Back when we lived in nature 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, berries and nuts. There was no bread, pasta, grains or refined sugar.
It’s interesting to look back on that period called Paleolithic, as it gives us a clue to what sort of foods our bodies have evolved to eat. Today we are a mystery to ourselves as humans. We know we’re not like the animals who don’t seem to have any confusion over what to eat! Animals that live in their natural environment simply slot into the intelligence of their biochemistry and work their magic in the food chain – a complex dance between an array of species sharing the same environment, living in harmony as the natural pecking order plays itself out.
Once upon a time, we were part of that. We ate only what we could catch or pick. We lived in small, close-knit groups and used every part of the foods that we managed to acquire. We ate every part of the animal we caught, including all the fatty bits. We lived close to the land and honoured the seasonal changes. We had times of fasting and times of feasting. When we found food, we ate it. When it was scarce, we had no choice but to fast. This is the way our bodies are programmed.
The constant abundance of food we have today around the clock is simply not what we are designed to deal with. Not only do we eat from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, we eat a vast array of sugar-rich and starchy foods that push our bodies to their biochemical limits.
It’s all about insulin
When you eat any carbohydrate, whether that be fruit, vegetables, sugar or pasta, your body has an insulin response to allow the glucose to enter the cells for energy and keep your blood sugar levels in check. The problem is that – as we have evolved in an environment of limited glucose-rich foods – our biochemistry struggles to deal with the modern day onslaught of breads, rice, pastas, sugars and processed foods.
Instead of staying within a very narrow insulin threshold that was set back when we had hardly any glucose available to us, our modern day diets are packed with an over-abundance of glucose-rich foods, resulting in constant insulin spikes in an attempt to get the blood glucose levels back to their very low default setting.
After years of over-producing insulin in order for the body to try to rid itself of excess glucose, the cells of the body stop responding to insulin’s message and it can no longer do its job. There is simply too much dietary sugar to deal with. Where does the sugar then go? It gets shunted into fat storage and unfortunately the body loses its ability to regulate its glucose load, leading to diabetes.
The driver behind most degenerative conditions
Insulin resistance is the driver behind diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, 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. All female hormone imbalances can be addressed by lowering excess glucose and conditions such as PCOS are a direct result of a high carb diet.
Low carb, high fat (LCHF) wisdom. What does a LCHF diet look like?
- Green leafy vegetables
- Salad leaves
- Low starch veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, radish, asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergine, sprouts and more
- 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, avocado, oily fish, fatty meats and grass fed butter
- Low sugar fruits packed with antioxidants such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
- A limited amount of grass fed, organic dairy produce
Your body knows best
Try it out for yourself. Stop all sugars, limit starchy vegetables, eliminate grains, breads and pastas. See how you feel. I guarantee you will feel supercharged and awesome! Don’t be afraid of healthy fats – they keep you full and satisfy your body, curbing hunger and cravings. (It’s only carbohydrate-rich foods that create cravings as your body fluctuates between blood sugar high and blood sugar low as a result of eating glucose-rich foods).
A typical day of LCHF:
- Scrambled eggs and veggies for breakfast
- Bowl lunch packed with leaves, a protein source and a decent drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of nuts and some chopped herbs
- A dinner plate half filled with vegetables, a good protein and lots of healthy fats – maybe your broccoli was cooked in butter, or your chicken drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Find out for yourself
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 cravings, sugar and starch addiction and the exhaustion of trying to maintain biochemical balance. Your body is pushed to its limits every day if you continue to gorge on sugar and starchy foods. Try slowly cutting down on sugars, pastries, breads, cereals and pastas and see how good you can feel without them. Don’t be fooled by large corporations who sell you these foods. Their only interest is in profit.
Get the help you need
If you’re a slave to cravings, addicted to sugar or processed foods and would like to experience a whole new level of health and vibrancy, reach out to your support network, talk to your friends and family or seek professional advice to help you find your balance again. Nutritional therapists with experience of the LCHF approach can help you get organised and inspired to follow a healthy low-carb approach. Remember, sugar is more addictive than cocaine and so you might need some help getting off of it.
Article by Jo Rowkins DipNT MBANT, Nutritional Therapist and founder of Awakening Health.