Dysregulated Blood Sugar Drives All Illness: What most modern humans get wrong and how to fix it
Director of Life Rocks
Carbohydrates, fat and protein, when you don’t have them, you’ll soon enough be thinking about them. Not because you’re a food-focused puppy, but because your bones, brains, blood, biceps and organs function on them, and soon enough, without them, you're toast. Food, in other words, is important, but it has taken a back seat in this modern world of quick fixes with a ‘get the hole full with whatever is around’ mentality. Blood sugar levels importance is largely an unknown and chronic issue for many modern humans. Sure, we know diabetics or those with hypoglycaemia struggle with blood sugar, but most modern humans struggle with blood sugar. They just don’t know it. In this article, we explore some of the reasons why modern attitudes push our ancient bodies in unwanted ways and how we can keep our blood sugar stable to avoid not only diabetes, weight gain and the commonly known issues associated with poor blood sugar, but also to avoid the less commonly known issues caused by faulty blood sugars such as stress, mood, energy and concentration disorders. As blood sugars drop, stress hormones rise. Stress breaks you down literally pulling minerals from your bones and stripping proteins from your muscles, to turn you into fuel, for yourself. That’s literally what stress does. The body says “oh, no more food incoming? Better break myself down and take resources from less important parts of myself (bones, muscles, skin) and give them to my more important parts (brain, organs, central nervous system)". Cool huh? We are auto-phaghous (self-eating) at the cellular level. Like most of biology, your body goes into energy conservation as soon as it senses a reduction in the resources of the environment. The body doesn’t know that you are going to eat right after completing some Zoom calls. The body knows that the time now, is “hungry”. When the body is hungry, i.e., needing blood sugar to effectively run its vital processes, it is hungry. There is no convincing it. But just like we ‘hold on’ to go to the loo, we copy and paste this same attitude over many of the bodies needs. We skip meals because of work, business, or dieting ideals. We delay our tiredness through coffee or TV. We forge on at the desk, even with a stiff back and neck. We put aside our need to unwind and relax under a tree or watch clouds because of the schedule. We choose foods that we know are bad for us, just because we ‘want it’ or its ‘convenient’. These attitudes that we enforce over our body come from a work culture that largely disrespects the voice of the body, or its value – “if we listened to what we “want” we’d never get any work done” is the CEO Bossman/Woman mindset. Still, we know this mindset can’t last forever. Eventually we come to terms with the state of the body whether through health crisis, or a choice to take more responsibility. The number one reason larger companies fail is due to founders or heads of the company having heart attacks, the most common disease of high-performing individuals. So let's avoid this mess of running ourselves into the ground and be like the elite-level performers who actually put the body before their work goals – because it is the body that takes you to your goals; looking after it is important. Some questions to ask ourselves are: Where do the needs of the body and the attitudes of the mind differ? Do I delay hunger with work, caffeine, or other distractions? Do I eat most of my calories after work? Do I suppress cravings for food due to particular beliefs, stories or ideas? What is the quality of the conversation I am having with my body throughout the day? There are many ways to talk to the body, but do we talk? There are many ways to listen to the body, but do we listen? You can build a better relationship with your body, one that brings you closer to happiness and fulfilment, except you will need to listen and communicate. There needs to be a healthy connection between you and your body for you to have a good life. The cherished notion of ‘mind over matter’ plus caffeine, drives our grindstone culture and drags the body through the modern rituals of life to get the job done. The jobs of the mind, not the body. This attitude works until the body doesn’t follow anymore, or it drags our whole operation down as the situation increases in gravity. Then we realise that we have health issues and that we don’t know what to do. We lost touch at some point with our body along the way, and for rekindling a connection, it takes time for trust to build. Listening to your body is a great first step in building trust with yourself. When you are tired - sleep, when you are hungry - eat, when you need to go to the bathroom. . . just not at your desk. Simply put, the body has a wisdom that we ought to learn how to structure our life and work life around to support it, not jam our body into our work needs and hope it fits. So, here are some ways that you can enjoy a better relationship with the bodies needs within the context of the busy modern life: - Work in 45-minute blocks and stand up for 5 minutes every time the 45 minutes is up. Use a timer and set it for anywhere from 20-45 minutes. Studies have shown that concentration can last for up to 45 minutes consecutively, and after that point, it serves our concentration to break for 5 minutes, walk around, move the body, and stretch. We are more productive working in smaller chunks with body breaks than carrying on for hours without a break. - Eat every 3 hours or so to avoid blood sugar crashes. Eat fat, carbs and proteins together for longer-lasting stable blood sugar, for instance, fruit and cheese, boiled eggs and fruit, meat and veg, etc. Eating carbs on their own without fat and protein will not stabilise blood sugar for much longer than 1 hour. Eating fat and protein alone will not give you much energy and can also drop your blood sugars quickly. Eating more frequently and with balanced foods, is better for your health than eating lightly and drinking lots of caffeine to get through the day. This leads to stress, weight gain and a reduced appetite.
Avoid your phone like the plague for the 1st hour of your day. Upon rising, our brain is still in a liminal space where it is under the influence of the subconscious mind. Being careful about what inputs we experience early in the day can be crucial for good mental hygiene. Have you ever noticed that by scrolling through your phone first thing, you set yourself up in a bad mood or vibe? This is because we are easily influenced in the morning, and most clickbait headlines work on outrage or negative emotion. Protect your headspace by focusing on what matters most in the morning: aligning your day, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, gratitude or spending time with your loved ones. - Stay outside a moment longer. We go outside to the car, the bind, the post box, to pick the kids up or go shopping, but do we enjoy it? Take a moment to look at the sky, a tree or smell a flower. Enjoy the sensations of wind and sun on your skin. Take a precious moment and extend it; the next time you go outside, really soak the moment up. - Put salt in your water. Putting a pinch of sea salt in your water will help to hydrate you better than water without salt and minerals. Sea salt contains many trace minerals you need, plus sodium and adding some to your drinking water can be a great way to enhance your mood, hydration and lower stress. - Wear blue light-blocking glasses. Synthetic blue light emitted from screens is harmful to our eyes, hormones and stress levels. Wearing blue light blockers like the ones found at www.blockbluelight.com.au will protect your eyes, hormones and sleep from being disrupted. You can use the code LIFEROCKS for 15% off at checkout. These are just a handful of easy-to-implement tips that will improve your health as you move through the modern world getting s*** done! It is important to remember that it is our body that helps us to do all of these amazing things, including making money and providing for our family and community. Cherish this reality, and make it a priority to give something back to the body today and thank it for all the great work that it does. Listen to it more and notice when you might be becoming a dictator rather than a friend to your dear old body. Life Rocks!