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Anxiety Relief, Blood Sugar, & Dining Out



Eating out is one of my favorite things to do because I love to have fun with trying new foods.  I also travel quite a bit, so eating out is often my only option.  On the road I will always stop at the local grocery store to stock up on snacks, smoothie ingredients, and water.  But how boring is that do to for all meals?  BIG TIME BORING!  I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have worked well so I can eat on the road and still have anxiety relief.

There is no doubt, eating out exposes me to a lot of temptation.  High carbohydrate rich food and drink are the yummiest delights on earth; however they are the worst thing for a hypoglycemic, adrenal fatigued, and anxious person.  Every restaurant I go seems to have tempting treats like home made Dutch apple pies, cocktails, triple baked cheesy potatoes, and creamy broccoli soup.

How do I avoid temptation? I DON’T!  Of course I have to watch what I eat in order to keep my blood sugar balanced. When I was really, really weak and the panic attacks and anxiety were 24/7, I couldn’t have anything that remotely looked like dessert or starch.  But as I rebuilt my adrenals and ate a blood sugar balanced diet, I could have “treats” now and again.

These are my (Jen Crippen) dining out blood sugar balancing for anxiety relief tips:

1. I pick ONE treat for the meal. It’s either the sweet potato, margarita, or flourless chocolate cake. Not two of them, not a bit of each – ONLY ONE.

2. If I plan on picking a treat for dessert, I choose a very heavy fat and protein entree.  Some examples:  10 ounce steak with extra steamed broccoli, salmon with grilled vegetables, baked chicken with green beans.

3. To add fat, I usually put butter on steamed non-starchy vegetables. I don’t add more if the veggies already come with olive oil or butter already.  Acceptable veggie sides are: zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, spinach, and cauliflower. Not acceptable sides are: potato, corn, white rice, couscous, and pasta of any type. Sides acceptable if they are the one “treat” chosen for the meal: carrots, beets, sweet potato, quinoa, wild rice, squash (butternut, acorn, etc.).

4. I always add a salad with my meal. I order it with no croutons and 99% of the time choose plain oil and vinegar as a dressing. Sometimes I only asked for lemon wedges and dress with that. Most salad dressings are full of hidden sugar, especially Asian and honey mustard types.  I also ask the wait staff if I can add avocado and/or egg. More fat and protein!

5. Watch the sauces and marinades! These delicious meal additives are flavorful, but they are full of SUGAR.  They are also sources of hidden allergens like soy, corn, and wheat – all of which I choose to avoid.  I will ask the wait staff about the ingredients and if I choose them with my order, I have it “on the side”.

6. One of my favorite things are soups. I love them all!  Unfortunately I rarely can have them when ordering out.  They are thickened with wheat or corn starch. Plus, they have high sugar and low protein.  When I get a soup craving, I make it at home.

7. Let’s talk alcoholic drinks.  Some people will shun me for even considering the acceptability of having one as a hypoglycemic / insulin resistant person.  But reality is, 100% avoidance is not always reality.  So, if I choose to have a drink – I will have ONE.  My body prefers margaritas, the ‘ol traditional lime ones.  No fancy umbrella or tropical drinks for me, WAY to much sugar.  I also can do a glass of wine, usually red. Red is typically lower in sugar than white.  Because alcohol is so hard on a hypoglycemic and adrenal fatigued body, I have a drink once every few months. I know when I’ve overdone it or chosen the wrong type of drink because the next day I will feel anxious.

8. God put taste buds on our tongue that sense sweet for a reason!  To avoid all sweets for the rest of my life isn’t a reality.  If I avoid all sweets, over time I will crave them and fall off the wagon in a very damaging way to my body. When I choose dessert as my ONE treat for the meal, I also have a strategy.   Fact: all desserts are full of sugar.  However, there are a few “better” options.  Cheesecake, flan, custard, flourless cake, ice cream, and tapioca pudding are a few I will consider.  To lessen the sugar blow, I will share with someone else and just have a few bites.

These are a few of my tips for eating out.  It took a lot of experimenting and listening to my body to figure out what worked for me.  You’ll have to do the same. Have fun and experiment!

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