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BTD Forums  /  Nonnie Clubhouse  /  How Does Hypoglycemia FEEL like?
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 2:10pm
And could too much or too little of a "good thing" led me to a hypoglycemic state?

I guess it helps to be more specific:

Recently I have occasionally felt this strange sensation... like hunger, but more than that, a kind of endless emptiness deep inside me, and a sense of shakiness throughout the body and brain. Is this hypoglycemia?

I have been on my SWAMI diet for more than half a year (I have lost track of the exact length of time) and so far it has been great in keeping me energetic and healthy. But recently I have been feeling a sapping of energy at times. Of course I wouldn't rule out the effects of the coming winter and the stress from work/holiday/family, etc. But I wonder if I have been doing my SWAMI diet right.

Here is a typical day of my diet:


1) Protein shake for Type "O" (1 scoop) + 2-3 medium diamond fruits, 1tsp each of maca, hemp and flax

2) Half an avocado + 1-2 tsp almond butter + a dollop of Carob Extract
1/8 oz Manchego cheese
1/2 Grapefruit (usually before protein shake)


1) 3-4 cups of salad made up of lettuce, red bell pepper, silver dollar mushrooms, carrot, parsnip/Jerusalem artichoke, goji berries, apricot kernels, raw garlic, hemp and sesame seeds, EVOO and ume vinegar.

2) 2-3 oz of animal protein, e.g. sardine, salmon, tuna
2-egg omelet with Brewer's Yeast

After lunch:

1) Yerba Mate

2) a piece of 85% dark chocolate

Afternoon snack:

Almond butter, Carob Extract, soaked walnuts


1) 3-4 oz meat (beef, NZ lamb or chicken)

2) 2-3 cups of steamed or sauteed vegetables with rice bran oil or ghee and different beneficial spices

After dinner:
1) 3 cups of hibiscus/rosehips/green tea

2)Several pieces of dark chocolate  :P

Late night:
Sometimes a banana with almond butter and Carob Extract (geez, can you tell that I'm addicted already?) or a slice of Manchego cheese

Most of these foods are bennies or diamonds. Today, when I skipped the after-lunch Yerba Mate and chocolate, which usually serve as pick-me-ups, I felt so sleepy and "hypoglycemic." I felt my lunch was not enough to fill me up but I was out of home and couldn't find anything that suited me. So the whole afternoon I felt shaky and hungry. When I got home in early evening, I ate two thin rice cakes with pumpkin butter and sesame seeds on one, and almond butter and carob extract on the other. Still hungry, I ate half a Unibar... Still hungry, I ate 2oz of tuna half an hour later... It didn't help me very much even though it's a protein. Then I meditated. After meditation I felt much better, no shakiness and immense hunger.

Now, I have eaten some lamb meatballs and veggies. After eating about 10 of them I'm still hungry so I'm going to eat more. Is there something wrong with me???
Posted by: O in Virginia, Monday, December 13, 2010, 2:56pm; Reply: 1
It does sound like you're hungry.  Maybe you need to eat a little more?  When I'm hungry (low blood sugar) I get headachy, feel low, and I can get a little shaky too.  I think you need to eat more, especially if you are physically active.  Are you trying to restrict your calories?  
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, December 13, 2010, 3:00pm; Reply: 2
Yup, that sounds like hypoglycemia to me.

Once I get "over hungry" I feel shaky for hours, even after I've eaten. I'm not sure exactly what happens biochemically, as I read it somewhere a long time ago. Basically, when blood sugar gets too low, your body sends out another hormone (adrenaline maybe?) to boost blood sugar quickly so you don't pass out. This can happen within minutes of the missed meal or snack (or a bit longer, depending on just how low your blood sugar got before mealtime.) But then it takes several hours to recover from the hormone rush, as it drains other parts of your body when you secrete that much of the hormone at once.

After this happens, I can eat and eat and eat and still feel shaky- which is why it's so important to not let myself fall into this state in the first place (especially since I still need to lose weight.) Eating carbs in this state is often more satisfying than protein alone.

Since you got so "out of whack" from missing a single snack, I have to wonder if you're chronically keeping yourself *this close* to hypoglycemia. Is 2-3 ounces of protein enough for a meal? If you're not going to include grains in your diet, then perhaps the protein and/or fat portions need to be a bit higher.
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 3:14pm; Reply: 3
O in Virginia, I am not deliberately trying to restrict my calories but I do want to maintain my current weight. It's just that during each meal, I usually get full when I have eaten 2-3 oz of meat/protein.

I do consciously restrict my intake of grains because I get water retention immediately after eating grains.

Ruthiegirl, your explanation makes sense. Actually, I think I used to have hypoglycemia quite often years ago when I was not eating properly, often skipping meals/snacks on a diet that was very high on simple carbs.

Since SWAMI my conditions have improved a great deal but you might be right in saying that I'm keeping very *close* to a hypoglycemic state. It seems to me that the solution is to eat proteins more often (small meals in between), as I cannot eat a lot in one setting. I will definitely try to up my protein/fat portions esp now that the weather is getting colder and I seem to need more "fuel." Thanks for the ideas!
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, December 13, 2010, 3:25pm; Reply: 4
Try keeping trail mix in your purse when you go out. You can put the dark chocolate in there, along with compliant nuts and possibly even some compliant dried fruit. Dried fruit can get your blood sugar up quickly (preventing hypoglycemia when it's about to happen) and then you've got the nuts to keep your sugar stable.

You could also prepare yerba mate ahead of time and take it with you in a thermos or glass bottle when you go out, but that requires more planning and KNOWING you'll be gone at snacktime that day. The trail mix can stay in your bag for weeks until you need it.
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 3:36pm; Reply: 5
Great idea! I haven't had dried fruit for some time as I am afraid my candida would flare up... let me look into which types of dried fruit are bennies and see if I can find organic ones here. As for the Yerba Mate, I have done that before--very handy to have a thermos, but today I was rushing out so didn't have time to do so.
I actually was wondering if I got "addicted" to the energizing effects of Yerba Mate? I once did a food tolerance test by sending hair to a lab and it turned out that Yerba Mate is one of the items that I don't tolerate. But I chose to ignore that because it's a diamond on my SWAMI!!!

What of the caffeine and small amount of sugar in dark chocolate? Just now I ate two pieces of very dark chocolate (one is 100% dark and one is 85%) and immediately feel better in the brain! I hope though that it is the stabilizing effect on blood sugar that it provides and not the caffeine coz I might be addicted to it.

Also, I always feel better after taking carob extract. I know there is agave and cocoa in it. These are bennies for me... but could they become addictive? Is this too far-fetched?
Posted by: Amazone I., Monday, December 13, 2010, 3:48pm; Reply: 6
yep it sounds a bit likewise.. I felt...agressiveness ,shaky hands , hot flashes
and a very intense form of anger inside me.. :o :-/ :B :B

while having augmented the intake of protein, those perpetuell feelings went away since months  :D

my latest glucose test was about 5,2 8).....
Posted by: Lola, Monday, December 13, 2010, 4:18pm; Reply: 7
get the diabetes book asap.....explains it all and protocols as well as lists to apply wisely
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:36pm; Reply: 8
Lola, I understand from Dr. D's father's book that hypoglycemia could be a precursor to diabetes. But in the Diabetes book Dr D specifically pointed out that hyperglycemia, not hypoglycemia, is a precursor. I'm confused (I believe Goldie once pointed it out in her thread about Diabetes, too).

Also, if I'm already following SWAMI, should the diabetes protocol override SWAMI?

When I looked at the questionnaire in the Diabetes book (through Amazon's "Look Inside" feature), I am not in a high risk zone, esp. since I'm not overweight but rather, the opposite. However, my family does have a history of diabetes (my mother's side, Type B). Do you think I should be concerned?
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:39pm; Reply: 9
Quoted from Amazone I.
yep it sounds a bit likewise.. I felt...agressiveness ,shaky hands , hot flashes
and a very intense form of anger inside me.. :o :-/ :B :B

while having augmented the intake of protein, those perpetuell feelings went away since months  :D

Yes, angry, aggressive, irritated, loss of patience... those are some of the symptoms I experience when I am extremely low on blood sugar. But I haven't had those fits since I started BTD. Just feeling really hungry and shaky if I skip a snack or delay my meal time.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:48pm; Reply: 10
The only thing that overrides SWAMI is the direct instructions of a SWAMI-literate medical professional (such as Dr. D'Adamo or Dr. Nash) who's examined you and is working with you. There should be a place in SWAMI software to input your blood-sugar control issues, which will  then incorporate the Diabetes protocol into your food list.

I'm not convinced that being "addicted" to caffeine is, in itself, a bad thing. If your caffeine is coming from compliant sources, especially from beneficial sources, and it's not impacting your ability to sleep at night, then what's the problem?

You may want to use just the dark chocolate in your trail mix, and skip the dried  fruit. The sugar in the chocolate will have the same immediate blood-sugar boosting effects as the fruit, plus it will have the caffeine that you've gotten used to having at that time of day. If you skip the mate occasionally, but have extra chocolate on those days, your blood sugar should stay stable.
Posted by: balletomane, Monday, December 13, 2010, 6:00pm; Reply: 11
Thanks ruthiegirl. Very good advice ;) I certainly hope that the caffeine in the chocolate is not harmful... Chocolate is for me a diamond food after all. If SWAMI should supersede the book then I will revisit SWAMI and check out the blood-sugar issue.
Posted by: Victoria, Monday, December 13, 2010, 6:52pm; Reply: 12
Not much new to add here . . :)

Unless contraindicated by your swami, you could stand to eat more meat.  (hehe)

And more fats.  (drool)

My first thought when I read your breakfast was . . hmmm . . I'd make that a Tb of ground flax instead of a tsp.  ;)
Posted by: mikeo, Monday, December 13, 2010, 7:54pm; Reply: 13
when your blood sugar is low your adrenals start to work overtime so most people charge for sweats or stimulants...have some protein rich snack instead...your cells and adrenals will thank you
Posted by: SquarePeg, Monday, December 13, 2010, 8:11pm; Reply: 14
Quoted from balletomane

Recently I have occasionally felt this strange sensation... like hunger, but more than that, a kind of endless emptiness deep inside me, and a sense of shakiness throughout the body and brain. Is this hypoglycemia?
I don't track my blood sugar.  But I assume that I'm experiencing hypoglycemia when i feel this way.  Shakiness, weakness, confusion, irritability -- it happens most coming off a coffee high.

(In case anyone is interested, I, the proponent of small doses of coffee, have given up coffee.  Again.)

Anyway, I wonder if thyroid / adrenal issues are also involved?
Posted by: Lola, Monday, December 13, 2010, 8:42pm; Reply: 15
compare diabetes avoids to your swami avoids
Posted by: balletomane, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 2:12am; Reply: 16
Victoria--more meat and/fat, eh? Sounds good to me esp in Winter! (drool)

Mikeo--good reminder. I need to really take care of my adrenals. Half a year ago I checked my cortisol level and it was high in the morning.

SquarePeg--I have read that chronic overproduction of cortisol (from the adrenal gland) in the body leads to heightened insulin level as the body is in a chronically "alert" state. This in turns leads to insulin resistance and later, diabetes.

Lola--that's good idea! I may buy a Chinese version of the Diabetes book so I can send it to my mom after I've read it. She has just developed Diabetes.
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 3:23am; Reply: 17
Quoted Text
the proponent of small doses of coffee, have given up coffee.  Again

good for you! :)
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 3:33am; Reply: 18
Quoted Text
from Dr. D's father's book that hypoglycemia could be a precursor to diabetes

have never read his father s books and don t think I ll be reading them any time soon! :)
Posted by: Possum, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 3:54am; Reply: 19
When do you get these symptoms? looks to me you may not be eating enough protein for breakfast - after going all night without food, & being a nonnie, maybe include some meat ??) ;)

My other thought is - what exactly is in the carob extract? Could it be that it is giving you a sugar high? I seem to remember someone else having a problem with it...:-/
Posted by: Amazone I., Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 11:01am; Reply: 20
expressis verbis do I remember that P.D. always pointed out...that this thema hasn't anything to do with diabetes... hmmm have to re-read in lr4yt... I think here it was mentioned!!!

and I do have both older books of P.D's father and none is written in there about hypoglycemia and diabetes...(naughty)(bunny) but perhaps right now in his newest-one??)...
Posted by: balletomane, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 12:26pm; Reply: 21
It's "Just an ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure" by Dr. James D'Adamo.

The link between hypoglycemia and diabetes is a central theme in his book.

Here is an earlier thread about this subject:

Possum... I haven't had severe hypoglycemic symptoms until this past week or so. I figure my body does need more fat and protein.

My SWAMI actually recommends 4-6 oz of meat per serving but I have been eating about 2-3 per setting in the summer/fall. Now that the winter is arriving, I think I definitely need more. Today after my protein shake, I had a piece of rye/flax bread (rye is black dot) with butter and Romano cheese (diamond)... It filled me up quite well until lunch time. For lunch, I ate a little over 3oz of sardines for with a salad, and it did keep me going for the whole afternoon without experiencing any drop of blood sugar.

The sweetener used in the carob extract is agave... not an avoid for me. But it does taste rather sweet and I love it, being a sweet tooth nonnie  ;D
(drool) I might be getting a sugar high from it. I am trying to cut it down. I remember Goldie had a problem with carob extract. I don't feel bad in my digestion at all... in fact I feel great. But the sugar high might be something I need to watch. Thanks for your hint.
Posted by: Lin, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 1:31pm; Reply: 22
Patrick Holford's book on optimum nutrition has a glucose tolerance test that asks:
Are you rarely wide awake within 20 mins of rising? Do you need a cup of tea/coffee, a cigarette or something sweet to get you going in the morning? Do you ofen feel drowsy or sleepy during the day or after meals? Do you fall asleep in the early evening or need naps during the day? Do you avoid exercise because you don't have the energy; Do you get dizzy or irritable if yo go without food for 6 hours? Is your energy level now less than it used to be? do you get night sweats or frequent headaches? If you say yes to 4 or more he says your body is having difficulty keeping your blood sugar stable. He goes on to say best way to control blood sugar is watching glycemic level, and to limit yourself to 50 GLs a day, or 40 if you want to lose weight.  I 'm wondering about whether you are getting enough whole grains that suit your type?  And whether the quantity of dark chocolate might be throwing you off?
Posted by: balletomane, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 1:39pm; Reply: 23
Lin, I say "yes" to only one question, and that is, "Do you get dizzy or irritable if yo go without food for 6 hours?"

I don't eat much grain at all because I don't do well on it as a Hunter. I put on weight which is mostly water retention and I don't like that.

Re: dark chocolate, it could've been the sugar in it that threw me off. For some weeks before I was very stressed and had to stay up for work till late night, so I popped quite a few squares of dark chocolate to keep me awake.
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 5:53pm; Reply: 24
sounds like adrenal fatigue as well!!!If you say yes to 4 or more  ;)
Posted by: balletomane, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 6:00pm; Reply: 25
Lola, I said "yes" to only 1.
Posted by: Lin, Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 8:14pm; Reply: 26
Lola, yes probably overlap with other things like adrenals, and that was something I was thinking of also.  Few years back I had adrenal issues and had internal shakiness off and on during the day.

I was wondering if the alternative carbs would work better, Quinoa and Buckwheat - assuming they are allowed.

Posted by: balletomane, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 2:14am; Reply: 27

Buckwheat is an avoid, but quinoa is a bennie. I do eat quinoa together with brown rice sometimes, perhaps once a week. I will try to isolate it from the rice to see if it has any water retention effect on me.

I have just read that hundreds of thousands of years ago, the main stress our ancestors experienced was famine/hunger. So the production of excess insulin during a stressful time was to allow the body to eat more and store the fat in the belly in preparation for the next emergency. This fat can be easily transported to the liver due to proximity. But today, sans the famine threat, the body still has a link between stress and excess insulin production. Makes much sense to me.
Posted by: Lin, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 3:23pm; Reply: 28
The other thing I learned last year and have been doing is to soak grains over night before cooking them.  It removes an outer coating that can irritate the digestive track.  Brown Rice is excellent whole grain.  If the quinoa works you could rotate those grains.  Are you allowed potatoes or parsnips?  I've been enjoying parsnips instead of using potatoes, and add them to soup.
Posted by: Lin, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 3:25pm; Reply: 29
Forgot to say I've read same on stress and belly fat.  I think some types are more prone to this than others, I believe warriors are one of them.  Meditation?  Or something like that perhaps also would help.
Posted by: balletomane, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 3:40pm; Reply: 30

Thanks for your suggestions. I have been soaking my rice and quinoa overnight before cooking them. Works great.

Not sure if it's the warriors who are more prone. I would venture to guess gatherers instead. Meditation would definitely help as it deals with stress.
Posted by: balletomane, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 3:45pm; Reply: 31
An update: I have been upping my protein intake in the past two days (about 4 oz each meal) and also adding a bit of starch veggie (sweet potato) as my afternoon snack and both seem to have stabilized my blood sugar level and made me crave sugar less.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 4:10pm; Reply: 32
Glad you found osmething that works!
Posted by: SquarePeg, Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 7:35pm; Reply: 33
I forgot to mention to choose foods that have low Glycemic Index.  If you do SWAMI, it might help to emphasize the "nutrients that enhance the removal of Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE) molecules," which is what I've done.

I had breakfast before 7am and didn't eat lunch until 1:40pm.  I wasn't hungry, jittery, dizzy, weak.  That wouldn't have been possible for me three years ago.

(FYI, it was two slices of whole wheat spelt toast with almond butter, blueberries, carob powder, and dark chocolate chips.  I forgot the flaxseed.)
Posted by: balletomane, Thursday, December 16, 2010, 5:26pm; Reply: 34
Thanks for the advice! I'll try to tweak my SWAMI accordingly. I think I didn't check that because I didn't know what it meant.

Lucky you that you can have spelt toast. I can't have any type of bread except for Ezekiel, but it is unavailable in my country.
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