Let’s Get “Macho”

RecipEmails, from Replenish PDX are a monthly recipe delivery with a side of information highlighting one key ingredient.

This month’s featured ingredient:


(or “macho bananas” as they’re called in the south)

plantainin this RecipEmail:

▪ mark your calendar for these two timely and informative events (and come hang out with me online!)

▪ glycemic in a nutshell

▪ a recipe for Paleo “Macho” Bread

▪ plantains: what makes ’em macho?


Welcome O Magazine readers and Thyroid Session watchers!

It’s been a thrill to have more like-minded people join our community in these past few weeks. You know who you are. . .

You’re keen on tapping into your body’s wisdom and uncovering your best self.

You’re not ready to put your health completely in anyone else’s hands, as you’ve not found that approach to be very successful.

You’re ready for the insights that will guide you in your everyday self-care, from your personal-best breakfast choice to your “baddest” beauty rest.

Let’s face it, you’re a bit macho in your know-how about your body!

And you deserve to be. Nobody can drive your ship as well as you.

That’s why I’m excited to invite you to two free online events to spend time getting into the nitty gritty of getting healthy with me and some of my esteemed colleague.

Mark Your Calendar Now!

The Hashimoto’s Roundtable
Tuesday, May 27th @ 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Join me (the nutritionist on the panel), Dr. Alan Christianson (the doctor) and Izabella Wentz (the pharmacist) for a dynamic discussion on your burning Hashimoto’s questions.

What questions?
Click here to weigh in on the survey and register for the event.
3 experts + 1 topic + your questions

Even Keel: The Three Keys to Sustainable Blood Sugar Balance
Tuesday, June 3rd @ 5:30pm PT / 8:30pm ET

You probably know that blood sugar imbalance plays a role in diabetes. Do you know that it’s also a major trigger in heart disease, cancer, candida, adrenal fatigue, and autoimmunity?

Stay tuned. . . I’ll be dropping a note to register for this online seminar in your inbox later this week. (And I have an awesome gift for those who join me!)


You may be wondering why the focus on blood sugar.

Well, blood sugar affects your mood, your weight, your mechanisms of hunger, your hormone balance and your immune system.

Blood sugar affects every single chronic condition you’re looking for help with, from migraines to irritable bowel troubles to Hashimoto’s.

When blood sugar is out of whack for too long it can lead to disease states like hypertension, Candida and persistent internal inflammation (all underlying factors for the things that ail us).

Managing blood sugar is a BIG DEAL!

It’s one of the core basics for good health.

But just what is blood sugar?

Blood sugar is basically the sugar ~ or glucose ~ in the blood. And glucose is the elemental factor of every single carbohydrate you eat.

Once the carbohydrate has worked its way through your digestive system, been reduced to a simple sugar such as glucose, and reached the bloodstream through the process of absorption, it’s taken to the liver where it’s either distributed to the cells for energy, or stored for later use.

Because of the liver’s limited storage capacity, any excess carbohydrates are converted to and stored as fat.

It’s your sweet liver that helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

The more complex the carbohydrate, the slower the food moves into the bloodstream, allowing the liver to take up its sugar-load without becoming overwhelmed.

And this is what brings us to the Glycemic Quotient that you may have heard about.

The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates according to how quickly glucose ~ that simple sugar molecule ~ is absorbed into the bloodstream. (As you’ll see, slower is better.)

The Glycemic Index (GI) compares the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of carbohydrates in any particular food to the rise in blood glucose caused by 50 grams of pure glucose.

As an example: pure glucose has a GI of 100 (our baseline). Here are the GI for some other foods we think of as starches:

▪ white bread has a GI ranging from 70 to 90
▪ a baked potato has a GI of 85
▪ a yam has a GI of 42


According to the Glycemic Index model:

Low GI = 55 and under

Medium GI = 56 to 69

High GI = 70 and above


Unfortunately, this ranking system was found faulty because something like carrots have a high GI, and we know they have many other health benefits.

Carrots are packed with fiber and nutrients. These slow the breakdown of the sugars in the digestive system. This allows the liver ample time to do its thing. Take away that fiber, as you do in a glass of carrot juice, and you are indeed left with mere sugars.

In response to concerns with the GI rating system, a revised ranking system was developed to speak to how quickly sugars are absorbed physiologically ~ not just looking at the sugars in the food, but instead the sugars in relation to all of the food’s constituents, as well as the ways in which it moves through the processes of digestion.

This revised system is essentially distinguishing between the carrot and the carrot juice (both have the same sugars, but one contains fiber and the other does not).

This improved system is called the Glycemic Load (GL).

The load considers the total amount of rapidly absorbable carbohydrate (starch or sugar) as well as the GI.
Glycemic Load = GI x grams of carb per serving / 100


According to the Glycemic Load (GL) model:

Low GL = 1 – 10

Medium GL = 11 – 19

High GL = 20 and over.


Let’s examine the Glycemic Load (GL) of some common foods:

Almonds 0
Carrots 3
Blueberries 6
Honey 10
Quinoa 13
Sweet potato 17
Dates (dried) 18
Bagel (white) 23
White rice 26
Raisins 28

A food like a whole grain or a carrot may have a relatively lower GL because the amount of starch or sugar in that food is mitigated internally by the fiber and nutrients that will slow its delivery into the bloodstream.

The bottom line is that if a food has a high GI but is packed with fiber it will have a lower impact on blood sugar and well-functioning insulin levels.

In the everyday regulation of health, what is it that we want?
One of my core principles is to eat fat, fiber & protein at every meal or snack to ensure the slower delivery of nutrients into the bloodstream for sustained energy and blood sugar control.

On top of that, we want to choose foods that are slower to digest. These are better assimilated into the body’s tissues. They have an inverse effect on blood glucose and corresponding inverse relationship to diabetes, heart disease, weight issues and cancer.

They also have the sweet ability to help us thwart those sweet tooth CRAVINGS!

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with plantains!

If you’re tapped into the Paleo craze, then plantains are not new to you. Blend ’em. Chip ’em. Bake ’em. Stew ’em.

The plantain may be a starchy item, but it comes in at the low-medium GL zone.
Pair it with some other fat and fiber, as we’re doing in our Macho Bread and you’ve eliminated the high-sugar carb-laden bread for a nutrient-dense delicacy.

First some facts, then some fun, then let’s peel back the nutritional facts on plantains. . .


The Glycemic Index of a green plantain = 39

The Glycemic Load of a green plantain = 12.15

The Glycemic Load of raw honey = 14

The Glycemic Load of an apple = 11.4

The Glycemic Load of agave (not a fan) = 9.6

The Glycemic Load of coconut sugar = 1


Join me next week for Even Keel and let’s find out why blood sugar balance (and balance in general!) can sometimes seem so elusive.



Macho Macho Bread

OK. I confess. I like my “bread”, even though I haven’t eaten any real bread in years and don’t even eat grains. So what’s a girl to do that wants a morning piece of toast? (Especially on an egg-free, sometimes nut-free protocol?)

Get macho in the kitchen, that’s what!


▪ 2 green plantains (“macho bananas)
coconut cream from * the top of a BPA-free can of coconut milk after it has been chilled (the clear liquid can be saved for smoothies)
▪ 2 tablespoons coconut flour
▪ 1 tablespoon pysllium husks (ground)
▪ 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
▪ 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
▪ 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
optional: coconut sugar & cinnamon for topping

food processor
parchment paper
baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Chop up plantains and place in the food processor. Give it a whirl. Add the other ingredients. Process until a smooth batter forms.

Scoop the batter from the processor onto the parchment lined baking sheet and spread to about 1/4 inch thickness. It’s easy to form as the psyllium will make the dough quite springy.

(If using the cinnamon sugar, sprinkle this on to your liking before baking.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool before slicing.

This also makes a good grain-free pizza crust!


Getting macho. . .

iStock plantainchips

baked plantain chips with coconut yogurt dipping sauce

Plantains look like a larger, more angular version of a banana and are, indeed, a member of the banana family. They’re also known as “cooking bananas” because they’re used more often in savory dishes than their super-sweet counsins.

Plantains are starchier and are lower in sugar than regular bananas. They’re typically consumed cooked, due to their high starch content, and are ripe when they are still green.

As a plantain matures, the sugar content will increase (and starch content decrease) and the color will change to yellow, start to gather dark spots, and then turn black. They can be eaten raw at these later stages of ripeness, but are not as tasty as regular bananas, and their sugar content (ie. GL) will increase at this later stage.

Plantains are native to India and grow best in tropical climates. They’re used widely in West African and Caribbean cuisine, where they’re treated more like a vegetable than a fruit.

For the purposes of maintaining even blood sugar, plantains should be used while still green. This is when their sugar content is low. Green plantains can be a little tricky to peel. Use a sharp knife to cut off both ends and then cut a slit down the length of the peel. You can then remove the peel in sections.

Nutrition & Health Benefits of Plantains:

▪ good source of vitamins A and C as well as potassium
▪ good source of dietary fiber
▪ they soothe the intestines and are easy to digest


And Don’t Forget. . . Mark Your Calendar & Register!

The Hashimoto’s Roundtable
Tuesday, May 27th @ 5pm PT / 8pm ET
Click here to register.

Even Keel: The Three Keys to Sustainable Blood Sugar Balance
Tuesday, June 3rd @ 5:30pm PT / 8:30pm ET
Registration coming your way soon.


replenishlogoflowerYour comments and feedback are always welcome.

Andrea Nakayama
Functional Nutritionist
503 866.8079

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