It’s quite debatable whether carbohydrates are essential for human nutrition, but for most people, they’re the fuel their body runs on. Going on an extreme low-carb or no-carb diet causes some folks to have barely enough energy to hoist a coffee cup in the morning. At the opposite end of the scale, overdoing it on carbs, even the good ones, ends up having a negative impact on mood, weight, energy, digestion, immunity, and more. In my practice, I would say most people seem to eat more carbs than their metabolism can handle.
This “stress hormone” is essential for energy and health, but when it’s out of balance, you are, too. Learn how to manage cortisol to keep inflammation, cravings, and belly fat at bay.
Cortisol has a bad reputation.
Commonly known as the “stress hormone,” it’s produced, in part, by the adrenal glands when we’re under pressure and perceive a threat. The pituitary gland determines how much hormone the adrenals should release to help us fight or flee.
As a functional medicine physician, I’m used to helping my patients find the solutions to their health problems. When they start gaining weight and feeling fatigued, for example, I become a kind of detective, searching for clues as to how their diet and lifestyle might be interfering with their bodies need to achieve optimal function.
So, when I myself began putting on some extra pounds and struggling with late-afternoon exhaustion, I had to look at my own food choices.
The Be Well Team and I have shared loads of valuable information this past year on the blog–and these are the posts that most resonated with you. Give them a read again!
Great TEDx talk by Obesity expert, Dr Sarah Hallberg on how our guidelines for treating Diabetes are totally incorrect, and if one wants to reverse Diabetes, one starts by ignoring the guidelines.
Rest assured, you can still have some comforting, familiar dishes when cutting back on carbohydrates or cutting out grains. Here are some of my favorite healthy swaps for pasta, bread and wraps.
Good digestion is fundamental to overall health. Even if we are eating a “perfect” diet, without proper digestion, we are not absorbing the nutrients and will not benefit from all that great food. Key signs that our food is not being well digested include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and reflux or heartburn as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which may indicate absorption issues.
In the world of nutrition and science we tend to point to “food villains” and look for for quick fixes. For a long time, fat was a “food villain.” People went on low-fat diets to try to lose weight. When that didn’t work, the pendulum swung back and it became all about avoiding carbs like the plague. But all carbs are not created equal!
Our bodies need carbohydrates. It’s not for nothing that we tend to crave “sweet” things – our instincts tell us that we need the energy and nutrients that hide in these foods. But a whole food is always superior to a processed food. Instead of loading up on candy bars and soda, we can satisfy our body’s need for carbohydrates with whole foods from nature.