Low Carbs for Mothers


By: Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and Jan Hanson, L.Ac.

We've got two kids, ages 1 and 3, and I'm about 20 pounds heavier today than I was before my first pregnancy. I feel run-down and often a little blue, so I "feed my sweet tooth" probably more than is good for me. I'm a little worried about where all this is going.

Honestly, you should be a little worried. Sorry! The average mother is about 10 pounds heavier than a comparable woman without children, moms tend to eat high-carb quick foods on the run, and mothers are at heightened risk for Type II diabetes all of which are related.

Type II diabetes is a serious illness that is rising dramatically. Essentially, it's a condition in which the body has grown increasingly insensitive to the hormone, insulin, which makes it harder and harder to get "fuel" into the cells where it's needed, so the body produces more and more insulin, which just makes the cells even more oblivious to it, in a vicious cycle.

When this happens, you feel run-down and you're vulnerable to many of the nasty consequences of standard, "juvenile" diabetes, including cardiovascular disease. And even if you don't develop full-blown Type II diabetes, partway there is a syndrome of insulin insensitivity whose problems include fatigue, sugar cravings, and excess weight. So staying off the slippery slope of insulin problems or simply avoiding the poor nutrition of the high-sugar, high-carb, "supersized" standard American diet which has made us the most overweight nation in the world are all smart for a mother.

The key is the low-carb diet that is so often in the news these days. It's the diet we're designed for through millions of years of evolution. During almost all that time, there was no consumption of grains, milk products, or refined sugar. People very similar to us ate mostly animal proteins, vegetables, and nuts. Basically, that's the low carb diet. Here's how to do it:

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, Jan Hanson, M.S., L.Ac., is an acupuncturist/nutritionist, and they are raising a daughter and son, ages 13 and 16. With Ricki Pollycove, M.D., they are the first and second authors of Mother Nurture: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, published by Penguin. You can see their website at http://www.nurturemom.com/ or email them with questions or comments at info@nurturemom.com; unfortunately, a personal reply may not always be possible.

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