Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A Different Way to Look at Stabilizing Insulin


 With all this talk about insulin and what it does in our bodies, the good and not so good, what can we do? Is there anything we can do to correct the issues? 

Why yes there is! We are not helpless and bound to be stuck in a raging ocean of insulin levels. 

Here are several simple and effective steps you can take. I did say simple, not necessarily easy. It is worth it:

  • become fat adapted 
  • stop eating so many carbs, they shouldn't make up the largest majority of your food intake
  • eat more protein
  • move frequently at a slow pace
  • lift heavy things
  • sprint once in awhile
  • supplement smartly, there are some great supplements to help the body through this to better deal with carbs. 
How do you become a fat burning beast? We have to remind the body how to burn fat for fuel again. Remember this is our natural setting as human. The best way to do this is taking the 21 Day Primal Challenge. For 21 days you are going to eat like our ancestors, deeply nourishing fats, proteins and some carbs from seasonal berries and veggies. You want your carb load below 100 grams but probably not far below 50 grams. The majority of your food intake is going to come from animal proteins and fats. Avoid all processed foods. 
Primal Bluprint Carb Curve

In a short 21 days you can return to your natural factory setting of fat adaption and be on your way to freedom from insulin crashes and spikes, all day energy, effortless weight lose and maintenance, healing your body. This doesn't mean in 21 day you will have lost all the weight you want and be in prefect health. This 21 days is a kick start to taking back your health. You will have to continue putting in the work of deeply nourishing your body, allowing it to heal and recover. The body wants to heal it's self, we have to give it the means to do so. 

This doesn't mean you will not ever be able to eat high carb days or have a splurge. You absolutely can! 80/20 principle, 80% of the time feed your body whole, nutrient dense foods and then you have your 20% to indulge. 
  
If you have any questions or need help with this process, please reach out to me!
Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.
All my love,
Jenn

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Insulin and Our Mitochondria

Inside our cells

We couldn't have a series on insulin without talking about the mighty mitochondria and roles it plays in insulin. Go google this and you will be reading per reviewed medical journals. 


Our mitochondria are absolutely vital to our health. Without them, well we wouldn't be able to survive. They are pretty important. 


What are mitochondria? Simply put they are our energy source, our power plants in our cells. They take nutrients we eat and convert them into ATP, adenosine triphosphate, energy. ATP generates energy for cellular function. We need the energy from ATP for thinking, brain function, sprinting, walking, lifting heavy things, pumping blood through out our bodies, reading this post you are using ATP. We need ATP for pretty much everything. Without this process of our mitochondria producing ATP from our food, we wouldn't be alive. A good reason to be fascinated with them.


After this, our mitochondria also play a role in insulin/glucose regulation, production of other hormones, regulation of calcium in the cell, among many other things. I am sure we do not fully understand or know everything our mitochondria do for us. 


As soon as we say mitochondria role in insulin/glucose regulation, we are deep into the weeds. I think what is important to know is our mitochondria play a role in this process. How we take care of our mitochondria will impact their ability to better do their jobs, insulin/glucose regulation, energy and everything else. 


What can we do to impact the health of our mitochondria and in turn impact insulin?


Eliminate hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, soy, corn, canola and the others.

Become a fat burning beast

Move frequently at a slow pace.

Sprint once in awhile.

Lift heavy things.

Get adequate sleep, deep and enough hours.

Sun exposure

CoQ10, Vits A and C, magnesium, zinc, iron, among several others

Eating whole foods, animal fat and protein with preferably seasonal fruit and veggies, the carbs you need and smart supplements 

Become a fat burning breast!

As you can see, if you have been following my blog for any time, these things we can do to impact our mitochondria and insulin are what I have been talking about from the beginning. Nothing new here. What we do for one area of our health impacts the rest of our health. It doesn't take anything crazy to impact our insulin and mitochondria. Let me know how I can help you.


Where our mitochondria goes our health goes. 

Alll my love to you Jenn

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Why Insulin is Important for Nutrient Absorption


A recap from last week, when insulin levels are high or low, we are stressing the body, causing it to be in fight or flight. High insulin is fat storage signal to the body. More specifically, when we are consuming more sources of sugar from carbohydrates or other sugar forms than we are able to burn and use in the cells, the excess is converted to fat and stored on the body. Locked and trapped away by these high levels. When insulin is low, our bodies send signals of distress needing to raise those insulin levels causing a host of issues. These are not good times for the body. Who wants to live in a raging ocean all the time?

Today we are going to discuss another role of insulin, signaling the cell to intake nutrients.

Insulin signals our cells to intake amino acids, the basics building blocks of protein, and fat into the liver and muscle cells. These are needed in the cell to do the work of creating you, your body, muscles, organs, energy and so much more. Absolutely important for these nutrients to enter the cell and insulin helps facilitate this. Like I said in last weeks post, we need insulin, can't live without it. It is the excess we have flowing throughout the body because of glucose causing the issues.  

As you can imagine, if one way our nutrients are brought into our cells and our cells cannot hear insulin's signal from our cells being full of glucose or an over whelming amount of insulin constantly knocking on the door of the cells, our cells can't function like they should. You could be hitting your protein goals of eating your body weight in ounces or more every day. If that protein cannot get into the cell and be used for growth and repair your diligence in hitting the protein numbers is diminished. Not waisted but doesn't have the full impact it could have by being insulin sensitive, your cells can hear and respond to insulin's call. Insulin resistance is a source of  cell malnourishment. 

Another important aspect of insulin and our cells is division and growth. Insulin plays a role in telling cells to divide and grow. Important for a growing child but not so good when we are talking about cancer. Having cells go through their natural life cycle is normal and important, a whole new you is created about every seven years! We need cells that are sick and not functioning well to be signaled to die, apoptosis. This is important for our overall health and longevity. However, when those cells are out of control dividing and growing we have a problem on our hands. Not all cancers or tumors are caused by insulin and feed with sugar, it is something to be aware of. Another reason it is important to have stable insulin, lesson our risks for cells to divide and grow rapidly. 

Here is a more in-depth article on inulin and blood sugar. I promise you will be able to understand it!

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.

Love you all

Jenn

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

June's Challenge, All About Insulin

Elk burger

For the month of June we are going to spend time learning about some of the roles insulin plays in the body and why having stable insulin and being insulin sensitive is important to our over all health.

Usually when we hear about insulin is it is in regards to diabetes. However, insulin is responsible for many other roles within the body. It is an important hormone that plays a major role in storing or using body fat, nutrients entering the cell, inflammation, and so much more. Insulin is vital for life. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to our eating carbohydrates, these turn into sugar in the body referred to as glucose. Insulin's role is to whisk this glucose out of the blood stream because if left in the blood stream, glucose becomes extremely toxic to the body. Let's talk about insulin's other roles.

We are going to discuss insulin's role in the body in regards to energy and fat burning today.

When we follow the norm today, we are told carbs are our primary source of fuel, the body prefers to burn carbs. In my opinion this has had devastating impacts on our health and I disagree. Does this mean you have to agree with me, no. I do hope you are willing to see another side of health and be open to different thoughts and learning.

I prefer to be fat adapted, metabolically flexible. Meaning my body is able to use the glucose it is given through my food and once this is dealt with, it can begin to burn fat for fuel, either from food or my stored body fat. This is the natural setting of the animal, human and otherwise. When we look to our ancestors, animal protein and fat were their main food sources. Think about it, they did not have mass food production facilities, acres of planted crops, no grocery store to pick up all this processed food, grains, fruit and veggies available year round. They ate what they could hunt, gather and preserve. If you need to eat every 2-4 hours to maintain your energy levels you wouldn't last long in the wild. This makes carbs as the main energy source not likely.

When we are sugar burners, the body cannot as easily burn our stored fat for fuel. Again for our ancestors this would spell death not being able to use their stored body fat for fuel, energy. They might have gone several days without food or very little food. Being able to access their stored body fat was essential for survival. 

When our insulin is like an angry ocean of waves it leaves the body exhausted, fatigued, burnout, inflamed and in fat storage, among other things. Carbs go in, the pancreas produces insulin in response, recall excess glucose in the blood stream is toxic, it has to be removed. The body maintains about 5 grams of glucose in the blood, too high is toxic, too low and you die. Insulin's roll in removing glucose is important. Glucose is put into the cells to burn as energy, along with storage, between 350-500 grams can be stored in the muscles. A couple of hours worth of energy is all. If the muscles are full, glucose is also stored in the liver, a couple hundred grams at best. If the cells are full of glucose or the cells can't hear insulin's signals, these carbs are turned into fat and stored on the body. You continue to gain weight. If I just eat less, I should lose weight? Isn't that what it is all about, eat less calories? I hope you are beginning to see the answer to you just eat less and you will lose weight is a fighting battle with insulin and it is no.

With wild and crazy insulin, the body is being given the signal to store fat, high insulin tells the body to store fat. Low insulin puts the body in a stress response, the body needs to get those insulin levels back up or you will die. The brain and body are in constant battles of where the next meal is going to come from. The brain is an enormous fuel hog. When it begins to think it is not going to have enough glucose to survive, it signals the body to get food and get it fast, hangry, hypoglycemia issues, fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep, weight gain, flood of health issues follow. What our bodies do in response to this signal for hunger and carbs aren't given to keep the brain happy, the body begins to break down our precocious muscle tissue and turn it into glucose, a processes called gluconeogenesis. This is NOT a good thing. We want and need that muscle for longer and healthier lives. No reason to go breaking it down for the body to burn as sugar, especially when there is stored fat on your body. We will talk more about this in the weeks to come. For now, it is important to begin understanding why it is about more than eating less to truly lose weight, keep it off and maintain health. Insulin plays a direct role and it is about stable insulin levels not crashing waves.

These crashing waves of insulin also cause: 

  • fatigue
  • poor sleep quality
  • keep the body in a fight or flight, stressing the adrenal glands 
  • brain fog, mental clarity struggles
  • emotional distress
  • hangry, hypoglycemia and so many other health issues.

If we are constantly eating high carbohydrate meals forcing our pancreas to produce more and more insulin, our pancreas can burn out and stop working. On the flip side, if we are constantly producing insulin and it is knocking at the cells doors all the time, the cell begins to have selective hearing and not listen to insulin any longer. You might have heard of insulin resistance, where the cell stops hearing the signal of insulin. When the cells stop listening, the body responds by making more insulin. Gotta get that glucose out of the blood stream and nutrients into the cells for you to live. Vicious cycles that can lead to diabetes and many other health issues.  

This is where being fat adapted and metabolically flexible comes into play. Our natural setting as humans is a fat burning beast, meaning we are easily and efficiently able to use fat for fuel, fat that we eat and stored body fat. Protein is high on this list as well. When our bodies re-learn how to burn fat for fuel what happens in our bodies at every levels improves. Our goal is calm, stable insulin levels, like a calm ocean, gentle waves whispering to our cells to intake protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and once glucose is used, go back to burning fat for fuel and energy.

Fat and protein are stable forms of energy, give us amino acid, more nutrient dense and clean burning source of fuel. To create our bodies, organs, nerves, DNA, we have to have amino acids and the best sources that our bodies are able to easily absorb come from animal protein. Vital vitamins are found in fat, fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K2, we need these vitamins in abundance. Other vitamins and minerals that we need are found in animal protein as well. Our cells are able to more easily clean up after themselves while burning these fuels unlike carbs. Burning carbs causes significant more stress on the body and damage, aging, wrinkles, inflammation and so much more. Our brains, hearts and other organs prefer to burn fat for fuel, getting into ketons that we aren't going to talk about here. This helps us have more stable energy, there is more energy in fat and think about all that stored body fat you have. If the body is able to tap into this fuel source it has an ample amount of energy.   

I know this will be a question, our brains need glucose to function. There is a positive side to gluconeogenesis, converting protein into glucose. From the protein we eat our livers can make all the glucose our brains need to function. Truly, you could not ever eat carbs again, as long as you are eating enough protein, the body will do it's thing and make glucose. I am not suggesting you don't ever eat carbs or stay very low all the time, I don't believe this is healthy unless being medically supervised. The point is carbs are not needed in the amounts we are told to eat them in. Carbs have their place but shouldn't be taking up the base of our eating. The base of our food consumption should be animal protein and fat.

I know this was a lot of information. I hope it has given you some food for thought and a better idea of the importance of insulin in our bodies and a glimpse into it's role in storing or burning fat for fuel. We will discuss these ideas more in the weeks to come! 

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.

Love you guys!

Jenn

Monday, May 17, 2021

May Challenge, Where Do Your Nutrients Come From?

 


It is pretty awesome when you can go back to a post years later and still agree with what you wrote all these years later. I wrote this in May of 2013. I might have a different analogy to say the same thing, but the rest still holds true all these years later. 

"Challenge yourself to eat healthier and healthier because the better your food, the healthier you will be. What we eat, becomes who we are. So, if you are eating, processed, dead, pseudo food that is lacking in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, the building blocks for life, protein, how can you expect your body to function at the best? It cannot. When our food is lacking nutrients, we are lacking those same nutrients and then our bodies begin to fall apart. Disease, fatigue, not sleeping well, hormones not function properly, brain fog, depression, the list goes on.... For the thousands of reactions that take place in our bodies, we have to have the right chemicals to make it happen.

For example, if you were going to build something, we will keep it simple, say a table, and you do not have everything you need to make said table, it is not going to turn out well. What if you were missing nails or screws, something to hold all the boards in place? Maybe you have a few, but not enough to hold the table secure, it is not going to be able to support itself and will fall. How about the tools to build the table, like a hammer, screw driver, sand paper, a tape measure, it will make it very difficult to build that table wont it?

For us, the raw materials and tools to build our bodies, is the food we eat. When something is missing or not there, our bodies have to try and make due with what they have. The results can be devastating. The best way to make sure our bodies have everything they need so we can Thrive is eating a nutrient, dense, rich diet of real, whole food."

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.
All my love
Jen

Monday, May 10, 2021

May's Challenge, Building a Recipe Box Hacks

                                         

Guilty as charged. I am a junky, reading and collecting recipes. I have hundreds saved in my Pinterest account, magazines, boxes, one might say it is a problem. I call it research. I love sitting down with a glass of wine and going through Bon Appetit! A simple joy and pleasure of mine. There are great benefits to reading recipes, you learn about combinations of seasonings, spices, acid, sweet, heat, new ways of cooking food, new ideas to try. It is fantastic research and learning. If you want to improve your cooking skills I suggest spending some time reading recipes.  

The struggle when you have hundreds, thousands of recipes, too many can be too many. They do begin to run together, sound similar and can overwhelm you. Find recipes you like and read through others to learn.

Two things I do to help with meal time prep and building a recipe box:
weekly menu
have themes for each day:
  • Monday- Grill/Bake
  • Tuesday- Tacos
  • Wednesday- Soup/Salad
  • Thursday- International day
  • Friday- Fish
  • Saturday- Try a New Recipe
  • Sunday- Steak
I truly made most of this up, a few of them I do follow. Come up with themes that will work for your needs, this is an idea to get you started. The benefits of this, you have an idea already each each day what you are going to make. It takes less time to prep and make a menu than if you come up with different things each day. Or you don't plan at all and are left going out to eat consistently. 

This will also help you with pantry and freezer items to keep on hand. You are low on taco seasonings, pick some up the next time you are at the store. You will begin to learn what you need to keep on hand. When you have items on hand you cook with and meal ideas already planned, you are less likely to be left with nothing in the fridge or no time because you don't know what you are going to make and have to go to the store because you don't have ingredients on hand. Easier at this point, order pizza.   

Sitting down and making a menu for a week or two, going shopping once saves time in the long run. Yes, it is some work up front, but you save time by already having the menu and ingredients on hand. 
This also helps with batch cooking. Say on Monday when you grill or bake meat, cook extra meat. Use it for leftovers at work but also on your salad/soup, or tacos. This will help make these meals even faster for you. Meat is already cooked, bring out the tacos ingredients and in 15 minutes or less you are eating dinner. Cooking more meat upfront takes some of the load off for other days. You are already baking or have the grill fired up, it doesn't take much more time to cook several extra pieces or add another protein to the cooking for another meal later in the week. Time saver. 

What tips do you have for building a recipe box? Have you tried any of these before, have they worked? 

Where your mitochondria goes, your health goes.
All my love
Jenn

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tuesday Recipe: Primal Granola

Grain free granola, full fat yogurt

Primal Granola
Ingredients:
A variety of nuts and seeds, what you like
Almonds
Hazelnuts
Cashews
Walnuts
Pecans
Flax seeds 
Chia seeds
Sunflower seeds

Seasonings and spices
Cinnamon, couple of teaspoons
Cloves, 1 teaspoon
Ginger, 2 teaspoons
Nutmeg, shake or two, optional
Allspice, shake or two, optional
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Coconut oil, 2-3 tablespoons
Honey, to taste 
Egg

Equipment:
Baking pan, one with an edged
Parchment paper to line the pan with

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375.
Blend the nuts, seeds and spices together. You don't want to grind it into powder, leave junks of the nuts. Place in a bowl.
In either a double bowler or in the microwave, melt the coconut oil, honey and salt together. Once melted, beat in the egg and all spices/seasonings, blend well. Pour over the nuts and seeds and mix well. Spread out on the lined baking pan.
Place in the oven. It needs about 20-30 minutes to bake, depending on how much you have in the pan. If you made a larger batch, you can split it between two pans to bake faster and more even.
Every 10-15 minutes, take the mixture out and stir around. Place back into the oven. Continue to bake until golden brown and crispy. When baked, let cool. Break it up. Store in an airtight container. 

Serve with fruit, full fat yogurt, milk or eat it by itself. 

When I went mostly grain free with Primal eating and realized my body did not tolerate most grains well and I did better on a lower carb lifestyle, I started to miss granola. It is worth the benefits of not eating grains to me to keep it out of my eating though. In my quest to have something similar, nut and seed "granola" came into my world. This is my take on it! I hope you enjoy deeply nourishing your body with this recipe.

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.
All my love

Jenn