Break the cycle of ­unhealthy eating

(July 9, 2024) — It is not the size or shape of your body. It is the health of your liver and your gut that nurtures your body.

If you feel your body is letting you down, you can fix that with real food.

Many people are stuck in a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating. It often starts first thing in the morning with a latte laced with sugar to sip while devouring a piece of coffee cake. This causes a huge blood sugar rush that leads to a bigger crash later in the morning.

It’s a slide into lunch, with a craving for pizza or a sandwich because you feel you need a big lunch to keep going.

Maybe the day proceeds with sugar ups and sugar downs. You find yourself wanting bigger portions. And you vow to start a healthy diet … tomorrow.

If this describes your day, it’s an indication that your body has a problem processing sugar. You should get checked for diabetes.

Starting the day right

I like to start the morning with as little sugar as I can, with a meal high in protein. Often, it’s a plain Greek yogurt. Or, I might combine yogurt with dry rolled oats.

Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt because Greek yogurt is strained and some of the whey is removed. Whey has lactose, a naturally occurring form of sugar.

Look on the yogurt label for something that has 16-22 grams of protein in a serving. Don’t eat yogurt with processed fruit mixed in — that leads to a higher sugar content. Put your own fresh fruit into plain yogurt, particularly fruits low in sugar like raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Don’t worry about the fat in the yogurt.

For a large container of yogurt, the organic brand costs a dollar more. Remember: You’re worth it.

Dairy is a fat, a carbohydrate and a protein – the only kind of food that is all three.

Another way to stay healthy is to wait four to six hours between meals. Snacking in between will rile up your blood sugar count.

Here is a can’t-miss breakfast recipe that combines yogurt and oats.

Overnight Oats

Serves 1

6 oz. plain unsweetened yogurt or kefir
1 T chia seeds
1 oz. oats* soaked in 4 oz. water or almond milk
2 oz. very ripe banana, chopped
Optional: Vanilla, cinnamon, chopped nuts
For a creamier option, use quick oats

Fruit Topping
4 oz. chopped fresh fruit*
*Or use 3 oz. frozen fruit plus 1 oz. unsweetened applesauce. The pectin in the applesauce helps absorb the water and maintain the fruit flavor.

Mix all ingredients in a wide-mouth 16-ounce Mason jar.

Scoop the fruit on top. Refrigerate overnight, or longer.

The oats will last about four days – the longer they sit, the better they are.

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Cindy Gershen
Cindy Gershen

Cindy Gershen is an educator, nutritionist, chef, and co-author of “Fat Chance Cookbook.”