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Posts Tagged ‘Blood Sugar’

We just came back from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands (I know, poor us).  While we made both our breakfasts and lunches on the trips, we splurged on dinners and I splurged on calorie-dense tropical drinks (I choose the lowest-sugar ones I could).

We got home late, thanks to both of our planes being delayed, but thankfully I’d taken the next day off, which allowed me to do the most important part of coming back from a vacation and getting back on track with healthy eating: Go to the grocery store ASAP.

When we got home, the fridge was practically empty, and the next morning was a scrounge to find food, but right after breakfast, I headed-out to all of the stores.

Why is this so important?

It’s too easy, after a trip like this, to continue to eat out because it’s what you’ve been doing the last week or so and there’s no food in the house. This, I believe, adds to the weight gain of vacations. The quickest way to break this is to get healthy food stocked back up in your house ASAP. It took me 3 hours, but the photo shows our fridge now, well-stocked with healthy food options. And, we’re back on track.

So the next time you plan your vacation, also plan a half day to hit the stores and stock back up. Your weight and your blood sugar will thank you.

 

Our fridge stocked with lots of fruit and vegetables, lean dairy, and good protein options, including eggs, deli turkey, and tofu. In the giant green bowl is my chopped veggies for snacking.

Our fridge stocked with lots of fruit and vegetables, lean dairy, and good protein options, including eggs, deli turkey, and tofu. In the giant green bowl is my chopped veggies for snacking.

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I’m a heavy magazine reader (mostly nerdy stuff). This week, I polished-off a Women’s Health and a National Geographic:

  • The Women’s Health* May issue (page 112) has an article titled “Can you build a better sugar?” which basically concludes that sugar substitutes have their issues (they may actually cause blood sugar spikes) and that it might be best to just stick to the more natural sugar.
  • National Geographic included an excerpt of the book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong and highlighted how margarine and Crisco basically introduced trans fats to the American diet and cause up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. We’d be better off sticking with the more natural butter.

So, both concluded that we’d be better off sticking to a food closer to it’s original form than one created through a highly lab-intensive process. SHOCKED, shocked I tell you! (sarcasm)

I’m definitely guilty of some processed foods, but whenever possible, we should try to avoid them, especially as hypoglycemics, as there can be serious blood sugar consequences.

Am I saying go to town and eat as much sugar and butter as you want? Nope. Moderation is the key, a combination of portion control and cutting-back on how much sugar, butter, salt, etc. we add to things. For example, our sweets in the U.S. are ridiculously sweet compared to sweets in other countries and they are HUGE. We could easily fix both.

 

 

*I’m in no way advocating that Women’s Health is a good source of actual health advice. Some of their articles are great and well-researched, but many are not, and contradict each other. Read with caution.

 

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Me: Look, I love you, but I made exactly the amount of cheese and crackers I want to eat right now. Wife: But I only ... Me: EXACTLY the amount

I can relate to this tweet so much, except it’s not my fiance usually saying it, it’s me. Before I put food on my plate, I portion-out exactly what my diet allows; meaning what will keep me healthy and keep my blood sugar even.

Also, my brother used to take food off my plate, so I have a strong reflective action to anyone who takes food off my plate.

So take at your own risk, or better yet, ask before you take. I’m a sharing person, I really am, but you may just hear from me that what’s on my plate is EXACTLY the amount of food I wanted.

 

 

 

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A pink pig made of marzipan sweet almond paste in a plastic bag that reads "Good luck". Net weight 1.41 oz, 40 grams

Marzipan pig to celebrate the new year. (ignore the mess, we’d just moved in to our new house!)

This is my New Years piggy. If you’re not familiar with this tradition, Germans consume a pig on New Years Eve to bring good luck in the New Year. You can do this either by actually eating pork or by eating a marzipan pig  (Marzipanschweine).

Admittedly, it’d be a lot better for me as a hypoglycemic, or pretty much anyone, to eat the pork vs. marzipan, but a little indulgence now and then isn’t a terrible thing. Also, I’m not superstitious in any way, but it’s fun to keep some of these traditions alive.

But that doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

In fact, I ate this little piggy over 4 days, and always immediately after a high protein meal (because that’s when it will impact my blood sugar the least). I also bought the smallest piggy I could find.

And that’s the trick with food traditions. You don’t have to give them up, but it’s not a blank check to stuff your face and trash your blood sugar & diet. Take a bit or two, savor the hell out of it, and walk away. It’s hard, but you’ll feel so much better overall when you do it.

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Stress impacts your body. At least, that’s what all of the research tells us. It also impacts your blood sugar, which makes it a very important topic for those of us with hypoglycemia. And, oftentimes, especially as hypoglycemics, we’re so involved in making the correct diet and fitness decisions, that our mental health, our personal well-being goes by the wayside. In this series, we’ll discuss a variety of ways to manage your stress and, in the process, manage your blood sugar.

Most of the time, I’m one of the most intense and cerebral people you’ll meet, oftentimes to a fault. So, I can see how it would seem odd, to my friends, family and coworkers, that, in the most intense situations, I’ll wander up them and make a big deal over savoring a cookie (a tiny, tiny piece for me), or a piece of chocolate, or a pretty flower or sunset.

Why do I do that in those moments? Because it creates a break in the tension, a moment of peace, and a reminder of something good.

I’m reminded of the scene in The Hobbit right after Thorin Oakenshield is killed; Bilbo is trying to process through his emotions when Gandalf sits next to him, and picks at his pipe. It’s somewhat comical to watch, but effective. Gandalf is by no means a simple person, but he uses the pipe to remind him, and others, to not always be so intense, to enjoy the small, good things in life.

In Zen Buddhism, there’s the story (the flower sermon) of the Buddha holding up a flower and only one of his disciples smiles.  The most common interpretation of this is that knowledge can be transferred without words or letters, but when I read this story, I can also see how this exemplifies the idea that, something so simple can bring a moment of clarity and peace.

In Christianity, I’ve heard several sermons talk about stressful situations draining your “bucket” and how you need to make sure you keep your bucket full (with love, things that bring you peace and joy, etc.), or at least not let it empty. With this interpretation, a moment of simple joy could be a way to refill the bucket, even if it is partially.

Whatever philosophy above works for you, I encourage you to give it a try. You may just find that that moment of simplicity may be what you need to get through a rough situation.

 

 

 

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Note the black, matte packaging and “manly” flavors, clearly marketing to men. Three different flavors of the King STRONG bars: Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili

Three different flavors of the King STRONG bars: Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili

I’m not sure if you actually get more volume out of the Kind STRONG Honey Mustard bar or if the ingredients are more “smushed” so it looks more filled.

 

Note: I was not compensated for this post nor did KIND know about this post prior to me publishing it. 

One of the questions I took to my dietician was snack ideas that would be good for my hypoglycemia, good for me overall, and were reasonable in cost.  She highly recommends KIND bars. Originally, I was eating the KIND + protein bars, but these didn’t seem to fill me up. She figured-out that my snacks need to be at 230 calories, so she recommended the higher-calorie KIND & Strong bars.

As a marketer, these bars make me laugh. They are clearly marketed to men, with the “savory” flavors and the black matte packaging, so I’ve nicknamed them “Bro Bars.” And, I was really skeptical of the non-sweet flavors because, like everyone else, I’ve been conditioned by the “bar” market to expect energy/protein bars to be sweet.

But they keep me full, keep my blood sugar even, and are actually quite good (once you get over your sweet expectation). These have become a staple in our house and a regular healthy snack when I’m traveling.

I’m also a fan of the price, which is about $1.20 each compared to other protein bars at $2.50 each.

Final note: These are really hard to find at local grocery stores. I contacted KIND and they recommended a few stores, one of which was Target, so that’s where I grab mine.

 

 

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“Fresh Homemade Panini” by snowpea&bokchoi, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

1/2 of the original panini. See how much bread that is before they press it? May too many carbs

Fixed as much as I could. I put all of the meat/cheese on one side and hollowed-out the bread. There was no mustard to be found (even though the sandwich was supposed to have it, boo)

I was in the Reno airport pretty early in the day, so options for an early lunch were still pretty limited. The healthiest option I could find was a ham and cheese panini, but because I wasn’t going to eat it for 2 hours (the longest you can have meat/cheese out of the fridge and have it be safe).

When I got the cold/unpressed panini, I was shocked to see how thick the bread was! I thought paninis were made out of thin bread, but nope, they are made of thick bread that’s been pressed thin (see the top image to see what one looks like after being pressed).

Knowing that that much bread (especially white bread) would cause me hypoglycemia blood sugar issues, I hollowed-out one side of the bread as thin as I could, put all of the meat and cheese on one side, and ate that. When I got to San Francisco airport a few hours later, I ate a super-healthy salad.

So lesson-learned: If you want a hot sandwich or panini, ask to see the bread ahead of time and make sure it’s thin and a low-glycemic index bread

Addition fun fact: According to my native-speaking Italian friends, “panini” actually translates to “bread” not “sandwich,” so if you ask for a “panini” in Italy, unless they’ve been Americanized, they might just hand you bread.

 

 

 

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