January 27

Processed Carbs and Sugar-Free-Dom, what’s the Connection?

If you've read my sugar-free journey and the intro to the group you will know that my version of sugar-free includes not eating any processed carbohydrates. So for those of you who may wonder why, here goes...

For decades I have struggled to have a balanced approach to food. I have always cooked and prepared wonderful, delicious, nutritious meals, I 'practised what I preached' as it were to my students and clients, that a whole food, mostly plant based diet really is wonderful medicine for the body BUT I would still have bouts of supplementing my own diet with sugar and processed carbs. 

During these phases I would sometimes feel I was spiralling out of control and it would take a concerted effort to right myself again. This behaviour made me feel truly cr** about myself, berating myself as a poor example of a Nutritional Therapist and healthy eating.

What I also noticed was that when I cut out sugar in my diet I began adding more of other things in; crackers, bread products such as bagels, croissants, hot cross buns...what was going on?

So I started reading up about the brain and addiction and particularly the work of Susan Peirce-Thompson and her protocol Bright Line Eating. BINGO!! Finally the clouds parted and everything fell into place. Susan talked about how flour products affect the brain in the same way as sugar, stimulating the reward centre and making us crave more and more. Sugar and flour are very similar, they are highly refined carbohydrates and do not remotely resemble the natural product, including how nature designed them to be healthy food for us! She shared a really clear analogy about this that made so much sense to me. 

The analogy was to imagine wholegrains to be like a huge block of ice, if you placed this on your patio in the sun it would slowly melt away over hours, if however you smashed this block of ice into ice chips and tipped this on your patio in the sun, in seconds there would be water everywhere. This is what happens when you eat flour, the refined carbohydrates flood and overwhelm the body, rapidly raising our blood sugar levels and putting our body into hyper rebalance mode as it goes about removing excess glucose from our blood stream, either storing the glucose in the muscle or as fat.

So from this point on sugar-free also meant being flour free for me, what a journey but also what freedom as I switched off my addictive brain response.

So I invite you to consider your own response to refined carbs; is one slice of bread never enough, can you binge on crackers or potato crisps (yes those too!). If so try cutting down on the processed carbs and going for the block of ice type carbs ie choose whole grain/seed options, brown rice, pot barley, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, jumbo rolled oats and see if it makes a difference, I'm pretty sure it will!

You can read about my journey HERE


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