It’s been widely proven by now that eating fat isn’t bad for you.
But just how much fat is too much fat? And especially on a low(er) carbohydrate eating plan?
Let’s go back a couple of steps first…
When you eat something, your body starts digesting it in your mouth with enzymes. Starting with the sugars, as the food moves along the digestive path, other carbohydrates, proteins (amino acids) and fats are all digested and broken up into little, usable parts for the body. The body uses these small parts to rebuild itself, give you energy and make sure every single cell works just like it should, from your hair follicles to your intestine wall. If you’re eating the right things, that is…
So what should you eat, whether or not you have diabetes?
Essentially, it’s pretty simple: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.
But I guess you were looking for a more detailed description?
The issue with carbs is that it’s really a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, they provide you with lots of energy that your cells know exactly how to use.
On the other hand, it’s way too easy to over-load on said energy, which your body will only turn into saturated fat in your fat cells.
And then we add in where the carbs come from.
Phew, no wonder everyone seems confused about this and keep arguing about what’s right and what’s not!
What’s true in terms of how the body works is that every type of carbohydrate you eat is eventually split up into a simple form of sugar (aka glucose). This means that all that bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, and sodas (to mention a few) you eat and drink eventually end up as glucose (sugar) in your body.
While sugar is indeed energy, and your body needs some to survive, it is actually quite toxic in large amounts. The cells in your body has an amazing capability of burning (and also storing) this energy, but for that the sugar needs the key to get in. The key is called insulin. And what don’t we produce (enough of) if we have diabetes? Yep, INSULIN.
In super simplified terms, insulin stores sugar as fat in your fat cells. And if you’re insulin resistant (Type 2 Diabetes), or not producing insulin (Type 1 DIabetes), it prevents sugar AND protein (amino acids) from entering muscle cells, so you can’t build or maintain your muscle mass. Joys of diabetes, hey?!
I think we can all agree that knowing this makes it a good idea to make sure we don’t get too many carbohydrates. And I haven’t even mentioned high blood sugar yet!
How many carbs you can eat is quite individual, but if you have problems with your blood sugar (diabetes of any kind or type) or insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, your carb count should stay low. How low is up to you, but I’m sure you’ve figured out that the mentality of just “eating whatever you want and cover for it with insulin” doesn’t exactly work flawlessly for many of us…
Which carbs are good for you and which are not?
It comes down to processed versus natural carbs, really.
All of the ones I mentioned before (bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, sodas…), I wish would just disappear from our food supply. They’re all highly processed, made in a plant with ingredients that have little or no resemblance to the natural, nutrient dense foods we used to eat. Making them easy to overdose on.
What you’re left with is basically vegetables. Organic, if you can. Some berries. And sometimes fruit (but they have quite a lot of carbs, so watch out if you have diabetes!).
But, if you eat less of the carby stuff, what is left?!
Proteins are really important for your body.
They are the building blocks that your body uses to repair itself.
How much protein is good to eat, then?
A great rule of thumb is to calculate about 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. If you’re looking to lose weight, this should be 0.8-1 g per kilogram of your goal weight.
Let’s put this into practice!
So, if a person weighs 60 kg, they should be eating somewhere in the range of 48-60 grams of protein a day. That does NOT mean 48-60 grams of meat, for example, as meat only has 20% protein. This means this awesome person should be eating between 240 and 300 grams of meat a day (if meat is the only protein source, of course).
On the other hand, if a person weighs 100 kg and wants to weigh 90 kg, they should be eating around 72-90 grams of protein a day, meaning 360-450 grams of meat a day.
Keep in mind that there are other protein sources as well, and I’m only using meat as an easy, accessible example.
Eating more than this runs the chance of your liver (mainly) turning the excess protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis anyway, which you really don’t want, especially if you have diabetes.
To summarize it so far, less carbs and moderate protein. Are you with me?!
Lastly, but most gloriously, we have fats.
The fear of fat is really outdated by now, being started by a scientist that turned data into what he wanted it to show (Ancel Keys).
Today we luckily and happily know a lot better! Now we know that eatingfat is necessary, there are essential fatty acids we need to get in order for our bodies to work properly.
Generally, there isn’t really an upper limit for fat intake. You just eat the rest of your food in the form of fat when you’ve fulfilled the carb and protein ratios.
Again, there’s a difference on fats and fats, just like i mentioned for the carbohydrates.
The key really lies in starting with the cleanest saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, dairy (if you can handle it), meat, cocoa butter) you can. Everything gets better with butter! Secondly, choose your monounsaturated fats (nuts, olives and avocados). Lastly, choose your healthy polyunsaturated fats like certain nuts, seeds, avocado oil and fish oils (omega 3).
It’s not more complicated than that, really.
Of course, if you’re eating lots of fat, keeping your carbs and proteins where they should be, and STILL gaining weight, you could be eating too much of it for your individual needs.
Another way of telling that you’re eating way too much fat is by looking at what comes out, i.e. your poop. What you put in is what you get out! If your poop sticks to the toilet (you have to use the brush a lot), it’s a sign your body can’t use all the fat you’re eating.
To sum these shenenigans up: figure out your carb count, then your proteins, fill the rest up with fats. Simple, right?
But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.
All you wanted was a little crunch in your life, but all you got was disappointment.
Were they a little… papery? Or were they full of chemical stuff, or stuff that you can’t/don’t want to eat?
I’m making you a very happy bunny today.
Almost everyone who has tried these seed crackers has asked for the recipe. I’ve even ended up selling quite a lot of it!
So today I’m going to be super nice and share it with you so that you can make it yourself! ! It’s safe to say that this will be the only crack(er) recipe you’ll ever need.
And, what’s fantastically awesome about these is that they are completely allergen free! No grains, no gluten, no dairy, no egg, no soy, no funky chemical stuff. Well, unless you’re allergic to seeds (sesame?), or crunchy seed crackers!
The recipe is actually super simple, and can be tweaked exactly to your liking.
GrainBrain’s Seed Crackers
3,5 dl (1,5 cups) sunflower seeds
1 dl (0.4 – 0.5 cups) flaxseed
1 dl (0.4 – 0.5 cups) sesame seeds (can be swapped if you’re allergic, see below)
0,5 dl (0,2 cups) pumpkin seed
3 tbsp psyllium seed husk
a pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4-5 dl (1,7 – 2 cups) water
Mix all the ingredients carefully. I like to mix all the dry ones first, then add the olive oil and mix again. Lastly, I add the water. Mix!
Let it rest for 10 minutes. Put the oven on 150 degrees celsius (300 fahrenheit).
Bake half of the mix out between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out. The mix gives you two baking sheets, depending on the size of your oven, of course.
Remove the upper layer of parchment paper, and cut the dough into cracker sized pieces before putting it in the oven.
Let it dry in the oven for 55 minutes each.
Et viola! Enjoy with some butter and your favourite sandwich topping.
Carbs: 55 g
Protein: 36 g
Fat: 114 g
(If you divide the crackers into 24 pieces per baking sheet, 48 pieces total)
Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 0,75 g
Fat: 2,4 g
These are super filling and contain so much good stuff, like fibre, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc.
The only problem you’re going to have is to stop eating these…!
Customise it (or Pimp my Crackers)
You can add all kinds of herbs and spices to it to make it your own and to add variation.
Here are some ideas: chili flakes, Italian/French herb mixes, sea salt, pepper, paprika spice, taco spice mix (make sure it’s a clean one), fresh garlic, rosemary, oregano or basil, or even cinnamon or cardamom to put a sweeter spin on it.
I’ve also played around with adding and removing different seeds to the mix. I’ve added chia seeds and whole psyllium seeds, for example. This gives it a completely different taste and texture.
I’ve also used a chili-garlic infused olive oil instead if the plain one. There were some sparks flying off of that one! J
Please try this out, it’s definitely worth the longer time it takes to make it than just picking any old crap up from the store. And don’t forget to leave your comment below of what you think of it!
Let’s set the record straight here once and for all: not all fats are bad!
Sure, the transfatty crappy vegetable oils (cottonseed, rapeseed and processed sunflower oils for example), margarine, the junk food you get at most fast food restaurants or chips/cakes/cookies/candy aren’t what we’re talking about today. (Which are all pretty sorry excuses for food, really.)
We’re talking about the good, healthy, happy, healing fats, like salmon, coconut, avocado, eggs, olive oil, butter, nuts and seeds, for example.
Eating more fat (and less carbohydrates) has amazing benefits on your health.
When you start adding more fat to your meals, your blood pressure is likely to go back to normal.
Fat also has very minimal, if any at all, effects on blood glucose levels (yay for us diabetics!), meaning less roller coaster and more stroll in the park action.
Chances are also that eating more fat will make you lose weight (I’ll explain this more later in this post).
It also keeps you full and satisfied for longer, meaning that snacking and unnecessary meals are less likely to sneak in to your eating plan.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, here are 7 more reasons you need to give your body fatty acids to work with:
Fat = energy
Good fat contains more energy than carbs or protein. This is energy (calories) that the body can use and knows how to use, unlike processed carbs, for example.
Healthy cells need fat
The walls of every cell in your body (the membrane) is made out of fat. If you don’t eat enough fat, you can’t build healthy, properly functioning cells. And that’s putting yourself in a pretty bad place; if you can’t build cells, your body can’t function like it should.
The cells I just mentioned of course also include your brain cells. But fat is needed for more than that – it’s also needed to build myelin, which is insulation for the nerve endings in the brain and helps carrying messages across.
The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can’t be absorbed by the intestines without fat, meaning you are depriving your body of these vital vitamins unless you eat enough fat.
Hormones are made of fat
Your body produces sex hormones with the help of fat, as well as many other hormones and hormone-like substances (like prostaglandins). Your hormones are vital to your body functioning properly, and any irregularity in hormone production can have some unpleasant or even devastating consequences.
Your skin loves fat!
Your skin is one of the first things to react if you eat too little fat – it gets dry, flaky and feels too tight. The fat we have right underneath our skin also helps to insulate us in colder weathers.
Fat protects your organs
Just as the whole body is insulated by fat, so are your organs on the inside. Especially the kidneys, heart and intestines rely on fat to keep them from harm and in their correct places (your kidneys can actually start “traveling” in your body if you don’t have enough fat to keep them in place.)
There are two common misunderstandings about fat that I regularly hear:
“But isn’t eating more fat gonna make you fat?”
Let’s crush this myth once and for all: fat doesn’t make you fat!
Of course you can overeat fat, but it will be difficult as it’s very satiating. Your body has a natural stop that prohibits you from overeating as easily as you can with, for example, carbs.
“But isn’t fat free of nutrients? How do you get your vitamins?”
The richest sources of vitamins D, E and K2, and choline all come from food sources rich in fat (cod liver oil, red palm oil, grass-fed butter and egg yolks)
Fat also makes vitamins in the other food more available for the body to absorb.
So, where can you add more healthy fats in your day?
Eggs and bacon for breakfast? Avocado and walnuts added to your lunch? Fry the vegetables for dinner in coconut oil? Perhaps you can even have some glorious salmon for dinner?
Fat is healthy and desperately needed by your body, don’t deprive it of this great source of everything.
In the very most cases, at least. The “bread” you do eat won’t be the factory produced, refined stuff you find at the super market.
Bread is usually one of the things I hear most often from my clients that they miss when they are getting healthier. Which nowadays really surprises me, actually, although it didn’t use to… I was just as much of a bread addict as I’m sure you are, or have been, too.
But I’m very proud of you that you’re willing to make this change for yourself; to go at least gluten-, if not grain free!
So, you know those mornings (or lunches, or evenings), where you just wish there was a simple, yet healthy, thing you could throw together and have fresh out of the oven?
These wonderfully nutritious and yummy paleo scones you can whip together in under 5 minutes. And they’re done in 10 in the oven.
3 dl almond flour
0,5 dl chia seeds (can also be changed to sunflower seeds or linseeds, depending on your taste and preference)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp psyllium seed husk
A pinch of salt
You can also put some seeds on top of the scones, making it more into a type of bun than scones. Variations are endless!
Put the oven on 180 degrees Celsius
Mix all ingredients
On an baking sheet covered with parchment paper, make 6 socnes/buns with a spoon
Put in the oven for about 10 minutes
Enjoy with butter, cheese (if you can handle it), vegetables, ham, or unsweetened jam, or almond butter.
I’ve based this recipe on the fantastic Annika Sjöö’s original recipe. She’s a truly inspiring swede who is fully into eating Paleo and training CrossFit, and won Swedish “Let’s Dance” (“Dancing with the Stars”) a couple of years ago. If your Swedish is any good, check out her inspirational blog here!
Let me know what you think of this recipe! Do you have another favorite (grain-free) bread recipe to share with me? Post it in the comments!
Recently, there’s been one burning question I’ve gotten from you.
“Hanna, I understand and can feel the benefits of going gluten and grain free, but what on Earth do I do when it comes to breakfast? I have no ideas, and it preferably has to be done within 3 seconds. Thanks!”
Well, I’m not sure I can help you with the 3-second rule, but I do have tons of yummy and (relatively) quick breakfast options in mind.
The key, as always, to keeping your healthy routine going, is to P R E P A R E. Prepare and be prepared for those 3 second breakfasts.
All these 11 breakfast recipes are gluten- grain-, soy- and yeast free. I’ve included the carb count for my fellow diabetic out there, so you know how much insulin to take.
1 tbsp coconut flour (I use desiccated coconut, works just as well)
1 dl coconut cream (or coconut milk or almond milk)
(Apparently you can make this without the eggs too, adding some coconut oil instead)
Whisk in a pot on low heat until there is a porridge like consistency.
Carbs: 6.7 grams
Halve an avocado and put one half per serving in an oven form. Crack an egg into where the pit was, and bake it in the oven for ca 10 minutes at 175 degrees (or until the egg is cooked).
Carbs: 9 grams
True GREEN Smoothie
2 fistfuls of kale, spinach, or other leafy green
0.5 tbsp coconut oil
fresh lemon juice to taste
fresh ginger, grated
Put all ingredients in a blender, blend, drink, feel amazing.
Carbs: 25 grams
This is a super quick one, you can even eat it on the run (although I really don’t recommend eating while on the run)
Take sandwich ham, roll a piece of cheese and some vegetable (cucumber, bell pepper, avocado) in it to make a roll.
Carbs: barely 2 grams per roll
Apple & Almond Butter
Slice up an apple. Spread almond butter on it. Enjoy.
Carbs: 20 grams
Greek Yoghurt with Homemade Muesli
You can find the muesli recipe in my recipe book you can sign up for below.
Carbs: Yoghurt 5 grams, muesli depending on what you put in it.
2,5 dl coconut or almond milk
0.5 dl chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla powder
A pinch of salt
This can be endlessly varied with a few berries, cinnamon, cocoa powder, some nuts (pistachios, perhaps?), some lemon juice,
Mix this in a bowl, and let it stand in the fridge over night. Ready for breakfast the day after!
Carbs: 20 grams for the whole thing, but it’s enough for about 3 or 4 servings, at least, making it 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Carbs: 55 grams for all of them, so if you make it into 10 balls, it’s 5,5 grams of carbs each.
Eggs have endless uses: Scrambled Eggs with smoked salmon or bacon and vegetables, Omelet, or
Bacon Egg Muffins
Line your muffin form with one or two slices of bacon. Either crack in the eggs whole or whisk them together as for scrambled. Put the muffin forms into the oven at 175 degrees until it’s all cooked (ca 10 mins)
Carbs: eggs only have trace carbs, but 13 g of protein each. Remember that if you find you need to bolus for gluconeogenesis.
Green smoothies to heal this, green smoothies to clear that infection, green smoothies for brighter and clearer skin.
The list is endless of what green smoothies can (apparently) do!
Yet, I might be the only nutrition specialist that doesn’t recommend drinking them. Especially not for people with diabetes.
Have you ever thought of the ingredients in these smoothies?
Sure, they’re packed full of good stuff like spinach, kale, cucumber, various other veggies and sometimes even spirulina and other gently detoxifying stuff.
Have you noticed that most recipes contain an enormous ratio of (high sugar) fruit, though?
So much so that it becomes closer to the American Diabetes Association’s outdated recommendation of 60% carbohydrate to every meal?
And, a smoothie should probably not even be considered a full meal! (Unless you’re doing a juice cleanse, in which case I wish you good luck if you have diabetes.)
Let’s have a look at some of the recipes I’ve seen recently:
1. Avocado Coconut Smoothie (from: finerminds.com)
1 large avocado
1 large banana
3/4 cup organic pineapple juice
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 can organic coconut milk
1 tablespoon flax seed oil3 tablespoons melted extra-virgin coconut oil.
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sounds super yummy! But what’s the carb count?
1 large avocado has about 17 grams of carbohydrate (fiber 14 g), 1 large banana about 31 g (3,5 g fiber). ¾ cup pineapple juice has about 25 g crabs (0 g fiber). 1 can of coconut milk has 10 g carbs. The rest of the ingredients aren’t too carb-filled.
The total? 83 grams of carbohydrate. In one drink. Even if you discount the fiber count (which I only heard that you can do recently, and doesn’t work for me) you still get 65.5 grams of carbs.
Although this smoothie has a lot of good fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, I’m honestly surprised at just how much carbohydrate there is.
Let’s have a look at another one.
2. Pomegranate Citrus Punch Green Smoothie (2 servings) (from simplegreensmoothies.com)
2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup water
1 cup pomegranate seeds
OMG, get in my belly! And the title sounds so carb-innocent, too, right?
Well, 1 banana has 31 g (3,5 g fiber), and 1 cup orange juice 26 g carbs (0.5 g fiber). 1 cup pomegranate seeds has 32 g of carbohydrate, with 7 g fiber
This gives us a grand total of 89 grams of carbohydrates, 44.5 g per serving. Without the fiber, it’s still 39 grams of crabs per person. Yikes!
Third time’s the charm, right? Let’s take a really simple one, with only 3 ingredients. How bad can that one be, really?
3. Basic Balance (from: rawfamily.com (Victoria Boutenko))
1 cup kale
1 cup water
1 mango has 39 grams of carbs, 4 g fiber. 1 cup of kale has 6 grams of carbohydrate, so not very much at all!
Still, 45 grams of carbs in one drink is way too much for me…
Do you notice just how much carbohydrate these drinks contain? (AND WHAT IF YOU DON’T LIKE BANANAS?!)
In comparison, a can of coke has 39 grams of carbohydrates. Granted, there’s no fiber (or any other nutrition for that matter) in a can of coke, so it’s not exactly the same. But comparing the pure carb values? And what carbohydrate, in whichever form, does to your blood glucose levels in the end? Ouch, that’s going to hurt in the morning.
Yes, the type of carb in fruit and vegetables is infinitely better than eating 100 g of pasta, as it’s more nutritious and filling. But: there are simply too many carbohydrates turning into sugar in these smoothies to be able to include them in a low(er) carb lifestyle.
With the carbohydrates, fibers and occasional fat added too, it can get very tricky to get the insulin dose right for a diabetic, as well. Let alone if you buy it from a healthy store/juice bar and haven’t even made it yourself, meaning that you therefore have very little clue of exactly how much banana (or other high sugar fruit) is in that smoothie.
It’s not all gloomy days when it comes to green smoothies, though.
I have two suggestions for you so that you can still enjoy these bombaliciously nutritious powerhouses!
My first suggestionis to make your own, at home. This way you have the best possible control of what’s in it, making sure to use the freshest and most organic ingredients you can possibly find.
There are some really neat (and cute!) carrying/take away options you can use. I’ve even seen mason jars with a special lid for straws, like this one.
My second suggestion is that you make sure it’s a GREEN smoothie. What I mean by this is that you use about 90% vegetables in your smoothie. Please avoidmaking a “fruuitie”! What I mean by that is to avoid using mostly fruit with some added vegetable and think that it won’t affect your blood glucose.
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