I changed the name and url of the blog to Friends In Health. The old link/url will still work for a while. “Against the Grain” and “sanscarbs.wordpress.com” were both based on low-carb ideology, and I don’t think I’ll ever be low-carb again, knowing what I know now. Also, I wouldn’t be where I am now – with a generally positive mood and a fasting blood sugar of 86 without the help of others on the same journey. If you’ve commented on this blog or shared yourself in an effort to help others in a health-oriented Facebook group or forum, I’m talking about you. Thank you.
In my last post I mentioned that I now
love appreciate my hot flashes because I’ve realized they’re the canary in the coal mine, letting me know when something is biologically amiss. At first I thought they pointed just to histamine release triggered by diet, but I realized yesterday that it’s much more than that. In fact, now that I’m paying attention to it, I realize that hot flashes are – for me – a signal of stress. Could be emotional stress, dietary stress, GI system stress. All of these cause a stress response in the body, which then causes a hot flash for me.
A comment yesterday got me thinking about this – Trebbie said the following in response to my post about eating watermelon:
When I eat watermelon without protein it lowers my blood sugar very fast. I then get a reaction that is like a hot flash. It is actually a histamine response to low blood sugar.
That could very well be why I had hot flashes after eating watermelon. The hot flashes didn’t come about right away, but rather after about 45 minutes or so – about the amount of time it would take for my blood sugar to rise and fall after eating fruit with no protein or fat to slow the absorption of the sugar.
Another theory from N2P about the watermelon-induced hot flashes:
The watermelon rind has [Nitric Oxide]….
NO can cause hot flashes on its own. Cortisol is another one. I guess they feel different.
One way to test would be to have watermelon with protein and fat rather than alone. Maybe I’ll do that today.
Then last night the family went out for Chinese food. I tried to stick to something healthy and ordered steamed broccoli and chicken. When the dish was served the broccoli was basically still raw – steamed just enough to warm it up a little. I ate about a cup of it anyway and felt pretty bad the rest of the night. I’ve had that response before after eating too many raw fiberous vegetables, so I’m pretty sure that was the problem. The point of all this though is that while I was in the midst of the gut pain I was having almost non-stop hot flashes. The ambient temperature was 73 degrees F – cool by my normal standards, and no one else thought it was hot – but I was sweating and uncomfortable for about 2 hours. A massive hot flash! While my gut was stressed! I was laying there holding my abdomen and thinking, “I’m really appreciating this insight about stress and all…now please make it stop!”
I’m not sure the biochemistry behind all this, but it seems to involves Mast Cells – white blood cells that carry histamine and other inflammatory compounds as part of the immune system. Mast cell degranulation (breaking open) is complicated and it seems different stimuli can result in different substances being released. It’s something I’ll probably need to spend some time studying in order to speak intelligently about it. What I have learned is that for me, hot flashes are an indication of bodily stress. I also know that I have some control over this. Eating easily digestible foods, combining foods to avoid sudden blood sugar drops, and managing psychological stress are all strategies that seem to work.
(Ray Peat – right again!)