I just listened to an interview with Dr. Benjamin Bikman, a PhD in Bioenergetics whose research specialization includes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when we eat too much carbohydrate (sugars and starches), and it produces systemic inflammation, which is our body’s healing response to damage. Yes, excess carbohydrate consumption damages our bodies. In fact, according to Dr. Bikman, all non infectious chronic illnesses are ultimately the result of insulin resistance. Think about that for a second. We can avoid or even reverse chronic illnesses of all kinds just by adopting a low-carbohydrate diet and reversing insulin resistance.
It actually makes a lot of sense. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who lived from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, lived with no chronic illness at all. They had great health and then dropped dead one day. They may have fallen off a cliff or been eaten by a tiger, but they didn’t die of cancer or dementia. In fact, they had a potential lifespan of 94 years – and that’s 94 years of great health, then dropping dead! By contrast, in our modern society we see a steady decline into death from the moment we’re born. Our quality of life gets worse and worse, for which we take more medications and anything else that will help us postpone our inevitable demise.
Why the change? Our diet changed. We now eat as much carbohydrate in a day in America as our ancestors ate in a year. We are literally poisoning ourselves with carbs. And yet, when I talk to people about reducing their dietary carbs, they act like I’m asking them to cut off a limb. They think it would be painful and that they would no longer be able to enjoy life if they can’t eat their favorite chocolate glazed donuts anymore.
Well I’m here to tell you that you can recover from insulin resistance and have your donuts – the best of both worlds. There are so many great recipes for decadent desserts online and in fabulous cookbooks, like my good friend Jo’s new cookbook “Cut the Carbs Keep the Flavor” (available HERE) that you’ll never have to go without your favorite sweet treat. You’ll just be making it a little differently. The donuts I made in the picture above are sweetened with stevia and erythritol instead of sugar, and I used almond flour instead of grains. The result? A truly delicious chocolate donut with very little carbohydrate in it. And because it doesn’t spike insulin, all you want is one, not several. You’re also full for a long time rather than wanting to eat more food shortly afterwards because of the insulin spike and resistance.
When you think about improving your health and the health of your family, think about changing how you’re making your food rather than about depriving yourself of something you love but you know isn’t good for you. Get out of the dieting mindset and into a longevity one. Have your chocolate donuts – just make them part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Never tell yourself you can’t have something to eat, because your brain will look at you and say, “Hold my beer.” Next thing you know you’re chowing down on exactly what you don’t want to be eating.
Instead, if you want to have a donut, or make a yummy cake for your daughter’s birthday, or make a rich, delicious pasta dish for company coming over this weekend, find a recipe that is low-carb (searching “keto” will get you some great options). Forget what you’ve been told you should or should not eat, don’t worry about how many carbs or other macronutrients you’re eating or how many calories are in it, just make it low carb. Use your favorite family recipes and substitute for the sugars, grains and beans (which become sugars after we eat them) and you’ll be amazed how no one will miss what isn’t there!
I’ve lost weight and a ton of inches by doing this, but I don’t even focus on that anymore and don’t want you to, either. Stop thinking about slimming down and think about increasing the quality and length of your life instead. You’ll be so much happier, and the fat falling off will be an awesome extra. It’s about health, not weight loss. If you’re older (like me), you may find that you’ve suffered silently with insulin resistance for so long – decades, probably – that it may take a few years to fully recover, but recover you will. I have been low-carb for about six months now, and I still notice some cravings and other physical effects of carbs once in awhile, though they are fewer and farther between and lower intensity than they used to be. Before I know it I may not want chocolate donuts anymore at all, but until then I’ll make healthy ones once in awhile to allow myself to thoroughly enjoy life while healing my insulin resistance completely.
A problem many people have with reducing the amount of carbohydrates in their diets is that they make too big of a change too fast, which is physically and psychologically painful. It’s also totally avoidable. Take it easy, baby steps, continually reducing the carbs as it feels good. You should be feeling better every day, not worse. Eventually, you’ll likely reduce or eliminate any meds you may be taking, as well. You’ll be thinking more clearly and have more energy. Taking an extreme approach to making this change often results in people feeling bad, weak, and off in many ways, which tends to make them think it’s not a good change for them to make. This is unfortunate, because this is a change we all need to make, whether we’re carrying around too much body fat or not, or whether we’re taking medication or not – it doesn’t matter, we all need to seriously reduce our carb intake. Do it in a way that feels good! I’ve seen my clients reverse labs and other objective medical indicators of health just by starting down this road in a very comfortable way, and they have more energy and feel better every time I see them for the next baby step.
If you would like help getting a plan together to make changes in your recipes or lifestyle to heal your insulin resistance and reclaim the awesome health your ancestors had, just let me know. We can get you moving in the right direction and making easy changes over time specific to your body to feel more and more amazing, the way your body is genetically programmed to feel. Work with your body, not against it, and as you get used to the gradual changes you make in your life you’ll be amazed how easy it really is.