I have struggled with maintaining my blood sugar levels since my first child was born. Diagnosed with Hypoglycemia shortly after, I was encouraged to attend nutrition classes to help me manage my sugar intake. Over the years, I have found that making some changes to my diet and watching my body for signals of stress and nutritional deficiency has helped me to render this malady virtually nonexistent.
Hypoglycemia is the name used for a condition, not a disease. It could be a precursor to diabetes or other health problems. Hypoglycemia is essentially having abnormally low blood sugar levels which can have several effects on the body. My most common symptoms were light-headedness, dizzy spells, feeling weak and unable to grab things, and getting headaches.
The usual diet for Hypoglycemia is low in carbohydrates, especially refined breads, grains, and potatoes. The nutritionist emphasized cutting out sugar, alcohol, and caffeine as much as possible from my diet.
Over the years I have tried many different techniques to help keep my blood sugars level and still eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some of the worst remedies I have tried are the ones that are so often suggested for people with low blood sugar.
Cutting all caffeine from my diet, while possible, was not feasible. I found that when I craved caffeine, I would inevitably choose sodas and flavored coffee drinks that were high in corn syrups and refined sugars. This would do a double-whammy on my body; giving me a high that quickly turned into plummeting sugar levels.
Sugar substitutes were also a very bad idea. Although they do not contain the calories that corn syrup and other refined sugars have, they have about the same effect on your sugar levels. Some artificial sweeteners bypass the effect, but I have tried to avoid them due to other serious health risks.
Instead of relying on substitutes for refined sugars and grains, I have tried to introduce raw versions of them into my diet. Now, when I want a cup of coffee I add raw organic sugar in small amounts. I have also started using raw sugar in cooking and baking. For carbohydrates I try to choose whole-grain versions that have little added sugar. Brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread with no corn syrup, and hot cereals are great substitutes for their refined counterparts.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day has also helped me, but I have to make sure that those small amounts are balanced. Apples, bananas, cheese, or yogurt are all excellent choices for a quick snack. I also rely on protein to keep my sugar balanced throughout the day. Eggs, nuts, natural peanut butter, and beans are alternatives to meat protein.
Instead of simply replacing sugary drinks with similar substitutes, I have learned that when my body craves sugar it is usually a signal that I am not hydrated. Drinking plain water gets boring, so I add a little mint or lemon. If I drink fruit juice I always choose a 100% blend and try to dilute it with 1 part water to 2 parts juice. This cuts the amount of sugar and hydrates my body.
Knowing your body and being able to recognize when it is stressed out and tired is another great way to naturally manage Hypoglycemia. When I am tired, mentally and emotionally stressed, or busy, I don’t always make healthy choices. When I start feeling overly tired, weak, dizzy, or start getting frequent headaches I usually identify what activities and stressors I have in my life. I also try to make a list of the food choices I have been making. Eating out frequently and grazing on junk food does bad things to my sugar.
Here are some hints to help keep junk food and stress in check:
- Keep bottled water and small healthy snacks in your purse or car for on-the-go emergencies.
- Always read the labels on processed snacks and drinks- hidden sugars are everywhere! (I found high-fructose corn syrup in cheese crackers once!)
- Make a list of all the activities, events, and goals you have for one week. Prioritize what is important and don’t stress over the little things.
- Take the time to plan a menu or at least a shopping list of healthy foods.
- Shop from the outside-in at the grocery store. Go to the produce, dairy, and meat sections first and leave the isles of processed carbs for last.
- Sugar in moderation is a good thing; it provides your body with fuel. Remember, the closer to nature, the better.
- Taking herbal supplements can help your body maintain healthy sugar levels. Cinnamon and garlic are two that I regularly take.
Article by Aadel Bussinger
Aadel has been married to her career Army man for 11 years and they have 2 daughters and a freshly made son. She is a homeschooling mom, volunteer, and online college student. Her hobbies include cooking, organic gardening, sewing, and crocheting. She blogs sporadically at These Temporary Tents.
Aadel has written 82 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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