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Who: Halle Organ, 32
Where: Chicago, Ill.
Time with Levels: Three months
Most Useful Takeaway: A middle-of-the-night drop in blood sugar disturbed her sleep. After realizing it was due to consuming alcohol at night, she changed her habits to eat a glucose-stabilizing meal with it.
1. What were your health habits like before Levels?
I’m typically a health-conscious person, and I have a good understanding of what’s good for me to eat and what’s not good for me. Every day, I start my morning with green juice to get in as many green veggies as I can. During the pandemic, I let those habits slip a little bit, so I was ready to get back on track.
2. Why did you want to put a CGM on your arm?
My company offered Levels as a part of a beta program, and I signed up to understand how foods affect me. My main issue was my energy levels. It was something I had tried in the past to figure out. While I went on different elimination diets and went in for blood tests, I didn’t get the results I wanted. Since I was always tired, my first goal was to feel good. After that, I was also hoping to lose a little bit of weight.
3. What foods did you find spiked your blood sugar? What foods consistently kept it stable?
One of my surprises came when I was in a rush, and there wasn’t much food at home. I decided to order a smoothie and have it delivered. It was a fruit smoothie bowl with fruit and chia seeds. After I drank it, my Zone Score was zero. Zero! Are you kidding me? I was appalled for the rest of the day, and here I was, trying to order a smoothie because I wanted to be healthy.
As for foods that best controlled my blood sugar, Aidells chicken sausage, eggs with salsa, or lentil soup were all perfect. And I also learned to eat my go-to foods in different ways. For example, Greek yogurt with cashew butter gave me a more significant spike, but I was more stable when I made zucchini bread with cashew butter and almond flour.
Around the time when I started wearing a CGM, I also began intermittent fasting. I would fast for 16 hours a day, beginning to eat at noon and then close my eating window around 8 p.m. When I first started with Levels, my blood sugar when I woke up was usually around 98 mg/dL. As I got going with IF, my morning levels got down to between 76 and 80 mg/dL.
4. Did you notice any non-food effects on your blood sugar?
Yes, if I would go out and have drinks, my glucose levels would crash at night (typically around 50 mg/dL, but sometimes as low as 42 mg/dL), and I found that I’d wake up in the middle of the night. The next day after that happened, I’d notice that I had brain fog and my energy levels were even worse.
What I found helpful was that if I was going to have a drink, to do it alongside a healthy food. Manhattan alone? Zone Score of 1 or 2. Manhattan and a wedge salad? Zone Score of 6. Martini with shrimp cocktail? Much better than a martini on its own. And my glucose levels wouldn’t get so low at night if I was eating this way.
5. Did anything surprise you about your results after using Levels?
Weight loss wasn’t my first goal, but I was hoping for it, and I lost about five or six pounds without trying so hard. When you look at the graphs and see your blood sugar spike in one direction—and go into the red—all you want to do is get it down. When that would happen, I’d regroup and the next day focus on eating my go-to foods (like chicken sausage or green vegetable juice with collagen mixed in) to stay more stable.
Overall, using the CGM made me more conscious of my food choices. Just by aiming to avoid the high spikes, I was able to lose some weight. My fatigue was the main goal I was working on, and on days where I saw fewer spikes and more stable glucose responses, my energy levels were so much better.