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Old 04-28-2008, 01:22 PM   #46
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Recently I started working on my "leptin levels". After watching a 60 min episode on how when sleep or sleep quality is diminished, a hormone called leptin drops. This hormone was linked to appetite and satiety in a well controlled sleep study. Very cool and eye opening-- or closing-- stuff.

So, in addition to working on cutting out refined foods and getting more exercise, I am also trying to get more sleep, hoping it will be one more piece in the lifestyle improvement puzzle!
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:51 PM   #47
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Thanks to both of you . . . think I'll ask my doctor to send me for sleep apnea testing. I know I snore and wonder just how much of my waking up throughout the night is actually due to that rather than a full bladder and then once I'm awake I discover I could stand to go to the bathroom. . . . and I'll also look around for some more information on Leptin -- all I honestly know about it is that it's kind of the opposite of Ghrelin (not sure how to spell either one) and that one (the ghrelin) is the "gremlin" that makes you think you are hungry.
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:27 PM   #48
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Default A few Miscellaneous Things

Spices/Condiments, and a few other good things

SPICES – are all very low in both the GI and GL – especially since a little goes a long way. Three spices in particular -- Cinnamon, Fenugreek, and Turmeric – are reputed to have blood sugar lowering capabilities. Turmeric is the spice that gives mustard it’s familiar bright yellow colour. It contains high levels of curcumin (as does cumin) which is an antioxidant known to help prevent blood sugar surges. Try using good old yellow mustard as your bread-spread (whole-grain bread, of course) of choice. Much more blood sugar, and calorie, friendly than butter/margarine/mayo. Fenugreek not only mimics insulin in the body but one study also points to it being able to prevent the absorption of fat. It also packs an amazing amount of fibre into a very small package. Good old Cinnamon also is said to mimic insulin’s ability to help glucose enter the muscle cells; although, of late, some authorities are questioning this. Since cinnamon is very sweet tasting, it can also help reduce the amount of sugar or other sweetener you desire in baked goods or anywhere else you choose to use it -- on your Magic Old-Fashioned morning Oatmeal, for example.

GARLIC and ONIONS – both are pretty low in the GI/GL department and in the calorie department; but extremely high in flavour levels. And both help to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. In Chinese medicine, they are used for their ability to reduce cancer risk and both are also thought to reduce the swelling (and hence, the pain) of arthritis and to preserve bone and consequently lower the risk of osteoporosis. Amazingly enough, the more tears that onions cause while you are chopping them, the more sulphur and flavonoids (the disease fighting bits) they contain. Try chilling them for an hour or so and always leave the root end in tact until you’ve chopped as much as possible because that’s where the strongest concentration of the eye-burning compounds is located.

OLIVE OIL – in the world of Magic Foods, this is liquid gold, It is the Mother-lode of good fat, does not increase blood sugar levels at all (in fact, it can lower the GL of everything you use it with). Olive Oil (and the Olive) contain an anti-inflmatory substance so strong it is likened to aspirin in its effect. Chronic inflammation is closely linked to heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. BUT, Olive Oil is a FAT and a Tablespoon of it does have about 120 calories, about the same as all other oils and spreads (like butter and margarine) so don’t go too far overboard.

COFFEE and TEA (of all colours) – are actually good for you – both contain higher levels of healthy antioxidants than almost any other substance we eat or drink. However, both do contain caffeine and Coffee has about twice the caffeine levels of tea. In some people caffeine can cause a blood sugar spike so try making the switch to de-caf. When it comes to Tea, forget the hype that only green contains the EGCG that has the ability to enhance insulin activity and thus provide blood sugar control. All colours of tea contain these antioxidants, although some may be of a different strain. Skip the milk, though, because it can bind with the EGCG making up to 90% of it unavailable to the body.

NUTS and SEEDS – are also very good for you – while having virtually no adverse effects on blood sugar levels even though they do contain carbs and have varying, but relatively low, GI/GL levels. They contain amazing amounts of protein and fibre, and very high antioxidant levels. Flaxseed in particular is very high in lignans and in Omega 3 fatty acids. It is better served ground because whole flaxseeds tend to pass through the body totally undigested. Most other seeds (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame to name three of the healthiest) can be broken down in the body and therefore can be eaten out of hand as a snack. BUT . . . do watch that serving size; seeds are another high-calorie food. Try to stick to about 1 Tbsp. Out of hand is just about the best way to eat most NUTS, too. Just about all nuts contain high levels of protein and good fats (the exception is Macadamia Nuts which have a high saturated fat content and for that reason do not make the Magic list). All Nuts are also high calorie and about 1 oz (29-30 grams) is definitely it for serving size. Since nuts vary so much in size an ounce is about – 20-24 Almonds; 9-10 Brazil Nuts; 16-18 Cashews; 18-20 Hazelnuts; 8-11 Walnuts. Try nuts or seeds sprinkled into your salad.

PEANUTS and PEANUT BUTTER Peanuts are technically a legume not a nut because they grow underground and nuts grow on trees; but from the point of view of nutritional benefit, they rank up there with the nuts although they do contain slightly higher carbohydrate levels. They are still very high in fat, protein, and fibre – all of which keep the carbs from adversely impacting blood sugar levels. A serving of peanuts is considered to be about 40. Peanut Butter -- afraid this is a terrible trigger food for me – and I have to avoid it; but for those capable of ‘portion control’ it is a wonderfully Magic, Magic Food. Since it’s “invention”, generations of children have practically been raised on peanut butter. The combination of good fats and high protein once again work their blood sugar controlling Magic and this stuff is also great for avoiding heart disease, high blood pressure, and for building strong bones and reducing the risk of gallstones. Again, try to stick to a 1 Tbsp serving because of the high calories and stick with the “natural” kinds that consist of nothing but squashed peanuts – read those labels, most commercial PB contains added sugar (often in the form of HFCS), added salt, and added trans-fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) to prevent separation. And, don't just think of it on crackers or toast -- it's fantastic on apple slices or stuffed into celery.

Next – Soy Products
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:19 AM   #49
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Default Soy Magical

Although Soy Products have been getting a little bad press lately – because of how they tend to raise estrogen levels since they contain some estrogen-like properties – they are still one of the most Magic Foods around.

Soy Beans have a GI of 14 and an amazingly low GL of 1 for a ½ cup serving, cooked. For starters, Soy has more protein, by volume than lean beef and almost none of the saturated fat. It also contains good fats, loads of fibre, and cholesterol lowering plant sterols (although it’s impact on lowering cholesterol has proven to be not quite as strong as was once thought). It is still very ‘heart healthy’ and can lower the risk of kidney disease and several cancers. As an added bonus, because of those same estrogen-like compounds (isoflavones), it tends to ease the most famous of the menopausal symptoms; hot flashes.

There are so many different soy products; all displaying the same beneficial effects and approximately the same GI/GL level.

Edamame are fresh green soybeans available shelled or in the pod or frozen. You can eat them raw (just the beans; not the pods) but mostly they are served steamed (again, no pods) with a little salt and pepper as a side vegetable. Mature Soybeans can be bought canned. You can rinse them thoroughly and add them to casseroles, soups, stews, and chili like any other legume/bean. Soy Nuts are mature beans that have been roasted and salted and are usually eaten as a snack (they are higher in calories, though). Soy Milk (the creamy liquid pressed out of cooked soybeans) can be used in place of cow’s milk – as a beverage or a smoothie base. Tofu is to soybeans as cheese is to cow’s milk. It is the curd portion of the bean and is said to take on the taste of anything it is mixed with, making it an extremely versatile addition to meal planning. It comes in various textures ranging from “silken” which is the softest to “extra firm” and can be used to replace part of the cheese or cottage cheese in lasagna and other dishe; or can be used in place of the meat in stir fries, stews, curries, and salads. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and formed into a chewey cake or sold pre-crumbled as TVP (texturized vegetable protein). This is the source of vegetarian favourites like “hamburger” and “ground round” substitutes. Great in soups and pasta sauces and chili.

Everyone should be able to find one or two that they like. My personal choices are the fresh edamame and the tempeh ground beef substitutes.

Tomorrow -- the most amazing MAGIC of all -- IMHO anyway.
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:59 PM   #50
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Default Pucker Power

Just about the most Magic of all Magic Foods is ACETIC ACID. This is the sour-tasting compound that gives the characteristic tang to VINEGAR, and to Pickles, and Sourdough bread. The effect of a little acetic acid is quite dramatic. Adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a high-carb meal can reduce the post-meal blood sugar spike by approximately 50%.

The reason for this Magic is not totally clear but is thought to be threefold – (1) the acetic acid apparently interferes with the enzymes in your system that break down the chemical bonds in starches and sugars – (2) the acid seems to keep the foods in the stomach longer so they aren’t digested as quickly – (3) the acid may speed the rate at which the finished product of carb digestion, glucose, is moved out of the blood stream and into the muscle cells. Additionally, Vinegar also seems to have a satiating effect, helping you feel full for longer; and it fights bacteria and fungus.

And don’t be limited to just plain old white vinegar – try red or white wine vinegar; rice vinegar; apple cider vinegar; some of the many flavoured vinegars currently available in the market place. And for the greatest of them all, invest in some rich and delicious Balsamic Vinegar.

Menu Magic with Vinegar – No, it’s not just for pouring on heavily breaded fish sticks with a side of fries Start your dinner with a spinach (or other) salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (don’t forget that’s our Magic oil). Add red wine vinegar to a Magic Lentil Soup. Marinate vegetables, fish, chicken in crushed garlic and herbs mixed in your vinegar of choice. Try fresh (and also Magical) strawberries splashed with balsamic vinegar and just a pinch of sweetener. Serve good, old-fashioned dill PICKLES with your lunch or dinner (but watch out for high sodium levels in some brands).

Even SOURDOUGH BREADS with an average GI of 48 and GL of 8 get into the GL range considered to be low rather than the medium range which is where most other breads (even the good grainy kind) tend to fall. It gets it’s tangy taste from the LACTIC ACID that is produced by the bacteria used to ferment the dough. You can use sourdough bread just about anywhere you’d use other breads and it’s especially good if you just don’t want to chew all those grainy bits for a change.

The CITRIC ACID in LEMONS and LIMES gives them the same kind of pucker power, and only to a slightly less miraculous level than Vinegar. They are also very high in Vitamin C and have a natural disease-fighting compound called limonene that can lower cholesterol. That same citric acid can stave off kidney stones because it reduces the amount of calcium excreted in the urine; and it is noted for strengthening the walls of arteries and veins.

Soooooo . . . the next time life gives you lemons . . . use them in salad dressings; serve lots alongside your fish; add it to tuna; use it in marinades; squeeze it on vegetables; add it to your Magic Tea (of any colour) and, of course . . . make lemonade – either hot or cold – but try to use as little sugar as possible, or a substitute, just because.


Tomorrow – Putting it all together – TIPS FOR MAGIC MEALS
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:19 PM   #51
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This is super information...maybe this is why I feel so much better after my lifestyle changes? I do most of these things already.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:12 PM   #52
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Default Making Magic

We’ve talked about a lot of Magic Foods – and the book talks about a lot more; there are 57 different entries – but now it’s time for a few tips on how to make it all work for us.

In many ways BREAKFAST really is the most important meal of the day – start the day right and you are more likely to stay off the Blood Sugar roller-coaster – and eat less – all day long.

 Limit high-carb breads to only one serving instead of two and go for the grainy types.
 Choose lower GL cereals with at least 5 grams of fibre per serving. High Fibre bran based cereals are good, as is oatmeal.
 Totally avoid the white carbs as much as you possibly can.
 Have eggs; sprinkle nuts or berries on the cereal; put Peanut Butter on the toast – but get a good serving of Protein
 Have some fruit, preferably whole; but if you must have juice, make it just a small glass.

LUNCH can be tough, especially if you have to eat away from home.

 if possible, make your lunch at home and switch your sandwich bread to whole grain and layer on lots of vegetables if you can.
 at the restaurant, look for salad if possible and have it with a vinaigrette type of dressing; not creamy.
 If you must have a fast-food sandwich, ask for mustard instead of mayo. Dispose of one half of the bread or bun.
 Stay as far away as possible from the fries and chips – they always smell better than they taste anyway.
 Favour fruit to finish the meal, if at all possible.
 Drink only water if you can; or at least choose a diet soft-drink or unsweetened iced tea.

Here is a little good news, SNACKS are good for you. It really isn’t a good idea to make the long haul from lunch to dinner without a “little something” in your stomach. Just watch out for making the wrong choices.

 Again, if you are at work, pack a snack to take with you. Most fruit and vegetables travel and keep well without even needing refridgeration.
 Stay away from chips or pretzels, candy bars, or just about anything else that comes out of a vending machine.
 Try to work in some protein – nuts or seeds; LF cheese; FF milk or yogurt.

Most families find DINNER time can be really chaotic. You can get a well-balanced and Magic Meal on the table without it taking hours of time, though.

 Limit yourself to one or two servings of starch – pasta, rice, potatoes, etcetera. No big plates of spaghetti.
 Have a reasonable serving of good quality, lean protein.
 Fill those empty spaces on your plate with – you guessed it – low carb vegetables. You can use frozen, they do retain all their good stuff. Stay away from the butter and other heavy, cream-laden sauces. Sprinkle on a little vinegar or lemon juice.
 Even if you already have vegetables on your plate, have a salad with a vinegar-based dressing. It’s almost impossible to eat too many salad greens. Once again, save time and effort by using pre-packaged, pre-washed greens.
 Leave the bread at the store. You really don’t need it; especially if you’ve already had some at breakfast and/or lunch. Besides, you’ll only want to slather on the butter anyway and that adds loads of calories and bad fat.
 Again – stay away from soft drinks. Water is best or a small glass of wine.
 Put the food on the plates, do not bring the serving dishes to the table – makes it too easy to reach for unneeded seconds.

Everyone likes DESSERT; but, nowhere do the evils of white flour, white sugar, and saturated fat collide more perfectly than in those cakes and pasteries. An otherwise Magic Meal can be destroyed with the addition of a high GI/GL dessert item. You can almost feel the blood sugar soaring.

 Think fruit, it should always be your first choice.
 Watch portion sizes – especially if you do go for a higher carb item. The truth is, you can eat almost anything if the portion is small enough. A tiny dish of ice cream topped with fruit or a sliver of cake topped with fruit – the fruit topping seems to make the tiny bite so much more satisfying.
 Look for pasteries and cakes made with whole grains and go low fat and NSA ice creams and frozen treats (although you often have to settle for one or the other – someday the manufacturers will figure it out). Try to use low fat cheese in cheesecakes and toppings.
 Lastly, stop thinking that the meal is not complete without dessert. Have it only once or twice a week; unless it’s fruit or yogurt. Save the other stuff for a special treat.

On Monday . . . a bit of a wrap-up and some suggestions for further reading.
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:47 PM   #53
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Meowee: I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last October and have a CPAP machine now to help me sleep at night. (I alway snored for as long as I can remember, and I have always had a problem with being cranky in the morning). Before I was treated for sleep apnea, I would wake up to pee multiple times a night. But after getting my CPAP, I achieve a deeper sleep and will almost always sleep through the night. I used to have a sense of time passing through the night too, because I was waking up so often. Now I fall asleep and the next thing I know, it's morning. My mood is great when I wake up! I get along with people so much better now because I start the day feeling really relaxed and pleasant.

This has been a good reminder to respect my need for sleep because recently I have fallen in to a bad habit of going to bed really late and then my daughter wakes me up early. I feel fairly functional, even if I only get 5 hours of sleep. It used to be that if I only got 5 hours of sleep, I would be a wreck and have a feeling of indigestion and my whole body would ache. But now I am pretty good on 5 hours. So I get tempted to keep abusing my need for sleep. But you made an excellent point that we need sleep for our physical health. I am going to try laying down a lot earlier!

By the way, thanks for this whole series of posts. It has been extremely interesting!

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Old 05-05-2008, 12:53 PM   #54
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Default Well . . . finally . . .

. . . we have come to the end. . . . or maybe, it's just the beginning.

The book goes into a lot more detail and features about 100 recipes based on the foods and the tips included in the body of the book. Once again, I found it very informative and easy to read – that’s Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar by Robert Barnett, et al.

For me, the only drawback to the book was the fact that it does not actually tell you the GI and GL numbers. It only gives you a generalized statement about the relative GL levels – low, medium, high. However, you really do not need those actual numbers and I guess most of the authors writing about the GI/GL these days must feel that people don’t want to deal with a bunch of statistics like that. Most of the books out there don’t provide that level of detail. This is probably only a drawback to a math-oriented-nerd like me.

For more information about the Glycemic Index and/or the Glycemic Load, you might want to keep an eye out for one or more of these books that I’ve particularly enjoyed –

The GI Diet, by Rick Gallop. This is a fairly small and inexpensive paperback but it does include recipes. He refers to the relative GI of the foods in his book by calling them GO, CAUTION, and STOP foods, and lists them in appropriately coloured sections. This, his first book, proved so popular that there are now about 15 to 20 titles in the series.

Another easy-reading little book is the relatively new The GI Made Simple, by Sherry Torkos. Once again, no GI numbers, just a chart of low, moderate, high GI foods. She does give a pretty good section on the importance of exercise for both weight loss and blood sugar control, but no recipes. The author is a pharmacist and also provides a nice little section on supplements that she trusts and that you won’t find in most of the other books.

The New Glucose Revolution, by Jennie Brand-Miller, et al is (in my opinion) the veritable encyclopaedia of information on this topic and the only book that actually does give you a section with all the GI/GL numbers. Originally published in 1998, we are now up to the third edition (the one I have) which was published in 2007. There are now (according to the last search I did of Amazon on the weekend) almost 30 different titles in this series that are currently in print. Some are specialized for Diabetics, PCOS patients, people with gluten intolerances, children, even a Vegetarian version – the list goes on and on – everyone should be able to find one to which they can relate.

The most complete on-line GI/GL listings are available from the University of Sydney, Australia where Doctor Brand-Miller is located and where most of the current research into GI/GL matters is taking place . . . http://www.glycemicindex.com/. The website also includes lots of additional information as well as the easy to search food data-base.

It seems this Glycemic ‘stuff’ is definitely the hotest ‘buzz’ in the dieting world right now. If you just plug Glycemic Index or GI into an Amazon search, you will come up with more than 100 entries – including the South Beach family of books and Sugar Busters, since both of those extremely popular plans are based on the glycemic index theory that all carbohydrates are definitely not equal. Each of those plans, by the way, has it’s own forum in Diet Central here at 3FC.

Okay, that is it for me . . . I will be away for most of the rest of this week, but will drop-in again on the 12th to see if there are any questions on this material for which I might be able to help you find answers.

In the meantime . . . have a great week of doing marvellous moving and shaking kinds of things . . . coupled with good, healthy, blood sugar friendly, eating, of course.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:16 AM   #55
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Meowee...I have enjoyed this string of posts so much and TY for doing this. I have a few questions so here goes....
1) I bought Mini Shells made of Fillo dough and it said "Enriched Non-Bromine Bleached Wheat Flour". Is this legal? 2 shells have a total Carb of 4g, 25 mg of Sodium, 2g total fat and zero on everythig else including sugar.
2) Lordy...second question just went right out of my mind! LOL IF I remember it I'll come back and post...sorry!
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:53 PM   #56
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Meowee! Almost 24 hours later I remembered my other question! I saw a recipe in the newspaper I would like to try. You make a course flour using popcorn kernels that you grind...I am pretty sure this is SB illegal....what do you say?
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:44 PM   #57
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Hi there . . .

Thanks for the questions, Peggy . . .

Anytime you see the term "Enriched" in front of Wheat Flour it means BAD. When they mill flour and separate and discard the bran and the germ from the starch, clled the endosperm, they are removing almost all of the nourishment value. About 15 vitamins and minerals are removed along with all of the fibre. Then they stick in minute quantities of 2 or 3 artificial vitamins so they can stick the word enriched on the label. Any kind of "bleaching" of the flour is also bad and totally unnecessary. They tell you they are not using bromine in the bleaching solution, so what are they using, hmmmm. Besides flour is plenty white enough (especially after the bran and germ have been removed). Sorry, chickie, this is just one more in a long list of Frankenfoods.

Regarding your second question . . . I don't know whether you mean Sugar Busters or South Beach and I'm not particularly knowledge about either, although I have read both books. If plain air-popped popcorn is allowed, I would imagine that grinding the kernels into a flour like consistency would also be allowed (and vice-versa, of course). Aside from the specifics of either of those plans, making a course flour from ground up whole dried corn kernels doesn't sound like it would be that bad a substitute for other more finely ground flours, depending on any additions the recipe may require, of course. At least the germ and the bran would still be there.

Okay that looks like we have come to the end of this series . . . thanks to everyone who commented on having enjoyed it. See you soon . . . try put a little MAGIC into your eating plan . . .
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:08 PM   #58
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This was a wonderful thread! Thanks so much for posting this and now i need to get this book for myself!
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:55 AM   #59
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Hi there . . . just thought I'd Sticky this before it drops off to page 2 . . . . . . instant replay, since I did this just before the meltdown on June 6.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:16 AM   #60
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Meowee, Thanks so much for summing up all of this information. It was all so very useful. Some of it I kinda already knew and some was an eye opener. Thanks again for taking so much time to help all of us.
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