Five Ways to Help Balance Your Blood Sugar
I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic when I was at my heaviest in my late teens and early twenties. Thankfully I was able to reverse it and it never became a full blown problem, but just the knowledge of getting that close has always made me very aware of how cautious I need to be around my sugar intake.
There is a lot of media around sugar lately and for good reason. We as a country eat an absurd amount of it, many times without even knowing. Sugar is a cheap way to add flavor to everything and anything. Start looking at the labels of what you eat and you will be shocked.
Don’t think you’re affected by it? Well maybe you’re right, every body is different and everyone reacts to things differently. I’m not here to say otherwise. But I will say that there are a lot of different ways sugar can show up negatively in our bodies. Hormonal imbalances, candida overgrowth (ie yeast infections or any fungal outbreak), metabolic and thyroid issues, depression, anxiety, fatigue, obesity, and that’s just some of it.
With that said I am not in the business of demonizing food. Been there done that and all it has done is cause more problems for me than fix them. What I am in the business of is promoting conscious eating. It’s important to be aware and informed of what you are choosing to put in your body. This way if something does come up for you, you have a place to start from.
Here are five ways to help balance your sugar levels. Some of which I’m sure you’ve heard before, but some of which may be new to you and could help save your life/health some day.
Eat whole foods: Whole foods include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, meats etc. One way to look at it is when you go grocery shopping, stick to the food that is offered on the perimeters and ignore the center aisles. Essentially what this means is eliminating processed foods including refined sugars from your diet. Doing this is so good for so many reasons. The less chemicals we put into our bodies the better our bodies will function as a whole. If you can buy local and organic do it up. Your body will thank you.
Decrease your grain intake: In my last blog post I talked about how I function better when I eliminate grains from my diet. There are many reasonings behind removing grains from your diet, but for me the main factor is sugar. Grains turn into sugar in your body. So when I eat less of them I digest things better, feel less bloated, and my hormone and blood sugar levels are more balanced.
I recognize that to some people decreasing grains or eliminating them can sound so bizarre, overwhelming, and impossible. I recognize it because that’s how I felt. Until I did it. And then I realized how easy, and this may sound strange, but fun it was. Not only did I feel better but I was able to experiment with my cooking, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do.
As an added benefit I found the less grains I ate the more vegetables I ate. How you ask? Because there are so many vegetables that can be used as a substitute for grains. Whattttt??? Yes! I could do an entire post about my love affair with cauliflower. Maybe someday I will.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use veggies as grains with links to some insanely delicious recipes: Cauliflower fried rice, Cauliflower pizza crust, Zucchini lasagna, Spaghetti squash pad thai, Sweet potato crusted quiche
For more recipes follow me on pinterest. Pinterest is a godsend for anyone looking to make any dietary change. I am constantly adding new recipes to my collection.
Start your day off with protein: This is a huge life saver. For years we were taught to eat cereal or pancakes or waffles or toast for breakfast. Starting your day off carbo loading is not only going to guarantee a crash, but sets you up to over eat and seek out more sugar throughout the day. By starting off with a protein rich breakfast you are setting yourself up for more energy, less cravings, and less mid day crashes.
I get 100% that for many people the mornings are hard time wise and the idea of cooking just isn’t possible. There have been many times in life when my husband and I have come across that same problem. During these times we started to cook food for our breakfast on a Sunday or weekday night at the same time we would cook dinner.
Our favorite thing to pre-prepare for breakfast is Quiche. You can make it a million different ways and it’s always delicious. Since we both stopped eating grains for a while we would make the crust with spaghetti squash or sweet potato. Both taste incredible and are so easy to make.
Don’t eat eggs? No problem. There are many different protein sources. Chia seed pudding is my fav non egg protein filled breakfast. You can add in nuts and some fruit to it and god it’s so good. As a sweetener for the pudding I use a small amount of raw honey or maple syrup.
Decrease or cut out sugary drinks including and especially “diet” drinks: This is probably the most common suggestion one hears in the talk about sugar. That’s because it is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to decrease your sugar intake and balance your blood sugar. Sodas, juices, and teas are loaded with sugar. Seriously it’s insane just look at the label. “Diet” drinks that use sugar substitutes (outside of stevia) not only fill you with chemicals that cause alzheimer's and cancer, but trick your body into thinking you are getting real sugar which causes your insulin levels to spike.
I was a huge diet soda and tea drinker. Actually I was a huge fake sugar drinker. Especially when I was losing weight. I thought by drinking all of this stuff I would be filling up my crave to binge without intaking the calories. It took me a long time to let go of this vice, but once I did I felt so much better. Today I only drink water, kombucha, and coffee.
The addition of kombucha was huge for me. I missed a bubbly sweet drink and the kombucha satisfied that and actually I love it way more than I ever loved any soda or tea. Add the fact that it is filled with probiotics and amazing immune boosting qualities and it’s a win win.
Manage your stress: This is a huge one. Maybe the most important one. Stress impacts our health in so many ways. It messes with our hormones, makes it really hard to lose weight, and causes our blood sugar levels to rise. Managing your stress could save your life.
Here are some stress relieving exercises that work for me:
- Going for walks in nature
- Reading a good book
- Throwing myself a dance party for one
- Taking a hot bath
- Smelling something good or changing the smell of my environment (ie lighting incense, essential oils, candles…)
- Listening to good music that allows me to unleash my inner Mariah
- Getting into it with a TV show or movie most likely made for teenage girls
- Making sure I get good sleep
- And generally just taking care of myself
The above are just some of the ways I relieve my stress. And trust I have to use them on a daily basis.
I encourage you to try some of these blood sugar balancing suggestions. Do you have tricks up your sleeve that you have used to help balance your blood sugar? Share in the comment section.
If you'd like further more personalized guidance on this topic contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's set up a Health Coaching session!