Hello followers and passers by and welcome to my blog. Here you will find my stories and musings on how to live a heathy and nutritious life based on the Paleolithic way of eating. I've been eating and living like this since 2009 and I've been reading and gatering a lot of information since my journey began.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Holiday Blues

It’s been a while since my last blog and this is partly due to the fact that I spent four weeks back in the UK with the family doing loads of interesting stuff including four days in Paris.  There was lots of overeating, drinking, nibbling, and socialising and did I mention drinking?  And it is this vacation/holiday that has made it obvious to me how my eating habits and diet of some years ago had lead to the poor physical condition I had “achieved”.  You see, I had eaten more bread in four weeks than I have in the past four years, drank more soft drink, eaten more chocolate, eaten more biscuits and sweets than I could possibly keep track of.  And as for the sweet French bread and croissants, well I was just unable to resist.  I kept saying to myself, “it’s OK, you’re on holiday and it’s only for a couple of weeks”.  Sound familiar?

On my return to Australia I had managed to put on almost 8 kilos (about 16 and a ½ pounds – over a stone).  The other strange thing that started to happen on my return was that I was waking in the middle of the night with a splitting headache and nearly every morning I when I woke up I had a headache.  This was quite strange and worrying for me.  All of my symptoms pointed to hypoglycaemia and this is even more worrying due to the fact that it’s a marker for the onset of diabetes.
Hypoglycaemia is basically low blood sugar caused by your body (primarily the pancreas) overreacting to glucose in the blood stream by releasing too much insulin.  This is a very simple explanation but more detail can be found at the link above

As I have done in the past (those who know me will remember the heat exhaustion and electrolyte saga) I decided to experiment on myself to see if I I was suffering from hypoglycaemia.  This experiment can be done quite easily at home with an inexpensive glucometer.  So, early one morning I was sat there with my glucometer and started off by testing my Blood Glucose (BG) levels.  It was 6.3 mmoL/L.  Normal is anywhere between 3 to 8 mmoL/L, so I was pretty much average. I needed to consume a beverage containing about 75g or glucose.  Interesting to note is that of all of the sugary soft drinks on the market Lucozde has the highest glucose concentration of them all – an hour in the soft drinks aisles of Coles led me to this finding.  Lucozade had 14.4g of glucose per 100ml whereas Coke only has 10.  In fact Coke only just made it into the top 5. “Healthy” orange juice was higher at 11-12g/100ml (depending on the brand).

I drank just over 520ml of the Lucozade (about 1 and a ½ small bottles) and then waited 20 minutes to take the first BG test.  The results were as follows:
  • 07:00 – BG on waking = 6.3
  • 07:20 – Drank 75g of glucose (520ml of Lucozade)
  • 07:40 – BG = 9.0 (nearly a 50% increase in just 20 mins!!)
  • 08:00 – BG = 9.3
  • 08:20 – BG = 8.2
  • 08:50 – BG = 7.4
  • 09:20 – BG = 7.1
  • End of Test
So, the results indicated that I DO NOT have hypoglycaemia as the BG levels dropped back to normal gradually rather than coming down abruptly which is what happens in the case of hypoglycaemia.  I should point out at this stage that I woke up with the usual headache and when I finished the test I felt bloody awful.  My head was worse than ever and now I felt nauseous.  I went back to bed!
I measured my Blood Pressure (BP) later that day and also over the next couple of days and found that to be a little higher than I would have expected; it was up around 145/84.  I then thought to take a better note of my urine and that was a lot darker than it normally would be.  The darker urine colour pointed to dehydration and this combined with a slightly elevated BP are what were causing my headaches.

Finally, readers of this blog and others like it will know that Insulin is the only hormone that controls fat accumulation and by controlling Insulin you will control your fat.  There is an absolutely brilliant video on this by Dr. Bryan Walsh which can be found here. As you can probably guess my breakfast from the above results of 500ml of Lucozade were horrific for my fat loss goals so I wanted to bring to your attention a very interesting result for an alternative breakfast.  The breakfast contained 2 pork sausages; 1 very large rasher of bacon; ½ cup of baked beans, ½ a cup of mushrooms; 2 eggs (fried in the bacon fat) and 1 cup of fresh spinach (wilted in the bacon fat).  The BG results were:
  • BG first thing in the morning = 6.0mmoL/L
  • Ate the above breakfast (delicious!!)
  • 30 mins later BG = 6.7mmoL/L
So it’s clear that what many would consider an unhealthy breakfast had almost no impact on my blood glucose levels and consequently would not have caused a spike in my Insulin levels, ergo there would be little to no fat storage taking place.  I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to test myself on the mochochino grande with whipped cream and a blueberry muffin type of breakfast but if enough of you are interested then I’ll give it a go, just make sure to give me your breakfast recommendations for testing.

So, in conclusion it is clear that the poor diet choices (i.e. high consumption of sugar) I had made for four weeks had caused cell inflammation which had increased my BP which would not have helped my headaches and a lack of attention to fluid intake (apparently a fine English Ale doesn’t count) caused my dehydration and headaches.  Imagine if that’s what your life was like all of the time?
Increase my water intake and get rid of the sugar.  I’m glad to say that after having done that for three days the headaches have gone and my head is clear and sharp.

Look after yourself.  Until next time.

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