Food provides your body with energy (either used right away or stored for later use). What it intuitively knows it does not need is then shipped out to the porcelain potty. So when this refuse is not expelled but instead remains in your intestinal tract, you are basically being stuffed with toxins. What is worse is that all major organs are attached to your intestines so that there is the added perk of having the garbage seep into other organs and your blood stream as well. And we wonder why Westerners’ are so sick?
One of the major means of getting your body back to the input/output schedule that it needs is to understand carbohydrates and fiber, as these are the main ingredients in allowing your inner septic system to “go with the flow”.
Carbohydrates (I call them “Carbs”) are sadly misunderstood. So many people restrict their consumption of Carbs as a means of weight loss (recall the popular low-carb diets?). But Carbs are not evil – they are our body’s preferred energy source since it is easiest to use. This fuel is released quickly and easily to fulfill immediate energy requirements. Carbs are basically different types of sugars which are converted in to glucose once digested. They allow for the proper functioning of the kidneys, central nervous system, and muscles (with the biggest one being your heart). Importantly, Carbs are the only form of energy used by the brain. Carbs are either used right away or stored in your muscles and liver as a future energy source and play an integral role in ensuring a healthy intestine and efficient waste elimination. Too little Carbs can result in the breakdown of muscle tissue, fatigue, and poor brain power with physical symptoms such as nausea, weakness, dizziness and mood swings.
Carbs come in two sizes: the simple small ones or the complex big ones. Unlike the prom date that you hoped was on the simple side, complex Carbs are the ones that work better for your body.
Simple Carbs (“S-Carbs”)
S-Carbs are small molecules of sugar (glucose, fructose and galactose). As they are small and easy to digest, your body quickly absorbs them. If your body doesn’t need that high level of energy right then and there, then the simple sugars will quickly be converted for future energy storage either in your cells (glycogen) or, if the cells are maxed out, as fat. This is why these are referred to as “empty” calories as there isn’t much benefit to it other than that minute on the lips. S-Carbs hang out in those mouth watering temptations such as cakes, pastries, biscuits, chocolate and table sugar. Unlike the ooey-gooey baked goods, other natural foods that are nutrient rich like fruit contain naturally occurring S-Carbs. However, due to the low levels of the sugars in the fruit, the body can more easily absorb the sugars lowering the chance for it to be converted to fat. Also, many fruits are fiber rich so your digestion is slowed which allows the sugar to be slowly introduced to your body. Fruit is an S-Carb that is a wannabe C-Carb
Complex Carbs (“C-Carbs”)
C-Carbs are simply sugars that like each other and have bonded together to form a Big Momma of a Sugar chain. Because they are bigger your digestive enzymes have to work that much harder to break them down in order to be absorbed through your intestines. This is a slow process which means that your body S-L-O-W-L-Y absorbs the energy and provides it to you in a steady supply, which limits the amount of sugar that is converted into fat for storage. By maintaining a steady flow of glucose through your blood stream, you will ensure optimal fat burning efficiency and have long-term appetite control with minimal food cravings. C- Carbs are broken down into two types: starch and fiber.
• Starch: Starch is naturally produced by all green plants as an energy reserve and is a major food source for humans. Cereals, roots and tubers of plants are the main source of dietary starch. Starch rich foods include: rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes. As starch can be difficult to digest, starch rich foods need to be cooked in order to be easier to consume.
• Fiber: The Carbs that cannot be digested, are referred to as fiber. Fiber can only be found in plant-related foods especially the outer layers of cereal grains and the fibrous parts of fruits, legumes, and other vegetables. Fiber is our friend as it heads its way through your intestinal tract intact and helps to scrape waste out of your body along the way.
Fiber has many benefits as it helps to promotes regularity, decreases risks for heart disease, obesity, and lowers cholesterol. It can also assist in weight loss and weight management as it makes you feel “full” longer. Diets that are low in fiber can cause problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids and can increase the risk for certain types of cancers especially colon cancer. Fiber rich foods include: whole-grain breads (and other grain based bakery products), all whole-grain cereals, nuts, seeds, fruits (with edible skin and edible seeds), kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and split peas.
There are two kinds of Fiber: soluble (“S-Fiber”) and Insoluble (“I-Fiber”) and we need both of them for digestive health.
• S-Fiber slows down the absorption rate of glucose (sugar) in your blood and helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels by reducing the sugar spikes. When you have a sugar “high” your pancreas stimulates the production of insulin, which over time can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes and increase the risk of heart disease and. S-Fiber can also help to control your appetite as the glucose is slowly brought in to your system making you feel fuller for longer. It is found mainly in fruits, veggies, barley, oats, beans and lentils.
• I-Fiber helps you to maintain a healthy digestive system. Its greatest feature is that it is a fibrous sponge, so as it moves through your system it sucks up water and becomes heavy. The heavier the better as waste is dragged down with it and is quickly processed through the intestines. Insoluble fiber also helps to prevent constipation as the absorbed water lubes your tube and can protect against diseases of the colon such as colon cancer and diverticultis. Grains are the main source of insoluble fiber.
Based upon a 1,800-calorie daily diet, it is recommended that 55 percent be C-Carbs (about 25 grams or 1,000 calories). The average adult consumes only 12 grams a day, or less this is far less than the recommended daily amount! Two very easy ways to get in a bunch of healthy goodness, fiber included is to incorporate chia and quinoa into your daily routine.
Chia, an ancient seed from South America, is the best way to get super fiber bang for the buck! A standard 2 tbsp (24 g) serving of chia seeds contains 8.3 grams of fiber along with 4 grams of whole protein, and 7.4 grams of healthy omega 3 fats. In addition, you are getting all eight essential amino acids and a host of trace minerals and micronutrients. To put it in easy comparative terms, each 2 tbsp serving of chia offers:
• 5 x the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts
• 2 x the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach
• 2x the fiber in a cup of oatmeal
• = calcium as a half-cup of milk
• = potassium as a third of a banana
Quinoa, a South American ancient grain, contains a significant amount of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals when compared to other grains.
One cup of cooked quinoa is:
• low in fat (3.6g)
• = 1 egg with 8grams of whole protein
• = to one serving of a high bran cereal with 5 grams of fiber
• = 250ml of garbanzo beans with 1.7mg of manganese
• = 120g of Mackerel for amount of magnesium (118mg)
• = ¾ cup beans/lentils for amount of phosphorous (228g)
• And also has good amounts of iron, copper and zinc.
Two flavonoids found in quinoa that have been particularly well studied are quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. These 2 compounds happen to be found in large amounts in quinoa. In fact, the quercetin content of quinoa is even higher than typical high-quercetin foods like cranberries.
Other tips for getting the good stuff in to push the bad stuff and some simple painless steps:
• Switch from white bread to whole grain bread which immediately doubles your fiber intake.
• Eat a bowl of shredded wheat or whole grain cereal at breakfast with some Chia sprinkled on top combined with a piece of fruit as a sure fire way to feel full until lunch and avoid the mid-morning muffin(top) run.
• Opt to snack on fruit and nuts instead of salty snacks as this will pump you with the fiber you need along with lots of vitamins and protein.
• Beans and quinoa are rich in fiber and together deliver a punch of protein, so use them as an inexpensive meat option in soups, stews and casserole dishes.
• Use a nut butter on toast instead of margarine, butter or jam.
• Anytime something is “refined” it strips more nutrients away, so choose as much unrefined food as you can – pick an oatmeal cereal over a corn flakes or puffed rice one.
• Eat your fruit, don’t drink it!
But remember, treat your body gently so slowly increase your fiber in small amounts like 5 grams extra for a 5 day period until you reach the 25-20 grams a day. If you add it in too quickly you may become a bloated blow-horn until your body can adjust. When increasing fiber intake, always drink more water to help move it down the chute and to get the toxins out!
Like fats, Carbs are often misunderstood. They help some keys organs function better like the kidneys and provide you with the energy necessary to feed your brain and give you healthy hearts and muscles. But, like fat, it is only healthy if you have the RIGHT one. So by choosing the right Carbs in the right amount will leave you invigorated, with a healthy weight, a hearty heart and a smarty-pants approach to life!
The easiest way to think about Carbs is that your body is in a constant marathon race. If you enter a high speed sprinter (S-Carb) into the race they will exit the starting line running at high speeds only to fall face down after the first couple of miles. Although starting out slowly, the C-Carb wins the race every time as it is slow and steady. So the next time you are about to bite in to a cupcake, know that it is an empty-headed scrawny sprinter about to do a face plant on your butt!
Speaking of butts, fiber can help greatly in getting rid of the toxic waste in your intestinal tract. Now getting back to our dilemma of the Poor-Poo-Passage (“PPP”), it is generally consisted that the “rule-of-bum” should be at least one solid bowel movement a week. Always be aware of how your body is flushing itself out as constipation (less than 3 bowel movements in a week) or diarrhea can indicate a poor diet with too little fiber.
WHAT YOU NOW KNOW:
• Carbs are sugars which your body converts into glucose: a fuel that your body needs but not all Carbs are considered equal.
• S-Carbs are simple sugars, and other than those found in fruits, they are absorbed quickly giving highs and lows in the blood which can be hard on our pancreas and contribute to greater body fat.
• C-Carbs are the ones you must befriend as they are slowly digested which leaves you feeling fuller longer and reduce the sugar spikes.
• Fiber is your friend. It is an indigestible C-Carb which helps you on the potty, can stabilize weight, lower blood sugar levels and can assist in ensuring a healthy and happy heart.
• PPP is a warning sign of poor digestion and/or diet, so add in more fiber to blow this problem away!
APPLY TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE:
• Boost fiber slowly until you are averaging 25-20 grams per day (increase fruits and grains).
• Eat Chia!
• Eat Quinoa!
• Drink lots of water: your internal water slide needs it.
• Make small changes by making better food choices – over time it will have a huge impact. Remember: brown is Better, white is Wasted!
• If consuming S-Carbs, also include a Fiber (so sprinkle some Chia seed on that cupcake!) to slow down digestion and decrease sugar spikes.