In some ways I am fortunate that I have a reaction to sugar when I haven't eaten it in awhile. During the entire movie, my heart pounded and I felt a little shaky and broke out in a sweat. It's a familiar feeling I get when I eat something sugary and rich on an empty stomach, and indicates to me that my insulin level has just spiked. It wasn't until we were in the restaurant later that my body felt totally normal again. I ate a tuna sandwich (more wheat) and was just fine after that. The tendency toward diabetes runs in my family, and I have little doubt that if I ate a normal American diet, by this time in my life I would be either pre-diabetic or completely so. My grandfather died of it at 62, and my mother developed Type II diabetes in her forties. One of my younger sisters takes insulin shots for it.
The mechanism of how insulin spikes work is this:
In normal physiology, the body is able to balance the glucose (sugar levels) in the bloodstream. When a person eats, and glucose levels start to rise, the body signals the pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin "unlocks the door" to cells in the body so that the glucose can be used for energy. When blood sugar levels drop, insulin production decreases and the liver begins producing glucose.Apparently when my blood sugar levels begin to drop, they don't stop dropping until I become mildly hypoglycemic and I experience that feeling described above. Once I return to eating a diet low in simple carbohydrates, I don't get those uncomfortable feelings when I eat. It's a good way to keep myself on the path of eating what agrees with me. When I've had my fasting blood sugar checked, it's always been within normal limits, but I suspect that there is some imbalance in either my pancreas or my liver that doesn't work as it should. I could worry about it, but I've found that if I am cautious about what I eat, it doesn't happen at all. Every once in awhile I guess I need to remember that. The cookie did its work.
There is another side effect of falling off the wagon: I begin to crave sweets. It's impossible for me to know if this is physiological or completely emotional, but those cream puffs caught my eye and I decided to take a picture of them since I wouldn't allow myself to have one. I imagined biting into it, feeling the creaminess of the chocolate and the soft whipped cream inside the shell... ooohhh. Heaven for a little while. Then I remembered how I would feel afterwards, and I was able to resist.
The other trick I have is to carry some raw almonds and walnuts in a little baggie inside my purse or pocket, so that I can have something that takes away any hunger and is good for me. I never have reactions from them, no matter how hungry I am. Within a few minutes, my hunger is gone and I feel just right. I had forgotten to put any in my pocket for the movies, which is why this whole treadmill has started again. It's important for me to remind myself that the craving will diminish as long as I don't indulge again any time soon.
I don't think I had any reaction to the wheat itself. I read the book Wheat Belly (as opposed to Beer Belly) and have found it true that my belly has diminished in size over the past three months. I am no longer dieting per se, but my body seems to be redistributing my fat deposits. I keep being surprised when I put on a favorite pair of pants and find that they are loose, although I haven't lost any more weight. The only thing I have changed in these past three months is to stay away from wheat and sugar.
There is one other rather interesting side effect: my mood is much improved, and it's the depths of winter right now. Other than the Christmas season when I was robbed (I wrote about it here), I've been in a really good mood. Could it be the diet? If you read the book, the author swears that your mood will improve if you get rid of wheat. I don't have any way to know how I would be feeling otherwise, which is always a problem if you try to figure out what changes what. I'm also possibly susceptible to suggestion. Who knows? I'll take it, whatever the reason.
Since my little foray into wheat and sugar, the only thing I still notice, a week later, is that my eye tends to drift toward the dessert tray at the coffee shop a little more often. I know that will eventually diminish, unless I indulge again. Then I remember that awful shaky sweaty feeling, and that helps me decide to look at the pretty clouds in the sky outside, instead.