The following talk was given to a MOPS group on 4/25/12 by Kathy McLaughlin. Please comment or ask questions under “comments”.
My background includes practice as a physical therapist, as an organic gardener selling produce in a coop, a raw goat milk farmer selling jugs of raw milk from our farm, and a nutrition junkie. I love learning about nutrition. I also have a daughter in law who is a nutritionist who delights in teaching me. My other training which you may see hints of is in prayer ministry. I have been through years of training in helping people this way.
My interest in healthy diets ramped up drastically about 5 years ago when I first was diagnosed with breast cancer. A second cancer then a diagnosis of Non Hodgkins lymphoma kept me on the fast track to learning how to care better for my body. I generally restrain myself in talking about these thing until I see that someone is interested. It is my hope, that you are interested in getting your little people off to a healthy start in good body maintenance.
Before I start, lets just get it out there that I am not perfect in keeping sugar completely out of my diet. This purpose of this talk is not to add another thing into your life to feel guilty about. It is really to help you think outside the box with your family’s diet.
Another important point to emphasize, right off the bat, is that diet is not our healer–God is. The Lord designed our bodies to self repair. He also gave us the proper fuel for our bodies–food in its purest and least adulterated state.
As Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, said, “Let food be your medicine…” Food is not only a perfectly designed fuel, it is also an aid to recovery when the body is functioning at less than optimal. Yet, in its most manipulated forms, food can become a deterrent instead of an aid to health. Specifically, processed sugar in its many forms can be damaging to our bodies. I have heard it said that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. I don’t know if I believe that, however, I do believe that it is extremely addictive. Think yourself of the bad habit of sweets. You eat some then that craving keeps persisting. The only thing to do about it in my experience is to keep those foods away from me. After about 2 weeks the craving grows less.
I want to tell 2 amazing stories of personal acquaintances. The first was of my great uncle. At almost 90, his much younger wife talked him into cutting all added sugar out of his diet. He was in a wheelchair, unable to walk or do much self care. After stopping sugar, he walked again and regained much function. Both he and his wife gave credit to the change in diet as well as to God’s mercy.
The second tale is of a friend of mine who fell on ice a few years back. She was badly hurt, unable to walk or do anything without major pain. She started seeing a chiropractor. She says the the most important thing he did for her was to educate her about sugar. She stopped sugar and has a new beauty, vitality and no pain. Everyone notices the change in her–it is quite dramatic.
In the past 20 years, average sugar consumption has increased from 26 pounds per person to 135 pounds. Along with that increase, diseases which were rare have become common place like heart disease, diabetes, cancer,arthritis as well as many other degenerative diseases. Is there possibly a connection to proliferation of these diseases and our dramatic increase in sugar consumption?
What is it about sugar that is so bad for us when glucose provides energy for the body? Isn’t sugar just fancy glucose–aren’t all sugars eventually broken down into glucose which our body needs? Let’s have a “Sugar 101” class going back to the basics.
There are 3 categories to what we eat in the way of plant and animal based foods–fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Fats become fatty acids after the digestive process; proteins are broken down into amino acids; and carbs are turned into glucose. In the metabolization of all 3 categories of food, energy is produced for the body.
Foods with carbohydrates have been categorized by glycemic index and glycemic load. GI measures the increase in blood sugar from 50g of carbohydrates from that food. For example, 50g of carbohydrates from carrots is about a pound of carrots. A snickers bar is 63 g of carbs. GL takes into account the serving size and therefore the fat and protein in the food as well. It is a much better predictor of blood sugar response. High GL is >=20, Medium is between 11 to 19, Low is <=10. The lower the glycemic index or load–the longer it takes the body to break down that food into glucose. Conversely, a food with a high glycemic index is quickly turned into glucose.
Straight glucose is a value of 100. Table sugar is sucrose, a simple sugar easily and quickly converted to glucose, so it is relatively high in glycemic index about 64. In basic terms, simple sugars and carbs like processed sugar and grains are very high on the glycemic index. If you add fiber to those sugars, the glycemic index number goes down. Add proteins and fats and it goes down even more. The GL would reflect all of these factors.
Vegetables and fruits are generally low, processed grains and cereals are generally high, whole grains are generally low or medium. There are notable exceptions to these statements. Potatoes, corn, and parsnips are high. Bananas and some sweeter fruits are medium. This website will give you both the GI and the GL values: http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php
Potato 104 36.4
Parsnips 97 11.6
White bread 70 8.4
Wheat bread 70 7.7
Sweet potato 51 12.4
Banana 51 12.2
Dairy 40-50 6 -10
Apple 39 6.2
Spinach, Broccoli, Green beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower
Meats and most nuts 0 except cashews
High glycemic foods encompass simple sugars including honey, maple syrup, fructose, table sugar, agave sweetener, and any number of sugars ending in “ose” (like maltose, dextrose, etc.) Here is a partial list of sugar in its many disguises. You are probably a label reader already. Add these words to your label reading vocabulary. High fructose foods like high fructose corn syrup are even more damaging because fructose is processed in the liver and excesses are converted to triglycerides.
Barley Malt Syrup
Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Dehydrated Cane Juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Sorghum or sorghum syrup
Sugar acts differently within a food like a fruit or vegetable. God made fruits and veggies with the right amount of fiber so that when the bonds of the molecules are broken down into their components, the fiber in the food makes the breaking down process take longer. Then the glucose is released into the body more gradually. The load on the pancreas is less. The body does not have the highs and lows like it does with simple sugars.
What does this mean in practical terms? We have all felt sugar highs and the aftermath of extreme fatigue which follows. We have seen kids act out when they have overloaded on candy. We know how miserable we feel when we have gorged on sweets. Does sugar do more serious harm than these obvious effects? ( Draw graph )
Here is an example of one of our family’s early experiences related to sugar. Our oldest son had a genetic weakness for chocolate inherited from his mom. As a young boy visiting his granddad, he was indulged in this weakness. Every visit, his grandpa would make him fudge. Inevitably a horrible nosebleed would immediately follow. We finally made the connection between high sugar foods and his nosebleeds.
When there are large amounts of sugar in the blood, it results in what is called glycation. The glucose end products attach to proteins. Glycation damages whatever it attaches to. This may be blood vessels or organs. It can do much damage by damaging the blood supply to organs like the kidneys or even to the eyes. It hastens aging and causes many serious problems. We all need to know that glycation causes our skin to sag faster. It causes the collagen fibers to become less elastic, thereby causing faster aging.
Definitively these following disorders are caused or worsened by high sugar diets:
Yeast infections, fungal infections, gut dysbiosis (imbalance of the good and bad flora or microorganisms living in the gut), diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity and obesity related diseases.
Here are some of the diseases to which sugar-laden foods almost certainly contribute:
Arthritis, inflammatory diseases, degenerative diseases, cancer, behavioral disorders, and gut disorders
How is this possible?
Lets start with proven facts then meander into theory. In simple terms, sugar feeds yeast and fungi. We have all heard of candida albicans. That is the typical yeast infection which many women get vaginally. It is also the cause of “thrush” which many babies get in their mouths and throats. Candida and many other harmful organisms are fed by sugar-rich foods. These bad bacteria overrun the organisms meant to inhabit the gut which aid in the digestion and break-down process. The resulting imbalance is called dysbiosis.
It could be said good health starts in the gut. The opposite is also true. When dysbiosis occurs it leads to a domino effect. When there is a predominance of bad microbes in the gut, bad health reigns.
Now we advance into theory territory–leaky gut syndrome. The basis for this theory is the idea that damage to the intestines causes the permeability to increase because the openings that let the molecules move in and out become enlarged.
This allows larger molecules of incompletely digested food to move out as well as toxins and bacteria which should remain in or pass through as waste. This is presumed to be the basis of many problems, such as allergies or autoimmune problems.
The solution for this problem is to repopulate the gut with good bacteria to create a healthy balance, to stop feeding the bad microorganisms, and to include lots of fiber in the diet. A healing diet for the gut is a diet low in sugar, grains, processed food and very high in veggies and somewhat less in fruits. Dairy and meat should be organic.
So, I am not going to tell you all of this without giving help in how to change your family’s diet.
Here are some great and easy foods to substitute for the snacks of processed or high sugar foods.
Cut up sweet potatoes
Apple slices with peanut or almond butter
Celery with peanut or almond butter
Red pepper slices (Any of these veggies are great with hummus)
Sugar snap peas
Raw asparagus shoots
Raw broccoli or cauliflower pieces
Flaxseed soda bread
Banana-peanut butter-egg pancakes
We had samples of some of these foods for our breakfast. These are not typical breakfast foods so I really stretched you in your eating this morning. When you eat these foods, savor the flavors and the sweetness. If you let yourself, you can change your family’s palate to appreciate these.
The name of a great cookbook to cook in a low glycemic fashion is Internal Bliss. The author never gives her name. I have only found this cookbook online. It is associated with the GAPS diet
Also a great breakfast is stir fried veggies with an egg on top. It gives your kids nutrition and energy. Another good one is Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes (with no grain). Or try a nutrition packed smoothie. There are recipes on my website– healingdiscoveries.com
These are all easy to have ready in the frig or to toss in a bag to take with you for on-the- go snacks.
This is the key to changing your family’s diet. Have satisfying and quickly available foods and healthy snacks available all the time. And do not have processed, sugar filled foods anywhere in the house.
When we are dying for a sweet snack, apples and peanut butter usually do the trick, but if not then a peanut butter banana smoothie will help.
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe
2 tablespoons organic no additives peanut butter
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup ice
Blend in blender until smooth
We will make and have a sample of this today.
Here are four principles to finish up with for trying to eat well. If it gets near you it will get in you. So only bring healthy good foods into your home.
The second thing which is totally unrelated to sugar but related to the gift that I have for you is: If it gets on you, it gets in you. (Give out gift of natural deodorant made from baking soda, arrowroot powder and cornstarch.)
And thirdly to keep this all in perspective, self control is a very good thing on cleaning up our diet, but ultimately it is most important cooperate with God to let him clean our hearts up. Mat 15:10 – 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. While we want to treat our bodies as God’s temples, ultimately it is our hearts that are most important.
The fourth principle is that just as food is medicine, the Bible is even more so. We can devour the Bible as our healing medicine. Prov 4:20-22 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.
I have no doubt of this truth whatsoever. God has restored me with his word and his touch.
Please help us in our quest to treat our bodies as your temples doing proper temple maintenance. However, please go much deeper to our hearts and show us how to let you fill our hearts with your Holy Spirit so much that we clearly hear and obey you. Let your word be our sustaining and healing food. Help us to exercise wisdom and self control regarding our regular food. Above all please let seeking to hear and follow you be our highest priority.
In Jesus name