Are you feeling fit at the beginning of the day, but find you’re soon running out of gas? You may have the mid-day blahs, and it may be because of what you are eating.
The blahs. They can strike any time, but are most commonly seen around 10:30 in the morning, or in mid-afternoon. On night shifts, the worst time seems to be between 4 and 7 in the morning. Part of the reason for this is the body’s own internal clock, which regulates the flow of insulin, and thus blood sugars.
Exactly what is blood sugar (also known as blood glucose)? This is the level of glucose (sugar) available in your blood stream and is the primary source of energy for your body’s cells. Low blood sugar is known to make us tired, and naturally tends to happen at about 3:30 in the afternoon. However, often the problem is induced simply by eating the wrong foods. A breakfast of sweet juice, a Danish, a muffin, or toast with jam may help us wake up by quickly elevating our blood sugars. But, after a couple of hours these simple carbohydrates have dissolved from the stomach and have been burned off in the blood stream, meaning that, in automotive terms, our tank is empty. Because hunger levels are high, the temptation is great to reach for sweets instead of protein during the coffee-break and at lunch time. Once in the bloodstream, the sugars and starches in these foods cause the pancreas to secrete extra insulin.
This makes the blood sugars swing low again, and making a person feel tired, thus perpetuating the desire for a quick fix from the cafeteria or restaurant. On the other hand, one need not be a slave to the donut truck or the muffin trolley. Simply by changing the order of foods ingested, we have the power to stabilize our energy levels.
Here’s an action tip:
For breakfast and lunch eat lots of protein, while reducing the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates consumed. At breakfast, replace the jams with peanut butter, and the white starchy breads with the high fiber variety. Have a bran cereal or oatmeal, as the fiber helps to moderate the rate of absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. Drink milk, tomato juice, or grapefruit juice to lessen sugar loads. For snack time, have an apple instead of a honey-bun. At lunch, reach for protein foods such as beans, cottage cheese, fish, chicken breast, or lean beef. Avoid sweet desserts. For dinner, you can go easier on the protein, have lots of vegetables, and have your desserts with a clear conscience.
Remember, you are what you eat, so fight the blahs with the cordon bleus.