Balance Blood Sugar and feel Amazing!
All day, everyday, our amazing bodies strive for balance to ensure we keep functioning as optimally as possible. This includes regulation of our hormones, our minerals, our blood pressure, our temperature, the pH of our blood and of course our blood sugar.
When our blood sugar is maintained and stabilized we have good amounts of energy throughout the whole day, our moods are generally calm and stable, our brain functions well and we feel good. Awesome huh?
Our blood sugar levels can go up and down like a yoyo, negatively effecting our energy and emotions when we are inconsistent with our eating habits and we eat too many carbohydrate rich foods. Stress can also interfere with our blood sugar balance. Let me explain. When we experience a “flight or fight” moment the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone from the adrenal glands, and glucagon, a hormone released by the pancreas. These hormones stimulate the release of glucose so our body can either run away very fast from or punch up that very annoying boss/ sister/ friend/foe (I’m being cheeky – Please do not do this!). These days, for most people, our stresses are not so physical and more emotional and we do not need this excess of glucose in the blood. Unfortunately, what happens next is we release a big flood of insulin to mop up the excess glucose in order to balance our blood sugar levels again. When this happens over and over (if someone is under a lot of stress) it can contribute to the development of insulin resistance. It’s kind of like you can consider that being stressed has a very similar effect on the body as eating a piece of chocolate cake however, it is a lot less fun!
What is insulin resistance anyway?
The body releases insulin as a response to us eating carbohydrates. Insulin’s job is to initiate the shift of glucose from carbohydrates into our cells to be stored as glycogen, as an energy source for later. However, when glycogen stores are full, excess glucose gets taken to the liver and is stored as fat. This fat only gets utilised when insulin levels drop, which doesn’t happen that often if we are continually eating carbohydrate rich meals and snacks throughout the day. This can obviously be a problem over time.
The other problem is our body’s tissues become resistant to this excess insulin making it less effective and our body becomes “insulin resistant”. And so very simply, a diet full of carbohydrates (from sugar to grains), can lead to this insulin resistant state predisposing us to Diabetes type 2 and with the excess of stored fat, obesity.
The thing that needs to be noted is that insulin resistance unfortunately also makes us more prone to developing other serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heat disease, PCOS in women and even some cancers. More information can be found in Dr Peter Brukner’s book “A Fat lot of GOOD” in which he also mentions that it’s important to note that insulin resistance can already be occurring in people who are a healthy body shape and weight.
Please note that my message is to not completely cut out carbohydrates – just take a good look at the ones you are choosing – There are good quality carbs that provide us with many phyto-nutrients and fibre. They are super important for our health, some of these include loads of veggies and small amounts of fruits.
There are many simple lifestyle choices that can improve insulin resistance issues. Here are just a few, they may seem obvious but they can also make all the difference when addressed:
1. Doing regular and consistent EXERCISE that’s right for you and your body. (Please discuss this with your GP first if you are unsure.)
2. Replace the high carbohydrate meals and snacks you eat with better choices (ie reduce the bread, pasta, noodles, pizza, jam, honey, sugary drinks, muffins, cereals, pastry, potatoes, crackers, cake, slices, sweeteners). Be honest with yourself about this. Replace that toast and jam breakky with a protein coconut smoothie or eggs and avocado (with foods rich in good quality protein and fats).
3. Learn to manage your stress better – Find out what really helps you stay centered and grounded so you can practice your real “calm and collected” version of yourself. It might be going for a walk around the block before dinner every night, learn and practice meditation, Qigong, start going to dance classes, go rock climbing on Sundays, do a mindfulness course. And if you can do something about reducing any stress triggers in your life – even better!
4. Get support from more place than one – find a practitioner, a mentor, a gym, a group of friends that are supportive of these positive changes. This also will create accountability and you will have someone to celebrate with when you kick your health goals!
As a naturopath, I like to let people know that it doesn’t have to be too dramatic to start incorporating small changes into your routine consistently. And this can be done with the intension of making these tweaks into new awesome long term habits. Just as it can be painful to teach a little kid the importance of cleaning teeth every day – most of us would not dream of going to bed without doing this now right? It’s just automatic. But initially we had to make this a habit to stick. It is never too late to begin make positive changes.
The other thing is, many of us already know that consistent cake eating plus a lack of regular exercise is asking for health trouble in the long term. However for some, even with this knowledge, making better choices can still feel tricky and even impossible. Why is that?
You may have a limiting and subconscious belief that is getting in the way of you reaching your optimal health. You may be creating all sorts of reasons to believe things can’t improve just to keep this belief intact. For example;
– Your health issues are just age related
– Making changes hasn’t worked in the past
– You’ve just got too much on your plate and any change seems overwhelming
– Or you can’t imagine life without sugary treats everyday
Be brave and look at this, seek a practitioner who can help with these road blocks to health. It is extremely difficult to enjoy life when bad health gets in the way so now is a good time.
With the desire, support and knowing that it’s really just making one good choice at a time you can become the healthier version of yourself and realise it’s quite doable, liberating, and exciting.
Love and Healing
Remember to always consult with a health care professional before taking herbs and supplements especially if you are unsure, taking medications, have an illness or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Always take into consideration your individual lifestyle and food requirements before following general health advice. Contact Me to make an appointment to discuss your individual and specific health care needs.
Image taken from google images labelled for reuse jellybeans by Adrian van Leen | jellybeans,sweets,lollies,colours …