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Do You Crave Carbs?

posted on 6 August 2010 | posted in Health Articles


Who doesn't succumb on a regular basis that 3pm-needing-something-sweet feeling? It's a real killer to dieters, but how do we stop it from happening? Because I'm a naturopath I'm obviously into eating healthily and discuss how to do this with most of my patients, however I too am a Western Diet human! A typical day when I might succumb is, not much breakfast, a sandwich at lunchtime and..... it's really bad when I need to get petrol after finishing a day in clinic - those chocolate bars sitting there staring at you as you queue to pay - well that does it. The trouble with me is because clearly my blood sugar has dropped, I have to buy two bars, not one AND I have to eat them both in the car on the way home. THEN I don't want much tea, so I want something sweet for my supper. This is BAD news.

So you see I have a great deal of sympathy for my clients. However, I know that the real key is to eat a good breakfast that must contain protein such as eggs, fish, meat or soya protein, and I do have at the very least a protein drink for my breakfast. Nuts are good too, but don't seem to hold the hunger as well as the aformentioned. You know, those people who eat up their left-over dinner from the night before (ugh, you might think) are really quite smart. Doing that gives you the protein you need to start the day. So there are no excuses that there is no time for breakfast - eat your last night's dinner leftovers and that will keep you going!

Yes, carbohydrates definitely are the ones to watch for if you're wanting to manage your weight and want to avoid late onset diabetes. So, how do you change your way of eating?

  1. Avoid like the plague any refined carbohydrates. What are they? Well a good guide is, if the food is processed and white, then it's refined. E.g. white flour (don't be fooled by brown bread - it's often white bread that has colouring in it, you need to buy bread that is called wholemeal), white rice, sugar, pasta, and even potatoes. Other high carbohydrate vegetables are swedes, parsnips and carrots - they are fine but in moderation. Don't forget that wines and beers and spirits are high in fast - absorbing carbohydrates too.
  2. On your dinner or lunch plate, this guide is good. Half should be green, red, orange or yellow vegetables. The remaining half of the plate should be divided up so that a quarter of the plate is protein such as meat, fish, nuts, and the remaining quarter a carbohydrate food, preferably unrefined. Download the Magic Breakfast Plate and the Magic Lunch and Dinner Plate and pin them on your wall.
Your body works hard to convert carbohydrates into glucose for energy, but when you take in more carbohydrates that you need, your body converts these carbs into fat.

If you have difficulty curbing your carbohydrate craving (following the above advice will help immensely), then there are some natural foods that are known to help.

Our bodies process carbohydrates with the help of the digestive enzyme alpha amylase. this enzyme White kidney beanturns the starch found in carbohydrates into glucose and fat. The undigested starches are not absorbed, but are eliminated. So if we can prevent absorbtion of carbohydrates should be be eating a carbohydrate - rich meal, this would cut down the impact it had on our blood sugar handling and amount of fat that would be stored. Extract from white kidney beans are known to prevent the absorption of starch. Nature's Sunshine have made a product from white kidney beans. Just 1 gram of this white kidney bean extract . Recent studies have shown that the equivalent of 2 capsules of this white bean extract reduces 50 percent of the carbohydrate absorbancy in a meal. Another study showed a 10lb per month weight loss without any change in diet or exercise.This is a great idea for when you find that more than 1/4 of your plate is carbohydrate - rich foods.

So, if I ensure that I have a good protein rich breakfast every day, when I go to the petrol station I have no desire for those overly-sweet chocolate bars and sweets staring at me whilst I'm in the queue to pay. That means I eat my dinner, which contains the right balance of protein and carbohydrates and I don't feel the need to snack or drink wine or alcohol throughout the rest of the evening. It works, and many of my patients who do this tell me the same. Forget dieting, just eat a bit of everything (as long as it isn't refined) in moderation.