A tough time falling asleep
Waking up in the middle of the night
That energy dip in the middle of the day
And those cravings we all fall prey to…
These are all possible signs your body is having a tough time dealing with blood sugar spikes and drops.
But since we all succumb to those primal urges built into our system that make us need food now…
How about we find healthy replacements that don’t hurt us as much as the vending machines, packaged products or fast food stores?
This case study found “that the implementation of the dietary regimen successfully reduced the need for headache-related pain medication by at least 70% when compared to pre-treatment levels”
Before we get started these are some great guidelines:
– Avoid all cheap oils like vegetable oil
– Remember to soak your nuts to remove the antinutrients they have in them and make them more digestible
– The key here is keeping carbohydrate full foods low, this includes grains and fruits even dried fruits
– Always drink water first and foremost when hungry because thirst is often mistaken as hunger right up until kidney failure
– Use raw ingredients not bleached, roasted, fried, candy coated etc.(They add to the body’s load of stress)
– Dried fruits are higher in carbohydrates so intake needs to be monitored
– Nuts and seeds are higher in proteins and fats which makes them ideal for maintaining blood sugar as simple snacks
– Use exercise to deplete the sugars in your muscles so that the sugars in your body have somewhere to go instead of creating fat and hurting the brain
So let’s get going.
Remember, as I always recommend reminding yourself…
Listen to your body and what it says about individual foods and their proportions.
1. Power Balls
Power balls are super easy and can basically be made with any nuts, seeds or dried fruits.
The key is keeping simple carbohydrates low and having a fair amount of proteins and fat for long smooth energy while still providing nutrients.
The principle is simple, you take chewy sticky ones and combine them with dry pieces of others.
Sometimes a food processor works, other times just chopping up and mashing works great.
My favourite is:
– Cocoa/Cacao powder or paste
– Hemp seeds
– Chia seeds
– Vanilla extract
Seed the dates and mash them up.(Use only enough to give a small amount of sweetness to the balls as too many dates make for a high sugar snack)
Soak the cashews for 6-8 hours to make them softer and more digestible by the body.
Soak the chia seeds for an hour with barely enough water so that they swell up a little and release their jelly.
Chop up cashews, mix the vanilla and chia together then mix in the date mush, hemp seeds and cashews.
Mix well and roll into bite size balls.
Top with some cocoa powder or you can melt raw cocoa paste into the recipe itself.(Covering in coconut flakes works great too for an evening snack without the burst of energy of cocoa)
Other options to include are:
Macadamia nuts, almonds, almond butter, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, poppy seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, coffee beans(careful)
2. Trail Mix
This is a no brainer.
Head over to a good organic sourced nuts, seeds and dried fruits store and mix and match to taste.
The best thing to do here is to “feel” what your body needs.
Feel a yes and feel a no to different nuts and seeds.
Just be careful with too many dried fruits as they are high in sugar and we tend to have a higher craving towards them because of it.
My favourite mix right now is:
Cashews, goji berries, golden berries, cacao nibs, green raisins(they aren’t covered in cheap oils) and pumpkin seeds
It’s inexpensive and easy to make your own healthy versions of, just watch for overdoing the dried fruit.
If you’re getting tired after them, change up the ratios.
3. Apple Pie Filling
I love this recipe and originally found it in the book Spot On Nutrition by Andrew Johnston.
It’s fairly simple but does require some cooking.
It completely makes up for it in taste.
– Apples(green are lowest in sugar)
– Coconut oil
– Great lakes gelatin
Options depending on your sensitivities(and tastes) include butter and honey/maple syrup
I don’t use any amounts in these recipes because I typically go by taste and they are tough to mess up.
Plus if you do mess them up it’s a great reason to make another batch and eat them both.
I start by coring and peeling the apples, saving the peels on the side of my baking tin since I don’t like them mixed in with the meat of the apple but love to eat the peels in this recipe.
Next I cut up or grate the apple in the tin and in a separate pot I melt down the coconut oil and mix with the cinnamon(I use a lot of cinnamon), honey, maple syrup and stevia.
Pour them over the apple and pop them into the oven.
When the apples start to release their juices I pour the great lakes gelatin into the tin and mix it all together so the gelatin gets into the whole dish while keeping the peels in one section as they have a different texture.
I usually let it bake until it’s juicy but not too soft as I like some crunch to my apples.
Once cooled this can be refrigerated for a delicious bite size jello snack that is absolutely full of nutrients.
The cinnamon, coconut oil and gelatin help regulate the sugars from the apples and sweetener but it is still a good idea to use a minimal amount of sugars in this unless you are training hard and your muscles need them.
4. Chia Seed Pudding
I love this pudding!
It goes great with so many different nuts, seeds, berries and fruits.
But of course we want to keep blood sugar stable to give us that nice smooth hummm of energy throughout the day.
The base of this is really simple.
It’s just chia seeds with water or a nut milk.
Lately my bodies loving cashews so I simply soak the cashews for 6-8 hours or overnight, then blend them with some water and bam you have cashew milk.
Some people strain out the bits of cashew but I just blend it more and love the nuttiness and nutrients.
Also if I want straight cashew milk I just add a little stevia, honey and vanilla extract to the blender and you have a delicious drink in minutes.
But back to the recipe.
Take some chia seeds and mix them with a little water.
They will swell up and release a gooey jelly like substance.
The more water the more they will swell up to a certain point after which it will just become more watery.
I usually let them sit in this water for about 1-3 hours depending on what i’m doing but it’s also possible to just throw the milk in with the chia seeds and some berries, pop them into a good glass tupperware(not plastic) and take with you to go.
But that’s really it.
Just the chia seeds with water(or milk) makes a pudding, then based on your taste buds and desires you can add more to it.
My favourite mix right now is:
– Cashew milk
– Chia seeds
– Cocoa paste
– Vanilla Extract
I make the cashew milk, add vanilla, cinnamon, honey and stevia and blend.
Then take that mix and stir in chia seeds and let sit for 1-3 hours.
Throw in a few blueberries and you’re done!
5. Sardines and avocado
This recipe like most of the others came from my laziness and desire for a quick snack that keeps my body happy and satisfies my mouth.
– Ripe avocado
– BPA free wild canned fish
– Sea salt/celtic salt/himalayan salt
Just mash up the avocado, and fish together.
Right now I really like wild pink salmon and herring fillets.
Then give it a squirt of lemon and add salt and pepper to taste.
It takes a minute or two and adding the lemon to the avocado keeps it from getting dark so it can stay for longer.
Again, notice the theme here, everything is a mix of protein and fat with a little bit of carbs to keep our tongue happy.
Just focus on healthy sourcing of the foods like making sure you get wild and organic ingredients.
6. Nut butter and apples(or celery)
Do I have to say more?
Its an old snack with a new spin on it because we have a huge influx of different nut butters in the last few years.
Of course you can always go with the healthier and more inexpensive route.
Simply buy your own nuts wholesale, soak them for a few hours and dry, then throw them into a food processor until it turns them into butter.
But the recipe is simple.
Slice up some apples or cut up some celery sticks and dip them in your nut butter of choice.
Takes seconds to make and really puts a damper on cravings.
7. Coconut oil(or MCT oil)
This is a more recent method of maintaining our brains functioning and not spiking blood sugar.
MCT(medium chain triglyceride) oil is basically coconut oil since coconut oil has tons of medium chain triglycerides.
These are fatty acids that are very easily absorbed by the body that actually provide a fuel source for the brain.
Some people eat the oils straight(I only like coconut oil if it’s cool) or just add it to a food or drink.
MCT oil is often added to coffee to take the edge off the coffee and give it a longer smoother “burn.”
Just grab and go!
8. Homemade Chocolate
This is near and dear to my heart as a huge foodie and chocoholic.
What we are doing here is taking the raw ingredients that chocolate is made from(cacao) and melting it down with our favourite ingredients, then letting it cool in the fridge or really harden up in the freezer.
– Raw cacao paste
– Cacao butter
– Coconut cream(the hard one not can)
– Coconut oil
– Vanilla axtract
– Sweeten with (Honey, stevia, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses)
– Toppings to test include: Anything you can cover in chocolate
Now it is important to note that raw cacao paste is very strong. It’s like coffee and because of this we want to dilute it down and mix it with other things like cacao butter, coconut cream and coconut oil.
The other main ingredients are to sweeten and provide more layers of flavor.
Then of course just add whatever topping you like.
So you take a little pot, and melt together the top 4 ingredients, feeling and testing for ratios.
I usually find a tablespoon of cacao paste is good for 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of coconut cream and 2 tablespoons of cacao butter.
Once they are melted, let them cool a little bit and add whatever sweetener you have on hand.
I usually grab a muffin tin and add toppings in the individual trays of whatever I have available which can include:
– Peppermint oil
– Hemp seeds
– Puffed grains
– Protein powder or collagen
Stir it a little in each individual tray and pop it into the fridge if you like it soft or freezer if you want it hard.
The key with this one is experimenting around and finding your own mix of flavors that satisfies you but with the base ingredients it creates a steady supply of energy and beats those cravings because of the chocolatey goodness.
It’s hard to pass up berries.
We evolved with them and have eaten them for thousands if not millions of years.
They are amazing sources of nutrients and depending on the kind are actually very slow sources of carbohydrates.
This means they give our body energy and nutrients but wont give us so much that our body has to compensate and cause a fatigue rollercoaster we usually experience when eating poor processed foods.
Obviously, wild and organic or biodynamic sources of berries are the best.
It’s simple just grab them and go or add them to some of the recipes above.
Blueberry, raspberry and blackberry are safe bets but strawberry can be high in sugar content because of all of our agricultural hybridization techniques that just want more flavor.
10. Avocado Pudding
Another delicious go to when you have a chocolate craving.
I haven’t experimented with a vanilla or berry pudding with avocado but it may be possible.
The key here is to use ripe avocados.
It’s simple, just blend the avocados with your sweeteners and flavours of choice.
Use a nut milk, nut butter or coconut milk/cream for more rich fat and slower sugar spikes.
My favourite recipe right now is:
– Coconut cream
– Cashew milk
– Maple syrup
– Vanilla Extract
– Cacao Paste
Melt down and mix all of the ingredients except avocado, dont boil them!
Then simply peel the avocados and pop them into a blender or food processor, add the melted mix and blend to desired texture.
You can eat warm or cool and serve.
It goes great with berries added in.
And that’s it!
It’s simple and easy and studies show just how important it is for our brains to get steady energy without the spikes that are caused by most processed foods.
Surprised you were never educated about maintaining blood sugar by your healthcare provider?
It is a key factor in healing our brains and guts so that migraines cant stay around.
Check out our 10 steps to migraine health program to learn how much more you could be doing to heal right now!
Holistic Health Practitioner
Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.