Let me begin this post by saying that I went very, very low carb for a time. I ate hardly any starches and no gluten free grains for around 6 months while I was following a Candida Cleanse coupled with a Ketogenic diet.
Let me begin this post by saying that that was the worst idea of my life. The side effects of low carb diets are serious.
Why Carbs Are Important
If you’re going to decide to live a gluten free life style you MUST supplement with other carbs. You may have a hard time balancing the gluten free lifestyle. Often times we don’t ponder the fact that gluten finds its way into every meal.
We wake up to cereal or a bran muffin, have a sandwich for lunch and then sneak a loaf of bread into dinner.
This is simply the reality for many. So, when you make the conscious effort to cut out gluten you may feel that something is missing. That’s because there definitely is something missing. Something that’s quintessential to your health and well being.
If that ‘something’ isn’t compensated for you’ll act as if gluten were water in a desert, irresistible.
All in all, having a plan when you step into the gluten free lifestyle happens to be an absolute must. If you don’t have a plan you plan to fail. That’s my motto anyways!
So, I’m going to share with you something that has been near and dear to my heart. Let’s talk about why I KNOW that carbs are a must.
Why Carbs Are a MUST In Any Diet
I come to you from an extremely experienced place. Again, I’ve done some pretty crazy diets and weight loss plans.
Mostly, in the effort to combat major allergies and symptoms from those allergies like leaky gut. I had cut out carbs AND sugar for months on end. I mean, I was stalwart. I know, it seems crazy and it was…
I decided that Candida had taken over my body. This ‘Candida’ was not going to find my body as its ever living host! So, I decided to eradicate.
All of the online tests and questions pointed to the fact that I was overrun with this ‘thing.’ It seems so ridiculous to me now considering that the questions on these “tests” were so generic and all led to me needing some ebook or full proof plan to kill Candida.
Well, to make a long story longer, I gave into the marketing and went head over heals in love with the Candida diet. I researched for hours, talked to friends who had done it and purged EVERYTHING.
It was like I had found out that all carbs and sugar brought evil spirits with them or something. I’m surprised I didn’t end up burning everything in a bon fire in the back yard. Yeah, I was a little nuts.
Insomnia? Because of what?
Well, after a few months I began to have MAJOR INSOMNIA! I mean, serious stuff. At first I thought it could be attributed to the supplements I was taking.
Then, I blamed the neighbors above us for creaking around on the hard wood floors. I could not believe my inability to sleep.
I haven’t always slept like a log but had never had issues like this in my life. Not to the point where it was driving me crazy. I would lay down at night, in bed and feel this overwhelming anxiety and something that felt like an Adrenalin rush. It was come on me like a wave!
Low Carb = No Sleep
Finally, as this went on for a month or so of hardly any rest I found an article about glycogen stores. I found that my insomnia had been attributed to low glycogen stores.
There are a LOT of reasons why carbs are important but I found this one to be extremely pertinent to my lifestyle.
It ends up that your liver stores glycogen from carbs. At night your liver is in action! It goes to work and cleanses your body.
Especially, late in the night. After 1am is when it gets flowing. So, while you sleep your glycogen stores feed your liver to do its magic.
Well, if your glycogen stores are low your liver panics. It doesn’t have the food that it uses for energy to perform its nightly detox.
So, the liver reacts by shooting Adrenalin in and throughout your body. It’s a warning signal! Let me tell you, I was warned. So much Adrenalin was firing through my system that I couldn’t sleep even if I really needed it.
So, I started slowly incorporating more carbs back into my diet. Because my glycogen stores were so depleted I started eating baked sweet potatoes a couple hours before going to bed.
I did this for a few months on top of making it a priority to add some carbs into my meals.
How I Incorporate Carbs into my diet now
For lunch, I typically have a big salad with avocado. To give me some extra carbs, I now eat about one cup of white rice on the side with a little coconut oil, salt and pepper on top.
For dinner, I do the same thing. I always have a side of carbs, usually roasted potatoes or rice. The amount of carbs depends on my activity level for that day and my general rule is eat until satiated.
I realize everyone is different so the amount of carbs you might need will probably be different than someone else. Your activity level is to be taken into consideration as well as your fitness goals.
I learned the hard way that carbs are not something to be afraid of. When you are on a fitness program and work out regularly, it is actually very detrimental to your success if you don’t replenish your glycogen stores.
Since I have increased my carb intake, I feel like a new person. I feel healthy and energetic again and my battle with insomnia is over. I am actually enjoying my work out routine and am able to increase the intensity and complexity of my work outs now that I have more energy and endurance.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the importance of carbs! Leave a comment below!!