Saturday, March 28, 2009

guest blogger Mike talks about living near hypoglycemia

Introducing Filthy Sucre's second-ever guest husband, Mike! He's been mentioned on the blog many times as guinea-pig-in-chief, so today he's going to weigh in on what it's like dealing with someone else's high-maintenance blood sugar!

Living Near Hypoglycemia

Mike here, the Filthy Sucre husband and photographer, with my take on living near hypoglycemia.

I don't have to eat 5 times a day. I could eat a white bread, gummy bear, and chocolate fudge sandwich if I wanted to, and it wouldn't bother me - except for the taste, the stomach ache, and he eventual berating from my dentist. I can eat any and all Thanksgiving food without a thought, including all the cookies, brownies and snowball cherries.

I am not a hypoglycemic.

I know someone who is...and she lives with me and writes this delicious blog. Though she has her hypoglycemia largely under control now, she was much like Dr. Jekell/Mr. Hyde, only it was more like "Ms. I've Eaten/Ms. FEED ME NOW!" And very occasionally, she's still that way. Seriously...sometimes we have to drop everything so she can eat. There's the cranky impatience, the irritated mumbling, and the vicious grumbling. Sometimes I get exasperated about the situation, but I know that Addie can't help it and I try to be supportive by cooking dinner immediately. After all, low blood sugar - really, really low blood sugar - can cause migraine level headaches and nausea that can take a couple of days to work through. I don't want that for her.

I've never experienced hypoglycemia on that level, but I have had episodes.

The first time that I experiened a hypoglycemic reaction and knew what to call it was in college. I grew up on Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew, but gave up soda when I got to college - the carbonation made it hard to play French horn comfortably at all those rehearsals. One night I didn't have a rehearsal and somehow found myself with a Dr. Pepper in hand once more. Wow, did I notice the sugar! My heart was pounding, and I felt vaguely nauseous. And it was soooo sweet - unnaturally sweet. The kind of sickly sweet that only high fructose corn syrup can deliver. I had no idea what I'd been drinking all those years. It was a revelation. I've had nothing but diet cola since then.

Not all of us are hypoglycemics, but I'd imagine that nearly all of us have had the odd hypoglycemic moment even if you didn't realize it. If I have to, I can make it until 3 pm before eating lunch and be nothing but really hungry. Almost all the time. I can start a meal with dessert. Almost all the time. I can drink wine at a cocktail party on an empty stomach to be polite. Almost all the time.

But now I find that I don't really want to. Addie's diet-of-necessity has clearly affected my sensitivity to sugar. Not that I can't handle it in a larger sense, but I notice the effect it has on my body. And there are a lot of other good side effects to following a hypoglycemic diet: less sugar means fewer calories and the ability to keep weight down pretty easily; avoiding processed flour means more whole grains; fewer gummy animals and more real fruit means more vitamins and more fiber...the list goes on. I'm just plain healthier than I would be if my wife didn't have hypoglycemia.

When Addie decided to change her diet in earnest, it wasn't easy for me at first. She had to cut everything out and add things back in slowly to see what affected her and how. I grumbled and complained about losing my sourdough bread and potatoes and...well, the list goes on a second time. There was another option for me: I could get my own stash of food, but I decided that I wasn't going to pay for two loaves of bread and try to cook two different meals. I'm a lazy cheapskate that way. So I lived and learned...and now I like it.

I think the lesson here is that there is a sugary subset of food that no human - whatever the level of thier health - should consume: high fructose corn syrup, white flour that has all the nutrients stripped out, too many starcy foods, Thanksgiving and Christmas food...for the final time, the list goes on.

I feel better. And for that I have to thank Addie - the hypoglycemia monster that I love.

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