Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Caution: Carbohydrates May Be Killing Your Brain

If you think you are doing yourself a favor by consuming a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet (including such things as breads, sugars, pastas, etc.), think again. The latest scientific research suggests that the standard American diet, which is often very high in carbohydrates and low in fat, is apparently increasing your risk of developing  depression, anxiety, ADHD, chronic headaches, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.

At the end of this article, you'll find links to learn more about these recent studies and what you can do to feed your brain what it needs for optimum health. But first, in light of these reports on the dangers of a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, it’s time to look at what may be a healthier alternative for you: a low-carbohydrate diet with plenty of healthy fats. 

Low-carb diet fundamentals

To get you up to speed on whether or not you want to consider a low-carbohydrate diet with healthier fats, get started right here:
And if you are ready to get going, let's look at some recipes that will help you increase the healthy fats in your diet while decreasing carbohydrates.

Low-carb Recipes with healthy fats

When people think about the common low-carb breakfast, their mind may go straight for eggs and bacon (skipping the toast and hash browns, of course). True enough, an eggs and bacon breakfast will meet the requirements for a low carbohydrate diet. But if you want a much healthier alternative, and one that adds healthy fats to your diet, take a look at the recipe I've been using 3-to-5 times a week for over a year now with excellent results (lost weight, increased energy, and improved skin tone). 
Ric's low-carb green smoothie for breakfast and lunch

If you don't have time to make two smoothies a day, these portions are enough to fill a large blender, creating enough for two large smoothies (one for breakfast, one for lunch) or three small smoothies (for a healthy mid-morning snack too). To make just one serving, cut the portions in half.
  • Kale or spinach – 2 to 3 big handfuls (depending on the size of your hand)
  • Celery – just one or two stalks
  • Healthy oils – a couple tablespoons of Udo’s oil or virgin cold pressed olive oil, and a tablespoon of coconut oil
  • A half cup berries (any fruit ending in the word "berries," such as blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, will be low in carbohydrates as long as you do no more than a half cup)
  • Avocado – 1/3 to 1/2 of one, depending on size.
  • A quarter cup of raw almonds, walnuts, or pecans (not only for healthy oils, but makes the smoothie more filling)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons of raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, adjusted according to your tastes. Lime juice makes a good substitute or alternative.
  • A healthy artificial sweetener to taste.  Healthier and low carbohydrate alternatives include stevia or xylitol (I use some of each)
  • A dash of salt (counteracts any bitterness from the vegetables)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • A few drops of vanilla
  • 4-6 ice cubes – optional (maybe it's just me, but it seems to taste much better when it's cold)
  • Water, enough to let everything blend and reach the desired consistency (the "desired" consistency is a matter of personal choice – start with just a half cup and then add more as needed).
Blend all ingredients in the blender for 30 to 90 seconds, long enough to reach a smooth consistency. How much time this takes depends on how powerful your blender is and your personal definition of "smooth."

This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, as well as a generous dose of healthy fats. To make it a little more filling, optionally add a couple tablespoons of whey powder, plain Greek yogurt, or hemp seed.  For variety and to add extra health benefits, also consider experimenting with a dash of ginger root or mint leaves.
Lunch or dinner low carbohydrate recipes
Some winners, especially if you want healthy fats with your low carbs:
And when you’re ready for desert, try this low-carb pumpkin pie or these Low Carb Brownie Bites!

Get moving!

For best results with any diet, remember that intake is only half the picture. Food is fuel. How much of that fuel you burn influences weight loss. With a low-carb diet, as with any diet, exercise is essential to weight loss.

Research on carbohydrates and brain

Here are some resources to help you learn more about the brain risks with a high carbohydrate and low-fat diet.
A final note – consult with your physician before undergoing any significant dietary change.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

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