Crudités Anyone? Order Of Eating Matters! - Blog # 59
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. Today I wanted to share 10 amazing “hacks” to control your blood sugar and insulin response. Why should we care? Because 88% of us are metabolically unwell. We eat too many carbohydrates, eat too often, have belly fat, and end up with insulin-resistance followed by T2D (type 2 diabetes). This means our cells are exposed to high levels of insulin so much that they stop paying attention to insulin.
Each time we eat, insulin rises in response to what we eat. When we eat carbohydrates, we get a huge spike in insulin. Not only do we get a huge spike in insulin, but it hangs around for a long time. Not only that, but we get a huge glucose spike followed by a crash. We are hungry 2 hours later. With protein, we get a low spike and with fat we get no insulin spike! It is well known in biology that when continually exposed to a substance, we become resistant or much less sensitive to that substance. This is why drug addicts need more and more to reach the same high. In typical western medicine, we give type 2 diabetics more insulin than their body can naturally produce to force uptake of glucose from the bloodstream, with dire consequences. That high insulin is toxic and damaging to cells. It further perpetuates the problem. It causes storage of glucose in the form of fat around our organs and belly.
When we eat, glucose is released into the bloodstream. Our Pancreas responds by releasing insulin - based on the amount of glucose (sugar) it sees. Insulin binds to glucose and delivers it to the cell surface to be brought inside and turned into energy by the mitochondria. Think of this like a series of docking sites for cargo to be unloaded. When the docking sites are full, there’s no place for insulin to dock. Our blood sugar will remain high. Those cells, with repeated abuse, begin to ignore insulin. HELLO. This explains our fatigue. Our liver tries to help out and store glucose as fat. Now, we have the beginnings of a fatty liver. When we get a huge rush of glucose into our bloodstream, insulin tries to rush in and scoop up all the glucose molecules. However, with a huge spike, too many glucose molecules are present and begin sticking to our proteins and rendering them non-functional - this is called glycation. For example, our hemoglobin - You can see this when you test your hemoglobin A1C. It is a direct reflection of how much of your oxygen-carrying proteins are NON-FUNCTIONAL. So, you can’t carry oxygen to where it needs to go. This is why diabetics get neuropathy.
When a molecule becomes glycated, it is damaged and inflamed. Now we have inflammatory molecules called ROS (reactive oxygen species) that damage many things including our DNA. This is how cancer and many other diseases begin. This glycation literally changes the texture of our tissues. It becomes like the brûlée crust on crème brûlée or the outer crust on toast. It damages our other cells and eventually entire organs. We stay in an inflamed state. When we keep eating a high carbohydrate diet, we just keep toasting our insides till we are fully cooked, then we die. The more glucose/insulin spikes, the more we damage and “age” our cells, literally cooking ourselves on the inside. We don’t even realize it’s happening. We feel it in the form of fatigue, irritability, joint pain, hunger even though you just ate 90 min ago, pull toward eating sweet foods, wake up not feeling rested, tired after meals, need coffee to keep going, acne, hormonal imbalance, belly fat…
So, a fatty liver doesn’t happen from eating fat. It is due to a high carbohydrate diet. We begin storing glucose in the form of belly fat. Belly fat is not just an annoyance for us. It begins to behave as an organ. Belly fat even releases hormones and other molecules that make the problem even worse. It messes with our other hormones and results in many conditions, including PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). We get fatter. Our cholesterol goes up and becomes imbalanced. The more belly fat you have, the more insulin-resistant you likely are. You can even have “normal” fasting blood sugar, but your insulin level can remain high and cause tremendous damage. Obviously, we don’t want this.
How can you know what’s happening in your body? There are 2 main bloodwork tests that will give you a picture. You can do the math from your previous bloodwork, but ask your MD to check fasting insulin!
- Fasting Insulin - <6 = insulin sensitive. 7-17 = insulin resistant.
- Triglyceride/HDL ratio - <1.5 = good ratio. >1.5 = bad ratio.
Okay, now that we understand what’s really happening, let’s delve in to how we can literally “hack” into this system without totally giving up some foods we really enjoy.
Hack #1: Eat your veggies first. Let’s say you have a plate of food with chicken, rice and steamed vegetables. If you jump straight in and start eating the rice, your body sees a huge sugar bomb. You will get a huge spike in insulin in real time. However, if you start with your vegetables, the fiber in the vegetables becomes a viscous mesh in the stomach and small intestine. This coats your gut lining and literally slows the absorption of glucose. You get a much smaller spike. Next, eat your protein. This remains a smaller spike. You are then relatively safe to go on to your rice. It will be absorbed much more slowly and you have a more steady glucose and insulin level. By changing nothing but the order of food you are eating, you can reduce your glucose and insulin spike by 75%!!!!! WHAT??? That’s incredible!!
Hack #2: Drink a glass of water with 1T any vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar (ACV) up to 30 min before your meal. It has been shown in studies to slow the absorption of glucose comparable to the diabetic drug metformin without any of the side effects! Say what???!!! How does it do this? Acetic acid affects an enzyme called α-amylase that breaks down starches into glucose. It literally slows this process down, resulting in a slower drip of glucose into the bloodstream! In addition, it signals the muscles to store glucose as glycogen, further reducing the glucose hit by up to 30%! WOW!!! A study looking at women with PCOS who took ACV for 40 days, began to ovulate normally. One woman in the study who was previously infertile, continued for 90 days and became pregnant! That’s nothing short of miraculous if you ask me. Why was this not all over the news? Vinegar is cheap. Drug companies can’t market it, although some companies are now making ACV gummies.
Hack #3: Start your day with a savory breakfast that will set your body for the day. Your body is most sensitive to nutrients right after fasting. Because insulin hangs around much longer than glucose, you don’t realize it’s high. Don’t drink that glass of OJ. It is a sugar bomb. A savory breakfast full of good fats and protein will keep you satisfied longer with less rollercoaster spikes the rest of the day. In recent studies, individuals given a breakfast with good fats and protein didn’t get hungry for nearly 5 hours, while the group given high carbohydrate and starchy breakfast was hungry 2 hours later. This is NOT YOUR FAULT! We have been told to eat oatmeal for breakfast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy. This is a lie. It causes HUGE glucose and insulin spikes in the bloodstream. We get hungry a couple hours later and give in to that cookie, chips, soda or even another cup of coffee to make us feel better. Why do you think restaurants bring hot bread to the table at the very beginning? Out of the goodness of their heart? NO! They know with a carbohydrate load from the bread that about 90 mins later we WILL order DESSERT!! We keep spiking our blood sugar over and over and over until our cells are resistant to the constant noise.
Hack #4: Use your muscles after eating for at least 10-20 min. Your muscles have soaked up some of the glucose from your meal. They are your biggest allies. Studies show that even taking a walk after dinner reduces blood glucose and resulting insulin spike. If it is raining or cold, you can get creative. Dance to 3 of your favorite songs. Do planks or wall sits while watching a movie. Use your muscles in some way. Clean your kitchen, mop the floor. Do the laundry. Don’t just SIT! This gives you much more energy and avoids the post-meal sleepiness many of us experience.
Hack #5: NO naked carbohydrates. You want to avoid sugar or starch that is on its own. You can lower your glucose load by putting healthy fat or protein with it. So, rather than just eating a bowl of pineapple, add some Greek yogurt and maybe some nuts. Eat your apple with some cheese or nut butter. If you make a smoothie with banana and strawberries, eat some almond butter or add some EVOO to your smoothie to lessen the glucose load and that huge spike.
Hack #6: EVOO drizzled on veggies or salad. So, now that you know to eat veggies first, add high polyphenol EVOO to your veggies or salad! Not only is EVOO the single best fat on the planet, it does NOT create a glucose spike, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory scooping up those ROS and preventing damage to our tissues, and we are satiated sooner so we end up eating less overall!!! Not only do you get that fiber mesh coating your intestinal wall, but a micellar solution from the EVOO that has been shown to heal the gut lining, and microbially selective. That means EVOO encourages growth of good organisms, while killing bad guys.
Hack #7: HP-EVOO shot first thing in the morning. When you take high-polyphenol EVOO on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, you have ZERO glucose spike. The Oleic Acid goes right to work, signaling the hypothalamus in the brain to go into a fat-burning mode. “Oleic acid markedly inhibits glucose production and food intake…which further limits further delivery of nutrients into the circulation. The anorectic effect of oleic acid was independent of leptin and was accompanied by a decrease in the hypothalamic expression of neuropeptide Y.” Amazingly, you are not hungry for several hours. You stay in a fat-burning mode for quite awhile, helping reverse previous damage to tissues and moving fat from organs to subcutaneous (under the skin) where it can be used for fuel. Check out Blog #22 on my personal journey!!
Hack #8: Reduce chronic stress. Check out Blog #16! When we are stressed, cortisol is produced. It can be a good thing short-term, but a huge problem long-term. Our body thinks “fight or flight” in preparation for running away from perceived danger, like a tiger. Some things increase: heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin levels, visceral fat, gluconeogenesis (production of glucose from non-carbohydrates), glyconeogensis (production of glycogen). Other things decrease or break down: cellular repair, bone loss, muscle wasting, inhibited immune system (except for IgE, involved with allergies), sleep, kidney function (GFR) glomerular filtration rate. When cortisol levels remain high, we experience weight gain, insulin resistance, HTN, fatigue, changes in mood, irritability, flushed face, thinning skin, difficulty concentrating. It can make us crave sugar and carbohydrates, making it worse. Cortisol is part of our diurnal rhythm. Levels are naturally high in the morning and low in the afternoon/evening. This is why blood pressure is generally higher in the am.
Hack #9: Rest: Allow your body to rest from eating while you enhance your sleep. Try to eat your meals 3-5 days/week within a 6 hour window, giving your body 18 hours of rest to heal, make new cells, enhance your immune system and upgrade all organ function. Intermittent fasting is important to incorporate several days per week, but having some days with breakfast is also important, especially to maintain proper hormone production.
Hack #10: Feed your microbiome: Your gut microbiome plays a huge role in metabolism. Did you know that if you take poop from a skinny mouse and put it in a fat mouse, the fat mouse will get skinny too? This is profound. How can this be? The microbiome of the skinny mouse looks significantly different in number and amount of the residing species. This is the same for us. We can grow and diversify the microbial community in the gut by eating a wide variety of colored vegetables. This is why you should “eat the rainbow” of veggies. Not only are the varied phytonutrients crucial for our health and wellbeing, they also contain the important microbes to enhance the function of our gut. Check out Blog #46! Try new foods. Make your plate a rainbow, and eat your veggies first!!! They are full of fiber (food for the microbes) that will line your gut and slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing the huge glucose spike and subsequent insulin resistance.
So, until next time my friends, heal your gut! Drink, Drizzle, Digest HP-EVOO, eat the rainbow of veggies and fruits organic or wild-sourced, eat wild-caught, pasture-raised, grass-fed, get plenty of sunshine + supplement zinc and vitamin D3, get your trace minerals and electrolytes with good sea salt *Himalayan was formed before plastics, eat foods high in lutein, drink 1/2 your body weight in oz of water, get a good pre/probiotic, eat some adaptogens and methylation donors (kale, lion’s mane…) to detox, enhance overall health and reverse aging and disease, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, remove EMF (electromagnetic frequency) devices and blue light, use IR (infrared) from candles, fire or incandescent lights in the evening to enhance sleep and...turn off the light!! #HP-EVOO