How to be carb-smart and enjoy the season without the weight gain using these low carb holiday recipes and tips
Ask the Nutritionist
by Melissa Diane Smith
Q: Somehow, every holiday season, I end up getting sick with some kind of bug, feeling uncomfortably full, and gaining extra pounds. Can you offer any nutritional advice for getting through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s feeling healthy and without gaining unwanted pounds? —Ellen S., Portland, Ore.
A: As enjoyable as the holiday season can be, it’s also the time of year when we encounter sugar- and carb-laden sweets, beverages, baked goods, and side dishes at every turn. Sugar is an immune suppressor. The more of it we eat, the more apt we are to get sick. And overloading on any type of carbs—not just sweets, but also bread, stuffing, and mashed potatoes—can stimulate our appetite and make us feel bloated and gain weight.
I am delighted to be a featured speaker during the Grand Opening of the new Natural Grocers natural food supermarket at 5600 E. River Road in Tucson this month.
On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 6 p.m., I will present “Going Against the Grain for Health: How to Make Food Your Best Medicine.” In this presentation, I’ll cover the health troubles caused by refined grains, whole grains, gluten grains, and genetically modified ingredients hidden in grain-based foods, and explain how to use this information to lose unwanted weight, reverse disease processes, and revitalize health. I’ll also give my answers to common questions I receive, such as “was wheat always not good for us, or has it become worse for our health in recent years?” and answer any other questions that you have.
Ask the Nutritionist
Saying goodbye to bread doesn’t have to mean giving up sandwiches.
Q: I maintain my weight and feel best when I avoid gluten and all grains. I don’t miss the taste of bread, but I do miss the convenience of making sandwiches for quick lunches, especially on hot summer days. Are there any grain-free substitutes that could help me fix easy-to-make “sandwiches”?
—Tamara R., Sacramento, Calif.
A: The short answer is: Yes! If you bake, try making grain-free tortillas or sliceable bread out of almond flour, ground flaxseeds, and/or coconut flour. If you don’t bake—or if you want a quicker alternative—think outside the box and get creative by using vegetables or fruit as alternatives for wraps and buns. These seven produce-based ideas can help you get started.
1. Lettuce wraps. For convenience and versatility, nothing beats using large lettuce leaves, such as romaine or Bibb, as tortilla or bread substitutes. Wrap burgers with them, or make BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) “sandwiches,” taco lettuce wraps, fajita wraps, tuna salad wraps, or lettuce cups with Asian-based fillings.
Though some people eat too much protein, others, especially many women, eat too little. Be aware of the following signs, conditions, and stages of life that signal that you may need more protein than you’re currently eating.
You frequently crave sweet or starchy foods. Protein is a slow-burning fuel that steadies blood-sugar levels and helps keep energy levels steady, making you far less apt to crave quick-fix carbohydrates such as grain products and sweet foods and drinks.
You have cardiovascular or diabetes risk factors. High-protein diets have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. This leads to beneficial changes in a wide range of metabolic, cardiovascular, and inflammatory markers, from insulin sensitivity to cholesterol and triglycerides to C-reactive protein.
Avoid the carbs with these ready-to-eat, GMO-free, stabilizing snack options
Ask The Nutritionist
by Melissa Diane Smith
Q: I’m a recovering carb addict who does well if I eat a low-carb diet and if I eat adequate, good-quality animal protein throughout the day. Because of my work schedule, I often don’t have time to cook, which means I don’t have enough ready-made meat that’s handy to eat. Unfortunately, most easy-to-grab natural protein snacks, such as beef jerky, are sweetened with sweeteners or dried fruits (which can prompt cravings and bingeing!) or they have ingredients such as soy sauce that I can’t tolerate. Do you have any suggestions of no-fuss, unsweetened, “clean” sources of animal protein that can help me?
—Victoria M., Hartford, Conn.
A: I sure do, and many of them happen to be products that are either new to the market or that will be introduced in the next few months. So eating quality protein on the run is about to get a whole lot easier than it used to be. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:
by Melissa Diane Smith, author of Going Against the Grain
Novak Djokovic, who has credited a gluten-free diet he adopted five years ago with dramatically improving his health and tennis performance to become the number one tennis player in the world, just won a career Grand Slam. By winning the French Open in Roland Garros in France, he is only the third man to win four consecutive major titles and the first man in nearly a half-century to hold all four major championships simultaneously.