Monthly Archives: October 2013

Blood Glucose, Insulin & my n=1 Experiment

Here you go, the moment you have all been waiting for with bated breath….. What even is ‘bated breath’? Someone explain that to me please.

Let me preface this post by saying I am not diabetic, pre-diabetic or even concerned with any significant fat loss. I am focused on overall health & wellness. I jabbed myself with the lancet & tested my blood sugar levels because I wanted to & because I am interested (and by the looks of the number of views on my posts around this topic, you are too). So, I like doing experiments, on myself, not on rats or our dog. It’s all well & good to read information about what a particular food does in your body but, as we know, we are all different, we all tolerate things differently and so this is my n=1 experiment to see how my body tolerates certain foods, carbohydrates in particular. Let me be clear, this is what happened for me, it doesn’t mean that is what will happen for you so don’t go running off in a tiz thinking that we are the same, we’re not.

Here’s a bit of background on me & why my body may have responded the way it did and why yours would likely be different. I eat a paleo diet 99% of the time and have done for about 2 years. It’s what makes me feel good so I go with it for now. I quit sugar about 2 years ago & I avoid sugar, natural or otherwise, the majority of the time. Once a month maybe I will eat some rice, quinoa or non-paleo food, it’s the exception rather than the rule. I eat pretty high fat, moderate protein, low carb day to day. I eat loads of non-starchy veggies every day, starchy veggies 1-2 times a week, fruit about once a week, lots of good quality fats (coconut products, nuts, ghee, olive oil, fat on my free range meat) & good quality animal protein. I do weight training or high intensity interval training 4-5 times per week. I generally eat 3 meals a day & don’t feel hungry, fatigued, tired or foggy in between those meals. Based on this I would suggest that my body is pretty INSULIN SENSITIVE and that I am fairly FAT ADAPTED.

So for anyone who doesn’t have a great understanding of blood sugar regulation & what insulin does here is a high level quick run-down. Consuming carbohydrates, & to a smaller extent, protein cause our body to release insulin. Let’s think about carbs as backpackers out on the town, insulin is the taxi’s & our cells are the hostels. So we eat carbohydrates & all of a sudden its like the nightclubs have all closed & our blood stream has all these rowdy backpackers (carbs) cruising around the streets. The body immediately sends out taxi’s (insulin) to pick them up & take them back to their hostels (muscle & liver cells). The taxi’s knock on the door to the hostel, if they have free beds, in go the backpackers & the taxi returns to the depot. Sometimes there is too many backpackers & not enough beds. In this case when the taxi knocks on the door to the hostel, no-one answers & the taxi drives off leaving the backpackers in the street full of booze & bad manners. The body then freaks out because the backpackers are still cruising the streets causing a ruckus (too much glucose in our blood stream is toxic) so it sends out more taxis which will have the same issue as the previous ones with the full hostels. These taxis end up then dropping the backpackers to the police station (your fat tissue) to stay there until someone bails them out, or not.

Ultimately insulin is the hormone responsible for fat deposition. If we pump out too much insulin, generally in response to excess carbohydrate consumption, our body will store more fat. Keeping blood glucose levels stable is a good indication of your insulin sensitivity or you ability to tolerate & process carbohydrates without them ending up on your ar$e. Ideally we want to maintain a blood glucose level of 4-6. You can read more HERE if you want to totally geek out.

I did I few different food experiments for your reading pleasure, but nothing too mental like eating a kilo of lollies because I didn’t want to feel totally $hithouse and I know the inflammatory reaction I get from that much sugar & I am not interested in experiencing it again. I just wanted to test the things that normally occur in my life (with a few random extras).

According to David Getoff fructose is the sugar most responsible for causing insulin resistance & type 2 diabetes.

So a few of the things I tested:
– sweet potato
– carrots & parsnip
– alcoholic apple cider
– kombucha
– goodie balls
– fasted BG
– post exercise BG
– my normal meals of fat, protein & non-starchy veggies
– fruit

These were not done on consecutive days and were done at random times throughout the day based on my interest level of testing what I was eating. What did I learn?
* Starchy carbs (sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, parsnip etc) give me a decent blood glucose rise but get back to normal stable levels within an hour-2 hrs.
* My normal meals of fat, protein & non-starchy veggies gives me very little blood glucose response at all.
* Dried fruit gave me a pretty big rise & stayed elevated for longer.
* Low sugar content fruit like berries still gave me a bigger BG spike to what I was expecting
* Training when fasted increased my BG levels post training
* Sushi caused the biggest BG peak of all the experiments & remained elevated for over 3hrs post meal. I also had the highest fasted BG reading the following morning after this. I felt pretty tired, lethargic & sluggish after this meal.

Day 1
8pm – 2 hrs post dinner of pork belly, broccoli, asparagus, paleo fried rice- 4.9

Day 2
Fasted- 4.3
8am Post breakfast- fish coconut curry with spinach, bone broth – 4.2
11.45am pre-lunch- 4.2
12pm- lunch green smoothie, salmon & lettuce cups -5.2
2.30pm -3.9 was feeling bit hungry- didn’t eat as much for lunch as usual.

Day 3
Fasted 4.4
Breakfast 7.30am- chicken thighs & veggies, bone broth
10.30am 4.7 then had coconut milk coffee
11.30 1hr post coffee 4.4

Day 4
8.30pm -2hrs post dinner of roast pork & salad- 5.6

Day 5
5.30pm after one apple cider 5.4
8pm one more cider & red curry lamb 5.1

Day 6
7.45am fasted 4.7
Kombucha on empty stomach- half hour later 5.7
Dinner- pre dinner 5.8
Whole sweet potato with ghee & cinnamon plus lamb- 30mins post meal – 7.1
2 hrs post meal – 4.8

Day 7
4.30pm 5.9 then ate goodie balls
Post goodie balls (dried dates, dried figs, nuts & seeds) 5pm – 5.2
6pm 7.1
7pm 7
8pm 5.4

Day 8
2.45pm post workout, no lunch 5.8

Day 9
7.30 am post breakfast I had a coffee frappe (coffee, dates, coconut milk, ice)
8am 5.9
8.30am 5.2

Day 10
Pre-dinner- 5
Whole sweet potato plain roasted with chicken
1/2 hr post dinner – 7.1
2hrs post dinner – 4.4

Day 11
Pre-dinner 5.9
Dinner of lamb with roasted carrot & parsnip salad
1/2 hr post dinner 7.1
1 1/2hrs post – 5.8

Day 12
6.30am fasted 5.1
7am 1/2 hr after breakfast (eggs, kraut, broth, green smoothie)- 6.2
2.30pm -5.4 then had 1 cup mixed berries
1/2 hr later @ 3pm 6.4
4pm 6.9

Day 13
6am fasted 3.9
Went for a 30min walk – 5.4 after

Day 14
6.30am breakfast – 3 eggs & mug bone broth
7.30am 4.9
8.30 pre-presenting at a workshop (feeling bit stressed & anxious) 5.5
12pm post workshop, pre lunch 5.3
5.30pm pre-dinner 4.8
6.30pm (15mins post sushi) 5.9
7pm 7.2
7.30pm 7.2
8pm 7.4
8.30 pm 7.3
9pm 7.2
Went to bed. Fasted BG the following morning was 5.3

Day 15
15 mins post dinner – chicken thighs, pesto, coconut milk, broccoli, zucchini 5.3
45 mins post dinner- 5.4
Had some CoYo ice cream (Date & Tamarind) 30 mins later- 6.1

Chocolate Lamb

So chocolate with lamb, super weird or super delicious? I think both. The raw cacao in this recipe gives the lamb an amazing rich & mildly chocolatey flavor without being too much of a punch in the face. Lamb is a great source of protein & is rich in iron, zinc & B vitamins. I love the way this lamb just falls apart from the cooking & can be a great addition to a salad if you want more of a Summer meal rather than a Winter warmer.


Chai Protein Bounty Bars

Ok, let’s be clear. Coconut butter & coconut oil are NOT the same thing! I don’t care if the lady/man/weird hippy/talking cat at the healthfood shop told you they are the same. They are clearly off their face & don’t have a clue about the wonderful world of coconut & they are lying to you. I don’t know why they are lying to you. Maybe they don’t like you. Maybe they want to keep all the coconut butter for themselves…. that would be understandable. You can try to use them interchangeably if you like, but it’s going to end in tears, oily coconut tears. So here’s the deal. Think about peanut butter & peanut oil. You know they are not the same thing right? Same deal. Coconut OIL is the oil pressed from the flesh of the coconut. Coconut BUTTER (also called coconut concentrate or coconut manna) is coconut flesh puréed to form a liquid or butter. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s make these babies.

If you are not a fan of the old chai flavor you can just omit all the chai spices & make regular protein Bounty bars. You can leave out the protein too if you like. If you leave out much more though there will be nothing left so let’s not waste each others time & just do as I say. These are loaded with fabulous healthy fats, protein & are super low carb. You need these in your face ASAP.

200g coconut butter
1 tsp cinnamon (omit if not doing chai)
1/2 tsp cloves (omit if not doing chai)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (omit if not doing chai)
1/4 tsp cardamom (omit if not doing chai)
1 tsp vanilla powder (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup protein powder (OPTIONAL- you can use extra coconut instead)
1/2 cup coconut (shredded or dessicated)
1-2 tbs maple syrup or stevia to taste (OPTIONAL- I didn’t add any sweetener to mine)

2-4 tbs raw cacao (start with 2 & add more to taste)
1 heaped tbs ghee or coconut oil
1/2 cup nut butter of your choice
1-2 tbs honey/maple syrup or stevia (OPTIONAL)

In the food processor mix all the bar ingredients together until well combined then pour into a baking paper lined tray and pop in the freezer to set while you make the coating. For the coating, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and melt together gently. Adjust the sweetness/cacao level as you need to. Once smooth, remove from heat & set aside. Grab the bars out of the freezer & cut into the sizes you want. Dunk them into the Choc mix & place on a baking paper lined tray in the fridge to set. Now you can eat.

Mixed Berry Choc Ripple Ice Cream

Oh ice-creamy goodness how I enjoy thee. The weather is heating up so has come the time for my ice cream maker bowl to resume its place in the freezer so that I can make ice cream on a whim. You know what’s annoying? Wanting to make ice cream & the bowl isn’t frozen. Height of inconvenience. My friend bought an ice cream maker this week. She didn’t realise you had to freeze the bowl first. Needless to say that batch of ice cream was not a success. If you have bought/are going to buy an ice cream maker, you’ve got to freeze the bowl first people, like overnight, not just a few hours. That’s my pearls of wisdom for the day. I’m fairly certain you are all feeling very enlightened by this information.

Homemade ice cream kicks ar$e on the store-bought chemical $hitstorm with 34 ingredients, none of which you can pronounce. This one is a delicious mash up of berry goodness & chocolatey yum. It is a low sugar recipe that packs a flavour punch.

Berry Bit
400ml coconut milk
400ml coconut cream
250g mixed berries
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
OPTIONAL – Stevia or maple syrup to sweeten

Choc Bit
1 lge ripe avocado
1 cup coconut water (you can use a milk of your choice instead if you like)
2 tbs raw cacao
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch stevia (or 1-2 tbs maple syrup)

Add all the berry bit ingredients to the food processor & blend well until smooth. Pour into your ice cream maker & let it do it’s thing.
Give the food processor a quick rinse. Now add all the choc bit ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. Taste it & see if it needs more cacao or sweetener. Set this aside until the berry ice cream is just about done. When the berry bit is done, pour it into a container, pour the choc mix on top & swirl it through with a spoon/knife/fork/finger…. Pop it in the freezer for about an hour to set properly, scoop it out & get it in your pie hole.

Creamy Garlic Prawns

You know what I sometimes miss about this paleo bizzo?? Amazing fresh seafood pasta with loads of garlic & olive oil. YUUUMMMM!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the bloating, gut ache & general crappy feeling I get from eating gluten, but those few minutes before all that starts are heavenly. The Italians sure did get some things very right. Like gelato & Gucci. I am going to make sorbet with coconut water this Summer. Not sure what flavor but it is going to be delicious. I can taste it already. I love coconut water… & puppies. People who don’t like puppies have something wrong with them…. Like I think it’s a serious character flaw. That would totally be a deal-breaker for me if someone didn’t like puppies. That’s my dating advice for all you singles out there. If they don’t like puppies, move on quick smart. You are welcome. Well that didn’t get too off track at all. Pasta to puppies. Totally normal conversation.

2 1/2 tbs fresh garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped continental parsley (optional)
400ml coconut milk
6 zucchini’s noodled (I use my SPIROOLI
500g peeled raw prawns
I also added 2 fresh salmon fillets chopped into cubes but that is completely optional!
Coconut oil for cooking.

In a large frying pan, heat the coconut oil & sauté the shallot & chilli until the shallot has softened, add the garlic & sauté until it starts to brown slightly. Add your coconut cream & reduce to a medium heat & bring to the boil. Once it is simmering add the prawns (and salmon if you are using it) and allow to return to a simmer stirring gently. Reduce to a low heat & cook until the prawns are just cooked through then remove from heat. Put the zucchini noodles in a big bowl (they are still raw but the hot sauce will be enough to cook them slightly), pour the sauce over the top, add the herbs, season with salt & pepper & toss gently to combine. Serve.

8 Hour Slow Cooked Lamb

I love lamb. Almost as much as I love coconut….It is not quite as versatile as my old mate coconut otherwise I would love it equally. Lambs are so cute AND so delicious! Plus they make great UGG boots! They are like the gift that keeps on giving. As much as it saddens me to eat such cute little critters, it does please me that they bring so much joy to the world & I only buy free range so I know they have had happy lives frolicking in fields with rainbows. I used a leg this time but I have done this with a shoulder before & it was amazing. As with all meat, source the best quality you can & try & find free-range pastured lamb. This ensures the optimal ratio of omega 3:6 in the meat and grassfed lambs can have up to 25% higher omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) than the conventionally raised lambs. Lamb is a great source of selenium, zinc, iron, B vitamins and protein. There is a great place called SIWA FRESH where you can order free-range organic lamb direct from the farm. Whole or half lamb works out so much cheaper! Get some friends or family together & grab it in bulk if you can!

1 leg/shoulder free-range lamb
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs sumac
1 tsp rock salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
Good handful fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 cup water

Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 130C. In a bowl, mix the oil, sumac, salt, pepper & rosemary and use this to massage all over the lamb. Pop the lamb into a baking tray, pour over any remaining oil mix, add the water to the bottom of the tray & cover completely with foil so that it is completely enclosed. Pop the lamb into the oven for 2 hrs. After 2 hrs, turn the heat down to 110C and let that baby go for another 5-6hrs. I always pull off the foil an hour before the end to allow the top to crisp up & give you the most delicious fat!

Coffee Body Scrub

You all know by now that I am a total WOO WOO HIPPIE (but with clean shaven armpits) so when INTENSITY PT told me of the ‘its gonna change your life’ coffee body scrub she bought, of course I thought I’d make my own.

So what’s the big whoop with a coffee body scrub? Apart from making your bathroom smell like your favorite coffee shop? Well a body scrub is going to help exfoliate the dead skin cells on your body and stimulate the skin. The caffeine component of the coffee is a great antioxidant and when used topically helps to draws toxins from the body & is said to reduce the appearance of cellulite & varicose veins by increasing circulation. The sugar gives a great granular consistency to the scrub to help gently exfoliate, the salt aids the detoxification process, the oils add some great moisturizing properties & you can play around with any oils you like. I love ghee because it is rich in vitamins A & E that are fabulous for skin health but feel free to use coconut, almond, olive or macadamia oil if you fancy.

110g ground coffee
110g brown sugar
60g ghee or coconut oil
30g jojoba (or other oil)
3 tbs rock salt (or Epsom salts)

In the food processor blend the salt until it is finely ground, add all the remaining ingredients & blend well until completely combined. Pop it into a jar & use as often as you like. I usually jump in the shower, get wet, coffee myself up & try & leave it on for 5-10mins before washing it off.

Asian Style Ribs

Oh yeah! Ribby Dib Dibs! Was that a weird thing to say? Whatev’s people, whatev’s. On that, is it really that difficult to add the last syllable to the word? Does it really save that much time to say ‘whatev’s’ rather than ‘whatever’? Or is it just a cool y-gen thing that i am totally not getting? Anyway, I digress, how unusual… I think ribs are the most primal looking things have ever cooked. They are totally ‘caveman’ & completely delicious! You could use beef ribs if you prefer that to pork. This sauce is the bomb and without all the weird cr@p you will find in the pre-marinated ribs at the butcher or the stuff that comes out of a bottle, jar or sachet at the store. Whip up a batch of my BBQ sauce and you can use it for loads of different recipes. I used this same sauce mix below for oven baked chicken thighs too & it was devine.

1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/2 cup BBQ SAUCE
1 tbs raw honey or maple syrup (OPTIONAL)
2 tbs coriander stems, finely chopped (leaves reserved)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs grated ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 kg free range baby back pork ribs

In a big bowl mix all the ingredients except the ribs & coriander leaves well. Add the ribs & rub them well with the sauce to coat. Allow to marinate for a few hours. Preheat the oven to 150C, line a large tray with baking paper & place the rib racks on in a single layer. Pour over any remaining sauce from the bowl & cover with foil. Bake for 1.5 hrs covered then remove foil, turn heat up to 220C and return to oven for 20-30 mins until crisped up on the outside. Sprinkle with coriander leaves, pour over any leftover juices in the tray & serve.