02 February 2009

The Balancing act

I have found that there are a few basics in life. Do this right and a lot of things tend to work. Do them wrong, and life turns into a disaster. You know you should do it, in fact most people know they should do this right, yet often fail to. Just think of some of them like, driving too fast, drink lots of water, avoid too much coffee, don’t eat lots of sugar, exercise regularly, make that phone call you have been putting off for so long, pay your tax. The list goes on and on, and on. You KNOW you should do it, but it’s like your brain is programmed to not respond.

We have been told that having fruit or a combination of fruit, yogurt and muesli or a smoothy or shake for breakfast is what gives you a healthy start to your day. The reason for this, it is explained, is that this kind of breakfast is what is needed to cleanse your system early in the morning or to start the day healthy. This sounds logical and wonderful, until you look closer.

Looking at it purely from a scientific physiological point of view, the reality is a little less favourable than you may think. If you have a breakfast like fruit and yogurt and maybe muesli added or a slice of toast or shake or a cereal the following happens. As these foods are very easy for the body to digest (this being touted as the big benefit of eating such a breakfast) you find that as a result, the blood glucose level spikes a few minutes after eating breakfast. The body notices this and act appropriately by secreting insulin, created to facilitate the transfer of glucose from the blood into the tissue cells, like the muscles, brain etc.

But because there is a fast rising in the blood glucose level (due to the rapid conversion of the simple sugars in your breakfast to glucose) the body secretes too much insulin into the blood, creating a rapid outflow of blood glucose into the tissue cells, resulting in a very low blood glucose level soon after you ate.
In reality you go from a low blood sugar, feeling low, to a very high blood sugar level, a feeling of being on to of the world, only to find yourself with a very low blood sugar level a few minutes later and a feeling of the world being on top of you again.

For a child going to school this means eating breakfast at say, 07:00, rushing off to school hitting a sugar high just before school starts bouncing with energy, and sometimes bouncing off the walls. But then, an hour after breakfast comes the down where the blood sugar drops very low and the child has absolutely no control over his brain. They want to fall asleep, and have NO concentration ability (now in the classroom). They struggle through the first few classes, to break time, to get to the tuck shop! After the sugar load from the tuck shop the cycle starts again and again resulting in endless mood swings, bringing on, bad behaviour and bad marks. And then Ritalin follows…

The same is true for any adult. The only difference is that we adults have free access to ‘snacks’ like coffee, tea, biscuits more fruit sweets or soft drinks. As a result we eat far more than we should, resulting in growing sideways instead of upwards and in severe cases, antidepressants, anxiety tablets and the like. In ongoing cases this constant oscillation of blood sugar results in diabetes, and for that we take even more insulin!

All this happens due to eating the incorrect kind of breakfast! The cure is so simple, yet only an elected few choose to follow it. No, the remedy is NOT to eat six small meals. You do not even have time to prepare one decent meal, breakfast, let alone six! You will either be preparing food or consuming it for the whole day. No one has this kind of time at hand, anyway most people I have consulted don’t.

The remedy is to have a breakfast comprising of an animal protein and a complex carbohydrate.
This means having your oats WITH an egg, or your slice of 100% rye/spelt toast WITH one or two eggs or mince or sardines or tuna or beef sausage or the like (and no pork or bacon). NO, not seeds and nuts, these could be snacks, but certainly NOT breakfast.
Yes, you may eat lots of eggs as the people who told you that eggs are bad for your cholesterol, lied, like the people who told you butter is bad and margarine is good, and that eating fruit for breakfast is healthy.
Lunch could be something like quinoa or brown rice with chicken, or egg or fish leftovers mixed in with some of your favourite veggies like onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes etc.

If you follow this principle for lunch and supper, you will have a stable blood glucose level and sustained energy throughout the whole day.
The combination of an animal protein and a complex carbohydrate digests much slower, resulting in a slow rise and fall of blood sugar over a long period of time. No sugar spikes and no sugar lows, lots of concentration ability and lots of energy with no mood swings.

Fruit now becomes a snack between meals and not the main meal.

More than often I explain to clients how to balance their blood sugar, only to find that when I see them 5 days later, they have done the exact opposite! I guess it must be one of those things that are simple to understand but difficult to do. So maybe you want to give it a try.

Someone once said: Skill is knowing how to, Knowledge is knowing how to apply that skill, Wisdom is knowing when to apply, and applying it is called: virtue.

1 comment:

  1. Nou 'n vraag - volgens sommige dieetkundiges moet 'n mens nie vleis en stysel (bv rys / aartappel / brood) saam eet nie. Skynbaar het die een 'n alkaliese en die ander 'n suur omgewing nodig vir vertering.

    Jou verduideliking rondom die bloedsuiker maak sin, maar hoe bring mens nou dié goete bymekaar? Ons hele gesin is O+, en dus geneig tot suur. Ons ouma het rumatoïede atritis gehad, wanneer die pyn te erg raak, het sy bloot haar stysels uitgeskakel, geen tamaties geëet nie en baie suurlemoen gebruik. Sy was 91 toe sy gesterf het.



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