health

Sugar’s not the problem.

I recently did a workshop in Cochrane called The Sugar Fix: 4 Easy Steps to Curb your Cravings. It went really well, likely because that particular topic lies at the intersection of my diagnosis with diabetes, and my work in the addiction sector. We’ve known for awhile now that sugar is addictive. What we haven’t done a great job of (and what I’m trying to do), is use some of the proven methodologies behind addiction treatment and behaviour change and apply them to “sugar”, helping people reduce or eliminate their consumption. I’ve got another one lined up for November 27th in Calary

 

One of the first, and probably most important, things to realize is that sugar is a solution. It is rarely, if ever, the problem. If we consider sugar to be an addictive, mood-altering substance (which it is), then the problem becomes “why do I need my mood altered?”. Stress. Boredom. Depression. Anxiety. Just having a bad day in general. All great reasons to reach for a bag of chips or bowl of ice cream for a little pick me up.

One of the first steps in really tackling a sugar addiction is not to rush out and buy some new cookbooks. It’s to notice. Notice when you’re reaching for the next hit and asking yourself, “why do I feel like sugar right now?”. And if the answer isn’t “I’ve got low blood sugar and need to eat something before I pass out”, then you’re trying to fix a different problem…and I’m going to suggest that sugar isn’t the best solution to try.

Paleo update

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago (2). Since then I’ve embraced the “paleo” diet (which includes being wheat free), which I’ve written a little bit about here and there. I figured it was time for a bit of an update on that adventure.

Remember the A1C? It’s a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level from the previous 3-months. When I was first diagnosed, it was 11.0 (it should be under 6.0). This time around it came in at 5.8, which is consistent with the last test. Good news.

Next up: the Lipids (aka, Cholesterol).

Triglycerides, down from 0.74 to 0.69 (reference range is from 0.60-2.30). So that’s a pretty great result.

HDL (High-Density Lipid, the “good cholesterol”): Up to 2.20 from 1.88. Anything over 1.55 is considered optimal for protection against strokes and heart attacks.

LDL (Low-Density Lipid, the “bad cholesterol”): Holding steady at 2.51 (well within the reference range of 2.00-3.40). The doctor is hoping it comes down a bit, but given the high HDL numbers she’s not too concerned.

HDL Cholesterol Ratio: 2.3. Anything 3.4 and below is considered “very low risk” when it comes to a coronary event. That’s probably good news.

All in all, it appears that eating pounds of bacon has done wonders for my cardiovascular health!