Balance and Blood Sugar published | 20 April I am frequently – constantly – asked about tips and tricks for weight loss. I have heard every outrageous claim, from the ‘wrap yourself in plastic while you sleep’ trick to requests for high doses of cinnamon that a certain famous television doctor claimed will do the trick. In reality, this is about six degrees of separation from what cinnamon actually does: balance your blood sugar. Balancing your blood sugar throughout the day actually WILL help you to become happier and healthier, will stabilize your moods and energies, and help you to shed a few pesky pounds over time. When we eat carbohydrates, which break down into sugars or glucose in the body, our pancreas secretes insulin (a hormone) in an effort to control that spike in blood glucose, or blood sugar levels. Insulin carries glucose to our cells to be utilized for energy. Unfortunately, if that glucose isn’t used up for energy immediately, it will be carried to the liver where it’s converted into glycogen, which is then stored as fat. If we were ever to find ourselves without food this process would be a very welcome lifesaver. Our body would burn the fat stores for energy, helping us to survive until the next meal. But most of us tend to see a lot of feast, and not a lot of famine. To maintain a healthy blood sugar balance, keep energy stable, and keep metabolic functions optimal, it is beneficial to include a trifold of macronutrients in a healthy balance at every meal: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide you with fuel to convert to glucose, protein helps the body utilize glucose for energy in a slow-release capacity, and fat helps to slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream which leaves you feeling satiated. Without this delicate balance things can go a little squirrely, creating blood sugar spikes and crashes, mental fogginess, fatigue, mood swings, and ultimately, weight gain. Starting each day with a protein-heavy meal to help fuel the body first thing will balance and moderate blood sugar throughout the day. You could try a small portion of sugar-free, organic greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and cinnamon, or a spinach smoothie with a tbsp of your favourite natural nut butter. I also recommend finishing the day with a light protein based snack which will help your body to moderate blood sugar as you sleep and wake up hungry. A handful of almonds or a tablespoon of hummus with carrots should do the trick. I tend to lean towards a balance of a few servings of animal based protein a week (eggs, meat, dairy) with veggie proteins found in beans and legumes. One of my favourite go-to snacks that keeps me full and energized is my Black Bean Nacho Dip (also now my signature dish at parties, by request). Go get your balance on! Black Bean Vegan Nacho Dip Need: **four small containers 1 can black beans 1 can chickpeas 1 avocado cherry tomatos cilantro lemon lime jalapeño red onion red pepper green onion Tofutti ‘sour cream’ Daiya Vegan ‘chedder cheese’ salt and pepper Hummus (can use pre-made) 1 can rinsed chickpeas 1 lemon juiced 1/2 tsp cajun spice 1/2 tsp sea salt 1 tsp black pepper 1/2 jalepeno with seeds *optional and to taste* Blend until smooth Nacho Dip 1 can black beans – rinsed – ground lightly in food processor or blender Mix in: 1/2 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. garlic powder evenly distribute black bean mixture in containers layer on hummus, salsa, sour cream, Daiya Vegan Cheese top with red onion, red pepper, avocado, cilantro and whole cherry tomatoes and lime juice serve with organic, non GMO corn chips or veggie sticks AMBER ELIZABETH REGISTERED HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST R.H.N 519.497.881 www.AmberElizabethNutrition.com Amber is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Since graduating, Amber has sought extensive training in homeopathics, botanicals, supplementation and a wide variety of holistic modalities. Using science-based nutrition and symptomatology, she is able to help clients to better understand their individual needs, identify their goals and in turn, live their most balanced, vibrant lives. Her foundation is to educate clients and to help them create and maintain long-term, healthy lifestyle choices. Amber has propelled her interest in the concept of living well into a passion for education, cooking, and exploring the holistic side of life. Holistic or holism is defined as: the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate connection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, which is thus regarded as greater than the sum of its parts. Holism is often applied to mental states, language, and ecology.