How to Get Creative on a Low Sugar Diet

Disclaimer: Before starting any type of diet or lifestyle change you should consult with your healthcare provider

I often hear after a few months after kicking the sugar habit and off the carbs from my patient’s, ” Carmen, I feel great, I have lost weight, but now i do not know what to eat , I am running out of options!”. Okay so now we are finally getting to the meat and potatoes of what we are going to eat. Wait, did I just potatoes? Why invest in colorful, tasty, fresh veggies? Because you will not get bored. And that may be the biggest complaint I hear a few months into this. If you are bored you have to switch it up or you may revert to old habits! Eating and cooking wonderful veggies and meals may cost you a pretty penny and require some extra time but the benefits now will outweight the risks later! Not to mention you will be looking and feeling and healthier quicker!

So one recommendation is to start getting creative with your veggies. Try new ones. Substitute those into dishes you have already created paired with meats you like. Remember, lean meats, when prepared in a healthy way are high in protein and low in sugar. This keeps you fuller longer. Veggies I tend to use/eat sparingly are the starchy ones: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, etc. Reason being, yes a baked potato is healthier than french fries, but eating asparagus or an avocado is a much better option as it keeps blood sugar level lower. Keeping blood sugar levels lower mean less fat storage for you later!

Ok so we need to get creative with the veggies as they can get boring fast, so lets talk about some healthy recipes and snack options we can use with our new vegetables. I am going to list some recipes but I want to list some super basic reminder snacks we can bring to work and carry with us on the go. I use these in my life and I recommend them to my patients when they feel that hunger cue we talked about. The key is to eat just enough to stop that hunger pain and then eat your meals as needed. Many of us working 9-5 schedules are hungry around 10 am and 3pm. Makes sense due to lowering blood sugar levels.

But this is easy to counteract. This is also the time many of us fail and head to the vending machine, outside eateries, or cafeteria to get that “snack” or coffee and come back with a bad snack and a possibly unhealthy sugary drink to get through. Problem is when you eat carbs or sugar at these times, you will only crash again 2-3 hours later…setting yourself up for another carb craving. Eating a high protein breakfast and lunch may eliminate the need for a snack all together as you are fuller longer and blood sugar never dips. Guess What? This means you end up reducing overall calorie intake if you never reach for that snack.This means you may end up losing weight.

However, if you need to snack to do not worry!! And I want you to eat! Because starving yourself is a trick that also will make you gain weight. Yes, starving yourself doesn’t work folks! If you are not hungry that is fine, do not eat! You should only be eating when hungry. I will talk about that in another post! Right now I have some ideas for you that I see working. Here they are:

Breakfast:

Plain Greek Yogurt, any fat percentage, any brand, add blueberries for flavor, key is must be plain and Greek

Protein Shake use one with low sugar, 4 grams or less per serving, use as meal replacement for breakfast or lunch

Hard Boiled Eggs

Snacks:

Handful of Raw Almonds – Keep a bag at work or in your bag

Celery sticks/Apple Slices with almond/peanut butter/humus – remember portion control, just one tbsp is all you need

Deli Meat wrapped in lettuce

Raspberries, Blueberries, apples, and Blackberries are low in Sugar

A cup of almond milk

Any type of veggie, broccoli, cauliflower, with olive oil and lemon juice, homemade dressings

Edamame bowl

Homemade popcorn in the pot with olive oil

Avocado

Olives

Seaweed Snacks

Kale Chips

Brussel Sprout Chips

Lunch:

Homemade tuna salad

Lentil Soup

Greek Salad

Dinner:

Try any lean meat such as baked chicken or turkey burger paired with your favorite veggies. Remember you can eat unlimited veggies and meat. Most of us are afraid of fat and we tend to not to want to eat as much meat but remember you should be more concerned with the sugar than the fat. Overall, aim for lower fat meat. Eat red meats 1-2 times per week. Fish is also another healthy option.

Recipes:

Ground Beef With Sliced Bell Peppers

From:http://authoritynutrition.com/7-healthy-low-carb-meals/#4

Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Onions, Ground Beef, Spinach, Spices and a Bell Pepper.

Instructions:

1. Cut an onion in little pieces.
2. Put coconut oil on pan, turn up the heat.
3. Add onion to pan, stir for a minute or two.
4. Add ground beef.
5. Add some spices (I use a spice mix, but salt and pepper work fine).
6. Add spinach.
7. (Optional) If you want to spice things up a bit, add some black pepper and chili powder.
8. Stir fry until ready, serve with a sliced bell pepper.

1. Eggs and Vegetables, Fried in Coconut Oil

http://authoritynutrition.com/7-healthy-low-carb-meals/#41. Eggs and Vegetables, Fried in Coconut Oil

Ingredients: Coconut oil, Spinach, Frozen Vegetable Mix (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans) and Spices.

Instructions:

1. Add coconut oil to frying pan and turn up the heat.
2. Add vegetables. In my case, I use a frozen mix so I need to let it thaw in the heat for a few minutes.
3. Add eggs (I use 3 or 4).
4. Add spices. I use a spice mix, although salt and pepper work great too.
5. (Optional) Add spinach.
6. Stir fry until ready.

Paleo Lettuce Wraps

http://www.health-bent.com/poultry/paleo-lettuce-wraps

Ingredients
3 T fat of your choice
1 lb chicken breasts, thighs or ground chicken
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c reduced sodium wheat free soy sauce
1 t chili garlic sauce
1 t sesame oil
iceberg lettuce
1 avocado, sliced
Method
Heat a saute pan with 2 T oil. Cut the chicken into the smallest pieces possible and add the pan. Don’t worry about overcrowding the pan, the chicken doesn’t need to brown, just cook it until it’s done all the way through.
While the chicken is cooking, add the lemon juice, chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and cilantro into a serving bowl.
Once the chicken is done, add it to the bowl.
Add a few more glugs of oil to the saute pan and toss in the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl. Toss everything around to coat.
Remove the stem of your lettuce head with a knife and slice the head in 1/2, lengthwise. Peel the lettuce into individual “cups” and wash.
Pile the chicken into your lettuce cups and top with avocado.

Enchilada Chicken Mango Salad

http://paleomg.com/enchilada-chicken-mango-salad/

Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 small head of hearts of romaine, shredded
1-2 cups cold leftover enchilada chicken
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ avocado, diced
sprinkle of salt and pepper
Instructions
Chop romaine.
Place enchilada chicken on top.
Add mango and avocado on top of that.
Eat up! No salad dressing needed!

Kale Chips

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/01/recipe-kale-chips.html

Ingredients:
8 loosely packed cups kale, torn into 1-1½“ pieces, tough stems removed
2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted and still warm
¼ tsp salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Wash and dry kale. Place in a plastic container or large bowl.
3. Poor warm oil over kale, close container lid, and shake to coat (alternatively, stir to coat in a bowl or give them a good massage with your hands directly on the baking sheet).
4. Spread out onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt (careful, it doesn’t take much).
5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until crispy. Enjoy!

Simple Cucumber Salad

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/07/recipe-simple-cucumber-salad.html

Ingredients:

1½ large English cucumbers
1-2 tsp Salt (for salting the cucumber)
4 large green onions
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (or use a good quality bottled Lemon Juice)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp fresh cracked Pepper
1. Slice cucumber very finely (I like to use my Mandoline Slicer set to 1/8” thick). Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit in a colander in your sink for 1 hour.
2. Rinse cucumber thoroughly (taste a piece to make sure you’ve rinsed all the salt off). Let the cucumber slices drain on paper towels or a clean tea towel to dry completely.
3. Slice green onions. Finely chop cilantro. Finely zest lemon. Combine onions, cilantro, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and cracked pepper and stir to combine.
4. Pour dressing over the cucumber, stir to incorporate and serve! You can refrigerate this salad for several hours up to overnight; simply give it a stir to redistribute the dressing before serving.

Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup with Sausages

http://paleomg.com/roasted-red-pepper-and-avocado-soup-with-sausages/

Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
3-4 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped (I used jarred in water kind. but you could roast your own)
1 avocado, pitted
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ lime, juiced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons fat of choice (I used bacon fat)
salt and pepper, to taste
½ avocado, diced (to garnish)
chopped cilantro (to garnish)
4-5 cooked sausage of choice (I used a sundried tomato chicken sausage)
Instructions
Place a saucepan over medium heat, add in your fat, garlic and onion. Cook up onions until they are translucent.
Then add in your roasted red peppers with broth and coconut milk along with your smoked paprika, paprika, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes.
While soup is simmering, slice up your sausages and cook on a skillet on both sides.
Once everything has simmered, scoop out your avocado and add to the saucepan along with your lime juice. Then use an immersion blender to mix until soup is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, add it to your food processor, like I did. I did it in two batches so my kitchen wouldn’t become messier than it already is.
Top soup with diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and sausage. So divine.
Notes
use ALL the garnishes. they really do make a huge difference in flavor. do not cheat your taste buds.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Chips

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Brussels-Sprouts-Chip-Recipe-32094688

INGREDIENTS

10 brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.
With a paring knife, cut off the bottom tip of each sprout. The outer leaves will fall off. Trim a tiny bit more off the bottom so more leaves fall off. Continue until you’ve removed all the leaves. Toss the leaves with the oil, and lay them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
Roast seven to 10 minutes, until leaves are lightly browned and crisp

Baked Meatballs

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Paleo-Meatball-Recipe-30665675

INGREDIENTS

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 large egg
2 pounds ground pork

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, salt, caraway seeds, paprika, pepper, parsley, mustard, and egg with a fork until combined. With your hands crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Moisten your hands with water and shake to remove excess. Measure a level tablespoon of pork and roll into a ball between your palms.
Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
Serves eight.

That is all for now..Happy eating. Remember Boredom is a state of mind, get creative, start substituting items, scope out produce in the grocery store and find out what items work for you. When you are bored ..switch it up!!

Proven Weight Loss Tips That Work: Cut the Sugar!

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Disclaimer: You should seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting any diet or lifestyle change.

How can I lose weight?… It is the most frequent question I am asked by clients. Those that have worked with me and lost the weight already know my secret to success. Avoid sugars, carbs, refined carbs, processed foods, dairy, junk food, etc. and add in protein, veggies, meats, and “clean” eating. I have seen weight loss from 2 pounds to double-digit numbers by just avoiding sugars alone. Once we break the “sugar cycle”, the cravings stop, making it easier to adhere to a low carb, low sugar diet.

You may want to know, why low carb? And I am not talking about Atkins or a “diet”, I am talking about a lifestyle change. The answer is insulin. When you eat sugar, a hormone called insulin is released. Insulin helps regulate that level of sugar in our blood; the more sugar in the blood stream, the more insulin is released. Insulin helps store all of this glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen and in fat cells ( AKA triglycerides). Basically insulin helps store fat cells. When you decrease insulin spikes,  by decreasing sugar and carb intake…fat cells release, you lose weight!

When all of this insulin gets released the body will eventually have a sugar crash and we respond by wanting more sugar. This is why when you have that bagel in the morning you are still hungry at lunch. And why when you have that sandwich for lunch you get hungry before dinner. You end up eating additional calories because you are not filled up. Therefore, you gain weight or if you are exercising, you never lose it.

However, there is an easy cure for this. Stop eating sugar, reduce carbs, increase protein, and reduce portion sizes. Also, only eating when you are hungry is key. You must listen for your hunger cues and only eat then. You will slowly train your mind and body to eat when needed. When you only eat enough to feel full you will eventually reduce the overall amount of food your body requires overtime. This is not starving yourself. This is being mindful, listening to the body, and eating when the body tells you to.

In the beginning, as you are changing your diet I do not recommend adding in physical activity right away as you are adjusting to the new diet. There will be meal planning, food shopping, and prep work involved. It will take about 3 weeks to kick the sugar craving completely, and the first 3 days your body will be in a detox state. if you have been a heavy sugar or carb eater you may feel crabby, light-headed, weak, headaches, and nausea. If you feel this you are having withdrawal just like withdrawal from a drug, but less severe. I generally treat each patient differently but generally we don’t discuss exercise until they have shown they have got the lifestyle change down and are ready! It is dangerous to try to exercise while you are adjusting to a new diet and especially if you are detoxing. For the most part most patients resume exercise after the 3 weeks is over or in about a month. When you are detoxing, this is a good thing, your body is releasing excess sugar stores, fat cells, chemicals, and excess garbage. It’s not the best feeling while it’s happening but after 3 days you will gain a mental clarity you may have not felt before!

Drinking lots of water is important. Carrying snacks are important. Being prepared to be emotional is important. You only need to weigh yourself  once per week. I often have patients use apps or trackers in between visits with me. Body fat percentage is a better gauge of weight loss than pounds in a sense, because when you see inches loss that is real weight loss! Weight can fluctuate plus or minus 5 pounds in one day.

Now that we have all that down I will add further tips that I know work!!!

Here they are:

Eat organic food if cost is a concern choose organic meats and eggs
Eliminate sugars
Eliminate grains and white flours
Limit starchy vegetables
Use healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil
Cook and eat your own food
Do not use fake sweeteners even stevia
Limit coffee intake switch to tea
Drink plenty of water
Eat protein and veggies at every meal can be unlimited as long as carbs and sugars are avoided
Use olive oil and lemon as dressing
Eat fruits apples and berries but limit sweet fruits such as pineapples peaches mangoes
Substitute low sugar protein shakes for meals if needed but not as a snack
Eat 70 percent dark chocolate squares as a treat but no more than one Per day
Carbs eat sparingly oatmeal is ok but no more than twice per week

Read the labels – if an item has more than 4 grams of sugar per serving be mindful of that

Fat free is not better
Add olive oil to items
Add chia seeds
Use coconut manna in tea and eat as needed when hungry in between meals
Eat almonds
Use almond milk instead of real milk or soy
Drink green tea
Keep lots of healthy snacks and drinks around you to trick yourself into thinking you are eating all the time
One banana per day, no more than that
Use coco powder or 70 coco squares when sugar cravings kick in or eat apple or frozen blueberries with Greek yogurt
Do not add crumbles to yogurt
Avoid creamy items
Use coconut aminos to add flavor to items
Steamed is safe
Baked is safe
Bake veggies in the oven with olive oil chicken and turkey as well organic only
Fry chicken and turkey bacon and sausage at home
Boil eggs
Fry eggs in olive or coconut oil
Eat avocado unlimited amount
Sweet potatoes, peas, corn, and carrots on occasion
Beans on occasion
Try to avoid gluten
Eat fish all fish
Bake and roast all types of veggies in oven
Use crock pot to make protein and veggie meals

Avoid sodas sugary drinks
Be mindful of specialty coffee drinks mixed with steamed milk if you must drink no sugar

Work out 40 4 times a week every other day

30 min 5 day

One hour 3 days bare minimum
Or 10, 000 steps per day, invest in pedometer or jawbone

Cardio will help with overall weight loss and shed fat
Muscle toning will help with insulin resistance

Take vitamin d and iron supplements
Take probiotics
Vit c and zinc

Weigh at least one a week

Aim for a pound per week however in the begging and depending how much you have to lose much more will come off than that from detoxing

Always be safe when starting any new lifestyle change. These tips should be performed under the guidance of a healthcare provider. If you are feeling overly weak, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint please call 911 and

Those are my tips for today!!! Trust my tips and you will see success! @carmFNP