Jennifer Elliott is an experienced dietitian who has recently released Baby Boomers, Bellies & Blood Sugars. A book filled with useful information and a new approach to weight control. Sit back and have a read, perhaps it will have you thinking things through a little differently too. I can’t wait to sit and spend some time with this book.
Hi Jennifer and welcome to Beauty and Lace.
Hi Michelle. Thank you for your interest in my book.
What inspired you to write Baby Boomers, Bellies & Blood Sugars?
I wrote the book for people who struggle with their weight, fatigue and may also have a problem with blood sugar levels. Many people with these problems are not getting the best advice to manage these conditions and are therefore not getting the enjoyment out of life that they should.
Can you tell us a little about the book?
The book answers the question, “Why do some people gain weight easily, while others can eat what they like and stay slim?” The answer is that people metabolise or process foods, particularly carbohydrates, differently. Some people burn the sugars in carbohydrate foods for energy, while others convert the sugars into fat for storage. The book explains this in simple terms, so that people understand the cause of their tiredness, food cravings and why they carry weight around the midsection.
The second part of the book is what to do about it. There is an eating plan that I suggest people trial for 10 days and assess the results. Improvements in energy, blood sugar levels, mood and appetite can be seen in 3-4 days if the eating plan suits a person’s metabolism. And there are over 40 recipes to help with getting started.
How did you come to discover this new approach?
I believe that there is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet and healthy eating. However, this is not what I was taught as a dietitian nor the message the public receives. For 30 years we have been told to eat less fat and more carbohydrates such as grains, fruit, milk and yoghurt. I realised this was wrong because of personal experience in my own family. Despite our healthy diet and lifestyle, one of my children started gaining weight at an early age. I realised that what I’d been taught and understood about health and dieting was inadequate. The low fat, wholegrain diet that all Australians are encouraged to eat was actually making my daughter gain weight. I was very lucky to meet a GP from Canberra who had a similar situation in her own family and she suggested I have my daughter tested for insulin resistance. The test was positive and meant that my daughter was more prone to gaining weight and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. I started researching what insulin resistance is, how to treat it and discovered what worked for my daughter.
The diet guidelines you recommend are quite different to what is usually recommended, did you find that made people quite sceptical?
I think if I just provided someone with my diet guidelines and no explanation, they would be a little surprised. But I always start by explaining how foods are metabolised, particularly what happens when we eat carbohydrates. I talk about people being either a carbohydrate ‘burner’ or carbohydrate ‘storer’. People relate to this because we all know someone who can eat what they like and stay slim (burner) and others who may struggle with their weight all their lives (storer). It’s clear that the two types have different requirements. Rather than being sceptical, people are generally relieved to have this explained and to understand how the way they process food affects their energy, moods, sleep, hunger, cravings and motivation.
Have you found that this approach is beneficial to all patients you have seen?
The approach I describe in the book is for people who are likely to be insulin resistant, like my daughter. There is a list of questions in the book to determine this and I also ask these of patients who come to see me. Usually they are referred by their GP so I also have blood test results to help guide which approach I use. If someone fits the metabolic profile I’m looking for, I explain the diet approach and suggest a 1-2 week trial. I don’t use the approach if someone isn’t likely to be insulin resistant. I’ve been using this approach in my clinical practice for over 10 years and I’m quite experienced in knowing who it will suit, so I’d say that the majority of patients I recommend try it have found it beneficial.
Is this eating plan suitable for those with gestational diabetes as well?
I think that women with gestational diabetes should receive individual counselling on their diet during pregnancy and not simply follow the eating plan in this book.
How easy is it to follow the diet guidelines and is it something you could do for the entire family?
Some people find it easy to follow the guidelines and feel so well that it becomes their normal way of eating.
I think for others, even though they experience many improvements, it can be difficult to break habits of a lifetime. This needs time, perseverance and support.
Many people have said that the beauty of the eating plan is they can eat a normal meal with friends or family in the evening. Even if members of the family eat differently during the day, there is little disruption to family life when the evening meal is enjoyed together.
What’s next for you, are you planning any more books?
My daughter is a cook and compiled the recipes in the book. She is planning a recipe book and I’ll make a contribution to that. It’s likely to be for a younger age group because people of all ages can suffer with insulin resistance and have problems with weight, PCOS, depression, anxiety and lethargy as a result.
What does being a woman mean to you?
That’s so hard to answer! I guess I feel that I can do anything I want to do ……. except read a road map without turning it in the direction I’m travelling.
Thanks for your time Jennifer, your answers have certainly got my brain ticking over.