The North Pole Diet

You have heard of the Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Zone, and Sugar Busters. Let me introduce you to the North Pole Diet. I first heard this term at the LIFL Conference in April 2004. I am sorry that I do not know who actually coined the term.

Let’s think for a moment about the North Pole. Images of Polar Bears, Igloos, ice and snow abound. What do these images have in common? They are all white. The North Pole Diet then would be a program that encourages abstinence or a severe reduction of white foods. (I don’t think that chicken, fish, cauliflower, milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt apply!)

The foods that we want to address are foods with white flour or sugar, such as white bread, white rice, cereals, pasta, and anything containing sugar. Potatoes are also included.

Foods with a white flour base that we want to avoid are crackers, pretzels, chips, bagels, pancakes, waffles and doughnuts. Sugar-based foods, of course, include cookies, cakes, pies, candy and sodas.

Physiologically, the reason we want to avoid these foods is because they are processed by the body in a way that cause us to gain weight. We, as a society, have become fatter as we tried to follow the low-fat diets of the 1990’s. We mistakenly thought that we could ingest as much sugar as we wanted and disregard portion control, as long as we were eating low-fat foods. The results have been disastrous with obesity becoming an epidemic in this country. When we eat the forbidden white foods, the pancreas secretes huge amounts of insulin to carry the sugar to the cells of our bodies. If there is too much sugar already in the cells, the food is then stored in our bodies as fat. A state of insulin-resistance can result that causes us to gain weight and is a precursor to diabetes.

The Glycemic Index can assist you in educating yourself regarding foods that cause these blood sugar disturbances. (This list can be found on the LIFL Online Community). The goal is to eat foods that are low on the Glycemic Index.

When we eliminate or drastically reduce white foods, what is left to eat? Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy. Now, let’s face it, we all know and have known for years that this is the way we are to eat to be healthy. There is truly “nothing new under the sun”. But we resist this healthy way of eating, because we want our comfort foods. Our challenge is to “get back to the basics” in the way that we eat and find comfort though the connection of community with others, intimacy with our Heavenly Father, and the healthy patterns of self-nurture.

This article is by Jennifer Cecil, M.Ed., LPC