Let me start by saying this: If you are currently struggling or have struggled with a health issue, you are not alone. And, if you have been struggling to get the right diagnosis and/or treatment, you are also not alone.
I completely relate to the frustration and pain of struggling to get the right diagnosis and treatment, as well as struggling when you just don’t feel well. I recently shared a four-part series on healing from adrenal fatigue (you can read it here) and one of the hardest parts of my journey after finally figuring out what was wrong was coming up with a treatment plan that actually worked.
I won’t go into the lengthy details as I cover it in my previous series, but one of my biggest health struggles has been dealing with fluctuating blood sugar. I’ve been dealing with these symptoms since I was a kid and I’ve learned through trial and error over the years that eating healthy proteins and fats, along with an overall slow-carb diet worked pretty well for me.
My typical day started with a veggie and egg omelet with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, a large veggie salad with grilled chicken and black beans for lunch, and then a veggie stir-fry or a meat-based chili for dinner. Even though I was eating a healthy diet (e.g. no refined carbohydrates, no sugar, lots of fresh green vegetables, etc) and exercising daily, my blood sugar was all over the place and I constantly found myself feeling hungry, shaky, and irritable when it would spike and then crash.
I began working with my naturopath earlier this year and was absolutely shocked when she told me that my fasting glucose was in the pre-diabetes range. I don’t have a history of diabetes in my family and since I focus so much time and energy on living a healthy lifestyle, I was emotionally devastated and completely confused.
In order to get a better idea of what was happening, she asked me to begin tracking my blood glucose and cut out the starchy vegetables and legumes I was eating. She also recommended I read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and asked me to begin following his protocol.
Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution
So, let me start by telling you that this book is hands-down the most helpful guide I’ve ever found to get my blood sugar instability under control. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for this book and Dr. Bernstein’s work.
The first part of the book focuses on establishing a treatment plan, with the target goal to keep blood sugar stable around 83 ml/dl:
“This target is not an average, but one we try to maintain 24 hours a day. Even if you average 83 ml/dl but your blood sugars are bouncing back and forth between 60 and 140 mg/dl, you’re still on the roller coaster. Our object is to find a treatment plan that will get you off the roller coaster and keep you off.”
He provides a blood sugar data sheet to record your blood sugar readings and recommends measuring your blood sugar basically every 2 hours in order to get a better picture of what’s happening throughout your day.
Specifically, you’ll want to track your blood sugar:
- Upon rising in the morning
- Immediately before breakfast
- Five hours after every injection of rapid-acting insulin
- Before each meal or snack
- Two hours after meals and snacks
- At bedtime
- Before and after exercising, shopping, or running errands
- Whenever you are hungry or suspect that your blood glucose may be higher or lower than usual
His meal plan:
Not surprisingly, he recommends removing all sources of sugar and refined carbohydrates, but he also excludes starchy vegetables (e.g. beets, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, squash, beans, etc), and all fruits (except avocado).
He usually advises adult patients to restrict their carbohydrate intake to no more than 6 grams of slow-acting carbohydrates at breakfast, 12 grams at lunch, and 12 grams at supper. The goal is that ideally, your blood sugar should be the same after eating as it was before. His recommendation is that if your blood sugar increases by more than 10 mg/dl after a meal, even if it eventually drops to your target value, either the meal content should be changed or blood sugar-lowering medications should be used before you eat.
He also includes a chapter on how to exercise properly to reduce insulin resistance, multiple chapters on insulin regimes, and recipes for his low-carbohydrate meal plan.
If you have been struggling with feeling hangry all the time due to fluctuating blood sugars, or are looking for a way to manage your diabetes, I would highly recommend this book. (You can check it out here on Amazon.)
What works for my body may not work for others, but I found that I was able to normalize my blood sugar by reducing my carbohydrates to 45 – 60 grams on most days (sometimes including more carbs when I work out intensely). Although this is higher than what Dr. Bernstein recommends, my body is used to eating 2 – 3 cups of green veggies (e.g. broccoli, zucchini, spinach, etc) per meal, and I found that I didn’t feel as good when I reduced my carbohydrate intake below this. As with any diet, my advice is to listen to your own body as you know your body best, but I’m so grateful for this awesome resource.
I wanted to share this here because I hope this book is as helpful for you as it was for me!