“I think the biggest difference is that I’m a nicer person to be around.”– Steve Kirsch
Today we have another guest poster. I would like to now introduce Steve Kirsch.
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What makes you “Hangry”?
The other night I mentioned to my wife that Dr. Horvitz had asked me to do a guest blog post for his Spring Challenge. We started talking about what changes I’d seen after five years of clean eating. Honestly, they were too many to list, but the one that kept coming up? No more “hangry” episodes. Clean food made me nicer. Really.
The Urban Dictionary says that the definition of “hangry” is: “The state of being so hungry that it has become infuriating. A hybrid of hungry and angry.”
Once upon a time, I was the poster boy for hangry.
As Dr. Horvitz will teach you, you can improve your health, and your life, by eliminating sugars and grains from your diet, eating only real (i.e., non-processed) food and generally cleaning up your eating: improved body composition, better HDL, drastically lower triglycerides, renewed energy, etc. But the benefit that dwarfs all others for me is better insulin management.
Here’s what happens when you eat a “typical” American breakfast of cereal, toast and fruit juice, or when you eat that grain-filled “energy bar” as an afternoon snack: sure, you quell your hunger and its accompanying low blood sugar for a short time. But then, almost as quickly as you eliminated that hunger by spiking your blood sugar with a grainy feast, your blood sugar then crashes and you go from satisfied to starving in what seems like a nanosecond.
Spikes and crashes, followed by more spikes and crashes. That’s what my body’s insulin management looked like when I was a near-vegetarian, eating tons of pasta, cereal and bread. 10:30 a.m. was cranky time. So was 3 p.m. At those points of the day, my most recent meal was a sad distant memory, and unless I shoved a snack into my gaping maw in short order, I was destined to be a serious crab until I ate.
“You haven’t eaten anything in a while, have you?” my extremely tolerant wife would ask me back then. That was her polite way of informing me that I was, once again, acting like a jerk. And it was all about insulin management — very bad insulin management.
I’ve never been diabetic, not even pre-diabetic, but when I regularly ate grains, my insulin would spike hard, and the ensuing insulin crash brought on the madness of being “hangry.”
The solution was a little like the old Henny Youngman routine: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” “Well don’t do that!”
In 2010, I stopped eating the old way, and started a new way. I had joined a CrossFit gym, begun to get myself into the best shape of my life, and I also stopped eating grains and food with added sugar. Suddenly my meals were full of high-quality animal protein, good fats and lots of vegetables. Just as suddenly, I was able to go hours and hours without eating. I stopped carrying around a stash of energy bars to feed my sugar/grain habit and I gleefully set forth into the world of proper hunger/insulin management, and downright sparkling moods.
Fat and protein keep you full. High-quality fats and proteins keep you full and healthy. With my hunger properly satiated, my insulin levels stopped going up and down like a trip on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
I stopped acting like a jerk between meals. I also lost body fat, generally got healthier and felt better than I had in many years. But really, thanks to clean eating, I became a nicer person to be around. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of positive change.
Thank you Steve!
It’s funny that I never thought of bring “hangry”, but I know many people who get this way. The beauty of it is that it does not have to be that way as ThePaleoDrummer stated so well.
So my mini-challenge to you today:
Do you get “hangry” episodes?
If so have you learned what you can do to fix or eliminate them?
Comments welcome below!