What is a diet? And what are the main reasons for following one? 

By definition, the word “diet”  refers to the food and drinks that are regularly consumed by a person. However, the word diet is also associated with a restriction of calories, carbohydrates, fats or other nutrients in order to achieve a goal, which is frequently related to health or weight loss. 

Common reasons for following a diet include:

  • Weight management 
  • Ethical / ecological considerations
  • Wellbeing & focus 
  • Hormonal balance & skin care
  • Lifestyle 
  • Longevity
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Increased energy throughout the day
  • Disease prevention 

Which are the most popular diets? Which benefits do they have?

There are many diets out there and we know it can be confusing at times. In this section, we will give you an overview of some popular diets and their benefits when it comes to keeping your blood glucose stable.

  • Intermittent fasting is a great way to increase your metabolic flexibility and therefore improve your glucose control. However, we recommend to do this diet along with a balance diet and skipping dinner rather than breakfast. The risk of the yoyo effect is also part of this diet if you break the diet incorrectly. 
  • The Mediterranean diet is a great approach to improving female health. It’s a good dietary approach to improve your glycemic control. The adherence to the Mediterranean diet seems to have a protective role in glycemic control, reducing HbA1c, and lowering fasting levels in addition to decreased insulin resistance. However, if not  followed properly, it may lead to weight gain from eating more than the recommended amount of fat (e.g. in olive oil and nuts). 
  • Intuitive eating may help you managing your eating hours and avoid overeating and sweet cravings and as consequence can help you reach a stable blood glucose.
  • Calorie counting may help you to avoid calorie-dense foods such as sweets and snacks, lose weight and as consequence it  may improve your glucose metabolism. However, balance is key in calorie counting, and not every low-calorie diet is healthy and provides your body with all the nutrients it needs.
  • The ketogenic diet (Keto) is a type of diet that pushed your body to the limits. It has a fast and noticeable effect on body weight, fasting glucose levels and fasting insulin levels. But in the long term, it can lead to an increase fat intake, which may have unintended consequences. Also the yoyo effect is quite common once you stop following the diet.
  • A healthy vegan diet may help you manage your blood glucose  better. However if you follow a vegan diet heavily based on processed foods, it can lead to deficiencies, increased fat and sugar intake.

Which diet is best for stable blood glucose? 

Many of the diets we described above have benefits for controlling blood glucose levels, but all for different reasons. Some diets are generally more beneficial for stable blood glucose. It also needs to be considered that everyone reacts differently to different foods. 

To help you figure out which diet might work for you in the long term and support your health goals, we prepared a list of questions you can ask yourself as a preparation:

Why do I want to choose a diet? What’s my goal? 

Diets cannot be generalized, and everybody is unique in what their body needs. A diet that has proven to be good for some people may not have the same effect on you. Therefore, we cannot offer you a one-fits-all solution. Finding out how your body reacts to different foods and diets (e.g. by using a CGM and the Hello Inside App) may help you to find an approach that fits your body and lifestyle.

A very important point that is missing is the importance of breaking a diet to avoid the yoyo effect. The yoyo effect is a very common situation, in which people struggle to maintain the already achieved goal once the diet period is finished. This effect happens frequently after stopping to adhere to a very restrictive diet aimed at loosing weight, but it also affects your entire metabolism. Weight cycling, often referred to as yoyo dieting, is driven by physiological counter-regulatory mechanisms that aim at preserving energy, i.e. decreased energy expenditure, increased energy intake, and impaired brain-periphery communication.

What fits best to my lifestyle?

For deciding which diet suits your current lifestyle, you may ask yourself two questions:

Do I eat out often?

Eating out or ordering food frequently is not ideal for following most diets. You do not exactly know what you’re eating or how it was prepared. Eating outside generally tends to come along with high amounts of salt, sugar and fat. If you don’t have lots of home-cooked meals on a regular basis, you need to consider which diets allow you to follow this pattern, or if you want to switch your routines up a bit and try something new.

What’s the most important meal of the day for me?

Intermittent fasting may be a good option for those people that have a preferred meal. Ideally, you should choose having breakfast over having dinner, if possible.  Skipping breakfast has been associated with markers of impaired glucose metabolism, including elevated hemoglobin A1c, higher fasting plasma glucose and a higher rate of impaired fasting glucose.

How do my social factors influence my diet?

Social eating norms may be targeted to encourage healthier eating. Eating behaviour is strongly influenced by social context. We eat differently when we are with other people compared with when we eat alone. Our dietary choices also tend to converge with those of our close social connections.

Your level of activity and the behaviour of people around you also affects your diet choice. If you are an active person, your should avoid highly restrictive diets. Your body needs to be provided with carbs, protein and fats to ensure its best performance and recovery.  Intermittent fasting, mediterranean diet, intuitive eating and vegan diet may be an option as long they do not come along with caloric restriction. 

What’s compatible with my food choices and what’s available? 

When selecting a diet, you also need to consider what foods you have access to and what you like. Where you get your groceries and how you prepare them also affects the diet that may be most suitable for you.

If you like to cook, any diet type is perfect for you. The more you cook, the better for your overall health! For almost any diet it is good to know how your food is prepared and what it contains, to make sure you can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

If cooking is not so much your cup of tea, and you need fast and easy options available at all times, you may need to plan ahead depending on the diet you want to follow. However, by preparing snacks that go well with your chosen diet, you can still try out what works for you, even if you don’t have access to a kitchen all day.

Diets are something very individual. Maybe adhering to one specific diet helps you to reach your health goals, or maybe you find that you would rather be flexible with your approach to nutrition. Learn what works best for you and your body. You can discover what you really need and what’s best for your blood glucose by monitoring it with the Hello Inside app and a CGM.

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

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The New Year is a chance for us to reinvent ourselves. A chance to set new year’s resolutions. Leave behind your old bad habits and embrace a healthier, better and newer version of yourself for the year ahead. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

The hard truth of the matter is that despite our best intentions, hardly any of us manage to actually stick to the new year’s resolutions that we set out to achieve. In fact, studies have shown that over 90% of us fail to make them last. And most of us break them within less than a month.

We want to help you to not just repeat the same old resolutions, which are doomed to fail – but to make 2023 about a new year’s revolution to achieve the (health) goals you have been working on all this time.

In this article, we will:

  • Show you where you’re going wrong.
  • Give you some tips on how to set up realistic, achievable and sustainable new year’s resolutions that can really make a difference to you for the year ahead.
  • Show you how your blood glucose is a powerful metric for your overall health and progress.
  • Give you some ways to start.

Why do most resolutions fail?

Before you’ve even started trying to make lasting changes, your new year’s resolutions may already be doomed to failure by the way you set them up. Many of us are too ambitious with our goals, and don’t do ourselves any favors in the things we expect our minds and our bodies to achieve.

Beyond setting realistic resolutions, it’s also really important to bear in mind that as human beings, it takes quite a long time to adjust to new behavioral patterns and form new habits. It could take anywhere from 3 to 4 months of regularly doing something new like going to a gym before your body starts to see it as something essential and that can’t be missed. If you break a new habit within just a few weeks, it’s highly unlikely you’ll just be able to pick up where you left off later on.

Bearing these things in mind and being kind to yourself are the first steps towards creating new year’s resolutions that stick and will really put a smile on your face when you look back at all you’ve achieved next December. It’s time to say HI to sustainable new year’s resolutions.

The January Gym Rush Gym memberships tend to sky-rocket in the first few weeks of January, as newly supercharged health and fitness enthusiasts hit the machines to start working towards their new year’s resolutions. But as you’ll know if you’ve ever been to a gym in February, by the end of the month the enthusiasm has dropped off.

If your new year’s resolution is to go to the gym every day, you’re setting yourself up to fail. You will have days where you feel sick, where you don’t have time, or where you feel so exhausted that you just don’t feel like grabbing your gym bag and heading out into the cold. In the long term, none of that should stop you from getting fitter and healthier. But if you’ve broken your golden rule of going every day, you may suddenly suffer a huge drop in motivation when you realise you’ve broken your new year’s resolution and it’s not even February.

What’s the secret to making new year’s resolutions stick?

When setting goals, it’s essential to be really precise and specific about what you want to achieve. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”, or “I want to live a healthier lifestyle”. Actually work out exactly what you mean by that. How much weight do you want to lose? In what ways do you want to start living more healthily?

Having focus will help you to break down your resolutions into smaller, and more manageable steps such as gradually adjusting your diet, gradually increasing your exercise routine, and focusing on getting regular, consistent sleep to give your body it’s best chance of responding to and recovering from the new pressure you’re putting it under.

It’s also important to set milestones that you can use to measure your progress. For example, aim to lose half a kilo per week. If you miss that target, you can try to think about why that might be. Then make any further changes to keep you on track.

When making significant changes to your diet, exercise and routine, it’s absolutely essential that you maintain a healthy dialogue with your body. Keep checking how you’re feeling, not just how you’re looking. If you start to feel irritable, have problems sleeping, migraines or any other physical ailments, that could be your body trying to tell you that you’re pushing it too much.

 

Monitor the right indicators: The scales can only tell you so much about your progress. Weight loss or weight gain can be interpreted in many different ways, and may be misleading as a metric for your overall health. The most reliable way to check on how your body’s doing is by measuring your blood glucose using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), and checking the data through Hello Inside’s app. With a few tips and tricks, you can learn to keep your blood glucose levels stable and positively impact your sleep, fitness and overall health. Find out more about how Hello Inside can help you to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes here.

Making true changes to your physical appearance can take months, or even years. There is no safe and healthy way to fast-track your progress. Your body will reward you for your patience and consistency. That’s why it’s so important to create habits that you can stick to. Make commitments that are realistic within your existing lifestyle and circumstances.

What kind of new year’s resolutions are best for self-care?

Here are 6 key areas that you may want to focus on when thinking about the kinds of resolutions you want to set. All of these directly or indirectly influence your blood glucose levels, and therefore have a big impact on your short- and long-term health.

  1. Healthy eating – Your diet and nutrition directly affect your health, immune system and your blood glucose. Why not aim to eat more healthily by cutting down your sugar intake, your alcohol intake, or aiming to eat more vegetables and fibre?
  2. Exercise – Getting regular exercise is a great way to keep your heart and lungs healthy. It also keeps your blood glucose levels stable. Why not start out by aiming to do a certain number of steps a day, or even going for a short run or cycle once or twice a week? Once that feels like second nature, you can try to increase it!
  3. Sleep – There is no replacement for a good night’s sleep. Your body needs a consistent and generous sleeping pattern in order to recover from the stresses of the day and regulate your health and blood glucose levels. Why not aim to be in bed by a certain time every night and see how many other areas of your life improve?
  4. Relationships – Humans are social creatures, and the company you keep has huge implications for all sorts of things in your life. Having supportive friends and family around you can make a huge difference in achieving your goals. Why not aim to strengthen your existing relationships and bring more community into your life this coming year?
  5. Addictions – We all know how damaging certain habits and addictions can be. However, finding the strength to kick them once and for all can be hard. The new year can provide that opportunity. Do you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, have too much caffeine or order too many fast food deliveries? Why not take advantage of the new year to give these harmful habits up?
  6. Stress – Feeling stress is not just psychological, it’s also physical. Stress releases cortisol which increases your insulin resistance. This means your blood glucose levels will spike, affecting your mood, sleep, concentration span, and body weight. Why not make an effort to unwind and manage your stress better this year?

4 ideas for making your resolutions a revolution

As we’ve seen, the key to making new year’s resolutions that last is planning them properly and thoroughly. Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

1. Write down your resolutions – Putting them in writing will make them feel more real. Make sure you keep reminding yourself of what you’ve set out to achieve.

2. Share your resolutions with a friend – Nominate someone to hold you to account. This will help you to stick to them, even when the temptation not to is high!

3. Set milestones and check progress – Having a way to measure your progress towards your goals will help keep you on track and make any adjustments you need to make sure you achieve them. The Hello Inside app is a great companion to help you visualise your progress.

4. Be realistic and kind to yourself – You know yourself better than anyone else. You know what sounds achievable, and what doesn’t. Remember you want to have a good year, not one full of regrets, guilt and self-doubt if you set yourself up for failure.

So start the new year by saying HI to sustainable resolutions and setting realistic goals. Kick-start your self-care journey this year by getting the Hello Inside App and learn more about your body this upcoming year. Take out the guesswork and truly understand what “health” means for you!

And don’t forget – be kind to yourself, and keep showing up. Patience and consistency are the keys to making long-term changes to your health.


Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

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Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

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In this article, one of our dear users shares what she could learn from using the Hello Inside app. Martina’s story shows how individual our bodies react to diet and exercise, and she shared some of her most interesting insights with us.

Hello Inside: Dear Martina, can you tell us about how your journey with Hello Inside has started?

Martina: Shortly after I made the decision to understand my body even better, I already held the package from Hello Inside in my hands. I was very excited, but also a little nervous, because the sensor was attached to my upper arm with a small needle. The needle doesn’t stay in, but only a thin thread, but still I was skeptical about how this would work out. After carefully reading the instruction manual, I first cleaned my upper arm, checked the area for moles, and then I was ready to go. Wham! I pressed down the applicator (the one with the needle) and attached the sensor to my upper arm almost painlessly… almost, it tingled a bit at first. But this feeling disappeared relatively quickly, soon I no longer felt the sensor. Which makes sense, because the sensor is only the size of a 2-euro coin. After the sensor had calibrated itself within an hour, the four-week glucose journey could begin.

Why did you want to measure your blood glucose?

For a long time, I only knew continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) from people with diabetes. In recent months, however, I have heard more and more often that even healthy people can track their glucose metabolism – not only to prevent health risks, but also to get to know their own body better. I was also curious to see what I could learn from real-time and long-term monitoring of my own glucose levels about certain foods, sleep, exercise, stress, and my cycle.

What were your first questions when starting the programme? 

Is the sensor waterproof? Since I go swimming once or twice a week and wakeboarding from time to time, I didn’t want to limit myself in these activities. During the first swimming sessions, I wore a waterproof patch. Since this patch did not stick very well for me and came off relatively early, I simply left the patch off. The result: An hour in the water does not affect the sensor and even sauna visits without a patch are possible. What you should know, however, is that the adhesive of the sensor can loosen during longer water activities and thus also fall off at some point. I ended up using a tape that kept the sensor in place during sports activities. (Note from Hello Inside: We are currently looking for a supplier for Hello Inside patches, so you don’t have to organize patches yourself).

What was your biggest surprise? 

That was clearly my morning cocoa with oat drink. I did not expect such a high spike (peak = rapid increase in glucose level). I decided to not use cow’s milk for various reasons, but the oat drink apparently also has its downsides. At least for me. (Note Hello Inside: Many other users also report a strong increase in blood sugar when consuming oat drinks, even without added sugar).

For me, the journey into the world of milk alternatives was just beginning, because I did not want to stop with these results. So I bought all kinds of milk alternatives from pea drink, rice drink, coconut drink, almond drink to oat drink with zero percent sugar. Bottom line, the pea drink was my personal blood sugar winner. It has little impact on blood sugar due to its higher protein content and lower carbohydrate content. Coconut milk and almond milk only slightly elevate blood sugar and do not create a spike. The rice drink as well as the oat drink cause a relatively high and rapid glucose rise. The biggest surprise for me, however, was the oat drink with zero percent sugar. I really hadn’t expected a blood glucose value of 180 mg/dl (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Blood glucose spike after drinking oat drink without sugar

Which other insights about your diet could you gather during your time using Hello Inside? 

A pizza as well as pasta are known to be loaded with carbohydrates. One day I had a pizza and a chocolate pudding for dessert and had a glucose spike soon after (see Figure 2). Nothing surprising. On another day, I had carbonara with red wine, pistachio and vanilla ice cream and the blood glucose remained constant (see Figure 3). Initially, I thought this might be due to the cycle phase. On the other hand, upon closer analysis, I realized that while a pasta carbonara contains carbohydrates, it also contains a large amount of protein and fat (from egg, bacon/ham, cheese). The pistachio ice cream also contains quite a bit of fat… and then there’s the effect of the alcohol. So this combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates plus alcohol seems to have been okay for my blood sugar at first glance.

Figure 2: Pizza, chocolate pudding, etc.
Figure 3: Carbonara, red wine & ice cream

 

Hello Inside on alcohol and blood glucose:

At first glance, pairing alcohol with high-carbohydrate meals may look like the solution. The influence of alcohol in the form of wine, sparkling wine or spirits causes the blood sugar to drop sharply (or prevents it from rising sharply), which is due to the fact that the body wants to break down the alcohol as quickly as possible. The liver first tries to break down the alcohol and make it harmless to the body, but secondly, the liver makes sugar to release into the blood. Since the priority for the liver is to break down the toxin, it cannot release sugar into the blood in the same amount of time, which causes the blood sugar level to drop.

These soundlike very exciting observations and a few “aha” moments. You also said at the beginning that you wanted to know how your blood sugar is related to your cycle. What did you find out? 

It seems that my blood sugar is more stable during my luteal phase as well as my menstrual phase than during the proliferative phase. Since I ate the same breakfast every day, consisting of gluten-free oats, almond paste, wild blueberries and date syrup, I could see clear differences here. During my luteal phase, this breakfast had hardly any effect on my blood sugar. On the other hand, during my proliferative phase, I could see a stronger increase in blood sugar. But to make this determination with more certainty, I would have to run the Hello Hormones program a second time. Then, I would be able to determine even more precisely which foods in which phase have what effect.

Super interesting what you have observed. How would you summarize your findings now? 

The four-weeks of continuous glucose measurement gave me a good first insight into the influence of certain foods, sleep, sport, stress and the menstrual cycle on my blood glucose levels. I also became aware again of how complex the human and especially the female body is. It showed me once again how individual each person is. What works for me may not work for my friends. This “looking into oneself” is a wonderful example that standard nutrition recommendations are very generalized but may not be applicable for each individual. It was also during this time that I really became aware of the fact that the individual cycle phases deserve much more attention, as different glucose reactions can occur depending on the hormones. But the most important thing is not to drive yourself crazy, but to make conscious decisions. Because sometimes I just feel like having coffee with oat drink, vanilla ice cream or a glass of wine.  

So thank you for letting me try the Hello Hormones program. I was able to find out what my body likes or dislikes, and which factors influence my blood sugar and to what extent.  

Martina Zollner, sports scientist and athlete, shared her experience with Hello Inside in this interview.

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

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boost energy with stable glucose snacks

You sometimes need the extra energy boost in the afternoon, right in the morning or after exercising. There are many options you have probably heard of. From energy drinks, to power bars and sports gels. 

Unfortunately, these products may be efficient and suitable for elite athletes that need high amounts of quick sugar during or after their workout. But for the rest of you they will likely cause a quick glucose rush (a fast increase of glucose) that is followed by a glucose dip after. This fast up and down will make you feel more tired, moody or hungry than before you enjoyed this gel, bar or drink. 

At Hello Inside, we consider a good energy booster as something that won’t put you on this rollercoaster of highs and lows. These foods provide sustainable energy and won’t cause any spikes and dips.

 

Remember this as a rule of thumb:

The less processed your energy-boosting food is, the better. A small amount of sugar combined with plenty of fiber, fat, and/or protein makes a snack perfect and will make you feel energized for a long time.

Best 7 foods & snacks to boost your energy

  1. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate may be an easy way to increase energy. It usually has less sugar than milk chocolate. Less sugar results in a more balanced blood glucose and thus avoiding dips. It also has more cocoa content which means more of the benefits of cocoa, including helpful antioxidants such as flavonoids.
  2. Hummus: Is low in fat, but high in protein. It typically contains no added sugar and is low in calories. Combining it with some veggie sticks makes hummus the perfect energy snack. (Tipp: make sure to check the food label for added sugars when you buy hummus in the store)
  3. Plain or greek yogurt is rich in protein, fats, and natural sugars, which provide energy to the body. The content of fat and protein help to lower the impact of naturally occurring sugars on your blood glucose. Caveat: Plant- based yogurts sometimes lack fat and or protein, causing your glucose levels to spike. 
  4. Quinoa and amaranth: Quinoa is high in protein and fiber. The combination of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and fiber are a recipe for sustained energy rather than short bursts of glucose. Add quinoa or amaranth pops to your yogurt as a snack.
  5. Nuts and seeds: are high in fat and protein to provide energy throughout the day.
  6. Matcha and guarana will make you feel energized and help to control your blood glucose.
  7. Green-ish banana: It contains something that’s called resistant starch. This resistant starch helps to slow down the process of releasing sugar in your bloodstream.

 

Did you know…

The browner a banana the more sugar it contains and cause a bigger raise of your blood glucose.

Boost your energy naturally with these habits

If you are looking for something else, other than food to boost your energy we have some alternatives for you. 

  1. Take a cold shower. In the short term this can result in a glucose increase and a quick energy burst. This is caused by the positive stress your body is exposed to. However, if taking a cold shower becomes your habit you also promote metabolic health in the long term. 
  2. Move your body. Simple, yet very effective. To avoid the afternoon slump after lunch just take a short walk outside or do some squats. Also a morning walk before work can help you to kick-start the day and make you feel energized. 
  3. Breathe. Sometimes the only thing you need is a quick break during your work day. A few minutes of breathing exercise can do wonders. Go to your window, open it, close your eyes and take 3-5 deep breaths of fresh air. You won’t believe how much more energized you will feel.

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

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6 reasons to try do self-care together

Self-care is important. Now more than ever. And spoiler alert: doing self-care together is even more fun and has many benefits. But let’s start at the beginning.

Is self-care selfish?

We at Hello Inside are the biggest advocates of taking care of yourself on every level: health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, appearance.
We believe by trying to be the best version of yourself you don’t just feel better, you can also do better and be better.

However, many of us still struggle to indulge in well-deserved time-out for our mental, physical and emotional health. Mainly because self-care has turned into a bit of a buzzword in recent years that implies looking after yourself is a rather selfish act.

But self-care is much more than just “Me, Myself and I”. It’s nice to learn how to prioritize yourself in certain moments, but doing so doesn’t have to be a long and lonely road.

Relationships affect our health

In fact, relationships are one of the essential key areas of the six lifestyle pillars that can directly affect your overall health and indirectly affect your blood glucose levels. Spending quality time with others can help you cope better with stress and make you feel more energized. Doing so allows you to stabilize your blood glucose levels and create a better life for yourself in the long run.

You can measure the impact of relationships and other habits on your health by monitoring your blood glucose levels with a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what makes doing self-care together more enjoyable and how you can implement it in your life. But before you start swiping through those dating apps for a match made in heaven, a quick reminder: You don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to benefit from doing self-care with somebody else.

Now that’s sorted, here are six reasons why we’ll help you get over your social anxiety and text your friends/partner/family immediately. 

6 reasons to do self-care together

Our top 6 reasons to do self-care together:

1) Fun

A squared, yellow sea sponge once said: “F is for friends who do stuff together….” and let’s be honest, he was onto something.  

Whether you’re trying to get the hang of a new habit or have an honest conversation with your best friend, sharing some laughs along the way makes even the toughest parts of self-care easy. 

Also, keep in mind: A deep-rooted belly laugh triggers the release of endorphins, lowers your stress hormones, and increases your overall sense of well-being.

2) Motivation

Getting up an hour earlier in the morning just to do something good for yourself, like meditating or working out, sounds like a paradox at first. In what world is sacrificing sleep part of self-care? 

First of all: Don’t give up sleep for anything or anyone, rather establish a new pattern. (Listen to our podcast to learn more about the importance of sleep)

Second of all: let’s be honest here, rearranging your schedule and creating a routine that prioritizes self-care takes quite a lot of effort at first.

But, if you do it with somebody else you can motivate and encourage each other when the going gets tough. 

Third of all: If you just can’t make morning workouts work for you, afternoons are an option, as are evening walks. These may be easier to fit into your and your partner’s schedules.

3) Accountability

Along with motivation comes: accountability. You’ve made plans to go to a yoga class after work, but once the evening approaches all you can think about is going home and watching TV.

While self-care looks different for everyone, consciously taking time for activities that improve your overall health can make a big difference. If you have trouble sticking

to your schedule and abandon any form of active self-care faster than light moves, asking a friend or a family member to join you may be the solution. 

4) Challenge

This might not be for everyone, but if you thrive on competition (in the healthiest way possible!) and need a little push once in a while, then a lighthearted contest could motivate you to follow through with your self-care plans.

Open your calendar, set a goal for you and your partner, and get started.

5) Strengthen communication

The key to a good relationship is communication. You’ve probably heard that before.

We know how much of a struggle it can be to find the right words at the right time (or even any words at all), but expressing how you really feel can change your interpersonal relations for the better.

Sharing the emotional part of self-care allows you to get to know each other on a more vulnerable level. It can help you shift patterns and strengthen the way you communicate with each other.

6) Build trust & set boundaries 

Whether you decide to go for weekly walks or change up your diet, once you include your loved ones in your plans, you want to be able to trust them.

We are not just referring to the physical trust that a person will show up (=accountability) but also, that he/she/they can emotionally hold space for you and set healthy boundaries when needed. 

Self-care together allows you to explore the dynamic of personal spaces and to learn how to respect each other.

Now that we’ve established the reasons why self-care together just makes sense, let’s put theory into practice. 

self-care ideas for you and your partner

Self-Care together: ideas for you and your partner

As mentioned, we want you to be able to track the effects of your self-care journey. Get yourself and your self-care companion a CGM device, give the following tips & tricks a try and do something good for your mind and body based on reliable, scientific data: 

Challenge each other to eat healthier

Nothing affects your blood glucose levels more than your diet. Make individual meal plans that suit your lifestyle and hold each other accountable by monitoring the drops and spikes of your blood glucose levels.

It may also be fun to try one of our experiments in the Hello Inside App together with your partner or friend. This allows you not only to learn about how your body responds to food, but it can also show you how individual everybody’s response to different foods is.

Work out together in the mornings or whenever suits you best

Physical activity helps to process the glucose in your blood and supports your insulin metabolism. Create a new habit together, get your energy flowing for the day and keep each other motivated while sweating it out.

Talk it out

We have already learned that stress can lead to increased blood glucose levels. Try to get comfortable with your CGM device, take note of your levels anytime you’re tense or anxious. Meet up with your self-care buddy and talk it out. Ask questions, compare your responses, and get ready to be surprised.

Rinse and repeat.

See if you notice any positive changes in your data. 

Learn and appreciate how different your bodies are 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. While little challenges and competitions can be fun, you should never compare yourself to others. Everyone is different and what works for you might be completely wrong for someone else. Your Hello Inside App in combination with a CGM allows you to explore, where you and your partner differ and in which areas your reactions are more similar.

Spend time with your loved ones, measure your blood glucose levels and figure out together how unique you are. Have fun exploring together!

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Rate this Post:*

hidden sugar - Hello Inside

A healthy salad with french dressing, chicken and veggies with ketchup, cappuccino with oat milk and the protein shake after your workout. All of these sound like healthy food options and probably you don’t bother to check the food label. Because, what’s not healthy about a salad? Isn’t oatmilk a healthier option than cow milk? Well, it’s always a question of comparison. 

If you check the food label of some of these meals you’ll notice that many of them are sugar loaded. Sugars are not always easy to spot. Often they are “undercover”, hidden with different names. So let’s look at some foods, we are assuming you would not suspect to have heaps of sugar. Especially the store-bought ones. 

Salad dressing

The image below shows a blood glucose spike caused by a supposedly healthy salad. It was full of veggies (fiber), salmon (fat & protein) and other greens. This is the perfect combo to keep your blood sugar stable. Then you add the dressing. And the whole curve changes to the worse. In this case the dressing was the culprit of this sharp increase and quick drop of the curve. (The spike) 

Did you know that store bought salad dressings can contain up to 16-20 g of sugar per 100 ml. That’s about 4-5 sugar cubes. And the same can be true for salads when eating out. 

Our recommendation: choose olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Or order the dressing on the side so you can decide the amount you want to add. 

Salad with dressing

Condiments 

Sauces like BBQ dips or ketchup can contain loads of sugar – up to 20 g per 100 g; or about 5 sugar cubes. That’s crazy. So what are your options? Skip the sauces or make them yourself. 

Dips & spreads 

Hummus, baba ganoush or veggie dips. All sound great. All are made of super healthy ingredients. All fantastic options for your snacks. Keep in mind that, if you buy them in the supermarket be extra careful and check the food label for sugar content. You’ll be surprised by the ingredients, and hidden sugars. 

Coffee-drinks

A flavored coffee or a frappuccino is a real treat. And we recommend that they be treated as something special. Most of these treats are more dessert-like than a “drink or refreshment”. A frappuccino contains almost 400 kcal. This is nearly the recommended energy (500 kcal) for a main meal (breakfast/lunch/dinner). A big portion of these calories comes from the 45 g of sugar. The World Health Organisation (WHO), recommends consuming less than 25 grams of sugar per day. Which also means that with one frappuccino you use your sugar budget for two days.  

Breakfast cereal 

36.7% of Germans eat cereal for breakfast at least 5-6 times a week. That’s a lot of sugar, because a portion of store-bought cereal can contain up to 40 g of sugar. This may explain why many people experience cravings or lack of energy during the day. These symptoms are the results of their breakfast choice causing their blood sugar levels to spike and crash shortly after. 

Our tip: get creative and make you own granola. Great ingredients could be goji berries, coconut flakes, flax seeds, cacao nibs, seeds and nuts.

Milk alternatives

Are these choices healthier than dairy products? There isn’t a straightforward answer. Each dairy alternative is different. And some of them contain a lot of sugar. While oat milk is very likely to spike your blood glucose as it contains a lot of carbs, soy milk might be a better choice. It’s lower in carbs and contains protein which helps to keep your glucose levels stable.

Our tip: always check the food label also on milk alternatives and make sure you choose a product without added sugars.

Below you can see a curve of one of our team experiments in which we tested the impact of milk and alternatives on our blood sugar. 

Milk alternatives

Yogurt

Many fruit yogurts contain a big amount of sugar as well. It’s misleading as we recommend combining fruit with some yogurt. Unfortunately it’s not the same as the store bought option. In the process of creating a fruit yogurt, the fruits are losing their important fiber, and on top, sugar is added. So it’s a double bummer. A serving of 200 g can contain up to 6 sugar cubes.

Our tip: Buy some plain yogurt and add your own fruits, berries and a few seeds and nuts. The difference on your blood sugar and for your tastebuds will be impressive.

Fruit juice & smoothies

Imagine eating 3 oranges or 4 apples at once. You probably would not do so, especially not in a short time. But this is about the same you would consume when you drink a glass of fruit juice. This contains 20 g of sugar. So it’s no surprise that these drinks are your ticket for the you land glucose rollercoaster. Additionally, store-bought juices might have added sugar as well. 

Our Tip: Eat your fruits as a whole, and as a dessert combined with nuts or some yogurt. And swap your orange juice for breakfast with a glass of water with lemon or berries. 

Frozen and canned food

Many things you find in the aisle with canned or frozen goods contain sugar; and not too little of it. Next time you reach for the frozen pizza, fish fingers or canned veggies check the food label and see how much sugar you can find. 

Bread

Have you ever checked the ingredients of your toast bread? We recommend doing so. Most bread that is pre-baked contains a lot of sugar as a preservative to extend the shelf life. All of this sugar then goes directly in your body. 

Out tip: Give it a try and make your own bread or get some sourdough bread from your local bakery

Protein bars & shakes

We live in a world in which a healthy lifestyle includes protein shakes and bars. But as with many of the items we’ve already talked about, they may also contain loads of sugar. So make sure to check the ingredient list carefully, if you want to avoid a glucose spike and not feel tired soon after. We are assuming that’s not exactly what you hoped for as your recovery. 

Tomato sauce 

Pasta, pizza, lasagne. We love them all. And all of them only taste good with some tomato sauce. Out of convenience you buy the sauce already made. Making your own sauce is super simple, and this way you can avoid the 10g of added sugar per 100ml. 

How to find hidden sugar in food

So in general, it’s always wise to check the food label if you are unsure or just want to learn more. You will always find something surprising. And with practice you will know how to pick the right food to prevent excess sugar consumption. Most of these additional sugars are easy to avoid. 

If you also really want to find your own sweet spot and see what happens inside your body, check out our new 14-day Hello Sugar Program and start tracking your glucose. 

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Rate this Post:*

Healthy and unhealthy foods & food alternatives

Granola bard, protein shakes, or vegan milk alternatives. There are many foods that seem to be healthy but are actually loaded with sugar or unhealthy fats. Consuming foods like these may make you feel tired, hungry or unfocussed as they cause your blood sugar to spike and drop rapidly. We took a closer look at some foods and collected a couple of tips to make your foods and snacks healthier and switch them for healthy food alternatives. This way you will know what to choose to feel energized and focussed throughout the day. But before we dive in let’s define what “healthy” means to us.

What are healthy foods? 

A healthy diet is one that supports energetic and physiological needs without excess calorie intake. This means a healthy diet pattern is rich in health-promoting foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants and essential micronutrients.  

Typically, healthy foods are ones that are:

  • Low in saturated fats 
  • Do not have added sugars  
  • Are unprocessed, or minimally processed.

Healthy food and snacks are considered to be rich in nutrients and beneficial to your overall health. Remember, if foods are based on simple and refined carbohydrates, they may not be the healthiest option, as these carbohydrates break down easier and faster into glucose Which results in a sharper glucose spike.

What is a healthy and balanced diet?

A healthy balanced diet is one in which macronutrients i.e. proteins, fats and carbs, are consumed in adequate, unexcessive proportions to support your body’s energetic and physiological needs, while providing sufficient micronutrients and hydration.

Still not sure what that means? Let’s try that in a bit more detail.

Macronutrients are the things you see when you look at the nutritional values on the label on the back of a packet of food in the supermarket.They are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

For a meal to be healthy and balanced, it needs to include elements of all three of these macronutrients. These give the body the energy it needs to perform essential cellular functions, such as muscle repair.

Micronutrients are things like vitamins and minerals which you can get from food. Your body requires relatively low amounts of these, yet they are still essential for your body’s growth, development, metabolism and physiological functioning. The more varied – think colorful – your diet is, the easier it is to catch all essential nutrients on your plate.

Hydration is simply the amount of water in your body, which is essential for it to function. Make sure you are drinking around 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. You can also healthily hydrate your body with herbal teas. Avoid things like coffee, alcohol, or sugary drinks as these are not as effective at hydrating the body, and can sometimes even have the opposite effect. Also, fruit juice is not the go to choice to quench your thirst. They look super healthy but unfortunately spike your blood glucose in an instant.

How to choose healthy foods

Healthy foods are typically characterized by these 3 key features we mentioned above :

  • They are unprocessed, or minimally processed
  • They are low in saturated fats
  • They contain no added sugars

Generally speaking, foods are healthy if they are rich in nutrients and beneficial to our health. However, sometimes foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals are also high in carbohydrates and fats, which is not ideal.

But we have some good news: Some foods that are rich in fats may actually contain monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats which are known to be good for our health, as long as they are consumed in moderation.

Avocados, for example, are a powerhouse source of nutrients and are high in vitamins E and K, folate, potassium, and B vitamins. The fat in avocados is monounsaturated, which can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and may increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. 

However, avocados contain a lot of calories, which means that eating too many of them may cause you to put on weight. One avocado contains 32g of fat, which means 400 calories.

Carbs are not the enemy!

One popular dieting trend is to increase the amount of fat you consume, while decreasing the amount of carbohydrates as an illusion of easy weight loss and create a slimmer, more ‘chiseled’ physical appearance. However, when too high a percentage of your calorie intake comes from fats, you are most likely neglecting other key nutrients that your body needs in order to achieve a balanced diet.

For the record, carbohydrates are not unhealthy. All carbohydrates eventually break down into glucose, but unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, whole vegetables and unblended fruits are actually very good for you. They deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients, which help stop your blood glucose levels from increasing too much.

Healthy hacks for unhealthy foods

We are sure you already heard about some myths around “healthy” foods which turned out to be actually bad for your health. But no worries, you don’t need to cut them completely from your diet. We took a closer look at 5 of these presumably “healthy” snacks and will give you some advice on how to make them actually healthier or give you an alternative. 

1. Smoothies

Smoothies have gained something of a cult-like status in recent years due to their delicious flavor, yet fairly misleading promises of healthy and nutritional value. In general, blending fruits actually cuts out their fiber and carbohydrate qualities . When the fiber and carbohydrate in whole fruits are reduced, this speeds up the rate at which the simple sugars contained in fruit juice enter your bloodstream, and cause a glucose spike.

Make it healthier

  • Use a ‘nutrient-extraction’ blender instead of a normal blender that homogenizes whole fruit to create ‘smoothies’ without the removal of fiber
  • Choose green smoothies with a kale or spinach base. These are packed with vitamins and minerals, yet are low in simple sugars, like glucose. Add some lime juice and mint for more flavor.
  • Throw in some berries, which are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Berries are also known for limiting your blood glucose response.
  • Don’t add sugars, syrup, agave nectar or honey.

Add a source of fat and protein to your smoothie to slow down the rate at which glucose and other simple sugars are digested and absorbed into your blood. Milk, coconut, almonds, peanuts, additive-free peanut butter and walnuts are great options.

2. Energy bars

Energy bars may seem like a simple, convenient and even healthy way to get an energy boost throughout the day, but the reality is that they are a small bomb in terms of calories. Many of them also contain hidden added sugars, and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol and mannitol. People who are not living extremely active lifestyles, such as professional athletes, generally do not need this level of caloric intake throughout the day, and by eating energy bars run the risk of weight gain.

Make it healthier

  • Make your own energy bars with real food ingredients, such as nuts, fruit and whole grains.
  • Throw in some flaxseed, whole cereals and pulses to really increase the nutritional value.
  • Go easy on the dried fruit and/or nuts. 
  • Do not eat them regularly

The truth about artificial sweeteners

Always check the label before buying low sugar or sugar-free options. Xylitol, mannitol, and any additive ending in -ol is actually a sugar alcohol that can leave you feeling gassy and flatulent. Other sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose can create intense cravings, and even dependencies.

The best way to lose your sweet tooth is to avoid anything with added sweeteners – whether from artificial, or natural sources like commercial sugar. Get your sweet fix from whole fruits as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

3. Plant-based drink

Plant-based drinks (known as plant-based milk outside the European Union) can be lower in calories than full-fat cow-based milk, but not necessarily lower than skimmed or semi-skimmed milks. However, many plant-based milks are loaded with added sugars in order to make them taste better, and more milk-like. Plant-based milks are also often low in fiber, as much of the fiber is lost in the processing required to achieve the final product. Most plant-based milks are lower in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated fats, but only if they are not coconut-based. In terms of nutrition, plant-based milks often lack vitamins A, D and B12 entirely, although many go through complex systems of processing in order to fortify them and artificially add them.

Make it healthier

Of all the plant-based alternatives to cow milk, the best option is soy milk. This tends to have higher quantities of the essential amino acid lysine than other, cereal-based alternatives such as oat milk or rice milk, although it may have lower quantities of the essential amino acids cysteine and methionine.

4. Granola

Granola is another one of those breakfast options that looks healthy at first glance, but is actually packed with unnecessary and unwanted added sugars, and often unhealthy simple carbs.

Make it healthier

Don’t buy commercial granola. Making it yourself is easy, healthy and fun. This way you can avoid adding excess sugars, use wholegrain cereals, and mix it with moderate proportions of raisins, seeds and nuts.

5. Protein shakes

Protein shakes may seem like the average gym fanatic’s best friend, but actually are not necessary for anybody exercising less than 5 hours per week. In addition to their protein content, shakes often contain added sugars, artificial thickeners and flavorers. More worryingly, a report has shown that many commercially available protein shake options contain dangerously high levels of toxins, such as heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury), bisphenol-A or BPA (used to make plastic), pesticides, and other contaminants which have been linked to cancer and tumor growth.

Make it healthier

Read, read again and then read the label for a third time to make sure you know exactly what is in your protein shake before you drink it. And if you’re not exercising for more than 5 hours per week and already eating a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, chances are you are already getting enough protein and do not need to supplement at all.

The essence

It’s difficult to navigate the food choices. Just remember that you should have a balanced diet including macro- and micronutrients. When you choose food make sure it’s not processed and no sugar is added. Our tip: Always check the label and make sure you know what you eat. Some things might appear healthier than they are. 

If you want to find out more about how you can change little things in your diet or lifestyle to have a positive impact on your glucose levels and thereby your overall health and wellbeing, start your journey with Hello Inside today.

 

what foods give you the best energy (Look Inside Kit) - Hello Inside

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Rate this Post:*

Woman showing freestyle libre 2 sensor

Applying a sensor for the first time is very exciting. You are so close to seeing what happens inside your body and exploring our programs in the Hello Inside App. However, sometimes the sensor comes off just a few hours or days after application and you were definitely not ready to say goodbye to it. You were just getting started. Well, there can be many reasons for that but we collected some tips for you to make sure your sensor sticks well and you can enjoy the full 14 days of exploration.

Which CGM sensor is Hello Inside using?

We use an Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor with our Hello Inside App. Each of these sensors lasts for 14 days. You can easily and quickly apply the sensor to the back of your upper arm. The sensor is water resistant, and you can do sports with it. You can find more information on the sensor in our help center.

Especially, if you move a lot, do lots of sports and if it’s hot outside (you sweat a lot), it’s important to ensure the sensor sticks well on your arm after applying it. We collected some tips for you to make your sensor stick better and prevent it from falling off before the 14 days are over. 

1) Clean the application area

Clean the part of your upper arm where you want to place the sensor. Use some regular soap to remove oil on your skin and dead skin. After you wash off the soap, let the part of your arm dry completely. 

2) Find the right spot

Place the sensor on a squishy part of your upper arm. You should avoid muscle tissue. You can do a “touch test” before application. Feel different parts of your upper arm and choose a place which feels soft.

3) Make the move test

Place the sensor somewhere that doesn’t impair you when exercising or moving your arm. This way, you can avoid rubbing it off accidentally. You can do a couple of steps (with arm swings) or a typical exercise you do often (e.g.: push-ups, squats or a yoga pose) to see your range of motion and where a sensor could be placed without being in the way.

4) Choose the right side

Unless you sleep on your belly or back your probably have a preferred side you sleep on. We recommend placing the sensor on the arm you usually don’t sleep on. So if you usually sleep on the right side of your body, place the sensor on your left upper arm. 

5) Double check the adhesive

After placing your sensor, ensure the edges of the sticker stick firmly to your skin.  Just press them down all around the sensor or draw a couple of circles around the sensor with a small spoon.

6) A bit of patience

After applying the sensor, avoid doing sports, taking a shower or swimming for about 1-2 hours. This way, the adhesive can warm up a bit and sticks better to your skin. This makes the sensor also less likely to come off later.

7) Use additional protection

We would recommend placing a patch on your sensor for additional protection, especially if you move a lot and do sports regularly. If you don’t have a patch, you can also use a physio tape to protect the sensor. 

Enjoy your exploration journey!

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Rate this Post:*

Hello Inside Breakfast & Women's Health

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

We are sure you have heard this before. But why? 

Simply put, if you bring your blood glucose levels out of control in the morning, you may jump onto the blood glucose roller coaster before even noticing it. And it will be hard to get off during the day. So if you cause your blood glucose levels to spike in the morning, you might feel dizzier, less focused, hungrier, and tired throughout the day. But worry not, we’ve got you covered. Whether you are more of a sweet kind of person or if you prefer a savory breakfast,  we’ve collected the best glucose-stable recipes for your breakfast. 

For the sweet tooth among you: 

 

Ice cream bowl for breakfast (vegan possible)

What you need:

  • > 150 grams of frozen blueberries
  • > 5 tbsp milk (or plant-based alternative)
  • > Protein powder with your favorite flavor (make sure it’s not sweetened)
  • > Almond or any other nut butter

Preparation steps:

  • > Add everything to mixer, and blend until ice creamy texture. Garnish with fresh berries, coconut flakes and a bit of nut butter
  • > For some sweetness, you can add some cinnamon or a teaspoon of agave syrup. Enjoy

 

Greek yogurt with blueberries and seeds

What you need:

  • > 150-200g greek yogurt or skyr
  • > 50g of blueberries
  • > 1tsp pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
  • > Cinnamon to taste
  • > Coconut flakes to garnish
  • > Chocolate nibs or nut butter as a topping

Self-made PBJ (vegan)

What you need:

  • > 1 slide of dark bread (toasted)
  • > Peanut butter (make sure to check the label for added sugars)
  • > 20g of raspberries

How to prepare your PBJ:

  • > Toast your slice of bread
  • > Add peanut butter on your bread
  • > Mash the raspberries with a fork on your peanut butter bread

Savory alternatives: 

Toasted bread with avocado and poached egg

What you need:

  • > 1 slice of dark bread (toasted)
  • > ½ Avocado
  • > 1 egg
  • > Lemon juice

Preparation steps:

  • > Toast your bread, add the avocado on top and mash it with a fork and sprinkle some lemon juice over it.
  • > Simmer some water for the egg and add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water. With a large spoon, swirl the water and crack the egg into the center. Let it simmer for 4 minutes. Lift the egg out with a slotted spoon and drain it on kitchen paper.
  • > Place the egg on your Avo-Toast.
  • > Top your toast with some herbs, salt and pepper. If you are up for something spicy you can add some chili flakes as well. Enjoy.

  • Toasted bread with cottage cheese and salmon

What you need:

  • > 1 slice of dark bread (toasted)
  • > Cottage cheese
  • > 50g of smoked salmon
  • > Lemon

Toast your bread, add the cottage cheese and top it off with the salmon. If you like to make it fancy, add some lemon juice and herbs.

    • Breakfast egg muffins with veggies

What you need:

  • > 12 eggs
  • > Veggies of your choice (e.g.: bell pepper, tomato, mushrooms, baby spinach)
  • > 1 spring onion
  • > Grated cheese
  • > Salt & pepper
  • > Herbs

Preparation steps:

  • > Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk them with a fork.
  • > Wash and dice the vegetables. Mix them with the eggs & cheese.
  • > Add some salt, pepper, and herbs.
  • > Grease the muffin pan or put some paper muffin forms into your muffin pan.
  • > Bake for about 15 minutes at 200°C.

Scrambled tofu (vegan)

What you need:

  • > 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • > 1 block of tofu
  • > 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • > Salt to taste
  • > 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • > Garlic
  • > 2 tbsp plant-based milk alternative, unsweetened (e.g.: almond milk, soy milk, oat milk)
  • > Veggies to add (e.g.: avocado, spinach, tomato)

Preparation steps:

  • > Put the olive oil in a pan and heat up (medium heat). Mash the block of tofu with a fork and add to pan. Cook the tofu for 3-4 minutes. Don’t forget to stir frequently, like you would with scrambled eggs. There should not be any water left from the tofu before you continue to add nutritional yeast, turmeric and garlic. You can now also add salt to taste. Cook everything for some more minutes.
  • > Now add the plant-based milk into the pan and mix everything.
  • > Ready to serve! Add some veggies and top your scrambled tofu with some herbs of your choice. Enjoy.

Can’t wait for you next breakfast? Now it’s time to find out what works for you!

what foods give you the best energy (Look Inside Kit) - Hello Inside

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

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Sugar cravings

Do you know that moment when all of a sudden you get an urge to eat a specific food? Maybe for you, it’s for something sweet like chocolate. This is a craving, we’ve all had them, and for most of us, it’s probably been sugar cravings. Let’s take a deep dive into cravings, why they occur, what’s going on inside your body when you experience them, and how to stop sugar cravings once and for all.

What are cravings?

A food craving is an intense desire to consume a particular type of food, often with urgency. They can occur anytime but mostly happen in the late afternoon and in the evening. There is some debate whether food cravings happen from not eating enough food, or whether they’re developed over time through the conditioning behavior model. Both are possible. The conditioning model for food cravings suggests that cravings develop when regularly eating certain foods in combination with certain activities. For example, eating something while watching television or feeling a certain way (feeling lonely). Picture this, you come home from a long day at work, have dinner and sit down to watch some television. A craving for something sweet arises, and before you know it, you’re reaching for the fridge. Hands up if you’ve experienced this scenario?

Weight management and sugar cravings

Cravings are powerful things. What someone craves, how often, and how much they satisfy that craving can even influence how much they weigh. In fact, food cravings can influence up to 11% of the change in eating behavior and weight gain from person to person.

Stop craving sugar like sweets

What foods do we crave the most?

It is common for us humans to crave energy-dense foods such as chocolate, pastries, or sugary drinks. In fact, you may not be surprised to know that chocolate and chocolate-containing foods are the most frequently craved foods. This is followed by other high-calorie-containing sweets and savory foods. Many of us also have a tendency to crave low-calorie-containing fruits. Interestingly, the desire to eat foods high in calories increases throughout the day, while the craving for fruits decreases.

The difference between hunger and cravings

To the person experiencing them, a hunger and a craving may feel strikingly similar, and whilst there is definitely some cross-over, they are different. Here are four points to help distinguish the difference between hunger and a craving:

  1. Feelings of hunger occur when your stomach is empty, or your stomach is not full.
  2. Hunger and food cravings often happen at the same time, but you don’t have to be hungry to experience a food craving.
  3. Normally food cravings can only be satisfied by eating a particular food, whilst hunger will normally stop by consuming any kind of food. 
  4. Food cravings can be separated from feelings of hunger because of their specific desire for a certain food, as well as the intensity of that desire. 
How to stop sugar cravings like chocolate

Food cravings can be caused by a number of factors

Like anything to do with the body, its functions are complex and multifaceted, and cravings are no different. Food and sugar cravings are driven by many factors, such as physical, emotional, and psychological. So how can you tell which one your craving is driven by? Great question!

Physical 

Physical cravings are connected with several processes that prepare the body for food and stimulate eating. These processes include increased production of saliva in the mouth (sounds gross, but it’s normal), as well as the activation of the reward part of the brain. There are some links between nutrient deficiency and food cravings, but they account for a small fraction of food cravings. 

Emotional

Emotional cravings can be stimulated by feelings of nostalgia, seeking or needing comfort, and other various emotions such as feeling sad. This can explain why when you visit Grandma’s place, you get a craving for her delicious apple pie. Or when you miss you visit your childhood town, you get a sweet craving for a milkshake from the corner store. (or could say, “you get a craving for your favorite sweet pastry from the local bakery”).

Psychological 

There are several psychological reasons for why and how food cravings happen. A popular idea is based on what’s known as Pavlovian conditioning. This is where an activity or place has been repeatedly paired with eating food. Similar to an emotional craving, doing this activity or visiting this place alone can result in cravings. For example, every time you go to the beach you eat ice cream. You then visit the beach one day (without ice cream), and you get a strong sweet craving for ice cream. 

Think about your own life and the common cravings you experience. Can you identify if they are physical, emotional, or psychological?

blood sugar response after eating

The connection between blood glucose curve and cravings 

As humans, taste is an important factor that governs our eating behaviors. Most of us have a natural inclination to sweet-tasting foods as they are often tastier. Because our bodies desire that optimal taste factor, it can often lead to consuming food high in sugar. Consuming a high amount of sugar leads to a blood glucose spike, which induces insulin secretion to take the blood glucose up into the cells. Consequently, too much sugar in the body can cause a rapid rise in insulin concentration, which causes a rapid glucose uptake from the blood to the cells resulting in a  dip in blood glucose levels, which can then can lead to more sugar cravings (like a loop).

A dip in blood glucose levels can also occur when we haven’t eaten enough food. As blood glucose is a source of energy for your body, this can lead to food cravings. And these food cravings are often for high-carbohydrate and high-sugar foods. 

How to avoid blood glucose dip?

One way to help prevent blood glucose dips is to manage and monitor our blood glucose through the use of a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM). A CGM tracks our bodies’ blood glucose levels and measures its unique reactions to food, exercise, and sleep. Additionally, focusing on eating regular protein-rich meals, that are low in carbohydrates is a way to manage and prevent blood glucose dips.

Why do women in a certain cycle phase feel cravings more often?

Many women experience sweet cravings and certain types of foods depending on where they are at in their monthly cycle. A woman’s ovarian hormones are powerful hormones that can influence hunger levels and cravings and binge eating. This also varies depending on which part of the cycle a woman is in (follicular phase or luteal phase). Let’s dive deeper into why women in certain phases of their cycle feel cravings more often.

The follicular phase (days 1- 14)

During the follicular phase when the estrogen levels are high, many women experience reduced hunger and cravings and a decrease in weight (which is the opposite of the luteal phase). It’s believed that estrogen helps to regulate appetite, while progesterone functions to counteract the effects of estrogen. This can explain how sugar cravings happen less during this phase.

Luteal phase (days 14-28)

During the luteal phase (postovulatory period), estrogen levels are low and progesterone levels high. This can result in women experiencing the following:

  • Eating more food than normal 
  • Increased cravings (especially craving sweets)
  • Increase in body weight
  • Increased energy needs (which may lead to an increased physiological need for carbohydrates).
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity

During this luteal phase, the lower estrogen levels result in what most of us know as PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Evidence shows that food cravings may be a reaction to negative mood changes caused by PMS. Decreased serotonin levels during the premenstrual phase increase negative mood and cravings for serotonin-releasing foods, like chocolate.  It’s possible that these changes in hormones are partially to blame for the increase in food intake and food cravings. So, ladies, it’s very possible that your hormones may be influencing your sugar cravings. But there are ways to help avoid these sugar cravings. You can find the right foods for each phase of your cycle and stop sugar cravings once and for all.

Sugar cravings before period

How food restrictions can lead to sugar cravings 

Weight concerns and dieting have become common among women who sadly regardless of their weight, think they are fat. Because of this, they frequently diet in an attempt to lose or control their weight. Anyone who chronically restricts their food intake can experience intense and frequent food cravings. This can then lead to binging, overeating, and an unhealthy preoccupation with food.

Because of this food preoccupation and increased food cravings, people that chronically diet are more likely to respond to external food cues than non-dieters. They also become less responsive to their body’s internal hunger and fullness cues. Those that restrict their food and experience chronic hunger, can have elevated motilin levels, depressed insulin levels, and pancreatic polypeptide responses. Which then leads to increased food and sugar cravings. So the more you restrict food, the more intense the food cravings become.

How can I avoid cravings?

Having cravings is normal but not necessary. Understand which foods keep you energized and full long after the meal, and which foods make you feel hungry shortly after, and increase your cravings by keeping track of your glucose levels. Your body is constantly trying to tell you, what is good for you and what is bad for you. Why not listen to it?

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

Hello Inside Team

We have a passion for health, wellbeing and lifestyle topics. We love to discover new things and get to know ourselves better. Transforming scientific knowledge and insights into actionable advice is our goal.

more posts from author

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