Take the Blood Sugar Control Challenge!

by lydia on July 31, 2012

Well, it’s that time again, time to host the next monthly challenge! Having had a little time off last month, I am rip roaring and ready to go with this next challenge. This month’s challenge will be a bit more involved, but oh so worth the effort. It’s something everyone can benefit from no matter where they are at in their health journey. So, are you all ready to join me and get your blood sugar under control?! Let’s take the Blood Sugar Control Challenge.

First, a little background…….For the past 8 years I have been doing a few seasonal ‘detoxes’ if you will. I started my first blood sugar/detox back in 2004, prior to becoming pregnant with my 3rd son. It was the most amazing experience! At the time, I didn’t really realize it was a blood sugar control diet, I did it more as a liver cleanse. I got such amazing results with it and was never the same again. Every health symptom I had at the time, completely went away! I also lost weight, got my energy back and really truly felt great! It took me many years before I truly learned just why that ‘detox’ worked so well, and years before I finally learned how to keep my blood sugar managed. In the spring of 2010 I took the plunge to get the sugars/starches out and never looked back. So many things got better from there on out, but it’s still been a bit of work to make sure I stay managed. I tend to do a little house cleaning every season and take on a sugar detox of some sort to keep myself from that slow spiral back into depending on sugar/stimulants to drive or energize me.

I currently eat a pretty low carbohydrate/sugar diet, I am following a GAPS/Paleo template dietarily and I’ve hovered in this way of eating for about 2 years now. It works well for me, and I find if I do have some starch I am really able to keep it limited because my body tells me. I just don’t do well with too much starch/sugars in my diet. Namely starch. However, this summer, I’ve had some sugar creeping in and I know it’s time to do some housecleaning. I managed to start drinking two cups of weak English Breakfast tea with honey and coconut oil, as well as ramp up the fruit due to summer and find I crave ice cream, A LOT. Starting my day out with 2 heaping teaspoons of honey, is not working well for me, but I got into the habit and now I need to reel myself back in.  This past month I have had trouble with my sleep, waking in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep. It was so foreign to me, as this has not happened to me very much at all in the past several years, that it took me about 2 weeks of on and off nights before I realized that my blood sugar management was slipping. As soon as I figured this out I knew what to do and was able to redeem my sleep. This is far better than I used to live years ago, but I know I can do better and feel better for it. So, I am hosting this challenge for myself just as much as anyone else.

I wrote a post yesterday, titled; ‘How Does Your Blood Sugar Work?’ to raise the understanding of just how tightly regulated the blood sugar levels in the body are. It’s important to understand this so you can know why the ‘rules’ of this challenge are as they are. First let’s talk about all the health issues that arise from any level of blood sugar disregulation.

Health Issues Related to Blood Sugar Imbalances

  • lack of energy/fatigue
  • depression/mood swings
  • sleep disturbances, trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep
  • weight gain
  • cravings/overeating
  • heart issues such as;  MI, stroke, cardiovascular disease, high triglycerides, hypertension, atherosclerosis
  • need for stimulants which deplete nutrients
  • adrenal fatigue, followed by thyroid issues and other endocrine issues
  • hormone imbalances
  • yeast overgrowth
  • mineral deficiencies (such as magnesium)
  • irritability prior to meals, shaky/edgy if meals are delayed
  • vision impairment
  • mental clarity/function
  • a plethora of gastrointestinal disorders
  • cancer
  • diabetes

As you can see, it’s clear that having good blood sugar balance is key to overall health. Again, it’s one of the two most tightly regulated systems in our body. Every aspect of our health is at risk when we don’t maintain appropriate blood sugar control. Now that you are pretty confident that this is a critical thing to work on, how does one go about managing their blood sugar?

I’m glad you asked. It’s pretty straight forward, but can be tricky too. I am setting up some very basic guidelines keeping in mind that everyone’s path to getting their blood sugar balanced will be very different and take a varying degree of time and effort. I am also offering a special package for this month only to those who would like additional support. Here are the guidelines;

Blood Sugar Control Guidelines

Protein – Consume 3-5 ounces of protein at every meal, 1-2 ounces with every snack. Optimally, the sources of protein should be grassfed meats, pastured poultry, wild seafood and pastured eggs. (read more about protein sources here)

Fats – Good quality fats (as outlined in this post) with every meal and snack, none of the bad fats (mentioned here) such as artificial spreads or hydrogenated fats, or refined vegetable oils for cooking are allowed. Be VERY strict about this. Fats are very satiating and the optimal source of fuel for your body, do not skip or skimp on the fats.

Grains – No grains allowed. (corn is a grain)

Legumes– No legumes allowed.

Vegetables – Organic, in season, low glycemic veggies are unlimited. Eat as much as you want. Limit carrots, beets, and root vegetables – using in smaller portions and make sure to balance well with other lower glycemic veggies. Avoid white potatoes – they are very high in starch. Properly fermented vegetables are allowed and highly recommended.

Nuts – Properly prepared nuts or raw nuts are acceptable in small portions, a handful is adequate.  Don’t overdo it on the nuts. (Peanuts are not allowed, they are actually legumes) *Note* – Nuts can be problematic for some, causing digestive issues/complaints or even allergies/sensitivities. If this is the case for you, leave them out for 2 weeks to a month.

Fruit – Limit fruits to 1-2 servings of low glycemic fruits. Avoid fruit at breakfast for the most part, once you get your blood sugar managed you may be able to tolerate fruit in the mornings here and there. Avoid the sweeter bananas, mangos, papayas, grapes and dried fruits. No fruit or vegetable juices at this time, even fresh pressed at home. Fruit is best as a mid-meal snack paired with some fat. (ex: I like to make coconut milk smoothies or even drizzle some coconut oil over sliced peaches)

Dairy– No dairy. Most people will need to avoid dairy – it can have an insulin effect. Ghee is acceptable to use.

*However, if you have gone through an elimination diet or gone through GAPS intro and you know you are not sensitive to dairy – you can have some dairy, such as butter, small portions of GAPS approved cheeses, a small amount of sour cream with meals or as a dip for veggies. Avoid entire meals of dairy, such as a large glasses of kefir or a yogurt as your meal. *

Sweeteners – No sweeteners of any kind. Zip, zilch, zero. (Stevia is okay in green leaf form on occasion if need be, but not for those with severe sugar imbalances).

Beverages – Water is best – try to drink half your weight in ounces of water per day. It is VERY important to make sure you get enough electrolytes as well. Adding a pinch of good quality sea salt to your drinking water is ideal, especially the water you drink during and after your workouts. Water makes up 70% of our bodies – it is the most important and critical nutrient we need. Adding a slice of lemon to your water is also a good option. Avoid, alcohol, fruit juice, milk. Avoid caffeine – this is a biggie – caffeine actually disrupts your blood sugar. If you are a coffee drinker, take the first two weeks to wean off of coffee – decaf is better but still has caffeine. 1 cup of decaf can be okay. Dandy Blend is a popular coffee substitute that can be used. As well as organic herbal teas with no additives of any kind. I also allow kombucha, Two -4-8 ounces servings a day. I recommend beet kvass as well, two – 4 ounce servings a day in the morning with breakfast and before bed with a small snack. Fermented beverages consume all the sugars during fermentation. I would however avoid water kefir, unless you ferment it until it’s on the tart side. Coconut water diluted in half with water can be an okay sports drink replacement, but only use when working out/sweating lots, as it does contain a fair amount of sugar. Coconut water kefir would be better suited for this purpose if you have access to it.

The above food plan is meant to be used to gain a foothold on your blood sugar control. It can be followed for 2-4 weeks. It can take a minimum of 2 weeks to reset your blood sugar handling, though it can vary for everyone (especially if you are on any kind of medication). It is important to eat every 2-3 hours of the day to keep your blood sugar from dipping down too low. Once you get yourself straightened out you won’t have to eat this frequently. If you find you wake up at night at all, you need to have a snack before bed. Make sure it contains protein/fat/carbohydrate. Also, if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, have a snack.

Try to eat something raw and fermented at every meal. This is particularly helpful if you get a wide array of colors of produce. You want to nourish your body with nutrients; vitamins, minerals, bioflavanoids and antioxidants to replace what you need from having been a sugar burner for so long. Sugar depletes so many vital nutrients that add to the cravings. When you get needed nutrients into the body, it helps take away the cravings for more sugar.

Considerations – this plan is not meant to cure candida/yeast issues, but can certainly help. For those already consuming higher sugar/carbohydrate diets well above 150 grams of carbs a day, you will likely need to wean into this gradually, as will those with deeper endocrine issues. Also, athletes may need to be careful switching over to this plan especially during any athletic competitions or events.  Please know I am available to work with individuals with more specific needs, and offering ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for anyone interested.

Make sure to eat loads and loads of veggies. Eat frequently, don’t skip those 3 snacks a day. Eat within one hour of waking even if you don’t feel hungry. Try not to let your daily carb intake go too low – aim to stay at 50-70 grams per day. The object of this whole game plan is to retrain your body to run with normal blood sugar balance, to use fats as fuel over glucose and learn what balance of foods make you feel best. So as you re-introduce the dairy and starchier veggies you will be able to see just how they make you feel.

Exercise – Daily exercise is ideal. 15-30 minutes daily. (I will be posting more on exercise throughout the month). Blood sugar control is affected very positively by regular exercise – be sure to carve out time for it daily.

Starting August 1st, I will post every day with further information, tips, advice, articles all surrounding managing your blood sugar. We will start with a 7-10 day Phase 1 to gear up for this challenge!  Subscribe to my feed to stay informed.

Additionally, I am offering EXTRA SUPPORT to anyone who would like further support while taking on this challenge. It could be for those with deeper health issues, or those who have tried something like this in the past and weren’t able to stick to it for whatever reason. I am here to help!

SO, ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE?!?! Are you ready to feel better physically, have more energy and a steadier energy throughout the day? Lose weight? Lose cravings?Experience greater mental clarity and emotional stability? Improve the quality of your sleep? Prevent hypoglycemia and diabetes?

LET’S DO THIS! Comment below if you plan to join me!

 

LydiaLydia Joy Shatney is certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is a co-chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Lydia offers specialized one-on-one counseling for those that are looking to transform their health through dietary advice (both food and supplements), learning cooking techniques, shopping guidance, as well as fitness inspiration and self-empowerment. These personal consultations are tailored to suit your specific needs and can be done over the phone, Skype or in person. Lydia will work with you in person locally or long distance across the globe. Lydia currently offer 3 & 6 month packages. In these packages you will receive phone consultations, email support, food journal evaluations, a thorough nutritional assessment, lots of handouts, supplement recommendations for your specific needs, information, recipes, tips, cooking ‘how to’s’ and more. Contact Lydia to sign up for your free initial consult call today!

 

{ 26 comments }

Melanie July 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I’m in! I think my husband will want to join in too.

Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions July 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I’m in as well. Some of this is really going to be hard for me, because I don’t eat a lot normally, and I can never eat before 10am or so. Fruit won’t be an issue, but are you saying I can’t use butter? That doesn’t make me happy :)

Angela July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I am in! Is there a better list of what we SHOULD eat?? The list above seemed to focus on what we should NOT eat… Thanks!

michelle sines July 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I’m in! Have just realized in the last week that my sugar levels are back up. Have already started rating more broccoli to control the sweet cravings. Can you tell me though where Hummus falls in to this plan?

cindy July 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I would like to do this but since I take meds and inject long lasting insulin, how many times a day should I check my blood sugar? I typically check it 3 x and if I am low it is before dinner. I don’t always eat a lot after breakfast however,
I will take a while to wean off coffee. I usually drink at least 4 cups of black coffee daily.

lydia July 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Jessica – since we are working together we can talk about butter! 😀

lydia July 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Angela – stay tuned I’ll be posting plenty more details along the way!

lydia July 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Michelle,

Hummus could work without the beans – you could make a veggie hummus that would be good.

lydia July 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Cindy,

It sounds like you might need to be supported through something like this. Since I don’t know what meds you are on, and because you are on insulin things could present a little differently for you. To be honest, I might suggest you start checking your BS 15 minutes before meals and 1-2 hours after every meal to get a good feel for what your blood sugar is doing. And maybe focus on eating 3 square meals with snacks in between to keep your BS stable. It could be a little while before you might be ready for this – though I’d work your way towards it if you can.

Sonia July 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I am 50 but just starting out to radically change my lifestyle, starting with eating. I’m way overweight and am determined to stick to a new, healthy diet. There seems to be so much to learn – this sounds like something I would like to delve into.

Sherry M July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I’m in! But won’t be joining until Aug 3. I have grandkiddies visiting and I won’t be able to be “as good” with all the meals I am doing with them! I pretty much eat that way all the time….except for the dairy part anyway. I do tend to skip meals more with them here because children aren’t part of my normal routine!

lydia August 1, 2012 at 8:17 am

Great to have you Sonia!

Sherry – there will be a phase one posted today – we won’t start the core of this for 7-10 days anyway!

Amanda August 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

Started this morning :)

lydia August 9, 2012 at 7:04 am

Awesome Amanda!

MamaCassi August 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

knocked up lady gonna join in, but will be leaving potatoes on board until i find a better carb replacement. i usually don’t eat potatoes, but crave them during pregnancy, and as my blood sugar levels tend to hover around 75, it might just be baby. but need to get off grains and get more protein in and we’re off to the farm right now for spring water, meat, and raw milk! (raw milk for kiddos!)

lydia August 9, 2012 at 7:04 am

Hi Mama Cassi,

Awesome – be sure to get in all those snacks – you’ll need the extra nutrition!

Denise T. August 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I’m in. I was just reading something very similar in the book Diet Recovery. Going to have to change my go to weekday breakfast for th month. Right now I eat overnight oats with almond milk and greek yogurt (and fruit) 5 days a week. Looks like eggs are in store.

lydia August 9, 2012 at 7:03 am

Denise,

Sounds like a plan! But you can have other proteins for breakfast, I often eat leftovers too.

Cyn Hyde August 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm

late starting but i’m in, grocery shopping on Friday.

Shelby August 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I’m in! Nervous….. because I have tried to do this before and fall off the wagon. I would love to be able to stick to it and feel better.. possibly lose a few pounds.

Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions August 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I’m finding that I am eating WAY more protein than what you recommend. I mean, an egg typically has around 6 grams of protein. For breakfast, I usually have a couple of eggs and then sometimes an egg for a snack. I just had my afternoon snack and today, it was a can of sardines, which has 20 grams of protein total. In total, I’m probably eating 50-75 grams of protein per day.

I know that a lot of people say that high-protein diets are really hard on the kidneys, so I want to make sure I’m not overdoing it. That said, after being on this “diet” for 4 days, I am finding that anything less than what I’m doing now would leave me feeling hungry. I’m eating lots of veggies and fat as well. I wouldn’t think that 75 grams is really that much, compared to what I see some body builders eating.

Just wondering your thoughts. Though, you may already have a post planned on this topic. There is a never ending line of ideas for you!

On a positive note, I am feeling better. Not fantastic yet, but better. I noticed that my energy is more stable and I am feeling more “level” throughout the day. I try to eat every three hours or so, even if I’m not hungry, and I think it’s making a difference. :)

Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions August 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Actually, now that I found this article, I see that I am well within my “daily recommendations”.

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/protein.htm

Would you agree with some of the protein recommendations in there?

Thanks, Lydia, for all that you do for us!! :)

Marina at My Busy Children August 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

Hi, Lydia, would buckwheat be allowed for this diet since it is more of a fruit than a grain?

lydia August 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

Marina,

No buckwheat is a starch and too high in carbohydrate.

melissa August 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I’m in just making it offical. It’s going great I was eating this way about 2 weeks before you posted the challenge. I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and have low vitamin D. Sadly we recently had a miscarriage and found out I was low in progesterone too. It was a presumed ectopic and I had a methotrexate shot which was horrible! So dealing with my liver being all out of whack right now. The diet has helped me so much. Still feel tired and low energy though.

lydia August 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Melissa,

Sorry to hear of your loss. I truly hope that this challenge helps to get you back on track.

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