I used to eat toast with peanut butter and a cup of coffee for breakfast, salad with cheese and bread for lunch, and pasta for dinner. For snacks, I would eat a banana and chocolate covered almonds. I felt like I was hungry all the time. Georgia told me my meals were healthy but proportionately more carbohydrates, so I needed to include more proteins and fats. I'll try to post some of my meals so that you can get an idea of what I eat now. I could probably tone down the animal fat, but meals are still a work in progress. Here's last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast, which were especially yummy:
Dinner: grilled shrimp marinated in olive oil, garlic, and cilantro (Wim's recipe); grilled eggplant with blue cheese and tomatoes; Villalobos spanish fried rice.
Breakfast: eggs, homemade guacamole, blueberries and raspberries, coffee with half and half.
Nicole and Brigid come to visit today!!! I'll post pictures soon.
1. (in an insect or amphibian) The process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.
2. A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
I've started this blog to share my life since being diagnosed with hypoglycemia in May 2011. To begin, here is the story:
I suffered from anxiety for several years. The main symptom of anxiety is the almost constant presence of worry or tension, even when there is little to no cause. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, irritability, chest tightness, muscle tension, and headaches.
For most of that time, I thought it was due to graduate school.
But after I started my postdoc, I began to suspect that my anxiety was more physical than mental. Although I didn't have the same pressures as in grad school, the anxiety started getting worse. I would get a huge rush of adrenaline after waking up in the morning and after running. This would lead to generalized anxiety symptoms that I couldn't shake for the rest of the day.
I suspected that it had something to do with my blood sugar. I am Mexican-American and diabetes runs rampant through my family. My grandmother, mother, and several aunts and uncles all have it. I was motivated to get blood tests done in October 2010 after my sister was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is caused by insulin resistance and is a precursor to diabetes. But my blood tests all came back normal.
Then, in May 2011, I was referred to a psychiatrist at Harvard named Georgia Ede who specializes in nutrition as an alternative to medication. On my first visit, she immediately started asking me a litany of questions. I had experienced this with several doctors before, who would end their line of questioning with 'Your blood tests are all normal. There's no way to explain the way you're feeling.' Basically, 'You're being a hypochondriac.' I was convinced she thought I was crazy too.
Then, she said the words that would change my life: 'I can diagnose you with carbohydrate sensitivity, a type of hypoglycemia.'
Imagine a baseline blood sugar level. She explained that when I would eat carbohydrates, my blood sugar and insulin would spike way above baseline. As a result, adrenaline would rush in to bring them back down but would overshoot and my blood sugar would fall way below baseline. That's when I would experience hunger, shakiness, and irritability. Adrenaline would then rush in again to bring my sugar levels back up. This explained why I would get a rush of adrenaline in the morning and after running, when my sugar levels were low.
All I had to do was eat more proteins and fats. Although I ate healthier than most of her patients, she explained that most of my meals still had proportionately more carbohydrates. She told me about the Paleo Diet when I asked her if she could recommend a meal plan. The premise of Paleo is that our ancestors used to eat nothing but meat, vegetables, and fruit until the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. After that, our diet became based on grains. That's when a host of 'diseases of civilization', including obesity and diabetes, began to appear.
That night I went home and cooked picadillo (ground beef with peppers and onions) and calabasitas (zucchini with onions and tomatoes). The next morning I woke up without anxiety. I had also been waking up with neck pain and jaw tension, which had also disappeared.
I continued to follow the Paleo Diet for two months. At first, it was great. My anxiety was gone along with all the pesky side effects. My energy was through the roof. I had even lost 10 pounds. But in late July I started noticing that anxiety was creeping up again. That's when I started doing more research. It turned out that I was still eating a lot of carbs, just in the form of fruit, and not enough fat. Incorporating these final changes did the trick and I haven't experienced anxiety since.
I've experienced a metamorphosis, kind of like the barnacle larvae I study :)