Managing Your Blood Sugar With Real Food
Do you deal with the following symptoms of poorly regulated blood sugar?
- Get a headache if you go a few hours without eating?
- Get shaky if you go a few hours without eating?
- Have diabetes, or are pre-diabetic?
- Are you excessively thirsty, or urinate frequently?
- Do you wake up frequently and unexplainably during the night?
- Do you feel drowsy and “crash” a few minutes (to a few hours) after eating?
- Do you crave sweets constantly?
- Do you have issues with bingeing or uncontrollable eating?
- Do you always feel hungry?
- Do you get pass-out sleepy mid-afternoon?
- Feel a sudden surge of energy after you eat something sweet (usually followed by a crash and another craving)
Chances are, one of those applies to you! And if that’s the case, chances are, something needs to change.
You don’t have to have diabetes or a diagnosis of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia to have poorly regulated blood sugar. ANYONE can deal with it.
Here’s the thing: this stuff is common because the food we’ve been told to eat for decades totally messes up our blood sugar regulation. It’s built-in to our government’s nutrition policy. How’s THAT for crazy?
The so-called “healthy food,” specifically, the carb-rich so-called “healthy foods” we’re told to eat, are actually responsible for our uncontrolled blood sugar.
Blood sugar problems are caused by eating too many carbohydrates – or too many carbohydrates of the wrong type – for your body chemistry. Keeping blood sugar in control keeps your entire body healthier, your weight stable, your appetite regulated, and your brain happy. It reduces your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and stroke.
Yep. It’s REALLY important.
The foods that disregulate blood sugar aren’t just refined grains and refined sugars. They are:
- Boxed, bagged and packaged foods based on wheat or flour, even those labeled “healthy”
- Any foods based around grains or flour, especially those that do NOT contain healthy fats or protein, even those labeled “healthy”
- Granola bars, cereals, bread and pasta (even the “whole grain” kind)
- Almost any food that is NOT a healthy fat, a whole animal-based protein, or a whole fruit or vegetable!
(Beans, though they contain protein, also contain a high “hit” of carbohydrates which can be problematic for some people. We discuss carb sources like white potatoes, beans and rice – which are technically “whole foods” and appropriate for some people with well-controlled blood sugar – here on this site!)
Because we’re told to eat low-fat, to emphasize carbs instead of protein, and to shun the foods that actually regulate the human appetite, our blood sugar gets out of control.
Here’s why we need healthy fats and protein, like the ones recommended at Good Food for Bad Cooks, to keep our appetite and our blood sugar IN CONTROL:
Fat stimulates hormones that make us satiated. Fat NEVER causes blood sugar highs and lows.
Protein regulates our appetite, keeps us fuller, longer, and CANNOT cause the extreme blood sugar highs and lows of carbs.
But what about fruits and vegetables? Don’t THEY contain carbs, too?
Yes! But they’re HEALTHY carbs. They contain healthy fiber AND nutrients that keeps the appetite more stable than grains or packaged foods can. But remember: without also eating the healthy fats and protein we recommend here at Good Food for Bad Cooks, even the healthiest sources of carbs CAN cause blood sugar problems.)
So here’s how to manage your blood sugar with REAL FOOD:
Emphasize healthy proteins and fats first. Build your meals around them.These will regulate your appetite and keep you full while you work to get blood sugar back in control.
Choose whole food sources of healthy carbs. Don’t fall for marketing terms like “whole grain” or “all natural!” These terms often cover up foods that are blood sugar nightmares. Get your carbs not from a box, a bag, or a “whole grain,” but from whole fruits and vegetables.
Eat the healthy protein and fat first, then start on the healthy carbs. If you send your digestive system signals from fat and protein first, the carbs you eat from whole fruits and vegetables will be even EASIER on your system.
Don’t fall for the carb cravings. Even when you build your plate around healthy protein and fat, planning to eat your carbs (your fruits and vegetables) last, your body might still SCREAM for those carbs. You’ll want to eat those carbs first – and maybe that’s ALL you’ll want to eat! The protein and fat might not even look appetizing. That’s your body driving you back to the old carb-craving habits. Suck it up, and eat that protein and fat first!
Be aware of your body’s signals. Over time, eating good, nutrient-dense, whole, healthy, REAL FOOD will regulate your blood sugar and your hunger signals, and you can trust your body to tell you what you need and when. In the beginning, however, you’ll need to learn the difference between what your body WANTS and what your body NEEDS, and eat accordingly.
Start by getting rid of the junk. Not all carbs are the enemy! You know you’re approaching the right amount of carbs FOR YOU when your symptoms begin to get better. There ARE healthy carbs out there – fruits and vegetables – and different amounts work for different people. However, EVERYONE can benefit from eliminating boxed, bagged and packaged foods, pasta, bread, cereals (even the “whole grain” kind) and other junk disguised as health food!
Be patient. This may not happen overnight, and you might run into road blocks! Just stay persistent, and be patient with yourself. Don’t give up, and forgive yourself when you fall “off the wagon.”