You know when someone says to you, “whatever you do, don’t think about elephants”? People say that a lot… anyway, of course, you’re going to think about elephants right?
So when my doctor said, “Only two serves of carbs a day”, all I can think about is pasta. Basmati rice. Bread. Brown rice. Gozleme (those Turkish things with dough with cheese and spinach filling). Potatoes. Raisin bread. Sourdough bread. Bread with seeds n things in it. THINGS I HARDLY EAT ANYMORE ANYWAY.
I haven’t really eaten a lot of carbs for about 18 months, mainly to keep my weight in a manageable range. Before that, carbs used to be my daily bread so to speak. And healthy carbs, so I think I was kind of kidding myself. But you know, muesli for breakfast, brown rice salad for lunch (Heathy with a capital H!). Or soba noodles, or pasta, or something Asian with rice or noodles or laksa (oh the goodness of chilli and coconut milk and rice noodles, mmm). And then for dinner, something with basmati rice. So pretty much every meal was based around carbs.
But then a year and a half ago I stopped. Not completely, but I cut out A LOT. I had gone to see a nutritionist who worked in the gym I went to, and her mantra was “Look great naked” and she was MEAN. She weighed me, took my measurements and asked me about my diet. I was feeling particularly puffy and fat that day but I think I was kidding myself that it was “just that day” because the scales and measurements she was writing down – well, I didn’t like them. And she kept on saying “No! no, no, no” after everything I said I ate…
Anyway, cut a long story short, I lost about 5 kilos, mainly because I had to keep checking in with her and I didn’t want her tut-tutting.
But then I put it back on in the ice cream binge I went on during IVF.
So, what I’m trying to say is, I don’t really eat carbs the way I used to. And my diet has by and large been very healthy. So imagine my surprise when my doctor said I had low-level insulin resistance – a pre-cursor to Type 2 diabetes (I mentioned this in this post). Horrified. And unable to think of anything but the elephant in the room.
I know most people probably link diabetes with sugar, but I am reading more and more about the effects of carbohydrates – particularly refined carbohydrates – on creating an environment for Type-2 diabetes, the so-called “metabolic syndrome” or syndrome x, and also heart disease. I have also recently read an article where researchers are linking childhood consumption of sugar to future heart disease.
Carbohydrate consumption is also linked to high cholesterol levels – on a high-carb diet, triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels go up and HDL levels (good cholesterol) go down.
And that is not what we’re told right?
Anyway, I thought I’d just give a quick run down on what my doc had laid down for me in terms of a low-GI diet (and Pauline, you asked!).
- LOTS of veggies
- 2 serves of carbs per day – 1 serving = 1 slice of bread or half a cup of cooked grains – grains need to be whole and unrefined. Not much huh.
- Good quality animal or vegetable protein
- Two serves of fresh fruit (but not juice) and no bananas :-(. Luckily it makes no mention of mangoes
- No processed foods, no additives and refined sugars
- The only acceptable sweeteners are agave and stevia (ditch the fake sweeteners – yucky chemicals). Honey has a really high GI, so that’s a no-go
- Plain, organic yoghurt
- Eat 4-6 smaller meals every day to keep blood sugar stable
- Limit caffeine and alcohol (BUGGER) (except small to moderate amounts of red wine). My definition of “moderate” may vary substantially from theirs though…
How much do you think I feel like chocolate RIGHT NOW??
The picture has nothing to do with bread, obviously. But it’s almost summer and the jacarandas are out – aren’t they gorgeous?
Thanks to my friend V over at Babbling Bandit for the coffee and chat today and the inspiration to get blogging.