To shop Lovegrove Essentials products, visit their online store HERE.
To shop Lovegrove Essentials products, visit their online store HERE.
The low-carb lifestyle is not just ‘another fad diet’. It’s a method of enjoying your food, staying healthy through your life, and eating in a way that supports your mental and physical well-being. We all want to look and feel our best, and so much excellent research has been done now into this that we think it’s really important to understand a bit about the science behind it.
And to help you make a start, here a list of 101 low-carb foods (approx – we haven’t counted!)
Top 10 reasons for low carb living:
1. The low-carb lifestyle.
First point, this isn’t about a ‘diet’ in the old, weight loss sense of the word. It’s about your lifestyle choices. You can manage your health by keeping your carb intake at a sensible level, and manage your weight by reducing that a little further.
2. Eating low-carb foods reduces your appetite.
Because of its effects on blood sugar levels and therefore cravings, one of the best things about eating low-carb is that it leads to a natural reduction in your appetite. Gradually, your appetite tends to go down and you often end up eating much fewer calories without trying. To manage hunger pangs at key points in the day (11, 4 and pre-dinner snacks) we have developed some easy and quick little recipes for sweet and savoury stopgaps HERE.
3. Managing your weight with a low-carb lifestyle.
Studies show that people comsuming low-carb foods lose more weight, faster, than people restricting their fat intake… even when people are actively restricting calories. One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. Because they lower insulin levels, the kidneys start shedding excess sodium, leading to rapid weight loss in the first week or two (1, 2). In studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, the low-carbers sometimes lose 2-3 times as much weight, without being hungry (3, 4). (It’s true – we’ve been there!) So if you find you’re losing weight, add in a portion of healthier carbs when you have reached your goal weight.
4. A low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
A large percentage of the fat lost on low-carb diets tends to come from the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that is known to cause serious metabolic problems. We have both subcutaneous fat (under the skin), and visceral fat (in the abdominal cavity). It this visceral fat is fat that tends to lodge around the organs and can cause serious problems. Having a lot of fat in the abdominal cavity can trigger inflammation, which leads to and exacerbates all kinds of ailments. It also increases insulin resistance, believed to be a leading driver of the metabolic dysfunction that is so common in Western countries today (5). So a low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
5. The low-carb lifestyle is better for your heart, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A low-carb lifestyle is very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood and a well-known risk factor for heart disease. It will also increase the levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein), one of the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol away from the body and into the liver, where it can be reused or excreted. The Triglycerides:HDL ratio is another very strong predictor of heart disease risk. By lowering triglycerides and raising HDL levels, low-carb diets lead to a major improvement in this ratio. (6, 7, 8).
6. And has a tendency to lower blood pressure.
Having elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is an important risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Studies show that reducing carbs leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of many common diseases.
7. The effects of low-carb on Type 2 Diabetes is amazing!
When we eat carbs, they are broken down into simple sugars (mostly glucose) in the digestive tract. From there, they enter the bloodstream and elevate blood sugar levels. Because high blood sugars are toxic, the body responds with a hormone called insulin, which tells the cells to bring the glucose into the cells and to start burning or storing it. For people who are insulin-resistant this can lead to Type 2 diabetes, when the body fails to secrete enough insulin to lower the blood sugar after meals. By cutting carbohydrates, you remove the need for all of that insulin – both blood sugars and insulin go way down (9, 10).
According to Dr. Eric Westman, who has treated many diabetics using a low-carb approach, he needs to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% on the first day (11).
In one study in type 2 diabetics, 95.2% had managed to reduce or eliminate their glucose-lowering medication within 6 months (12).
***If you are currently on blood sugar lowering medication, then talk to your doctor before making changes to your carbohydrate intake, because your dosage may need to be adjusted in order to prevent hypoglycaemia.***
8. It can help Metabolic Syndrome.
The metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Amazingly, all five symptoms improve dramatically on a low-carb diet (13). Unfortunately, the government and major health organization still recommend a low-fat diet for this purpose, which is pretty much useless because it does nothing to address the underlying metabolic problem.
9. Low-Carb Diets Improve The Pattern of LDL Cholesterol.
Scientists have now shown that it is the type of LDL that matters. Low-density lipoproteins, often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, are not all equal. It is the size of the particles that is important.
When you eat a low-carb diet, your LDL particles change from small (bad) LDL to large LDL – which is benign. Cutting carbs may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream. Who knew?!
10. Several Brain Disorders respond well to the low-carb lifestyle.
We need a quick recap of the Ketogenic diet here:
Glucose is necessary for the brain and that’s why the liver produces glucose out of protein if we don’t eat any carbs. But a large part of the brain can also burn ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carbohydrate intake is very low. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment (15). Very low-carb/ketogenic diets are now being studied for other brain disorders as well, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (16).
Few things are as well established in nutrition science as the immense health benefits of a low-carb lifestyle. Which makes it even more amazing that we can still find sweets at the checkout, fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate in vending machines in sports halls, hospitals, schools, blah blah blah! After 40 years preaching this I feel like a stuck record…..
Print out this list of 101 low-carb foods and get going. What have you got to lose?
This is a synopsis of the article written by Kris Gunnars BSc for www.healthline.com. (For more information and some of the research, click on the hyperlinks.)
For more excellent medical information, visit http://thenoakesfoundation.org
For help with diet and recipes, see https://www.dietdoctor.com
As a wheat-free foodie, I love this ‘bread’ and I make this probably twice a week. It’s become a big part of our diet, which is really saying something when you live the man who literally wrote the book on bread! What Daniel Stevens doesn’t know about baking isn’t worth knowing, so the fact that he’s adopted this recipe into his repertoire is a pretty big deal for me. It’s super high protein and wheat free, packed with fibre and can be topped with sweet or savoury things. It has a dense texture, similar to rye or pumpernickel bread, and also makes great crostini or bruschetta.
200g Oat Bran (you can get this in most supermarkets now, in the cereal aisle, or Holland & Barrett do a fine cut one which is my favourite)
2-3 Eggs, or vegan equivalent
2 Tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt or vegan equivalent
Pinch of sea salt
1 Table spoon of Olive Oil (or similar)
Seeds, nuts or dried berries (optional)
Pre-Heat your oven to about 180*C and line a tin with baking paper. I usually use a round 8 inch cake tin, and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.
Use two large or three medium eggs, egg replacer or aqua faba (chick pea or bean water) of an equivalent amount and beat with a fork or whisk.
Add the oat bran in table spoons, starting with about six. Keep adding until you have a thick paste.
Then add the greek yoghurt, or vegan alternative (almond or Soya milk is fine) and mix in, loosening the paste. Beat in half a teaspoon of baking powder at this stage also, and add some salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
Once you have the basic mixture, you can add seeds (I use sunflower, linseeds and pumpkin seeds), nuts or dried berries to create different flavours of bread. Goji berries would work really nicely and would add a delicious sweetness.
Once you’ve added your extras, scrape the mix into your baking tin. You can add more seeds to decorate the top before you pop it in the oven if you like.
Bake at 180*C for about 30 mins. I have yet to burn a loaf of this bread – it seems you can cook it for quite some time before it even begins to colour! You may a get a little rise from the baking powder and eggs, but not much.
Check after 20 mins and see if you want the top to colour more. Once it’s golden brown, remove it from the oven and tip the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. It doesn’t slice very well when it’s still warm, so you’ll have to be patient before you try it!
Top with organic grass-fed butter or avocados and tomato salsa, smoked salmon, peanut butter and homemade jam, marmalade… The list is endless!! I’ve yet to find something it doesn’t go with 😀
Physically, there are many symptoms of liver imbalance from the obvious to the very subtle, such as feeling a lump in the throat, or problems with tendons or eyes. One of the first signs is related to your emotions, specifically your temper: are you suffering from anger, stubbornness, aggression or irritation? When you’re thinking about a detox for your liver, you need to consider your general constitution. Some people are still physically strong, despite needing a liver detox, while some show signs of physical weakness. Another effect can show in your digestion – are you constipated, or the opposite? Do you suffer from colitis or IBS?
With an appropriate diet and a sensitive yoga routine you can have a massive effect on your physical and emotional state, especially after a period of excess like Christmas and New Year! So make a note of your emotional and physical states, however unconnected they might seem, before you start and check how you feel as they days progress.
Some general rules for your Diet:
Yoga for the Liver:
How to access the liver? First and foremost, use your arms. Couple this with standing forward bends, abdominal work and some gentle twists and you’ll have a routine of benefit to the liver.
1. Half Uttanasana (wide feet) with hands on a ledge/windowsill.
2. Uttanasana – feet hip width, hands to the floor or legs, keep the legs strong and release the spine down.
3. Padangusthasana – really pull on your toes to look up, then bend the elbows wide to draw yourself towards your legs. (Have a read of this first: https://iyengarhomepractice.wordpress.com/tag/padangusthasana/
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, first using a chair and then from the floor if you are able.
5. Finish this section with Adho Mukha Virasana. (As you are in this pose, do you notice the feeling of ‘freshness’ coming through?)
6 & 7. Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana X 2, then maintaining Tadasana: Extend your arms behind – lift your chest and open those armpits! X 2
8. Ghomukhasana X2
9. Navasana – use support if needed, and LIFT your sacrum and chest.
11. Jatthara Parivatanasana – bent legs, draw knees close to opposite elbow.
12. Passive backbend – get the support right under your shoulderblades, not your waist, so your arms must be high. Breathe into the rib cage/diaphragm area, especially areas where you feel tightness. Let the breath open and extend those areas.
13. Supta Baddakonasana.
After a few days, if you’re feeling better and suddenly find you have bundles of energy, Surya Namaskar is the best way to start your day. You can slow it down and step rather than jump if you prefer. http://bobbyclennell.com/MYoga.html (Please observe the restrictions at the bottom of the page.)
It’s all very well waiting until the new year to start taking better care of yourself, and indeed it is the season to indulge. Remembering to take care of yourself in between all the parties doesn’t have to take up too much of your time, and will make all the difference in how you view yourself come January.
In summer we take extra care in protecting our skin with SPF and aftersun, but very often similar precautions are not taken during winter, unless you have very dry skin. The combination of cold weather (particularly cold at the moment!) and a few too many boozy nights out can have a drastic effect on your skin’s balance and lustre, leaving it a rather limp combination of dehydrated but still quite oily, with accentuated lines and wrinkles and the odd spot or blemish. Add to this the week long bender that is Christmas and New Year (enter goose fat roasties and daily cheeseboard) and by the time January comes around, you are ready for a three week juice cleanse and a week-long stint in a Harley Street Clinic.
All this got me thinking about which products I would recommend for this busy time, and so I decided to launch our newest addition to the Lovegrove Essentials range before Christmas. May I present the Clean & Natural Kit – a travel sized companion that will keep all skin types clean, balanced and hydrated throughout the party season. It contains one of my favourite things in the world. A clay mask. But not your average clay mask, as many can be very drying, particularly if dryness is already an issue for you.
The Aromatic Face Mask from Lovegrove Essentials (previously only available in the professional range) contains coconut oil, which is blended into the Kaolin and Bentonite Clay base by hand, helping to stop the dry, cracking feeling that clay can often cause. The essential oils are Geranium (nature’s balancer, will detox even the most congested skin), Sweet Orange (deeply cleansing and brightening, lots of Vitamin C) and Neroli (great for regeneration at cellular level, antioxidant and reduces inflammation). As well as the powerful skincare benefits of this blend, the heavenly fragrance will soothe and relax you in the evening, promoting restful sleep. If you used this once a week during December, taking one night off just for yourself, you’d wake feeling refreshed and energised, and totally ready for the next Christmas drinks party. We’ve included a mask brush (cruelty-free, of course) for super-easy application, and a soft cloth to remove it.
The other product in the kit is the ever popular Cleansing Balm – a hydrating and luxurious blend of Organic Beeswax (vegan version also available), Shea butter, Sweet Almond and Apricot Kernel Oils. It melts to a liquid at body temperature, allowing you to perform a little massage when cleansing. This will boost the circulation in your face, reducing puffiness and softening lines and wrinkles. It removes all forms of make-up, and comes off easily with the muslin cloth that’s also included with the kit.
So if you, like me, have not much amount self control (and several birthdays in the run up to Christmas, including my own), combat hangover skin with the Clean & Natural Kit. Take at least one night off each week, catch up on sleep and look after yourself. Your skin and your body will thank you! Read Hannah’s PRE-SOLUTIONS too, and make January that little bit easier…
The Clean & Natural Kit is now available on the Lovegrove Essentials website at £24.95 plus postage. Get your order in ASAP, as we expect these to sell out before we have a chance to make more!