Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts while I do housework or cook. If you listen to them, you know just how many podcasts there are to choose from, but I am drawn to podcasts about how to improve my health, which has been my quest since I stopped teaching about six years ago. When I left the classroom, I was overworked, over-stressed, over-caffeinated, over-tired, and overweight. I’ll write about that time in my life, but I have a couple more things to investigate before I do. It has been a long road back to health, but I lost weight, discovered that I’m sensitive to gluten, started regularly exercising again, learned yoga and meditation, and mostly stopped eating many of the things I grew up loving. But I’ve never lost my “sweet tooth.”
I do love cookies and cakes and pastries. Oh my! I know they’re not good for me though. All foods produce glucose in our bodies, but carbs and sugars do that far more than other foods. That’s why this podcast title caught my eye. The episode was all about how to stop the glucose spikes that can ruin our health and is called Surprise Hacks to Balance Blood Sugar with Jessie Inchauspé, who is a biochemist, a product developer, and studies the effect of food on our health. The podcast is on The Doctor’s Farmacy a podcast begun by Mark Hyman, M.D., who is the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, a fourteen-time New York Times bestselling author, and Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine. This episode is based on Inchauspé’s book Glucose Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar. The book debuts on April 5 in the United States.
I won’t go through the entire episode, but if you’re interested, you should listen to the entire episode. The two of them provide fascinating information! Inchauspé offered some simple “hacks” to help people who are trying to stave off aging, lose weight, and stop cravings. She explained complex scientific information in simple to understand terms and was charming to boot. Though she only talked about five of the tips she discusses in her book, those five were enough for me to preorder her book! Here are the five she mentioned:
- Eat Food in the Right Order to Reduce Your Glucose Spike by 75%: Eat vegetables first, protein and fat second, and starches and sugars last. The fiber in vegetables lands in our stomach then our intestines, coats the walls of our intestines with viscous mesh so that far less starch and sugar will be absorbed.
- Vinegar: Before meals drink a tall glass of water, add a tablespoon of vinegar (any kind), and drink it 30 minutes before your meal. The effect is almost the same as medication given to diabetics to reduce blood sugar. The vinegar talks to an enzyme called alpha amylase (its job is to break down starch into glucose) and it tells that enzyme to break down glucose much slower than usual, which results in slower delivery of glucose into your blood stream later on. Alpha amylase also tells your muscles to soak up the glucose as soon as the glucose enters the bloodstream and to store it as glycogen in the muscles and not let it float around. Glucose spikes will be reduced by up to 30%. That reduces cravings.
- Have a Savory Breakfast: It will keep you satisfied for up to five hours versus having a sweet breakfast which only keeps you satisfied for about two hours. If you want something sweet, have it as a dessert or use the vinegar hack to keep your blood sugar spikes to a minimum. Also, then use your muscles for ten minutes.
- Use Your Muscles for Ten Minutes: Exercise, preferably high intensity, but anything is better than nothing. You’ll curb the glucose spike and feel better.
- Put Clothes on Your Carbs: Don’t eat sugars or starches (carbs) on their own. Any time you eat something sweet or something starchy, you need to put some protein or fat or fiber on it. Ex: sourdough bread—put some avocado on it.
Another thing that Inchauspe and Dr. Hyman discussed were factors concerning how well people metabolize glucose. Some of those factors included things like a person’s microbiome, his or her hydration levels, muscle mass, tiredness, insulin sensitivity, and stress levels. Any of these factors could cause a person to have a higher than normal glucose spike after eating as opposed to someone else who handles food differently and doesn’t have as high of a glucose spike. Our response to food is very much an individual one, so we need to learn our bodies’ tendencies and pay attention to what we eat and how it affects us. However, according to Inchauspe, the science shows that the hacks work for everyone, even if you don’t know how you respond to food.
Here are my takeaways from this episode:
- Every cell in your body needs energy to function: The easiest place to get the energy is from glucose. It heads to your cells to become energy via the mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses of our cells. If you overwhelm your mitochondria, they will shut down and also release free radicals that harm everything they touch. Our bodies’ response to these free radicals is inflammation. All diseases are products of inflammation.
- Eat leftovers for breakfast or, at the very least, eat vegetables first at every meal.
- Eat a savory breakfast. It is a non-negotiable.
- Exercise for 10 minutes soon after breakfast. Preferably high intensity exercise.
- If you’re tired, use these hacks (and those in the book) even more than usual because the glucose spikes will be worse when you’re tired.
- If you want more information about these hacks, buy the book.
You can find Jessie Inchauspé on Instagram where she goes by the handle @glucosegoddess. I followed her there, and I hope you will too to learn more from her.
How do you stay healthy and happy?