I have been receiving e-mails and posts on Facebook asking about grains… What are they? How much can someone with hypoglycemia have, if any? This subject, like hypoglycemia, can cause concern and confusion.
So for answers I called on the latest addition to our panel of experts, Dietitian/Nutritionist Alix B. Landman, RD, MPH, CDE, of Landman & Associates, Inc. (Please visit her website at www.nutritionsmarts.com.)
1) Hypoglycemia: what kind of carbohydrates are acceptable?
All whole grains that are starches are good to eat. Some examples of whole grain varieties are whole brown rice, millet, quinoa, kasha or buckwheat, whole grain barley, whole grain rye, whole grain spelt, kamut, and teff. Many of these can be found at natural food stores and how to prepare them on YouTube or at online recipe sites. It is important to always eat these whole grain starches along with a protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, pork or beef, and a vegetable such as green beans, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, or a salad. This combination will keep the blood sugar better balanced and prevent it from dropping, leading to a hypoglycemic event.
2) Can someone please tell me if barley is okay to eat? I have read so many conflicting articles. Ate some today and am a little nervous?
Barley is fine to eat but, as mentioned above, please eat any type of starchy food–which barley is–with a protein and a vegetable. There are two main types of barley. Pearled barley is commonly found in the supermarket and is typically used in barley mushroom soup. It is refined, has less fiber and can raise blood sugar quicker than its whole grain version. Whole grain barley can be found in a natural food store.
3) Can someone who has hypoglycemia eat brown rice pasta?
Yes, you can have this type of pasta. As mentioned above, please make sure it is accompanied by a protein and a vegetable at the same meal. It is all about the meal mix, meal regimen and tailoring the diet to your caloric needs.
4) How much grain can someone with hypoglycemia consume?
The amount of whole grains at a meal can vary–1/2 cup, 1 cup, 1.5 cups–with the protein and vegetables. It depends on the activity level and, again, the meal mix, meal regimen and tailoring the diet to your caloric needs.
Some other thoughts and suggestions to ponder…
- Have you heard the phrase… “One man’s food is another man’s poison?” Meaning, it is crucial to “individualize” your diet to meet your specific needs! That is accomplished by working with your doctor/nutritionist/dietician to design a program that fits your particular requirements and takes into consideration your weight, size and symptoms.
- Keep a diet/symptom diary. Check out our website at www.hypoglycemia.org, and click on “Diet Suggestions” for complete details. Remember that a diet diary is your personal blueprint, a clear overall view of what you are eating, digesting and assimilating. It can be the first indicator that something is wrong and, perhaps, an inexpensive way of correcting a very simple problem.
- If you have been on the basic hypoglycemia diet but symptoms seem to be getting worse instead of better, ask your doctor to check for food allergies or food sensitivities.
- Remember to drink plenty of water, watch your fruit consumption and dilute fruit juices, but preferably eat the recommended whole fruit instead–apple wedges, orange slices, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe…all in moderation.
- Don’t be alarmed at all the foods you cannot eat. Instead focus on all the foods you CAN eat…there are plenty!
- Preparation is the key…plan your meals and snacks in advance for a successful diet and a healthier YOU!
Thank you to everyone who reaches us through e-mail, WordPress and Facebook. I hope that by sharing our experiences–whether challenges, triumphs, mistakes or successes–we all gain inspiration to push forward on the road to recovery!
Here’s to your health,