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Posts Tagged ‘blood glucose response’

Back to Basics

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Every so often we all need to get back to basics.  Simple blocking and tackling is really what I’m referring to.  If you are Diabetic (20% of us are Prediabetic or Diabetic, 7% of us are Diabetic) than that means thinking about how to reduce sugar intake.

Is it really that simple…NO, it’s not.  Sugar is only one part of the equation.  Anything you eat impacts your blood sugar.  Even things you would not expect like celery sticks!  So, how do you keep it simple when this is a complex problem to manage?

You do what most diets tell you to do.  You eat lean meats (chicken and fish), you eat plenty of veggies and as many of them raw as possible.  Now I know you are thinking raw, why raw?  Simple (again with simple) yes it is simple, you derive more benefit from the vegetables when they still have all the enzymes and over 118 degrees you lose much of those benefits.  Another simple reason is that your body must work harder to digest raw vegetables than cooked soft veggies.  This means that they convert to sugar in your blood slower.

Let’s face it, it does not matter what you want (once in a while) if you do what you need to do to stay healthy EVERY DAY.  Sure it’s challenging, but you can do it.  Eat smart and enjoy your longer healthier life.

Help Me!

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

For several weeks now I’ve been thinking about how we deal with diabetes, diet and our health. People come up to me to discuss their situations. It’s interesting to listen how people handle their health and diet and they have great ideas about what to do.

Many of you have been successful with approaches that seem like we all could be using.

You are inspiring me to starting a support group for people with sugar issues. While that group certainly includes Diabetics, people that are focusing on Low Glycemic foods would likely benefit as well.

One of our customers came to the Newhall Farmers Market to talk about his issues recently. He is prediabetic and a self proclaimed carboholic. He came looking for some ideas about how to move past this problem.

A woman came up and was telling us about her struggle with weight and sugar and travel. She had some great ideas for keeping track of the foods that she is eating and is managing her weight loss in a way that will make her food choices more of a lifestyle.

Maybe you have information that could help someone else. Maybe you need a shoulder to lean on for support.

If you are interested in participating in a group please send an email to me. My email address is jeff [at] granolagourmet [dot] com

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs - Simple Carbs

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Just because something is simple, is that reason enough to use it? In my last post, I discussed Complex Carbs and we found that not all complex carbs are desirable for a diabetic. Now it’s time to take a look at Simple Carbs.

Simple Carbs are basically simple sugars. These sugars are easy to break down in your body and turn to sugar in your blood quickly. The simple answer to this is don’t eat them. That’s not always easy. After all it’s summer and my favorite fruits are ripe, sweet and delicious. Peaches, Nectarines, Cherries…

All are delicious and all have simple sugars that break down quickly. Not that I don’t enjoy my share of complex carbs in the summer but broccoli and other veggies just don’t give me the same joy of summer. So what do we do when we are tempted by summer fruits. After all our whole lives everyone has told us to eat our fruits and veggies. Aren’t all of these “healthy” foods good for us?

I wish! Clearly we are back to moderation and intake management. Since fruits contain simple sugars that convert to blood sugar quickly, how can I reduce the impact. This is not as difficult as it seems. Go ahead and PLAN to have a sweet juicy peach, just eat some protein and fat first and eat that peach right after. Remember by eating foods that take longer to convert to sugar along with foods that convert quickly you MAY be able to reduce the impact of simple sugars on your body.

How will you know? Test your blood! Always remember to test your blood and you’ll know if you can enjoy these delicious summer fruits.

Good Carb, Bad Carb

Monday, July 14th, 2008

The key difference between a good or bad carbohydrate is the speed in which it converts to sugar in your blood!

Good carbs convert slowly. They make your body work harder to be digested and they have a measured sugar conversion that does not cause a sugar or insulin spike. These are often considered complex carbs. Some examples of complex carbs are Oats, Wheat, Whole Grains, Beans, Potato, Rice among others.

Complex carbs do not always convert slowly. They ARE NOT always good carbs. The following are a list of complex carbs I MUST NOT eat: Flour (any kind, don’t be fooled because it’s from a complex carb), Whole Wheat Pasta, Potato (Mashed and Baked are the worst), Rice (even brown).

Think about it, when you hydrate or soften a food it breaks down in your body faster. I’ve tested my sugar with all of these items and when your meter says 300 you know you are doing damage. There are many great choices that you can make today. Complex carbs are better than simple carbs if you are eating them in their most natural state. That would be unprocessed! Processing the food usually makes it easier to digest and so they turn to sugar in your blood much more quickly.


Food Diary - Weight Loss on Steroids?

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

For years I’ve been watching my weight. It has a big impact on my diabetes. When I’m on a formal program that requires a food diary I do it for a week or two and quit. I’ll follow a meal plan but never keep a diary.

This week a study of 1700 people for 6 months showed that keeping a food diary leads to better weight loss. In fact the participants that kept a diary lost twice as much weight as those that did not. I’ve watched my mother in law keep diaries of everything in her life for years. I always thought she was just being compulsive and it was a little nutty. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s time for me to consider using a food diary? Maybe it’s not nuts after all?

Since I’m in the process of forming a support group for people with sugar issues, keeping a record of our food is probably one of the best things we can do? What do you think? Since I live on the computer today, it should not be that hard to keep and store this information. Please email me if you have a suggestion about which programs work best as a food diary.  Please share them with us.

Low Glycemic Diets

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Every time I talk to someone about foods that are Low Glycemic there is confusion. Lately I’ve started looking at moving to focused Low Glycemic diet and have been evaluating several. The main theme I have found is a focus on protein and away from sugar and carbs.

While I agree that this will certainly support a Low Glycemic diet, I also have found much confusion about the Glycemic Index and how foods impact your blood sugar. This topic requires a diabetic that tests their blood sugar in order to truly determine what food is or is not having a Low Glycemic Impact.

I define Low Glycemic Impact as the actual impact that food has on YOUR body. Different foods impact people differently. Since diabetics test their blood sugar monthly it is common for us to actually see the Glycemic Impact. As a diabetic looking to have a sugar reading of 100 as a target we know that when we eat something and the reading goes to 200 that is bad.

People often come up to me at the Market and ask about the carb count in our granola bars. Some say how can these be Low Glycemic when they have 22 grams of Carbohydrates? A great question and one that requires a great answer, fortunately I have one.

When you combine all the ingredients your body has to digest them all at the same time. Our ingredients are very low on the Glycemic Index, but we do things with our recipe that help make the bars even lower. A great example of this is how we treat the oats we use differently than you do with oatmeal. Oatmeal is hydrated when it is cooked. This makes it easier to break down in your body. Our oats are not hydrated, in fact we remove as much of the moisture as possible. This makes your body work harder to digest it.

We also replace the sugar with Agave which is super low on the Glycemic Index and Honey which is much lower than sugar on the index as well.

The point is that when you look into Glycemic Index you need to look deeper than just at the carb or sugar count. Look a the product and test your blood sugar. I recommend when you test your sugar you take a fasting reading and then eat the food item. Test every 30 minutes for 2 hours and you will know what the Glycemic Impact is for YOU!

Weight Loss another Miracle Cure?

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Weight loss is a concern for a majority of Americans. Haven’t you heard…we are all overweight and at risk of becomming Diabetic. Seriously though, so many of us are trying to lose, control, or maintain our weight.

I go through the ups and downs of weight control every quarter. Part of the issue is mental and the other part is physical.

To lose or even maintain weight my mind has to be on that track. I’ve found over the years that it is not hard to derail my weight goals. For me much of the problem is that I eat too much. I usually eat the right foods, however overeating will always cause a weight problem.

Physically, I know that I must also move. This doesn’t require a huge amount of effort, but I need to walk. Walking has it’s own challenges. It’s too hot, or I don’t want to walk alone, or I don’t feel like going to the gym… Now you’ve seen the side of me that is more focused on the challenges than challenging and overcoming the problem.

So… today I am committing to you to be more dilligent about walking and to manage the quantities of my food. As part of this effort I’ll also report back with periodic updates. So, if you see me out and about, feel free to let me know you are watching my progress I’m sure it will have an impact on my results.

Temptation and Willpower

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Temptation and Willpower are difficult issues when it comes to food. As a Diabetic I know the problem well. You see my wife and 2 boys are not as concerned about what goes in my mouth as they are with what they eat. Since they can eat anything they want it’s really up to me to take control.

Taking control is a more difficult issue than you might think. It has taken me 13 years being diabetic to finally not allow the guilt of NOT eating what my wife makes for dinner to impact my decision to NOT eat her meal. This issue has been huge for me. It’s also been a critical factor in my ability to see meals appear at the table that more diabetic friendly.

I like to cook and don’t shy away from cooking my own meals. In fact I’ll cook for the whole family periodically. When I cook there is a lack of bread or other starch with our meal. I don’t stop there though, I simply won’t eat the carb dish that my wife prepares when she makes dinner. This used to be a problem but my wife is sympathetic to my problem and through her education she now understands what the impact is to me.

One of the biggest obstacles we overcame was guilt. Have you heard the infamous question from the person that made the meal “aren’t you going to eat my dish?” I’ve learned to say very simply “I can’t. It will make my blood sugar skyrocket and I need to be more careful.” It is hard to avoid my wife’s special carb loaded dishes. She goes to such an effort to make them, but I find that in the last 2 years since I’ve stood up and said no and used my willpower she does not push them in my direction any longer AND she no longer tries to guilt me into trying them.

It’s true that I am often tempted by her cooking (ask anyone we know and they will agree that she is a great cook, no chef). But I’m not the first one with diabetes and a problem overcoming my temptations. I’ve just looked deeper for solutions.

Deserts are another weakness I have. Believe me, I’ve tried so many options but none seem to work for me because they just don’t taste good or are not satisfying. Take jello for example. They make many kinds of sugar free jello. I like jello, but to be satisfied I need to eat at least half the batch and then I’m hungry again in a short while.

My wife and kids will have ice cream or other yummy sugary treats and every time I participate ZING…my sugar goes way over 200. Now that we make Granola Gourmet Bars (/), life has been much easier on me. I attribute this to the fact that everyone in the family loves the bars. We have fewer sugary snacks in the house and we all get to have a low Glycemic treat. The secret is Agave. By replacing the sugar with Agave we eliminated the most caustic ingredient and replaced it with an extremely low Glycemic product that TASTES GREAT!

We now use Agave on other recipes and even as a syrup for pancakes (which I now can have in very small amounts). It’s a way for me to sweeten my foods without getting the sugar rush. I’ve successfully converted my family to be open minded about Agave but it took over a year to do this. Perseverance, that and doing what you need to do in spite of what your friends and family want you to do. After all, they aren’t trying to kill me they want me around. They now realize that having me around includes yielding to my dietary needs. Now they are eating more like I do than they probably thought they would.

Sugar Addicts Rejoice!

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

I read a forum posting that completely supports the reason my wife and I started Granola Gourmet. I did not know about this post until yesterday when out of the blue our website orders went from a few per day to 50 in just one day. This post may look like a shameless plug for our product but there is a point.

The forum I am referring to is Managing Diabetes at Everyday Health. There a Diabetic for 21 years reached out for help and said she was a sugar addict and binges on sugar every so often. Another person reached out telling her about Granola Gourmet and how it helps beat the sugar craving with a limited impact on blood sugar.

Inside of a few days this post became very popular and was highlighted by the editor. While you don’t have to be a Diabetic to enjoy the Granola Gourmet Energy Bars, if you are there are real benefits. The main one is that you will likely see a lower impact on your blood sugar. How will you know this? You will test your sugar fasting, then you will eat a bar and test 4 times in the next 2 hours.

Now, close your eyes for 5 seconds take a deep breath and imagine a delicious snack that does not cause your blood sugar to spike. What did you imagine cake, pudding, jello, celery or maybe the first thing that popped into your head is Granola Bars:)

How do you know your blood sugar won’t spike? You are testing your blood sugar fasting, during and after the digestion period. This is how you really know what a food product is doing inside your body. If you are satisfied that the impact is limited you will work our healthy delicious snack into your diet in moderation. If you are related to a diabetic you will give them Granola Gourmet for Mothers or Fathers day.

Look, I know a shameless plug when I see one so lets just call a spade a spade :) But, how can you not be interested in finding a snack that will not cause your blood sugar to spike especially when almost everyone that tries it including Diabetics and Athletes love it for the taste?

Diabetes Symptoms

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Most people just don’t know what the symptoms of Diabetes are. What is happening to their bodies that is different than usual. When I came down with Diabetes it was quite sudden. Within 2 weeks significant changes occurred in my body and I did not know what was happening.

The following 8 symptoms are common, my body’s reaction was not exactly textbook.

  • Excessive thirst and urination - my thirst was unquenchable, I’d drink 1 to 2 gallons daily.
  • Feeling very hungry frequently - I was always hungry.
  • Feeling very tired - I’d take a nap at 2pm and wake up in the morning.
  • Unintentional weight loss - always hungry and eating, I was happy to be losing weight (20 lbs. in 2 weeks) .
  • Frequent infections, or wounds that don’t heal - I didn’t have this problem in the beginning, but cuts and scrapes take much longer to heal today.
  • Blurred vision - after 3 weeks of uncontrolled blood sugar my vision degraded and was blurry.
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet - I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had this problem in 15 years as a Diabetic.
  • Dry, itchy skin - on rare occasion my foot itches, I can’t explain it. I do know that it is annoying and still haven’t connected it to my Diabetes. Maybe I’m just in denial?

Do you have any of these symptoms, visit your doctor to be tested for diabetes, especially if you are 45 or older. The initial test is simple. In 5 seconds right in front of your eyes your blood will be analyzed by a meter. Many General Practitioners have old or outdated equipment but they should be able to give you a result in 30 seconds.

If you are dealing with someone that is not well educated about diabetes they will tell you that you should have this done while fasting. This is not necessary. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, your numbers fasting may not be much different than your numbers within an hour of eating.

When I was diagnosed 15 years ago, I had been ill for 2 weeks and had fallen asleep while driving home. Thank god for the bumps on the freeway lanes. They did the job of waking me up! I drove to a candy store thinking I was low on sugar and ate a candy bar. The placebo worked and I made a bee line to my Dr.

He said “lets check your blood sugar”. I said “does it matter that I’ve just eaten a candy bar?”. He said yes, go to the lab in the morning before you eat. My result came back 2 days later and my fasting number was 325, that’s 3 times normal. The test in his office may have come in at 350 or 400 and he would should have known immediate action was necessary!

If you go in and have a sugar reading greater than 120 fasting or on a full stomach you need to dig in with your Dr. and get more information. Have an HBA1C test done. This test gives you a look at the average blood sugar reading your body has over 3-4 months. If you go to an Endocrinologist they may do it in the office (it takes 6 minutes for the meter to provide the result), however your GP will need to send it out as they don’t usually carry Diabetic supplies and tests.

The number one recommendation I have is - if you have just been diagnosed with Diabetes…WHATEVER IT TAKES, GO TO AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST ASAP!