Pajaro Street Health and Wellness
Eating for a Healthier Lifestyle
En Espagnol: La comida para un Estilo de vida más Sano
Editor: Deamer Dunn
In all my years as a chef and all my study of nutrition, if I could pass on only one key to eating for a healthier lifestyle, I would educate everyone in what makes up a low-glycemic meal.
Insulin is a hormone that is central to regulating the energy and glucose metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle. The manner in which we eat affects our insulin levels. If our insulin level stays balanced and level, our body functions at its optimum and distributes nutrition efficiently. Much of the focus on diet has been on fat and carbohydrates and the elimination of them from our diets. But our body needs essential fats and complex carbohydrates. An unbalanced diet can present just as much a problem for our body as overeating of fats and carbohydrates.
Food Scientists have now calculated a glycemic index for all food, which tells you how quickly they break down and shoot sugars into our system. Fat, fiber and protein lower the glycemic index of food. If you eat a naked baked potato it has an even higher glycemic index than eating straight sugar. If you add fat, fiber and/or protein to the baked potato you can bring down the glycemic index of the meal (Side note: the genetically altered Russet potato most commonly used for a baked potato today, is much lower in fiber and natural protein than the older potato varieties such as the Yukon Gold and Peruvian Purple, therefore a higher glycemic index). Another example of getting more out of a meal would be to add a quality plain yogurt to your breakfast bowl of fruit. By adding the yogurt's fat and protein to the fruit, the glycemic effect of the fruit will be slowed down so your body can still benefit from all the antioxidants of the fruit without putting a lot of pressure on your insulin (the acid quality of most fruits would also help breakdown the dairy product - a win, win combination). You don't have to be a scientist to get the most out of your food while lowering the negative effects of what you're eating. Just think whole, natural, and balance and you'll do fine. Here is a help to creating Low-Glycemic meals.
Eat Whole Foods:
A diet that centers on whole unrefined food is naturally low-glycemic. It is refined foods that tend to be high in simple carbohydrates, which break down into sugars quickly and shoot up your insulin, which then tends to dip low once these sugars are so quickly burned. Thus the body suffers as the insulin goes up and as it comes down.
Avoid Processed Foods and Toxins.
Our body retains excess fat as a protection against the degenerative capability of free radicals either created as a part of our body's normal energy cycle or due to our exposure to toxins. To minimize our body's natural storing of fat, we need to get enough nutrition to our body's cells. The more we keep our insulin levels balanced the more efficient our body is at breaking down our food and distributing nutrition to our cells. This is also where high quality supplements can help our bodies get enough nutrition on a cellular level. See pharmaceutical grade supplements for an explanation of the difference in quality supplements.
There are many of factors in food that effect our body efficiency and nutrition levels such as acid versus alkaline, anti or pro inflammatory, all of which I will continue to catalog at Pajaro Street Health and Wellness, but if everyone would just consider the glycemic quality of their meals, then this world would be a lot healthier.
Deamer Dunn, Editor