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Blogging blood sugar III - numbers and confusion [Mar. 18th, 2012|05:01 pm]

So, on a very low carb diet, my blood sugar was down below 100... but I was running into problems. I was trying to jog at paces I knew my body could handle, but it couldn't.

It took me some time to realize that, gee, if my body is furiously converting protein to glucose, and not getting it to me fast enough, then maybe my body just can't sustain the effort it could if I gave it more directly-usable fuel. It feels a bit embarrassing that I never realized that - I heard people talk about "hitting the wall" before... I think I'm so used to hitting the wall of "oh, my heart's not strong enough yet" that I was confusing the causes.

Anyway: I want to exercise more vigorously, so I started bumping up the carbohydrates.

There's a problem here. On a very low carb diet, your body gets a bit unused to dealing with sugar. A half-cup of split peas made into dhal (well, a dhal-like substance) caused my blood sugar to spike after 90 minutes. (Normally, your sugar will rise for an hour after eating - peas, with complex starches (and I left them ever-so-slightly chewy), with lots of soluble fiber (which slows down how sugars get absorbed), and protein and fat in the dish (I added a healthy dollop of clarified butter) could stick around and cause a later bump.)

I was okay with a few rises; a body won't increase insulin production when under no stress, and, the fact of the matter is, I'd been doing this to my body for a while before seeing the doctor. It hadn't killed me before; it's not about to kill me (in the short term) now. But then my fasting blood sugar rose significantly - up from 92 to about 105.

Is that bad? (It's 13 friggin' points!) Indifferent? (I'm still in sugar deficit!) I don't know. But I cut back a bit, again. I'm still gun shy, because of my lack of knowledge.

In the meantime, my scale is showing good results. Last week, I was just at the point where I was willing to call myself "240 lbs" - almost any time I got on the scale, I showed as below 240, or just a tiny big above (240.3 - why do we need precision to the 1.6 ounces?). Today, first thing in the morning, it showed 235. That might change - I was training really hard yesterday, and had my first episode of training-based hunger, where I knew I wasn't just hungry for fuel, my body wanted construction materials.

I ended up having a half cup of wheat bran porridge with a quarter cup of wheat germ, plus a bit of milk. (Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds, however good you think it sounds. IMO, it's not *bad*, it's just not *good*.) I added four strips of bacon and two eggs. Then, I threw down my daily supplement of brewers yeast.

Brewer's yeast is one of those wonderful foods - high protein (and high quality, akin to soy), high fiber, loaded with good B vitamins and essential minerals (including a digestible form of chromium - which many diabetics are low in). Plus, it tastes so *horrid* you know it has to be really good for you or no one would ever eat it. So, when I say I threw it down, I mean exactly that - dissolved it in water, and did my best to make a beeline, shaker-cup - to - throat, avoiding any touch on my mouth. It didn't work. Ick. And, I had some cashews, and some dried blueberries and dried apple slices along the way, because I was going to work out again today, so I was allowed some sweets to fuel my muscles.

If I had realized last year that I'd call an eighth cup of dried blueberries and a few slices of dried apple "sweets"... ah well. Right now, the cravings aren't bad. That's why I'm working hard. Right now, I'm still working off of fear, right now, I can still see a bag full of See's candies, or a big bowl of popcorn, as a poison that will slowly kill me.

There will come a time when I must come back to normalcy, to start figuring out what sweets I might be able to indulge in and when. But maybe it's time to see if I can keep up a full scale attack on the visceral fat, instead, for a while. Because before I can indulge (other than right before exercise - I can have as many sugar calories as I'm going to burn, just before exercise), I have to go to a slightly higher carb diet first, to get my body used to sugars and less complex carbohydrates again.

[User Picture]From: erin_c_1978
2012-03-19 03:38 am (UTC)
Whew, this sure sounds like a lot to handle, but it seems like you're being really thoughtful and organized about it. At some point I may need to try the low-carb route myself.
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From: gh4acws
2012-03-19 10:40 am (UTC)

just wanting to point out

that meters and strips can be refering to different 'normals' - last pack of strips I opened had a leaflet in it explaining they were changing their standard so I should expect! readings to be 10 percent higher. I would also be very surprised if there were not individual differences in under/normal/over numbers. Our bodies are clearly not all equal ( and praise god for that diversity ).

Using yeast:

1/2 cup silken tofu
2 Tbs. Lemon juice
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenn pepper
1/8 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbs corn oil

heat tofu in microvave add other ingedients puree very fine with food processor - result a kind of Tofunaise that can be eaten over steamed vegetables . ( I add some more spices and garlic and measure by 'feeling' - works ) The yeast I use comes as dry flakes - a 'dietary supplement' from the nearest drugstore chain. ( possibly availiable at triple price in 'organic' quality)

I hear one could also add yeast to stews. ( some vegetariand eat it to get their vitamins, [B] I think)

Edited at 2012-03-19 10:41 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2012-03-20 02:05 am (UTC)

Re: just wanting to point out

That sounds like an interesting recipe, and I might use it - but I'm shooting for 3 tablespoons of brewers (/nutritional) yeast a day, which makes it a good chromium supplement.

I did learn one lesson - *never* mix it with raw wheat bran. The icky taste, plus the wheat brain bits, made it a texture that... well, became gag inducing.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2012-03-22 03:05 am (UTC)

Re: just wanting to point out

Ah! I found something maybe-important. There's two types of yeast. Brewer's yeast contains chromium, and maybe other stuff, and tends to have a very unpleasant taste. *nutritional* yeast is derived from the same yeasts, but treated in a way so it tastes better. It doesn't have chromium. It's still otherwise an *excellent* food - again, *great* protein content, good protein profile, good B-vitamins (but *not* B-12 - there's some misinformation about yeast being a B-12 source, and it's *not*).

Anyway... most people have *plenty* of chromium. The idea that digestible chromium might help with sugar control is speculative. But to ignore a possibility... I mean, I already feel a bit like I did this to myself, so I can't *ignore* the possibility that chromium will help. I'm also taking cinnamon for the same reason.

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From: griffen
2012-03-20 12:57 am (UTC)
A rise from 92 to 105 is a blip with any home testing device. The blood sugar meter can be anywhere from 5 to 10 points off in either direction. If you saw a rise from 92 to 205, I'd worry. Not so much with 92 to 105.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2012-03-20 02:08 am (UTC)
Nod. I'm reminding myself, constantly, that 105 could also be *high* - that is, the device could be reading high. What freaks me a bit is that I also know it could be low, and that's what worries me.

(On the gripping hand, I'm overtraining by a bit - over two hours on the treadmill two days in a row, plus a meaningfully hard workout today. That puts me in a more emotionally tender state, and more likely to worry.)
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