Diabetes Blood Sugar Awareness Month Year!
November is Diabetes Awareness Month but blood sugar is an important thing for us to pay attention to all year. The sugar (glucose) in our blood is what provides most of the energy to run our incredible bodies, but when that blood sugar starts to creep up, we increase our risk for all of the chronic and degenerative diseases like heart attack, stroke, cancer and dementia.
Our dietary carbohydrates are our biggest source of glucose so it makes sense to start there. Everything we eat contains carbohydrates, except meat, seafood, poultry and eggs, but added sugars and processed grains are the two worst offenders in terms of raising our blood sugar too high. When we eat these too frequently and/or in large amounts, we stress our whole blood sugar regulation system including organs like our pancreas and hormones such as insulin, ghrelin and leptin. Over time, this system can start to dysfunction and we end up with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Think of blood sugar as spectrum or continuum, from optimal blood sugar balance at one end to type 2 diabetes at the other. Everything we eat will move us towards one end or the other. This should be the message for Diabetes Awareness Month - that the food we eat is the single most important influence on our blood sugar and ultimately our health - let's choose wisely.
Here is a great recipe from our book The Paleo Diabetes Diet Solution to help you move away from processed grains and refined sugars.
Jill Hillhouse & Lisa Cantkier
Authors of The Paleo Diabetic Diet Solution
Smoked Salmon Nori Rolls
This is a great take on a hand roll without the sweetened sticky rice. With the smoked salmon, these rolls are a great meal but they can also be made exclusively with just vegetables and used as a side for some other protein, even chicken wings!
8 sheets toasted nori
1/2 cup zucchini wasabi spread (recipe below)
8 smoked wild salmon (each about 1 oz/30 g)
1 organic English cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise into 16 pieces
1 large organic red bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise into 16 pieces
2 avocados, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise into 16 pieces
24 fresh mint leaves, chopped
24 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Place 1 sheet of nori on a flat work surface with the rough side facing up. Carefully spread 2 tbsp (30 mL) Zucchini Wasabi Spread over the nori, leaving 1 ½” (3 cm) bare along the bottom edge of the nori (the edge closest to you).
2. Place 1 piece of salmon, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 slices of red pepper, and 2 slices of avocado about 1 ½” (3 cm) from the bottom edge. Top with some chopped mint and cilantro.
3. Starting with the bare edge, roll nori around the fillings, pressing gently to make a compact roll. Moisten a finger with warm water and run it along the inside edge of the flap that remains at the top of the roll, then press the moistened edge against the roll to seal.
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with the remaining ingredients.
5. With a very sharp serrated knife, cut each roll into 6 pieces.
Makes 4 Rolls
*Use as very sharp knife when cutting your roll because a dull one will crush it. Keeping the blade slightly wet will also help. A good way to do this it to dip the knife tip into a bowl of water and then turn it so that the tip points straight up. Tap the handle of the knife on the table and gravity will send the water down the cutting edge.
*Nori is about one-third fiber, making it a good addition to a meal to help regulate blood sugar. Including more fiber in out meals helps us feel full longer and the nori and avocado in this recipe are a great fiber combination.
Zucchini Wasabi Spread
1 cup finely chooped zucchini
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshily squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 tsp wasabi powder mixed with 1 tsp filtered water
1/2 tsp sea salt
Substitute 2 tsp grated fresh ginger or fresh horseradish for the wasabi powder or paste.
1. Place the zucchini, oil, lime juice, cilantro, wasabi mixture and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice if needed.
Makes 1 cup
*You can use 2 tsp (2 mL) prepared wasabi paste instead of the powder.
*Most of the wasabi pastes that are available both commercially and in restaurants are a mixture of horseradish and Chinese mustard. The glucosinolates in horseradish and wasabi are responsible for the characteristic hot taste. When ingested, the glucosinolates are broken down into isothiocyanates and indoles which are potent main anti-cancer compounds.
Jill Hillhouse BA, BPHE, CNP, RNT
Jill is a passionate advocate of whole foods eating and nutrition education. She believes that health starts on your dinner plate and she uses diet and lifestyle shifts to mitigate and reverse health conditions. Jill focuses on addressing her clients’ metabolic individuality as a key factor in her functional nutrition protocols and health coaching. A strong voice for self-advocacy, Jill encourages and empowers her clients to be active participants in their own health care. Working as a practitioner since 2001, Jill is part of the integrative health team at P3 Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada. She is also a Trusted Advisor for Zwell.ca, and a PRO with League.com. Jill is the author of The Paleo Diabetes Diet Solution as well as the best-selling book, The Best Baby Food. She also writes articles for a number national print and online publications.
Jill is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and has earned her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (BPHE) and her BA in Psychology at Queen’s University. She is certified as a First Line Therapist in Lifestyle Medicine by Metagenics and as a Stress and Wellness Consultant by the Hans Selye Foundation and The Canadian Institute of Stress. Jill has been a faculty member of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition since 2005. She is a member of The Canadian Association of Natural Nutrition Practitioners and the Institute of Functional Medicine.
Lisa Cantkier CHN, NNCP
Lisa is a certified holistic nutritionist and a natural nutrition clinical practitioner, registered with the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners (CANNP). She completed a diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition and degrees in Psychology and Education.
Lisa was diagnosed with celiac disease as a toddler. This has taught her that every bite matters—food is one of the most important aspects of health and it can either harm or help us. In addition to food allergies and special diets, Lisa is interested in the connection between diabetes and diet.