Keeping a food journal is one of the strategies we use in my 12 weeks Holistic Healthy Living program.
Last week, we reviewed Jane’s food journal.
Despite getting great results, it turned out the diet we have been working with, was not suitable for her at the time. We started monitoring her food to get less restricted in her carbohydrate intake. So it fits her personality and lifestyle better, while she still achieves her weight and wellness goals.
The first results of her food journal came as a surprise to her. Vegetables covered most part of her allowed carbohydrate intake, leaving small portions for grains to fit in the recommended ratio.
Not all carbs are created equal
No, carbohydrates come not solely from sugar or grain-based. These macronutrients are present in a large variety of both whole and processed food, including vegetables! They are called carbohydrates because, at the chemical level, they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
The main issue with carbs is your blood sugar regulation. At the end, all carbohydrates you ingest are metabolised into glucose in your body.
But when you do consume complex carbohydrates mixed with fibre (in vegetables), they are getting into your bloodstream more slowly than simple carbs (such as sugar and white flour). This helps to stabilise your blood sugar, balance your hormones and is conducive to a healthy weight.
In nature, we typically don’t find food with a carb density over 30%*. Carbohydrate dense foods are mainly refined and processed foods.
These foods overwhelm your body’s cells with a load of glucose at a time. Over time, your cells become resistant to the hormones insulin and leptin. This hormonal dysregulation promotes weight gain, inflammation, accelerated brain degeneration, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mitochondrial dysfunction – the main causes of accelerated ageing.
What about low carb’ then?
Carbohydrate consumption in itself is needed for health – it is carbohydrate intake beyond their metabolic capacity which causes problems – or in other words, it is more the frequency and quality that makes the poison.
As we are all unique, we can “tolerate” a different level of carbohydrate before we begin to show signs of metabolic disturbances. So everyone should have their own carbohydrate goal.
If you are gaining weight (or have difficulty to lose weight), have an elevated waist circumference, if you suffer from sugar cravings, fatigue and sleepiness after a simple carbohydrate-based meal, if you present with some skin tags or acne, if your blood tests show high fasting glucose, or insulin or some sign of dyslipidaemia, you may well exceed your carbohydrate tolerance.
Love your vegetables
When you are eating vegetables you are adding some much-needed carbohydrates to your day. These are the type of carbohydrates you want in your life.
Vegetables are high in fibre and slowly metabolised to avoid blood sugar imbalances. They are nourishing for your brain and feeding your muscle. And they come with a load of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins that support the process of weight loss (if that’s your goal), lift your mood and bring energy into your life.