Monday, July 1, 2013

Step 3 of Reversing Reactive Hypoglycemia: Correct Your Diet

Changing your diet is an absolute necessity for someone dealing with reactive hypoglycemia. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. This is where you draw the line between improving your health and ending your escapade with hypoglycemic symptoms and becoming diabetic. This is also your biggest challenge!

The tricky part about reactive hypoglycemia is that only you will know which foods are best for you and which ones send you on a whirlwind of symptoms within 2-4 hours of eating. I see this question on every hypoglycemic health forum - What should I or can I eat with hypoglycemia? Answers come pouring in from people who have this condition and they have wonderful suggestions on various foods to try and which to stay clear of. I also see the rude behavior of others bashing someone else's suggestion because it does not mimic their experience. The problem with this is that the foods being suggested and advice given are from people who are basing it upon their needs and body's reaction to food. They could be in a mild, moderate, or severe stage of hypoglycemia. Taking on someone else's diet is counterproductive. You're going to be smart! Right!?

The goal for someone with reactive hypoglycemia is the same as someone with diabetes - to balance the blood sugar. The same foods can reverse both conditions. However, diet recommendations may differ from various sources. Some believe a strict vegan diet with no meat or dairy is the way to go to reverse diabetes and others believe that protein from meat is the best source of protein, which is needed in a reactive hypoglycemia diet to balance out how quickly food is digested and sugar is processed. As you learn more about nutrition and how your body functions, you will decide what's best for you.

When you're trying to develop a hypoglycemic diet for yourself it would be wise to read forums, blogs, and scour the Internet for diet recommendations and sample meal plans. That information will bring you a wealth of ideas and and help you build a general guideline. There is one main area where there should be no compromise - you must kick your sugar habit and eliminate ALL foods containing refined and processed sugar and carbohydrates and unfortunately some good sources of sugar, such as fructose in fruit, may have to be rejected in the beginning as well. Learn what those are here and why sugar is toxic; especially for people with hypoglycemia of any kind.

Your body is telling you it needs a break and it's yearning for natural sources of carbohydrates that will provide you with the energy your brain needs to function properly. Let's get started!

Read: What Should a Person With Reactive Hypoglycemia Eat?

Eliminate ALL forms of sugar: table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrup
Eliminate refined carbohydrates: fast food, packaged food, frozen food, canned food, boxed food
Eliminate fruit temporarily
Eliminate grains (Read: 10 Reasons to Go Grain-Free)
Eliminate starch and starchy foods
Eliminate dairy (Read: Making the Decision to Ditch Dairy and The Dangers of Dairy)
Eliminate alcohol

Add a multivitamin
Add B-Complex vitamins w/Vitamin C

Whole foods (plant based foods and sprouts)
Nuts and Seeds
Healthy fats (Read: Choosing Healthy Fats)

Do Not Eat.
Sweet vegetables: sweet carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet onions
Junk Food
Fast Food
Packaged Food

Eliminating ANYTHING that may be contributing to your symptoms for the first few weeks or few months. Give your body a break. It does not mean you won't be able to eat dairy, grains, fruit, or starch, you're just trying to make this easier for you by getting rid of the foods that are known to cause problems in the diet. You're giving your body a clean slate and preparing it for detox and all of the good things to come. You wouldn't paint over a molded wall before cleaning and prepping it first, would you?

Why Eliminate Fruit?
There is no doubt that fruit is good for you. Fruit contains nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and fructose; a natural form of sugar. But, imagine over-filling your car engine by adding good, clean oil when its already filled with nasty dirty oil full of debris or even the wrong motor oil for your car. You'll want to remove the old oil and clean it out before adding the good oil. Right? Your car will run much smoother and it will thank you in the long run. When its time to add fruit back into your diet, here's a great guideline on which fruits are best and add them slowly: Which Fruits Have the Most Sugar?

Eat Several Smaller Meals.
Eating several smaller meals and snacks throughout the day seem to be the rule of thumb for people with reactive hypoglycemia. Smaller meals control the amount of carbohydrates you consume in one sitting, is easier on the digestive system, and helps keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Each meal should include protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and eventually fruits. Read: Can a Vegan Diet Cure Diabetes?

Expect Challenges.
Sugar withdrawals. You may experience sugar withdrawals in the first couple of weeks but you will soon begin to feel better. Your body has to get used to not having an excess of refined sugar and carbohydrates.

You may be bored with food at first. Not only will you be bored with your seemingly lack of foods options but you may not enjoy time with friends and family as you did prior. They may not relate to or understand your diet change.  Many items on the menu will be off limits. But don't don't despair! You'll discover new foods, new recipes, and possibly even new cultures.

Note: It is recommended that you see a health care professional before starting or changing your diet or beginning a new vitamin regimen. But you must ensure that your health professional understands hypoglycemia and nutrition. That's why it is important to educate yourself first so that you can identify information and health recommendations that are counterproductive to your treatment such as treating yourself with more sugar.

It Gets Better.
Hopefully, you will begin to feel better within a few weeks but it will take some time and effort to reverse your condition. I was feeling better within 3 weeks. Not healed, not cured, but better. With a new wholesome diet your body will begin a new journey of cleansing and healing.

Step 4: Recruit Your Support Team

Linked recommended readings are for informational and learning purposes only. This blog post is based on the personal experiences and expressed opinions of its author. The information is not intended to replace your doctor's recommendations and advice. If you experience severe low blood sugar, seek emergency help.

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