A few months back I went on a 21-day sugar detox and was curious as to how it would affect my diabetes and blood sugar levels. I will preface this follow up by saying that without completely divulging my health status, high cholesterol and high blood pressure along with diabetes runs in my family. While I’m the recipient of those genetic traits, over the years I’ve done everything within my power to slow the progression. Banana Icecream
I’ve read tons of literature on managing diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. And while there was attention given to fruits and vegetables, the common thread seemed to involve heavy emphasis on whole grains, low/no fat foods, and calorie counting. Over the years I followed that mantra and yet my symptoms still gradually worsened. Stomach issues plagued me since childhood. I’ve always had a little paunch I affectionately call my Buddha belly. I worked out three to four times a week without losing a pound. Things seemed rather hopeless, and I resigned myself to just having to endure poor health and a possible short lifespan. The South Beach Diet came out, which introduced a new concept of eliminating all grains and sugar (except for artificial sweeteners) for the first week, but keeping things low fat, then slowly reintroducing grains during weeks two and three. I successfully completed all three weeks but didn’t lose any weight, and was always hungry.
Prior to embarking on the sugar detox, I already started cutting out grains mainly to curb my carb consumption. The side benefit was I had fewer stomach issues. The 21-Day Detox really was my introduction to the paleo lifestyle. Much like the South Beach Diet in that it’s low in carbs, there is a big exception. Instead of emphasizing low/no fat, and the heavy use of artificial sweeteners, I enjoy liberal amounts of fat in the form of nuts and meats, and some dairy like butter and heavy cream. (Die hard paleo enthusiasts would scoff at my use of dairy). The only allowed sweets came in the form of fruit, while honey and stevia are acceptable post sugar detox.
Adopting this lifestyle has been successful in several ways. One success is my recent blood work. My A1C went down from 7.2 to 6.7, my blood pressure is normal, as is my total cholesterol, which went down a whopping 109 points. All of this occurred by eliminating grains and sugar while enjoying foods like bacon, meats, fish, poultry, whole eggs, nuts and unlimited veggies. Contrary to popular belief, fat is our friend! It satiates, and more importantly, fat is flavor! The real culprits are refined carbs in the form of sugar and grains. My pallet has become more sensitive. I can taste the natural sugars in things like whole milk! The caveat to these changes is my body is sensitive all fast foods and convenient frozen meals, which means I spend a lot of time preparing many meals from scratch. Planning is essential. However, it’s a small price to pay considering the benefits of delicious real food and great health results outweigh this small inconvenience.
Here is a terrific recipe to introduce anyone interested in a grain free lifestyle.
Grain free/gluten free muffins made from almond flour
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour (regular almond flour/meal will work just fine)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda or arrowroot powder
2 large eggs
¼ cup melted or softened coconut oil or unsalted butter (use full fat! No using fake stuff for this recipe)
1 or 2 ripe bananas, or 2/3-1 cup of other kind of fruit like peaches or plum or even mangos (yes mangos!)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan, add coconut oil or unsalted butter with fruit of choice and other wet ingredients except the egg and mix until just combined and the oil/butter is melted. If using diced apples, I’d sauté the mix until the apples are softened. (I usually add cinnamon and nutmeg whenever using apples to give the “apple pie” flavor.) Just be sure your mixture is cool enough so that you don’t get scrambled eggs when you’re ready to add the eggs. Once it’s cool enough, add all wet ingredients in either blender or food processor and mix only until the eggs are nicely incorporated.
In a large mixing bowl, mix in all remaining dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. It should look like thick cake batter. Scoop into a lined 1 dozen muffin tin and bake for 20-30 minutes, when the tops are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
You can turn these into “cupcakes” by simply adding frosting of your choice. The nice thing about these muffins is, because they’re made from almond flour, you can reheat them for about 30 seconds in a microwave without them turning into hockey pucks! Enjoy!