We all have questions, or maybe I’m projecting that and it’s just me that constantly wants to do a deep dive into things that can positively or negatively affect our health. But as you’re here, I’m guessing that you have questions and want answers. The interesting thing is when you don’t know to ask a question but are fascinated by the answer. Well, you might find that happening today as I answer questions that my lovely loyal listeners have asked in emails and social media comments. They sometimes come in thick and fast after an episode, and that happened recently! So today on EAT THIS with Lianne your questions about my glucose monitor, how to deal with belly fat, and as a follow-up to last week’s episode 148 about boosting what is in your cup, all the plastics that can get into your cup, and how to eliminate them.
First let’s talk about my glucose monitor – I have had so much interest in this. And please know that there is more to come. I’ve sent a unit to Chris to put on his arm, and he’s game. He and I are going to compare results and talk through the results with an expert that I’m trying to get on, and if you find that you too can get one for two to four weeks, you’ll have your own data to follow along with. I’ll share my process and findings so you can see if what I have done works for you. I started off by ordering the Levels continuous monitor from the US and having it sent to a friend in California. Not knowing that these little units are geographically tagged so I couldn’t use it in Canada, or with a Canadian IP address. Even when I was in California last week, I couldn’t get the Levels app in the app store, so that’s still a work in progress. I know how to do it now, but have to go through the process. More on that in another episode. Before Christmas I made an appointment with my GP to look over some moles and deal with some abdominal pain I’ve been experiencing and I asked if I could have a prescription for a glucose monitor. She asked why and I shared that my DNA results showed that I’m predisposed to diabetes and I want to stay out of her office. She gave me a month – that’s two units – and I picked them up from my local pharmacy – Shoppers Drug Mart for those in Canada. I got a prescription because my extended health benefits FULLY cover Flash Glucose monitors, so I didn’t have to pay the $69.99 per unit, which you can pay if you just walk in and ask for it from the pharmacy desk as it’s over the counter. It’s called the Libre 2 and while I’d like the Continuous version called the LIbre 3 which is what Levels use, it’s not available in Canada yet. So what that means is that I download the Libre 2 app, and when I want to see what my blood sugar level is after a meal, in the morning, or any time of day, I hover my phone over the unit that is stuck on the back of my arm. My phone beeps as I do it and often shows an error so I have to do it again, and then I know where I’m at and follow the graph to see how my body is responding. I see trends and have used it to avoid certain foods that spike my level. More on that in our results episode. Depending on where you live, will depend on which monitor you have access to. Abbot Pharmaceuticals sells Libre products to pharmacies and if you look online the CGM version should have been available at the end of 2022, but not yet. I called Abbot and they don’t have a date but hopefully within 6 months. It seems to take Health Canada about a year to approve after the FDA and the Libre 3 were launched in the summer of 2022 in the US. It’s making its way around the world now. When you get it, instructions are provided and you can find videos on YouTube of how to get the unit on your arm, and where to put it. It’s scary at first but truly you don’t feel it. There’s a filament that goes in your arm and a sticker that keeps it stuck. I have a waterproof bandage that I cover it with because not long after I put my first one on, I knocked my arm on a doorway and it didn’t feel great. My arm feels odd after I put it on for about a day, but I’m hyper-aware and sensitive, so you may not notice anything. I scan at the start of a meal and note what I am eating. Then scan 30, 60, 90, and two hours after a meal or thereabouts. I was a scanning machine to start, but now I am starting to know where I’m at depending on what I eat. I tested it with cake. Like a cupcake and a half worth, and again with apple cider vinegar before. I’ll share those results when we go through it, but knowing that my skin broke out in a rash and pimples on my chin, I won’t do that again in a hurry. I’ve tested apples, bananas, but not my shortbread yet. Chris and I can do that together as I have sent him some along with his reader! It’s a fascinating exercise and data to get to know your own body, how it responds to foods, drinks and then take action to stabilize and see what happens. So far I know that I have lost weight, and I’d feel better if I was about half a stone lighter – that’s 7 lbs.
Alright, back to another question, that might deserve it’s own episode, but let’s get answers to my lovely loyal listener GW about this one as he is looking for help, and quick.
GW asked about his belly fat, and while he has maintained his weight for years, he learned about detoxing recently in a workshop, and shared that he heard that when John Wayne died they said he had 24 Lbs of crap in his colon. Let’s be clear what’s in your colon isn’t the same as the visceral fat that is the most dangerous as it surrounds the organs. It’s the number one cause of aging, increasing risks of blood clots that lead to heart attack and stroke. It drives inflammation and releases it’s own hormones, that we don’t need and as most of us have an imbalance already, we don’t need more. Belly fat also drives insulin resistance. That’s when your cells don’t respond and allow energy to be stored within the cell and so more and more insulin is produced. This visceral fat can change your brain chemistry too as hundreds of molecules are produced by these fat cells. Dementia and Alsheimers are linked with belly fat and called type 3 diabetes, which is insulin resistance of the brain. In short, this belly fat can mess you right up, and can seriously be a driving factor for premature death.
One of the contributors of belly fat is liquid calories. Sugar calories are bad and liquid sugar calories from high fructose corn syrup, glucose or fructos are worse. When sugar isn’t in the matrix of food that is natural, like fiber or protein or fat, they’re just pure sugar. Often, it’s pure fructose, which is, when you drink fruit juice or high fructose corn syrup, that’s up to 75% fructose in pop and soda. They get quickly absorbed quickly because there’s nothing buffering their absorption. They spike your blood sugar which creates a spike in insulin. And that creates the flood into your bloodstream into your cells, that can’t get in there, so it goes right into your belly fat cells, it doesn’t go into your butt or arm or your ear lobe, it goes right into your fat.
Stress is also a driver of belly fat from the excess cortisol that sends signals through the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system to your fat cells. For more on the vagus nerve, head back and search for episodes 86 and 88 on any podcast platform. Never eat a meal if you’re stressed because your nervous system signals get crossed and tell your fat cells to store fat. Cortisol which raises blood sugar, raises insulin and as I just explained, that’ll send that meal right to your belly. A lack of sleep is also a driver of cortisol, so listen to episode 85 for good sleep habits to help you to help you not gain more and possibly lose belly fat.
You can take a tape measure and you can measure around your belly button around the widest point in your hips and you divide your waist by your hip. And if it’s over 0.9, if you are a man over 0.8, if you’re a woman, you’re in trouble. If your waist is bigger than your hips, that’s bad, if your hips are bigger than your waist, that’s good.
Let’s recap – excess amounts of sugar, liquid sugar, processed foods and refined, white anything, spikes your blood sugar, and then that spikes your insulin. Then that puts all the glucose that’s circulating in your bloodstream, both fat and sugar and everything into your fat cells, and it locks them in. That slows your metabolism, creates inflammation, and makes you hungry.
Food is information to your body in how it takes it all in and the response that follows, is what I’m getting you to. So change your diet to whole foods, anti-inflammatory, phytonutrient rich, protein rich, high fiber, high-quality fat diet. Time-restricted eating can also help so listen to intermittent fasting episode 80 and get yourself from a 12-hour fast up to 16 hour fast by pushing it by 30 – 60 minutes a day, while ditching anything in a bag, that has a barcode or box. Only whole foods, get that protein and fat like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds with every mouthful, and consider a glucose monitor like I mentioned at the start of the episode and show.
Dr Mark Hyman has a book called the 10 day detox diet that is specifically for blood sugar balance so I’d recommend that to get you started with a structure. Head to his site to help get you started.
A quick update after last week’s chat with GiddyYo owner Bridgitte Longhorn, we didn’t get to speak about plastic in your teabags and coffee makers, and she really wanted to discuss. As her company focuses on clean food like chocolate and coffee – she calls it food – then it’s important that you have clean, filtered water (that does affect the taste as we talked about in episode 61 and the Berkey system. Microplastics can get into your mug from plastic tea bags that are used to keep their shape. nylon and polyethylene terephthalate, or PET are used in silky tea bags and McGill University research found that a single plastic tea bag brewed at 95 C released more than 11 billion microplastics and more than 3 billion nanoplastics into a single cup. Plastic with heat can release these microplastics, so I want you to look at your coffee maker. How much plastic does the water move through, and if it’s a plastic lid on your kettle, there’s a transfer of particles into your water, that you then pour to make coffee. Loose leaf tea transfers nothing. Water bottles left in your car do, and even water left at room temperature in plastic can transfer. Microwaving anything in plastic is a no-no-no-no.