What if everything you knew about eating was wrong? Outdated advice from governments, nutritionists and even diabetic educators suggest 6 or more servings of grains a day (potatoes, bread, pasta, rice etc.)!! Have you ever asked yourself WHY – if the food pyramid is correct, and you eat sensibly and exercise, WHY are you still feeling tired and gaining weight? Could you be unwittingly damaging your blood vessels and steering towards long term health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease? If you are in good health and eating lots of carbs, then don’t feel like you have to change anything. However, if you are struggling with your emotional health, weight, cravings or energy, then read on:
At The Sistahood, I teach a lower-carb style of eating to help manage blood sugars, increase energy, reduce physical stress, lose weight and balance hormones. This does not mean zero carbs. For instance carbs are in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Suggesting anyone stop eating all of these foods is ridiculous for at least three reasons:
- Denial of food-pleasure, labelling foods as ‘bad’ and making carbs ‘the enemy’, only leads to food anxiety, overwhelming cravings and binging.
- If you are on a road-trip, very tired, in the middle of a hormonal fluctuation, or eating with friends – avoiding carbs can be impossible! Part of our appetite signal comes from observing and smelling foods, so of course we join in; When oestrogen is low we may feel like we want cheering up with toast or pasta; When progesterone is high we feel more relaxed about eating anything we fancy; At certain parts of your menstrual cycle, you physiologically require more carbohydrates; When you are tired, dehydrated or nutrient deprived, you will look for energy in any food nearest! All of this is perfectly normal and does not need improving right away, unless you are at high health risk (e.g. obese, diabetic, high cardiac risk – in which case ask for help). Initially just notice your habits, jot them down in a journal and get to know your patterns.
- Mistaking no-carb for low-carb can lead to energy slumps. We are talking about low-carb here.
How To Eat Lower Carb The Easy Way – The Basics:
- If you usually have 2 pieces of toast, have one. If you have a plate of pasta, have half a plate. If you have a baguette, leave the lid of – still have all the fillings! Same goes for cereal, jacket potatoes, pizza, rice, potatoes and on – half it. I haven’t mentioned cake and biscuits – the more you get into nourishing eating, the less you will crave such things (see below for sugary suggestions).
- Instead of letting yourself believe you have an empty plate, fill it up with: Extra salad and vegetables, eggs, hummus or mashed avocado sides, lean proteins such as chicken and fish.
- If you find salads and vegetables bland, boring and unpalatable – then you have made them boring! Fix this by adding a dressing: Salt and pepper are fast ways to add flavour. Cold-pressed olive oil is very tasty – if it tastes rancid then its been on the shelf too long, or you brought an inferior brand. Look for organic olive oil – it usually tastes better, especially if it is in a glass bottle. For hot steamed veggies, stir in grass-fed (Kerrygold) butter or organic cold-pressed coconut oil. If you like cooking then make your own more complex dressing using ingredients such as : olive oil, tahini, blended avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs of your choice – anything goes.
- If you have issues with weight, blood sugar balance, anxiety, fatigue etc. then you could benefit by eating more often. Blood sugar can bounce around, so eating 2-3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks is helpful. If you are not hungry, fatigued or have any other issues, then eating every 4-6 hours, 2-3 meals a day and 1-2 sncks is plenty.
- A great book I brought years ago that may help you, has recipes in it and all the information you need: The Food Doctor by Ian Marber.
- DO make sure you are getting heaps of veggies – if you are in Norwich then join Farmshare or order from Claire & Adam at Riverford Organics. Also utilise the organic stall at the market, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8am-4pm (ish). Organic or spray free veggies are advantageous, but not essential. Getting your veg from supermarkets and washing before use, whenever possible is a wonderful way to care for yourself.
- If you do HEAPS of exercise, then do make sure you are eating some carbs! Zero carbs will lead to a heavy, immovable body. Remember, we are talking LOWER carb here, not zero carb!
- Whatever happens – I am not the food police, neither are you, or anyone else you know. If you happen to live on toast or cereal for a day, then so be it. Its truly not a disaster! Eating lower carb and high fat can increase energy levels, help you to lose weight, and manage fatigue and blood sugar levels, but it is not a measure of your self-worth, or success in life.
If you would like to step your low carb, high fat eating up to the next level with expert help, then ask a question in the commenting area below, and contact me for help. My sugary suggestions are below the video.
Watch this video from Dr Sarah Halberg for inspiration and more help:
Put down the dairy milk and swiss roll – it sucks. It’ll make you happy for about 2-3 minutes, maybe 20 if you get on a sugar buzz. If you have a weakness for whole family size bars – then its probably because you’re dehydrated, nutrient deprived, stressed, tired or hormonally imbalanced. Give some of these alternatives a whirl!
Make a smoothie with a selection of (you don’t need them all!):
- Full fat milk/yoghurt, almond milk, coconut milk, water, coconut water
- PLUS fruit such as berries, pineapple, apple
- PLUS green leaves such as spinach or lettuce (just add a few if you are new to this!)
- PLUS a high source of fats such as avocado, coconut oil, ground flax, raw nuts.
- Optional tsp of psyllium powder or tsp chia which makes the smoothie thick
- Optional scoop of pea protein powder. Here’s my absolute favourite!
- Optional tsp of organic green powders. These are the ones I use: A Blend Or buy seperately
Eat 70-90% dark chocolate
If this is not sweet enough for you, then eat with some fruit like berries or red grapes – melting frozen fruit and chocolate on your tongue is great in summer time!Always check the ingredient list – if sugar comes before cocao ass/cacao butter then you have an inferior product. Check the next brand along. Don’t be fooled by Bournville – its a hoax!
Keep Raw Cacao Powder and Raw Honey in the Cupboard at All Times!
Put them in warm milk with cinnamon OR mash them into a ripe avocado with turmeric and ginger OR dip the spoon in the honey and then in cacao powder (you’ll need a clean spoon for every time you dip back! Whilst honey is a natural antibiotic, you probably won’t want to risk breeding your mouth bacteria in the honey!). Serve as it is, or with fruit.
This is an example of what I buy for cacao powder. It says ‘certified organic’and ‘raw’. I buy in kg when I can for most health products – long term cost cutting. Here’s an example of honey, though I find its cheaper to buy organic honey in the supermarket.
What are your recipes? What answers do you need to step up to your best health? Leave a reply below!