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Archive for April, 2015

This published on my “About” page, but I don’t think you all get notifications about that, so I’m publishing it here because I hoping it’ll be useful information for a lot of folks:

Question:

Hi! I am in my 30’s and am struggling with hypoglycemia. Normally, I could control it or catch it before it drops too low, but recently it is just dropping constantly. My whole day is revolving around food and eating to try to not feel the symptoms that I can’t avoid. I have gone to my Dr and to a nutritionist. I really need to be in contact with people who understand and need to find more information and hopefully, something can help me. I am very interested in this blog. And your story sounds close to mine. The only thing is I am not even able to go more than an hour and a half without eating. And it is frustrating and scary going through this on a daily basis. Morning are most difficult and trying to plan my foods, eat and balance my blood sugar to start my day, and simply just get ready for my day is getting to be overwhelming to say the least. Any help would be so much appreciated. Thanks!

Answer:

Hi Dorthyann,

I’m really glad you find this blog helpful, but I’m also really sorry to hear what you are going through!

The first thing that comes to mind is that you are not eating enough protein and/or eating too many carbs. This usually causes the blood sugar rollercoaster.

Try this:
Eat a TON of protein. I would opt for more than 20 grams each time you eat. I’d try a giant (unbreaded, unsauced…both add carbs/sugar) piece of chicken, 4 eggs, at least 1/2 a pack of tofu, or something else, but do your homework and make sure you are eating the 20 g of protein. I often ballpark less and that’s when I have issues. Nuts are great filler (and will provide good fat), but you’d have to eat a lot of them. Here is a post on a variety of protein sources: https://hypoglycemiaresource.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/reader-question-protein-sources-other-than-nuts/

With your protein, eat no more than 30 g of carbohydrates and make them a COMPLEX carb. My top recommendation here would be beans (black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans). Beans are a great source of fiber, which studies have shown helps regular your blood sugar. They also add even more protein (although I wouldn’t include this in your total 20 g count, the idea is to get your protein very high!). Make sure and measure out your portion so you don’t go over 30 grams. For variety, you can do some other complex carbs such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, but again, measure your portion carefully and beans should be your primary.

With your protein and beans, eat a ton of other non-starch vegetables. My top choices here are spinach, kale, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, cabbage. Again, if you are eating them in a salad, NO DRESSING other than olive oil or pure vinegar; dressings add a ton of sugar. I recommend eating them raw or steamed. This will also drive-up your fiber intake which should help. I eat 5-8 servings of vegetables a day.

If you do the above EVERY MEAL, you should see a dramatic improvement. The minute you vary, you’ll have issues. Here’s how it changed my life: https://hypoglycemiaresource.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/new-higher-protein-less-carb-diet-works/

There are other things that I’ve heard can cause erratic blood sugar and so these are also things to consider, but I’m not recommending treating them and ignoring the diet advice above:
– Lack of sleep
– Significant stress
– Caffeine, nicotine, or any other stimulant.
– Illness

Finally, I recommend finding a diabetes specialist. It doesn’t sound like you are getting the right advice. And, just a reminder: I am in no way a medical professional and anything you read on here should be checked with the appropriate medical professional before implementing.

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A turkey sloppy joe sloppy tom

Notice the hollow-ed out bun to cut calories/carbs and to make it less “sloppy.” I ended up dividing the meat (one of four servings) onto two buns.

I found this Real Simple recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes (I know them as Sloppy Toms) and decided to give it a try. The verdict? They were great! I ate one portion and froze the other 3 for later, which worked-out well.

Hints:

  • It took a lot longer than it said to cook the sauce down to the consistency I like, but overall it was very simple to make.
  • I ended-up dividing it up between two hamburger buns (I used potato, I love them) because it was so much meat.
  • I hollow-out my buns to cut carbs/calories, but also to help hold the meat in.
  • One portion, split between two hamburger buns, kept me full and my sugars level for about 5 hours.

Give it a try!

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A cricket on a leaf

“Cricket – Grillo” by Hugo A. Quintero G. is licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

As we continue to grow as a human population, we need to find sustainable sources of protein to feed everyone (or reduce the population, but I won’t go there). One highly-touted option is incorporate bugs into human diets to increase the protein count. Humans already do this, but it’s not popular in a lot of developing countries, especially the United States.

Proponents of eating insects for protein say that “farming” bugs for protein is low-cost, low-space (bugs, such as crickets prefer to be in small spaces and highly concentrated), and environmentally friendly (they consume the waste during our current food production methods creates, such as whey when making cheese).

Would I eat insects for protein? Absolutely. Would it completely replace my love of hamburgers? Nope, but I might eat beef less often.

Cricket flour

One current option for eating insects is cricket flour that is used in baked-goods, batters, etc. Cricket flour is ground-up crickets mixed with other starches to make flour (that apparently has a slightly nutty taste). Bitty is one company that offers this flour in raw format and in cookies.

But Bitty’s cricket flour really isn’t that high in protein. As I find with other high-protein claims (cough…hummus), when you really look at the metrics, technically Bitty’s cricket flour is 3 or 4 x the amount of traditional flour, but it’s still only 4 g per ¼ cup and 4 g per cookie. As a hypoglycemic, I try to eat a minimum of 20 g of protein in each setting, so 4 g doesn’t excite me. Incrementally it could help me reach my protein goals, but it’s not a complete replacement option.

Further reading:

New Higher Protein Diet Works!

Startups Pitch Cricket Flour As The Best Protein You Could Eat via NPR

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A fashion model walks a catwalk in Paris

“Raquel Z -Stella McCartney” by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode is licensed under CC BY 2.0

France took a step in the healthy weight direction this month by banning fashion models under 18 BMI. But does that go far enough? Nope.

Most of my readers know me personally, but for those of you that don’t, I currently am a size 0-2 and have 16.8% body fat, which is considered extremely lean. I’m often told I’m almost too skinny and have often been compared to a fashion model body. I don’t say this to brag, but to give some background. So, I used an online Body Mass Index calculator to see how much weight I’d have to lose before I’d be “too thin” under France’s new law.

17 lbs

Seriously? I can’t even imagine how horrifically thin I’d be at that weight.

Then I decided to have fun with some celebrities whom I consider to have amazing bodies. To be under an 18 BMI:

  • Drew Barrymore would have to lose 18 lbs
  • Natalie Portman would have to lost 10 lbs
  • Brooke Shields would have to lose 22 lbs

I doubt anyone would encourage these women to get to these sizes. The general public, for sure, would find them a lot less appealing and probably try to sign them up for treatment.

So, while I applaud France doing something, they still didn’t do enough.

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3 small plastic cups with small plants growing in each one

From Flickr Creative Commons: Plants are coming along by Tim Patterson

This is a favorite trick of not-so-honest representatives in the public relations industry (my day job, but I’m the honest kind); you ask one question, they answer with something that doesn’t really address what you are really asking.

So I watch with varying levels of frustration the debate on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). The public is asking, “Are they safe?” and the response is, “They are safe for human consumption.

See what they did there? They defined what “safe” meant for us. How nice of them. But is that what we are asking? It’s not what I’m asking.

When I ask, “Are they safe?” I’m asking:

  • Are they safe for human consumption?
  • Are they safe for the environment?
  • Are there going to be long-term ecological consequences from GMO’s?
  • Are they safe for the animals living around them?

My question is much broader, they are only responding to part of it.

Two examples:

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science, National Geographic

For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.

We’re asked to accept, for example, that it’s safe to eat food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because, the experts point out, there’s no evidence that it isn’t and no reason to believe that altering genes precisely in a lab is more dangerous than altering them wholesale through traditional breeding. But to some people the very idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists running amok—and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, they talk about Frankenfood.

The Debate About GMO Safety is Over, Thanks to a Trillion-Meal Study, Forbes

The authors also found no evidence to suggest any health affect on humans who eat those animals. No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GE-fed animals.

In other words, the debate over the risks associated with GMO food is effectively over. As Novella writes:

We now have a large set of data, both experimental and observational, showing that genetically modified feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. There does not appear to be any health risk to the animals, and it is even less likely that there could be any health effect on humans who eat those animals.

In order to maintain the position that GMOs are not adequately tested, or that they are harmful or risky, you have to either highly selectively cherry pick a few outliers of low scientific quality, or you have to simply deny the science.

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There’s a really cool lecture that I want to attend tomorrow. The problem? It’s 11 am to 1 pm, with no lunch included. I totally get not feeding people to cut back on costs, but details on “feel free to bring your lunch and eat” or SOME direction on food would have been nice.

The only thing I can think of is to eat two mini-lunches, one at 10:30 and one whenever I finally get back.

Anyone got any other bright ideas?

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As someone with a background in marketing and a background in academic research, I highly recommend this article from Lifehacker Vitals about food marketing and research.

​How Food Marketers Make You Think You’re Choosing Healthy Food

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