- Sweet Brussels Sprouts: Cut off stem ends and slice into “coins.” Sautee in coconut oil with apple slices just until bright green and tender. Add a drizzle of maple syrup, a pat of butter, a dash of salt and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Optional: Top with dried cranberries.
- Roasted Roots: Cube a variety of root vegetables: parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, sweet potato/yam, beets, carrots. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary. Bake at 450 degrees until tender, 20-30 minutes, stirring partway through. Just before serving, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.
- Orange Broccoli: Steam broccoli. Meanwhile, mix equal parts honey, butter, and orange juice concentrate. Pour over cooked broccoli. Salt lightly.
- Herbed Squash: In a baking dish, layer thin slices of peeled winter squash with onion and little dollops of butter. Sprinkle each layer with a mixture of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram and garlic. Top with bread crumbs and bake, covered, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Italian Zucchini: Stir-fry zucchini slices in olive oil with minced garlic, oregano and basil until bright green and tender. Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes and serve.
- Holiday Green Beans: While fresh green beans are simmering in water, caramelize some sliced onions by cooking them in butter over very low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When beans are nearly soft, fry some bacon until crispy. Remove bacons strips, drain beans, then add beans to the bacon grease and fry on medium high heat until lightly browned. Combine beans, bacon, and onions to serve.
- Thai Greens: Sautee minced garlic, grated fresh ginger root, and lemon grass slices in coconut oil until fragrant. Add baby greens and cook just until wilted. Pour some coconut milk over them along with a dash of fish sauce.
- Fancy Cauliflower: Steam cauliflower florets until tender. While still hot, toss with butter, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
- Gingered Carrots: Grate a pound of carrots. Add 1” of grated fresh ginger, 2 Tb. Whey (the clear liquid from yogurt with active cultures) and ½ tsp. salt. Press in a quart mason jar until liquid oozes up over the carrot. Screw lid on tightly and set on the counter for 2-3 days. Then refrigerate and use on salads.
- Italian Eggplant: Prick eggplant with a fork and put in the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes until soft. Cool and remove skin. Toss cumin seeds into heated coconut oil. As soon as seeds darken, add onion and sautee until onion becomes transparent. Stir in crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, a bit of coriander powder and a pinch of turmeric powder. Simmer to marry flavors. Mash or cube eggplant and add to mixture. May be eaten with rice or naan.
- Do you feel either wired or tired after eating?
- Do you need to snack between meals to keep your energy up?
- Do you hit a wall during work-outs?
- Does your energy fluctuate dramatically during the day, often leaving you flat?
- Do you experience strong food cravings?
If you answered yes to any number of these, chances are your body is primarily using glucose rather than fatty acids for fuel.
A fat burner feels no rise or slump in energy after meals, can go long hours without food – even fasting with ease intermittently – and has sustained endurance during prolonged workouts. Further, a fat-burner has level energy from sun-up to sun-down and does not experience compelling food cravings.
Not only does being a sugar-burner make you feel miserable, it also damages your health. Here’s a brief physiology lesson. Every cell produces energy to carry on life. The process of converting fuel to energy is called the Krebs cycle. Acetyl coenzyme A is a necessary molecule for the Krebs cycle. The breakdown of glucose to form pyruvate is one way to make this molecule, but it can also be created if fatty acids go through a process called beta oxidation.
You don’t need to remember that. The important point is that the body’s preferred pathway is beta oxidation because it requires one less step and produces 33% more energy.
So if the body wants to burn fats, why are you burning sugars??? Because the fats aren’t accessible! Enter insulin. This is a masterfully-designed hormone that performs its labor well, which is to carry glucose to various parts of the body – the brain for immediate use, the liver for conversion to glycogen, the muscles for quick bursts of energy, and to adipose (fat) tissue for long-term storage.
When you eat a meal that is roughly 1/3 protein, 1/3 fat and 1/3 carbohydrate calorically, the sugars from the carbohydrates will enter the bloodstream at a nominal rate, and you will be able to utilize them as they are made available. But if you double the amount of carbohydrates, and halve the protein and fat content, sugars surge into the bloodstream.
Humans were never designed for such high loads of glucose, which wreak havoc if blood levels remain chronically high. There is a sudden emergency to lower blood sugar. The body can’t possibly use all that glucose at once for energy, so it releases a deluge of insulin to compensate. Insulin whisks the glucose into storage and prohibits fat stores from being mobilized. Your cells are left to burn only glucose.
One solution to the sugar burner metabolism is to adjust your ratios of carbs, fats and proteins. The next time your body sends a signal in the form of a craving that it needs energy, feed it something that will counter an insulin spike and initiate a fat burn.