So, last week we discussed why blood sugar balance is important. If you have not read this post, feel free to go back and read that one first. But I think it is a bit unfair to provide you with the “why” and not the “how”. So this week, we will dive into the things that you can start right now to help you balance your blood sugar levels. Let’s dive in 🥰.
How to Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
I listened to an amazing podcast for research about this topic on the Joyous Health Podcast called “Powerful Hacks for Blood Sugar Balance with Jessie Inchauspé”. Have a listen – it is a fantastic episode. I have since also bought Jessie’s amazing book called “Glucose Revolution“.
Add Fat, Protein, or Fiber to your Carbs
As we discussed last week, if we eat a lot of simple carbohydrates (those that can super easily be broken down into glucose in our body) we experience blood sugar spikes. In order to avoid these spikes, it helps to add either fat, protein, or fiber to your carbs. This way, your blood sugar levels will rise more gradually, your food will be digested more slowly, and your blood sugar will not spike as significantly. Some examples are listed below:
- Apple with almond butter
- Toast with peanut butter and hemp hearts
- Cookie with some nuts (or cheese – might be weird – but hey why not – I like cheese 🤣)
- Pasta or rice with added veggies
This trick is especially powerful when you think about your afternoon “dip” where you tend to feel sluggish around 4 o’clock and want something sweet (albeit the likelihood that this sluggishness will disappear is quite high).
Eat Your Food In a Blood Sugar Balanced Way
This one surprised the heck out of me. I have been trying to stick with it quite significantly as well and it has made a huge difference to how I feel after and during my meals!! Eat your food in a blood sugar balanced way. If you eat your meal in a blood sugar balanced way you can reduce your blood sugar spike by more than 70% (!!). This is by just swapping the order of food, not the actual food itself. The recommended order is: (1) Vegetables, (2) protein and fat, (3) carbohydrates, (4) and sugar last. As reiterated in the previous tip – fat, protein, and fiber slow down the digestion process. In addition, fiber also coats the inside of your intestine, which allows for fewer sugar molecules to move from your intestine into your bloodstream. Thus, your blood sugar levels will not rise as significantly.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (as you know, this is a motto I live by 🤪). What you have for breakfast massively influences how hungry you will feel for the rest of the day and how many cravings you will likely experience. If you are having a balanced, low blood sugar meal, you will likely not feel hungry after two hours, feel satiated for longer and not jump on that “blood sugar rollercoaster”. Remember that breakfast literally means breaking a fast. Most of us have slept (hopefully 7-8 hours) prior and not eaten for about 10 – 14 hours before your morning meal. Anything that hits the stomach at this time of the day will be absorbed super easily and quickly. The more savory and fibrous you can make your meal, the better.
If you are not willing to go fully “savory” for breakfast yet, be sure to include protein, and fat into the mix in order to lower that blood sugar curve. However, if you are willing to try… I have listed some great savory breakfast options for you below:
- Gluten-free Vegetable Frittata
- Five Minute Vegan Egg Scramble
- Spicy Breakfast Bowl
- Breakfast Tortillas
- Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce
- Breakfast Brunch Platter
Adding vinegar to either your meal (think: salad dressing) or drinking about 1 tablespoon diluted in water before your meal can reduce your blood sugar spike by up to 35%. The acetic acid in vinegar signals to your muscles to soak up the eaten glucose and store it, rather than having it floating around your bloodstream. You can have vinegar anytime throughout the day in order to experience these benefits, but they are most prominent when enjoyed shortly before a meal (especially a sweet one). You do not have to dilute the vinegar, but it helps to protect your teeth. Also – any vinegar works. So you can have your choice of white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar. You can also start smaller than 1 tablespoon if you have to get acquired with the taste.
Having enough sleep on a regular basis is important for our blood sugar. Ever noticed how you tend to be a lot more hungry (or hangry) when you did not have a good night’s sleep? Have you also ever noticed how much more likely you are willing to grab sweet, sugary, starchy things in the hopes that they wake you up? Not having enough sleep brings your blood sugar levels out of balance in more ways than one. (1) Sleep deprivation impacts how sufficient insulin works in the body.
(2) Sleep also impacts leptin and ghrelin our satiated and hunger hormones. Ghrelin tells your body that it is hungry. This is elevated with too little sleep. At the same time, on said limit of sleep, leptin gets suppressed and cannot adequately tell when you are full and satisfied. Do not forget that poor sleep also does not allow your body to adequately repair itself, and inflammation markers are increased (which is what we want to avoid). I have written an entire series on sleep if you want to check it out.
Movement after a Meal
Move. After each meal aim for about 10 to 20 minutes of movement. We tend to walk the dog after dinner, but you could also water plants around the house, put away laundry, or throw a small dance party. As long as you move your muscles. The muscles in your body will use up the blood sugar in your bloodstream, and thereby lessen the spike. You should also experience less of that “post-meal hangover, a.k.a. sleep need”.
Again, you know I believe in exercise for an array of amazing health benefits. One of them, though, is an increase in insulin sensitivity after you have exercised. This effect will depend on how long and what exercises you have done. But the effect can last for up to 24 hours. Definitely worth giving this one a try – right 😉?!
And that is it for this week 🤗. Follow these tips above and see how you feel 😍. Be warned though – feeling better, less lethargic, and overall filled with more energy may be an almost immediate effect 😉. At least that is what I can say for myself 🙌🏻. Let me know if you have any further tips for blood sugar balance below? Cover Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash.