The Hangry Monster

Funny?  Yes.

True?  Yes.  I’m sure many of you can attest to the presence of the Hangry Monster in your own lives…a friend, your significant other, your children, the person staring back at you in the mirror…

But is this normal?  No.

We most often experience Hangry when our blood sugar drops rapidly, also known as a blood sugar crash.  Food companies producing commercials, like the one seen below, would have us remedy the situation by consuming what likely got us into trouble in the first place…

…foods that are high in refined sugar.  When have low blood sugar, often the result of a blood sugar crash, we often crave and subsequently consume foods and drinks that contain refined sugar.  The sugar we consume quickly enters our blood stream raising our blood sugar and restoring us to our sunny disposition.  But a few hours later your blood sugar is crashing again, the Hangry monster has again reared its ugly head, and you’re left searching for another quick fix.  This is the merry-go-round many find themselves on every single day.

Does this sound like your day?

When we choose cereal, toast, and english muffin, a bagel, pop tarts, a muffin, or many of the other grab-and-go breakfast options we often see on TV or on the shelves of the grocery store, we are unknowingly stepping onto the merry-go-round.  Each of these foods are a dense source of refined carbohydrates and have a powerful impact on your blood sugar.  As quickly as your blood sugar rises, it also plummets as insulin works to move this flood of sugar into your cells.

Enter the 10:30 snack attack.  It’s too early for lunch, but you know if you don’t have just a little something, you’ll never make it.  That’s your low blood sugar talking, so you reach for a snack.  Most of the convenience foods we squirrel away in our desks, or that populate the vending machines are, you guessed it, primarily refined carbohydrates.  Up, up and away…

Finally, it’s lunch time and you’ve got just enough time to get something quick and tasty.  What’s on the menu…a sandwich?  Bread, a staple of most lunch options, is refined carbohydrates.  Grabbing a salad?  Check out the dressing.  I spy sugar, did you?  Choose a low fat dairy like yogurt?  Not only is sugar used to replace the fat, but dairy itself causes an unusually dramatic insulin response.  Up and down we go again….

Most of us feel the most dramatic energy drop in the middle of the afternoon right around, you guessed it…2:30.  All of the blood sugar ups and downs have left us feeling drained and wanty.  Time for a coffee run?  Now, many of you are probably thinking, “Ha! I don’t put sugar in my coffee!  I use (enter name of artificial sweetener here).”  And, while you are correct the artificial sweetener has no impact on your blood sugar, click HERE to see what it does to your appetite!

At last the work day is done, its time to eat dinner and boy, are you starving!  All you want is something quick and easy for dinner, whether you make it yourself, you you order out.  Just like with breakfast, most of our pre packaged and prepared convenience food options are ripe with refined carbohydrates and hidden sugars.  One last big spike before bed.

But, here is the kicker.  How many of you feel the need to have a little something sweet at night – a little ice cream, a bite of chocolate, a cookie or two?  Guess what?  That’s not your blood sugar talking, that’s your addiction.  Addiction?  What addiction?  We are hard wired to be hopelessly addicted to SUGAR.  Whole sleeve of cookies gone before you knew what happened?  Bag of M&Ms seem to disappear?

The Need to Feed

Originally a survival mechanism, our need for all things sweet has become our downfall.  Just like with any other substance, the more we have, the more we want.  And when we try to fool our bodies with artificial sweeteners, our bodies will continue to seek what the taste buds promised.  This means you keep eating.

Read more about sugar and it’s addicting properties HERE.

So, how do we get off of this terrible merry-go-round of blood sugar surges and crashes?  The trick is never getting on.  Every morning we are presented with the opportunity to forego the merry-go-round and begin to break our sugar addiction.  It all starts with what we choose for breakfast.

Instead of reaching for a dense source of refined carbohydrates, choose a breakfast that includes a dense source of protein like egg whites, salmon, or other meat, as well as a healthy fat like the egg yolks, avocado, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.  Mix in some veggies or a handful of berries for a healthy, nutrient dense carbohydrate source, and you have yourself a balanced breakfast that will provide you with steady energy for a productive start to your day.  You’ll find that 10:30 will come and go, and your first pangs of hunger won’t show up until it’s nearly lunch time.  It is normal to go 5 – 6 hours between meals when those meals are balanced AND you’ve eaten enough.  Eating protein, fats, and healthy carbohydrates at every meal means no more starving and no more grabbing whatever looks good because you are too hungry to care.

Make lunch and dinner fit the same requirements (dense source of protein, healthy fat, lots of veggies) and you are well on your way to beating that Hangry monster for good!

To get your day started right check out try these fast and easy breakfast recipes:

Or, you can do like I do…take my dinner left overs and warm them up with scrambled eggs or put them over a giant bed of greens for a breakfast salad!

Need some more inspiration, check out these websites:

Join me on July 2nd @ 9:30 and July 20th @ 3:00 at Athleta in the Burlington Mall to learn more about how you can beat the Hangry Monster, balance your plate, and fuel your busy life!

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