Tim Altman is an expert Naturopath and founder of Natural Flow Retreats, an all-new health retreat in Anglesea, VIC. We caught up with Tim for some health tips and to find out what causes a ‘non-flat’ tummy.
A ‘non-flat’ stomach is simply caused when input outweighs output. Expanding on this a little more, it’s generally caused by over consumption, especially of sugars and fats.
When carbohydrate intake (and therefore blood sugar levels) are elevated beyond what our baseline levels should be (according to diagnostic norms – which includes most of the western population – the ideal ratio of carbohydrates:protein:fat is 40%:30%:30% by calorific value, yet the average Westerner eats more like 60%:20%:20% and they eat too much volume in this ratio) then insulin levels are boosted and basal metabolic rate will be reduced.
This makes us extremely susceptible to fluctuating blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) and impaired energy production by cells (insulin resistance).
As a result our body ends up in storage mode rather than burn mode. Not good for the tummy as this is one of the main storage areas. It is ironic that over consumption produces a similar response that famine did in ancient times – that is, storage mode. And also, in this storage mode, your access to fat stores for fuel is blocked. So, you can’t reduce your tummy in this mode, no matter how much you eat.
The key then, is to drop and even out blood sugar levels. This will then drop insulin levels, increase nasal metabolic rate, switch you into burn mode and make your fat stores available for fuel.
Eat like you are still wandering the bush. Our genes are ancient, so from a genetic perspective, our body still thinks we are ancient too. How wrong this is in reality!
- Eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day.
- Lean protein in each meal and snack.
- Carbohydrates should come from low GI, fibre rich, nutrient rich sources; i.e. 1. vegetables, 2. fruit (low GI fruit), 3. legumes 4. nuts and seeds 5. a small amount of 100% whole grain.
- Eliminate or limit intake of sugar – this includes its many disguises – sugar, honey, added sugars (in soft drinks, juices, cordials, yoghurt, processed foods etc.), refined carbohydrates (especially white anything – white flour, white rice etc), alcohol (my little rule is 1 beer/wine = 1 doughnut).
- Reduce intake of saturated fats – fried and processed foods, dairy etc. and increase intake of good fats – fatty fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, soy/tofu, chia seeds etc.
- Exercise – we were made to move regularly
- Drink water – plenty of it. If you want to flavour it, do this with food; i.e. lemons, lime etc.
- Enjoy – remember – “nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels”.
Tim Altman is a naturopath based in Victoria. Recently launching Natural Flow Retreats, Tim’s vision is to be industry leader in the exploration and understanding of living and functioning optimally. For more information, visit www.naturalflowretreats.com.au