Friday, September 2, 2011

Breakfast and Blood Sugar

Further tweaking is needed with the eating plan.

I am getting very hungry, often. I get that hunger is not an emergency and is fine, but I do not feel well at all when the stomach is growling, either. I get a little light headed. I am thinking about getting some kind of blood sugar meter to keep a log of what's going on with my blood sugar levels but the idea of poking myself several times a day does not really appeal to me; I think I may do it anyway. I have been tested before with the fasting blood draw type of test, and am not pre-diabetic or anything, but I do think my blood sugar must swing more than it should throughout the day. And when it drops too low, I feel icky.

I remember when I was 11 years old and in middle school. I lived out in the country on a dead-end lane, with a view of a corn field out my bedroom window in the summer and a distant small forest beyond it in the spring. I was an active kid, always outside riding my bike, walking through fields, climbing tall stacks of hay bales stacked inside an old red barn down the road. If it wasn't pouring rain, I was out there in a tree or on my roof or trying to teach my dog to play frisbee. And when it did rain, I was stomping in the puddles until I got soaked. But looking back now, I think I had a blood sugar problem of some sort even back then. I never was tested until adulthood and even then things looked okay, but I do believe some issues don't show up on the standard blood tests. Anyway, by middle school age, I used to get up early and shower and then try to run and catch the bus to get to school but then end up having my Dad drive me there instead because I was always late. And I stopped eating breakfast. I just never had time, my mother was always still in bed in the morning and I never even saw her before I left for school. On the weekends my dad would make me eggs and toast or a bacon-egg sandwich on Wonder bread, but all through the school year from 6th grade on I just whizzed out the door without so much as a sip of water.

Earlier, in elementary school, I know I ate breakfast at least sometimes. I remember the bowls of steaming hot Cream of Wheat my mother would make with a hunk of "maple candy" melting in the middle, or the "egg in a cup" which was a hard boiled egg mashed with salt and butter in a coffee mug. I wonder when she stopped caring about me, sometimes. I know she had her issues. She didn't know how to feed *herself* much less a child, and if it wasn't for my father I feel sure she would have met a much earlier death from either malnutrition, alcoholism, or suicide. She did love me when I was little; I remember her rocking me to sleep in my footie pajamas, and putting bows in my hair. She didn't know that feeding me ice cream for breakfast and hot dogs for lunch when I was 2 wasn't the best idea. But somewhere in there, it seems to me that she withdrew and stopped caring. Her sisters and nieces will tell you otherwise... "oh she loved you SO much!" but I just didn't get it. So I went off to school and didn't eat, and after a couple years of that it became my normal. And then, in high school, if I did try to eat some breakfast before going off to school, I'd feel very sick about 2 hours later and remain sick-feeling until lunch.

I  still get that icky, sick feeling if I go too long between feedings, and it is worse if I am eating anything grain based or sweet. And if I wait too long, I get this crazed "omg I must eat NOW" feeling that leads to digging through cabinets and stuffing things in my mouth without thinking to get relief. From everything I have read, it's about blood sugar.

Anyway, now that sweets are out (I also ended up cutting out most fruit again for now) and my grain intake is much lower, I am still getting super hungry and sort of light headed between meals. I deal with it by eating a small handful of raw almonds but I am still not in my "happy place" when it comes to eating. Still working on it. Seems like eating protein, like a boiled egg, does not help me feel better when I am in that state. A serving of Greek yogurt works, though. Still mudding through it. Scale is standing still at the moment.

Other than the eating, things are going really well! My home is becoming less and less cluttered and without all the *stuff* sitting out bothering me, I am happier. I am really looking forward to fall and one of my favorite activities: raking leaves!

If you have any suggestions for a meter or something to monitor my blood sugar levels, please let me know in the comments.


Vb said...

Please read the blog of Dr. Michael Eades. He does 2 very informative posts on "adjusting to a low-carb diet" that I found extremely helpful when I was detoxing from sugar/grains etc. He is pretty much a god in the Paleo world, and I know that you aren't necessarily on that bus, but I think you could benefit from the science.

The hardest thing for me was getting it through my head that eating fat was not the enemy. Fat=essential, carbs=not essential.

GR8GURL1 said...

you know I used to get that feeling all the time and what I did to offset that was I would make myself a protein smoothie with a Half cup of Strawberries or Some kind of Frozen fruit and Half C. Fat Free Milk or Almond mild and then Ice Cubes with 2TBSP FIBER SURE and It curbed my hunger and gave me the energy I needed without the light headed feeling... you should try that see if that helps I use whey protein or Shakeolgy 1 scoop it made a huge difference for me and Since IU have been incorporating that with my workouts I have been losing and feeling satisfied
check out my blog and follow along for more updates but Hope it helps you!

JT said...

Getting an inexpensive blood sugar meter and doing some testing sounds like a good idea. Your post-meal numbers can be swinging too high and low long before it'll show up as a problem on a fasting blood sugar test. If you check when you get up, then one hour and two hours after breakfast, you can get an idea of whether the numbers are peaking and dropping rapidly. You don't have to do it all the time, but it can be really useful to get an idea what's going on.

Anonymous said...

I used to use the walmart "reli-on" brand meter when I first started testing. (I am on the brink of being diabetic and have not been diagnosed as such). The meter is $9 and box of test strips is $9 (the smallest box). This is a very inexpensive way to test your blood. Since that time, I have graduated to the Breeze2 (new off ebay $9 including shipping) and test strips off ebay ($17.00 inc shipping) for a box of 50. Both are good. I really prefer the Breeze2 because it is much easier to use. BUT if you on a person on a strict budget or don't like to order stuff off of ebay, the Walmart Reli-On is a great option and will do the job well. They keep the test strips in the pharmacy area, so you have to ask for them, but of course don't need a prescription. I really recommend you get a meter and test test test! From everything you say about how you feel, it sounds like you have the symptoms of producing excess insulin because your body is not insulin sensitive anymore. Having a meter, more than anything else has really made me realize that diabetes for *me* is going to happen, and I want to do all I can to postpone it. If you are seeing numbers at *any* time over 140 you are experiencing cellular damage. Most of us pre-diabetics regularly have numbers over 140, but aren't high enough to get diagnosed. (Not that I want to be diagnosed as diabetic). For most people, by the time they are diabetic "enough" to get diagnosed, they have already burnt out about 1/2 of their pancrease's Beta Cells (because they've been pumping out so much insulin because their bodies are sensitive to insulin anymore). Anyway - I really recommend you get a meter and test and do some reading up on it. Your symptoms sound as if you should be really aware of your body in this regard.

Good luck!

Princess Dieter said...

Get the blood meter. Why? You may be one of those folks with perfect FASTING blood glucose, but you may be a spiker when you eat and your sugar may spike high, then dip really low, hence the headaches and desire to eat. The meters are cheap these days, the strips pricier. Even Walmart has them.

I bought one recently, but haven't used it, as i'm doing fine. I got it just to see what particular starchier foods do to me once I try to reintroduce a bit (beans, oats).

I think you may have the spikes and hypoglycemia after. But who knows. A glucometer is a way to check. Do it fasting. Do it before you eat. Do it an hour after you eat. Do it two hours afer you eat. It's a pain, but doing it over a series of weeks with maybe whatever is your most problematic time of day can give you an idea of what meals keep you calma nd which don't.

And if that doesn't sort it out...well...when was the last time your blood was checked, anyway? ; )

Tabitha said...

Lyn, getting a blood sugar meter and using it religiously is a GREAT idea for you. I've not wanted to say anything because I know you are struggling, but your issues sound sooo much like mine before I was diagnosed with full-blown Type II. The finger sticks are nothing compared to shooting up with insulin shots, trust me on that. (Had to do that when I was pregnant and it was NOT fun.) Keep track of what you eat, test before eating, one hour, two hours and three hours after eating to see if the sugar levels come back down into an acceptable range. You'll then be able to tell just how certain foods affect you.

I urge you to consider a more Paleo type diet, emphasizing meat, vegetables and healthy fats and cutting out all grains, whole or otherwise. You could at least give it a try and see how you feel and how your blood sugar does while on it. I think you might be surprised at how well you feel while eating that way.

Just some "food" for thought, LOL!

Diana said...

I know this hard, I'm struggling too, trying to find my happy eating place. Good days and bad days.

About the glucose testing...I was pre-diabetic 3 1/2 years ago when I was 240 lbs. Scared me. I bought a glucose testing kit and for a year tested myself on a regular basis. The tiny prick to get the blood is nothing, really doesn't hurt much at all. I think now they have better meters where it needs even less blood than mine.

It's a bit expensive for the test strips. My insurance didn't cover any of it because I wasn't diabetic yet. Really stupid of them.It was worth it to me. An investment in my health.

Just read anonymous' comment. Walmart for meter and strips. Much cheaper than what I was paying (mine are $60 for 60 strips - ridiculous).

I know you're going to figure this out because you never give up. Something we have in common. :)

Anonymous said...

I second most all of the comments. :) Testing gives you invaluable information.

I didn't know about WalMart's meter, tho. If it gives accurate readings, those are great prices. (My insurance covers mine w/ a copay)

Not that you need this info--but, really, I don't find insulin injections to be painful at all. The days of having to use a syringe are over (Which is probably what the one commenter had to do when she was pregnant). I use what's called a "flexpen". Nothin to it.

I'm only mentioning it, because even tho you won't be needing insulin, your readers may be taking meds for diabeties. Many people steadfastly hold to taking pills thinking that it is better than insulin, that it indicates that their diabeties is not as severe if they take pills, and they are afraid of the injections.

I thought those things and resisted the switch to insulin for a couple of years. When I had to "give in", you know what I discovered? Insulin set me free!

It did. (And then I was using the annoying syringes.) I no longer had to eat lunch when the pill I took in the morning said I did. I could eat pretty much when I felt like it since I did not take insulin until right before my meal. (There were exceptions, but a once-a-week low glucose command to eat is way different than a 3 times a day panic.)

So, for your readers who haven't yet gotten their meals/weight to the point of being able to stop diabetes medication, don't be afraid of insulin injections. It's much less confining than oral meds.

Public service announcement completed. Sorry. :}

If you check my last post, I talk about Rice Krispies and a glucuse spike.


Tabitha said...

Yes, Deb, it was the syringes I was using. That was 14 years ago, though. I don't know anything about the flexpen - it sounds soooo much better!

Of course, I'm convinced that the only reason I HAD to go on insulin while pregnant and not control it with diet was because they were telling me to eat all the wrong things, but that's another story altogether. :)

Anonymous said...


I know! I kept trying to follow the food plan I was given. Went to a nutritionist--the whole deal. The plans were all exchange types and included SO MANY CARBS. I didn't know any better tnen and the MDs were so annoyed with me because my glucose was so high. :(

When I cut out grains and starting eating 50 net carb grams or less a day, my glucose became normal on almost no insulin.

I am convinced that if I would get 6 months of doing that consistently, I'd be off insulin, altogether..

Yeah. The consistency thing... A couple days in the gluten takes several weeks to undo. I persist in thinking that just one piece of cake won't hurt...

Re: the flexpens. (Not that you need one) They look like a large pen. They are pre-loaded with insulin and all I have to do is twist the end to get to the right number and then press that end and it injects. Much like a mechanical lead pencil.

I plan on being off insulin by the end of the year, myself. If I can do that "consistency" thing, that is.


Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princess Dieter said...

Lyn, if you have not already, I strongly urge you to read THE NEW EVOLUTION DIET, because what the previous commenter suggests is EXACTLY what he did years ago, before the Paleo/Primal movement was a force, because of diabetes in his family--he tested every food. He tested meals. He figured out how to control blood sugar to try to save his beloved one's lives. He did a one-family experiment and came to the same sort of diet many are touting as the answer to Type II diabetes--fresh, real food, centered on good protein, healthful fats, no refined carbs, no grains, and carbs only from vegetables (generously) and fruit (moderately, as tolerated).

It's not brain surgery. Other people have done the footworkd--and glucose work. :)

But I think it would be invaluable for you to do your own one-woman glucose/food experiment.

And just give up the grains/sugar for good. Just give it up. It's not worth your pancreas/headaches/joints/lifespan/health.

Later, babe...

Heather said...

My husband is type 2 diabetic and uses the Walmart brand meter or the Target one. Both seem to work really well for him.

Karen said...

As a licsenced laboratory professional, I urge you to get a well check with a chemistry work up including Hemaglobin A1c and (HgA1c) and a regular Chen panel. Ask for a referral to a nutritionist or registered dietician with eating disorder/ food addiction experience. Also get advice on home glucose monitoring. Don't go this alone. Work with your team, together.

Best wishes at getting to the root causes and feeling better. Use the improvements in diagnostic testing and your health benefits to start down that road- IMO. Then tweak your food plan armed with that knowlege.

You are worth it. We are all worth it. :)

Karen said...

Re: Glucose Meters. Sometimes Walgreens has a sale where you get a rebate which equals the cost of the meter...making it free except for tax. I always get my test strips off of Ebay. And the lancets are so tiny, you barely feel a thing when you stick your finger for a drop of blood.

Good luck, Lyn...I know you will get to the bottom of this!

Tabitha said...

Deb, I didn't know any better either, unfortunately. I just blindly followed whatever the doctor/nutritionist said to do. Ugh. People are DYING on the American Diabetes Association recommended diet. It just infuriates me.

Good luck with your progress towards getting off the insulin! I recently was able to stop all my diabetes medications after losing 72 pounds and totally changing my diet. Is that worth giving up oatmeal? Hell, yeah! LOL!

Lyn, you've got some great advice in these comments. I hope some of it helps you!

AngryPorkchop said...

I agree 100% with Princess Dieter about the Paleo diet. Despite having normal blood sugar levels, I'm very sensitive to even the slightest changes. I get the worst brain fog and dizziness when my body gets "out of whack".

It took me a long time to realize that these seemingly healthy dairy and whole grain foods were actually causing harm.

There is some debate that food intolerance, particularly lactose and gluten, are far more prevalent that originally thought and are actually contributing to problems such as depression and anxiety.

Anonymous said...

As I have read your recent posts I can't help but wonder why not go back on Medifast? It seems like you had significantly improved your health problems and also outlook on life. Even though it may not be pleasant to eat the 'fake' foods, perhaps it would be a good way to get to your goal weight and then add other foods back in. Just some thoughts but I know this ultimately is a personal decision.

N.R.E. said...

Hi Lyn, I'm diabetic and obviously have blood sugar issues. I know you're not diabetic, but I can relate to the light headed feeling of having a "low." I'm on vacation right now and had a scary episode today where my bs dropped down to 60!!!! Anyway, I use the One-Touch Ultra and am happy with it. I hate needles, but this has a little richochet mechanism so the prick doesn't hurt; it feels like you're digging your nail into your skin. But my meter has helped me out so much in determining what foods work for me and when they work (or don't). It probably saved my life today when I hit that low. It definitely sounds like you can benefit from monitoring yourself. Good luck.

Kat said...

I also get that same feeling if I go too long without eating in between meals. I have had fasting blood tests as well, but nothing has ever turned up. However the last few times I tired to donate blood, I would be near passing out or passing out. Someone told me it was because my blood sugar can't bounce back fast enough...Now if I'm hungry I tired to eat even if it's just something little to avoid that sick feeling.