Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My two weeks on the sugar handling protocol

OK, here it is.....I've made references to the strict diet my husband and I have been on and as promised, I'll tell you a bit more about it.  First, though, a peak at a lunch I enjoyed this past week:  Green beans cooked with salt pork and meatballs made with pastured pork and grass-fed beef.  Yum.
First, the why.  In school (I'm currently studying to become a nutritional therapy practitioner) we practiced functional evaluations on each other early in December.  This involves a series of physical tests and evaluation of tender points in the body that relate to various organs, glands, or functions of the body and indicate balance/imbalance that can be corrected nutritionally.  It is the coolest thing!  It allows the client to focus on whatever area of health is most critical at the moment, even though symptoms may not yet be apparent, and work with the diet and lifestyle changes to optimize health.

My results startled me.  I eat almost no sugar, and what little I do eat is usually in a very natural form.  For example, I sweeten pies with raisins.  I also eat very few grains, and what grains I do eat are almost all ground by me from organic wheat and prepared in a traditional manner, by soaking or fermenting the flour before cooking it.  So I was stunned to see my scores for sugar handling in a very dangerous could that be?  And I've slowly been gaining weight, in spite of my excellent food choices and activity levels.

I learned that blood sugar regulation is a function not only of the liver and the pancreas, but also of the adrenal glands.  These two little teepee shaped glands sit on top of each kidney like little caps.  They have many functions, and one is to help us cope with stress.  When the body is stressed, it needs energy, and energy is provided by sugar.  We are designed to get our sugar needs met by healthy foods, mostly vegetables and some fruits.  There are two main things that break down the bodies' ability to properly regulate sugar in the blood:  a diet containing processed foods including white flour and refined sugars and too many starchy vegetables, or repeated stressors on the body, either physical or psychological/emotional.

I've had a fun year or two, with lots of good things in my life but also lots of stressors beyond my control......a painful injury that took weeks to heal (still not there yet), an emergency surgery (minor, but not to me!), the serious illnesses and deaths of several people in my inner circle, etc.  Life, but a bit faster than normal.  So I was not completely shocked to see my adrenal function was very, very low.

We can't always simply decide to get rid of all stressors in our lives....especially when one comes out of a side street and rams into your car.  But one thing we can do to help the adrenals rest and heal is to not stress them one bit by sending them into a panic with a big rush of blood keeping our blood sugar very stable and steady with a blood sugar handling diet.  There are a few other things we can do, such as getting plenty of rest, especially sleeping from 7-9 AM if possible, the time when the adrenals rest the most if allowed to.  We can stop nudging the poor tired kidney caps to work harder..... by eliminating caffeine and alcohol.  I'm not saying that these things necessarily cause the problem, but they will stimulate the adrenals into action and we want them to have rest.  It is like a patient coming home from the hospital after a surgery....we don't let the patient stack wood or clean the barn.  That doesn't mean that those activities, in moderation, are harmful in themselves....but the patient needs to rest for a period of time before resuming normal activities, and maybe some of those activities will need to be modified forever, depending on the degree of damage and subsequent healing.

I knew that when I got the first functional evaluation in early December, but kept putting off the strict diet.  Shortly after that, I started experiencing heart palpitations.  In a follow-up evaluation in January, my adrenal function had dropped even lower....close to failure.  It was time to do something drastic, and I stopped whining (ok, not really, I actually whined a bit more) and jumped into the hardcore sugar handling diet.

Tomorrow:  What we ate and maybe, if you're good, I'll tell you about the results.....


  1. That's very interesting. I had a similar tender points test done several years ago showing poor liver function. I'm sure my adrenals could use a lot of help. So, how long will you restrict your diet?

  2. I'm going to go another two weeks and re-evaluate, I think. But I've added dairy back already, mostly in the form of cheese (home-made raw goat's milk cheese from my little backyard herd only.) I used the Coca's Pulse Test to see if I was allergic/sensitive to it and I was fine.

  3. OMGosh, I could scream right now .. first of all, I'm new to Icelandic chickens, too. I saw your post about setting up your new eggs and blogging about it, so I maneuvered over to it .. after I read your (great!) post about setting up your incubator (or should I say FILLING up your incubator, haha!) I cruised through your archive and saw this post. I was curious about it since your lingo sounded familiar .. I quickly discovered why! You're in the NTA program! I just finished my certification this past October in Vegas. Where are your classes? And why is your name French, are you from Louisiana by chance? I live in Oregon, but was born and raised in La. If we have 3 things in common, well, I'll scream! hahaha ... happy to make your acquaintance! Ig :)

  4. Wow! Small world. Yes, I'm currently in the Hartford, CT class. We have midterms in less than a week! Eeek! My parents have French Canadian (Acadian) roots, and my husband has relatives from Louisiana, is that close enough?

    Message me through the Icelandic chicken fb group so we can chat about NTA!