How to Check Your Blood Sugar

Standard

I’ve never had a problem with my sugar levels. All fasting tests have been below 100 mg/dL and my glucose tolerance tests (done during my pregnancies), were all way below 140. However, I did notice that if I ate a very heavy meal, which usually had lots of carbs, e.g. Pasta Primavera, my heart would race and I would feel exhausted.  I attributed this to my body being super busy digesting and not having enough energy to help me do anything else, like move.  However, when I read Robb Wolf’s latest book, “Wired to Eat”, it left me wondering if my blood sugar was also going sky high.  This blog post is about me taking my blood sugar levels for a week and noting what I ate and how I felt.  It was an interesting experiment and I learned a few surprising things about myself.

A little more about Robb Wolf (my inspiration for doing this experiment).

Mr. Wolf is a former research biochemist who had a host of health problems that he solved by eating Paleo style.  He was also an early adopter of CrossFit.   He is a BIG deal in the Paleo and CrossFit world.  His book “The Paleo Diet” pretty much vilified carbohydrates.  However, he started to realize that some folks, including high-level Cross Fit competitors, did better with a diet that included healthy carbs (still far from the Standard American Diet).  He actually took some heat from Paleo purists for taking this stance.  I have never been a one-size fits all believer, and though I was initially very skeptical of Mr. Wolf, after listening to his podcasts and reading his books, I realized he is not a paleo fanatic, (but some of his followers are).

The book he published in 2017, “Wired to Eat”, aims to help everyone determine their ideal carb intake via blood glucose monitoring.  Though the thought of pricking your finger may be a turn off, it truly isn’t painful and the information is really useful.  To be honest, it was more painful for me to figure out my macros than to prick my finger. His book outlines a protocol for you to follow if you’re trying to lose weight and determine your carb sensitivity.  Please buy the book if those are your goals.  I highly recommend it.

My goal was to determine at what blood sugar level I felt the best and then eat to keep myself in that level.  During my tracking week, I did one 24 hour fast and also had several meals that were much carb heavier than normal. A day-by-day blow is followed by my conclusions.  Enjoy the read my friends.

My Seven Day Challenge

Here was my protocol:

  • Take my blood sugar three to four times a day
  • Include my exercise (but not calories burned) as exercise affects blood sugar levels.
  • Write down everything I ate and break out the macro nutrients.

July 14

7 a.m. 90 fasted state

7 a.m. Drank two cups coffee with tablespoon of half-and-half (40 calories, mainly fat)

7:30 a.m. Ran 30 minutes at a slow pace (9:30/mile)

9:15 a.m. Taught Barre

10:30 a.m. Green Smoothie with half an avocado, 1 cup of Sprouts Organic Greens, 1 cup coconut water, ½ cup Vanilla Yogurt, 1 serving Organifi Powdered Greens, 5mg Creatine, 1 ½ tablespoons Lake Gelatin  Macro Nutrients:  Calories 422; Fat 18 grams (38%); Protein 26.5 grams (25%);  Carbs 38.5 grams (37%)

Noon:  105

2:30 p.m. Two Homemade Soft Shell Beef Tacos with Avocado, Tomato, Cheese, Lettuce, Salsa and Sour Cream, One store bought White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Macro Nutrients:  Calories 684; Fat 36 grams (47%); Protein 30 grams (18%); Carbohydrates 60 grams (35%)

3:00 to 3:30: Napped

4:30 p.m.:  88

5:30 p.m. 20 minutes easy rowing (active relaxation)

7:30 p.m. Negroni, 1 piece Grimaldi’s Don Pizza, 1 piece Grimaldi’s Pesto Pizza, ½ serving Mediterranean Salad, 2 glasses red wine Macro Nutrients:  Calories 992; Fat 22 grams (20%); Protein 17 grams (7%);  Carbs 80 grams (32%) Alcohol 58 grams (41%)

9 p.m. walked dog for 20 minutes

9:30 p.m.:  156 (my highest reading)

July 15

7:15 a.m.:  97

7:30 a.m.: Two cups coffee with tablespoon half and half. (40 calories, virtually all from fat)

9 a.m.:  Taught Body Blast.

10:15 a.m.: Taught Yoga

11:30 a.m. : Green Smoothie with quarter avocado 1 banana, 1 cup greens, 1 cup coconut water, ½ cup Plain Full Fat Yogurt, 1 serving Organifi Powdered Greens, 5mg  Creatine,  1 ½ tablespoons Lake Gelatin. Macro Nutrients:  Calories 419 Fat grams 11 (23%); Protein grams 20 (19%);  Carbs grams 60 (58%)

1:00 p.m.:  115

3:00 p.m.:  One cup coffee with tablespoon of half and half. (20 calories, virtually all from fat)

5:30 p.m.: Tapas plate with salami, white cheddar, jicama, cherry tomatoes, olives, cherries and mixed nuts, glass of red wine   Macro Nutrients:  Calories 516; Fat 23 grams (43%); Protein  13 grams (6%);  Carbs 45 grams (35%); Alcohol 11 grams (16%)

8:30 p.m.: Homemade Bone Broth with shredded chicken breast, greens, green onion, slice of sourdough bread with butter, glass red wine, two Mochi     Macro Nutrients: Calories 710; Fat 26 grams  (33%); Protein 40 grams (23%);  Carbs grams 58 (33%); Alcohol 12 grams (11%)

9:30 p.m.: 125

July 16

5:00 a.m. Two cups of coffee with half-n-half (approx. 40 calories, all fat)

6:00 a.m.: 105

6:30 a.m. 30 minute run

8:00 a.m.:  Yoga with Weights Class

9:30 a.m.: Breakfast of Green Smoothie (Banana, ½ an avocado, greens, coconut water, Organifi, Great Lakes Gelatin, Creatine); Two scrambled eggs with green onions, bacon and cheese; Rainer Cherries; Handful of Mixed Nuts.   Macro Nutrients:  Calories 788; Fat 40 grams (46%); Protein 43 grams (22%); Carbs 64 grams (32%)

1 p.m.: 102

4:30 p.m. Homemade Apple Cinnamon Kombucha Cocktails Macro Nutrients: Calories 300; Carbs 19 grams (25%); Alcohol 32 grams (75%)

5:30 p.m. 104

7:30 p.m.: Dinner of Wild Salmon Steak, Roasted Asparagus, Sweet Potato Spiralized Oven Fries and one glass red wine. Macros: Calories 654; Fat 32 grams (45%); Protein 34 grams (21%); Carbs 37.5 grams (22%);  Alcohol 11.5 grams (12%)

10:30 p.m. 97

July 17

5:30 a.m. 92

Drank a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of half and half.

6:15 a.m. 30 minute easy run (9:30/minute mile)

8:30 a.m.:  Green Smoothie (1/2 an avocado, ½ cup Greek Whole Fat Vanilla Yogurt, 1 cup greens, 1 cup coconut water, Organifi, Creatine, Gelatin)  Macros: Calories 405; Fat 17.5 grams (39%); Protein 23 grams (22%); Carbs 39 grams (39%)

10:00 a.m.: 86

Noon:  Mary’s Crackers; Vege Mix (jicama, peppers and cherry tomatoes); two hard boiled eggs; cheese and liverwurst  Macros:  Calories 547; Fat 35 grams (56%); Protein 27 grams (21%); Carbs 31 grams (23%)

4:30 p.m.:  Iced Triple Espresso with one packet raw brown sugar and 1 tablespoon half-n-half; two Sunrise Energy Bars Macros:  Calories 330; Fat 18 grams (49%); Protein 6 grams (8%); Carbs 36 grams (43%)

6:30 p.m.:  Taught Yoga

8:00 p.m.:  5 oz Salmon; ¼ cup Pickled Daikon; ¼ cup Fresh Daikon; ¼ cup White Rice; 1 cup Sautéed Bok Choy; Ponzu; 2 glasses white wine; ice Cream with cashew clusters Macros: Calories 1000; Fat 40 grams (36%); Protein 36 grams (14%); Carbs 67 grams (27%); Alcohol 32 grams (22%)

9:00 p.m.: Walked dog for 20 minutes

9:30 p.m.:  116

July 18, 2017

5:45 a.m. 96

Drank a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of half and half.

6:15 a.m. 30 minute easy run (9:30/minute mile)

8:30 a.m. Green Smoothie with 1 banana, 1 cup greens, 1 cup coconut water, ½ cup Plain Full Fat Yogurt, 1 serving Organifi Powdered Greens, 5mg  Creatine,  1 ½ tablespoons Lake Gelatin.  Macro Nutrients:  Calories 326; Fat 4.5 grams (12%); Protein 17 grams (21%); Carbs 52 grams (64%)

Noon: Mary’s Crackers; Vege Mix (jicama, peppers and cherry tomatoes); four olives; cheese and liverwurst Macro Nutrients: Calories 500; Fat 27 grams (50%); Protein 31 grams (25%); Carbs 31 (25%)

2 p.m.: 86

4:30 p.m. .:  Iced Triple Espresso with one packet raw brown sugar and 1 tablespoon half-n-half; two Sunrise Energy Bars Macros:  Calories 330; Fat 18 grams (49%); Protein 6 grams (8%); Carbs 36 grams (43%)

6:45 p.m. Strength Training Upper Body Only

7:30 p.m. Taught Pilates

9:00 p.m.: Stroganoff over Vege Pasta Noodles, Lots of Broccoli, two glasses red wine, peach pie with ice cream Macros:  Calories 1,507; Fat 64 grams (37%); Protein 67 grams (25%); Carbs 160 grams (22%); Alcohol 23 grams (16%)

10:30 p.m.: 133

July 19

5:30 a.m. Two cups of coffee with half-n-half, approx. 40 calories, all fat)

6:30 a.m. 95

Drank Pelligrino and a Stevia Sweetened Soda for lunch (23 hour fasting day)

3:00 p.m. 86

4:30 p.m. Triple Espresso with Stevia

8:00 p.m. .: Stroganoff over Vege Pasta Noodles, Lots of Cauliflower, two glasses red wine, peach pie with ice cream Macros:  Calories 1,507; Fat 64 grams (37%); Protein 67 grams (25%); Carbs 160 grams (22%); Alcohol 23 grams (16%)

9:30 p.m. 139

July 20

6:45 a.m. 95 fasting

7 a.m.  Two cups of coffee with half-n-half, approx. 40 calories, all fat)

7:30 a.m. easy 30 minute run

11:30 a.m.:  Green Smoothie with ½ banana, ½ cup greens, ¼ avocado, ½ cup coconut water, ¼  cup Plain Full Fat Yogurt & ¼ cup Greek Full Fat Vanilla Yogurt, ½ serving Organifi Powdered Greens, 2.5 mg  Creatine,  1/2 tablespoons Lake Gelatin. Mary’s Crackers, Four Olives, Cheese and Liverwurst   Macro Nutrients:  Calories 753; Fat 43 grams (51%); Protein 35 grams (21%); Carbs 52 grams (28%)

4:00 p.m.: Triple Espresso with sugar and half-n-half Macro’s: 70 Calories; Fat 4 grams ( 50%  ); Protein 1 gram (6% ) Carbs 7 grams (40%)

5:30 p.m.: Taught Sculpting and Abs

7:00 p.m. Glass of White Wine Macros: Calories 110: 6 grams Carbs (25%): 11 grams alcohol (75%)

7:30 p.m. 93

8:00 p.m. Big salad of baby greens (kale, chard and spinach), 3 oz salmon, cherry tomatoes, peppers, sauerkraut and a hard boiled egg.  Dressing was olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. One glass white wine.  Peach pie with ice cream Macro’s: 1,310 Calories; Fat 50 grams  (35%); Protein 81 gram (25% ); Carbs 81 grams (25%); Alcohol  49 grams (15%)

10:00 p.m. 125

What I Learned

They say about a quarter of people who have diabetes don’t know it because they have no symptoms unless their blood sugar gets to be 400. This is scary!  My highest reading was only 156 and this was after copious amounts of carbs.  My experiment confirmed that I’m insulin sensitive, which is a wonderful thing.

A few other nuggets of knowledge:

*My blood sugar was often higher when I first woke up at 5:30 than mid-morning (after I had eaten).  I’m attributing this to the “dawn effect” where my blood sugar is higher when I get up in the morning to help prepare my body for the day ahead.

*After doing this experiment, I started taking my blood sugar after short (less than an hour) fasted runs and noticed my blood sugar often went up by 10 mg.  This was my body releasing glucose to help with the exertion of my run.

*I felt best when my daily carb intake was around 150 grams. Given that my daily calorie intake is above 2,000 calories, my ideal percentage of carbs is below 30%.  Not low carb by any means, but still way lower than the Standard American Diet.

*The fluctuation in my daily caloric intake was fairly high and something that probably mimics what our ancestors experienced as they undulated through times of feast and famine. A weekly 24 hour fast really helps vary your daily caloric intake.

*It’s amazing how quickly alcohol can become a significant percentage of your daily calories.  Ouch!  I usually drink two glasses of wine a week, but will also have a cocktail on the weekends. I need to cut back to one glass a day.

Conclusion

I highly recommend everyone do this experiment.  Like I said, pricking my finger wasn’t nearly as painful as tracking my macros.  If you’re just curious as to how your body reacts to glucose, you could make the experiment easier by just eating something with different carb levels for breakfast  (make sure your exercise routine doesn’t change).  For example, one day eat yogurt with fruit, next day bacon and eggs, etc.

Good luck my friends.

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