Happy Sunday! Today was glorious. The sun was out. People were outside. I made some intentional time to be outside. We were productive. We put an American Flag on our new house. I feel like it’s complete now.
I apologize for not having a recipe and/or some nutrition tidbits for you last week.  I just simply didn’t get around to it. But for tonight let’s talk briefly about something called The Glycemic Index. 

I really didn’t start thinking about glycemic index and blood sugar until a couple of months ago. I don’t watch a lot of news, or TV in general, so maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think important nutrition info pertaining to blood sugar, the breakdown of carbs, and how it affects us, is talked about enough. However, I want you to experience a great life. I want you to feel great, look great, and take steps to get you closer to overall wellness, so I’m going to throw some info at you. And if you’re like me, you like for people to be straight forward with you. I’m not trying to sound overly intelligent and use big words that go over your sweet, little head. So, hopefully the below info makes sense to you.

Basic Info about Carbohydrates:

Carbs aren’t necessarily bad for you. They’re essential for breaking down glucose in our bodies, which fuels everything from our brains to our muscles. Even veggies have carbs in them. However, not all carbs are created equal. Unfortunately most of the carbohydrates we eat tend to be highly processed. They have a high Glycemic Index.  When digested, they are broken down waaaaayyyyy quickly, causing blood glucose to rise pretty high for a short amount of time. Not good.

What is Glycemic Index (GI) anyway?

The Glycemic Index is basically a comparison, or ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. It does this by using a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is pure glucose. A food with a high GI will cause a large increase in blood sugar, while a food with a lower GI will hardly impact your blood sugar at all.

Here is why you should care about The Glycemic Index: 

-Foods with a high GI will cause your blood sugar levels to spike, while foods with a low GI will not have much impact on your blood sugar levels at all. (You can find charts online that tell you GI levels for different kinds of foods)

-GI is a great tool for fat loss because it measures how quickly the foods you’re eating break down into straight up sugar in your bloodstream.

-Foods with high GI lead to inflammation: Foods with high GI raise our blood sugar really fast. Our bodies secrete more insulin. If insulin levels remain excessively high for too long, our body eventually becomes insulin resistant. When there is too much insulin in the blood for a long period of time, fat cannot be broken down. When fat cannot be broken down, inflammation occurs.

-Type 2 Diabetes – Eating foods with a low GI improve blood glucose levels and reduce insulin levels, which are both important for managing Type 2 Diabetes, or better yet, preventing Type 2 Diabetes.

-That feeling you get when your body crashes: Not literally(well, maybe). But we’ve all been there. You eat a big bowl of pasta for lunch, or a plate of fries, and 30 minutes later, your attitude sucks and all you want is a nap. Your body is crashing. Low GI carbohydrates are slowly digested and absorbed, which causes a much steadier rise in blood glucose and insulin levels, leading to sustained energy levels.

Based on the above, here is why I personally hate foods with a high GI:

-They make you feel like straight up butt.

-They make you want to take a nap and miss out on time with your friends.

-They make you unproductive.

Good News!: 

You can choose foods that have a lower GI to improve your overall health. Because we were born to love carbs – and lots of them, in large amounts – I wanted to give you an alternative to pasta or bread that tastes just as great, but won’t spike that blood sugar up really high. I promise, you’ll still feel full — (you’ll actually feel fuller longer,) and you’ll feel great and still have a productive day: One alternative is Spaghetti Squash

Here’s a short article on the comparison between Spaghetti Squash and pasta:

Here are some easy instructions on how to bake your spaghetti squash in the oven. 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut Spaghetti Squash in half long ways.
  • Scrape out seeds
  • Brush the inside of each half with olive oil.
  • Place cut sides down on a baking sheet and place in oven.
  • Pour 1/2 cup water onto pan
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pull pieces out.. like pasta!

Now, from here, there are a lot of things you can do with your spaghetti squash. Try it out with different meats – chicken and lean ground meats are great choices. Don’t forget to add some spices. Basil, oregano, and garlic are good.

Here’s something we whipped up one night back in January. Besides optional spices and toppings, you only need 3 ingredients(spaghetti squash strands, chicken, and tomatoes):

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Spaghetti

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Makes 4 servings (For all you Zone Eaters out there, 1 serving of this is the perfect amt. of food for a 3 block meal. If you don’t care about Zone, then ignore what I just said).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
(these times are based on the spaghetti squash already being cooked. If your squash isn’t already baked, your cook time will be about 40 min longer)
Ingredients: 
  • 4 small chicken breasts (thawed out and cubed) 
  • 1 large spaghetti squash – already cooked, with spaghetti like pieces already pulled out
  • 3 large red tomatoes (diced)
  • Coconut oil (or another favorable oil for cooking).
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Goat Cheese (optional)
  • Optional Spices: pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, cumin (to taste)
Instructions: 
  • Throw cubed chicken, on large pan on low to medium heat, with 1 tbsp coconut oil (or another favorable oil for cooking).
  • While chicken is cooking, make tomato sauce. Blend 3 large diced tomatoes in a food processor or nutribullet. Add in spices (garlic, basil, oregano, salt, cumin – to taste). Set aside.
  • Once chicken is 3/4 of the way cooked, add tomato sauce. Allow chicken to finish cooking. Once, done, set aside. 
  • Scoop out 1/4 of spaghetti squash mixture (about 1 to 1-1/4 cup) Top with 1/4 of the tomato mixture (about 1/2 cup). 
  • Top with sprinkled goat cheese (if you want to add some extra protein). Don’t get too crazy with the goat cheese though. 
  • Before eating, don’t forget to add that fat. 2 tbsp of avocado is a great choice. 
Notes:I got the “4 servings” based on what a medium female would eat on the Zone Diet. If it doesn’t look like enough food for you, maybe it’s not! I’m just going by what I would eat. As always, let me know if you have questions!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Make good choices, ya’ll. I promise, you’ll get to eat more food that way. You’ll also help prevent disease, you’ll feel better, and you’ll look better.