Which “diet” is best for managing your blood sugar?
- Mel’s weekly food pick:
Bone Broth Protein Powder
Bone Broth Collagen Powder
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Mel’s Feel-Good Smoothie
In this last post, I discussed meal timing for healthy blood sugar and the idea of snacking (should you or shouldn’t you?).
Before I even think about entertaining the topic of meal planning, there’s something you should know about choosing the right diet for managing your blood sugar and overall health.
First, let me begin with a little clarification. By “diet”, I simply mean “style of eating”, which—if you are doing it right—is something you should be able to follow for the rest of your life. It’s not the type of short-term diet you follow for weight loss. I can’t think of anything more dreadful!
Second, I’m sure you agree there are as many philosophies about which diet to follow, as there are stars in the sky. I’m not here to debate any of them, because the truth is, each and every one of us is as unique as those stars and I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to managing your health and blood sugar. There are however, eight universal truths that I believe apply to everyone. I will share the first one here.
Please hear this.
If you can just spend time reading this first truth (read it three times if you have to)…if you can just wrap your head around it and really get it, your mind will be blown. You will have won half of the battle, struck gold, hit the lottery, and catapulted over one of the biggest hurdles to a peaceful relationship with food and your health. Yes, it’s that profound.
Now pay attention…
Universal Truth #1: What you resist persists
When you push something away, it has a way of coming back and multiplying in strength. This is the very premise of why diets and calorie counting fail to produce results in the long run. Think about it, as human beings, we were born with a precious and precise ability to feel hunger and honor that need with just the right amount of food so the feeling disappears. We nailed this as infants. No worries at all, we had it figured out. Feel hunger, let out a cry, mom responds by offering a bottle or her breast, and we eat until we’ve had enough then push the bottle or breast away. We knew what it took to satisfy our hunger. We felt it! When we had enough, there was nothing mom could do to make us drink another drop.
Fast-forward to early childhood. If you grew up like I did, you were forced to clean your plate. No longer were we trusted to honor our brilliant, perfectly calibrated internal signals of fullness; we were now taught that an empty plate meant we were full. This marks the beginning of overeating and weight gain for so many people. So, as we age and gain weight, rather than tap into our once-honored innate signals of hunger and satiety (fullness), we rely on diets and calorie counting to aid us in returning to a healthy weight. But the problem is this—no calculation in the world can tell us how much we need. We must feel it.
Unfortunately, so many of us have lost trust in ourselves and instead believe that the “latest and greatest” diet can save us, so we hand our power over to it.
But it never really works because what you resist persists!
Imagine I calculate your daily calorie requirement, with the goal of helping you achieve a weight loss of one-pound per week. Let’s say this daily level turns out to be 1200 calories. I give you weeks worth of meal plans to help you stay within this range and you plug along just fine for a few days…until you start to get hungry. Then the obsession with calories begins which results in a subtle-yet powerful loss of your ability to really connect with food. Food is no longer nourishment. It’s no longer secondary. It becomes a tool to manipulate for the purpose of shedding pounds. You find yourself choosing calorie-controlled crap foods (I like to call them CCF for short) like pretzels, crackers, and diet yogurts so you can eat more, while staying in your prescribed calorie range. Hunger builds, your mind stays focused on calories versus how your body is feeling, and you end up blowing the diet by eating a bowl of pasta or ice cream.
This is what assigning power to food looks like. And when food has power, it wins every single time. No exceptions.
What you resist persists. And this goes for anything, whether it’s a particular food like potato chips and grapes, or calories and food all together. The object of restriction will haunt you until it breaks you down and you eat the entire bag.
Again, if you can get your head wrapped around this idea, you’ve won half of the battle.
In my next post I will share Universal Truth #2: You control food; it doesn’t control you.
Bone broth is a beneficial “elixir” made from simmered animal bones. It can be made using bones from cows, veal, lamb, bison, venison, chicken, duck, goose, turkey or fish.
Before turning your nose up, you may want to check out bone broth’s impressive resume:
- Joint protection: Bone broth offers collagen, gelatin, glucosamine and chondroitin, all healing compounds to restore bone and joint health.
- Gut health and immune system support: The abundance of gelatin in bone broth helps restore the strength of the gut lining, which is beneficial in preventing leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut occurs when undigested particles from foods seep through tiny openings in the weakened intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, where the immune system detects them and becomes hyperactive. Gelatin also helps with the growth of good bacteria, fights food sensitivities and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.
- Youthful skin: Collagen forms elastin, which is responsible for decreasing the visible signs of wrinkles and cellulite.
- Boosts detoxification: Bone broth is considered a powerful detoxification agent since it helps the digestive system expel waste and promotes the liver’s ability to remove toxins, helps maintain tissue integrity, and improves the body’s use of antioxidants.
- Aids the metabolism: Bone broth is rich in glutamine (an amino acid) and glutathione (an antioxidant), both help to support a healthy metabolism.
To prepare a batch of bone broth like grandma used to make, bones are simmered 24-48 hours and often mixed with vegetables, herbs and spices. To liberate key minerals, an acidic liquid (like apple cider vinegar) is also added.
As you can probably tell, this is quite a time-consuming process. To enjoy the benefits of bone broth without having to prepare it yourself, try Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder or Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Collagen Powder. Both are dehydrated forms of traditional liquid bone broth that can be easily reconstituted by mixing in hot or cold water, added to your favorite soup or casserole, or blended in your morning smoothie! To get you started, see my recipe below for “Mel’s Feel-Good Smoothie.”
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Mel’s Feel-Good Smoothie
Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get a ton of nutrition (and I mean a TON) in the least amount of time. I’m in love with them because they give me the opportunity to incorporate powerful foods that I wouldn’t be otherwise eating on a daily basis (like fresh ginger and turmeric root).
I’ve experimented with many smoothie concoctions over the years, and one thing that remains consistent is I’ve always included three nutrient “blocks” in each recipe:
- Fiber-rich “Earthfoods”: berries, kale, spinach, red cabbage, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger.
- Earthfood-based fat: avocado, fresh ground almond butter, fresh ground peanut butter, walnuts, MCT oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds.
- Healthy protein: unsweetened plant-based protein powder, Bone Broth Protein Powder, or Bone Broth Collagen Powder.
This combination of fiber, fat, and protein offers the perfect blend of nutrients to:
- Satisfy my hunger
- Keep my blood sugar stable
- Keep my brain sharp and focused
- Fill me with tons of energy!
This Feel-Good Smoothie is one of my favorite go to recipes. It satisfies me to the core and, as the name suggests, really makes me feel good! I use only about a 1/2 cup of frozen wild blueberries to sweeten my smoothie, which means it isn’t very sweet at all! This is by design.
But I didn’t start out this way.
I used to add more fruit and a stevia-based protein powder to my smoothies, which gave it an ultra-sweet taste. The problem was, I found myself getting hungry about an hour after I drank it. At first I thought I was losing my mind! How could I possibly be hungry? But then I learned that sweetness, whether from sugar, stevia, or artificial sweeteners, enhances the appetite and motivation to eat. Also, because they are hundreds of times sweeter than regular white table sugar, these zero-calorie sweeteners encourage sugar cravings and sugar dependence. Because of this, I very gradually traded my stevia-based protein powder for unsweetened Bone Broth Protein Powder and Bone Broth Collagen Powder, and also decreased the amount of fruit.
It took quite some time before my taste buds adapted to prefer less sweet and quite honestly, I never thought I would see the day! Now when I accidentally eat or drink something with stevia, it tastes unpleasantly sweet. My taste buds have actually reset themselves!
If my Feel-Good Smoothie isn’t sweet enough for you, feel free to add one teaspoon of raw honey, pure maple syrup or coconut nectar, or one pitted date.