Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Hidden Connection Between Meat, Insulin Resistance, and Type II Diabetes

It is widely known now that eating refined sugars and white breads, for example, spike blood sugar levels and both cause and perpetuate diabetes.  Did you know that meat is actually worse for your pancreas than refined sugar? 

Diabetes patients are almost never told that the amount of insulin the body needs to process one regular piece of steak equals the amount of insulin required for eating 12 times the amount of soda contained in one can of soda.  Insulin acts like a "key" that unlocks the "gate" through which glucose and other nutrients must pass to enter cells.  Regular meat meals make the cells increasingly resistant to insulin, and even though they do not first raise blood sugar levels, excessive use eventually leads to Type II diabetes. 

A report based on data from 12 pooled cohort studies on heavy meat diets was led by Dagfinn Aune from the University of Oslo and published in the journal Diabetologia. The study determined that the high intake of processed meat may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 41 percent.  This new meta-analysis was conducted jointly from Norway and the US. The general conclusions of the study suggested that: "High intake of total meat increased the risk of diabetes by 17 percent, while red meat and processed meat were associated with 21 and 41 percent increases in diabetes risk."  While high meat consumption of any type may lead to insulin resistance, processed meats do even moreso.  The higher rate of diabetes risk from processed meats can be attributed to the nitrates used as preservatives.  Other studies have documented that nitrates cause beta cell toxicity, blocking beta cells' ability to produce insulin.

A diabetes- preventive diet is one that is high in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruits.  If you choose to eat meat, it is healthiest to include it as the smallest portion of your meal (about 20%) and infrequently (a few times a week at most).  This is a bit of a departure from what we've come to think of as a 'meal' in the United States.  A good way to experiment with these healthier ratios is to dive into some International cookbooks as much of the world has traditionally eaten healtheir proportions of vegetables to meat.  This is changing in some places due to processed food industry influences, and diabetes rates around the world are going up as a result.

Sources:  Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, Andreas Moritz.
"Eating processed meat boosts diabetes risk by 40 percent," Paul Lous, www.naturalnews.com.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coconut Chia Pudding with Strawberries for Company

Did you get the memo that chia seeds are one of the most beneficial foods on the planet... while also being one of the least expensive???

"One of the best kept secrets in nutrition is the seed of a desert plant called chia, among the most nourishing, energy-giving, endurance-sustaining food products ever discovered... Royal planters of Aztec emperors grew precious chia seeds in floating gardens surrounding their capital city of Tenochitlan." - James F. Scheer, The Magic of Chia

Chia Seeds...
  • Have two times the protein of any other seed or grain and five times the calcium of milk
  • Are richer in potassium than bananas
  • Have three times the antioxidants as do blueberries and three times more iron than spinach
  • Contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in a beneficial, anti-inflammatory ratio
  • Boost strength, energy, and endurance
  • Level blood sugar
  • Induce weight loss
  • Cleanse the entire digestive tract
Chia seeds have also been found to be helpful with certain medical conditions:  overweight, thryroid problems, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, celiac disease, lowering cholesterol, diabetes, and hypoglycemia.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly, elegant raw dessert to make for a lot of company, this is it.

Coconut Chia Pudding with Strawberries:

1/2 c. heirloom chia seeds
3 cups spring water
1 1/2 c. coconut milk (1 c. water or coconut water blended with the meat of one young coconut 'til creamy) OR macadamia nut milk if you don't have a coconut on-hand)
About 1/3 c. raw honey or agave nectar (taste and adjust to your liking)
1 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder
a pinch of sun fire salt to bring out the sweetness and add minerals

1.  Soak the chia seeds in the water overnight.
2.  Whisk the now gelled chia/water combination with the coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and sun fire salt until well combined.  
3.  To serve:  Top with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with palm (coconut) sugar and cinnamon.   

The Raw Food World carries heirloom chia seeds in bulk, sea salt, honey, and everything else you need to make some amazing chia pudding!