Hypoglycemic Vegan

Hi Sassy,

I have been a vegan for over a year. I have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so I avoid many items.

I'm about 20 lbs over weight & at times seem to fall in same eating pattern. Breakfast is the worst. I can't eat oatmeal, cereal, soy yogurt. they all have too much carbs or sugar and my sugar bottoms out. I'm trying to avoid carbs but it seems like the only thing available at times.

Will your weight loss course work for me?
Tricia
New York

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi Tricia! Let's talk for a minute about the basics of blood sugar. It's really quite shocking how many people out there have a challenge with keeping their blood sugar balanced. When we eat simple carbs or sugar, blood sugar can skyrocket making us feel tremendous energy, but eventually those same simple sugars cause a pretty severe crash, making us feel tired and drained. So then you reach for MORE simple carbs or sugar so you get that energy back. It's a vicious cycle. And an unhealthy one too.

In addition, if you have too much glucose (sugar) circulating, the excess gets converted by your body into fat. If you don't have enough glucose, you feel hungry, lazy, nervous, depressed, etc.

So the trick (whether eating a vegan diet or not) is to keep your blood sugar as balanced as possible.

Some people think this means avoiding all carbs, but this is a mistake because not all carbs are created equally. There is a big difference between simple carbs and complex carbs.

Simple carbs (such as white rice or foods containing added sugars) cause that spike I mentioned above because all the sugar gets dumped into your body immediately -- there is no "filter" of sorts.

Complex carbohydrates digest more slowly, offering your body the important glucose it needs in a more even manner, which helps to keep blood sugar more balanced. The best types of foods in this regard are beans, peas, lentils, oats and whole grains.

As you make your way through Get Down With Sass! you will discover week by week how to add these (and other) healthy fiber-filled foods into your diet. I provide the guidance and recommendations, and you learn to take this information to build your very own whole-foods vegan menus based on the foods YOU love. At the same time, you will be removing most sugars from your diet which most of the students find not only helpful as they go through the course, but many of them stick with this mostly-sugar-free way of eating because they come to love the way it makes them feel.

I believe the recommendations found throughout the course will help you to bring your blood sugar more into the balanced area it needs to be for optimum energy and weight loss. Of course, I offer a money-back guarantee so you have nothing to lose. ;)

Hope this helps.
xo



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"My favorite part of the course was learning about how to work healthy grains into the picture. I love them and it's nice to know that I don't have to give them up."
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Comments for Hypoglycemic Vegan

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me too!
by: Jennifer

You are going to think this sounds crazy but I was hypoglycemic until I became vegan. I eat lots of complex carbs (whole oat groats cooked in the crock-pot over-night and whole wheat sourdough bread) along with tofu and lots of legumes. I almost never bottom out now. And it wasn't in my head before. I have two diabetic grandparents and my mother, sister and brother are all hypoglycemic as well. I'm not a dietitian and I can only offer personal experience but if you aim for 15-20 grams of protein per meal and give you body time to adjust I think you may be pleasantly surprised.

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Me, too
by: Lainie

I also had frequent trouble with blood sugar. I am not completely vegan, but I have found that giving up meat (and avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup)has changed my life. Very rarely I have a problem and I can always pinpoint it to something I have eaten the day before that was not a smart choice. For breakfast, I too gave up cereal, etc. I started eating Kind Bars - a nut/dried fruit bar for breakfast and it keeps me satisfied for about 2 1/2 hours with out any "crash"- there are many varieties available and I have found the best price online.

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Terrific :)
by: Sassy

Thanks, Jennifer and Lainie, for sharing your stories and ideas with us. Great food for thought for all who have challenges with low blood sugar. Vegan is without a doubt a viable solution to this challenge. :)

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VERY brittle blood sugar....
by: Atheria

I was vegan for 16 years before made bad choices last Thanksgiving and woke up the morning after VERY sick with a severe low blood sugar attack. Ever since that day, for the past year, I have gone through living h**l. I have been forced to quit being vegan as I overreact to all carbohydrate....whether it's oatmeal or brown rice. I have to totally avoid potatoes like the plague and white flour as best I can. It is very difficult to keep my blood sugar stable, especially at night for some reason. It breaks my heart to be eating meat, cheese, and eggs...but I don't know what else to do. Some of us have very difficult issues.

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Hypoglycemic Vegan Response
by: Anonymous

Atheria - I am so sorry. Have you seen any medical professionals for these issues. This could be a problem that needs more that a specialized diet. There could be some sort of systemic issue that needs to be addressed.

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Doctors
by: Atheria

Yes, I have been to a bunch of doctors...only one took me seriously. I had an attack right in the endocrinologist's office and she looked me in the face and said nothing was wrong with me. I've dropped as much as 120 points in a short period of time. Adding lots of fat to my food helps a bit, and eating more protein....but even then, things are not perfect and I still get sick. At one point I got down to 85 lbs. They've checked everything and can't figure out what is going on with me. My mother had this happen to her when she was 10 years younger than when it happened to me....and she is now an insulin dependent diabetic because she didn't take care of her diet. It has been heartbreaking and frustrating. In Sept. I was able to be vegan for 4 weeks and then WHAM...started having major instability.

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Issues
by: Anonymous

Wow! That is too bad. There is nothing worse than when you know something is wrong and the "professionals" act like you are crazy. Is there another endicrinologist you can go to? Or, could you go to a diabetes specialist? It is so hard, but when you know something is wrong, you have to be the educated consumer.

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Diabetes specialist
by: Atheria

Yeah, I've been to a diabetes specialist here at work (we have a large medical dept.) She is the only one who took my situation seriously...put me on a 24/7 glucose monitor for a week to see what my body did. Even she believes the old information about hypos needing to be on low carb/high protein diets is wrong, but every time I try to go back to vegan, I just don't do well. :-(

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Hi Atheria
by: Sassy

Hi Atheria --

Has anyone taken a look at your ENTIRE diet to see exactly what you're eating on a daily basis? That would be very interesting to know -- I have a hunch there might be some other things in there that might be the culprits rather than complex carbs??

Thinking of you today.
xo
Sass

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Diet
by: Atheria

Trust me, my hypoglycemic diet is pristine. I more am gluten free too as many hypos have a gluten problem. Being a gluten free vegan who needs to eat high protein, lower carb makes it extremely difficult. I lasted just under two months on my recent attempt. A holistic doctor found out my liver was toxic and I was full of candida, etc. Clearing that up has helped but not cured me by far. I need new genetics....sad to say.

Atheria

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A vegan MD
by: Anonymous

I forgot to add that in the summer of 2010 or 2011 a vegan MD nutritionist TRIED to help me....to no avail. There are some people, like me, who become very carb sensitive. The only thing that works for me is a high protein, moderate carb, higher fat diet. It's upsetting, but true. I eat 6 small meals/snacks a day....sometimes 7.

Thank you,
Atheria

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16 year old athlete with hypoglycemia!
by: momotwins0200

Hello, My daughter, who plays competitive volleyball, basketball and track has struggled for the last year with hypoglycemia. First, the doctor diagnosed, and then sent us on our way. :( She said it was the worst case she had ever diagnosed (she burned through the sugar test in 30 minutes...had nothing left at that point and Dr. said she went into her body consuming itself. She had passed out several times in a year, so she considered it "sever hypoglycemia". We are trying desperately to incorporate more vegan eating in our home, but she is afraid when she sees all the "food" that she will gain weight. We strive to keep her eating balanced and sufficient, but she still is struggling with stomach aches and brain fog. My biggest questions are: 1. Do we need to monitor with blood several times/day. They've never had us do this.
2. How often does she actually need to eat? 3. How much to maintain weight?
4. Schedule of meals/snacks.
5. How do you get all the protein without turning to meat? Thanks so much!

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Check her glucose levels!
by: Atheria

As a hypoglycemic, you must check her sugar levels. Guessing isn't good enough. The most helpful thing a doctor did for me was to hook me up to a 24 hour glucose meter for a full week so I could see exactly how my annoying body responded to food. It was eye opening. From it, I learned that fat is my friend and tons of carbs are not. Fat slows down the digestion so I don't spike as dramatically...and then my sugar comes down more gently like it should. I have also had to accept the fact my body simply cannot handle excess carbs. I'm not on Atkins or anything, but I do have to carefully monitor how much carbohydrate I eat at any given meal/snack. I found out from my holistic doctor that I can't have gluten either. He said most hypoglycemics have a gluten problem, and most on the Facebook page I chat on are off gluten. That makes being vegan very difficult, FYI. Most vegan "meats" have gluten in them, and hypos do DO better with a higher protein intake. It's possible to be vegan and hypo and gluten free...but very difficult. I only lasted just under 2 months recently. :-( Everyone is different, and there have been bad periods where I've had to eat every single hour during a flare-up, but usually I eat every 3 hours...sometimes sooner...sometimes a LITTLE later. I drop BAD at the 4 hour mark so I'm careful about eating at least every 3 hours. Many hypos need to eat every 2-2.5 hours. It's really annoying. I'm tired of carrying food around, but I am doing much better than I was 2 years ago.

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No One-Size Fit All
by: Diana Villafane

I am a 58 yr old post-menopausal female. I have had weight issues since my first pregnancy at age 20. I dieted for years, lost and regained 30 pounds several times, but I just got tired of feeling dizzy, faint, and devoid of energy, having to slog and pull and push through each day... I used to go to the gym 3 times a week. I didn't overdo it, but after ½ hour I felt like I was going to die! An endocrinologist said I was borderline hypoglycemic and sent me to a nutritionist. But I just can't possibly live on 1,200-1,400 calories a day. I feel terrible, even when I distribute them into 6 meals. So I let go and just started eating as so-called normal people do and now I weigh 180 pounds. I never eat junk food or drink soda. I love vegetables. About 2 years ago I tried going vegan but I have issues. I have some food allergies: oatmeal, nuts (rules out a whole source of protein...), eggs, yeast (the kind in bread), bananas, and mangoes. I avoid rice and fiber because it constipates me and I caused hemorrhoids and anal fissures. I have managed to ease the hemorrhoids by doing light exercise (walking, calisthenics, abs) every morning. I thought it would help with the weight but not so. Thanks for listening.

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Ouch!
by: Jennifer

I feel for you. Planning around all those restrictions can be really tough. I've been doing some Internet research though and I've repeatedly been hearing that building muscle is what's needed. I shouldn't talk because I haven't applied it yet but it you are able to do some muscle building body wight exercises you can increase your basic metabolic rate thus increasing the amount of calories your body burns in the day. This accounts for 70% of our calorie needs so increasing this will make a big difference.

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Weight training
by: Atheria

I just finished my 7th week of weight training that I started to help my bone density, for vanity reasons, and for my blood sugar control. Supposedly building muscle not only helps metabolism, but also helps your body regulate sugar levels. Like you, cardio exercise and weight training drops my blood sugar and makes me weak, shaky, and sometimes nauseous. A trick I've learned is to suck on a little hard peppermint candy while exercising to keep my blood sugar up. Because it takes about 25 minutes to dissolve, it is gradual and works.

I feel your pain, believe me.

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Altheria
by: Anonymous

It could be your adrenals. High protein diets can sometimes affect the kidneys and some lose more salt. Too little salt can be a problem just as too much can.

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Suppliments that work for me.
by: Anonymous

I've had severe reactive hypoglycemia for over a decade and was on a low carb high meat diet even though I didn't like the taste of meat. In the past year I stumbled on konjac root since I'm japanese. It stabilized my blood sugar when I crashed even though it is virtually calorie free. I tried taking pgx which contains konjac and I can eat carbs again without a huge blood sugar crash. I also started taking 200 mg of chromium 3x a day before each main meal and that further stabilized it. I don't know if it will help everyone but it works for me.

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Very Low Fat Saved Me
by: Atheria

I do take chromium, 400-500 mcgs. a day. It seems to be mandatory for me.

My body, and how it handles food, seems to have changed with time. My endocrine system blew 11/2010. For a long time, I seemed to need insane amounts of protein and had to cut back on carbs. But, thank God, with time my system has calmed down and I've been able to go back to being vegan. What has SAVED me is getting off fat. A fatty diet clearly makes my blood sugar act weird and it starts swinging up and down. Low carb diets actually give me hypoglycemic attacks. Right now I'm doing MUCH better eating tons of whole, unprocessed carbs and very low fat. I'm so thrilled!

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I can eat carbs if I take fiber
by: Anonymous

I have also severe reactive hypoglycemia but I can eat a low glycemic index high carb diet by supplementing chromium and taking at least 4 fiber pills. The fiber really prevents my blood sugar from bottoming out. I can even eat sugary foods if I take enough fiber. Try it out, it's the best thing. Before I found it I was on a low carb diet and I was so depressed since I hated the taste of animal products.

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Hypoglycemic with allergys
by: Anonymous

I was vegetarian for 14 years and vegan for 7. This all ended with a low blood sugar attack with taccacardia at 4am. I' would love to continue a vegan diet but find myself allergic to. Avacados, raw... Corn, tomatos, walnuts, any melons, almonds, peppers (green, yellow, and red). This is just to name a few and not by diognostic testing but decades of person experience....some that had led me to the emergency room. Any advice you can offer on leading a satisfying dietary life?

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Help hypoglycemic vegan
by: Anonymous

I just started a vegan diet strictly about a month ago when I discovered I had very high cholesterol and plaque in my arteries. Since being in this diet I fell terrible. I'm so weak, anxious, depressed, shaky, brain fog, etc. I started taking my blood sugar and it's consistently in the 70-80 range even 2 hours after eating. I'm very scared about this situation. I don't have diabetes and I've always had low blood sugar symptoms my whole life. But until going vegs, I was able to manage it and would only feel bad when I didn't eat regularly. Now even when eating lots of starches, good carbs, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, fruit, whole grains, I still feel bad. What is considered a good blood sugar throughout the day--fasting, 2 hours after eating, etc. I'm very worried about this.

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70-80 two hours...not good
by: Atheria

Hi there. If I was down to 70+ only two hours after eating, I'd not feel good either. My body has clearly changed over time. What my blood sugar control liked two years ago it doesn't like today. I veered off really high carb, very low fat and morphed into a more balanced vegan (gluten free) diet and have been doing great...until I tested McDougalling again days ago and got very shaky. Cut back on carbs and add more fat and protein. And eat small portions. Too much of ANY food will throw off your sugar.

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Meat and hypoglycemia
by: Shannon

Hi. I've always been thin with a high metabolism and in my younger days could eat pretty much whatever I wanted. I was a vegetarian in my twenties had a hard time keeping weight on. I've found that I feel much better when I eat meat which I don't want to do. And I've always struggled with anxiety and depression, particularly during PMS. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? Btw, I am about to turn 50 so my body is def changing now.

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To Shannon
by: Atheria

Shannon,

I'm also dealing with menopause at 49. I highly think I have had perimenopausal hypoglycemia since 11/2010 because the further along I go on the "that time of life" track, my blood sugar woes are self correcting. I've heard other women's similar stories.

I've battled depression on and off for decades, and anxiety/panic attacks since 11/2010...but am doing better. I seem to be very carb sensitive brain chemistry wise. If I don't get enough carbs, anxiety kicks in.

Atheria

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New
by: Anonymous

I guess it just depends on the individual. Sounds like you need more carbs and I need more protein. I already eat fairly healthy, but I'm going to add more veggies and fruit. Also, peanut butter is huge for me! If I get a low it perks me right back up. I've realized the best for me is to graze throughout the day. Thanks for the quick response!

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Atheria
by: Janet

Hi Atheria, I am so sad for you but your story is not too much unlike my own. Hypoglycemia, panic attacks, i've had both for over 40 years. I went without meat for 6 months once and the blood sugar attack i had was severe and so i gave it up quickly. Tofu makes my hair fall out and beans, even though they are good protein, also have enough carbs in them to give me a blood sugar attack. I, like one of the others posted rely on peanut butter to bring me out of an attack. I also like you, need a balance of carbs as well as protein. High protein, low carbs gives me a blood sugar attack as well. I know it is a ridiculous contradiction but it is true. If i have a severe attack i can get out of it with banana and peanut butter together. I don't get that bad often any more, i've learned how to avoid severe attacks. When we travel I rely on the little packs of peanut butter crackers you can carry.

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My hypoglycemia is becoming diabetes
by: Anonymous

As an endocrinologist warned me a few years ago, my type of hypoglycemia often becomes diabetes. I've been running high now, and have had dramatic improvement getting off all starches and limiting fruit. I'm living mostly on TONS of nut/seed butters and vegetables. I do take one dose of vegan protein powder per day and eat no more that 3 pieces of fruit. Today I only had one.

Atheria

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help
by: ari

does anyone have any suggestions of what to eat being hypo, gluten free, vegan thanks so much

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