Are your hormonal imbalances driving you crazy? Chances are that cortisol and insulin are to blame for causing a cascade of hormonal-related symptoms, making you feel like you’re riding a wild roller coaster of emotions.
The good news is, I can help you feel balanced again. While sexual and thyroid hormones certainly are important to your overall balance and well-being, insulin is even more to blame for those awful symptoms you’ve been experiencing. So, let’s get your insulin in check!
What are some ways to know if your levels are normal?
- Hemoglobin A1C test - The A1C test is also known as HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells, and the A1C test is based on this attachment of glucose to hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose and reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
- A blood test - An insulin blood test is used to identify insulin resistance and monitor the amount of insulin your body produces. Insulin testing may be ordered with glucose and C-peptide tests.
- Fasting - Restricting eating to a specific window of time is a strategic way to lower insulin and improve insulin sensitivity. Because elevated insulin is one of the most relevant factors in developing insulin resistance, a rational strategy is to follow a dietary plan that incorporates periods of time throughout the day wherein insulin is low.
To burn or not to burn?
Insulin has a very important job: It decides whether your cells should store glucose as fat or burn it as energy.
When you ingest carbohydrates, your body’s blood glucose increases and spikes your blood sugar. In reaction to the elevated blood glucose level, the major hormone known as insulin is released. Insulin is produced to get the glucose into your body’s cells. Once inside the cells, glucose either gets converted into energy or is stored as fat, for extra energy when needed. Insulin has a role in that choice to convert (burn) glucose as energy or store it as fat.
Let’s break down what happens with specific diets:
The Western diet
The typical Western diet involves eating a lot of unhealthy carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods. This results in high blood glucose, which in turn produces a high amount of insulin, which then results in a lot of stored fat. If there is low metabolism and not much burning of that fat, the end result is belly fat and cellulite. Ugh!
Your body’s fuel source in this case is glucose, not fat. And over time your body starts to lose its sensitivity to insulin altogether. This can lead to a health condition called insulin resistance, in which cells start to resist the insulin. When this happens, your blood sugar level just continues to rise and you can become diabetic or suffer from other health issues.
Insulin resistance is becoming more and more common. It often may occur concurrently with menopause, and an increased prevalence of insulin resistance has been observed in postmenopausal women. Insulin resistance affects about 65-to-70 percent of women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). In postmenopausal women, an increase in insulin resistance is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and even Alzheimer's.
The alkaline diet
An alkaline state is a great foundation for achieving insulin sensitivity, but we still need to gain better control over insulin, so that we can start burning fat versus storing it.
The good news is, if you eat healthy carbs and make a few simple dietary changes (e.g., believe it or not, “when” you eat is almost as important as “what” you eat), you can reduce the production of glucose – and, consequently, the production of insulin – so that your body burns its stored fat for energy! This will result in your body regaining insulin sensitivity.
The ability to remain insulin sensitive is directly related to a long list of health benefits, including increased energy and quality of life, and a lower risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, cardiovascular disease and possibly even Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The ketogenic principle
My Keto-Green program folds together the alkaline state with the ketogenic principle of achieving a metabolic state called ketosis, which has its own significant benefits. When your body consumes a significantly low amount of carbohydrates, it goes into ketosis. In ketosis, your body burns fat and gets its energy from things called ketone bodies in your blood. (By the way, ketones can be measured with the same pH strip we use to measure alkalinity.)
Studies have shown that if it goes three or four days without carbohydrate consumption, the body will start tapping its fat storage. Ketogenic types of diets, on which my diet is partially based (with the major alkalinity component added), help increase the ratio of leptin to ghrelin – leptin being our hormone of satiety, so we feel full, and ghrelin serving as our hunger hormone.
You can learn more about the world of ketones and ketosis in my previous blog. Also, I encourage you to discover why “when you eat” is so important in achieving ketosis and obtaining optimal fat-burning and health!
For optimal health, focus on both alkalinity and ketosis
Research shows that a ketosis state will help you drop unhealthy weight – just ask the women who have gone through my Keto-Green program!
These women also will tell you that they are experiencing reduced inflammation, less joint pain, and fewer hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, while improving their blood sugar and overall toxicity scores.
Research also confirms that a ketosis state may improve insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of diabetes, and even help lessen the risk of cancer. Additionally, it might help treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s. We want all of this, don’t we?
It’s important to remember that you can’t just go straight to a generic ketogenic diet, especially if you are a woman. Many women who try this find they have an issue with acidosis, sometimes referred to as keto flu. They will start feeling miserable and suffering from nausea and headaches, and most will end up dropping the diet completely. But keto flu doesn’t happen when women go alkaline first.
My Keto-Green way includes a variety of recipes that not only are healthy, but taste delicious. You’ll never feel like you’re “missing out” on the good stuff. Don’t believe me? Try these buffalo chicken wings from my new book, “The Hormone Fix.” My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
Chicken Wings with Buffalo Sauce
- 24 organic or pasture-raised chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian-style seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Cayenne pepper
- Coleslaw, kimchi or sauerkraut (for side dish)
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a bowl, combine chicken and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken wings on a roasting tray and bake 35-40 minutes, until chicken is browned.
- Remove chicken and reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
- In a separate, large bowl, combine the oil, tomato sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, and cayenne (to taste).
- Stir the browned chicken into the bowl of sauce, until the wings are well covered.
- Return wings to roasting tray and bake for another 12 minutes.
- Serve with a side of coleslaw, kimchi or sauerkraut.