There is perhaps no hotter topic in nutritional spheres than blood sugar regulation. Although you may have not been diagnosed with any kind of blood sugar regulation deficiency, to a degree your system has been altered if you’ve grown up on typical refined foods like white flour, white sugar, soft drinks, caffeine, candy, etc., which, if you’re technologically advanced enough to be reading this, you probably have.
Nearly everyone suffers from drops in blood sugar to varying degrees. If you exercise intensely and find yourself weak, dizzy, exhausted, shaky, and ravenously hungry, then your body has failed to maintain its proper blood sugar levels. If you get a little light headed and weak if you’ve gone for many hours without food, your body has failed to maintain its proper blood sugar levels. Even something as simple as intense hunger or drowsiness behind the wheel is an almost sure sign that blood sugar levels are below normal. Of course, a slight variance throughout the day is inevitable and healthy, but very few people don’t stand to gain something from repairing their sugar regulation system.
The key to restoring this balance, controlled by a symphonic effort on the part of the endocrine system, is almost complete and total refrain from simple sugars, in any form, for a prolonged period of time. If you are like me, this tidbit of advice is like my grandparents? advice for catching birds ? ?all you have to do to catch a bird is run up and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on its tail feathers.
The point is that most people feel completely incapable of staying away from sugar. If and when they try, they feel like frozen zombies trying to kick a heroine addiction. After a couple weeks the general response to kicking sugar is, as my favorite neighbor so eloquently states, ?like Stevie Wonder, I don’t see that happenin?. After two weeks on Donna Gates? Body Ecology Diet I too, didn’t see that happenin?. Headaches, unquenchable hunger, dizziness, faintness, weakness ? the list goes on. I felt much better trying to only drink lemonade on a brief round of The Master Cleanser, than I did eating four meals a day but avoiding all forms of sugar.
Like many others, I considered my deathly ill feelings without sugar to be a result of Candida (a pathological strain of yeast) die-off. This may be true in part, and Candida overgrowth is a serious (and not fictional) condition, but primarily I was experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms and low blood sugar levels. In addition, true pathological Candida overgrowth is not as common as many suggest (like Kevin Trudeau’s rough estimate at 100%). Many of the benefits of the anti-Candida diets stem from improvements in blood sugar management than from riddance of some little yeasties. But it’s of little consequence, because either way it doesn’t matter, you’re going to have to avoid sugar to get either benefit.
And if you have a true issue with either Candida, Diabetes, or Hypoglycemia (mild or pronounced), you will only succeed on a sugarless diet (including white flour and especially alcohol), if you eat hearty balanced meals, without ever skipping, and eradicate overly strenuous and prolonged exercise.
Definition of a hearty balanced meal:
A hearty balanced meal contains complex carbohydrates (sprouted/fermented whole grains and legumes, vegetables, or starchy root vegetables), generous quantities (30-60 grams) of healthy fat (see Fat Fiction), and a generous portion of animal/fish protein (4-8 oz.).
Examples of hearty balanced meals:
3 pastured eggs with sourdough rye toast and raw butter, ? avocado, and saut?ed greens.
Roasted chicken with skin, sauerkraut, vegetables with raw butter, 8 oz. glass of raw milk or kefir or 3 oz. raw cheese
6 oz. seared tuna, brown rice cooked with chicken broth, coconut oil, and grated liver, and a mixed salad
Unless you have superhuman willpower, this is the only path to success if you are attempting to avoid sugar. Superhuman willpower is not needed if you nourish yourself in this fashion. In fact, because I and others have experienced a newfound disinterest in sugary foods for the first time in our entire lives, I have no reason not to expect a similar result for anyone able to try wholesome sugarless eating. Withdrawal symptoms should be much less severe, and can be aided by adding a small piece of fruit to one of your daily meals (never on an empty stomach) until you can comfortably do without. For best results, begin eating this way (for weeks or even months) and then slowly wean yourself off of sugar.
Dropping sugar will give your adrenals, your pancreas, and endocrine glands a desperately needed rest. Science has yet to discover just how important the proper function of these glands is in preventing and recovering from illness. With restored function, your body will most likely normalize several imbalances over time, including weight, blood pressure, energy, mental ability, emotional stability, digestion, hypothyroidism, cholesterol levels, eating disorders, and of course, blood sugar regulation. At the very least, I know for certain that the difference in my level of health without sugar is significantly greater and includes better digestion, clearer and softer skin, better breathing, less nasal and bronchial congestion, more energy and stamina, and decreased body fat.
And although abstaining from sugar may still sound difficult, I’ve found, through all my searches and attempts, no faster and simpler way to improve overall health. And yes, of course I still eat a little sugar from time to time, duh.
Although I’ve only flipped through the book The Schwarzbein Principle, the author, Diana Shwarzbein, seems to have come to many of the same conclusions that I have regarding the restoration of blood sugar/metabolism/endocrine-system function. Watching the free “Wellness Hour” video might be worth your time, especially if you are on a delusional eat less exercise harder path to annhialation. If you happen to be one of my dear friends who lives in Santa Barbara, and you run into ole’ Doc Shwarzbein on the street, ask to pet her shiny hair. I was going to say “kneel before her,” but I don’t think it’s worth going that far. I’ll give a full report on her first book when I’m done. It’s next in the lineup.
Matt- once again you inspire to greatness- or at the very least a phenomenal level of mediocrity! Hey- what’s the deal with sauerkraut? I don’t like it- but I’ve noticed that you’ve mentioned it on a few blogs- I will eat it if you say so, sir.
Dearest Tennessee “J,”
I’ve never been a fan of sauekraut either until I made it myself at home from scratch. This is the only truly healthy kind as well, seeing that store-bought are filled with additives, are pasteurized (which destroys much of their beneifit) and they are way oversalted. Basically, good homemade kraut tastes like pickles, and is prepared exactly the same as traditional pickles, using “lacto fermentation.”
If you are interested in learning more about lacto fermentation, which can be done with all kinds of foods for storage, convenience, and especially health (because of the enzymes, active probiotics, and bioavailability of nutrients — plus lacto fermented food is an excellent digestive aid) check out some of the following books:
The Maker’s Diet
The Body Ecology Diet
and several others…
Someday I’ll post something specifically about lacto fermentation including techniques and recipes, so keep checking in from time to time! Thanks for the comment.