Being realistic about the way you eat

Oftentimes, when I tell someone that I am hypoglycemic (usually as I apologetically begin eating in front of them), I get a lot of unwarranted advice back at me. While these people are well-meaning, their advice is often unrealistic. I shouldn’t be having the beer I’m having because hypos shouldn’t drink, I shouldn’t ever eat bread, I shouldn’t have caffeine, I should avoid dried fruit, bananas and potatoes are evil, nuts and seeds aren’t a good source of protein and no caffeine EVER.

In my mind, there’s ideals, and then there is reality. I was fortunate enough to have a dietician who was more realistic. “You can have Kentucky Fried Chicken,” she said. “But only once a month.” For the record, I have friend chicken once every couple of years, but her point is still valid. It’s good to follow nutritional advice and to eat healthy, but don’t take it to such an extreme that it ruins your quality of life. For example, I use nuts as a source of protein because it’s portable. Especially when I’m traveling (see travel tips for hypoglycemics and healthy eaters), it’s a very convenient way to get in my protein. Sure, a hard-boiled egg is probably better, but how the heck am I supposed to carry THOSE into a dance club when I got out with friends? And an occasional beer isn’t going to kill me.

Secondly, I’m a big fan of the philosophy that if the food naturally occurs in nature, you’re probably ok. Ok, so maybe a banana breaks down in me too fast, but isn’t it still better than a piece of chocolate cake? Really, look over the list of “shouldn’ts” above that people gave me. It’s not like I’m eating a ton of junk food people.

Grocery fruit aisle
If you followed every piece of “expert” advice out there about what a hypoglycemic can and cannot eat, you wouldn’t be allowed to eat the majority of these fruits. Yeah, seems ridiculous to me too. Photo from Flickr: honey-bee

Third, variety is key to a healthy diet. That’s why they tell you to make your plate “colorful,” which might (gasp!) include some red potatoes. It’s already super-boring food-wise to be a hypoglycemic. People always say to me “Wow! It must be so cool to eat all the time!” No, not really. I get so sick of eating and eating the same.thing.over.again.

So my stance is, eat healthy, try to eat as many of the hypoglycemic-friendly foods you can, but  be realistic and don’t beat yourself over a whole wheat dinner roll. Besides, they a yummy!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura says:

    The thought of giving up caffiene nearly gave me a heart attack. 🙂

    1. nfinkbeiner says:

      I know! Same here! But that’s really what they recommend. No caffeine, ever.

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