Day 21 – Sweet agave nectar and other low GI foods

21 01 2010

I forced myself to run 4.5 miles today even though I can feel a cold coming on. It’s really just getting out there that is the tough part in winter. Once I am dressed in a few layers and out of my warm house, it actually feels great to be outside – even on an overcast day like today. All these winters I have missed out on running…

After the first mile, I forgot I wasn’t feeling well – lost in my thoughts and favorite running songs. The park trail is totally slick with mud from the melted snow, so it’s an obstacle course that offers a good distraction from counting miles.

Tonight, I am drinking Echinacea tea to keep the cold from coming on and warm my insides too. I’ve discovered a wonderful new thing in agave nectar. I’ve been reading more on the glycemic index (GI) — the measurement for how quickly carbohydrate foods cause your blood sugar to rise — and I’m trying to eat more low-GI foods and limit the high ones that I know all too well cause blood sugar spikes.

Agave nectar is a natural sweetener with a low GI. My friend Kim has encouraged me to try it before, but I am very stubborn when it comes to change. Kim is a healthy vegetarian and massage therapist, and I really should listen to her more often. I finally bought some organic agave nectar at Whole Foods last weekend, and tried it in oatmeal, on pancakes and – now – in tea. It really tastes great! Sort of like honey without the super sweetness. And nothing like artificial sweetner’s bad after taste. I tried to sneak it on Zach’s pancakes today, but was busted. He is even more resistant to change than me!

Other lower GI foods that Zach will be eating more of (GI under 54) are cherries, apples, oranges, bananas, skim milk, steel cut oats, some pastas and apple juice. High ones (over 70) are obvious sugar-added processed foods along with bagels, pretzels, pancakes, rice, potatoes — lots of good tasting stuff.

This is good info for anyone trying to eat well and lose weight – diabetic or not. Lower-GI foods digest slowly so curb hunger and don’t cause a sugar/insulin surge (better for kids). With a GI of 17, my new agave nectar might just make a tea drinker out of me even when I’m over this cold…