Hello everyone, Erin is back this week to answer more of your health and wellness questions. If you’re confused about your carb intake, are curious about whether you should really have breakfast, or are wondering how to keep up during the holidays, keep reading this week’s issue of Ask at Health Coach. Do you have a question for Erin? Post it in the comments below or on the page Mark’s Apple Daily Facebook Group.
“I’ve heard a lot that now carbs are good for you, especially if you have adrenal problems. I thought carbs should be bad. What’s the direct answer?”
There’s nothing I like more than repeating the old “good food / bad food” debate with which diet culture continually drowns us out. Internet influencers try to demonize whole food groups and guide us into the field of all or nothing so often, it’s not uncommon for people to be confused about what to eat.
The truth is Many foods, good and bad, contain carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, kale, carrots, green beans, bagels, beets … the list goes on). And when you eat these foods, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, also known as sugar, which enters the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels rise, the hormone insulin is released, which causes cells to absorb blood sugar. When blood sugar begins to drop, another hormone, called glucagon, takes up the absorbed sugar and uses it for energy. Our bodies are really miraculous, right?
Management of adrenal fatigue with food
The thought behind recommending more carbs for those with adrenal problems is that it can be harder for your body to metabolize protein and fat for energy. That said, when you consume more carbohydrates than your body needs, or highly processed sugary foods, your blood sugar rises and falls (exceeding the normal insulin-glucagon response) and causes an increase in your body’s hormone. ‘stress, cortisol. Involuntarily, you are causing more stress to your body, it is not something you want to do if you are trying to manage adrenal dysfunction.
Do this on a regular basis and you will find yourself on a metabolic roller coaster that will make your adrenal glands work even harder. Even conventional medicine agrees that processed foods and refined sugars increase cortisol and can lead to unhealthy accidents.
The goal, really for everyone, is to keep your blood sugar stable. And the best way to do that is to eat nutrient-dense foods at every meal. Keep in mind that I said “meal” and not “sandwich” as eating little is another form of stress on the body. Focus on consuming protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and leafy greens.
If you tried low carb meals for a while and your symptoms worsened, eat more. Yes, even if you are between 100 and 150 grams. Eating a lot of carbs and still feeling like shit? Eat less. And if you’re charging processed energy bars, assuming they’re healthy, exchange them for whole foods for a few weeks.
As a farewell thought, what if you forgot all the diet rules for a minute and leaned in and listened to your body’s signals? No one knows your body better than you do.
“I’ve been following Primal for a good year and I don’t think I can commit to keeping it on track during the holidays. We have a lot of family in town and I won’t be able to do all my shopping, meal preparation and regular workouts. How can I survive the holidays and not derail my progress completely? “
Of course, the holidays are a busy time of year. But honestly, when it is not busy life? If it’s not a vacation, it’s the school year, or the summer vacation, or you’re starting a new job or relationship or whatever.
I hear it with mine health coaching customers all the time. When life is busy, they decide to take a break from the “health stuff.” Instead of re-marking it, they do nothing. Absolutely not.
How to stay on track during the holidays
If I could share a tip with you today, it’s that your health doesn’t need to have a on / off switch. This is not an all-or-nothing situation in which you are nailing or falling off the wagon.
Think of your health as an adjustable dial. Can’t get up to 10 right now because you’re planning a vacation at your place? Great, how about a 7 or a 5? Damn, even a 2 is better than nothing. You may not be able to do all your shopping, meal preparation, and regular workouts, but I bet you could:
- Eat at least one healthy meal a day
- Put a few vegetables on your plate
- Go for a walk
- Eat some protein
- Drink a glass of water
- Go to bed early once or twice
- Take a piece of fresh fruit
- Do a 1 minute meditation
The goal is preserve momentum you have to start so that if / when life slows down, you can increase it again. It’s much easier to mark things from a 2 than to completely abandon all the healthy habits you’ve established and start from scratch.
Also, remember that just as a healthy meal won’t keep you fit, an unhealthy meal or a missed workout won’t derail your progress. A kind of consistency is your best bet. During the holidays and all year round.
“I wake up in the morning with a grunted stomach. I read in Mark’s book that you’re supposed to wait until you’re hungry, but it’s best to postpone eating in the morning if you can. Should I eat? I feel like I could do hurt someone if you don’t, lol.
I’ll make it very easy for you, Joon. If you’re hungry, eat. The first rule I teach my clients is “Always answer hunger with a meal.” (Warning: I’m not an FI coach)
I mean, how much easier is that? They have given you the gift of recognizing your signs of hunger – A gift that many people around here would gladly take out of your hands. Your body tells you that it is hungry and all you have to do is respond by feeding it.
The benefits of breakfast
Yes, there are advantages fasting. But there are also benefits to eating in the morning, especially if you are hungry. Maybe you’ve seen it this study of the University of Alabama at Birmingham on time-restricted early feeding (eTRF). Participants were divided into two groups: one ate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m .; the other ate from 8 to 8 p.m. Both groups ate the same foods and the same number of calories, but the researchers found that the first group’s meal time strategy reduced hunger changes and altered fat and carbohydrate burning patterns.
O this study where 93 participants between the ages of 30 and 57 were divided into two isocaloric weight loss groups: one had their biggest meal of the day at breakfast; the other made his biggest meal at dinner. Over the course of 12 weeks, the group that consumed the most calories at breakfast lost two and a half times as much weight as those who ate a light breakfast, or skipped it altogether. They also significantly reduced fasting glucose, insulin, ghrelin, and triglyceride levels.
If your natural pace is to eat earlier, there is no reason to fight it. There’s no reason to blank it for the first (or several) hours, just because some people are successful with it.
The number one rule of hunger
Here’s what not to do when your stomach growls – ignore it. We have been programmed to believe that hunger is a sign of weakness, something we should push for. Or better yet, that if we are hungry, we are actually thirsty and that we should go for a glass of water instead of sitting down to eat.
If you’re hungry, eat. If you are new to fasting or have recently switched from the US Standard Rate, you may start to notice a change over time and you can roll back your first meal if you wish. But don’t feel compelled to show great willpower and ignore your appetite because you think you’re supposed to. It is not a way of life. #mytwocents
Do you have more questions? Ask them below. Or take a look at the new one myPrimalCoach where you can work 1 on 1 with your own health coach.