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Alternative Flat Belly Diet Recipes


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#1 Calabrese

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 03:11 PM

I've recently started the Flat Belly Diet (been working great for co-workers). It's pretty appealing on a number of fronts. I was wondering if anyone around here had played with this and come up with some more interesting recipes and takes on the premise of the diet.

#2 MangoFish

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 09:28 AM

There are a lot of diets out there right now (such as Flat Belly, South Beach, Paleo, etc.) that are conceptually very different, but the implementation is similar. They all move our eating in a similar direction...away from simple, processed carbohydrates and toward more protein, more veg/fruit, and more complex carbs. In my opinion, justifications aside, they are all a healthy move in the right direction.

The basic goal is to eat foods that don't significantly raise your blood sugar. Insulin's job is to remove sugar from your blood and help it move into your cells to be used as energy. When you have too much sugar in your blood, it takes the excess and stores it as fat. Therefore, when your blood sugar level is normal or moderate, much of it gets used for energy. But whenever you spike it, your body goes to town storing it as fat. It's a bit more complicated than that, but in general, the more you eat simple carbs that spike your blood sugar (such as white flour, potatoes, white rice, sugar, etc.), the fatter you get.

You need some carbs so that you get the energy benefit. I'm not a fan of the Atkins diet, or similar zero carb approaches, because I think we need more readily-available energy than straight protein and fat can provide. How much carb we really need is a matter of contention, and varies by individual and lifestyle. At any rate, unless you are preparing to run a marathon, it is best to get the carbs your body needs from foods that release their sugars more slowly and keep your insulin on a more even keel. In general, good slow-release carb sources are fruits and complex carbs such as beans, whole grains, and rice with the husks still on, etc.

I've been reading a lot about glycemic index (GI), and the more useful, glycemic load (GL) values of foods. The GI value is a measure of how much the carbs in a particular food will raise your blood sugar as compared to table sugar. The GL value is a measure of how much a typical serving of a food item will raise your blood sugar. This is different than GI, since it takes into account not only the amount of carb you might actually ingest in a typical serving, but also how the presence of protein, fats, fiber, etc., affect the absorption of said carb. It gets a little complicated, but the database of available information is growing daily.

Diabetics must always be aware of how what they eat might affect their blood sugar, so the GL value is very useful. There is some talk about the GL value becoming part of the food labeling requirement. I think this is terrific, not only for people with diabetes, but also for dieters who are trying to keep what they eat from being stored as fat. I don't have diabetes, but I have another medical condition that is exacerbated anytime my blood sugar spikes, so I also follow a low GL diet by necessity. The more I've read, the more I'm convinced it's a good way for all of us to eat. Beyond just the theoretical, since changing my diet I feel better, sleep much more soundly, suffer much less anxiety, and am slowly losing weight. I'd lose faster if I'd actually start counting calories again. I eat well, but I eat too much.

Having said all that (sorry, I am verbose), one of the best web sites I've found for recipes has been Elana's Pantry:

http://www.elanaspantry.com/

She not only follows a gluten-free concept, but she also controls the carbs (so no rice flour or corn starch, etc.). I bought her almond flour cookbook and many of the recipes are really tasty. I wish almond flour and agave nectar were cheaper, but I think it's worth it. Oh, and buy a lot of eggs. I mean a LOT!

Hope this has been more helpful than boring.