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Post-Workout Healthy Snacks

Please share some examples of slow carb release post-workout healthy snacks please (I’m diabetic).
Thanks, Maxine

Hi Maxine:
I’m currently studying for my Nutrition Specialist certification, so I will do my best to give you some general information about slow (and fast) release carbs.

Fast release carbohydrates are foods that are quickly broken down into sugars.
Slow release carbs are foods that are slowly broken down into sugars.

strawberries and blueberries

Glycemic response refers to the body’s increase in blood glucose (a simple form of sugar; if you see the word “monosaccharide,” that is the type of sugar that is glucose) and insulin after you eat.
As you’re diabetic, I imagine the insulin/ blood glucose terminology is familiar to you, but this quick definition is my way of leading you down the non-sugary path to the Glycemic Index (GI). The GI is a standardized list of food categories. Using white bread as the reference food (GI of 100), foods that have a GI >85 are considered high, foods that are 60-85 are moderate, and foods that are  <60 are low. Low Glycemic Index foods are slow release.


pic of healthy brain foodsI cannot advise you specifically what foods to eat, as that’s out of my scope of practice, but I can certainly tell you some of the foods listed as low (<60) on the GI.









oat bran bread

milk (whole or nonfat or soy)


dried peas

egg fettuccini



wheat kernels



tomato soup


bran barley

For a truly complete list of over 1,300 food listed on the Glycemic Index, you can click to the International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002 published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Handy hint – you won’t want white bread, I’m thinking.

Healthy packed dried fruits and veggiesWhat you choose from the Low GI Foods will also depend on what type of exercise you did, duration of that exercise, and intensity. And of course, your personal taste. I know I’d find it a lot easier to eat some cherries after working out than stashing tomato soup in my gym bag. But I wouldn’t say no to a bowl of egg fettuccini if someone else prepared it for me. But then, who wants plain fettuccini. Guess I’ll go look up the GI of butter and garlic.

In case you don’t carry the Glycemic Index list around with you, I’ll give you a super simplified way to choose – if it’s white, you probably don’t want it (except milk). If it’s colorful, you probably do. Brightly colored children’s cereals do NOT qualify slow release, even though they are probably the brightest food around.

picture of white foodsOne more way to quickly gauge – starchy = fast release; non-starchy – slow release. But I find the white/ colorful easier.

Now I’m hungry for some kale, carrots, plums and almonds, all mixed in with my steel-cut oats. Or something along those lines. I wonder where red licorice falls on the index???

Alexandra Williams, MA

Photo credit for white foods: Sharon Drummond via CreativeCommons.org


Should You Burn Your Bread (not Your Bra) to Lose Belly Fat?

Alexandra Williams, MA
Homemade Sourdough Cheesy Bread

Homemade Sourdough Cheesy Bread

Today a friend asked me how I am able to bake and eat bread so often, yet stay trim, when there are studies showing that menopausal women increase their “central body fatness and insulin resistance” (as the research authors so eloquently put it!!) unless they decrease their carbohydrate intake (bread is mainly carbs).

As this is the time of year when many women in my cohort (that’s just a fancy word for “age posse”) are making frustrating resolutions about weight loss, I thought I’d answer that question for all of you too!

Carbs and Belly Fat

The answer is simple; it’s the same answer I learned in grad school for counseling. The answer is “It Depends.” I’ll lay out some info and you can decide for yourself. Keep in mind that everyone’s different. I’m a physiologically identical twin, yet we are different sizes with different eating habits, and no definitive research saying our differences are carb-related!! If my sis gave up carbs, she might lose deep abdominal fat, while I might stay the same and cry about being separated from my beloved bread. It just depends…

Abdominal Fat is Frustrating for Menopausal Women

Abdominal Fat is Frustrating for Menopausal Women

Here’s what we currently know:

* Menopause coincides with an increase in several comorbidities including cardiovascular disease
* Central body fatness and insulin resistance are components of a cluster of metabolic abnormalities which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
* Studies suggest that the menopause transition is associated with an increase in abdominal and visceral adipose tissue accumulation
* The effects of menopause on insulin resistance appear to be moderate, if any, although available studies are insufficient to draw firm conclusions
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9847982

* A modest reduction in consumption of carbohydrate foods may promote loss of deep belly fat, even with little or no change in weight
* Losing belly fat can help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary artery disease
* Subjects in a 2011 study who consumed a moderately carb-restricted diet (43% percent calories from carbohydrates, 39% from fat, 18 from protein), had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those study participants who ate a standard diet (55% from carbs, 27% from fat, 18% from protein)
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606092532.htm

Cut The Carbs…Or Not

Should you base your decision on just a few studies? Probably not, though you would be wise to see if further research gets to a tipping point as more studies are done. But if you’re the kind of person who can wait 25 minutes for bread to bake, but not a year or two for more studies, become your own experiment. Try eating a moderately carb-restricted diet for a few weeks, using the percentages listed above. Or, if you don’t want to spend lots of time doing food math, pull all starchy carbohydrates from your diet, then reintroduce them one at a time. This includes breads, pastas, rice, grains, oatmeal, potatoes, legumes (beans) and squash. If a reintroduced food gives you cravings, bloating, digestive discomfort or mood swings, it might be time to say bye-bye to to it.

I'll Swing from a Tree for Monkey Bread

I’ll Swing from a Tree for Monkey Bread

To go back to the original question, I don’t know how I’m able to bake and eat bread so often, yet stay trim. Maybe my intra-abdominal fat never read the studies. Maybe my body doesn’t know that I’m in the menopause years. Maybe all my exercise counteracts the “food belly bloat.” Maybe my fondness for organic food and ingredients over processed or packaged foods helps. Maybe it’s because I only eat a few bites of the things I bake. If I were to guess, I’d go with the organic food and ingredients answer. But a guess isn’t science.

One day I’ll have to do the food removal/ reintroduction test on myself. Until then, I guess my answer is “It Depends.”

If you want further info about bread and wheat, read our post “Is Wheat Free Better for You?”. You probably know the answer.

For further tips on making nutrition changes to your diet, read “Hormones and Weight Gain: Why Nutrition Matters” by our friend Tamara Grand, a personal trainer and scientist.

While your bread’s in the oven, run to your computer and follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. 

Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.