Summer is nearly gone at the advent of school starting next week. I keep thinking of this phrase as I will be sending my oldest off to kindergarten (tear) on Thursday.
“I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”
Funny, right? But silly stupid true. Where did summer go?
Speaking of time, this week I’m highlighting ways to save time in the kitchen in the morning.
Make waffles from Birch Blenders mixes in bulk and store them in a Ziplock freezer bag until they are ready to be toasted/eaten. Bonus tip, add a few scoops of collagen peptides to the batter (+ a tbsp of avocado oil) to increase the protein content, satiety and brain-boosting amino acids for learning.
Banana Pancakes: mash 1 small banana with 2 eggs and make a pancake or 2 in a skillet like you would traditional batter.
Chia Seed Pudding: mixing 1 part chia seeds with 4 parts liquid. Example: 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup of coconut milk. Add spices and sweetener to your liking. Make multiple of these ahead in mini mason jars.
Chicken Tacos. While the slow-cooker is out, make some tacos the following night. Add frozen (or fresh) chicken breast or tenderloins to a slow-cooker on high, allow to cook for 6-8 hours with a jar of salsa. My go-to? Salsa verde. We love our chicken tacos w/ a purple cabbage leaf for the “taco shell,” black beans and some sour cream or guac.
Salmon Burgers + Roasted Veg. If my hubs is home, I’ll have him fire up the grill to make the wild salmon Kirkland burgers (look for any salmon burgers that are made with wild, not farmed, salmon), but if he isn’t, to save time, I bake 4-6 burgers in my toaster oven. Leftovers are a blessing. I also make multiple trays of veg on the weekend, like the pic above, which happens to be 100% from my garden. I use ample amounts of avocado oil, cook at 350F for 30 minutes and douse the vegetables in the Unami spice from Trader Joe’s.
When I help my clients with diabetes understand how to best manage their blood sugars, of course, I mention nutrition and insulin, but there is a large emphasis on a number of other variables, including, but not limited to the following…
Hydration – being well hydrated can help your insulin work most efficiently
Allergies – seasonal, food, medication
Food sensitivities – if the gut is inflamed, the body is, hence poorer insulin sensitivity
Stress – good and bad stress can impact blood sugars.
Movement – move every 30min and exercise every other day
Hormones – male hormones fluctuate as do females
Public speaking (a form of stress)
Outdoor temps – heat makes some type 1s high (me!), but others it runs blood sugars down.
Did you know there are ~20 grams of sugar in a bowl of tomato soup? The daily recommended limit when it comes to sugar is 30 grams. If you pair your soup with a salad, which the salad dressing either has dried fruit in it or a dressing with sugar, honey or syrup in it, you’ve likely blown the budget in one meal.
Many foods have hidden sugars in, so it can be difficult to know how much you’re consuming. However, various health problems can usually serve as an indicator that you’re consuming too much sugar including the following.
Tooth decay is the most obvious sign excess sugar in the diet (or it could be insulin resistance/inflammation) – or that you’re not brushing your teeth thoroughly enough. Sugar provides the perfect breeding ground for enamel-eating bacteria, which leads to cavities. Rigorous brushing can stop sugar rotting the teeth – it could be worth taking a visit to your localdental office to get your teeth professionally cleaned to prevent any current cavities from getting worse. Of course, assessing your diet with a food journal or support of a dietitian can make an impact.
Whilst acne can be a genetic condition, a number of other factors can also come into play such as personal cleanliness and diet. Sugar causes our bodies to produce more insulin, which in turn can cause unnecessary inflammation around the body such as acne on the skin. If you suffer from acne, it could be worth reducing your sugar and increasing your water. Unrelated to what we eat, stress can do funny things to our body, including blemishes. Make sure you are taking many deep breaths throughout the day and finding an outlet to unwind.
Sugar can lead to weight gain. Whilst sugar is low in calories, it is a carbohydrate – carbs have the biggest impact on blood sugar and insulin. When blood sugars are moving up and down, it will lead to weight gain and fluctuations in appetite. If you’re overweight and you eat lots of sugary foods, you may want to consider lowering your intake to help lose weight. The only time you may want to up your sugar intake is when doing aerobic exercise as sugar can provide useful energy to burn off – otherwise, you should keep it to a minimum.
Lack of energy
Relating to weight gain, sugar can cause a sense of an energy boost, but this is only short-term. The more sugar you feast on in one sitting, the bigger the comedown. If you feel tired all the time and you’re getting enough sleep at night, you may want to consider your sugar intake and evaluating how much caffeine you are running on.
High blood pressure
Salt is often blamed as the cause of high blood pressure (it actually only affects 20% of people), but sugar is the bigger villain. Sugar releases insulin, which in turn cause the blood pressure to rise. Constant high blood pressure can take a strain on the heart and arteries leading to potentially lethal problems such as strokes and heart attacks. If you’ve got high blood pressure, try lowering your sugar intake to see if this helps return your pressure to a normal level.
Anyone can relate with this topic, and blood sugar control does not pertain to only those with diabetes. Stable blood sugar is something we should all aim for when striving to eat a healthy diet and living a mindful lifestyle. Stable blood sugar offers optimal digestion, sleep, energy, mental clarity and more.
One of the consistent findings I see with clients who are non-diabetic and show signs of blood sugar swings, includes the need to have something/chocolate about 30 minutes after a meal. Note this can be other things like low serotonin, etc, but can also be insulin resistance. And with this I suggest tactics on modifying lifestyle to best manage blood sugar including:
Each meal needs to ideally include no less than 25 grams of protein, and it’s most important to meet this goal at breakfast.
Eat 3 square meals a day, and around the same time of day. This is metabolically helpful and can aid in weight management. When we eat somewhat consistently we can best gauge how much food we need.
Stress management. Wow, I can 150% agree it’s easy to get wound up or double-booked in our fast-paced society, but no one is going to press pause. We need to make a cautious effort to not only smell the roses, but take a mental break involving deep breathing and meditation. I am a big fan of the HeadSpace podcast.
Stimulants. Are you borrowing time from tomorrow with that cup of joe? I am not saying we need to go caffeine free, we just need to be able to function without it. And indeed, in some folks, caffeine can cause a cortisol response, which makes us more insulin resistant, which can aid in weight gain. NO thank you.
Going further on the idea of eating 3 meals a day – you want to have a meal that lasts at least 4 hours. Ideally snacks are not necessary. And when we snack we are asking our bodies to produce/stack insulin (or if we have diabetes, such as myself, I bolus more insulin), which can cause a dip in our blood sugar levels. This one snack therefore turns into 2 snacks. Not ideal.
Supplements – I can write a book on this but review the benefits of taking ALA, Chromium, Cinnamon, a probiotic, quality fish oil and fiber to optimize blood sugar management. Personally I take Cod Liver Oil, ALA, a probiotic and B vitamins. I have a smoothie (Raw Protein Powder) protein powder that has chromium in it, I use an insane amount of cinnamon in my cooking and my fiber intake is easily around 30-40 grams a day.
Sleep. When you sacrifice sleep, you are asking for a surge of cortisol, which again causing insulin resistance, and an afternoon and evening of carb cravings. Make a rule to get no less than 7 hours, and aim for 9.
Hydration. We wake up mildly dehydrated and this not only slows our metabolism, it is also a disadvantage to blood sugar control. Start your day with water, and keep the momentum going by having water with you at most times.
Eat whole, real, low glycemic food. I have a book coming out in 2015 that can offer more insight on my point here. I suggest my book, because this topic can be covered at length.
What actions help you most with blood sugar control? Can you relate to any of the ideas mentioned above? We would love to hear from you.
It’s easy to quickly come up with dozens of paleo, real food breakfast ideas, but when asked to list 10 clean breakfast options sans eggs, it can take some thought. Indeed I got creative hence I want to suggest meals that are higher in protein, which is my bottom-line recommendation for anyone to start off their day.
Smoothie – maybe I am cheating because this is an no-brainer for an eggless breakfast, but how appetizing does a metabolism spice boosting cocoa recipe sound? Blend 1 cup coconut milk (from a carton), 6 ice cubes, 1 scoop (vegan) chocolate protein powder, 2 tablespoons of collagen/gelatin blend, 1 tablespoon of cocao, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cups spinach, 1/2 frozen banana. More smoothie recipes here.
Spaghetti squash with ground beef. You can prep the ground beef ahead of time as well. The beef can be cooked in a skillet with bacon and/or spices such as sea salt, pepper, garlic and some smoked paprika. Add an onion to the mix for extra nutrition, love for your liver and more.
Fruit, pumpkin, nut butter bowl – super easy. Portion out some canned organic pumpkin, spice it with cinnamon, ginger, the likes, and top with a spoonful of nut butter and sprinkle on some berries.
Grilled ham and fruit – you can even cook it all in the same skillet. I do this often with Canadian bacon and strawberries with sliced banana. Sometimes I crave an all around warm meal to start the day.