If you have been following the latest diet trends, you probably attempted or are attempting a vegan, vegetarian diet, or plant based diet. For certain body types, a plant based lifestyle can work really well, however, the underlying problem with a non-animal protein diet is that one may experience a blood sugar imbalance due to an overload of too many carbohydrates consumed.
It can be difficult, even for people who have a body type that does well on a low protein diet, to find that healthy balance of proteins and carbs when taking an entirely plant-based approach. Protein is your friend! More specifically, “good” quality protein is your friend. Read on for details on how to balance your blood sugar levels, even if you’re not plant based.
The key to balancing blood sugar levels for a plant based diet and also for an animal protein diet is to incorporate good quality animal proteins, healthy fats, seeds (like Chia or Hemp), and/or a plant-based protein powder (like Vega Sports Performance or MrM Veggie Protein) as well as to consciously decrease your total carbohydrate intake. If you eat carbohydrates by themselves, even if they are “healthy” carbohydrates — like fruits and starchy vegetables — your blood sugar will spike, and when your blood sugar spikes over 110, you will experience sugar cravings, making it is very difficult to lose weight! When there is excess sugar in the blood stream that the body cannot use as energy, it gets stored as fat. Blah!
So, how can you determine if you have a blood sugar imbalance, decrease sugar cravings, and avoid terrible plant based diet mistakes? We’ve asked several questions below — if you answer “yes”, you may have a blood sugar imbalance. We’ve followed these questions with helpful tips to get your blood sugar back in balance.
Do You Have A Blood Sugar Imbalance?
- Do you crave lots of sweets?
- Are you tired and lethargic?
- Do you get light headed or jittery if you skip meals?
- Do you get irritable or “hangry”- hungry/angry when you skip meals?
- Do you depend on coffee to get you going in the morning?
- Do you get tired after meals?
For Plant Based Diet Or Animal Protein Diet — How To Balance Your Blood Sugar
- Eat at least 30 grams of protein in the morning — this can be from eggs, last night’s chicken, turkey, or a protein smoothie (plant-based protein powder or egg white or whey). By eating protein in the morning, you are setting the stage for your blood sugar balance throughout the day. People who have sugar cravings at night usually don’t eat enough protein at breakfast.
- Always eat carbohydrates w/ a protein and healthy fat — this will help to slow down the absorption of the sugar into the blood stream and will avoid the a blood sugar spike.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates — foods like white bread, white sugar, or anything made from “white” refined ingredients such as cookies, cakes, candy etc. Don’t worry, there are plenty of healthy dessert recipes online to upgrade from these poor quality ingredients (www.againstallgrains.com, www.elanaspantry.com, www.nourishedbalance.com). You don’t have to eliminate carbohydrates, you just have to choose good quality carbohydrates.
- Aim to eat every 3 hours — this will prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low, which causes sugar cravings and poor quality food choices.
- Get enough movement — spiking your heart rate through HIIT (high intensity interval training) will help your body to use the excess sugar in the blood stream for energy. Say goodbye! to lame 1-hour cardio workouts and hello! to 30-minute interval training workouts.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep — the hours between 11pm-2am are the most important for your blood sugar levels to balance themselves, so make an extra effort to get in bed by 10 pm. Remember, if you are tired, you are going to crave sugar for energy!
For more about eating a plant based diet, good sources of animal protein, balancing out blood sugar levels, and more important diet tips, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter in the right hand sidebar above. For even more health and nutrition tips, be sure to visit www.nourishedbalance.com.