“Sometimes” Foods

IS SUGAR GOOD OR BAD?

Refined sugar has been implicated in leaching important nutrients form the body, disrupting healthy gut bacteria and creating and exacerbating inflammation, as well as affecting stress, mood and energy levels. Sugar in the blood cause the release of a hormone called insulin. Insulin levels in the blood spike after a high sugar meal and lower the levels of an important protein which binds to hormones to allow their excretion from the body. Insulin also increases the production of testosterone, which is converted into even more oestrogen by fatty tissue in the body.

Excess sugar intake is also linked to increased cortisol production. After the sugar high, blood sugar levels drop, which stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and adrenaline to get our energy levels and moods back to normal. When excess cortisol is produced, progesterone production is compromised. The result of all this can lead to higher susceptibility of insomnia, irritability and anxiety just to name a few.

Many women, myself included, notice that when they have more sugar, alcohol and caffeine around that time of the month, their symptoms seem to be worse. I went for a whole month without any sugar to see how much of a difference it really made. Not that I have many of the following however these are the big no no’s to avoid: processed fruit juices, cakes and biscuits, soft drinks, processed foods and even honey if not raw, organic and local. You may be surprised to know that things like white bread and breakfast cereals contain a lot of sugar.

  

COFFEE 

Nooooo not coffee! LOL.

Caffeine is highly addictive, inflammatory and acidic. It is known to increase anxiety and leave people feeling rather strung out and dehydrated.

If you are looking to decrease your intake aim for just 1 a day and look to have it before midday so it doesn’t interfere with your natural sleeping patterns. Decaf is a slightly better option, and if possible choose Swiss water decaffeinated coffee when possible! However, I have found that even this can still give your body inflammatory side effects, so just do what works best for you and your body and maybe swap to a naturally decaffeinated herbal tea instead… Heaps more health benefits and tasty too!

 

GRAINS

Grains should probably be avoided if you have an autoimmune condition, inflammatory disease, thyroid issues or PCOS, and almost everyone is on the autoimmune spectrum to some degree. This is one of the major food groups that doesn’t fall under the categories of protein, “good fats” or something fresh (growing in the ground or on a tree and doesn’t require processing to be eaten). Grains include wheat, rye, barley , corn, spelt, rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, foods containing them and their by products, for example bread, cereals and crackers. Minimising or excluding grains allows us to have more room for nutrient dense food in our diets. If you do choose to have them, use only gluten free varieties to decreases damage to your gut lining and look at 1 serve per day/meal, making them a small part of your meal not the basis of it. If you don’t feel satisfied after a grain free meal why not try to add more “good fats” and starchy carbs like pumpkin or sweet potato.

Nicole
Nicole McDermott
nic@thechieflife.com

I am passionate about working with people on a holistic level to balance hormones, improve mood, manage weight all whilst educating people on the benefits of a balanced whole foods diet. Follow more great advice from Nic here.