How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable

How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable

 

How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?

Oh, the words “blood sugar.”

Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy.

Why keep my blood sugar stable?

Your body wants your blood sugar to be at an optimal level. It should be high enough, so you’re not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable. It should be low enough that your body isn’t scrambling to remove excess from the blood.

When blood sugar is too low, this is referred to as “hypoglycemia.”

When blood sugar is too high, it is referred to as hyperglycemia.  Prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar levels (chronic hyperglycemia) can lead to “insulin resistance.”

Insulin resistance is when your cells are just so bored of the excess insulin that they start ignoring (resisting) it, and that keeps your blood sugar levels too high.

Insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia can eventually lead to diabetes.

So let’s look at how you can optimize your food and lifestyle to keep your blood sugar stable.

Food for stable blood sugar

The simplest thing to do to balance your blood sugar is to reduce the number of refined sugars and starches you eat.  To do this, you can start by dumping sweet drinks and having smaller portions of dessert.

Eating more fiber is helpful too. Fiber helps to slow down the amount of sugar absorbed from your meal; it reduces the “spike” in your blood sugar level.  Fiber is found in plant-based foods (as long as they are eaten in their natural state, processing foods removed fiber).  Eating nuts, seeds, and whole fruits and veggies (not juiced) is a great way to increase your fiber intake.

FUN FACT: Cinnamon has been shown to help cells increase insulin sensitivity. Not to mention it’s a delicious spice that can be used in place of sugar. (HINT: It’s in the recipe below)

Lifestyle for stable blood sugar

Exercise also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity; this means that your cells don’t ignore insulin’s call to get excess sugar out of the blood.  Not to mention, when you exercise, your muscles are using up that sugar they absorbed from your blood. But you already knew that exercise is healthy, didn’t you?

Would you believe that stress affects your blood sugar levels? Yup! Stress hormones increase your blood sugar levels. If you think about the “fight or flight” stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to “fight” or “flee”? Sugar! When you are stressed signals are sent to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels.  So, try to reduce the stress you’re under and manage it more effectively. Simple tips are meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.

Sleep goes hand-in-hand with stress. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you tend to release stress hormones, have a higher appetite, and even get sugar cravings. Sleep is crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable. Make sleep more of a priority – it will do your blood sugar (and the rest of your physical and mental health) good.

Conclusion

Your body is on a constant 24-hour quest to keep your blood sugar stable. The body has mechanisms in place to do this, but those mechanisms can get tired (resistant).  Long-term blood sugar issues can spell trouble.

There are many nutrition and lifestyle approaches you can take to help keep your blood sugar stable. Minimizing excessive carbs, and eating more fiber, exercising, reducing stress, and improving sleep are all key to having stable blood sugar (and overall good health).

Recipe (blood sugar balancing): Cinnamon Apples

Serves 4

  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  • Place chopped apples into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes the apples will become slightly soft, and water will be absorbed.
  • Add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Stir apples and oil together.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
  • Add cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir well.
  • Cook for another few minutes, stirring until the apples reach your desired softness!

Serve and enjoy!

Tip: Keeping the peel on increases the fiber, which is even better for stabilizing your blood sugar.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-blood-sugar

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Bye Bye Sleeping Through The Night

Bye Bye Sleeping Through The Night

 

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  1. To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  2. To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  3. To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.
  • Turn off your phone. I know we’re all addicted to our technology these days, but there’s a few reasons why reaching for your phone or iPad if you’re having trouble sleeping is a bad idea.  First is the light emitted from these diveces that messes with your sleep, and second is the dopamine hit you get from scrolling through your Facebook feed that keeps you alert.  The Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from your devices also negatively impacts the quality of your sleep.  So if don’t want to stop sleeping with your phone on your bedside table, do yourself a favour and put it in Airplane mode.
  • Total Darkness. Keep your room completely dark, including all those little lights from devices, clocks and nightlights.
  • Magnesium is a great supplement to help you relax and get a good night sleep. You can take a magnesium supplement before bed, or Natural Calm is one of my favourites. It’s a magnesium powder that you mix in a bit of hot water before bed that is amazing for helping with sleep!
  • Lavender is one of my favourtire esential oils that has so many purposes that it deserves a whole separate blog post, but it’s great to promote a feeling of relaxation and help with sleep.  Here are just a few ways to use lavender essential oil for sleep.  Diffuse it, add a few drops to water in a small spray bottle and spray it on your pillow, or put a couple drops on a cotton ball and tuck it inside your pillow case!

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Creating a Mindset for Health

Creating a Mindset for Health

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do?

What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

That thing is mindset.

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

Very interesting health mindset study

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

There are a couple of ideas why.

One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health.

Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

Health mindset strategy 1 – Aim for good enough.

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

It can bring on binging, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

Health mindset strategy 2 – Stop making tradeoffs

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.

And that’s not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

Conclusion

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals.

How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water

Serves 1

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • water

Instructions

Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Shake before drinking.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-over-matter-how-fit-you-think-you-are-versus-actual-fitness-2017081412282

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-health-decisions-mindsets-numbers-and-stories-201112123946

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

SaveSave

About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

When these 5 days are over, you'll wonder how you ever lived another way!

When these 5 days are over, you'll wonder how you ever lived another way!

 

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