Back when we lived as hunter gatherers there was a limited supply of carbohydrate-rich foods. We hunted wild animals, caught fresh fish and foraged for green leafy vegetables, herbs, berries and nuts. We lived close to the land and honoured the seasonal changes. We had times of fasting and times of feasting. This is the way our bodies evolved. There was no bread, pasta, grains or refined sugar.
Today, we eat a vast amount of sugar-rich and starchy foods that push our bodies to their biochemical limits. When we eat carbohydrates our bodies produce insulin to allow glucose to enter the cells for fuel and keep blood sugar levels in check.
A high carb diet from overconsumption of grains, starches and sugary foods results in constant insulin spikes as the body attempts to keep blood sugar levels at their low default setting; a very narrow threshold that evolved over millions of years when there was hardly any glucose available to us.
When insulin keeps spiking from years of eating sugary and starchy foods, the cells of the body stop responding to its message and it can no longer do its job properly, as there is simply too much dietary sugar to deal with. The sugar gets converted into fat and the body loses its ability to regulate its glucose load.
The driver behind most degenerative conditions
Insulin resistance is the driver behind diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and high cholesterol, and can contribute to carcinogenic changes in the body (cancer cells are greedy for glucose), as well as setting the stage for Alzheimer’s, which is now being classed as type 3 diabetes. Female hormonal imbalances can be addressed by lowering excess glucose because high insulin plays havoc with hormonal balance.
Eight benefits of low carb eating
When blood sugar levels remain balanced, insulin stays low and stress hormones are spared, resulting in health benefits, such as:
1. Increased energy
2. Stable moods
4. Lowered stress response
5. Freedom from cravings
6. Fat burning
7. Lowered inflammation
8. Better sleep
What to eat on a low carb diet?
• Green leafy vegetables
• Salad leaves
• Herbs and spices
• Low starch veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, radish, asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergine, sprouts…
• Quality protein from natural sources like grass-fed meat and wild fish
• Free range, organic eggs
• Raw nuts and seeds
• Healthy fats from cold-pressed oils, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, avocado, oily fish, fatty meats…
• Low sugar fruits packed with antioxidants like blueberries, strawberries & blackberries
• Some grass fed, organic dairy
A typical day of low carb eating:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and veggies
Lunch: salad packed with leaves, a protein source and a decent drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of nuts and fresh herbs
Dinner: vegetables, a quality protein and lots of healthy fats, such as wild salmon with broccoli cooked in butter, or chicken and roasted veg drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Your body knows best
Your body has a deep inner wisdom and you’ll be more finely tuned to listening to it if you get out of the perpetual cycle of sugar and starch addiction.
Find out for yourself
Try slowly cutting out sugary and starchy foods and see how good you can feel without them. I guarantee you will feel supercharged and awesome! Eating this way deeply supports your body’s biochemistry.
Get the help you need
If you’re a slave to cravings, addicted to sugar, starchy or processed foods and would like to experience a whole new level of health and vibrancy, or to address any health conditions with a therapeutic diet, seek the advice of a nutrition professional to help you find your balance again.
l Jo Rowkins, Nutritional Therapist & Lifestyle Coach at Awakening Health.