If you’re someone who craves sugar or salt, sleeps poorly and constantly feels tired, it’s likely that your hormones are running haywire. You’re not alone. So many of us have unbalanced hormones including thyroid, insulin, sex hormones and stress hormones. For us to be healthy mentally and physically, these chemicals have to work hand in hand. There’s one main key player in the disruption of these hormones and leads to an array of chronic illness – insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance isn’t a genetic defect but an outcome of our modern way of living including the food we eat and our sedentary lifestyle. When our diet is filled with an excess of fast absorbing sugars and carbohydrates like pasta and bread, our cells slowly become resistant to the effects that insulin has on our body.
Our body normally produces insulin as a response to the food in our stomach, particularly sugar, and is a natural, important process to keep our blood sugar levels even. The problem is that this excess sugar in our diets causes high insulin levels - developing into insulin resistance. As our insulin levels increase, it leads to many health complications such as severe cravings for carbohydrates, increasing weight, inflammation, brain ageing, growth of cancer cells, Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure to name a few. All this is due to too much insulin. It’s essential to get our insulin in check to live a long and healthy life!
There is good news though, because insulin resistance is a direct outcome of our lifestyle and diet, we can reverse the effects and lower our insulin levels ourselves. There are certain diet and lifestyle changes we can make to bring our body back into balance which are simple but very effective.
In short, carbohydrates increase blood sugar which raises insulin. Insulin prevents your bodys ability to burn fat. By repeatedly eating excess carbohydrates, you are putting a constant strain on your body and your hormones which help to regulate your blood sugar levels. This is known as a blood sugar rollercoaster where as our blood sugar level rises, so does insulin and this causes a blood sugar crash leading to carbohydrate cravings. When we give in to those carbohydrate cravings, the cycle starts again! This cycle typically starts at breakfast where many of us have a high carbohydrate meal such as a bowl of oats, cereal or granola which starts the blood sugar rollercoaster. Starting your day with a high protein meal that contains healthy fats not only drastically reduces the blood sugar spike, but also generally leads to fewer calories consumed throughout the rest of the day and helps to get carbohydrate cravings under control.
Balancing our blood sugar and improving insulin resistance is something we can work towards achieving ourselves everyday by the way we choose to live our life. We want to be making sure that all our meals are balanced meaning lean protein, healthy fats, fibre and greens to stabilise our blood sugar throughout the day. This will lower insulin resistance, reduce cravings and leave to a higher level of satiety from your meals.
Balancing insulin will have a wide range of effects on all your hormones and will start to feel and see the benefits within your body.
We want to:
- Remove flour, sugar and sugar alternatives from your diet. Remove all processed junk foods from your diet. Stop eating trans fats like sunflower oil, canola oil and hydrogenated fats.
- Make sure we are eating at least 30-40 grams of fibre each day.
- Move your body for at least 20 minutes each day.
- Eat real unprocessed, whole foods and a range of vegetables. Eat the rainbow!
Chia smoothie - 2 tbsp chia seeds, ½ cup coconut milk, 1 scoop unsweetened protein powder, handful blueberries.
2 poached eggs with ½ avocado, flax seeds, mixed herbs, rocket and drizzle olive oil. You could also add some smoked salmon too!
Grilled chicken breast with lemon and mixed herbs, salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion and 1 tbsp tahini and olive oil dressing.
Grilled salmon fillet with broccoli and cauliflower, drizzle olive oil, pinch salt and mixed herbs to sprinkle.