The stress in our lives can feel unbearable at times. But, is it really the stress in our lives that is causing the problem? Or is our blood sugar on a roller coaster, causing us to feel far more stressed than we need to be? Do you ever find your energy dropping at 10am or 3pm? What is the first thing you want to grab in those moments? A handful of almonds, or coffee and chocolate? What happens if you can’t get your next meal in a timely manner, do the “hangries” hit?
Because blood sugar and the adrenals are intimately connected, ensuring your blood sugar levels stay stable is a critical first step in healing the adrenals and ultimately getting a better handle on your stress load. The Paleo diet is a great tool to try and tame the stress and stabilize blood sugar. It can be amazing how much more you can handle in your life when your blood sugar levels aren’t riding a roller coaster. However, those initial weeks (and sometimes months) to get things re-stabilized can be a bit tricky. Here are my Paleo tricks to get you back to feeling calm and in control of your cravings:
Eat Every 2-3 Hours
When first working to stabilize your blood sugar levels, it is imperative to avoid letting yourself get hypoglycemic so the adrenals are given time to rest and heal. During the course of the day your blood sugar will fluctuate, gently rising after meals and slowly dropping the further you get away from a meal. But, this can look much more like a blood sugar roller coaster than a gentle roll due to a high carbohydrate diet, low-protein diet, high stress or poor digestive function. If your body has grown accustomed to living on a roller coaster, it can be difficult getting off at first.
You need to retrain the response system in your body. The first step is to eat balanced meals that incorporate some protein and fat (some of them mini-meals) every 2-3 hours to prevent the major blood sugar dip. This is not a permanent solution, but a temporary training ground. For some just a week of eating this way is enough, for others it may take a few more weeks. Follow your body’s lead and you’ll know when you can start to stretch out the time between meals again.
Incorporate Protein At Breakfast
The most vital step to shifting your blood sugar levels is to start with a power breakfast. With breakfast literally ‘breaking the fast’, what you eat for this first meal will make or break the day. If you start with Pop-Tarts and coffee, there is little chance you will be stepping off the blood sugar roller coaster any time soon. However, if you start with eggs, half an avocado and some sauerkraut you might find your energy remain steady all morning long.
If you know you have been dealing with blood sugar issues and/or struggling with adrenal fatigue for some time, I recommend removing all starches from breakfast for a while. (Incorporate them into lunch and/or dinner instead.) You can test this out for yourself and see what works for you by trying the 4-day Breakfast Challenge.
Super Charge Your Tea
This is my favorite trick for the afternoon lull or even as an evening snack. Add 1T of your favorite Paleo collagen and a spoonful of coconut oil to your cup of tea of choice. The easy to assimilate proteins and easy to digest fats help naturally stabilize your blood sugar, boost your mood and your energy. Not to mention collagen is a great digestive healer, excellent for your skin, hair, nails and joints and helps promote better, more restful sleep.
Eat and Drink Probiotic Rich Food
If there is a dysbiosis present in the gut, the ‘bad’ bacteria are going to be driving your sugar cravings. Those gut bugs want food. The more sugar and starch the better and they are going to speak loudly! Consuming probiotic-rich foods and beverages regularly will help drive out the bad guys and infiltrate your gut with the good guys. Ultimately helping to quell those sugar-cravings once and for all. Having a bite of sauerkraut in the afternoon and a small glass of beet kvass in the evenings can go a long way in balancing your blood sugar levels and healing the gut.
Battling sugar cravings can feel like a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Give these tactics a try and gain the upper hand. I bet you’ll be back in the driver’s seat.