibiotics are most commonly recognized for causing abdominal cramping and diarrhea – symptoms of gut flora imbalance. Simple little GI viruses or mild cases of food poisoning nearly completely empty the gut of healthy bacteria. As you can see, almost anything can alter the health of our intestinal tract.

So, what does all this mean? In general, it means that 1.) our guts may need some fiber in the form of non-starchy vegetables, 2.) healthy bacteria are necessary for optimal digestion, 3.) any GI upset can alter the normal gut flora,

causing a wide variety of GI symptoms, that alter health. 4.) Probiotics can be helpful at restoring normal gut flora, and a couple of weeks later, adding in prebiotics is often helpful at maintaining GI health.

One special note: recently, I’ve seen marketing of soil-based probiotics. I’d caution you to avoid using these probiotics, as humans weren’t meant to consume soil. Animals consume soil in small amounts when grazing and can use these types of bacteria in the gut, especially ruminants – like cows. But these probiotics can actually be harmful to humans.

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What is Vitamin D & Why Do I Need It?

vit d pathwayVitamin D is called a vitamin; it’s often called a hormone. It’s often called a vitamin that acts like a hormone.  So, which is it?  It’s actually all of the above.  Vitamin D is a fat-soluble agent with a chemical structure similar to a steroid.  Which makes sense, as Vitamin D is one of the major ingredients of all steroid-based hormones produced in our bodies. Our bodies were created and designed to absorb sunshine via skin and then a variety of chemical reactions would occur so our bodies actually made its own vitamin D.  However, since the skin cancer scare of the 1970s, the general population applies thick layers of sunscreen and we rarely remove enough clothing to bare our skin for this natural process to occur.  This long-term lack of sunshine on our skin is producing entire generations of significantly deficient people in our society.

What happens when we are low in vitamin D? How does a vitamin D deficiency affect people’s health? Because vitamin D is vital to numerous human processes, it can be quite complex to discuss its actions, roles, and benefits to our bodies.  We will attempt to explain vitamin D as simply as possible, describing the intricacies and complex utilization of vitamin D.

 vit d image

The oldest known function of vitamin D is the role in bone growth and development; we’ve all seen photos of young children with rickets (legs bowing outward) because of a severe deficiency of vitamin D. Without adequate D in the bloodstream, bones cannot grow or develop properly.  For years, calcium was reported to be the “hero” of the skeleton.  People with weakening bones were urged to take high doses of calcium daily “to protect your bones” and prevent osteoporosis.  However, in recent years, that advice has been scaled back a bit; no longer is it general health advice to recommend calcium supplementation unless there is known osteoporosis or osteopenia.  Even where there is evidence, many providers won’t recommend it lightly; they take great care in explaining the risks/benefits and often encourage vitamin D in place of or at least along with the calcium.  So, just what does the vitamin D do for bones?  It’s most recognized benefit is that it aids absorption of calcium from the intestines; it’s the reason vitamin d is added to milk and other dairy products.  Milk/dairy products do NOT naturally contain vitamin D; it is added to promote calcium absorption into the bones for effective use in growth & development. Vitamin D helps keep bones strong and also helps prevent weak, brittle bones in the elderly.

In addition to bone health, vitamin D is recognized for its effects in the brain; it has been called “the depression vitamin” among health care professionals for many years because it is a vital component of neurotransmitters in the brain. Three major neurotransmitters in the brain requiring adequate amounts of vitamin D include serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin; serotonin is a neurotransmitter vital for transmitting nerve impulses. Serotonin is also important for mood regulation; pain perception; gastrointestinal function, including perception of hunger and satiety; and other physical functions. Oxytocin is released from the brain when it is needed for a variety of body needs, including labor & delivery at the end of pregnancy, during sexual arousal, and it is often referred to as “the love hormone” because of its impact on emotional relationships. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic hormone that regulates fluid balance within the body and bloodstream. It works to prevent excess fluid loss and helps maintain homeostasis (normal internal chemistry) by maintaining the concentration of dissolved particles, such as salts and glucose, in the blood. Reviewing all 3 of these neurotransmitters and their major functions is vital to understand brain chemistry; can you see how a shortage of vitamin D would impact nearly all normal body functions and even our relationships, moods, and emotions?

Vitamin D’s impact on glucose has only recently been identified; multiple studies show conflicting data as this area is new to research. However, knowing that vitamin D is an essential ingredient of vasopressin, and that vasopressin helps maintain healthy glucose concentrations, does it not then make perfectly logical sense that a shortage of vitamin D will result indirectly or directly in elevated glucose levels?

In addition, a recent study shows that fasting glucose levels, insulin levels and insulin resistance all improved with vitamin D supplementation. Additionally, this study suggests that pro-inflammatory cytokines that are thought to contribute to insulin resistance were down-regulated with this vitamin D supplementation. Translation: with high carb/high sugar intakes, we are finding significantly elevated levels of inflammatory markers, like cytokines, that are more linked to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes than we ever imagined. Vitamin D supplementation appears to reduce that inflammation as part of the body’s normal healing/tissue repair processes.

However, let’s review again: former advice to take calcium for bone health came with advice to also take vitamin D to aid absorption of the calcium. Just as calcium needs vitamin D for absorption & effective utilization, so vitamin D needs some help. Magnesium and vitamin K2 are necessary for the absorption and use of vitamin D. Recent studies have shown even the very high doses of vitamin D prescribed by health care providers (50,000 IUs) as a weekly regimen barely raised vitamin D levels at all after 4-6 weeks, the usual recommended time frame for dosing. Once study participants added a magnesium and/or vitamin K supplement to their regular dosing regimen, vitamin D levels immediately began to rise. These studies are why we typically recommend vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2 to most people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Recently some reports are suggesting that vitamin D is integral to our immune system; some experts and studies are recommending to add or increase vitamin D supplementation during a variety of illnesses, including colds, flu, respiratory illness, asthma, and more.

What about doses of these supplements? There are limited studies and recommendations because this field is so new and mainstream medical providers are hesitant to make recommendations to patients without a large body of support. The Endocrine Society has stated that a deficiency of vitamin D exists when lab levels fall below 20 ng/mL; however, many reputable experts and organizations say that level should be 40 or even 50 ng/mL. Because of limited evidence, it’s difficult to specify a particular dose. Even more recently, various mainstream medical organizations like the Endocrine Society have stated that health care providers should not draw a vitamin D level on patients anymore, because we’re all deficient anyway, & the test is very expensive; most insurances won’t cover the costs either. So how are we supposed to know what dose to take? Well, the current recommendations for dosing are not clear and without a known vitamin D level, finding your perfect dose may be tricky, but many people find that 1,000 – 2,000 IUs daily is a good maintenance dose; some people just beginning to supplement find that taking 5,000 IUs daily for a few weeks is very helpful at reducing many vague symptoms that they often never connected to poor nutritional status. You can ask for the blood test to be done; you should also ask for the pricing of the test prior to having it drawn so you’re aware of the likely expense. Manufacturers of supplements are meeting the market demand by producing combinations of D, magnesium, vitamin K, and/or iodine for patient convenience.

One warning of NOTE: vitamin K2 is vitally important in blood clotting; if you are taking a blood thinner or have been told you SHOULD take a blood thinner, including aspirin, you should discuss adding this supplement with your provider BEFORE taking it. While vital for normal body processes, vitamin K can contribute to increased clotting within blood vessels; clots are known contributors to heart attacks and strokes.  

In conclusion, the general consensus on Vitamin D includes:

  1. Each increase of 4 ng/mL of vitamin D in the blood is associated with a 4% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  2. There is a significant and inverse relationship between blood levels of vitamin D and the risk of type 2 diabetes among a wide range of vitamin D levels and among a wide variety of populations, so that it is difficult to specify “normal” lab reference values and recommended daily dosing. Translation: The lower your vitamin D level is, the higher the risk of development of type 2 diabetes.

For further information about Vitamin D, it is recommended to ask your regular health care provider.

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How Do I Eat LCHF?

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “well, what do you eat if you’re not eating carbs?” The answer seems easy, but I find that explaining it can be quite tricky and complex for a lot of the people with whom I share LCHF (low carb high fat) information. First, let’s start with a review of current dietary recommendations.  If you look at the American government’s nutrition advice at “myplate.gov”, you’ll find a colorful plate that suggests half your plate be covered in fruits and grains and an additional serving of dairy off to the side.  The rest of the plate should include vegetables and meat. Notice, there is no longer a place on this plate for fats.  Over the past 50 years, more and more “experts” have recommended less & less fat intake over time, even though there is absolutely NO scientific evidence that supports that recommendation.  In addition, the current dietary guidelines for people with diabetes recommend 45-60 grams of carbs per meal and 15-30 grams of carbohydrates per snack, with 3 meals and 2 snacks recommended; do the math.  45 grams x 3 meals = 135 grams; 15 grams x 2 snacks = 30; even on the lowest carbohydrate plan from the American Diabetes Association, that’s 165 grams of carbs per day.  On the higher end, that’s 60 grams x 3 meals = 180 grams and 30 grams x 2 = 60, for a grand total of recommended carbohydrates PER DAY of 240 grams.  When you realize the bloodstream only needs 4 grams of carbohydrates for a 24 hour period, you quickly begin to see why current dietary guidelines are failing our bodies and contributing to sickness all across our land.  The body must use or store this excess energy; when it can no longer store any more glucose, it begins to make triglycerides from the excess carbohydrates or leave the excess inside the bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia, also called diabetes mellitus.  SO, how many grams of carbs do we actually need?  Another controversial response.  While carbs have never been shown to be essential to body functions like proteins or vitamin C, most experts agree that having some carbohydrates is good, ok, or allowed.  I typically recommend about 20 grams of carbs per day for most patients with glucose, insulin, triglyceride, or weight problems.  People cutting carbs for general health’s sake can often tolerate up to 50 grams per day without significant health problems.

Mainstream medical providers will usually prescribe medications that will help lower glucose, but no medication will stop the progression of diabetes as long as an overload of carbohydrate continues. And there is NO medication to stop the “carbage” from going in our mouths.  People who truly desire to reverse their diabetes or stop progression, at the very least, must significantly decrease carbohydrate intake.  Many people immediately think of sweets, candy, cakes, brownies, and soda as high carb/sugar items and usually give them up immediately upon diagnosis of diabetes or insulin resistance.  However, there is a much more complex event at work here, as all carbohydrates CONVERT into sugars like glucose or fructose – both of which are linked to a variety of chronic disease states, like insulin resistance and diabetes.  So, what is considered a carbohydrate? What foods convert into sugars?  All breads, tortillas, crackers, chips, beans, pasta, rice, corn, oats, quinoa, rye, and barley convert into GLUCOSE.  Yes, ALL of them.  YES, even the “healthy” whole grains.  YES, anything made with flour.  YES, all cereals convert into SUGARS.  All of these grains contribute to elevated glucose levels, high triglycerides, and increased states of inflammation which create the perfect storm to ill health in the form of heart attacks and strokes.

Cutting carbs to gain health is probably one of the best choices anyone can make today. Between all the planting, harvesting and processing that goes into producing our bagged, boxed and pre-packaged food items and the terribly high amounts of them we’ve been consuming, it’s no wonder that heart disease, diabetes, and all chronic conditions are on the rise.  Once you’ve decided to cut carbs, pat yourself on the back! That is an amazing first step.  Now, it’s time to clean out the pantry; start by reading every single label of every single package.  Look at the carb count per serving AND the ingredient label.  Do you always ONLY eat 1 serving of that item? Or do you eat 2-3 servings?  Most of us have NEVER paid any attention to this part of a nutrition label, but it’s time we read.  If the carb count PER YOUR PREFERRED amount is higher than about 5-7 grams, it’s probably not very healthy to keep it.  Toss it or donate it.  Once the pantry is clean, you can start FRESH, stocking your kitchen with a variety of healthy foods that will not only lower your glucose, but also provide a wide variety of essential nutrients for your body’s healing.

Now it’s time to make a meal plan; starting with simple vegetables and meats is best and easiest. It typically takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare/cook most low carb meals, but many newbies find it difficult to see that.  They imagine all sorts of complex recipes with foreign ingredients and spending hours in the kitchen.  If you develop a meal plan for a week or 2 at a time, you can make your shopping list accordingly and save hundreds of dollars a year by buying only what you need for known meals.

Staples for your low carb kitchen:

Your favorite spices are usually fine, but avoid combos or read labels carefully; many combos include casein (milk) or wheat (anti-caking agent) and a variety of “natural” flavors which often include sugars. Pink Himalayan salt is my favorite salt as it supposedly contains trace minerals we need.  We eat a lot of black pepper, garlic, and onion powders, so these are vital for our kitchen.  You find the spices that make you happy and stock those.  Salt is necessary, so don’t skimp on salt.  When cutting out all the processed foods, we’re also cutting out TONS of salts and salty preservatives – most of these chemicals we don’t need.  But sodium is required for normal muscle functions and a variety of major body processes, so don’t cut salt on LCHF – INCREASE salt intake, but only salt foods that have never been salted before.

In addition to a good quality salt, choose oils based on this chart: Olive, avocado oils are good, but heating them for certain cooking processes isn’t the best choice.  I use butter or refined coconut oil (no coconut flavor) for high-heat searing of most meat.  I cook most of my veggies in butter and/or bacon grease.

how to use oils photo

Avoid margarine period. It was invented to make turkeys/poultry fatter faster; what do you think it’s doing to US? Never buy “low-fat” or “lite” foods.  Always purchase full-fat products as these contain the fewest sugars and best fats.

Nut flours like almond or coconut can be used in small quantities, on occasion, but I teach patients to avoid using these for at least 30 days on LCHF eating. Subbing these ingredients out for wheat flour to make a pan of brownies is defeating your REAL purpose in making these changes and prevents your palate from resetting.  Giving in to sugar cravings by making a low carb sweet can continue the cravings and make your body more confused.  Teaching your body to do what YOU want is more important than satisfying a “sweet tooth.”  After glucose is under control or once weight is lost and you’re happier with your health, it is usually safe to try some of the low carb breads, pizzas, and desserts – but I always caution people to NOT expect it to taste or feel like “it used to.”  The consistency, flavor, and texture will be different.

Sweeteners are not typically recommended on LCHF eating because they often trigger the same exact response in the liver and pancreas as sugar; again, I typically recommend avoiding any type of sweetener for 30 days – 30 days won’t kill ya! Once you’re past the 30 days and/or glucose levels/weight are down, you can test sweeteners to see how your body responds. Test glucose prior to consuming a sweetener of choice and test again an hour or 2 afterwards.  Testing is the only way to know for certain how a food or ingredient impacts your glucose. Once you’re past the first 30 days and are looking for more variety in your recipes, you can try erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is poorly absorbed and less likely to cause glucose spikes – but TEST to know for sure!

Find or make a low carb mayo; most commercial mayonnaise contains sugars, corn syrup or other sweeteners. If you can find a low carb mayo in the store, that’s AWESOME! Many of us make our own, but since we can’t have breads, making mayo becomes a very rare occasion.  I make it 3-4 times a year when I want tuna or chicken salad.  Full-fat sour cream can sometimes be used in place of mayo or yogurt in recipes.

Image result for mayonnaise nutrition information
This label is a great example of how sneaky companies are; notice ZERO carbs, but SUGAR is listed as an ingredient!

 

Heavy cream is preferred over milk when eating LCHF; all milks contain sugars, but cream contains barely any sugar at all because it is the fat that is removed from milk at the dairy. Yes, it’s heavy whipping cream, found in cardboard milk containers most often.  You can use it to make gravies, sauces, toppings, etc. for a wide variety of LCHF recipes.

If you can afford it, buy grass-fed butter, dairy and meat products. Find a local farmer to buy from. Google a dairy nearby.  The closer our food products are to the farm, the less likely that additives, hormones, and antibiotics are tainting our foods.

Healthy cheeses include the ones with the least amount of chemicals/additives listed in ingredients; avoid processed cheese like Velveeta, cheese slices, and cheese sticks. Use full fat cheeses whenever possible. Some people do find that dairy products can trigger inflammation, bloating, swelling, and glucose/insulin spikes and must limit or avoid them altogether.

Meats and Veggies

When shopping for meats, choose the cheaper cuts as these also contain the most fats; saturated animal fats have never been shown to be unhealthy. We just believed people when they said they were.  Purchase the 70%/30% ground beef products or the closest possible.  Buy the steaks with the most marbling.  Buy roasts with thick layers of fat on them. When shopping for lunch or deli meats, really be “on your toes” with regard to ingredients; most ham is smoked in brown sugar or honey.  Many lunchmeats have corn syrup added to them during processing.  Pepperoni, salami, pork rinds, and summer sausage usually have little to no sugars/carbs.

All meats are approved for LCHF eating: beef, deer, moose, caribou, elk, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, fish, seafood, etc.  Consideration must be taken into account for processed meats; since companies are seasoning and prepping the meat, always read nutrition and ingredient labels.  There are over 60 names for sugar or natural sweeteners; companies are learning to “hide” sugar by using more “natural” or healthy-sounding words.  Be aware.  Read and do your research.  We often find “side meat” and cook it like bacon; it is often found in a meat deli or butcher shop and is fresh, not cured, not soaked in chemical preservatives.  Many people equate LCHF eating to the old “Atkins diet” and believe we low-carb-ers also eat high amounts of protein/meat.  But that is not the case; Dr. Atkins was on to something with his low carb diet plan, but he missed the mark just a bit with his philosophy on proteins.  The “missing link” that I believe he omitted was that excess protein, in the absence of carbohydrates, will be converted into glucose.  LCHF is not a “meat free-for-all” but rather, it is keeping meat portions very small to help minimize gluconeogenesis – converting protein into glucose.  In general, keeping protein intake to about 15-20% of daily intake is ideal; athletes will need more protein than sedentary people, so keep in mind your personal life when calculating dietary intake of your macronutrients.  To calculate your protein needs, identify your ideal body weight or lean body mass – this weight can be found in a variety of online calculators published and determined by insurance companies.  Convert this weight into kilograms (kg) by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.  Then multiply this number by 0.8 – 1.6, as this is the range of needed protein per kg per day.  EXAMPLE:   A 40-year-old female office worker weighs 175 lbs; her ideal body weight/lean body mass, based on her height of 5’6” is approx. 140 lbs.  Divide 140 lbs/2.2 = 64 kg is her weight in kilograms. Multiply 64 kg x 0.8 kg of protein per day = 51.2 grams of protein is ideal for this particular lady.

Vegetables are often confusing to people, since so many GRAINS are also called veggies by restaurants and even in diet literature. AVOID all grains: corn, rice, and quinoa.  Avoid root vegetables most of the time; root vegetables include potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots, and any other starchy vegetables.  Using a few slivers of a carrot atop a salad isn’t a terrible choice, but having 1 small serving of “penny carrots” could result in elevated glucose for a week! You may also use onions for seasonings or toppings, but keep your portion of it to a tiny “garnish” type of amount.  Recommended vegetables include:  alfalfa sprouts, arugula, asparagus, bamboo, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, chives, cucumber, celery, eggplant, jalapeno, kohlrabi, kale, kelp, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, parsley, pickles (sugar-free), radicchio, rutabaga, salad greens, snow peas, spinach, string (green) beans, sweet (colored) peppers, zucchini.  Keep serving to about 2/3 cup per meal for best results.  Add fats to all servings.

As for squash, zucchini is pretty low carb, but many of the other squashes are higher in carbs, so if you choose to have a winter squash, be prepared to see some rise in glucose levels; some people can tolerate more of these foods than others. Individualize your meals based on your meter readings. Tomatoes and artichokes also fall into this “gray” area of choices.  They may impact some glucose levels with a minimal response, while shooting other glucose levels through the roof.  Base your food choices on your glucose readings; over time, your body will teach you what is safe for you.

Sample meals:

Breakfast – Eggs and bacon

When I first began eating LCHF, I would usually have 2-3 eggs and 2-3 slices of bacon every morning in addition to my fatty coffee, also known as bulletproof coffee(BPC). Over several weeks, I found I couldn’t eat that much on a regular basis; I’m now eating 1 slice of bacon and 1 egg with my BPC. This decrease is a normal reduction of intake when eating LCHF; as time progresses, we often find that we eat less quantity as well as less often.  Eating 5-6 small meals per day has become the “norm” for most of us for a couple reasons.  First, we’ve been told to do so by our nutritionists, dieticians, and health care providers; secondly, when eating high carb, the carbs are used or stored within minutes, making us feel hungry again triggering need for repeated meals.  Once our bodies adapt to burning fats instead of carbs, we no longer feel hungry as often; fats provide a much longer period of satisfaction, curbing hunger and urges to snack all the time.  When I have BPC, 1 egg and 1 slice of bacon in the morning, I usually don’t feel hunger again until 3-4 pm, meaning I can skip lunch without feeling deprived or hungry.  I don’t feel the urge to snack or eat because my brain is being fueled by ketones that are broken down from the fats I’ve eaten.  Sometimes, I do make a low-carb pancake breakfast, or make egg muffins with cheese and meat – no flour.  Walden Farms actually makes a sugar-free syrup that some people are able to use without significant glucose spikes.  There are now hundreds of low-carb recipes to satisfy any “hankering” you may have when you just want something different from eggs and bacon.  However, I LOVE eggs and bacon!!  If I’m in a hurry, I will sometimes have a small chunk of cheddar cheese with a boiled egg – easy and fast for those “on-the-go” days. But NO toast!

Meal Ideas

Some of our favorite entrees are provided below; most meats can be seared on high heat in refined coconut oil in about 20 minutes or less. Toss some veggies in a skillet of bacon grease or butter and they are done in about the same time.  Quick, simple, and very healthy.  We often cook extra so that we have “ready-to-eat” meals on hand for busy days.   Sometimes we make a pasta-less lasagna or ziti, freezing portions of it for later use.  Some people will make cloud bread for use as buns for burgers; some people will use zucchini for “noodles” – we call them “zoodles”.  Eating LCHF is fun and exciting for multiple reasons, including experimenting with new and different foods, spices, etc.  But most of all, it’s exciting to see glucose control, weight loss, and improved health overall.

Taco-less Salad

3 oz browned hamburger meat, seasoned with NO sugars, chilis, garlic, onion/chili powder – your favorites

2-3 oz shredded cheese – your favorite

1 Tablespoon finely chopped onions

½ of a sliced avocado

1-2 tablespoons of regular sour cream

2 halved or quartered grape tomatoes

About 1 cup salad greens (the more colorful, the more nutrients)

Sugar-free (preferably homemade) salsa

Hamburger Steak with Asparagus

Brown 3-4 oz hamburger patties in butter or bacon grease; season to taste; use highest fat content meat

Chop asparagus into 2” pieces – you can season them and roast them in oven on 400 degrees for 20 min/stirring halfway through, OR you can stir-fry in butter/bacon grease on stovetop for about 12 -15 minutes. In fact, any vegetable can be prepared using this method.

Breadless Sandwiches

Take 2 slices of sugar-free lunch/deli meat and cover with a thin layer of full-fat cream cheese

Add veggie pieces (your faves) or sliced cheese

You can roll these up OR add more meat for a flat, more normal-looking sandwich.

Place 2 more slices of lunch meat on top and cook in buttered skillet for 5-8 minutes or just until cream cheese melts and meat begins to brown. Cut into triangles and serve with veggie of your choice.  Can dip into home-made dressing or mayo, olive/avocado oil.

Here at KetoNurses, we truly hope you benefit from our information and that this article offers you a solid foundation for your new “keto” lifestyle! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!

diabetes, diet, gluten-free, Grain free, Guidelines, insulin, insulin resistant, keto, ketogenic, lifestyle, low carb, NAFLD, nurse, nurse practitioner, paleo, PCOS, vitamin

Biblical Thoughts on Eating  


From today’s First Five Bible study: “A life without leadership can cause us to worship something or someone other than God. We were created with a desire to worship, and it was God’s plan for us to worship Him. The Danites stole Micah’s idols and carried them to the new land.”

Reading through today’s study was quite eye-opening in regard to food. With so many beautiful foods out there and so many different “experts” encouraging different diets and food concepts, it is nearly impossible to know who is right and what diet rules to really follow.

However, God provided some great tips, if we will just acknowledge them. 1. He gave Adam & Eve dominion over the animals, & so they could eat or use them as needed for clothing (after the fall). 2. He also gave them the Garden of Eden, full of beautiful vegetables & fruits. 3. He set forth dietary guidelines in Deuteronomy & Leviticus. 4. He also set forth instructions for sacrificing the fat portion – the best portion for Himself. (See Lev. 3) 5. He accepted Abel’s offering of the animal sacrifice, but He couldn’t accept Cain’s offering of grains from the field.

Looking at these 5 facts together and not in isolation, we can see a bigger picture. We can see that God intended, from the beginning, for us to eat meat, as He’d created us with that in mind. Since we are no longer living in Old Testament times, we no longer have to offer God the best portion of the meat as sacrifice. Meat contains the most nutrient density of any food available to us. Rich in iron, vitamin B12, protein & healthy fats, red meat can provide the human body with many components for tissue healing, repair, & continued cell division for health.

Going back to Cain’s offering – why could God not accept an offering of grains? They had been planted, tended, & harvested with great effort by Cain. He harvested the best of the crop and wanted to show God what his effort had produced. Why did God refuse this offering? I believe there’s 3 major reasons: 1. Rules of sacrifice had already been set by God and obedience to His will is required. 2. Cain was prideful in his offering; Cain wanted to show God what He’d done – that’s not the purpose of worship or sacrifice. 3. Sacrifice required the shedding of blood to atone for sin.

Take all of this information and look at it from God’s perspective. Although we no longer live under the law, we can see that He set forth great tips in our early history. We can see His holiness and His authority remain. We can see that He created amazing nutrition for our bodies.

We can also review modern history and see how we’ve defiled the gift of food that He provided. We’ve “chemicaled” and altered seeds, growing processes, and manufacturing methods to create food-like items that provide no nutritional value to our bodies. To what end?

The results of all this processing and our busy lives has contributed to “the perfect storm” of disease. We’ve created our own consequences of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and more.

Learning that God provided us with terrific foods and great nutrition can be so freeing! We can go back to the farm for our foods! We can eat meat, fats & vegetables without fear! We can eat healthy animal fats without risk of heart disease – why would God give us a terrible, unhealthy way to eat that He knew would cause disease? He would NOT do so!

Humans have taken ideas about food and misconstrued and lied about them. “Experts” with strong voices & lots of money took opportunity for fame with their ideas – but we’re finding out 50 years later that they were WRONG and had no scientific evidence to boot. Yes, you read that correctly! Our low-fat diet guidelines are based on hypothesis & conjecture – NOT science or research.

So what do we do? I suggest that we go back to the farm for most of our foods. Eat plenty of vegetables and meats. Cut out grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, & rye as these trigger significant inflammatory responses in our bodies. Cut out processed oils like vegetable, corn, canola oils as these are also highly inflammatory and raise triglyceride levels.

(Thanks to @FructoseNo for the cool photo.)

The first question patients ask when they hear this advice is, what about cholesterol? Remember, diet guidelines were based on thoughts, NOT science; therefore, no scientific evidence has confirmed links to high cholesterol & fat intake. In fact, studies confirm the exact opposite. Higher fat intakes in multiple studies have shown lower rates of obesity and heart disease. Cholesterol is required and even made by our bodies for all sorts of processes, including hormone function, balanced brain chemistry, and tissue healing/repair.

In summary, God made a delicious and nutritious way for us to eat. If we listen to His leadership and heed His guidance, we can actually heal our bodies and reverse many health conditions!

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KetoNurses’ Grain-Free Fake Ziti

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KetoNurses’ Easy Fake Ziti

I recently saw a segment on “Rachael” the featured a White Ziti and I was intrigued immediately! I decided to tweak the ingredients just a bit in order to make a grain-free, low carb Ziti.

KetoNurses Grain-Free Fake Ziti Recipe

2-3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil

5-6 cloves of garlic (1 bulb works)

10-16 ounces thawed chopped spinach

ground nutmeg (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

2-3 zuchinni, sliced thinly

16-24 ounces ricotta

16-24 ounces grated parmiagiano-reggiano

16 ounces shredded mozzarella

Start by coating the baking dish with butter or oil and preheat oven at 350 degrees. Set baking dish aside while combining ingredients. Heat oil over medium heat, stirring in garlic, spinach, & nutmeg. Heat and stir for about 2 minutes, or until heated thoroughly. Salt & pepper to taste.

Add sliced zuchinni, ricotta, & parm.  Mix well and turn out into greased baking dish.  Top with grated/shredded mozzarella and bake in oven until some of the top begins to brown.  Using smaller quantities allows for smaller dish & less baking time; an 8×8 dish will be done in about 30 minutes, whereas a 9×13 dish will require about 50 minutes.

Options:  Brown 8-16 ounces of ground beef or pork sausage and add to heated mixture. I made my version with a pound of ground beef because my hubby refused to eat it without meat.  LOL

This dish is a very flexible base and I hope to try developing a few other options over the next few months.  It offers a power pack of nutrients including iron, protein & multiple vitamins essential for good health.

I have really enjoyed learning to use “zoodles” in place of grain-based noodles; using zuchinni in place of typical noodles also significantly improves nutrient content, & that is vital for improving health.  Zoodles are also a fun way to get kids to eat more vegetables!!

Fake-Ziti is quick and easy to make, and can be made ahead and saved in serving size portions for use later in the week.  Smaller portions also make terrific appetizers for pot lucks or parties.

Add a colorful salad and serve – so quick and easy to provide a highly nutrition meal for your family.

Rachael recommended a nice white wine to accompany her Ziti; I’m not much of a wine chic, so I’ll just have to take her word for it.  LOL

Please share your photos and experiences making our Ziti on our KetoNurses Facebook page or tag me on Instagram; I’m KetoNurseJen.

Happy Low Carbing!

diabetes, diet, gluten-free, Grain free, Guidelines, hormone, immune system, insulin, insulin resistant, keto, ketogenic, lifestyle, low carb, NAFLD, nurse, nurse practitioner, paleo, PCOS, supplement, vitamin

What’s all the hub-bub about low carb?

 

Over the past 50 years, nutrition advice has been a bit fluid with regards to a variety of nutrients or macronutrients. In the most recent 5-10 years, a few grass-roots experts have come forward with even more changes they recommend for our eating health.  Some physicians and authors are encouraging complete grain-free nutrition, while others advocate for a 100% plant-based diet.  Now comes along this idea to cut carbs from our diets.  Here, we will attempt to define and discuss carbohydrates, their purpose, sources, and whether or not we actually NEED those carbs.

First, let’s take a look at the 3 macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, & fats.  These macronutrients are the largest sources of food and nutrients for our bodies.  In the past, it was believed that 45-65% of our daily intake should be from carbohydrates, 10-35% % of our intake should come from proteins, and that 20-35% of our intake should come from fats.   Fats were touted as being minimally necessary to bodily processes, while proteins & carbs were proclaimed as more important nutrients the body needed.

Carbohydrates in high quantities were thought to be necessary because they provide instant energy for usual daily activity, body processes, and exercise. Prior to 1980, when the first dietary guidelines were published, there had been little to no scientific research published regarding these macronutrients; however, some very strong personalities with governmental and financial support were able to advocate for dietary guidelines not too different from today’s high carbohydrate recommendations.  With no supporting data and no real science to back up the 1980 nutrition recommendations, they were advertised and supported by a myriad of governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and medical providers across the country; the media was complicit in assisting in “educating” the public on these rules, and magazines/newspapers published countless news articles encouraging the American public to reduce fat intake and significantly increase carbohydrate intake. (You can read more on this story here:  https://ketonurses.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/does-cholesterol-cause-heart-attacks-is-fat-bad-for-me/.)

Fast-forward 40 years and take a look at the devastation to our bodies by such high carb and nutrition-less food-like items we’ve been consuming. Prior to the 1980 dietary guidelines, there was little heart disease, type 2 diabetes, few strokes & heart attacks, and minimal obesity.  There were fewer cases of cancers & inflammatory conditions like arthritis and lupus.  How did people die in previous decades? Infection was the number 1 killer up until antibiotics became the mainstay of healthcare in the 1960s-80s.  Accidents and injuries were another top cause of death, but heart disease and obesity did not become prevalent until more modern times.  Looking at graphs that show our fat intake decline can be compared to the rates of heart disease, and you will easily see the inverse relationship between them; fat intake dropped while heart disease sky-rocketed.

And of course, as fats were cut from our plates, we replaced them with “healthier” carbohydrates. As manufacturers and food processing companies worked to make work easier and less laborious for their employees, nutrients were lost.  As nutrient content began to fall, it was decided to supplement or “enrich” many of these foods with some vitamin or mineral to help make the food seem healthier and more nutritious to consumers.  If you can find an older food label from the 1950s and compare to similar food item today, you will see a big difference in nutrient-density; today’s food-like items contain almost no nutrients, no vitamins, no minerals, nothing at all the body actually needs – except for carbohydrates.

And now, we come to the $6 million question – Does the body need all these carbs? Well, let’s look back at the hunter-gatherers a hundred years or more ago – even thousands of years ago.  What carbs did they eat? Where did our founding pioneers obtain their carbs?  What foods did the Native Americans thrive on?  Looking back over hundreds of years, we can see that our ancestors primarily consumed proteins and fats – both of which were generally accessible year-round.  During summer/fall seasons, there were some carbohydrates to be found in the fields & orchards – but they were SEASONAL and only consumed as special treats.  These high carb-content foods were very rare on the family table, and breads/grains were a real treat due to the prolonged growing season and space required for farming them.  It wasn’t until after WWII that industry began seeing food manufacturing as a money-making business; most families and communities farmed nearly every food item consumed.  Families and communities bartered and traded foods & services; there just wasn’t room in the economy or the daily life for many “frivolities” to be eaten.  Farmers and plant workers thrived on proteins and fats for sustenance and energy.  Breads and cereals did not provide long-lasting energy for the typical 12-16-hour day, with rarely a “lunchbreak” for a mid-day meal.  Jerky, or dried meats, was easy to keep in a pocket or bag for a snack “on-the-go.”  While pondering on these thoughts, let’s go back to our question – Does the body need all these carbs?  Our grandparents and great-grandparents will mostly say an unequivocal “NO” to this question because they lived on very few carbs during their entire lifetime.  They did not see much need for them 100 years ago; some of them still keep carb intake to a minimum today, regardless of the “rules” that push high-carb diets on all of us.

Now then, the question becomes, “how many carbs should I eat?” Well, the Standard American Diet (SAD) guidelines typically recommend 250-300 GRAMS of carbs per day for the average American adult.  How much is that, you ask?  Take a look at this graphic from The Noakes Foundation:

noakes-photo

Take a look at the sample menu; substitute some of your own favorites and if you’re really brave, look up the exact carb content on your food labels. This typical diet contains over 300 grams of carbohydrates for 1 day, AND an additional 34 teaspoons of refined sugars, for an ADDITIONAL 137 grams of carbs – the SAD is truly sad for Americans. Consider that the average body only needs 1 TEASPOON of glucose in the bloodstream ALL DAY.  This sample meal plan for 1 day contains a total of 466 grams of carbohydrates – all of which will be converted rather quickly into glucose, floating around in the bloodstream and triggering all sorts of body processes in hopes of lowering the blood glucose level as quickly as possible.  The intake of glucose triggers the pancreas to suddenly secrete a load of insulin which is programmed to seek out glucose molecules and transport them out of the bloodstream quickly; while the insulin is taking the glucose OUT of the bloodstream, it is taking the glucose INTO cells to be stored as fat; over time, this one process causes weight gain and insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance is what happens when the body is overworked and forced to make and secrete a lot of insulin.  I tell this story to my patients when I see them in the office:  If you are working on an assembly-line and your rate of work is comfortable to you and you meet production at the end of your day, you feel good that you were able to meet your goals and produce a good, high-quality product.  But what happens when your boss tells you to DOUBLE production?  Do you work faster? Do you work more carelessly?  Does your faster work put out high-quality product?  Do you feel bad at the end of your day because you did not meet your standards?  A similar process occurs when the pancreas is forced to make too much insulin to manage the extremely high glucose intake and the insulin becomes less and less effective, even though MORE quantity is being produced.  This one faulty product (poor quality insulin) can cause a myriad of chemical & hormonal imbalances within the body, contributing to all sorts of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

So, if 400+ grams of carbs per day is actually RECOMMENDED, it’s no wonder that over 2/3 Americans are overweight & diabetic. How can we change this plan?  Well, the dietary guidelines will be reviewed again in 5 years – that’s a LONG time to wait.  You can change YOUR diet TODAY!  I like helping people understand where all the carbohydrates are hiding – they are in MANY foods that experts have claimed to be HEALTHY for the past 50 years.  I start by helping people see the worst sources of carbs – the junk foods, the soda, the sugary treats, the boxed cereals loaded with sugars, and fast foods.  Once people are aware of the sources, it is MUCH easier to start making healthy choices.  But how many grams of carbs do we actually need?  Some current experts say we need as little as 10 grams per day; others say that staying under 50 grams is best.  My suggestion to my patients is to start where you are and try to eat 100 grams LESS for a week or 2 and then decrease again and again, learning as you go.  Read labels, identify foods with high carb content and start cutting portion sizes until that food is used/gone.  I tell people that it’s important to start right where you are and to NOT expect yourself to make such a massive change overnight.  While some people are able to go “cold-turkey” off carbs, many find it a serious addiction and very difficult to drop such a huge amount in a short time.  The best method of understanding where you are, is to record your intake; if you have a smartphone or tablet, there are many apps available.  My favorite app for this task is Cronometer because it’s accurate and pretty easy to use.  Once you’ve recorded 3-4 days of intake, it’s easy to see what your macros are.  Your macros are your macronutrients – carbs, fats, & proteins.  These are the only 3 major nutrients we consume.

Back to our original questions: 1) What is low carb eating?  Low carb eating is a way of eating that drastically cuts carbohydrate intake to less than 100 grams per day; some plans and experts recommend MUCH less, but the general definition of low-carb is less than 100 grams per day.  2) Is low-carb unhealthy?  After reading this article, I hope your answer is a resounding “NO, low-carb eating is very healthy.”  Eliminating wasteful, highly processed, very chemical-laden food like items actually rids your body of toxins and chemicals that are often linked to chronic diseases and cancers.  3)  What do I eat if I’m eating low carb?  This question is often one of the most commonly asked questions of all of us trying to teach this method of eating.  Eliminating carbohydrates typically means no longer consuming any type of bread, rice, corn, potato, wheat, pasta, cracker, cereal, chip, juice, & most milk.  Reviewing your daily intake record, you may find that much of your intake consists of these foods – a VERY common dilemma!  However, I provide a list of resources to my patients, and will add them at the end here.  I typically recommend eating eggs, bacon, unsweet sausage, most meat in small portions, and non-starchy vegetables, and all of it cooked and covered in healthy fats like REAL butter – NOT margarine.  Other health fats are listed here:

oils-photo

My favorite method of cooking veggies is to roast them! Ahhhhh, so delish and easy to make; just chop into small fairly evenly-sized pieces and season to taste. I shake them in a large storage bag with lite olive oil to cover, then pour onto a large cookie sheet and bake on about 375 – 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or just until edges begin to slightly brown.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  I also often serve with a small bowl of butter for dipping while eating.  Trying to change our 60++% carb intake to 70% fat intake can take quite a while to understand AND implement.  If we could learn to consume mostly fats with small portions of foods, we could nearly eliminate chronic diseases & medication use, and we could change the face of health care, while extending life span AND improving quality of life.  Now, tell me, who wouldn’t like that?

Take a look at some of these resources and do your own research before deciding what you should do about carb intake.

References, Books, Websites, & Recipe sites for Low Carb Lifestyle

Books:

The Art & Science of Low Carb Living

Cholesterol Clarity

Wheat Belly

Grain Brain

Keto Clarity

The Diabetes Solution

Effortless Healing

Websites:

www.ruled.me                                                  www.dietdoctor.com

www.ketonurses.wordpress.com             www.authoritynutrition.com

www.mercola.com                                          www.ditchthecarbs.com

www.livinlavidalowcarb.com                    Facebook group – Reversing Diabetes

www.lowcarbconversations.com

www.buttermakesyourpantsfalloff.com

FREE YouTube Videos: Dr. Sarah Hallberg             Steve Phinney & Jeff Volek

Dr. Richard Bernstein            Dr. Eric Westman

Bob Briggs (Butter Bob)        Jimmy Moore

Recipes:    www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com

www.peaceloveandlowcarb.com

www.joyfilledeats.com

www.nobunplease.com

www.ibreatheimhungry.com