The White Menace – Ideas to Fight Your Battle

The White Menace in the world of food and nutrition refers to refined sugar, rice and flour.

Why?

Because their sugars get quickly into the blood stream, stressing your body by raising your insulin levels – and raising your risk of growing resistant to your very own insulin. Foods that cause sugar to get very quickly to your bloodstream are called high glycaemic index foods.

This insulin resistance is what has been shown to be related to an increased risk of not just diabetes but cancer, and heart disease.

So the health preachers insist that we must give up the White Menace.

Easier said than done but here are 15 suggestions and reminders to keep you company on your journey.

1)    Read labels in the grocery and put it back down if it says ‘high fructose corn syrup’ or ‘corn syrup’ or if you see lots of other ‘sugar-in-disguise’ words likes maltose, dextrose, maple syrup etc.

2)    Plan either your cooking or your meal purchases so that you have lots of vegetables and salad with your lunch or dinner.

3)    Figure out which beans and peas agree with you and cook those. I cook enough for a week or two and freeze them.

4)    Juices that have no added sugar but are very sweet are high in fructose. High fructose juice is like high fructose corn syrup, but to a lesser degree. Most of your fructose should come packaged in real fruits, where the vitamins and other phyto-nutrients will ensure that your fruit is really good for you.

5)    If you must have black tea or coffee, you’ll find you can get used to one sugar instead of two. I’ve gradually learned to drink tea and coffee with or without sugar and to treat black tea and coffee as treats, with green tea and caffeine-free herbals as my regular teas.

6)    Now when moving to herbals and green tea, aim to have them without milk and sugar.

7)    Now rather than cutting out rice, which may not be practical, why not reduce the portion size in favour of more vegetables, peas and beans and salad. That way you lower the glycaemic index of the meal.

 

The most important point in this whole list might be that a high-glycaemic index food can be turned into part of a much lower glycaemic index meal by adding veggies, salad, peas and beans, meat or fish. So macaroni pie with potato salad, fried rice, meat and a little bit of salad is not the same as macaroni pie with veggies, beans, meat and a more generous salad.

8)    Breakfast might be the most challenging area as “filling and fast” often translates to bake or doubles.  And on the other hand one of the most dangerously sweet cereals I’ve ever had was organic and from a health food shop! A bit of salad (celery/ tomato/ cucumber/ lettuce and olive oil) with your omelette or egg will reduce the amount of bread you want to eat.

A grapefruit or a banana can do the same thing.

Cinnamon and banana slices with your oat porridge reduce the amount of sugar you need to add.

The pre-sweetened nicely packaged Quaker oats that goes in the microwave might be fast but is too sweet to be good for regular breakfast.

And ochro, lentils, steamed fish and provisions make a lovely breakfast. It doesn’t have to be about bread, cheese and sausages.

9)    Extreme habits have to be kicked. You don’t need to have Rituals/Starbucks every day or even every weekend. You should never drink a 750ml coke or pepsi. Share it with two other people or carry it home. When I buy a “Combo”, if I can’t have water I don’t take the drink. I don’t believe I must “eat all I pay for” if it’s junk.

10)                       Set limits even on juice. Are you going from about 4 drinks a day to 2? Or from two to a half glass? Or will you dilute your juice to halve the sugar?

11)                       Include protein with all your meals to reduce your need to snack. Some people do fine with plant protein like lentils and black eye peas. Others need fish, eggs or cheese.

12)                       Adding avocado, flax seed or olive oil to your salad makes the meal more filling. Healthy fats send “satisfied” signals to your appetite. Some of us need bits of cheese, boiled eggs or chicken as well, for a large salad to qualify as a satisfying meal.

13)                       To replace juice and soft drink with water and tea doesn’t have to be expensive. Invest in a good (ideally metal) water bottle and a water filter, rather than using de-mineralized bottled water. Herbal teas, even organic ones, often cost $1.00 or $1.50 per tea bag. That’s actually cheaper than a lot of energy drinks, fruit juices and soft drinks (soda).

14)                       Even snacks marketed as healthy like Kiss Muffins, Supligen and Grainz aren’t all that healthy when you read the labels! Lots of granola bars betray their good intentions with sugar and hydrogenated oils.

15)                       Snacks and meals have to be planned. I go for fruit, nuts and seeds or unsweetened yoghurt with/without fruit or honey.

But don’t starve yourself if you find yourself surrounded by all the things you said you would not eat- and no time to prepare anything else! Starvation just leads to cravings and bingeing when at some point your hunger gets the better of you.

Making the commitment to not be “normal”is the place to start. Because “normal” food consumption is extremely unhealthy and plays a big role in how many of us are overweight and out of balance both physically and mentally.

One major lifestyle change in eating healthier is the extra time spent in shopping, food preparation and planning. It goes against the “live fast, action-mode” of modern living. It goes along with a more peaceful, more aware, slower pace that focuses on nurturing rather than wearing you ragged.

But if you work on three of these changes, for three months at a time, just one year later you’ll have made some major improvements!

Just don’t be “black-and-white” about it. Accept that you will break the rules occasionally and intentionally because you’re going to be flexible and reasonable not rigid. Accept that you’ll need to get your close friends and family to respect your plan so that they can support your efforts. It’s not a secret mission! Food is a social thing.

Accept that very few food choices are “perfectly good for you” in today’s world and until that changes you won’t be able to escape all the junk, all the time.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. staywellfireyourdoctor
    Jan 13, 2014 @ 15:34:02

    Reblogged this on Staywellfireyourdoctor's Blog and commented:

    Over the next two weeks I’ll be re-sharing some articles from the blog which might be helpful as you endeavour to start 2014 on the right track!

    Reply

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  3. Trackback: If It Takes 30 Days To Start a New Habit I’m on Track! | Staywellfireyourdoctor's Blog

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