Foodie Friday: New Supplements
You may be wondering how my “new diet” is going? Well, I think swimmingly. I am enjoying my meals and occasional snacks and not worrying whether I am eating 1200 cals a day or 2000. I eat when I am hungry; stop when I’m full; and prepare well balanced meals that are portioned by eye rather than through rigorous measuring tools. I’m trying to re-calibrate my system to eat like a normal person. I mean, most of the world does not measure portions or worry about calories the way I did, why must I stay in that food prison for the rest of my life? I want to live like the normal people of the world, not like a food Nazi. So far, my clothes feel the same, if not a teensy bit looser (it hasn’t been that long since I made this change) and that is fine by me. I am exercising using the concept of intense interval training and combining that with riding my bike and walking my dog.
Now, in regards to my new supplements, I was reading in my favorite book about using nutrition as a healer to the body, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Second Edition, by James F. Balch, M.D., & Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., that for folks who suffer from Hypoglycemia, such as myself, there are some supplements to add to the diet that may help in regulating blood sugar levels. Now of course, the BEST and most obvious way to do that is with eating plain food, but I want to dig deeper and see if I can use additional items to help keep my insulin in check.
One of the problems of Hypoglycemia is that when one goes into states of such low blood sugar levels, the body will then send a red light warning to the brain to eat copious amounts of carbs and sugars to get back to an even keel. (Effects that I know my blood sugar levels are low are: dizziness, fatigue out of nowhere, energy lapses, ringing in the ears, fuzzy vision, hunger cravings even if I just ate and hour ago & blackouts) This is partly why I have a binging problem, my hormones are out of whack in this area. Keeping blood sugar level is the trick to not craving carbs of unusual portions. Too many carbs equals insulin release which equals fat storage. When the body is releasing insulin, the fat burner of the body is turned off.
Some supplements the book recommends that I am trying are:
1. Chromium Picolinate (300 – 600 mcg daily); “Vital in glucose metabolism. Essential for optimal insulin activity.”
2. Pancreatin (as directed on label); “For proper protein digestion. Use a high potency formula.”
3. Vitamin B Complex (50 – 100 mg daily and up); “Important in carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and proper digestion and absorption of foods; helps the body tolerate foods that produce low blood sugar reactions. Also helps counteract the effects of malabsorption disorders common in people with hypoglycemia.”
Two that I have yet to try are:
4. Zinc (50 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily); “Needed for proper release of insulin. People with hypoglycemia are often zinc deficient. Use zinc gluconate lozenges for best results.”
5. Brewer’s Yeast (as directed on label); “Aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels.”
The book also suggests certain herbs and holistic methods such as Bilberry, Dandelion Root, Licorice, Milk Thistle and Wild Yam (sound exotic!).
The basic sound advice they are offer are (which I’m sure have been updated in more current editions; see my notes in parenthesis):
- Remove from the diet all alcohol, canned and packaged foods, refined and processed foods, salt (!!!), sugar, saturated fats, soft drinks, and white flour. Also avoid foods that contain artificial colors or preservatives.
- Avoid sweet fruits and juices such as grape and prune. If you drink these, mix the juice with equal amounts of water.
- Eat a diet high in fiber and include large amounts of vegetables, especially broccoli, carrots (these are too sweet for me and cause me weird reactions, ironically), Jerusalem artichokes, raw spinach, squash, and string beans. Vegetables should be eaten raw or steamed. Also eat beans, brown rice, lentils, potatoes (again, too sweet and high on glycemic index), soy products (only organic!!!), and fruits, especially apples, apricots, avocados, banana, cantaloupes, grapefruits, lemon, and persimmons (yuck).
- Eat starchy foods such as corn, hominy, noodles, pasta, white rice, and yams in moderation only (or in my case, not at all or only on special occasions; note: it’s weird to me that they recommend eating white potatoes but not yams/sweet potatoes).
- Use a rotation diet; food allergies are often linked to hypoglycemia and can make the symptoms more pronounced (wheat and dairy maybe?)
- During a low blood sugar reaction, eat something that combines fiber with a protein food, such as bran or rice crackers with raw cheese or almond butter (this works amazingly!).
- Instead of having applesauce, have a whole apple, which has more fiber. The fiber in the apple will inhibit fluctuations in blood sugar. Fiber alone, found in popcorn, oat bran, rice bran, crackers, ground flaxseed, and psyllium husks, will slow down a hypoglycemic reaction. Take fiber half an hour before meals (mix with aloe vera juice to get it to not clog up!) Spirulina tablets taken between meals further help to stabilize blood sugar. (I have a whole post on this superfood.)
- Do not go without food. Eat six to eight small meals throughout the day. (This does not work for me though; I like three medium and one small snack). Some people find that eating a small snack before bedtime helps.