In the most recent posts, we discussed elevated insulin levels and the therapeutic benefit of following a specific diet to bring insulin levels under control. Bringing the insulin levels back to normal, but not going too far by eliminating carbohydrates, can allow metabolic healing over time. Degenerative diseases, obesity, and chronic departure from homeostasis are really just metabolic disorders at the core. So taking the time to get back to balance, although it is a challenge, is rewarding – not just because you might live a few extra years or something like that, but because you can feel and perform better now. Right now. Every day.
Foods that are the most stabilizing, that keep blood sugar levels from fluctuating, which allow insulin levels to fall and recalibrate at a level that doesn’t cause metabolic malfunction, are listed in the following segments.
Carbohydrates cause the largest fluctuations in blood sugar of any food substance. Therefore, they are the most important food category to focus on.
As a general rule, refinement of carbohydrate foods causes more rapid absorption. One misconception; however, is that removing the bran from grains or the fiber from sugarcane is the only type of refinement. That’s simply not true. Grinding is refinement. Pureeing is refinement. Leavening is refinement. So it’s not just a matter of whether it is made from whole foods or not.
For example, if you grind brown rice into a flour, it absorbs much more quickly than white Basmati rice that has only had the outer fibrous layer removed. Although white rice may not be very nutritious, that is probably secondary. When choosing between a soft, fluffy whole wheat bread and a long-grain white rice like Basmati, Basmati is a better choice. Why? Because the whole grain bread has been more refined. The grain is ground into a fine, rapidly-absorbed powder. Many of the nutrients get oxidized if the grain is not freshly ground, and then it is leavened. This is also important. Densely-packed ground grain such as pasta absorbs more slowly than whole wheat bread. Only very coarsely-ground, fresh whole grain bread like that made prior to industrial food processing is a stabilizing food.
Confused yet? Good.
To further twist your brain, sourdough leavening of bread actually lowers the blood-sugar spike due to the tartness. For some reason, tart foods lower the blood sugar surge. Thus, the bread eaters that Weston A. Price discovered to have perfect health made their bread by coarse hand-grinding, which was immediately soured before nutrients oxidized, and baked into an enormous dense rye loaf. This is healthy bread. Breads deviating from this formula much are problematic. This certainly includes the typical supermarket wheat bread that is so smooth, finely ground, and soft that if you touched it CSI could successfully scan it for fingerprints.
I said that so you will understand that grains, for purposes of achieving stability, should primarily be eaten whole and intact. Grinding and further refinement is only to be done by your teeth and digestive enzymes. Best grain options are:
Whole Wheat Berries
Whole Oat Groats
Other whole grains
Secondary options when those aren’t available include:
Long grain white rice (not shorter grains which contain a rapidly-absorbed starch called amylopectin starch)
Pasta, especially homemade egg noodles cooked al dente
The other top carbohydrates to choose from are non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and root vegetables. All of these are acceptable, even potatoes. All non-starchy vegetables can be eaten at will, such as broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, onions, cabbage, lettuces, etc.
Best starchy vegetable/legume options are:
Sweet potatoes and yams
Red potatoes or Yukon Golds (preferably not mashed or pureed, that’s processing!)
Fresh or frozen peas or lima beans
One of the above-listed grains or starchy vegetables must be consumed with every meal for optimal stability. Insulin and blood sugar levels stay precisely where they need to be, and the body has a timed-release supply of glucose to draw upon between meals. Glucose is the body’s most important immediate need obtainable from food. Carbohydrates deliver the easiest form of food to convert to glucose. Eliminating them is a stress to the metabolism. You can live without them, but it is a stress, and not the most efficient path to metabolic healing.
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not the only type of food that raises insulin levels. Proteins raise insulin as well, especially red meat and dark meat from poultry or game. Proteins are not to be feared, but there is no reason to consume a gigantic portion of both meat and starch at the same meal. Still, for rehabilitative purposes, eggs, fresh cheese (not aged), fish, and white meat are ideal, but if these don’t give you enough satiation to avoid sugar/alcohol binges, then eat as much red meat as you need to to make it through the transition period. Four times a day if you must. In its defense, it is very nutritious, but seek out grass fed varieties if at all possible. Raw proteins are ideal and safe to eat if you can handle the thought. If not, eat over easy eggs and rare meats and fish. If you still can’t do that, it’s better to have cooked meat than no meat for overcoming elevated insulin levels.
All unaltered fats are acceptable foods, but it’s not necessarily a “the more the better” scenario. It’s been liberating to eat unlimited quantities of fats over the past year, but there’s no reason to take it to extremes. Add a little butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, etc. to each of your meals for nourishment, balance, and stability. Fats are best assimilated in raw form, and I highly encourage people to emphasize raw fats as much as possible within the bounds of practicality. Better cooked fat than no fat. Fat from coconut is the least heat-sensitive.
Fats associated with insulin resistance are hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils that are highly-slanted towards Omega 6 fats. These are the fats used in restaurants and in packaged foods, so avoid both as much as possible. Do not eat fried food at a restaurant and don’t congratulate yourself for ordering a salad – salad dressings contain shite oil.
Eating balanced proportions of all these foods at each sitting, at least 3 times a day, will lower your body’s need for crappy newfangled garbage. If you have cravings, don’t be discouraged. Using willpower over an intense craving is not heroic. Your body needs sugar when you crave sugar, and if you argue with the body and deny it the body resorts to more detrimental means of getting what it needs, like breaking down tissues. This of course, worsens metabolism.
And once again, the top foods to avoid as much as possible are:
Crackers, bread, doughnuts, cookies, bagels, etc. made with white flour
Foods with white sugar, especially hard candies
Foods with high-fructose corn syrup
Alcohol, especially beer
Foods containing other sugars, such as dextrose, maltose, or maltodextrin
Vegetable-based oils (soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, etc.) including restaurant-fried foods, margarine, salad dressings, packaged foods, shortening, and more!
Sodas, real and diet
Pasteurized fruit juice (fresh fruit or sweet veggie juice in moderation)
As a final note, many endorse eating fruits, raw honey, and drinking raw milk. These are all simple sugars. All of these foods have been claimed by someone to assist in overcoming insulin resistance. When craving sweets, these are the best choices to satisfy those cravings. However, these simple sugars, fruit in particular, turn me into a maniacal sugarfiend if I consume too much, especially without complementary fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates. For that reason I feel that temporarily limiting these foods to very small quantities, and maybe even total eradication, may be more beneficial for healing. Reasonable quantities of only-raw milk, yoghurt, kefir, and honey eaten with a balanced meal that contains complimentary fats, proteins, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates is probably fine – but losing your taste for sweet foods altogether by avoiding them may be more helpful. All in all, these are highly nutritious, enzyme-rich foods which are to be unmercifully consumed by healthy people. Don’t get caught up on the suggestion that avoiding them temporarily might be helpful.
And remember, the casual deviations are the killers. Healing is slow and for some –unattainable, unless you follow this advice closely for an extended period of time.