Understanding the Glycemic Index
Understanding the glycemic index is critical for optimal health and weight maintenance! I truly believe that learning how to balance your blood sugars is the key to a healthy lifestyle inside and out. Eating low GI foods will help you lose weight, reduce inflammation in your body, give you more energy, more mental clarity and support your cardiovascular health, blood pressure, cholesterol….and the list goes on! When you eat low glycemic foods, you will also be eating foods rich in healthy micronutrients (antioxidants and minerals) and healthy macronutrients (protein, fiber, fat and carbs)!
Most of us don’t realize it, but we are sending our blood sugars on a roller coaster every day by the decisions we make about our food choices! Every piece of food you put into your mouth will affect you in some way. I always tell my clients, if you owned your favorite dream car, you wouldn’t fill it up with cheap gas or forget to change the oil (well, I hope not!) You have to FUEL your body. You only have one body, and unlike a car, you won’t be able to get a new one! So let’s take care of it so you can live your life to the fullest in the amazing body that God gave you!
As a Certified Health Coach, my passion it to teach my clients how to SIMPLIFY living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do have to make a decision for yourself that you want to make a change!
What is the Glycemic Index?
In simple terms, the Glycemic Index measures the rate at which your body converts a carbohydrate to sugar. If you eat a high glycemic food (such as jelly beans), your blood sugars will spike. Your body knows this is dangerous, so it releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin’s primary role is to bring your blood sugars back down to a healthy range. YAY!! But there is a problem here…INSULIN is a fat storing hormone! It also causes inflammation in your body, which can lead to degenerative disease over the years.
So what do you do and how can you start making some small changes in your own life? Make sure you read all the way down to Tips #7 and #8 because those are very important!
Tips for eating low on the glycemic index
Following the glycemic index (GI) system can be confusing if you spend all of your time memorizing and crunching numbers! But there is no need to do that! Understanding the general principle and some simple tips can make it easier for this to be a lifestyle and keep is SIMPLE!
The following tips have helped me in my own life, so I wanted to share with you! When you are eating a meal or a snack, you want to have a variety of healthy carbohydrates, fiber, protein and healthy fat!
1. Choose WHOLE over PROCESSED
Think whole fruit, rather than fruit juice, whole grains rather than refined grains, steel cut oats rather than instant oatmeal. Whole fruit, whole vegetables. The more macronutrients (carbs, protein, fiber and fat) you eat in your meal or snack, the slower your body will convert the “complex” carbohydrates to sugar, slowing the release of insulin.
2. Aim for 30+ grams of FIBER per day
By definition, fiber is the part of plant foods that cannot be digested by the body, so fiber-rich foods like beans, nuts, vegetables and whole fruit will not only keep you full longer, but they will keep your blood sugars steady which is extremely important. If your blood sugars spike, your body produces more insulin to bring your blood sugars back down to a safe range. Insulin is a FAT STORING hormone and will prevent you from reaching your health goals! Make sure that sinks into your brain and remember to eat more fiber.
3. Pair with protein.
When your body has protein to break down, the stomach empties more slowly. Adding a little protein to a carbohydrate-based meal or snack can lower the GI value of your meal. For example, add fish or chicken to your complex carbs (sweet potato or quinoa) or a light spread of peanut butter on your toast or banana.
4. Drizzle on healthy fat.
Not all fat is going to make you FAT! Hallelujah! Heart-healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil and avocados can be very good for you! Like protein, fat molecules also slow down digestion, so including a little fat can lower a food’s GI and make it more satisfying. But make sure you eat them in moderation if you are trying to lose weight! Like protein, fat molecules also slow down digestion, so including a little fat can lower a food’s GI and make it more satisfying.
5. Eat every 2-3 hours
My goal (I’m not perfect!) is to eat low glycemic food every 2-3 hours. What happens if you go too long without eating? Your blood sugars will crash, leading to a release in cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones cause you to crave sugar because your brain is telling you that you need to get your blood sugars back up again. So you are starving at the end of a long day… What happens? You end up walking into your house and raiding the pantry because your body is depleted and needs food! Don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, take a ziploc bag of almonds with you for a snack. Eat an apple on the way to pick up your kids from school. Make sure you are prepared with healthy snacks for you and YOUR KIDS! These tips apply to you and your entire family!
6. Use a healthy low glycemic meal replacement
If you’re like me, there are plenty of meals that have to be “convenient”. I’m a busy mom of three so I’m on the go A LOT! For me to live a low glycemic lifestyle, I need something convenient that will give me the healthy carbs, protein, fiber and healthy fat to balance my blood sugars and sustain me for the day! Before I started using these and following the glycemic index, I always had strong sugar cravings. I thought all sugar was bad for me, so my body was CRAVING good sugar!
These meal replacements are absolutely delicious! (My kids and my husband love them too!) Not only that, but they balance your blood sugars, which hopefully you are getting the point that is very important for optimal health and losing or maintaining weight! I no longer have the STRONG sugar cravings because I am eating healthy, eating often and have something delicious and convenient to supplement into my busy lifestyle as a mom! Contact me for more info and a sample if you want to try some or I will give you my exclusive discount to order and some free recipes!
7. Sugar is not always on the label
What do I mean by this? Well, I have clients who tell me, “Lindsey, I don’t really crave sugar. I crave pretzels, chips, salty foods”. Many people are not aware that pretzels spike your blood sugar more than table sugar does. WHAT?!!!! Yes, we have been duped. Just because you read the label and it says “zero grams of sugar” does not mean it’s low glycemic.
A pretzel or any other simple carb (think 100 calorie snack packs) are made of white flour. There is no protein, fat, fiber. It’s SIMPLE a very simple carbohydrate. So my advice is moderation! Eat complex snacks that have the macronutrients I listed above 80 % of the time. And if you do have a simple carb, it is better to eat it with something with fiber, protein, healthy fat, etc. So dip those pretzels in some sort of nut butter:)
8. Not all SUGAR is bad for you!
I will write another article on this topic alone, but I wanted to squeeze it in here for now! Please listen to this, because it is so important! I thought that all sugar was bad for me years ago and I am seeing this as a growing trend in our society, especially with women! Several years ago, I would just eat protein during the day and some veggies. I also wasn’t eating ENOUGH calories! (2-3 hour rule!) Then, 4 pm would come around and I would beCRAVING sugar! Sound familiar?
Your body needs carbs! Your brain needs carbs to function (and help you keep up with the thousands of things you have to do everyday!) Do not deprive your body of GOOD SUGAR!
Do you know that an apple has 19 grams of sugar in it? God created that for us to eat. Our bodies are designed to eat fruit and vegetables. We fret over labels on everything, when the food God designed for us doesn’t even have labels on it. An apple is low on the glycemic index, because it also has fiber in it!
So just remember not to clump all sugar into “I can’t eat that because it has too much sugar”. We were designed to get the nutrients from the food God created for us. Our cells need these antioxidants. If it makes you feel better, I eat a banana almost everyday. I eat sugar in my low glycemic shakes. Because it is the same sugar I would get from an apple.
Once I started eating more complex carbs, eating more often throughout the day, and not allowing myself to skip meals….I finally felt healthy! Not just physically, but mentally as well. There was a peace that happened. I wasn’t obsessing about food or feeling like it was controlling me, because I made the decision to LOVE my body and nourish it.
When you give your body the micro and macro nutrients it needs to function and thrive properly, it will thank you by giving you more energy, better health, and just a feeling of vibrancy! Focus on nourishing the inside and the outside will respond.
Need help or want more information?
1) Feel free to contact me to set up a free consultation with me. Contact me here and I will get back to you in 24 hours
2) Join my Jumpstart RESET program to help you balance your blood sugars and start with a clean slate! To make sure you receive free coaching, my exclusive discount and all of my program materials, make sure you contact me. You will get the best support and results this way! Just mention that you read this article and you will receive an extra 10% savings on the program. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsey, I just finished RESET! I knew you told me it would help, but I had to experience it myself. I am a sugar addict! I didn’t crave Sugar at ALL and was completely satisfied. I even ate more than I usually do. I had a headache the first two days coming off of the “sugar high” but now I feel amazing!
Lindsey, I have lost 14 pounds now and feel absolutely amazing. My cravings for processed food have pretty much completely disappeared. The inflammation in my body has also improved. I am so pleased that I have now encouraged my husband to begin the program so that this can be a way of life for both of us. Thank you so much for introducing us to this lifestyle and educating us about how to eat properly.
I was skeptical that this would work for me. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and struggle with dieting. But after 2 days on the RESET, I was shocked that I felt no desire to eat simple sugars or junk food. It was so easy to get through and I lost 11 pounds. I now realize the importance of keeping my insulin levels steady and the low glycemic shakes for breakfast help me get a great start on the day! They are deliciousI really look forward to them. I have never had vitamins give me such amazing results either! Thank you so much. Can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!
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Thank you for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share on social media or with anyone who could benefit from reading this article.My passion is to inspire health from the inside out, to encourage and support you to reach your personal health goals! Excited to help you get started if you choose to work with me ~ I promise you won’t regret making the DECISION to live a healthier lifestyle. It will be a simple and doable approach…because I know how busy we all are.Just don’t let the business of your life compromise the quality of your life! Always here to help you!
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