The Bitter Side of Sweet: Diabetes & Artificial Sweeteners

Diabetes – such common a condition in today’s society that I doubt it even needs an introduction.

In a nutshell, diabetes is the mismanagement of the body’s ability to control blood sugar. In most cases this can occur in one of two ways – or “types”:

Type 1 – an autoimmune condition
-The body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin
-NO method of prevention
-NOT brought on by lifestyle

Type 2 – a metabolic disorder
-The body’s inability to use the insulin it produces
-CAN BE preventable
-CAN BE brought on by lifestyle

For type 2 diabetics, the cells of the body are not responding to insulin – otherwise known as insulin resistance. The role of insulin is to lower blood sugar levels by regulating the rate in which glucose is taken up by the cells of the body. Insulin resistance can develop over time when the body is exposed to high levels of sugar in the diet that it just simply cannot keep up.

So naturally one might think that by replacing sugar with zero calorie man made chemically sweetened toxic crap such as Splenda or Aspartame, one may be better equipped to manage their blood sugar, right?

Wrong.

Our brain is hardwired to associate sweet with calories. When the calories don’t show up, our inherent biological reaction is to go and find them- so in other words, our brain quite literally sends us on a hunt for sugar (i.e. cravings!).

This reaction (and subsequent junk food feast) directly contributes to insulin imbalance and resulting blood sugar fluctuations, all the while increasing fat storage. Yep, you heard that right – WEIGHT GAIN. Another function of insulin is to control fat storage, so if your insulin levels are high, it is also likely you will have an easier time gaining weight and a much more difficult time losing it.

So the next time you think that you are doing yourself a favour by reaching for that zero-calorie food or drink, remember that even though they may not technically contain sugar, they can still have the same effect on blood sugar that actual sugar does, or worse. These charming chemicals can also tend to come with a whole slew of additional gnarly side effects including nausea, headaches, breakouts and mood disorders.

Not so sweet now, huh?

 

Guest post by Alex Nucci

3 Nutritionist Approved Fast Foods

Ok folks, here is it, the question that I know you are dying to have the answer for- ‘where can I get healthy(ish) fast food?”

Before I answer, I feel compelled to preface my suggestions with this:
• fast food is ‘fast’ for a reason… just stew on that for a minute
• you can’t control the quality of ingredients in these products, so if you are the type who really cares about this, like I do, buyer beware.
• Nothing and I mean NOTHING, can replace home cooked meals…so with that said, here are 3 go-to fast foods you could grab in a pinch…key word here is ‘pinch’.

1. Starbucks Protein Bistro Box. I like this because it is simple. Hard boiled eggs, cheese, fruit and a pita. It’s nothing fancy or overly processed; it’s effortless ingredients for a quick and easy snack.

2. Opa! If you haven’t jumped on the Greek train than I highly recommend you start now. The Mediterranean flavours will whisk away your taste buds to warmer climates- hopefully inspiring you to cook more of these flavours at home. For now, Greek fast food restaurants are easily found in every town. Choose a chicken or lamb, rice and a beautiful Greek salad and enjoy knowing you have kept French fries and nuggets off your waistline.

3. Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. My suggestion here is to skip the dried cranberries (and the pecans if you are up to it) and only use one of the two packs of dressings they give you. What is left? Fresh salad, chicken, blue cheese and apple; quick and easy for those on the road or crunched for time

Remember, fast food can pack on the pounds or if chosen smartly can be a quick go-to once in awhile. The trick is to not let yourself get too hungry, otherwise you will end up making a poor choice out of desperation.

So if you are like me and want to learn some mad skills in nutrition or want to lose some of that unwanted fat, check out my new book Your Weight Loss G-Spot!

Currant Carrot Clusters

Want an energizing snack that tastes so delicious that you won’t believe it’s actually good for you? Try this Currant Carrot Clusters recipe! It goes well with this smoothie.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup oats
  • ¼ cup dried currants
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ banana (mashed)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix together well and form into 2 inch balls. Let set in the fridge and enjoy.

Keep sealed in an airtight container in the fridge.

Shrimp, Bean and Lentil Pasta

A nutritious grain-free pasta dish, with lots of veggies. Serve a side salad with this pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large shrimp per person
  • large handful of green beans, washed, ends snipped off and diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot grated or thinly peeled using a vegetable peeler
  • 1 box of Tolerant Lentil Pasta 
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 leeks washed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. After all vegetables have been washed and diced
  2. In a large pan add: onion, leek, garlic and green beans with 1 tbsp oil. Saute on medium heat until translucent (about 7-10 minutes)
  3. bring water to a boil and add pasta (take)s about 7-9 minutes
  4. In the meantime add the carrots, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper and shrimp to the ingredients in the pan.
  5. Cook the shrimp until they turn a light pink colour..
  6. Add cooked pasta and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  7. Combine all ingredients together and enjoy!

picture source

Slow cooker chicken fajitas

A spicy savoury meal to perk up your taste buds! Pair this meal with shepherd’s pie!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized green pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced

Materials:

  • 1 large-sized plastic freezer bag

Prep

  1. Label your freezer bag
  2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients. (Add the chicken to the bag last, so it’s the first ingredient poured into your slow cooker.)
  3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your freezer.

Cook

  1. The night before cooking, move the frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.
  2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow cooker and cook on “low” setting for 4-8 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Tip: You can also cook this meal in a pan on your stovetop!

#healthy #health #nutrition #recipe #delicious #dinner #chicken #fajita

Yields: one large-sized bag of chicken fajitas

Adapted from New Leaf Wellness recipes

Picture source