The Best Diet To Balance Blood Sugar + A One-Day Meal Plan To Get Started
If you get hangry and you know it, raise your hand. Hungry and angry's evil spawn is ubiquitous and growing. In all of human history, blood sugar problems are at an all-time high, with half of American adults and millions more worldwide being prediabetic or suffering from full-blown type 2 diabetes. This staggering statistic goes beyond just feeling irritable and craving sugary foods and carbs. These serious blood sugar problems are also the leading driving force of heart attacks, strokes and inflammation-spectrum problems at large.
Want to know something amazing, though? The overwhelming majority of the blood sugar issues we see in our world today are reversible, preventable, manageable problems! Wherever you are at on the insulin-resistant-inflammation spectrum, whether you have blood sugar crashes during the day or have a diagnosable metabolic syndrome or diabetes, the foods you eat wield amazing power over chaotic blood sugar. Every meal you eat will either feed health or feed disease. There is no neutral food, no Switzerland meal. Every time you sit down to eat is another opportunity to nourish your body with healing food medicine.
So what are your waiting for? Do something about it and get off the blood sugar roller coaster!
In my years of experience in functional medicine, I have homed in on the world's best foods to focus on in your week for healthy blood sugars. Here, my friend, is your blood-sugar-balancing superfood grocery list and meal plan!
1. Healthy fats.
Your brain is comprised of 60 percent fat. When we rely on sugar for energy, we're depriving our body of exactly what it is made of, so get off this blood-sugar roller coaster and add more fat into your diet! Fat is the longest-lasting source of energy for you and your brain. Even as a baby, you relied on fat from breast milk for optimal brain development and energy. When looking for healthy fats, some of the best sources are coconut oil, salmon, and avocados.
When combined with other starchy foods, protein helps to slow the absorption of their sugars into your bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar balanced. Protein is best in the form of clean sources such as wild-caught fish or grass-fed beef. While protein is a great blood sugar balancer, make sure you don't go too high with your protein. High protein intake will cause your body to convert the protein you are eating into sugar through what's called gluconeogenesis. Shoot for 40 to 70 grams of protein per day, depending on your lean body mass.
3. Low-fructose fruits.
Sometimes you just want a sweet treat, so instead of turning to sugary foods or desserts, eat fruit that is low in fructose such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and kiwi.
4. Leafy greens.
Since starchy vegetables loaded with carbohydrates are easily turned to glucose in the body, it's important to stick with nonstarchy vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard. These low-carb greens have been shown to actually lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, they provide your body with a ton of B vitamins and folate, which will help with methylation and opening up detox pathways.
Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties and ability to relieve stress and balance hormones. Your hormone cortisol provides your body with glucose by tapping into your glucose stores in from your liver. When your cortisol is always high, though, your body continuously produces glucose, creating increased blood sugar levels. So incorporating these various herbs and plants into your diet will provide your hormones the added boost it needs to level out.
Including specific spices in your pantry can not only add a burst of flavor to all of your recipes but contribute to lowered blood sugar. Studies have shown that a regular consumption of cinnamon, even in small amounts, can actually lower blood sugar. Additionally, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are essential for reducing inflammation, which can perpetuate insulin resistance.
Your One-Day Blood Sugar Bliss Meal Plan:
Breakfast: Morning Adaptogenic Coconut Refresher
This smoothie will have you starting your day feeling balanced and energized.
- 1 cup coconut milk (lite and full-fat both work fine)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup frozen organic blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries
- ½ teaspoon each schisandra and rhodiola
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Combine ingredients in blender, blend, and enjoy!
Lunch: Grass-Fed Burger Salad
Grass-fed beef provides all the protein you need to stabilize your blood sugar. Serve this over a bed of your favorite greens and topped with a bunch of super-food fixings for a power-packed lunch.
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 bunch each spinach, kale, and arugula
- ½ cup reishi mushrooms
- ½ organic white onion, diced
- 1 whole avocado sliced
- Himalayan sea salt to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
- Organic ketchup
- Organic mustard
- Form beef into patties and season with garlic and salt to taste.
- Cook over skillet with preferred cooking oil or grill to desired doneness.
- While burgers are cooking, sauté mushrooms and onion together in a medium skillet.
- Place greens in a bowl and top with burgers, mushrooms, and onions. Serve with ketchup, mustard, and sliced avocado.
Dinner: Turmeric + Coconut Fish Curry
The healing benefits of this dish will be amplified with the addition of inflammation-busting turmeric. All you need to do is add in your favorite white fish!
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- ½ shallot, chopped
- Juice of half of a lime
- 1 pound wild-caught white fish
- Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large pot.
- Add in garlic and shallot and sauté until cooked.
- Add in coconut milk and water and bring to boil for 3 minutes. Add in turmeric and bay leaves.
- Add in broccoli and carrots, boil for 2 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
- While broth is simmering, sauté fish in skillet until cooked.
- Add in fish to broth and let simmer for another few minutes.
- Serve over cauliflower rice with lime juice and cilantro.
Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, D.C., is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He has holds a level 2 Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) certification. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Cole specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and bestselling author of Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and the New York Times bestseller Intuitive Fasting.