Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I Can't Eat Normal

It’s always sort of been an issue finding food for me to eat. When I was little, I definitely ranked pretty high on the list of pickiest eaters. My parents did their best to feed me a varied diet and get me all the nutrition I needed. But ornery taste buds will only bend so far.

I remember one incident in particular. My mom used to make this amazing tuna casserole dish. I can still recall exactly how delicious it was. No matter how much she made it, I was happy as a clam to shove as much of it as I could into my stomach.

Until one day.

That awful day when I watched her make it.

My love for that tuna casserole dish was cracked like Humpty Dumpty and never put back together again.

Nowadays my taste buds aren’t confronted with my self-willed pickiness, but more along the lines of my body just saying no. I get a lot of shocked, concerned, pitied looks when I give the list of things I cannot consume.


First - No sugar. I have a condition called hypoglycemia. Which means I have a naturally low blood sugar, so when the after affects of a sweet treat kick in and I begin to feel that sugar-low, my blood sugar can quickly drop to unsafe levels. It also means I have to be careful to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Simply because my blood sugar drops faster than most people without hypoglycemia. Also, I can’t eat too much at once, and have to have about 4 to 5 smaller meals throughout the day (my day usually just consists of breakfast, lunch, a second, slightly smaller lunch, and then dinner).

For the most part, it’s only the artificial crap, which humans have grown to worship that my body cannot process correctly. However, even natural sugar on an empty stomach doesn’t go over so well.

Second - No white flour. Of any kind. The words unbleached or enriched on the label means automatic knock out for whatever food I happen to be craving.

A quick look into what that restricts is almost ALL normal pizza’s (and consequently pizza shops), all bagels, cookies, breads, pastas, and a whole lot of other things. The good news is I can still eat such products if they are made with either 100% whole wheat flour, corn flour, rice flour, oat flour, or some of their gluten-free counterparts.

Third - No dairy. I found this one out during my food experimentation stage. Sugar mainly affects my blood sugar, white flour however, affects not only the blood sugar, but since I can’t digest it correctly it has a nasty habit of bloating my stomach to twice or three times the size it’s supposed to be.

So as I was slowly learning what my body could process and what it couldn’t, I began to see the same pattern with dairy. So out the window it went.

Cutting dairy and white flour for bloating alone, may seem a little drastic. But, this is not your normal bloat. For one, it sticks around for about a week. Two, it hurts. Three, I’m not ready to look pregnant yet.

Fourth - Fried foods. I’m not too upset about this one, just because of the health benefits I get. But really, think about it, in today’s American culture, what the heck isn’t fried?

Fifth - Oranges and Bananas. Oranges, and any fruit related to the orange (not citrus in general, just the orange family), drop my blood sugar so violently, that if I eat it later that night I will be sent into a massive emotional breakdown accompanied by a foggy feeling in my head. If someone were to feel my hands and my head at this point, they would notice a strange sensation. My hands are quite warm (very odd for me) yet my forehead is practically freezing. After two accounts of this, I accepted that oranges were not in my body’s best interest.

The affects of a banana are just as severe but in a different way. The second I swallow a piece or bite of banana, my stomach begins to cramp and I feel extremely sick (the length of time this lasts depends mostly on how much I consume). Apparently there is a certain protein inside bananas that people can become allergic to.

… Lucky me.

Six - Sorbitol. You know all those products that say sugar-free? You’d think I’d be able to eat them. Nope! Apparently sorbitol is used in most of them, such as gum or in some fruit juices. It is a sugar substitute. The problem is, like white flour and dairy, my stomach begins to resemble a woman who’s been expecting for good long while. Since I don’t plan on that happening to me for a couple years, I figure it’s best to refrain from sorbitol.

Seven - Caffeine. Heartbreaking isn’t it? My body can’t process it easily, so it’s kind of like having your first cup of coffee each time I drink it. Sometimes I ignore this rule, but overall I’m better off without it.

All in all, I get along just fine. The restrictions don’t bother me so much. And as I mentioned before there are amazing health benefits. For one, due to forced portion size control and most sugared/fried/fatty foods being cut from my diet, it’s HIGHLY unlikely I will become overweight. Two, I’ve crossed out basically all “junk” food from my diet (a good portion of those foods aren’t good for my blood sugar, and cutting them all out just makes it easier). Three, because of these new limits, I’ve managed to incorporate a lot more variety into my diet.

Instead of getting all my protein from eggs and dairy, I have to eat more meats now (something I never did as a child).

Instead of getting fast food or pizza or some other classic American quick dish, I’m obligated to choose a healthier option or go for a foreign type of food.

This blog is about my life as an oddball hypoglycemic. Oddball because along with not being able to eat most normal foods, I often opt out for…well…some very strange substitutions. My own creations, variations of other’s work, all different sorts of things. I get a lot of weird reactions from people, but I don’t mind. I find it hilarious.

When I’m cooking (rather, what I like to call experimenting) or finding food that I can eat, I know that I’m going to like it. I don’t care what others are going to say about it, because it’s my own personal comfort food. Every dish I’ve ever created or distorted on a restaurant menu or a borrowed recipe has been absolutely delicious… Usually only to me though.


  1. Have you heard of the Hallelujah Acres diet - It is based on Genesis 1/29 - the diet God gave Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is mostly raw veggies 85% - raw fruit - only about 15% of the diet though. It includes nuts, seeds, quinoa, brown rice etc. for protein. When you check out the website, you can see thousands of testimonies of healings, of heart disease, cancers, MS etc. Also, videos on diet, recipes, exercise, Drs. who treat their patients with the diet. Nurses who are health ministers etc. Check it out as I have never heard of anyone being allergic to it, and you may see a lot of healing testimonies for hypoglycemia. I am Brian & Brandon's grandma.

    1. Nice to hear from you!

      No, I've never heard of that diet before, but it sounds almost exactly like mine as of right now. It sounds amazing.

      Hope you are doing well, and hope you enjoy the blog!

  2. Great post! You're a very good writer!

  3. Hi Hannah, it's Jaime Carroll from New Hope. I follow your mom's blogs faithfully and she blesses me so I figured I would check you out too! I am amazed at how similar our issues are. I also cannot drink milk or raw milk products but I can have anything the milk has been processed in such as yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc. i also cannot eat more than one banana because I get severe stomach cramps, sometimes from just one. I cut out refined sugar, white bread, pasta from my diet years and years ago, although I can have a little sweet here and there once in a while but for the most part I eat veggies, fruits, lean meats and nutty whole grain wheat breads, my new favorite is Ezekiel bread from trader joes. I've been eating their food pretty much exclusively for a while now mostly because I fell that the processed foods filled with chemical dyes and antibiotics among others played a huge part in my messed up digestive system. I have no idea why I'm overweight since I love to exercise and I eat very healthy compared to most but I know it is just how my body processes stuff. Whenever I have sugar I get the 'sugar blues' where others get energized, I crash. I could take a nap after eating sugar, white bread, pasta or soda so I stay away from all of those things. I know it's nothing like you have had to deal with but it seems I may be at the beginning stages of what you have. I also had pregnancy diabetes which pretty much states that I will have it again later on in life, and I lost my gallbladder when I was pregnant with trinity and the doctor said it didn't have anything to do with the foods I ate but that for some reason pregnant women often lose their galbladders for some reason. We live in a society sadly where you have to be your own advocate, where a doctor doesn't care what causes what's ailing you but will gladly write you a prescription to cover it, in turn then giving you more ailments for which you need more medication and the vicious cycle begins! I think I will make an appointment with my new doctor and have him test me for a range of things because it's about time I start knowing what is going on! Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hi Jamie!

      I commend you for your choices! All those sound great! Yea, with the sugar factor, my mom is the same way. She's not hypoglycemic but sugar puts her right to sleep. It's just the lack of having it all the time, the body no longer is accustomed to it. For me, all dairy is out. I tend to go for coconut yogurt, I was nervous at first in case I'd be able to taste the coconut (can't stand the stuff) but it's delicious!!

      Doctor's know a lot, but we know our bodies best. When I was dealing with the constant bloating a doctor just said "Well of course! if you eat healthy you're gonna bloat! I bloat all the time!" Which, yes, this is true, but he was a 40-some year old man and I (at the time) was an 18 year old girl. We approach the idea of a bloated stomach from very different view points. And I knew that what I was going through was more than just the "normal" veggie bloat.

      I do still eat some processed foods, but I make sure I know what's in them before just grabbing them off the shelf (there are some cereals a girl just can't live without you know?) But for the most part I try to eat as natural and fresh as I can. I wish I lived closer to a Trader Joe's or something like that, but I do just as well at my local Stop and Shop. It all depends on who you are, and how your body reacts.

      It's great to hear you've learned so much about yours! You're setting a great role model for your kids!! I hope you continue to visit the blog and keep sharing the tasty treats you find!

  4. Hi Hannah,

    Nice blog! I've been reading a lot in the past years about health and nutrition, and there's some awesome books you might be interested in checking out. They seem in line with the way you eat.

    -Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
    -The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

    And they both have blogs on their websites, it's good stuff.

    1. Hey Richard,

      Thanks for the read! Hope you enjoy and keep visiting.

      Glad to hear you've got an interest in this type of thing. I like it because it teaches me more about myself, but also there's always more to learn. Those sound great, I'm always looking for more information, thank you!