The key to feeling good is stable blood sugar levels. Truly. When you get that piece in check all else starts to fall into place: your energy levels soar, your mood stabilizes and your extra weight drops off. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is essential for a healthy pregnancy without risk of gestational diabetes.
Blood sugar levels get out of control quickly when we exist on a diet that consists mostly of simple carbohydrates and sugar. Consider the consequences of a typical breakfast: a bagel and orange juice. Physiologically our blood sugar spikes notifying our body to release insulin. The insulin’s job is to bring our blood sugar back down. Often times, our blood sugar goes too low requiring our body to release cortisol, a stress hormone, to bring it back up to normal. When this pattern repeats itself continually, we develop what’s called “insulin resistance”. Our body is tired and insulin regulation no longer works well. Physiological feelings include: low energy, resistance to weight loss, “puffiness” and depression.
If we do not heed the body’s warnings, we may move into “metabolic syndrome” where our symptoms become measurable by Western medicine. Risks include a higher waist circumference, heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure among others. Metabolic syndrome precedes type 2 diabetes, once called adult onset diabetes but now most cases develop in children before the age of 19.
Ideally we want to reverse this entire process before it gets out of hand and leads to diabetes. Here are some steps you can take to increase your insulin sensitivity and manage your blood sugar levels:
1. Cut out simple and refined carbohydrates like white bread, flour, pasta and packaged, processed foods. Choose whole grains, fruits and vegetables as the staples of your diet
2. Avoid excessive sugar from candy, soda, concentrated fruit juices. Use agave nectar and xylitol as low glycemic alternatives
3. Eat protein, carbohydrate balanced meals and snacks regularly throughout the day.
4. Choose low glycemic foods with an index of 50 or less (white bread = 100)
4. To help you make the change, consider a cleanse to detoxify your body, break your sugar cravings, reset your insulin sensitivity and recalibrate your metabolism.