Lifestyle

An American Refrigerator

American Refrigerator

What’s in your refrigerator? Is it full of real food or just food-like substances? I got a glimpse of a typical American refrigerator the other day. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have made a satisfying meal with its contents.

Is This Your Refrigerator?

When I opened the door, incredulity overtook me.  I found beverages, condiments, trans-fats, leftover fast food, and refined white flour products. In short, man-made products filled the shelves. I saw beer, wine, pop, flavored water, and Coffee Mate. Moreover, margarine, bread, buns, tortillas, leftover pizza, and a single lemon shared the compartments.

But, were the vegetables? Well, yes, if potatoes count! But, where was there protein? I suppose I could name the flavored, sweetened yogurt, and the processed cheese.

Is this the sum of an American refrigerator? Next, I opened the freezer. My dismay remained: ice cream, popsicles, waffles, and a box of chicken nuggets stood frosty and ready.

Cupboards to Rival This American Refrigerator

Maybe I would find real food in the cupboards.

I didn’t.

Similar to the refrigerator, there were substances to satisfy one’s cravings: popcorn, crackers, chips, chocolate chips, and Swedish Fish. If I intended to cook, I could have used the white flour, sugar, shortening, and vegetable oil. Then, I could pour imitation syrup on top. In summary, I discovered only three “meals” – instant oatmeal, canned soup, and canned chili. (Peanut butter is not a meal!)

Why is the American Refrigerator Problematic?

A steady stream of empty-calorie foods degrade your health. Unquestionably, food-like substances have been linked to fatigue, depression and diabetes. These non-foods negatively impact the function of your heart, your liver, and your brain. Furthermore, they can damage your memory and cause dangerous swings in your blood sugars. Not to mention increasing your risk of cancer. Lastly, they impair your digestion.

Refrigerator Makeover

So, how do you create a super-stocked refrigerator?

  • Start with produce. No health practitioner will argue that you need fewer plant foods. Fruits and vegetables are critical to optimal wellness. Your body needs the fresh leafy greens, brightly- colored tree and vine fruits, and cruciferous vegetables you store in the refrigerator. Strive for variety and include as many colors as possible.
  • Visit the butcher block and the fishmonger. While you don’t need an excess of protein, you should include good quality animal products in your diet. Regardless of your chosen diet, eat no less than 20 grams of protein per meal. Seafood and pastured animals provide building blocks for your red blood cells, hormones, immune cells, organs, bones and muscles.
  • Add some natural fats. Grass-fed butter, coconut products, olive oil, nuts, and avocados create health on a cellar level. They support brain health and contribute to beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Also, natural fats make vegetables taste good and are helpful in preparing meats.
  • Stick to whole grains. Steel-cut oats are a better choice than boxed cereal, and quinoa trumps pasta. Choose 100% whole wheat over products from refined flour.

No one can give you health. You create it from day to day by the choices you make. So, decide to fill your refrigerator with nutrient-dense food.

Woman can't stop carb-loading

Stop Carb Loading

Whether you just love breads and pastas,  or whether you’re unaware how skewed your diet is, you have to stop carb- loading if you want to balance your blood sugars.

Americans typically get 60-80% of their calories from carbohydrates. A healthier amount would be closer to 40%. That means filling the gap with wisely-chosen proteins and natural fats.

Choose Protein at Every Meal

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Swap cottage cheese for yogurt some mornings, or add cottage cheese to salad at lunch time. (Low-fat cottage cheese is 73% protein, substantially higher than yogurt, and definitely higher than nut butters, or beans).
  • Drink bone broth and substitute bone broth for water in cooking (for grains, legumes, sauces, simmered veggies). I even mix bone broth with tomato paste whenever I need tomato sauce. Most brands average about 8 grams of protein per cup. It’s easy to make your own!
  • Slip in an extra egg white! Yolks are mostly fat, but whites are almost all protein. (You can save the yolk for a moisturizing treatment for dry hair.)
  • Snack on grass-fed jerky. This helps offset the tendency to grab chips, crackers, cookies, and other empty carbs between meals.
  • Top salads with canned crab, shrimp, tuna or salmon. If your budget is tight, these seafood options are much more affordable than fresh fish, poultry, or meat.
  • Focus on breakfast. Adding a little more meat to lunch and dinner may be easy, but it’s trickier to get enough protein in the morning. If you want to avoid heavy, high-fat choices, you might consider a sausage alternative that goes well with breakfast foods.
  • Whisk some collagen powder into salad dressings, meat sauces, or even your oatmeal!
  • Sub sprouted grain bread for your regular loaf.

Ways to Stop Carb-loading

  • Limit yourself to 1/2 cup fruit at breakfast. If you are a smoothie lover, it may be easy to overdo it here. And if you eat oatmeal, remember that your bowl is all carbohydrate even before you start topping it with honey and fruit.
  • Choose grain OR potato for a meal, but not both. If your curry contains potato cubes, you don’t need rice, too. If you’re eating mashed potatoes, skip the dinner roll.
  • Reduce rice and pasta to 1/2 cup per meal.
  • Try Thin Slice bread for 15-17 grams carbohydrate instead of the 28-35 grams of a normal slice. Seeded breads tend to be lower in net carbs because the high fiber is subtracted from the carb count. A great one is Dave’s Killer Bread Power Seed.
  • When you eat out, skip the dinner roll.
  • Make breakfast count! Experiment with some low-carb breakfasts, such as egg & avocado, or cottage cheese pancakes, topped with honey butter (2/3 butter, 1/3 honey).

Stop Carb-loading to Restart Your Energy

High levels of refined carbohydrate intake have been associated with chronic fatigue, cravings, hormone imbalances, obesity, insulin resistance, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol levels, and even autoimmunity. If you want to regain your health, it’s best to stop carb–loading as your first step.

Are you powerless to stop sugar cravings?

Stop Sugar Cravings

You crave sugar when you are undernourished or overstimulated. But by eating a nutrient-rich diet, you stop sugar cravings now and prevent them in the future. Why? Because you are providing deep nourishment and reducing the physiological stimuli that drive sugar cravings.

How Undernourishment Starts

By definition, undernourishment means your energy output is greater than your fuel input. You can develop this energy debt in a number of ways.

To begin with, perhaps you cut your night’s rest a bit short. Then, who wouldn’t want a doughnut in order to keep running on fumes? Sugar provides a quick source of fast-burning energy – like kindling on your metabolic fire. So, when the coals are almost dead, a sugary snack fans the flames.

But it doesn’t provide the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and phytochemicals your body needs to be well. So that empty calorie food just increased your energy debt! Did you know that it takes more than a dozen molecules of magnesium to change one molecule of sugar into energy that your cells can use? Further, the processes that change that sugar into fuel require certain enzymes to get them started – the way a car engine requires a spark plug to ignite the gasoline. Your body makes enzymes from proteins. If you’re not eating enough proteins, your body has to “cannibalize” its own tissues to get the raw materials it needs.

Another way you become undernourished is through blood sugar imbalances. When your sweet snack burns out, you drop into a state of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Like a stalled car on the freeway, you can no longer stay in the fast lane. So, you reach for emergency rations – a candy bar for instant relief. Like a bad dream, the cycle starts all over again.

Eventually, these habits cripple your ability to use the sugar you are eating. The lack of vitamins and minerals arrest your body’s natural metabolism. Finally, insulin resistance sets in, blocking the limited nutrients you have from entering cells. You are in a permanent state of fatigue and even more dependent on empty calories to function from one moment to the next.

Stop Sugar Cravings Resulting From Undernourishment

The answer to this hopeless cycle is really very straightforward. You make sure you have enough gas in the tank at the outset of your journey. That means you make sure arise well-rested each morning, and eat a nutrient-rich breakfast. The most nutrient-dense foods on the planet include vegetables, seafood, and organ meats. But not coffee and pastries, or even Cheerios. So, why not make a skillet of Fisherman’s Eggs to start the day? (See the end of the article for the recipe.)

How Overstimulation Happens

First, like the lack of sleep, stress raises your demand for energy. But in this case, your body is stimulated by stress hormones to quicken your breath, send blood to the brain and muscles, and increase your heart rate. You need more energy now!

Second, in a nightmarish way, you become addicted to the surge of dopamine the stress created. Your body now wants constant stimulation, and it turns to sugar and other stimulants to keep the rush going. But none of these fixes gives you the deep nourishment you need for optimal health.

Then, down in your gut, the beneficial bacteria begin dying, starved of the fibers and Omega 3 fatty acids they need for vitality. Meanwhile, pathogenic strains of bacteria feed on your high-glycemic diet. When you don’t supply their sugary feast, they demand it by creating cravings.

Stop Sugar Cravings Resulting from Over-Stimulation

But the answer is always the same. Go back to your roots. Skip the commercial, man-made foods and nourish yourself with the foods of nature that have sustained mankind for millenia. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Take the time for unprocessed grains, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to get some wild-caught, pastured, or grass-fed protein. Then cook and dress your food in unrefined, natural fats. Check out these ideas on how to eat traditionally without spending endless hours in the kitchen!

If you’d like to delve deeper into how to stop sugar cravings, Dr. Jockers has an excellent article.

3 Tasty Ways to Forsake Sugar

Forsake Sugar the Tasty Way

With Valentine’s Day behind us for another year, it’s time to forsake sugar…again. But before you groan, consider that eating a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet can be much more delicious and satisfying than snacking on junk food. To prove my point, let me share 3 tasty ways to subdue your cravings.

Start the Day Right

If you feed your metabolic fire with kindling, you’ll have ashes by mid-morning. You will need a sugar-fix to get you hot again. Pancakes, muffins, and cereal are kindling. Instead, fan the flames with nutrient-dense foods that burn like logs until the next meal. You could try a Sausage, Sweet potato, and Apple Skillet, or Black Rice Pudding served with a collagen-spiked Pina-Colada Green Smoothie. Jump on over to this post to get the recipes and additional ideas to forsake sugar in the morning.

Add Before You Subtract

Instead of worrying about all the treats you can no longer eat, celebrate with a few special desserts that are truly satiating, such as Chocolate Banana-Avocado Pudding Pops, or Raspberry-Lime Sorbet! After all, if you’re going to forsake sugar, make sure you don’t feel deprived in the process. By adding a little natural fat  and some fruit to your treats, you can skip the sweeteners. Big Fat Treats are truly delightful.

Trade In Your White Carbs

Pasta, potatoes, and bread don’t help you forsake sugar; in fact, they tend to fuel your cravings because they cause an insulin spike that will lead to a blood sugar crash in a few hours. But instead of going low-carb, why not just switch for nutrient-rich colored carbs, such as lentils or plantains. You’ll find the the flavors enhance your entree more than a roll or a side of rice would. I’ve posted 3 recipes to help you get started.

When you eat a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet, your need to snack diminishes, and your cravings die. Then it’s no longer a chore to forsake sugar!

 

"Donut" think it's hard to quit sugar

How To Quit Sugar

In just 10 days, you can quit sugar for good. You don’t have to be trapped in poor dietary habits that make you feel sluggish, heavy and captive to cravings.

Many people believe they lack the discipline to change their food addictions. But sugar and refined carb dependencies are not emotional conditions. They are biologic disorders, caused by hormones and neurotransmitters. You can reset you physiology by following these basic guidelines:

1. Add Before You Subtract

It’s easier to add food to your diet, than to take it out. When you are properly nourished, you are satisfied. That means you stop looking for fillers to keep you going between meals. If you’re not feeling “snack-y,” then you’re not as likely to cave in to the donuts as co-worker brings to the office or the cookies your partner just pulled from the oven.

So to prime yourself for success, eat the following:

  • Abundant amounts of non-starchy vegetables – even at breakfast! Be sure to include some leafy greens, some sulphurous veggies (broccoli, onion, and mushroom families), and plenty of colored vegetables (including red, orange, and purple) each day.
  • Adequate protein each meal (4-6 ounces) from eggs, fish, poultry, meat, nuts, or seeds. Quality is more important than quantity here.
  • One serving of healthy fat three times per day. Fats help stabilize your blood sugars so that you don’t hit an energy crisis where you need instant fuel from quick (and damaging) carbohydrates. Choose from olives, avocados, coconut, nuts, seeds, and their accompanying unrefined oils. You can also use grass-fed butter.

If you are unsure of what to cook, you can find recipes in Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Starter Kit.

2. Feed Your Soul

Instead of handling emotions by eating, nurture yourself with healthy  practices, such as journaling, meditation, movement, and wholesome recreation. Spend time on loving relationships. Treat yourself with 8 hours of sleep per night. Practice deep breathing, and enjoy detoxifying Epsom salt baths.

3. Quit Sugar Cold Turkey

You can do anything for a brief time. So commit to yourself that for only 10 days, you will completely quit sugar. Avoid all foods that list sugar as an ingredient. Your success in freeing yourself depends on absolute compliance. Tapering down gradually will keep you hostage to nagging cravings.

Also eliminate the following because they sustain sugar addiction:

  • All processed foods.
  • Grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and fruit (except 1/2 c. of berries per day).
  • Coffee, soda, alcohol, and juice.

4. Give Yourself a Boost

Jump start your 10 days to quit sugar with a metabolic cleanse, like this detox kit from Biotics. It will provide powerful micro nutrients and abundant antioxidants that will kick up your energy so that you don’t miss your daily sugar and caffeine fix.

5. Find Freedom

You will be feeling so much stronger in these short 10 days, that you will not want to return to your old habits. So you can continue for another 10 days, and another. Soon, you will find that sugar and refined carbs do not appeal to you any more. You will be able to use whole grains, legumes, and fruit in moderation. Your un-dieting protocol will become a lifestyle.

nutrient-rich green smoothie

Post-Holiday Detox

After rounds of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, visions of sugar plums, and even figgy pudding, do you need a post-holiday detox? Are you feeling sluggish, heavy and tired? You’ll need more than a green smoothie to regain your well-being. But, there are many simple tricks you can perform at home now and throughout 2019. So throw away those cookie platters and let’s get started!

Support Your Liver

Pamper your liver, since it is the organ responsible for taking toxins out of your body. Stimulate a nourishing blood supply to it by patting your right torso just below the ribs while you are in a hot shower. For extra-special treatment, you can place castor oil packs on it.

Your liver needs specific categories of food to function well. First, give it “sulphurs, greens, and sours.” These foods are tonic to that organ. Sulphurs include all edible mushrooms, vegetables in the onion family, and vegetables in the cruciferous family.  Some dark leafy greens that you might not think to eat regularly are chard, cilantro, parsley, and watercress. For sours, spike your water with lemon juice, or take a shot of a probiotic beverage, such as kombucha, kefir, or sauerkraut juice.

Since detoxification is a process that requires lots of amino acids, feed your liver plenty of protein. It is a myth that you can detox just by juicing. Vegetable juices are cleansing because they reduce inflammation and scrub out the colon. But they don’t provide enough amino acids for liver function.

Lastly, “grease the skids.” Your liver needs Omega 3 fatty acids to make the bile that will carry toxins out through the colon. These fatty acids are highest in mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, and sardines.

Open All Your Elimination Ports

Your post-holiday detox should expand beyond liver support. What happens if the liver cleans out the toxins, but the ports of elimination are clogged? Well, all those toxins go right back into the blood and you get sick! Your five ports are:

  1. Skin: You can flush the skin by sweating! That might mean going to the sauna or engaging in an intense cardio workout. A great way to sweat in the winter time is to add a tablespoon of dried ginger powder to your bath water. Ginger is a diaphoretic herb. Unfortunately, some people experience burning on their skin in reaction to the ginger powder. If this happens, add a half cup of apple cider vinegar to the water.
  2. Lungs: Deep breathing is the key to opening your lungs. So, draw your breath from below the diaphragm, making your belly rise as you inhale. If you don’t exercise regularly, take at least 5-10 deep breaths each morning and evening.
  3. Lymph: One of the easiest ways to move lymph without working out is by dry skin brushing. We like this tutorial. Alternately, you can move lymph by switching between hot and cold water in the shower. Stay in water as hot as you can stand for 4-5 minutes, then turn it as cold as you can tolerate for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.
  4. Kidneys: You have to stay well-hydrated to keep your kidneys happy. If you don’t like drinking water, consider herbal teas as an alternative. The rule of thumb is to daily drink 2 ounces of water for every pound of body weight, capping at 100 ounces of water. However, caffeinated and sugared beverages do not count. In fact, add 2 ounces of water for every ounce of coffee, tea, soda, or juice that you drink.
  5. Colon: You can induce your “river of toxins” to move by including bitter herbs in your diet. For instance, drink peppermint or chamomile tea, serve globe artichoke as an appetizer, or chew fennel seeds after a meal. Additionally, you can use arugula, parsley, cilantro, radicchio watercress, and dandelion greens in salads.

Try A Metabolic Cleanse

To jump-start your post-holiday detox, order a detox kit such as the NutriClear Plus 15 Day Cleanse from Biotics. It includes 30 meal-replacement protein drink mixes, a shaker cup, daily supplement packs with liver-tonic herbs, and a guidebook of recipes and instructions. Moreover, it supports your energy production and is easily digested. It contains abundant anti-oxidants, added fiber, and a powerful blend of micronutrients.

Post-Holiday Detox Smoothie

Finally, about that smoothie. While it won’t detox your body by itself, certainly it does support your efforts by providing protein, sulphurous greens,  omega 3s and a bitter herb (ginger). Here’s the recipe!

Green Pina Colada

1/3 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate

2/3 c. ice and water

1 c. coconut milk, chilled

2 c. spinach (I freeze mine ahead of time)

1 tsp. grated or minced fresh ginger root

2 scoops protein powder

2 capsules Omega 3 fish oil

Slit open the capsules of fish oil and squirt the contents into the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Discard the empty capsules. Blend the ingredients until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately. Serves two.

 

 

 

 

 

Be Fabulously Fit by following these four tips

Fabulously Fit This Holiday

Gratitude and cheer can turn to dread and anxiety if you fear that holiday parties will ruin your figure and your health. But by following 4 simple tips, you can still be fabulously fit on January 2nd.

Fresh, Fiber-ful Food

To begin with, scan the table before you pick up your fork. Look for unprocessed foods with minimal ingredients. Fruits and vegetables with lots of color are your best bet. Any offering that is live, real, wild, or fresh is going to be more nourishing than foods that are artificial or processed. Nature’s carbohydrates contain plenty of fiber to help you fill up before you overindulge. So, choose to load up on healthier options first!

Also, keep in mind that balance is vital. Even a meal of whole carbohydrates can leave you craving if you don’t eat adequate proteins. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate non-starchy vegetables, and one-fourth of your plate protein. You can fill the remaining quarter with fruit, legumes, whole grains, or starchy vegetables. If you have the option, dress your foods with traditional fats, such as butter, olive oil, or avocados.

Finally, beware of triggers. Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, MSG, hydrogenated fats, and refined flours can all stimulate overeating. Stay on the fabulously fit side of life by avoiding sweetened beverages and by limiting desserts, rolls, pastries, and other baked goods.

Focus

No one ever got fabulously fit by accident. Therefore, be deliberate about your objective. For example, you might decide ahead of time whether your purpose is to connect with people, feel the joy of the season, or simply eat your next meal. If you intend to meet your body’s nutritional needs, then set an intention to feel comfortable and energized after the meal, not sluggish and bloated. You can meet this aim with several strategies.

First, eat regular meals throughout the day. The “skip and save” approach to caloric intake only makes you grouchy and starved. Then, you are extremely vulnerable to eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods.

Second, allow yourself a smart snack before the party so that you can keep your portion sizes down. Smart snacks are fruits or vegetables eaten with a little bit of protein or a bit of natural fat. Baby bell peppers filled with cottage cheese, celery spread with nut butter, and carrots dipped in hummus are a few examples.

Third, mind your eating hygiene. Take a deep breath before you begin your meal to set yourself in the present. Avoid gulping your food, savor the flavors, and put your fork down between bites. Notice when you have reached a 6 or 7 on the hunger/fullness scale, with 10 being so stuffed you are sick. Stopping before you reach an 8 or 9 insures that you are satisfied but not miserable.

Lastly, hold yourself accountable. Find a friend, family member, or health mentor to report back to on your success in meeting your intention. We all perform a little better when we know we will be sharing our results.

Family & Friends

If your life were to end tomorrow, what you had for dinner would be immaterial. But how you interfaced with people would be highly significant. While the purpose of a holiday may be to express gratitude or commemorate a special event, that purpose is much more meaningful when shared. So, make the most of the occasion by focusing on loved ones rather than food.

In addition to stimulating and happy conversation, shared activities are a good means of connecting with others. Why not put together a puzzle, do the dishes together, go for a walk, drag out the ice skates, or tell stories around a fire instead of just sitting at the table? Physical activities have the added benefit of revving up your metabolism and keeping you from picking at leftovers.

Fabulously Fit and Free

When you give in to instant gratification at the buffet table, guilt and remorse follow. It does not feel good to have blood sugar swings, to carry excess weight and to lose your health. What does feel good is the freedom that comes from nourishing yourself with nutrient-dense food. However, it is important to remember that we are all human. None of us eats perfectly 100% of the time. As a result, you might occasionally give in to a tempting food that is not part of your plan.

You can stay fabulously fit and free by forgiving yourself and moving on. There’s no sense in flattening the other 3 tires on your car just because one of them got punctured. In other words, don’t allow yourself to make excuses to eat lousy for the rest of the season because you made one un-wise choice. Choose to make the season one of gratitude and cheer.

 

 

Don't let spooky high blood sugars ruin your healthy Halloween

5 Healthy Halloween Tips

Don’t let spooky high blood sugars and a hypoglycemic hangover ruin your healthy Halloween this year! Try these 5 tips to avoid sugar overload.

1. Load Your Candy Bowl With Toys

You say the candy is for the kids, but before you know it, you’re dipping into the bowl yourself! That gooey chocolate, the fun colors, and the tricky triggers from your childhood sneak up on you. Even if you intend to refrain, pretty soon urge overcomes willpower. Your next thought is, “Just one won’t hurt.” Then you can’t stop because you’ve awakened your brain’s pleasure center.

So, why not give stickers, bracelets, glow sticks, super balls, spider rings, glow-in-the-dark fangs, and other well-loved trinkets instead? You will help others have a healthy Halloween as well, and I’m sure many moms will thank you!

2. Host a Harvest Party

You can shift the focus of the evening from treats to whole foods by staging a potluck. Roast a turkey and invite friends to bring seasonal garden side dishes. Or stir up a delicious soup  which you can serve in a pumpkin. Games such as hunting for mini-pumpkins and tossing rings around pumpkins will keep the kiddos entertained. End the evening by telling stories around a campfire with steaming buttered apple cider.

Make it a healthy Halloween by including loved ones, time outdoors, laughter, and nourishment.

3. Choose Healthy Halloween Snacks

Plan ahead so you don’t end up in a hunger crisis that will have you diving for the treats. Fueling throughout the day with a combination of complex carbohydrates, natural fats, and high quality proteins will keep your blood sugars level. Then, you won’t have an emergency to eat just as you are donning costumes to go trick-or-treating. Here are just a few ideas:

  • guacamole and spicy chicken wings
  • cottage cheese and vegetable dippers
  • fruit and cheese
  • nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit
  • hard-boiled eggs and grape tomatoes
  • olives, hummus, and whole grain pita bread
  • crackers and smoked fish

4. Indulge Deliberately

If you choose to eat sweets, why not select something like an 85% cacao dark chocolate bar? One study suggests that individuals will consume less junk food after eating dark chocolate than after eating milk chocolate. You’ll feel you are eating something decadent, and getting the antioxidant health benefits all at the same time!

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

Don’t use a slip-up as an excuse to dig a deeper hole! Human nature says, “You’ve failed; there’s not use even trying now!” Instead, you can use your experience to plan how to do better next time. Remember, we’re all on a diet continuum, not a diet plan! Your healthy Halloween last year likely will look much different from your healthy Halloween next year if you keep applying what you have learned and keep making the effort.

 

 

chubby cheeks are a clue to metabolic syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome and You

Metabolic Syndrome is possibly the most dangerous health condition you will encounter. Yet, you probably haven’t even heard of it. The real tragedy is that you can reverse it with just diet and lifestyle changes. But, uninformed, you will ask your doctor for prescriptions to treat your symptoms and will never solve the root cause.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

This deadly imbalance of your metabolism shows up as a trio of problems. First, there’s weight gain – especially around the belly. Next, you notice  disturbing changes in your blood lipid profile. HDL’s begin to sink and LDL’s rise. Triglycerides climb alarmingly! Finally, your blood pressure begins to creep up. But these are just the telltale signs of Metabolic Syndrome. It is, in fact, a result of making too much insulin all the time.

Insulin is necessary. You can’t live without insulin. But when you have an excess, you store fat not burn it. Also, you make more triglycerides than you should. Your body creates smaller, denser LDL particles, which are the most treacherous kind, promoting to arterial plaque. Lastly, with higher insulin levels, your blood vessels constrict more, driving up blood pressure.

Metabolic Syndrome, called MetS, is your clue that your insulin has been elevated long enough, that your own cells are turning it away. Insulin can no longer keep blood sugars low. So your body makes even more of it in an effort to get the job done.

Why is Metabolic Syndrome Dangerous?

This cluster of abnormalities is a clear predictor of the top killers in America: stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. But because it is really a disease of insulin, it also puts you at risk for fatty liver disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Less threatening perhaps, you become a candidate for obesity, infertility, PCOS, and certain autoimmune conditions, too.

You may think there’s not much harm in a little extra weight, or a blood lipid test that’s just above normal. In reality, your body is sending you a red flag that your metabolism has changed. You are like a ship with a gaping hole in the side. If you do not fix the hole, your ship will lean off balance more and more, until finally it cannot keep itself up!

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Check this list for clues to Metabolic Syndrome. A doctor will diagnose you with MetS is you have three of these signs.

  • Measure your waist at the belly button and at your hips around the widest point. Your waist measurement should not be greater than your hip measurement.
  • Request a cholesterol density test. You should have large, fluffy particles, not small, dense ones.
  • Know your blood lipid results. Expect triglycerides less than 100 and HDL’s greater than 50.
  • Calculate your the ratio of triglycerides to HDL’s. It should be less than 4.
  • Order a fasting insulin test. Look for a result of 5 or below. Many online labs offer this test for less than $50.
  • Check your hemoglobin A1c, which measures blood sugar over the last 6 weeks. If should be less than 5.7

Reverse Metabolic Syndrome

The first and foremost thing you have to do is prevent insulin surges. Since you produce insulin when your blood sugars rise, take these actions to keep blood sugars low:

  • Eat SLOW carbs. These are plant foods that enter the blood stream slowly because they contain lots of fiber and complex starches. Steel cut oats, asparagus, and lentils are some examples. They do not contain an abundance of simple sugars, like FAST carbs. Fruit juice, table sugar, and white bread are examples of foods that raise blood sugar rapidly.
  • Eat good quality protein, fibrous non-starchy vegetables,and unrefined fats with your meal. These will slow digestion and keep carbohydrates from entering the bloodstream too quickly.
  • Keep your carbohydrates less than 50% of your calories. No matter how clean you eat, if your meal is predominantly carbs, you will still produce insulin.
  • Practice stress-management techniques throughout the day. Stress can raise blood sugars even more than a high-carb meal. No one can avoid stress, but you can take steps to lower it.
  • Make a point to get 8 hours of sleep per night. You body produces cortisol to raise blood sugars when you are tired. A poor night’s sleep and flagging energy can also instigate sugar cravings.

Of course, if you need nutrition counseling or help with nutrient deficiencies, you can work with me.

Tips for Healthy Dining

Guide to Healthy Restaurant Dining

Here are 5 ways to make healthy choices when you eat out.

Visit a Local Health Food Venue

These small, independently-owned establishments specialize in farm-to-table offerings. They pride themselves on whole, unprocessed, simple food. You are likely to find keto, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as local, homemade dishes.

Choose a Chain that Touts Fresh, Organic Ingredients

They may be fast food, but it’s fast food with an emphasis on natural foods. If you opt for a salad, bowl, or soup, rather than a sandwich, and add extra vegetables, you’ll be getting the best possible combination.

Go for the Salad Bar

It’s a great idea to fill half your plate with vegetables, then add a high quality, lean protein on the side, such as fresh trout. Watch those carbohydrates, and select fibrous, colored options. For example, pick sweet potato cubes instead of rolls, or quinoa instead of mashed potatoes.

Try Ethnic Food

Cultures with a rich food history usually incorporate many antioxidant ingredients in their traditional dishes. Use these guidelines to stay on track:

  • Thai – go crazy for coconut to cool inflammation.
  • Asian – choose steamed or stir-fried vegetables and request the sauce on the side.
  • Indian – order anti-oxidant curries laced with turmeric, cumin, and ginger.
  • Mexican – say yes to salsa, guacamole and seafood!
  • Greek – load up on tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and spinach. Opt for grass-fed lamb.

Be Mindful

Wherever you eat, watch portions, sip water with lemon instead of soda, avoid fried foods and sauces, and pass on the dessert.