Me, myself and my (low GI) food journey.
My name is Benedetta, I was born in a small unknown town of the Italian countryside. I grew up as a tomboy, barely knowing the existence of shoes (as documented in the picture above!), big cities and fast foods. I have been eating meat and veggies produced in my grandfathers’ farm for about two decades.
At the age of 19 I moved to Rome, and I started to feel a bit “ashamed” of my rustic countryside background compared to the way people were living and eating in cities.
Today, at 31, after travelling and living abroad for many years, I have come to the conclusion that what I considered as my weaknesses in the past are actually my biggest strengths, which helped me to develop into the person I am today. I feel more and more aware of what I am eating, literary shaping a diet that could meet my body needs.
I was about 22 when I was first diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
I remember asking the doctor “What does it mean?!” and he went straight to point by saying “That means that you are going to have period problems, reduced fertility, excess hair growth, acne and weight gain”.
I have treated my PCOS with contraceptive pills for about a decade, but I soon realised that the treatment gives you a regular periods but it doesn’t solve the problem from the ROOT.What is the root of the PCOS then?
Women with PCOS have what is called insulin resistance. Insulin acts mainly on fat and muscle cells, stimulating them to take in sugar (glucose) when blood sugar level rises. Higher blood glucose means higher stimulus for insulin secretion. Women with PCOS have their cells in the body resistant to the effect of a normal level of insulin, more insulin is then produced to keep the blood sugar normal. This raised level of insulin in the bloodstream is thought to be the main underlying reason why PCOS develops.
So it became clear that I could help my body by controlling the level of sugars I was ingesting. To do so, I started to aim for medium-low glycemix index food journey.
I intentionally don’t want to use the word diet. Dieting is limiting the amount of food consumed, something which can only be done on a short-term basis while I am aiming at keep on eating this way for a life time.
Foods with a high GI (70-100) are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Those foods includes starches, refined flours and sugars.
Medium to Low-GI foods (70-55/ 55-0), by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. They have benefits for weight loss as they help to control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance. Food with Mid-to-Low GI includes wholemeal flours, seeds, fruits (not all!) and vegetables.
Glycemic Load (GL) is a measure of both the quality (the GI value) and quantity (grams per serve) of a carbohydrate in a meal. A food’s glycemic load is determined by multiplying its Glycemix Index by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains in each serve and dividing by 100. Similar to the glycemic index, the glycemic load of a food can be classified as low, medium, or high:
- Low: 10 or less
- Medium: 11 – 19
- High: 20 or more
The recepis I am presenting aim to maximize the consumption of low glycemic index food using whole grain cereals (unrefined wheat, rice, barley, millet, oat, buckwheat, spelt, quinoa), legumes (any type) vegetables (any type, except potatoes) and fruits (with some exeptions).
IMPORTANT: I am not a dietitian or a doctor, so I am not aiming to give any medical advises or encourage anyone to giving up on pills and medications. Also, those are my principles but they are far from being strict dogmas, I do enjoy my friends’ birthday cakes and home-cooked meals totally lighthearted, especially those cooked with LOVE!
Happy reading everybody!