LoveBites: Blood Sugar Balance and its Effect on Your Heart Health

It’s Heart Health Month! I talk a lot about hormones and blood sugar balance, so what does blood sugar balance have to do with heart health?

There are some indications that chronic high blood sugar may contribute to atherosclerosis, a condition that damages blood vessels and may lead to buildup of plaques that affect the ability of blood to flow through. This is why people with conditions like insulin resistance, diabetes, and PCOS may be at higher risk for developing heart disease.

Eating a variety of beneficial foods to improve blood sugar balance may in turn support heart health! So let’s turn our focus to two types of nutrients with that in mind: fiber and resistant starch.

Fiber

This nutrient is important for regulating both heart and hormone health.

Eating a variety of whole plant foods, which are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers, may be helpful for:

  • reducing total cholesterol by binding to it
  • helping manage blood sugar by slowing release of glucose into the bloodstream and keeping you full longer
  • helping eliminate the (excess) products of hormone metabolism to keep sex and stress hormones in better ratios

A great time to focus on fiber for your heart and hormone health is breakfast.

Foods like oats, berries, banana, and chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, which could help keep cholesterol in a better range – as well as a ripple effect of keeping you feeling full until lunchtime by slowing the release of sugars into the bloodstream, easing the insulin impact, and setting you up for fewer cravings later in the day as well.

Try putting these foods together for overnight oats, chia pudding, or right into a smoothie for breakfast!

Resistant Starch

Isn’t starch bad? (Real quick, no, it’s not.)

Resistant starch gets its name because, a lot like fiber, it *resists* digestion. It occurs naturally but also builds up in certain starchy foods, such as potatoes, after they’ve been cooked AND cooled.

Starches add a filling heft to foods like root vegetables, squashes, grains, and pulses. Resistant starches also aid satiety and may act as a prebiotic (source of food) for our gut microbes as it makes its way through our intestines, fermenting as it goes.

If you’ve had “new vegan gas” switching to WFPB, this is likely a contributor!

But beyond that, resistant starch shows benefits for helping reduce cravings, and improving blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity! And as mentioned above, that could be great news for your blood vessels.

So what foods contain resistant starch? The best sources include: potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, rice, lentils and other legumes, and green bananas.

I love adding cold leftover cooked rice or potatoes to my winter buddha bowls! And overnight oats…

Grab this Blueberry Hemp Overnight Oats recipe to make this weekend!

And be sure to download this month’s heart-focused free recipes: Heart Beet WFPBNO February Bundle

blueberry oats

The Protein-Hormone Connection and How It Involves Chocolate

I love chocolate. If I had to live on one flavour forever, I feel like I’d be perfectly content choosing chocolate.

Loving chocolate and craving chocolate are not the same creature.

For the first week of World Vegan Month, I’ve been focusing on plant protein and how to get enough. Now I’m going to take a look at how protein intake is connected two-fold with chocolate cravings. Continue reading “The Protein-Hormone Connection and How It Involves Chocolate”

Adapting to STRESStember and Beyond!

I love fall. I love the crunchy leaves underfoot and the more comfortable temperatures (hello again, my beloved hoodie collection!).

What I don’t love… is the spike in stress that often comes with this particular change in seasons. Being a lifelong student as well as a nutrition professional means I see it in myself and those I work with.

September/October ➡️ change in routine ➡️ STRESS!!

I’ve figured out along the way that it’s important to have nutritional strategies to help keep a balance from day-to-day! Continue reading “Adapting to STRESStember and Beyond!”

LoveBites: 2 Easy Ways to Slow Down

“Sometimes you need to slow down to eventually go faster.” ~Robin Sharma

How do you slow down? What does that look like? When was the last time you actually did?

If it’s been a while, here are a couple of ways you can try to slow down today: Continue reading “LoveBites: 2 Easy Ways to Slow Down”

LoveBites: Take Care of Yourself!

So often, I get wrapped up in taking care of other people, animals, projects… but not myself. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” I say, but my own cup runs low. From time to time it helps to remind myself to refill! Here’s how you can refill your cup too: Continue reading “LoveBites: Take Care of Yourself!”

What I’ve Learned Camping on Plants

My first experiences with camping date back to when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old, at my uncle’s cottage in the country. I remember being carsick on the way there, Sam the stuffed Basset hound in my fists, and my elder cousin, a wise 7-year-old, telling me there were snakes under the bridge and my young mind conjured a full-on hissing snake pit of doom such that my uncle had to carry me screaming across it.

Later, pioneer camping Continue reading “What I’ve Learned Camping on Plants”