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Mike Hanes: Healing Through FoodThe claws are coming out and I can feel my inner gremlin start to take over. “Oh no” I think as my attitude and mood began to take a deep dive. I struggle for my normal salad-eating alter ego to resurface. Sound familiar? 

You all know this situation that I’ve all been in and how it sometimes puts us in a tricky position. Give in and eat the sugary carbohydrate packed snack and feed the gremlin; resist the urge, find a quick bar instead. It can be a hard call if you don’t plan your day well and maybe that’s what accounts for that extra 5-minutes you need to get ready before walking out the door.

The statistics are published and we read it on many food labels - Americans are getting way too much sugar and bad carbs in their foods. While it’s normal to get frustrated or feel anger from time to time, regular occurrences of this emotion might be linked to what you put in your body. In turn, all these things can do lots of damage to our bodies in the form of high blood pressure, high heart rate, stress, and build up of anger over time can lead to resentment that can eventually cause depression. In addition, many of these symptoms if not managed and treated properly can trigger diseases like diabetes. You think, how can this all go back to that candy bar I ate? Well, it’s not about that occasional sugary treat. It’s about a healthy lifestyle. Creating a healthy lifestyle by working out, walking, growing food, and watching the amount of sugar that we put in our bodies. 

  • Did You Know? 1 out of 3 people in the U.S. are pre-diabetic and 90% of them don’t even know about it.

My Story

My name is Mike Hanes.  I am a Marine Veteran who was in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. After getting out in 2004, transitioning has proved difficult at times. It has been an emotional roller coaster ride with plenty of stressful moments. A few years ago, the VA diagnosed me as pre-diabetic.  My doctor said that stress could have had a big influence in me inching closer to becoming diabetic.  My fasting blood sugar was constantly rising, 98, 102, 104, 106, 107.  My doc explained that anything past 100 is pre-diabetic, but once you hit 125, you are a type 2 diabetic.  After everything else I have been through in life, I did not want this to happen… I decided to take control of my life.

After working in a health food store and learning more about products available to us on the market, I began taking classes at the VA. It was to my amazement that they were still teaching to eat grains, potatoes, and bread (as standard with the USDA food guide plate). Wait a minute…I would think to myself. Every time I would check my blood with a glucose meter after eating this, my blood sugar skyrocketed! This can’t be right…

Ironically, I picked up a book in the VA book store called “60 Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar” by Dennis Pollock. Then I went to the book store and found another book called “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM. Dr. Perlmutter is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition - See more at: http://www.drperlmutter.com/about.  I learned how to read labels.  I learned the foods that have high sugar and carbs.  I also gathered food making ideas from these books.

In healing through food, I knew I had to replace bread with something that has relatively the same amount of fiber to carb ratio, in order to have a low net carb readout.  So I made bread out of almond flour and flax seed.  Flax is perfect because the fiber is so high!  This bread is a staple in my diet now. You can get the recipe here: https://foragermikes.com/blogs/recipes/132329159-clean-spicy-redmill-bread.

I also had to let go of foods that have a high sugar effect on blood such as bread, pasta, chips, potatoes, any fruit juices or sodas. I also began to incorporate foods with higher healthy fat content such as nuts, seeds, and avocados for snacks. As a side benefit, incorporated with a good workout plan, any fat around the mid section melted away and my abs began to get super defined.

Mike's low carb pizza crustThe trick was not to just let go of certain foods but to replace those foods with a good tasting healthy alternative. The almond bread was crucial for this. I also began to make chips out of almond flour and flax. I replaced pasta with zucchini noodles. If eating a burger, I will do a lettuce wrap instead of bread, absolutely delicious!  Also, pizza made with almond crust is amazing! I’ll share the recipe with you https://foragermikes.com/blogs/recipes/185803207-mikes-mesquite-low-carb-pizza.

I'm not here to tell you what you cannot eat, but to alert you if you notice that gremlin comes out often or find yourself having trouble thinking clearly throughout the day. What can you do to help prevent that and make your life better? Maybe it’s those sugary sodas or that foot-long cheesesteak sub on white bread you eat every day for lunch that’s contributing to your afternoon crash. Maybe you need more exercise. Maybe you’re not getting enough vitamins and good fiber in your diet. Whatever it is, there are options for you and small adjustments in your daily routine and diet can make a huge difference in keeping that stress level down and creating your own healthy lifestyle.

If you try one of our recipes like my bread or low carb pizza crust or if you also have helpful suggestions you'd like to share with our community here on the web, feel free to let us know!

By the way, our DANG! good hot sauce is a great way to add flavor and health to your meals without adding sugar, preservatives, and other things like sodium to your food.