Summer’s almost here, and I admit it: I’ve put on a few pounds over the last couple months. I want to lose about 5, so I’m putting myself on a diet. What kind of a nutritionist puts herself on a diet, you ask? One that has been slipping and eating too many grains, I suppose. My thai noodle habit was getting a bit out of control, and I need to rein it in. Because I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t been cooking at home as much, and takeout is a killer with too many carbs and unhealthy oils. Bad!
Do you want me to share the million dollar weight loss secret that I get paid hundreds of dollars to tell people? Here it is: (drum roll). GRAINS MAKE YOU FAT. So does sugar (duh). Also included in the fat list is anything refined (think packaged, processed foods, corn syrup, refined sugars and baked goods; even that organic scone from the bakery was made with white flour, which is refined and bleached.)
Humans evolved on a hunter-gatherer “Paleo” diet of protein, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and minimal fruits. We are not really designed for a diet high in grains. And what does the traditional food pyramid tell us? That the majority of the foods we eat should be grains: bread, bagels, pasta, rice, and other “whole grains.” Is it a coincidence that obesity & diabetes are at an all-time high? Boy are we missing the mark. Grains like wheat, white flour, rice, bulgar, cous cous, rye, barley, oatmeal, millet, and corn (yes, corn is a grain) break down into glucose, which triggers your body’s insulin response. Insulin helps usher glucose into the cells for use. Your body uses this sugar as its primary form of energy, but when you get too much from eating grains at every meal, the excess is stored as fat. And if you’re eating sugar and/or sodas on top of that, all this excess sugar begins to build up in the bloodstream because the cells don’t want anymore. So then you become “insulin resistant” and you have high blood sugar because the cells shut their doors to more sugar, and this sets you up for diabetes. And you gain weight. And you have energy spikes and dips. And high blood pressure. And you probably feel like shit. This is the obesity epidemic, explained. We as a nation are on a weight gainer diet, big time.
The paleo diet is the fastest way to turn this around. And no, I’m not talking about Atkins. Gross. I’m talking about the base of every meal being leafy greens like kale or chard, a good serving of protein like organic chicken, grass fed beef, or wild fish, and good fats like olive oil or avocado. Even a square of dark chocolate for dessert. Bonus: this type of diet can get you off the sugar & carb comfort food craving train. If you’re not having blood sugar crashes, you won’t crave sugar.
For dinner tonight, I cooked ground lamb sauteed with garlic and cumin. Then I cooked a bunch of kale in the oil leftover from the lamb. The base of my meal was kale, topped with the ground lamb, topped with avocado slices. I drizzled some miso mayonnaise over it for an extra kick. Delicious. And I’ve already lost 3 pounds. 🙂
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