- lose weight
- have more energy
- control your mood swings
- decrease sugar/carb cravings
- Live Well!!!
The GI is simply a measure of the rate and amount that a particular food raises your body’s blood sugar or blood glucose level (BGL). High GI foods will cause your BGL to rise rapidly. Let’s take white bread for example, a high GI food. When you eat a slice of white bread it is broken down in your stomach rapidly into smaller simple sugar molecules called “glucose.” Next your pancreas will release a hormone called “insulin.” Insulin acts as a taxi cab taking the glucose to various parts of your body – your brain, your muscles, your liver, and finally your fat cells! Yep, that fat-free white bread is broken down into a sugar molecule and what is not used by your brain, muscles or liver is stored as body fat! Remember I said white bread is high GI and that is bad, because it spikes your BGL? Well, what goes up must come down. So after all the insulin taxi’s have worked really hard to quickly shuttle all that glucose (sugar) around, suddenly there is no glucose left in your blood stream. Just as rapidly as your BGL shot up, it will now rapidly drop. This is that after-noon lul that you feel, or that craving for sweets after lunch, or maybe the irritable feeling you get at work, or that “stress” headache. We don’t realize it, but many of the things we feel throughout the day and attribute to “stress” are really due to rapid swings in blood sugar!
What is the answer? Controlling blood sugar, it is not just for diabetics! Eating low GI foods is the first step to controlling BGL. Here are some tips to choosing low GI foods.
- Foods in their natural state have a lower GI. What is more natural an orange or orange juice? A whole orange is much lower GI that OJ. Fruit juice is typically very high GI. There are much better ways to get your Vit C, don’t let the pretty Florida OJ commercials fool you. OJ is NOT the healthy way to start your day.
- Foods higher in fiber are lower GI. What is higher in fiber a white potato or a yam? Just cut them open and take a look. The white potato is like mush and the yam is dense and full of fibrous strands. A yam is much lower GI and a great alternative to the white potato. Plus it is loaded with nutrients.
- Avoid most white foods. White potato, white bread, and white sugar are all high GI and very low in nutrient content = empty calories. White cauliflower is an exception and is low GI and a great alternative to breads and rice. We use cauliflower to make “mash potato” and “rice” and “pizza crust.”
- Eat real foods that you can gather, pick, and grow. Snack on more fresh fruits and veges, nuts and seeds! Avoid foods that come in boxes and bags! Most packaged snack foods and breakfast cereals, even the ones marketed as “healthy” like grape-nuts raisin bran or granola are high GI! Eating cereal in the am is the best way to ensure that you will crash about mid afternoon and crave a sugary snack.
- Eat Fat! Eating fat with your meal or snack will help to slow down the release of sugar into your blood stream, allowing for more steady blood sugar control by avoiding the large rapid BGL spikes. Grab an apple and some cashew butter for a great low GI snack.
Eating a diet based on blood sugar control and low GI foods will help you to:
- Lose weight
- Control mood swings
- Decrease carb/sugar cravings
- Have more energy throughout the day
- Sleep better at night
- Reduce your need for coffee and caffeine
- Prevent diabetes and other chronic health conditions
Check it out for yourself, eat low GI for 1 week! Here are some ideas.
- Fruit Smoothie: strawberries, blueberries, protein powder, cashew butter.
- 2 eggs, Paleohash (dice yams, onion, garlic and brown in coconut oil till brown), fruit (apple, pear, nectarine).
- Greek yogurt, sliced berries, sliced almonds. **option = drizzle w/ raw honey (honey is not low GI by itself, but a small amount combined with the protein and fat in the rest of the meal will not drastically spike your BGL)
- Lettuce Wrap “sandwich” – Get a nice big piece of lettuce, stuff it with sliced cucumber, carrot, onion, add left over chicken breast, tuna or other meat. Top with mashed avocado with lemon juice and olive oil. Wrap it all in tinfoil. Grab an apple and some almonds and drop it all in a little lunch bag (add an ice pack if needed). I promise when you get in the habit of packing your lunch with left-overs it takes less time than the fast food drive through! And come on, your health is worth it!
- Big salad – I mean BIG, especially for you guys. Grab 2-3 big handfuls of lettuce and then load it with veges and left over protein like chicken or ground turkey. Get creative with your ingredients and post your favorite salad combinations on this blog for others. Add nuts and seeds. For dressing just toss the lettuce with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of sea salt! Get a salad spinner to make making salads a whole lot easier!
- Chicken Stew – About twice a month Drew and I make a BIG pot of chicken soup/stew. We throw in lots of veges like onion, squash, cabbage, carrot, celery add chicken broth and chicken and fresh herbs and simmer it for an hour or so then we stick it in the fridge. It’s an easy go-to for a last minute meal or to pack for lunch.
- The basic idea is this: Protein (chicken, beef, turkey, fish etc) + 1-2 vegetables (cauliflower and brussels sprouts or broccoli and beets) + a salad drizzled with olive oil. No bread or potato or starch at dinner! I promise you, if you eat enough veges and dinner, you wont have room for that sweet tooth. I serve Drew about 6-8 oz of protein, a big salad, and 1-2 cups each of two different veges! He does not leave the table hungry. A key is to make enough for left overs the next day for you to take to work for a healthy lunch!
- There are so many great recipe blogs out there, let me just refer you to a few of my favorites. Paleo Diet Lifestyle, Girl Gone Primal, Elana’s Pantry
Ok, that’s it for now. I hope this helps. As I said before, writing these blogs still feels a bit overwhelming to me. And I really want to serve you guys. So let me know what you think. Does this help? Feel free to post your questions here. Better yet be brave and tell me what you eat in a day and I will make some low GI suggestions! You can take baby steps, start by eating low GI just for breakfast (or lunch if it seems easier for you) for a week or two. For you radical types, go for eating low GI for a solid week and let me know how you feel!
<<Scroll down past the GI chart to read and post comments. I have answered lot’s of Q&A in the comments section>>
Glycemic Index Food Chart
Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food (GI < 55). Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate (55< GI <70). High Glycemic Index foods are with GI index more than 70 (GI >70).
|Food List||Rating||Food Glycemic Index|
|Cake , tart||Medium||65|
|Multi grain bread||Low||48|
|Pita bread, white||Medium||57|
|Whole meal bread||Medium||69|
|Porridge, non instant||Low||49|
|Mini Wheats (wholemeal)||Medium||57|
|Yogurt low- fat (sweetened)||Low||14|
|*Ice-cream (low- fat)||Low||50|
|Apricots (tinned in syrup)||Medium||64|
|Spaghetti, protein enriched||Low||27|
|Spaghetti, whole wheat||Low||37|
|Ravioli, meat filled||Low||39|
|Spaghetti, durum wheat||Medium||55|
|Rice pasta, brown||High||92|
|Potato, micro waved||High||82|
Snack Food and Sweets
|*Chocolate bar; 30g||Low||49|
|Jams and marmalades||Low||49|
|*Table sugar (sucrose)||Medium||65|
|Tomato soup, tinned||Low||38|
|Lentil soup, tinned||Low||44|
|Black bean soup, tinned||Medium||64|
|Green pea soup, tinned||Medium||66|
Vegetables and Beans
|Lettuce, all varieties||Low||15|
|Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened||Low||15|
|Peppers, all varieties||Low||15|
|Young summer squash||Low||15|
|Soya beans, boiled||Low||16|
|Kidney beans, boiled||Low||29|
|Lentils green, boiled||Low||29|
|Haricot beans, boiled||Low||38|
|Baked beans, tinned||Low||48|
|Kidney beans, tinned||Low||52|
|Lentils green, tinned||Low||52|
Notes: *high in empty calories**low-calorie and nutritious foods