Since the big move to Texas, I've been noticing an odd trend: my clothes seem to be getting smaller and smaller. In order to determine the culprit, I had to first come to grips with the fact that the dryer wasn't shrinking all of my pants. (It wasn't).
I thought it could be that we sometimes eat dinner later here than we usually did. Eating closer to bedtime and giving the body less time to digest and burn calories can definitely lead to weight gain. This could be a possible factor but even so, I eat healthier here than I did back in Illinois. I had quite the sweet tooth back home but I'm proud to say that in the past six months I have kept my gourmet cupcake obsession in check. I was also quite fond of Chik-Fil-a french fries but those don't count because they are the Lord's calories, am I right?
I love food and prefer to take a toxin-free approach by eating clean ingredients rather than a diet-based approach of restricting certain food groups, but my recipes are nutrient-rich and whole-food focused. I don't really snack. I cook most of my meals at home and very rarely eat processed food. Lots of veggies and healthy ingredients. So I couldn't figure it out.
Then I listened to a podcast by my beautiful and wise friend The Christian Nutritionist and it all clicked.
Since the big move I have greatly upped my intake of all things corn-related. Tamales. Tacos. Tortilla chips and homemade salsa. You know, the Southwest staples. Sure, I knew corn was not the healthiest choice. That it is a grain, rather than a vegetable, and holds little nutritional value. Yet I assumed as long as I was strict about eating organic, GMO-free corn (which is so important) that it wasn't having a huge effect on my body.
Wrong! I was blown away to find out that corn is a huge factor in weight gain. Corn was never meant to be consumed by humans. Its sole purpose was to fatten up farm animals for slaughter. In fact, in the book French Women Don't Get Fat, the author explains how France banned corn in 1700's as unfit for human consumption for this very reason.
Corn consumption triggers an immediate spike in blood sugar which in turn causes the body to release insulin. Repeated cycles of this lead to insulin resistance which leads to weight gain. In addition, corn contains a class of proteins called prolamins, which are tough on the digestive system and can lead to bad bacteria growth in the gut.
The problem with corn is that it's in so many things! In order to live a corn-free diet or at least drastically reduce our intake we must become diligent about our food selection.
1. Learn to identify the common names of corn-derived products:
Canola oil/Vegetable oil
Corn syrup/High fructose corn syrup
Dextrose/Fructose or Crystalline fructose
Free fatty acids
2. Purchase meat from ethical farms or known sources that do not feed the animals grain, but rather put them out to pasture and let them eat the way God intended them to eat. This meat does come with a higher price tag versus factory-farmed and processed meat, but it is well worth the numerous health benefits. If you need help choosing a farm near you check out farmmatch.com or search farmer's markets in your area.
In addition to the weight gain and other digestion problems that come along with excess corn consumption, most of these ingredients are derived from genetically modified corn. GMO's raise some serious health concerns that you can read about here.
If you do want to indulge in the occasional corn dish, choose organic or GMO-free corn on the cob. Corn on the cob packs a more nutritional punch and actually does qualify as a vegetable. Shave corn directly off of the cob to use in whatever dish you like or enjoy by itself.
I've also found a delicious substitute for tortilla chips so I can still enjoy chips and salsa. Siete brand chips are grain-free and packed with nutrients. They come in a variety of flavors and taste amazing. They also have tortillas for all the taco lovers out there like myself.
So, now that I've figured out the real culprit, I can't wait to watch these clothes unshrink just in time for summer. Who's with me?!