Just As Important As What You Eat?
For years… and I mean years… I’ve tried to teach our children the importance of WHAT they eat.
As is the case with most of us, it’s still a work in progress!
(Why do foods that aren’t in our best interest have to taste so GOOD? Pizza, french fries, pasta, bread, chips, pastries… Sigh…)
Our focus when choosing the best foods for fuel is “High Fat, Low Carb, and Moderate Protein”. I’d add to that a more recent focus of watching out for insulin-producing foods that stop our fat burning efficiency in its tracks and actually encourage fat storage instead.
(Yes, fat storage is actually a hormonal issue, NOT a calories in/calories out issue.)
So, now when choosing what to eat so that it doesn’t stimulate as much insulin production and block the body’s desirable fat burning potential, our ideal nutrition game plan goes like this…
What to Eat :
- High Fat
- Low Carb
- Moderate Protein
- Insulin “Friendly”
By far, the most important decision in “what to eat” is to cut out the CARBS… especially the processed ones!
Relatively speaking, processed foods haven’t really been around all that long so our body still doesn’t know how to masterfully handle that assault. In response, it pumps out insulin in response to all the sugar. Also, anything that has been “denatured” stimulates insulin production, even if it’s not super high in sugar. Things like flour… especially grain-based flour, but also coconut & almond flour, and protein powders… things that have been pulverized from their original state. They don’t all necessarily raise blood sugar/glucose… but many DO raise insulin!
Our simplified go-to approach looks something like this:
- lots of healthy fats – oils (coconut, avocado, olive), grassfed butter & ghee, avocados, olives, etc.
- leafy greens/green veggies
- some fermented veggies
- grass fed meats
- free range eggs
- some berries
- some nuts & seeds
- organic, grassfed bone broth
- some cultured, full-fat, preferably raw dairy*
(*Forward-thinking nutrition experts warn us of milk and yogurt consumption, even from full-fat, cultured, “non-toxic” sources, since these have been shown to increase insulin… NOT because of the sugar in them, but because of the amino acids! Interesting, isn’t it? It has to do with the denaturization process and THEN being pasteurized. Sounds like a nutrient void chemical cr*p storm to me!)
Healthy FAT has zero negative influence on insulin, that’s why the foundation of a healthy approach to nutrition is to consume ample healthy fats and cut out the carbs.
Too much protein can also spike insulin too much… so it’s “moderate” protein consumption.
Now, here’s where it gets even MORE interesting.
WHAT you eat is obviously important.
But so is
WHEN you eat… or more specifically, HOW OFTEN you eat!
Every “digestive event” triggers some level of glucose/insulin production… and in our modern world where we’re surrounded by convenience foods, snack foods, fast foods and the CONSTANT brain washing that we should be eating frequently, many folks “eat” an average of over 17 times per day!
Every meal, snack, handful of nuts, extra serving, beverage, etc… it adds up quick!
Even the healthiest snack can stimulate insulin production.
That’s why our focus around here these days is to STOP SNACKING so much!!
This is step one when moving toward a healthier eating schedule. Drop the snacks. Use duct tape if you have to.
Every time you eat something, insulin is on the rise. When insulin is too high for too long, we set the stage for insulin resistance (weight loss resistance), chronic systemic inflammation, accelerated aging, and a laundry list of very serious chronic illnesses that all have insulin issues at their core.
Eating LESS OFTEN is what allows insulin levels to come back down to healthier levels that the body can effectively manage.
Step two, after dropping the snacks, is to eat fewer meals (at least on some days), and to eat them within a smaller window of time. This is known as Intermittent Fasting.
One example is to hold off eating your first meal of the day until later… let’s say 11 am. Then nothing again until your second meal at 6 pm. Assuming you wrap that second meal up by 7 pm, that’s an 8-hour eating window… which means you’re spending 16 hours NOT eating and allowing your blood glucose and insulin levels to come back down nicely. (Assuming your meals were comprised of High Fats, Low Carbs, and Moderate Protein food choices!)
Don’t worry – eating like a bird is not encouraged! EAT! Fuel up!
You shouldn’t worry about eating LESS… just LESS OFTEN. The natural by-product of this shift is that you’ll most likely begin to eat less overall anyhow… which is positive. BUT skimping in each meal as a long term strategy will sabotage your efforts from a hormonal perspective. When your body never feels satisfied, there will be repercussions… whether that’s weight loss plateau, adrenal fatigue, hormonal dysfunction, or just all around feelings of deprivation!
When your focus shifts to eating LESS OFTEN and choosing from the high fat, low carb, moderate protein, insulin-friendly type foods (AND you combine this with diet variation/feast & famine cycles each week, month, and season)… you have found the winning combination for fat burning & metabolic efficiency, hormonal optimization, anti-aging, protection against serious illness, and vibrant health!
Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a popular personality in Natural Health & Wellness and is in her 24th year of active practice in Michigan, along with her husband Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat. She’s also the proud mom of two rather fabulous kiddos that she currently home schools. Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement, mindset, cellular detoxification, and metabolic re-setting, jump on board as a regular reader of Dr Mom Online when you plug in your name and email address.
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