Vegan Golden Milk

GoldenMilk

On my amazing yoga retreat in Kaua’i, we drank yogi tea and golden milk. I’ve had yogi tea before, but I was surprised at how delicious and comforting golden milk is so I couldn’t wait to come home and make it myself. My friend hasn’t sent me the recipe yet, so I decided to recreate it and it’s delicious!

Golden milk is not only yummy, it’s also really good for you. The key ingredient is turmeric, which is a very healthy, anti-inflammatory spice that can be sprinkled on vegetables, tofu scrambles, rice, and it can also be used to make an incredibly soothing vegan drink. This process is simple and thanks to the other spices that I added, the health benefits of this drink are phenomenal. This milk is sure to keep you healthy and happy, especially when it’s cold outside or when you’re feeling like you need some healing comfort. Turmeric is particularly helpful if you have any aches or pains, or are currently trying to heal from an auto-immune disorder. It’s important to use a plant-based milk for this recipe as dairy is inflammatory and will not be helpful in keeping you healthy – in fact, it will increase inflammation in your body, which we do not want.

Feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

2 cups organic almond milk (or a plant-based milk of your choice)

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

2 whole cloves

4 whole peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

Ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top of your drink (optional)

Fresh, grated ginger (optional)

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients to a pot, stir, bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the turmeric is blended well. Add ground cinnamon to each glass and enjoy!

Top Ten Best and Worst Foods for Your Health

Top_10_Best_Worst_Foods

I saw this great compilation of the top 10 best and worst foods for health and longevity on Dr. Fuhrman’s site and had to share it with all of you. Of course a diet that’s rich in plant-based, whole foods is best for us, because these are the foods that are packed with nutrients, but are low in (bad) fat and calories. By contrast, the worst foods for us are processed and loaded with fat, salt, and calories. It’s easier than we think to include healthy foods in our diets, but it can be hard to cut down on unhealthy foods that we are used to eating.

If you’re struggling to eliminate processed foods from your diet, have a sweet tooth, or don’t know how to change your diet and lifestyle for the better, that’s what I’m here for! Contact me for a FREE initial consultation and we’ll get you started on looking and feeling your best. Remember that the foods on the worst list are the ones that not only contribute to weight gain and obesity, but they are largely responsible for diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Let’s work together to help you enjoy delicious foods that are healthy, while we crowd out junk that’s not serving you. Be radiant. Be well. Be the best you possible.

Cheers,

Christina <3

 

Get This Must-Have Beauty Bag Now!

WholeFoodsBeautyBag

It’s Beauty Week at Whole Foods and now is the time to stock up on body care essentials. From March 20 – 22, you’ll save 25% off facial care products – wow! I love that Whole Foods cares about our health, and as such, they do not sell any items that contain these dangerous toxins. I talk about eating a whole foods, plant-based diet with as many organic foods as possible, and I am also passionate about using high quality, organic, cruelty-free, non-toxic products on my skin. Our skin absorbs everything that we put on it, so it’s important that we read labels and look for items that are free of toxins. I also prefer to buy products that are cruelty-free and have not been tested on animals. It’s not fair for animals to suffer just so we can learn what we already know: toxic chemicals are dangerous and should be avoided. Why do bunnies need to go blind for this? They don’t! Pick up cruelty-free, non-toxic items like the ones in this Beauty Bag and be kind to yourself, animals, and the environment :).

PacificaNaturalsLipTint

I went to Whole Foods this morning and picked up the Beauty Bag featured at the top of this post and I love it! The retail value of the bag is $60 but they’re selling it for just $18. I have already tried the Pacifica Naturals Lip Tint and it’s heavenly! It tastes and smells like vanilla and it has a very light pink tint. I will definitely buy this when I run out. Since the entire Beauty Bag is on sale right now for $18 and this Lip Tint alone is $7, I definitely feel like this is an amazing deal. This Lip Tint is 100% vegan, cruelty and paraben-free. A portion of proceeds support clean water, which is wonderful.

dermaemicrodermabrasionscrub

I washed my face and applied this derma e microdermabrasion scrub ($29.25 – on sale) and it’s amazing! As you all know, I have my go-to exfoliator, but I truly enjoyed this scrub. It’s a gentle way to exfoliate your skin and I truly felt like it left my skin feeling clean and soft. I can’t wait to use it again! The microdermabrasion scrub that came in the Beauty Bag is 1/2 oz, while the one sold in stores and online is 2 oz. This microdermabrasion scrub is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free :).

TrilogyMoisturisingCream

After I exfoliated with the derma e scrub, I put on this Trilogy Moisturising Cream  ($44.00). The cream that came in the Beauty Bag is 35 ml, as opposed to the 50 ml tube that’s typically sold in stores and on their site. I usually use Organic Coconut Oil as a moisturizer, so it’ll be great to try something new for a while. This moisturizer works well and has marula and orange flower. I love that it feels light and I did notice that it hydrated my skin well. Like all of the products in the Beauty Bag, this moisturizer is cruelty-free. It’s also made with delicious, organic ingredients. You can read about Trilogy’s inspiring philosophy here.

GabrielMascara

I have been a fan of Gabriel Cosmetics for a while, so I was thrilled to learn that there would be a Gabriel mascara ($15.20) in the Beauty Bag! I love that their products are vegan, cruelty-free, and non-toxic. I recently purchased two amazing nail colors from them, so I will have to share pictures with you all!

AcureFacialMask

I haven’t tried this Acure Facial Mask ($15.99), but I can’t wait until I do! This is a cell stimulating facial mask that contains argan stem cell and chlorella growth factor. The instructions on the back of the tube say, “apply evenly over the face until you look like a green sea-monster” – ha! I’ll admit that the only face masks that I have tried have been made at home with avocado – and they were great! I’ll have to update you all after I try this, but I am loving that it is vegan, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, paraben free, silicone-free, gluten-free, and synthetic fragrance free!

PacificaEyeShadow

The Beauty Bag either comes with Pacifica Color Quench Lip Tint or a sample of their eyeshadow. Since I went with my mom, we were able to try both. The eyeshadow that came in my mom’s bag is Unicorn/Moonbeam. It’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without FD&C color, parabens, and petroleum. A portion of the proceeds that they make from their sales support clean water. Wow! I love companies that are good for me, animals, and the environment.

Giovanni2chicShampoo

The last product in the Beauty Bag is a sample of Giovanni’s 2chic Ultra-Repair Shampoo ($8.99). It’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free. It also contains blackberry and coconut. There are no parabens or lauryl/laureth sulfate, which is awesome. I haven’t used it yet, but I just smelled it and it smells incredible! I’ve been using Aubrey Organics Shampoo and Conditioner, but maybe I’ll love this and make a switch. I’ll probably stick to my Aubrey Organics Conditioner, because it’s amazing. I love putting it on the tips of my hair so that my hair will stay long and healthy.

There you have it! Hurry to your nearest Whole Foods and get your Beauty Bag now!

What Are You Waiting For? Reach Your Health Goals Now!

ChristinaTanios

In my time working as a Nutritional Consultant, I have helped people lose weight, lower their cholesterol levels, lower their blood pressure, reduce their blood glucose levels, manage their stress, get clear skin, sleep soundly at night, and much more. I am currently working with a vegan endurance athlete who wants to make sure that she is nourishing her body with healthy food. I have helped, and am continuing to help people transition to a healthy plant-based diet. And I love what I do! If you need help reaching your health and wellness goals, I am here for you.

I truly enjoy working with people and watching them know that health and happiness are within their reach. I have listened to my clients thank me for supporting them and teaching them what I know about leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I would love to do the same for you. Stop putting off your health goals. You can lose weight and get healthy now. There’s no time like the present to take charge of your life. Contact me for a FREE initial consultation and let’s get you started!

Still not convinced? Read what others have to say about working with me. I am looking forward to being a part of your health and wellness journey!

Show Your Heart You Care

Eat Red for a Healthy Heart!

A special thank you to PCRM for this great information!

February is American Heart Month! Since heart disease remains the #1 killer in America, it’s imperative that we all learn how to protect our hearts by making simple, lasting lifestyle changes that can save our lives. A plant-based diet has been shown to treat and even reverse heart disease in adults and children alike. If you need help transitioning to a plant-based diet, I’d love to help. Many of my clients have successfully adopted a plant-based diet and seen remarkable results, including: weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, better sleep, increased energy, clearer skin, and much more.

Whether you adopt a 100% plant-based diet or not, it’s important that you eat enough fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Take a look at the photo on the top of the page and be sure to include these foods in your diet as best as you can. Since cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be prevented and even reversed, we know that we can save many lives, just by sharing this information with others, and helping each other make positive changes to our diet and lifestyle.

Facts on CVD:

  • Costs the US $108.9 billion each year, including the cost of medications, lost productivity, and health care services.
  • According to the CDC, “about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.”
  • Many CVD deaths can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes – wow!

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied 20, 721 men over the course of 11 years and determined that by doing these 5 things, these men lowered their risk of having a heart attack by 86%, as compared to those men who did not enjoy this diet and lifestyle:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Getting enough exercise – a brisk walk 30 minutes a day is a great start 🙂
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Reducing belly fat

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

It’s important to know what your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are; if you have high blood pressure, it’s crucial that you work to keep your blood pressure under control. A healthy diet that includes whole, plant-based foods and contains a minimal amount of processed junk and animal foods will help to keep your blood pressure normal. Since cholesterol is only found in animals and their by-products, making a switch to a plant-based diet will help improve your cholesterol levels.

Manage Your Stress

I also believe that it’s important for us to reduce our stress levels. One of the ways that we can keep our stress levels low is by exercising! Find an activity you love and enjoy it :). This can be walking, biking, hiking, running, yoga, jogging, swimming, dancing – whatever you love, do it, and do it often. Another way to keep stress at bay is by meditating. I always feel instantly calmer, happier, and more grounded when I meditate. Be sure to surround yourself with people you love, who support and cherish you. There’s such beauty in friends and family who make your heart happy – nurture these people and the relationships that you have with them. If you are creative, express your creativity. Find a career that encourages you to share your talents with the world. Do what you love and you will feel fulfilled. As always, be grateful for what you have, and be compassionate towards others.

I know that the statistics on CVD can be frightening, but the good news is that we can keep our hearts healthy by enjoying a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (eat your beans!). We also need to find an activity that we love and keep stress levels low by exercising, meditating, and developing positive relationships with people we love. Be healthy and happy!

Delicious Vegan Thanksgiving

GardeinRoast

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; as we gather with friends and family, let’s remember to be grateful for all of the wonderful blessings that we have in our lives. The holidays are a great time to appreciate everything that we have in life. And of course they’re also the perfect time to enjoy lots of delicious food together! Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods that I hope you’ll try. Whether you’re having a 100% plant-based meal or just want to add some of these dishes, I encourage you to try something new this year. Enjoy <3.

Gardein Holiday Roast

Here’s a Gardein Holiday Roast. I actually prefer this to the Tofurky roast that I’ve had in the past. It’s easier to cook, too. All you have to do is put it in the oven for 60-70 minutes. It comes with two packets of gravy, so you can use one for the roast and one for mashed potatoes. Try it!

GardeinHolidayRoast

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

In addition to mashed potatoes, I often roast sweet potatoes. Sometimes I add organic cherry tomatoes when I’m roasting them, but this year I will add cinnamon, a bit of coconut oil, and some chopped nuts at the end. If you’re a fan of raisins and nutmeg, you can add those as well. If you’re going oil-free, skip the coconut oil :).

Sweetpotato

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

A Shepherd’s pie is also a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal. This one is easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Shepherdspie

Sautéed Green Beans

Green beans always make an appearance for Thanksgiving at my house. This is a simple recipe that doesn’t take much time to prepare and cook. And it’s yummy!

GreenBeans

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are delicious, but be sure not to overcook them. Here’s a great recipe that I enjoy. You can make quinoa or you can enjoy the green beans and Brussels sprouts with mashed potatoes – yum!

027

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

I would recommend having a warm soup to enjoy with your meal, as well as some fresh salad. Here’s a recipe for a delicious tomato basil soup that I love. I like it better with coconut milk instead of a potato, so grab some coconut milk while you’re out shopping!

VeganTomatoBasilSoup

 

Dessert

I may save the sweet potatoes to enjoy for dessert. Or I may pick up a slice of vegan pie from Native Foods in Culver City – we’ll see! Whatever you end up making for Thanksgiving, enjoy it! Have a wonderful time with your family and friends and remember to keep these tips for not overeating on Thanksgiving handy! Here’s to your health and happiness! Xo

Spicy Chana Masala

ChanaMasala

I came across this recipe on Happy Herbivore’s page and I wanted to give it a try. I’m so happy I did, because it’s delicious! I was limited on time, but next time I make this I’m going to add organic carrots and organic potatoes (not entirely traditional, but I think they’ll make this dish even yummier :). I will also add a bit of roasted jalapeno as I thought the original recipe was fairly mild. This dish is delicious, easy-to-make, cooks quickly, and everything required to make it is affordable. I had about 1/2 a bowl full of organic baby kale that was left over from lunch, so I added that to my chana masala and it was delicious! Make sure the cans that you are using are BPA free, otherwise you should buy the chickpeas and cook them, and then roast some tomatoes with jalapenos. Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 whole onion, small
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis 
  • 1¼ tsp coriander or fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (probably a bit more though)
  • ¼ tsp ginger (or fresh ginger)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder if that’s what you have on hand
  • Tiny bit of roasted jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup organic baby kale to have with your meal (I just stirred mine into my plate)

I’d also recommend adding 1 organic carrot (chopped) and 1 small, organic potato (cut into medium sized chunks).

Instructions:

Add vegetable broth or water to a medium sauce pan and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Add black pepper and minced garlic and continue to saute until the onions are translucent. You will likely need to keep adding vegetable broth or water, so keep these handy. Add cumin, turmeric, paprika, roasted jalapeno, and ginger, and continue to stir the mixture for a couple of minutes.I usually make fresh salsa at home and I always have a bit of roasted jalapeno left over, so I’d use this. You can roast a jalapeno in a toaster oven if you have one – it’s a fairly quick and simple process :). If you’re using ground coriander, add this as well. If you’re using fresh cilantro, I’d wait to add it until the end. Add the chickpeas and  fire roasted tomatoes with the remaining broth or water and stir everything together. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in garam masala or curry powder and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to taste and serve with brown rice or whole wheat pita bread. Enjoy!

ChanaMasalainPot

 

 

Are You Addicted to Sugar?

OrganicBerries

    I love giving workshops and presentations because I get to share helpful information on how to truly lead a healthy lifestyle. I often make samples of #vegan food for people to try. I share research and scientific evidence that shows the many health benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. Some people will pay for a cleanse, detox, 1 month program, 3 month program, or 6 month program on the spot.
    For some amazing others, months will pass, and then I’ll get an email from them saying that they’re ready to make some positive diet and lifestyle changes. I love them. Something has shifted for them. They’re not resistant anymore. They’ve had an awakening. I don’t know if it’s the fall weather, the millions of sweets that are being passed around right now, or if there’s just something fantastic floating around in the air, but I’m getting tons of sign-ups for my 10-Day Sugar Cleanse. This isn’t a juice fast. You won’t starve. You will eat healthily, nourish yourself, and get rid of your sugar cravings.

 

In case you’ve forgotten, here are some not-so-sweet facts about sugar:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar per person each year (yikes!)
  • Sugar contributes to obesity
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, “adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.”
  • Limiting sugar in intensive care units saves lives (wow!)
  • Sugar interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium – two important minerals for our health

If you’re experiencing some resistance to making positive changes, here are some reasons to kick your sugar habit for good:

146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. explains how sugar is damaging our health. Sugar can:

  • Suppress the immune system
  • Cause cardiovascular disease
  • Lead to both prostate cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Cause depression
  • Contribute to diabetes
  • Cause headaches, including migraines
  • Make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen

Read more about the cleanse. Sign up now. Break the cycle. Sugar doesn’t have to control your life. I can help you heal. <3

Testimonial: “Christina is amazing! She has a holistic approach that helps you make sense of several different systems going on at once– wellness doesn’t have to be as confusing as all the conflicting media would have you believe! Christina knows how to be healthy for the sake of actual health, how to end calorie counting and carbo-phobia, and how to respect your body with the foods you put in it and the activities you engage in (like yoga!) I’m so happy to have Christina as a healthy influence in my life!” – Kelsey L.

My Homemade Salsa

FreshHomemadeSalsa

   {It was super sunny outside when I took this picture, so please excuse all of the shadows!}

One of my favorite things to eat is fresh salsa. I’ve been making it for so long that I’ve grown accustomed to adding spicy, delicious, fresh salsa to my vegetables, whole grains, burrito bowls, and more. My friends and family love this recipe as well. I’ve often posted on Instagram that I top dishes with my homemade salsa, and I’ve since received lots of requests for my recipe. I actually have tomatoes and jalapenos in my garden, so it makes it even easier to enjoy fresh, homemade salsa all the time!

If you love salsa as much as I do, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s not only delicious, it’s healthy, too! Tomatoes are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, as they contain lots of vitamin C, biotin (vitamin b7), vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, copper, manganese – and lots of other essential vitamins and minerals! Tomatoes are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is important for heart health. Like tomatoes, jalapenos also have vitamin C. They also contain capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and have a fair amount of vitamin A as well. Like tomatoes and jalapenos, garlic also contains vitamin C – this is a great way to get your vitamin C year round! The health benefits of garlic are vast, and they range from providing you with essential vitamins and minerals to offering you yet another amazing anti-inflammatory food to add to your diet. As you can see, salsa is not only delicious, it’s also good for you – my favorite way to eat! Let’s not forget all of the spices included in this recipe as well: between the cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, you’re getting even more healthy goodness into your body. Now that I’ve shared just a fraction of the benefits of eating fresh salsa, here’s my recipe – enjoy!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

8 medium sized tomatoes

1 Anaheim pepper or 1 green pablano pepper

1 small jalapeno

1 small lime

Cilantro

Tiny bit of fresh garlic or garlic powder

Smoked paprika

Cumin

Chili powder

Cayenne pepper (optional) – use it only if  you love spicy salsa 🙂

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Wash and dry the peppers; place them on parchment paper and put them in the toaster oven or a conventional oven so that they can roast for about 10 minutes. I usually put mine in a toaster oven, but I’ve put them in a conventional oven as well (300-350 degrees should be fine). I love the flavor that the roasted peppers give to the salsa!

While the peppers are roasting, wash and chop up the tomatoes into medium sized chunks. Add 1 small lime, smoked paprika, dash of cumin, a small bit of fresh garlic (I add just less than a small clove – or you can use garlic powder – or both!), chili powder, salt, pepper, fresh cilantro, and taste. I am not including exact measurements, because everyone’s taste buds are different, so please add the spices to your liking :).

Once the peppers are done roasting (this shouldn’t take very long at all), carefully remove them from the oven. I like to remove the seeds from the peppers so that the salsa isn’t too spicy, and I’d suggest doing the same. Anaheim and poblano peppers are both mild, but the jalapeno is fairly spicy, so it’s best to be on the safe side and remove the seeds before adding the peppers to the salsa. I like to cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, and then chop up the peppers into medium sized chunks, and then I add the peppers to the tomatoes and spices.

I enjoy a thicker salsa, so my trick for keeping salsa nice and thick is to blend the salsa in batches on grind – not liquefy. This recipe makes a huge bowl, so I usually have another big bowl on hand. As I blend each batch of salsa in the blender, I transfer it to the bowl that I’ve kept on the side. If you have time, I’d recommend letting the spices settle with the tomatoes before you add everything to the blender. I like to taste the liquid at the bottom of the bowl to see if my mixture needs more salt, pepper, lime, spices, etc. You can also taste the salsa as you blend it to see if it needs more heat. If you don’t want your salsa to be too spicy, add half of your jalapeno first, and then see if you want more. Conversely, if you love spicy salsa, you’ve added all of your jalapeno, and you’ve tossed your seeds, you can add a dash of cayenne pepper. A little bit of cayenne goes a long way, so be careful not to add too much!

Health tip: If you’re dipping tortilla chips into your salsa, pay attention to how much you’re eating. Chips typically have lots of fat, as well as sodium, so try limiting your consumption of them. You can use vegetables instead. I am so tempted to have salsa and chips that I usually avoid buying chips altogether. I’ll have them from time to time, but I’d rather get my fat grams from avocados, nuts, and seeds.

I hope that you’ll enjoy this delicious recipe as much as I have been! Cheers!

Do Carbs Cause Diabetes?

OrganicBerries

There’s so much misinformation about carbohydrates causing diabetes, that I feel it’s necessary to write this entry and share some truth about this non-existent correlation. I also want to say that while carbohydrates are blamed for everything from a spike in blood sugar levels to obesity, those of us who know the truth about healthy high carbohydrate diets need to provide people with information, sources, studies, and more. There are too many people who will subscribe to a high fat diet because it closely resembles their diet anyway. Of course if you tell people to eat butter, eggs, and bacon they’re going to get on board (especially in this country). But they’ll be signing up for constipation, diabetes, heart disease – including heart attacks, and more. And that’s not safe, responsible, or morally acceptable.

Dr. Garth Davis is a phenomenal physician who is doing an excellent job of taking care of his patients and providing them (and the public) with lots of helpful health information. He recently posted a long status on Facebook, which probably seems like a funny thing for me to share here, but it was packed with such amazing information that I feel it’s necessary for everyone to read this. I will include his many sources as well. Take some time to read through everything he included in his post and then enjoy a video from Dr. Michael Greger. For more information, take a look at the myriad of sources that Dr. Garth Davis provides at the end of his post, visit nutritionfacts.org, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, read through Dr. Dean Ornish’s studies on reversing heart disease, join me for a free 1-hour health consultation, and if you want to lose weight, and/or have prediabetes, ask me about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

Here is what Dr. Garth has to say about carbs, diabetes, and fat: “So, this is going to be a long rant with lots of scientific references, reader beware. The cliff notes: carbs do not cause Type 2 diabetes, meat does! I will provide references at the end of the post.

“But wait a second” you may say. “My sugar goes up when I eat carbs, so carbs must be to blame”. You are not alone in this thought. Even the President of  The American Society of Bariatric Medicine thinks this way. He believes that if your sugars are low you are cured of diabetes. So he puts people on low carb diets, and in fact the studies show low carb diets will lowers blood sugar, go figure. But has diabetes been cured? Are they healthier? Low carb studies are very short term and use lab results as their end points, not end organ disease. They don’t prove that low carb diets reduce heart disease, they show that it raises HDL and since high HDL is associated with less heart disease they assume that heart disease is lower. Likewise, they assume diabetes is cured when blood sugar is low, but has diabetes been cured? Not at all. As soon as the patient eats a carb the blood sugar will rise. Why? Because they still have insulin resistance. So many people make the mistake of thinking diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar. High blood sugar is just a symptom, the disease is insulin resistance. This is why I see so many failed Atkins and protein fast patients.

So what causes insulin resistance. This is the big question. Treating the symptom and not the cause is the typical western medicine paradigm. We need to look beyond. The fact is the biggest consumer of sugar, the organ most affected by insulin, are your muscles. I find it ridiculous that people, like Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes, talk about insulin as some kind of awful hormone. Why would we evolve to have an evil hormone that is in every single person. Insulin is only a problem when the body is resistant to insulin. Insulin serves a vital purpose, which is to get the fuel into the cells, and muscle needs glucose to generate fuel.

Our bodies are built to live off sugar. Insulin is supposed to join to an insulin receptor on the surface of the muscle cell which allows the sugar to enter the body and then be utilized to produce energy in the mitochondria. In fact, the healthiest people in the world eat tons of carbs. The Sardinians and the Okinawans eat 80% of their calories from starches and yet their insulin levels are not sky high, and their blood sugars are normal.

So what causes the muscle to become insulin resistant. Well this is a little more complex but it appears that it is fat build up in the muscle cell. Excess fat entering the cells interferes with the muscle cells ability to produce insulin receptors. If the muscle cannot make insulin receptors then sugar cannot get into the cell and then the sugar starts to build up in the system. Then the pancreas has to produce even more insulin to try and force sugar into the cells, and now you start getting high insulin levels. Moderate insulin is good but high insulin inhibits an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase causing even more fat accumulation, and a vicious cycle begins.

This then begs the question, “what causes fat to accumulate in the muscle cell”? Well, there are many theories. One is that insulin combined with lipids in the blood stream after eating causes intramyocellular fat. This makes sense. So if you eat steak believe it or not your insulin rises. It is also filled with fat. The insulin will cause fat to be accumulated in the cell. The same thing would happen if you ate a donut or a pizza. These are not carbs. They have carbs but they actually have more fat than carbs.

Other theories are that inflammation causes the muscle cell to dysfunction and not oxidate fat, causing fat accumulation. There is definitely evidence that acid accumulation cause insulin resistance likely from muscle cell dysfunction. Type II diabetes has been rising at astounding rates. How does our diet differ? We are eating a very acidic diet with too little of the bicarbonate producing plants as our ancestors did! Meat based diets are very acidic and cause inflammation which results in intramyocellular fat. There are even models that show certain amino acids will cause direct deposit of fat in the muscle cells.

There is some fascinating research looking at MRI’s of people’s muscles which show that athletes are able to mobilize fat easily from their muscle but overweight people cannot. This raises the additional question as to whether exercise has an affect on intramyocellular fat.

There is also a good body of studies showing high iron stores can affect insulin resistance. As you may know, meat is high in a particularly toxic form of iron which can further attribute to insulin resistance.

Interestingly, carbs are readily burned in our body or stored as glycogen. It is actually very difficult to turn carbs to fat. The only time carbs become fat is when glycogen stores are full and calorie intake has exceeded expenditure. A nutrition professor proved this by eating a high sugar diet but keeping calories less than 1800 calories. Despite eating almost purely sugar, he lost weight and his insulin resistance improved.

So if what I tell you is true then it should work in a randomized control trial and in epidemiologic studies of populations of people. In fact, it does. Dr. Turner-Mcgrievy and Dr. Barnard have put it to the test. They took diabetics and randomized to either vegan diet or the typical ADA, high protein diet recommended by doctors. Despite eating high carbs and lots of fruit, the vegan group had significantly greater drop in A1C.

We can see this in action in many different epidemiological studies too. The EPIC/Panacea study, which is the largest epidemiological study ever done on food and disease, found no correlation between carb consumption and development of diabetes, but meat had strong correlation to diabetes. In fact, fructose consumption was associated with less diabetes. This becomes more understandable when you know that meat causes inflammation, acidosis, stimulates insulin, and has fat.

People tend to think Type II diabetes is genetic, but diabetes is affecting all races at this point. In fact, Japanese had low rates of diabetes but if they migrated to Brazil, which is having a crisis of diabetes, they get very high rates of diabetes. In fact, the Brazil government has made recs to decrease meat. The same recs are being given by the Japanese government which has noted an increasing rate of diabetes with the increasing meat consumption.

One of the best long term studies is the Adventist Healthy study as they followed a large population for many years. The population was healthier in general due to lack of smoking and drinking and moderate exercise, making them an excellent study given less confounding factors. The vegans had considerably lower diabetes than the meat eaters.

Even Harvard’s Nurses Health Study, which is the largest and longest epidemiologic study in America, shows a significant relationship between animal protein consumption and Type II DM formation.

Let me also add that the randomized control trials and epidemiological studies, unlike the low carb studies, show improvement in end organ function. Less heart disease, less kidney dysfunction, less neuropathy, and longer life.

Most of all. Let me tell you that it is absolutely ridiculous to eat less fruit, as the president of the American Society of Bariatric Medicine claimed at our meeting. Studies show that fruit consumption does NOT increase A1C and is actually associated with weight loss and diabetes control. Studies show increasing carbs actually controls diabetes if they are whole grains, fruits and veggies!” There are so many studies that prove this point. I have included just a sample below.

(I put Dr. Garth Davis’ references at the end of this post.)

As Dr. Garth points out, “The Sardinians and the Okinawans eat 80% of their calories from starches and yet their insulin levels are not sky high, and their blood sugars are normal.” This isn’t a fluke. This is consistent with centuries of research and has helped people get healthier: high-carb low-fat diets are the key to optimal health. Eat your fruits. Eat your vegetables. Eat your whole grains. Eat your legumes. Whenever people adopt a healthy plant-based diet, they reap many healthful benefits such as weight loss, a drop in A1c levels, lower cholesterol levels (plants do not have any cholesterol – only animals and their by-products do!), lower blood pressure, less rates of prediabetes, diabetes, and several cancers.

You may have noticed that Dr. Garth Davis states, “There is some fascinating research looking at MRI’s of people’s muscles which show that athletes are able to mobilize fat easily from their muscle but overweight people cannot. This raises the additional question as to whether exercise has an affect on intramyocellular fat.” You may have also noticed that believers in a Paleo diet (or their warped version of a Paleo diet) are also cross-fitters. How much exercise does it take to ward off the effects of a terrible diet? It’s hard to say, if it’s even possible, as we see athletes who exercise frequently and with high intensity, but eat unhealthy diets, and then have heart attacks. Certainly staying active is good for you – but why not also have a healthful diet? Why flood your arteries with the very things that have contributed to this country’s gigantic obesity, heart disease, and diabetes problem? I’ll never know.

While a diet that’s high in some of your favorite foods (bacon, eggs, butter, beef, etc.) may be appealing, do not gamble with your health. The research has been done. We will continue to see the same results again and again: a high-carb low-fat diet is the way to go – do not believe the hype about high-fat low-carb diets. They’re just that: hype.

Enjoy this video from Dr. Michael Greger, one of my favorite physicians, as he discusses Diabetes and the many dangers of high-fat, low-carb diets.

Dr. Davis’ list of references:

Gimeno, S. G., et al. (2002). “Prevalence and 7-year incidence of Type II diabetes mellitus in a Japanese-Brazilian population: an alarming public health problem.” Diabetologia 45(12): 1635-1638.

de Carvalho, A. M., et al. (2013). “Excessive meat consumption in Brazil: diet quality and environmental impacts.” Public Health Nutr 16(10): 1893-1899.

Morimoto, A. (2010). Trends in the Epidemiology of Patients with Diabetes in Japan. JMAJ. 53: 36-40.

Adeva, M. M. and G. Souto (2011). “Diet-induced metabolic acidosis.” Clin Nutr 30(4): 416-421.

Souto, G., et al. (2011). “Metabolic acidosis-induced insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk.” Metab Syndr Relat Disord 9(4): 247-253.

Sebastian, A., et al. (2002). “Estimation of the net acid load of the diet of ancestral preagricultural Homo sapiens and their hominid ancestors.” Am J Clin Nutr 76(6): 1308-1316.

Dawson-Hughes, B., et al. (2008). “Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults.” Am J Clin Nutr 87(3): 662-665.

Jenkins, D. J., et al. (2003). “Type 2 diabetes and the vegetarian diet.” Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 610S-616S.

Holt, S. H., et al. (1997). “An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods.” Am J Clin Nutr 66(5): 1264-1276.

Barnard, N. D., et al. (2009). “A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial.” Am J Clin Nutr 89(5): 1588S-1596S.

Barnard, N. D., et al. (2006). “A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 29(8): 1777-1783.

Barnard, R. J., et al. (1998). “Diet-induced insulin resistance precedes other aspects of the metabolic syndrome.” J Appl Physiol (1985) 84(4): 1311-1315.

Stubbs, R. J., et al. (1997). “Carbohydrates and energy balance.” Ann N Y Acad Sci 819: 44-69.

Bloomer, R. J., et al. (2010). “Effect of a 21 day Daniel Fast on metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women.” Lipids Health Dis 9: 94.

Snowdon, D. A. and R. L. Phillips (1985). “Does a vegetarian diet reduce the occurrence of diabetes?” Am J Public Health 75(5): 507-512

Tonstad, S., et al. (2009). “Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 32(5): 791-796.

Fung, T. T., et al. (2004). “Dietary patterns, meat intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.” Arch Intern Med 164(20): 2235-2240.

Jornayvaz, F. R., et al. (2010). “A high-fat, ketogenic diet causes hepatic insulin resistance in mice, despite increasing energy expenditure and preventing weight gain.” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 299(5): E808-815.

Valachovicová, M., et al. (2006). “No evidence of insulin resistance in normal weight vegetarians. A case control study.” Eur J Nutr 45(1): 52-54.

Frassetto, L., et al. (2001). “Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet.” Eur J Nutr 40(5): 200-213.

Flanagan, A. M., et al. (2008). “High-fat diets promote insulin resistance through cytokine gene expression in growing female rats.” J Nutr Biochem 19(8): 505-513.

Cai, H., et al. (2007). “A prospective study of dietary patterns and mortality in Chinese women.” Epidemiology 18(3): 393-401.

Schulze, M. B., et al. (2003). “Processed meat intake and incidence of Type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women.” Diabetologia 46(11): 1465-1473.

Song, Y., et al. (2004). “A prospective study of red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and elderly women: the women’s health study.” Diabetes Care 27(9): 2108-2115.

Vang, A., et al. (2008). “Meats, processed meats, obesity, weight gain and occurrence of diabetes among adults: findings from Adventist Health Studies.” Ann Nutr Metab 52(2): 96-104.

Pan, A., et al. (2013). “Changes in Red Meat Consumption and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Three Cohorts of US Men and Women.” JAMA Intern Med: 1-8.

Ahmadi-Abhari, S., et al. (2014). “Dietary intake of carbohydrates and risk of type 2 diabetes: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk study.” Br J Nutr 111(2): 342-352.

Lara-Castro, C. and W. T. Garvey (2008). “Intracellular lipid accumulation in liver and muscle and the insulin resistance syndrome.” Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 37(4): 841-856.

Cozma, A. I., et al. (2012). “Effect of fructose on glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials.” Diabetes Care 35(7): 1611-1620.

Azadbakht, L. and A. Esmaillzadeh (2009). “Soy-protein consumption and kidney-related biomarkers among type 2 diabetics: a crossover, randomized clinical trial.” J Ren Nutr 19(6): 479-486.

Sørensen, L. B., et al. (2005). “Effect of sucrose on inflammatory markers in overweight humans.” Am J Clin Nutr 82(2): 421-427.

Montonen, J., et al. (2013). “Consumption of red meat and whole-grain bread in relation to biomarkers of obesity, inflammation, glucose metabolism and oxidative stress.” Eur J Nutr 52(1): 337-345.

Barbaresko, J., et al. (2013). “Dietary pattern analysis and biomarkers of low-grade inflammation: a systematic literature review.” Nutr Rev 71(8): 511-527.

Muraki, I., et al. (2013). “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.” BMJ 347: f5001.

Ye, E. Q., et al. (2012). “Greater whole-grain intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain.” J Nutr 142(7): 1304-1313.

Chiu, T. H., et al. (2014). “Taiwanese Vegetarians and Omnivores: Dietary Composition, Prevalence of Diabetes and IFG.” PLoS One 9(2): e88547.

Goff, L. M., et al. (2005). “Veganism and its relationship with insulin resistance and intramyocellular lipid.” Eur J Clin Nutr 59(2): 291-298.

Esposito, K., et al. (2003). “Effect of dietary antioxidants on postprandial endothelial dysfunction induced by a high-fat meal in healthy subjects.” Am J Clin Nutr 77(1): 139-143.

Jiang, R., et al. (2004). “Body iron stores in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes in apparently healthy women.” JAMA 291(6): 711-717.

Hua, N. W., et al. (2001). “Low iron status and enhanced insulin sensitivity in lacto-ovo vegetarians.” Br J Nutr 86(4): 515-519.

Watzl, B. (2008). “Anti-inflammatory effects of plant-based foods and of their constituents.” Int J Vitam Nutr Res 78(6): 293-298.

Chandalia, M., et al. (2000). “Beneficial effects of high dietary fiber intake in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” N Engl J Med 342(19): 1392-1398.

Pickup, J. C. (2004). “Inflammation and activated innate immunity in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 27(3): 813-823.

Deopurkar, R., et al. (2010). “Differential effects of cream, glucose, and orange juice on inflammation, endotoxin, and the expression of Toll-like receptor-4 and suppressor of cytokine signaling-3.” Diabetes Care 33(5): 991-997.

Ghanim, H., et al. (2009). “Increase in plasma endotoxin concentrations and the expression of Toll-like receptors and suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 in mononuclear cells after a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal: implications for insulin resistance.” Diabetes Care 32(12): 2281-2287.

Bao, W., et al. (2012). “Dietary iron intake, body iron stores, and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Med 10: 119.

Romeu, M., et al. (2013). “Diet, iron biomarkers and oxidative stress in a representative sample of Mediterranean population.” Nutr J 12(1): 102.

Cooper, A. J., et al. (2012). “A prospective study of the association between quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable intake and incident type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 35(6): 1293-1300.

Rizzo, N. S., et al. (2011). “Vegetarian dietary patterns are associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome: the adventist health study 2.” Diabetes Care 34(5): 1225-1227.

Consortium, I. (2013). “Association between dietary meat consumption and incident type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-InterAct study.” Diabetologia 56(1): 47-59.

Watt, M. J. and A. J. Hoy (2012). “Lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle: generation of adaptive and maladaptive intracellular signals for cellular function.” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 302(11): E1315-1328.

Coletta, D. K. and L. J. Mandarino (2011). “Mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance from the outside in: extracellular matrix, the cytoskeleton, and mitochondria.” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 301(5): E749-755.

Eckel, R. H., et al. (2005). “The metabolic syndrome.” Lancet 365(9468): 1415-1428.

Brunzell, J. D., et al. (1971). “Improved glucose tolerance with high carbohydrate feeding in mild diabetes.” N Engl J Med 284(10): 521-524.

Christensen, A. S., et al. (2013). “Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes–a randomized trial.” Nutr J 12: 29.”