Plan B: Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Brain Chemicals On the Fly (And Avoiding Sugar!)

Published on 08/13/2014 by

Milk as Plan B for Stabilizing blood sugarPublisher's Note: We all miss meals from time to time. The best solution? Have a Plan B (and C and D and...)

This story from Joan S. Kent, Ph.D. (Her field is psychoactive nutrition) illustrates an important principle in choosing smart alternatives - and avoiding sugar! - when you need food and have limited options.

Guest Post By Joan Kent

It's dinnertime, and I'm flying home to San Francisco from a Houston business trip. The flight attendant is bringing around the service cart and I'm about to order... milk. I never drink milk, so why now?

Let's go back to how the day started. Fortunately, I had ordered eggs and oatmeal from room service. (This was a number of years ago, before we all became gluten-phobic.) Breakfast showed up at 7:00; so far so good.

I was in Houston in January for a meeting called by Sherry. The meeting started at 10:00 a.m., to end at 1:00. My return flight was at 2:30 p.m.

Sherry had promised us food. I should have been suspicious, because Sherry and I once had dinner at an airport, and hers was a plate of white-flour pasta and a plate of white rice. The only foods at the meeting were donuts, Danish pastries, M&Ms, Halloween-size candy bars, soft drinks and coffee. No refreshments for me, thank you.

At 1:00, a few of us got into Sherry's car so she could drive us to the airport. Six hours without food had left me hungry, and I planned to get food at the airport. Unfortunately, unexpected traffic due to an event in town slowed us to a crawl. It was not going to be possible to get food before my flight. Maybe a pack of raw almonds? Almost every airport newsstand sells those.

Well, time was so short I had to run to the gate. As I stepped on the plane, they closed the door literally the instant I was on board. And then.

The flight couldn't take off for an hour due to some problem or other. (Believe me, I'd stopped caring.) Even when we were cleared to go, we couldn't take off because the plane now had to be de-iced. We sat on the tarmac for 2 more hours.

So our 2:30 flight departed at 5:30. There was no meal service - it was an afternoon flight. A 2�-hour flight. After a 7:00 a.m. breakfast and nothing else, all I could think about was food.

Finally, the beverage cart appeared. I had already decided what to order. You might think I'd grab whatever I could get, but Pepsi, ginger ale or apple juice spelled nothing but trouble for a carb-sensitive like me.

The answer lay in finding food.

Food on a beverage cart. Are you thinking peanuts? So was I, but they had pretzels. White flour would have been worse than nothing. My plan (at this point, was it Plan B or Plan C? Maybe D; it was a long day) was milk. Milk isn't a beverage; it's food. Usually, I don't drink it, but this wasn't usual.

Got milk? They had it - 2%, the only kind they serve on airlines. I had done the calculations -- plenty of time for arithmetic on the tarmac -- and 2% was the perfect solution. It came as close to a 40-30-30 meal as I could get on the fly, although it was light on protein and a bit heavy on fat. Even though I don't go around pushing 40-30-30 meals (remember The Zone?) on my clients, I do know that those percentages are stabilizing.

The key word is "stabilizing", and that's the take-away here. In this case, stability refers to both blood sugar (glucose) and brain chemicals. In a semi-emergency like this, it's tempting to use the situation as an excuse to grab anything edible, even junk.

Milk was a wiser choice, and in 20 minutes I felt a lot better.

Lately, I've been finding it necessary to go with Plan B often - so the best idea is always to have one. When it comes to food, a solid Plan B is absolutely vital. Carry envelopes of protein powder or packs of raw nuts with you, rather than fruit or granola bars. Think stability. After all, we're talking about your brain first, as well as the rest of you.

Make the right food decisions even in difficult situations, without giving in to temptations, sugar addiction or confusion. Discover how to eat right without a struggle. Return from the doctor's office with a great report. Lose weight, improve your health, and increase your chances of a long and healthy life with your family. Have the energy to do what you want to do -- and the self-confidence of knowing you made it happen, even if you've failed in the past. My program, Last Resort Nutrition� with Joan Kent, PhD, begins soon. Please visit and

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photo credit: AmazingAlmonds via photopin cc

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