Finding Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

  If nothing improved during the test — and it was done exactly as described above — then you may not be carbohydrate intolerant. But if the Two-Week Test improved your signs and symptoms, the next step is to determine how much carbohydrate you can tolerate, without a return of these problems. This is done by adding a single-serving size of natural unprocessed carbohydrates to every other meal or snack. The purpose is to determine if any of these carbohydrates cause the return of any of the original signs or symptoms, including weight gain, or even new problems. At this stage, having just completed the test, your body and brain will be more aware of even slight reactions to carbohydrate foods — basically, you’ll be more intuitive to how your body responds to food. This is done in the following manner over the next one to two weeks:

Begin adding single-serving amounts of natural, unprocessed carbohydrates at every other meal or snack. This may be plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey for breakfast, or an apple after lunch or dinner. For a snack, try tea with honey or a healthy homemade energy bar (see the Phil’s bar recipe). Avoid all refined carbohydrates such as sugar and refined-flour products (like white bread, cereals, rolls or pasta). In addition to fresh fruit, plain yogurt and honey, other suggestions include brown rice, sweet potatoes, yams, lentils and beans.

Most bread, crackers, cereals and other grains are processed and should be avoided — even those stating “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.” Read the ingredients carefully. If you can find realfood whole grain products, they can be used. These include sprouted breads, whole oats (they take 30-45 minutes to cook) and other dense products made with just ground wheat, rye or other grains. If in doubt, avoid them during this one- to two-week period.

I want to emphasize again not to add a carbohydrate in back-toback meals or snacks, as insulin production is partly influenced by your previous meal.
With the addition of each carbohydrate, be aware of any symptoms you had previously that were eliminated by the test, especially symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness or feelings of depression.

Most importantly, if any signs or symptoms that disappeared during or following the Two Week Test have now returned, you’ve probably exceeded your carbohydrate limit. For example, if your hunger or cravings were greatly improved at the end of the test, and now they’ve returned, you probably added too many carbohydrates. If you lost eight pounds during the test, and gained back five pounds after adding some carbohydrates for a week or two, you’ve probably eaten too many carbohydrates. Likewise, if blood pressure rises significantly after it was reduced, it may be due to excess carbohydrate intake. If any of these situations occur, reduce the carbohydrates by half, or otherwise experiment to see which particular foods cause symptoms and which don’t. Some people return to the Two Week Test and begin the process again.

In some cases, people can tolerate simple carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits, plain yogurt and honey, but not complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, whole grains, beans or other starches. In other situations, some individuals don’t tolerate any wheat products. During this post-test period, these factors are often easy to determine.

After this one- to two-week period of experimenting with natural carbohydrates, you’ll have a very good idea about your body’s level of carbohydrate tolerance. You’ll better know which foods to avoid, which ones you can eat and those that must be limited. You’ll become acutely aware of how your body feels when you eat too many carbohydrates. From time to time, you may feel the need to go through a Two-Week Test period again to check yourself, or to quickly get back on track after careless eating during the holidays, vacations or at other times.

Many people find the loss of grains in the diet leaves the digestive tract sluggish and a little constipated. After years of eating lots of carbohydrates, your intestine gets used to that type of bulk. If you become constipated during the Two-Week Test, or afterwards when a lower amount of carbohydrate in the diet is maintained, it could be due to a number of reasons. First, you may not be eating enough fiber
(this topic is discussed in more detail in a later chapter). Bread, pasta and cereals are significant sources of fiber for many people.

Psyllium is a high-fiber herb that is a very effective promoter of intestinal function. Adding plain unsweetened psyllium to a glass of water, tomato juice or healthy smoothie can keep your system running smoothly — start with one teaspoon a day for a few days to make sure it’s tolerated, then use up to about one tablespoon a day. Another way to add psyllium to your diet is to use it in place of flour for thickening sauces or in place of bread crumbs to coat meats and vegetables. If you require a fiber supplement, be sure to use the ones that do not contain sugar, so read the labels. There are some sugarfree psyllium products on the market and you should not have trouble finding one

Another reason for constipation at this time may be dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water, you could be predisposed to constipation. During the Two-Week Test, you’ll need more water — up to two to three quarts or more per day. After the test, vegetables, legumes, such as lentils, and fruits are also great sources of fiber. So if you become constipated, it may simply be that you need to eat more vegetables and fruits as tolerated. In addition, adequate intake of natural fats, discussed later in this book, can also be helpful.

Occasionally, some people get very tired during or after the TwoWeek Test. This can be due to a number of problems. Most commonly it’s from not eating enough food, and/or not eating often enough. The most common problem is not eating breakfast. And many people should not go more than three to four hours without eating something healthy.

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