Monday, 13 May 2013

Growing up in the 1950's (or mid-century as they say on the Antiques Roadshow - nice to know we are considered antiques), you probably had the big Sunday dinner in the early afternoon, as I did.  My parents did not have much money and we had a family of six, but we always had a big dinner on Sundays, usually with aunts, uncles and cousins added.  Or we would go to another relatives house for dinner.  Supper later on would be sandwiches made from the leftover roast meat - I think it is a prairies thing.

My parents both grew up on farms and my grandparents raised their own livestock, planted crops and gardens.  My Mom's family had eleven children and my Dad's nine - a lot of mouths to feed and, amazingly, they only ate what they grew themselves.  Unfortunately, that included grains in homemade bread, cakes, pies and cookies, and lots of sugar so that is what I learnt to eat and why, I think, to this day after I have eaten my evening meal, my body starts craving something sweet.

Reading other websites/blogs, the sugar cravings especially after meal seems to be a common problem even with the younger generation.  Some people never get over it, they just try to control it as much as possible - I am in that category.  Jason Sieb on Everday Paleo (follow the link to get the whole post) explained it well, I think.

If this is how you ate for most of your adult life your body would have been highly adapted to using glucose for energy while storing fat.  Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) was constantly on duty ushering fatty acids into your fat cells, and hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) would rarely have been called into action.  Unfortunately, you are a highly adaptive creature.  Eating this way for years has taught your body that this is normal and now you want to change the rules with proper human nutrition.  Of course there is going to be a fight.
To sharpen this concept to a fine point, you are not fat adapted.  In other words, your body doesn’t readily release stored energy (fat) from your batteries (fat cells) to run your generators (mitochondria) because it is WAAAAY out of practice.  You have been pumping a constant supply of glucose (from processed carbs) into your blood stream and, since glucose must be used first when it is present, your fat cells have turned into warehouses instead of batteries.  To correct this, your fat cells must release fatty acids and your mitochondria must accept those long lost friends as fuel.  This might take a while.  You didn’t get into your current state overnight; don’t expect to flip a switch and magically escape unscathed.
Back to your cravings and last night’s nightmare.  When you eat a processed carb-laden meal, you get a nice spike in glucose, your pancreas kicks out a bunch of insulin to mitigate the glucose, and the glucose is fed to your hungry cells, stored as glycogen, or turned into fat and stuffed into your buns and thighs.  When the glucose is all gone, a healthy body shifts into fat burning mode and uses the fat it just stored to keep on trucking.  But your body can’t remember how to make the shift.  Glucose is all it really knows.  That leaves just one option – scream for more glucose!  Screams = cravings.
There is an easy way to distinguish cravings from hunger.  Simply swap out the food you are craving for something paleo approved.  If you are truly hungry most foods will sound good.  I’ve said it more times than I can count, nobody ever looses their cool at 10 pm and eats a pound of broccoli or a 20 ounce steak.  In reality it’s more like, “Why am I suddenly surrounded by empty chip bags and ice cream containers?”

So Sunday dinners then (and still are today in some households) roasted meat, vegetables, potatoes and something sweet for dessert.  As I have more time on weekends, Sunday dinner for Paleo Grandad and me was roasted chicken, roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and cauli-mash instead of potatoes. My oven has a problem and does not brown the chicken skin as much as I would like.  Can you believe it needs a new motherboard?  It heats up and then the heat drops down - very frustrating.  Damn you Sears - this is taking too long to fix.

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