Someone recently sent me an article on adrenal health in which they talk about getting in control of your blood sugar and how going on a low-carb diet can in fact make your blood sugar spike and end up raising your cortisol level (which isn’t good for adrenal health).
So, I suppose the person who sent me the link was thinking something like this:, I thought a low-carb paleo diet was good for gut health and adrenal health? Wouldn’t it therefore help someone increase their energy?
The article is saying the opposite: that when a body is starved for carbohydrates, this can cause it to increase your blood sugar, which has the opposite effect one was looking for.
So which idea is correct? Is a low-carb, paleo diet really best? Or what about ketogenic diets that teach you to wean your body of carbohydrates almost entirely and rely on primarily fat as fuel instead of glucose.
Lots of people have chimed in on both sides of the debate, and I’d like to introduce some clarity around what is really the best diet to maximize energy and help us feel our best.
To make this simple I’m going to write it in four steps, God willing.
1: Avoid all foods that are inflammatory in nature
To figure out your ideal diet, start by eliminating all foods that are proven to not be good for us. Those would include irradiated foods; processed foods such as refined sugar, vegetable oil, dairy and meat; genetically modified foods; and chemical-laden foods full of carcinogenic pesticides. I don’t think you’ll find a debate about the aforementioned foods, and if you do, ignore it, lol.
Getting rid of all processed, artificial and chemical-laden foods from your diet will go a long way in building better energy and overall health.
2: Find a diet that addresses your current state of health
The food you’re currently eating should always match what is going on with your internal biochemistry and physiology. If you’ve sustained damage and developed an auto-immune condition then going gluten-free is a must for you to get better.
If you’ve had a high-sugar diet which has caused insulin resistance (even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes), it is important for you to remove sugar and refined carbohydrates to start healing.
If you’ve sustained extensive damage to your gut due to your lifestyle and eating habits, then giving up dairy may be useful until your gut is repaired, even if raw.
The bottom line is that your diet has to be relevant to you. If you follow the latest health trend, it may or may not work. This is why we hear stories of people who beat their cancer, and others who ate “healthy” and got sicker and sicker. It all just depends on whether the diet one has chosen is a good match with their personal physiology, genetic predisposition, and current situation.
3: Remain open and flexible with other dietary options
As you heal, your internal stressors will ease and your body will develop new needs. Usually healing happens in layers, and once one layer is worked on you can begin addressing another.
That raw vegan or ketogenic diet may not have worked when your gut was very damaged, however you may find later that those methods work well with your genetic background. You may also find that shades of your current diet can vary so that you can maybe have nuts a few times a month or egg every once and a while and be okay—but you wouldn’t want to eat these things weekly.
The key here is to pay attention to your body, and honor your experience of food more than what you read in a science article.
4: Remember, diet is only one piece of the puzzle
Although diet plays a huge role in our energy levels, so does having a full healthy lifestyle.
If you’re lacking sleep and barely moving, you can eat the best diet in the world and not only have pretty low energy, but struggle to move forward with healing.
Pay attention to the whole way you live to maximize any diet and create the best results.
5: Listen to your body and adjust over time
As you’re exposed to different ideas around the “right” way to eat, understand that there is a right way for you, and even your right way may change as you progress over time.
When you look at information of health and eating through the lense of applying it to your own situation and life, things become less confusing and you can build confidence in following your own intuition around what makes you thrive.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What would you like to change about your diet right now?