We’ve been having a conversation about the best possible diet on my private Facebook support group—you can join!)
I’m sure there are about as many opinions on that subject as there are human beings alive. I’m not here to argue any deeply-held beliefs. In fact, I’ve learned over the years that what we eat, why we eat it and our own deeply-held beliefs are core issues that tend to be highly emotional that sometimes lead to explosive confrontations.
I’m not here to tell you whether or not to eat meat or margarine or mesclun or melons. I am here; however, to give you some information that will help you make the best health choices for yourself and your family.
Bringing us back to the conversation on Change 2015 and Beyond, I recall a conversation with a friend several years ago. She was struggling with her weight when one day she met a gorgeous woman on the beach in Waikiki. The woman was fabulous: flat belly, long, lean legs, unwrinkled skin. Feeling more a than a little frumpy, my friend struck up a conversation with the woman and asked for her diet secret.
Her reply was simple: “Don’t eat flour or sugar.”
My friend followed that advice and is now slim and gorgeous herself.
Let’s look into the “whys” and then we’ll examine the “hows.”
Why avoid sugar?
Most of us think sugar adds sweetness to life, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Sugar is an artificial food that is not only addictive, it causes diabetes and weight gain. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does.
Ask anyone who “needs” that boost of a Coke or a sugary mocha latte at 4 p.m. or who can’t get through a day without a donut or piece of cake or handful of cookies.
What’s happening when you get that sugar jolt? The sugar travels fairly quickly through your system and gets to your brain, which loves sugar because it actually causes a “high.”
The high doesn’t last long because blood sugars begin to crash and so, a couple of hours later, you find yourself looking for another sugar high. Maybe this time it’s a cocktail or a pre-dinner snack because you’re tired and need energy to get dinner ready. Dinner, presumably containing a little protein, will even out the sugars for a few hours, but the inevitable crash comes again, perhaps just before bedtime, so you need a little “midnight snack,” and on and on.
If you think you’re not addicted to sugar, try this test: Go completely without sugar for three days. If you don’t want it, crave it and eventually find yourself feeling cranky, sleepy and unfocussed, you’re not addicted. But if you’re like the average Joe who eats 1/4 pound of sugar every day, you’re addicted.
Yes, we need glucose to survive. It’s the fuel our bodies run on, but the slow release glucose we need comes from fruits and vegetables and the occasional whole grain, not from table sugar or other fast-burning carbohydrates.
Why avoid flour?
Flour is another simple carbohydrate that is metabolized much like sugar.
Wheat flour has many hazards, not the least of which is the high gluten content as wheat has been hybridized over the past handful of decades. Modern wheat has been hybridized for higher yields and it now contains at least four times more gluten that the that of just 40 years ago. This explains why some many people are gluten intolerant today. It’s not just a fad—it’s the result of much more gluten than our bodies were intended to assimilate.
Think of your ancestral cave woman grinding grains between two stones on her health. What she got was a heavy meal nothing like today’s silky white flour with almost all of its nutrients removed.
Then to add insult to injury almost all modern flours (even organic ones) and products made from them contain bromine a toxic chemical that interferes with the body’s ability to use iodine, essential for a healthy thyroid, for healthy brain development in fetuses and babies and for breast health in women.
So we want more and more and we eat more and more with less and less nutrition. We are quite literally fat and starving at the same time.
How to avoid the deadly duo
It’s simple–but also incredibly complicated. It’s amazing how prevalent flour and sugar are in our Western diet. That’s because they are cheap and plentiful and incredibly unhealthy. And because we love them. I admit, the thought of giving up pasta and bread fill my heart with dread. Sugar, I can take or not, but bread???!!!
You’ll have to become an avid label reader to ferret out the hidden sources of sugar and wheat.
Avoid processed foods that are crammed with flour and sugar, even in places where you’d least expect them. Shop the perimeter of your supermarket, and stock up on lots of veggies and moderate amounts of fruit. Then it all becomes a lot easier.
I’d love to hear from you how it goes. I’m headed in that direction myself, so let’s share the journey.