I am delighted to have Jessie Inchauspe, the Glucose Goddess, joining me on the podcast today!
Metabolic health is my passion! It is a huge area of focus in my work, and Jessie is truly a gift in the space! She is a rising star author and biochemist with a clear and accessible way of explaining the science behind glucose metabolism.
Jessie joins me today to discuss the impact of glucose metabolism and spikes. We dive into her background and how an accident created her pain-to-purpose story. We discuss the role of continuous glucose monitors and how glucose spikes impact our mitochondria, inflammation, and oxidative stress. We get into glycation and aging, how weight gain is a protective aspect of glucose spikes- or hyperglycemia, and the role of vinegar, movement, and fiber. We also talk about Jessie’s new book, her opinions on fasting, and so much more.
I loved interviewing Jessie! Her enthusiasm is contagious, and it is easy to understand why she is such a beloved author in the health and wellness space!
“Every system in your body starts malfunctioning when the glucose is out of whack.”
– Jessie Inchauspe
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Jessie shares how an accident led her to where she is today.
- How a continuous glucose monitor changed everything for Jessie.
- How Jessie came up with her simple principles to steady glucose levels.
- What is the purpose of glucose in the body?
- How do glucose spikes impact our mitochondria?
- Jessie shares a fascinating vinegar hack for reducing side effects and symptoms of glucose spikes.
- How being metabolically unhealthy impacts the aging process.
- The benefits of having savory breakfasts and eating vegetables first with every meal.
- Jessie talks about her new book, The Glucose Goddess Method.
- How gaining weight protects our bodies from the impact of glucose spikes.
- How walking or moving after meals balances blood sugar levels.
- Why is blood sugar so important?
Connect with Cynthia Thurlow
Check out Cynthia’s website
Connect with Jessie Inchauspe
On her website
Cynthia Thurlow: Welcome to Everyday Wellness Podcast. I’m your host Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow. This podcast is designed to educate, empower, and inspire you to achieve your health and wellness goals. My goal and intent is to provide you with the best content and conversations from leaders in the health and wellness industry each week and impact over a million lives.
Metabolic health is a huge focus of my work and something I’m incredibly passionate about. Over the past year, I have watched this incredible rising star, author, and biochemist, The Glucose Goddess, Jessie Inchauspé, who joined me today to have a really vibrant discussion about the impact of glucose metabolism and glucose spikes. She does such a beautiful job explaining the science in a way that is incredibly accessible. She is really a gift in the space. Today, we spoke at great length about her background, how an accident created a pain-to-purpose story for her, the role of continuous glucose monitors, the impact of glucose spikes and how it impacts our mitochondria inflammation and oxidative stress, the role of glycation in aging, how weight gain is a protected aspect of glucose spikes or what I refer to as hyperglycemia, the role of vinegar, movement, fiber, and clothes on your carbs, her new book, her opinions on fasting, and so much more. Jessie was in a complete delight to interview, and you will be able to see why she is such a beloved author in the health and wellness space. Her enthusiasm is truly contagious. I know you will enjoy our discussion.
Jessie, I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation. I think your book is so needed in the space. You’ve got this new book coming out, which I’ve had the honor of being able to look at. It’s absolutely beautiful. The colors draw you in, you can see your personality. Talk to my listeners about how this book came about, because I understand that you had an accident that led to this journey, this serendipitous journey to where you are today. Could you share that with the listeners, because I do think it’s relevant? I always think the pain-to-purpose or having gone through something that is a powerful impetus to find your way out or find a way or solution to a problem that you’re having.
Jessie Inchauspé: You said it so well. The pain to purpose really resonates. I broke my back when I was 19 years old in a freak accident, jumping off a waterfall with friends, like, trying to have fun. Well, I was trying to be cool. I was terrified, but I did it anyway because I wanted to be cool. It was a big mistake. [giggles] So, in the fall, well, when I hit the water, one of my vertebrae exploded just out of the pressure of the water on my tailbone. So, I had to have very intense surgery. I have lots of metal in my back now, like, a robot, and no, I don’t ring at the TSA security things–
Jessie Inchauspé: -and people always ask me that. So, physically, I healed really well, which was amazing. But after this accident, at the age of 19, I started getting a lot of mental health issues. So, anxiety, depression, dissociation, panic attacks, I couldn’t really look at myself in the mirror without having a panic attack because I just felt everything– My brain was completely broken. I would look at my hands and feel like they weren’t mine. Weird brain fog all the time. I was in a lot of pain, a lot of pain. So, through that pain came a very clear understanding that health is the most important thing in our life. If we don’t have our health, we don’t have a lot. So, I decided to go on a journey or quest to figure out how to get back to health. And so, that led me first to go to grad school for biochemistry to try to understand the human body on a cellular level. Then I moved to San Francisco, and I worked in genetics for five years in a very cool startup.
While both of those things were really interesting, I still hadn’t really reconnected with my body at that point. I was functioning [giggles] shot nervous. It seems like, I was functioning, but I was not okay. I was not healed. I was still looking for a lot of answers. But then while I was in Silicon Valley, something quite serendipitous happened. I was able to try on a continuous glucose monitor as part of an internal research pilot that was happening at the company I was working. I don’t have diabetes, okay? So, these are devices made for people with diabetes. Somehow, I felt like I should try this. I was really, really drawn to it. So, I put on the glucose monitor, and in a matter of a couple of days, everything changes for me because I start seeing that the more irregular my blood sugar is, the worse my mental health is.
That for me, Cynthia, was after eight years of being in total darkness about what I needed to do to improve my mental health, I felt like I finally had a first step. I was like, “Oh, my God, maybe there’s something here to dig into to understand.” So, I read all the scientific studies on glucose I could find. I had, like, a million tabs open on my browser. I was like, “This is so fascinating.” Like, “What’s going on? Why is this affecting me?” I learned a few things. I learned that I wasn’t alone, that many people without diabetes also can have irregular blood sugar levels. I learned that these could lead to many different symptoms, from brain fog to more depression or anxiety symptoms, to fertility issues, to poor sleep, to cravings, to hunger, and obviously to diabetes. So, I was like, “This is wild.” I just became completely passionate about the topic. And then I was like, “Okay, I need to balance my glucose levels, so I can feel good, and I wanted to improve my mental health.” But I don’t want to give up foods that typically make our blood sugar levels irregular, like, pasta and cake. I love that stuff. I didn’t want to give it up.
So, through the scientific studies and through reading all of them and summarizing them, I was able to come up with these principles, very simple lifestyle food principles that allow us to study our glucose levels, feel much better physically and mentally without going on an extreme diet. And so, that creation of mine has led to a big, big Instagram community. My first book, now my second book, which is even more practical than the first one. Yeah, now it’s my whole life.
Cynthia Thurlow: It’s really exciting, because as a clinician, I think we tend to compartmentalize things, like, this macronutrient is good, this one is bad. No one should do this, everyone should do that. And the recognition that through your pain-to-purpose journey that utilizing a CGM and starting to think about the net impact of your blood sugar regulation on how you felt and how you slept and how you interacted with your environment, I think is so powerful. And for me, I remember when I read your book, because I’m one of those people I’m like, “I like to be in the know. There’s a lot of buzz about this book. Let me read it.” I immediately had my monthly group read it. I started recommending it, because it talks a great deal about things that you can do proactively that can help metabolic health but don’t involve extremes. I think for a lot of people, it’s meeting our patients and our clients where they are. It’s not saying like, “This works for me. Therefore, it has to work for everyone.”
I acknowledge that what works for me may not work for other people, and that’s okay. But I love that your work is really speaking to allowing people to enjoy living their lives without feeling like they live in a lot of deprivation. So, let’s talk about the purpose of glucose in the body. So, obviously, on a cellular level, and you do a beautiful job of making the science really accessible. That is a gift for listeners, because there are lots of wonderful people that come on the podcast, but they’re talking like they’re speaking to a graduate student or another clinician, and you really take these complicated concepts and make them very accessible. So, understanding the role of glucose and how it impacts our food choices, let’s start there, because I think for a lot of people, they’re probably very humbled to know that when your blood sugar is not properly maintained, it can cause those cravings and those hunger cues and the lack of satiety that can lead to, let’s just say, less than stutter choices in terms of food that we’re consuming.
Jessie Inchauspé: Absolutely. The place I like to start is explaining that glucose is your body’s favorite source of energy. So, every cell in your body uses it for energy. Right now, Cynthia, both your brain cells and my brain cells are using glucose to think and chat. Our heart cells are using glucose to pump blood throughout our body. Every part of your body loves using this for energy. The main way that we as humans give this glucose to our body is through eating what we call carbohydrates. So, starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or sweet foods like chocolate cake, ice cream, fruit juices, whatever that’s sweet. So, starchy and sweet foods give glucose to our body. And so you might think, “Okay, I want lots of energy, so I should eat as many carbs as possible to give my body as much energy as possible,” right?
That’s a pretty common, logical next step, but actually, it’s wrong. It’s a bit like the plants that I have around me. I love plants. I know that to keep my plants alive, I need to give them some water. But if I give them too much water, then they die. And the human body is similar. Some glucose is foundational, but too much and problems start happening. Scientists across the world have run incredible experiments showing that when your glucose levels are not steady and low enough, when they go up and down and up and down, there’s too much glucose in your system. So many things start happening.
You mentioned satiety and cravings. Scientists have found that when your glucose levels are low, which can happen after a spike, it goes spike and then low instead of staying steady, that the craving center in your brain activates and tells you literally, “Cynthia, find some cookies, find some burgers.” You can’t even resist that very strong ancestral drive coming from inside your brain. The more glucose spikes you have, the more hungry you are, the more fatigued you are, the more brain fog you might experience, the more you might have skin issues like acne, psoriasis, eczema, the faster you age, which is very interesting. We can get back to that.
Essentially, every system in your body starts malfunctioning when glucose is out of whack. Because it’s in every single one of our cells and it’s so foundational to your body’s functioning, having it not be healthy and steady leads to many issues. So, that’s the short-term stuff. But then long term, too much glucose for too long is the main driver of type 2 diabetes. So, we’re in a situation where we need to study our glucose levels to feel good today and to prevent issues tomorrow, but the question is, how do we do that?
Cynthia Thurlow: I know it’s interesting, because one of the things that really stood out in the book, when I initially– your first book, let me just clarify, the impact of spikes. So, we’re talking about these blood sugar spikes. And yes, in response to food, and it can be dependent on the type of foods we’re eating, whether it’s protein, fat, or carbohydrates, can have a more negligible or a more substantial impact on these blood sugar spikes. But you talk about what happens to our mitochondria when we have these blood sugar spikes. So, they’re not benign. Unfortunately, I think there are still people that are like, “Oh, it’s not a big deal. We can even get more nuanced and say, if it goes up by 30 points–”
More than 30 points is quite significant on a CGM or a glucometer. But let’s talk about these little mitochondria, which my listeners are pretty savvy. They understand what they are and what they do. But when you make that connection between the spike and what’s happening in the mitochondrial level, like, the cellular level, it’s like, “Wow, that’s really impactful to understand how significant these are.”
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah. These are very central to your body’s functioning and just how much energy you have, as your listeners know very well. So, your mitochondria, on a regular day, if everything is steady and everything is good, they transform glucose into energy. That’s their job. So, they love a steady stream of glucose. But when too much glucose comes too quickly to them, so that’s when a glucose spike takes place. Your mitochondria become overwhelmed and they shut down, they, too much information, cannot deal. Imagine you have 500,000 emails that arrive in your inbox at the same time, you’re just going to close your computer because you just can’t. So, the mitochondria feel the same. When too much glucose comes their way, they just can’t. They become stressed, they produce free radicals, which also leads to inflammation. Most importantly, they just can’t make energy efficiently anymore, because they’re shut down and on strike. So, you feel tired. You feel like you can’t pick up your kids from school. Grocery shopping is exhausting, you can’t really handle stress that well. When your mitochondria are damaged, your life force is damaged.
So, understanding that too much glucose too quickly is harming your mitochondria is key to understanding why so many of us are eating all these sweet foods and these carbs, but we feel chronically fatigued. That big myth of, you need sugar in the morning to have energy, that feeling that you get when you eat sugar is actually not energy. It’s dopamine. So, when we eat something sweet, lots of dopamine gets released in the brain. This makes us feel high. We’re like “Whoa.” You feel it. You’re like, “Well, I’m still so awake.” Actually, it’s not energy. Again, it’s pleasure, it’s dopamine. But on the inside, your mitochondria are slowly becoming damaged. So, energy production is compromised.
Cynthia Thurlow: It’s really interesting, because it makes sense in terms of our hedonistic culture. Here in the United States, something there’s Uber Eats and all sorts of horrible things that have been invented that people have accessibility to anything at any time, whether it’s binging on Netflix or having– [crosstalk]
Jessie Inchauspé: I like Uber Eats. [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: Okay.
Jessie Inchauspé: [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: I have teenagers. Sometimes, during the pandemic, they would say, “Oh, I don’t want to eat dinner.” And then Uber Eats would somehow show up and my husband and I didn’t know this was happening.
Jessie Inchauspé: Oh, wow.
Cynthia Thurlow: So, from the context of being the parent of teenagers– [crosstalk]
Jessie Inchauspé: [crosstalk]
Cynthia Thurlow: Other than that, sorry, Uber Eats. But if it’s definitely one of those things you just start to realize some of our habits just become these hedonistic pleasures. So, it makes so much sense that dopamine is driving that pleasure feeling and that pleasure-seeking behavior.
Jessie Inchauspé: We have access everywhere all the time, to all the candy bars, all the sugar we want. So, we’re in a food landscape that is designed to make us eat all this stuff that creates dopamine in our brains. It makes sense. The food companies are really happy that we’re eating all this stuff because it’s making them money. The question is like, how do you navigate this landscape without saying like, “I’m never eating sugar again”? Because that’s just not realistic for most people. I want to eat sugar. I don’t want Brussels sprouts for my birthday. So, how do you–?
Jessie Inchauspé: -A Brussels sprout cake? Like, “Oh, my God, no, I want a triple chocolate fudge layer. I want all the chocolate.” So, how do we work in this landscape? That was really one of the main questions I was asking myself when I discovered the science of glucose. I was like, “How do we make this better for our bodies, but without doing anything too extreme?”
Cynthia Thurlow: Right. I think that that’s really important that we’ve gotten to a place– I feel like, where we’ve gotten rigidly dogmatic about whether it’s a nutritional principle or the way that we look at lifestyle that it has to be super rigid. Again, what I love about your message is meeting people where they are and saying like, “Yes, I still want to have that piece of cake on my birthday. No, I don’t want to live in deprivation. So, how do we find a workaround?” So, one of the first tenets of your first book is really talking about the world of vinegar. Let’s pivot the conversation, because I found this so fascinating. I was like, “How much vinegar do I have in my house?” I’d never thought about it in this capacity. And yet, it’s something that’s so helpful in such an easy way. It’s not like you’re buying some weird supplement. It’s something you probably have in your pantry you very likely have and use all the time and in different capacities.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, vinegar is very interesting. Actually, when you look back, you notice that vinegar has been used for centuries in so many different cultures, especially in Europe or on the Mediterranean, like, vinegar in French food and Italian food. It’s just everywhere. So, I came across these fascinating clinical trials showing that one tablespoon of vinegar in a big glass of water– We’re talking like big glass like this. In a big glass of water before a meal, it can reduce the glucose spike of that meal by up to 30% without you changing what you’re eating at all. So, this is probably one of the hacks that people gravitate the most towards, because it almost feels like a magic pill. I just want to preface, like, this is the only one that’s magic pill thing, everything else is based around food. I think it’s important to note that. Yeah, vinegar is fascinating. So, now, before I have a big bowl of pasta, I have a little vinegar drink, because I want to eat the pasta, but I also, why not reduce the glucose sike if I can? Why not reduce the inflammation and mitochondrial stress and all the other side effects and symptoms?
Common questions I get are, can it be any type of vinegar? Yes, it can be any type of vinegar. The most popular one being apple cider vinegar, because it’s just considered to be the most delicious one. But you can use any type of vinegar you want. So, that’s pretty cool. Yeah, try it out. Before a meal, a tablespoon of vinegar, a big glass of water, and see if you feel less of that energy crash afterwards. See if you feel less of those cravings after the meal. For some people, it’s really powerful and it’s one of my favorites.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it’s interesting, because I think for a lot of people, understanding limiting those glucose spikes or eliminating significant glucose spikes is really the way to navigate. I don’t like to use the word anti-age, but I think all of us are aging, but we want to age in the most benign direction that we can go. One of the things that you really focus in on or bring to people’s attention is the role of glycation, and the impact of these glucose spikes, and understanding that you always have these beautiful analogies like toasted bread, that’s glycation. So, helping people understand that by limiting these glucose spikes, you are in essence supporting cellular aging, but doing it in a much more graduated, as opposed to an accelerated way that I think for a lot of individuals, they’re not making that connection that if you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic not metabolically healthy, you are actually aging faster from the inside out.
Jessie Inchauspé: Well, think about two people who are the same age. Let’s think about two people who are both 65 years old. You can tell that one person is biologically much older than the other one, right? You can see it on their face. Maybe they have more wrinkles, but you can also tell, like, they’re less physically active, their organs seem to be in worse shape. We can impact how we age. It’s not just a matter of how many years you’ve been on this planet. The inside of your body will age at different speeds depending on how you’re living your life. And so, the glycation topic is very interesting. From the moment a human being is born, they start slowly cooking, which is another word for glycating, like, a chicken in the oven. Then when you’re fully cooked, when you’re fully glycated, [giggles] that’s when you generally die. So, this process happens. And it’s inevitable. We can’t stop glycation. It’s happening every second in your body, but you can slow it down or speed it up.
One of the ways you can affect how quickly it’s happening is by affecting your glucose levels. So, glucose and glycation, they sound similar, it’s because glucose is responsible for glycation. So, when a glucose molecule bumps into another molecule in your body, it glycates it. When this happens to, for example, collagen, when collagen gets glycated, wrinkles form on your face faster. When other molecules get glycated, other issues happen. But essentially, the fewer glucose spikes you have, the slower this process will happen. And as a result, you’ll be aging more slowly. This will be visible externally on your face with the wrinkles, for example, which is the most outwardly physical marker, I would say, of glycation. Then on the inside, your organs will stay healthier for longer, which is what we all want. Yeah, so, that’s glycation for you.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I think it’s certainly very relevant. I know that after many years of working in healthcare, one of the things that became apparent to me was I’d walk into a patient’s room and sometimes I’d have to take a triple check. Like, looking at the patient’s chart, looking at the patient saying, “Gosh, that person either looks much younger or they look much older than the average.”
Jessie Inchauspé: I’m actually, 75 years old, Cynthia.
Jessie Inchauspé: Big secret.
Cynthia Thurlow: One of those things that would always take me aback when someone was an outlier, like, wow. Whatever they’re doing, they need to continue doing it because they look fantastic. Or, based on a lot, oftentimes lifestyle choices, people can certainly accelerate the aging process. Now, when you were initially putting the first and now your second book together, really thinking thoughtfully about the orders of operation or the orders or the type of macronutrients, like, how to eat them in sequential, so that’s going to have the least net impact on your blood sugar. My mom is Italian and my mom was all about salad and greens. It was like, there wasn’t a meal that didn’t have salad and greens.
She’s still that way. My mother just came to visit and she was like, “Why aren’t you eating more spinach? Why aren’t you having more–?” These Italian moms, they’re very thoughtful.
Jessie Inchauspé: [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: Understanding that starting your meal with greens and fiber has a profound impact on your blood sugar regulation. I think that this is probably surprising for some, not surprising for others, but I love that you put it in such a way that it makes it very clear. When you go to a restaurant or you’re eating at home, this is the order of foods that you should work through before you get to something savory or sweet.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, and your mom is right. So, the most important thing to remember is that you should be trying to have veggies first. So, every meal starts with your veggies. The reason we do that and the reason why so many cultures have done this for so long is because when you eat veggies at the beginning of a meal, the fiber in those veggies is going to perform a protective act and create this mesh in your intestine, and slow down how quickly all the rest of the food is coming through your digestive tract. And as a result, it reduce any spike that might be coming down from the pasta, or the rice, the chocolate cake afterward. So, that veggie first thing is super, super, super powerful. This is a hack that I really encourage people to try, because it actually asks you to eat more than usual, which is counterintuitive. But by eating more than usual, you can really impact your glucose levels, and as a result, impact your hunger levels, your cravings. And so, overall, you’re probably going to be eating less, because satiety is going to be so much more fantastic. So, yeah, veggies first is great.
There’s a scientific study that switched the order of eating the elements of a meal. So, they did two different ways of eating. They did veggies first, then proteins and fats, then starches and sugars or they did the reverse, okay? They found that by eating in the veggies first and carbs last situation, they reduced the glucose spike of that meal by up to 75%, okay? So, that’s huge. Without changing how much was eaten, without changing the eating speed, you don’t have to wait between the veggies and the rest of the meal. Simply by doing that and harnessing the cultural wisdom and harnessing your body’s biochemistry, you can have the same meal, but really impact your health in a very different way.
Cynthia Thurlow: I love that, and it’s interesting, because I definitely have experimented with this, like, on the occasion when I want to have something sweet, making sure I’ve got all those other elements first, and then not only seeing the net impact on my CGM, which I occasionally wear. I did wear it for a long time. I do think it’s very helpful even for those who are metabolically healthy. Nutrisense is one of our podcast sponsors. So, I’ll just put that out there. But I do think it’s really helpful for people to understand, like, not only is there less net impact on that blood sugar, but also you feel so much better. [crosstalk] How many people got accustomed to getting sleepy after a meal? That’s not normal. [laughs] That’s not.
Jessie Inchauspé: [crosstalk] A lot of these things that we think are normal. Like, the cravings, the inflammation, the fatigue, the difficult periods, the PMS, the endometriosis, like the menopause symptoms, like a lot of things that we consider normal, that we consider who we are like, “Oh, I’m somebody who gets hangry or I’m somebody who has low blood sugar,” those kinds of things you might hear, those are actually not really you. In my opinion, those are messages from your body telling you like, “Hello, hello, there’s some problems happening inside, like, do help me.” [laughs] Generally, starting with balancing your glucose levels is going to be the foundation of health. You cannot have a healthy body in mind if your glucose levels are on a massive roller coaster all day. You just can’t.
So, yeah, I did that switch myself when I first discovered glucose. I started realizing, “Oh, maybe all this mental health stuff was not my body fighting me or was not like who I was now. Maybe there were signals coming from my biology trying to communicate something to me.” From that moment on, everything changed. But I realized, “Oh when I do these different things, those messages come way less frequently.” I’m actually able to fix the root cause instead of feeling ashamed. Medicating, suppressing, which by the way, can totally be helpful in some instances, but when you fix the root cause, those things just naturally dissipate. I hear a lot. I’m sure you hear this too, Cynthia, that people are addicted to sugar, like, I’m just addicted to sugar. I can’t stop eating sugar. Well, often people might be creating that addiction with something as simple as having a sweet breakfast. If you have a sweet breakfast, you’re creating a big glucose spike in the morning and that just keeps you on this roller coaster all day, and you’re going to have craving after craving after craving, and you’re like, “Why I don’t I have enough willpower?” It’s not a willpower issue. It could very well be your biology just responding to that first spike in the morning. That’s why savory breakfast is also a very important principle.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, absolutely. I think that awareness that you’re encouraging people to consider how some of their food choices, how they start their day. Obviously, I’m in the intermittent fasting space. So, whatever you’re choosing to break your fast with, whether it’s at 08:00 in the morning or 11:00 AM, understanding that the food choices that you’re making can have an enormous impact on how you feel.
Jessie Inchauspé: Absolutely.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I would imagine with all of the press that you’ve done for your books that there probably have been some discussions about shame around food, because I think for a lot of people, they feel powerless. And so, what would be your reframe or your suggestion when someone is feeling ashamed like, “Oh, I binged, or I broke my fast, or I ate breakfast and I didn’t make a good decision.” Helping people understand that not all is lost. I always say the reframe is so important, like, how we speak to ourselves, how we internally speak to ourselves, how we speak outside of our body is really important. What would be your suggestion or what have been the things you found that have been helpful for others?
Jessie Inchauspé: A couple of things. First, I would say, when you learn about these principles. So, breaking your fast with something savory, having veggies first, having some vinegar, doing all this stuff. These are principles that are here for life. It’s a bit like brush your teeth, drink water. You know this is good for you and you do it most days. Some days you don’t brush your teeth because of X, Y, Z and it’s okay, right? It’s not like that particular day that not brushing your teeth is going to ruin everything. So, I think that’s important. Just knowing that whatever these guiding principles are, they’re not an all-or-nothing approach. They’re like little gentle giants to have in your toolbox to use whenever you want.
I also like to remind people that a way of taking care of yourself and your health is also just doing these principles when they feel good and when you want to do them. When I wake up on a Sunday morning and I want chocolate ice cream for breakfast, I’ll just have chocolate ice cream for breakfast. I won’t do any hacks. I won’t drink the vinegar before. That happens. And that’s totally fine, because doing the hacks and not doing the hacks are both part of the same life. You see what I mean? So, you just weave them through your days, through your months, through your years whenever it’s easy. And also, I also want to mention that, even if you don’t do any of these things, but one day, two weeks ago at the restaurant, you had one salad leaf before the rest of your meal, that’s already better than nothing and that should be celebrated. Like, you should celebrate those really small steps. This is really important in my work just to encourage people, to reframe and think like, “Okay, well, number one, you know this stuff.” That’s already giving you a leg up and that’s already something you should be proud of, because you’re listening to this podcast. You decided I want to click on this and learn about my health. So, just for that, you should celebrate yourself. That’s already a great success. You see what I mean? I think every single tiny thing is to be celebrated, and when you don’t want to do the things, it’s also part of your experience of it all.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I think it’s really important for people to hear that message, because again, I’ll just keep saying this. Sometimes, in the health and wellness space, there are well-intentioned people that they’re very rigidly dogmatic. I always remind people like bio-individuality rules– Much to your point, even if you eat that one salad green, or maybe once a week, you’re having apple cider vinegar before your meal, or you’re walking after a meal and obviously, we’re going to get into talking about movement, because it’s such an integral part of blood sugar regulation, each one of those things is significant. You don’t have to do everything all the time and you don’t have to be perfect. We’re all perfectly imperfect. I think that’s important to share about that. But let’s pivot a little bit and let’s talk about your new book.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: So, obviously, there are some themes, and like I mentioned earlier, Jessie’s book has such beautiful photography in it, food photography, and you can really see your personality in it, which shows that you’re like fun and vivacious, lots of bright colors. Yeah, in fact we are right there. I love it. So, let’s talk about the new book. So, you had 2,700 participants since 2019 that have gone through this program. I love that you mentioned it’s all focuses on health and healing. Like, people sometimes come to these concepts or ideas, because they have something tangible like “I want to lose weight. I want to change body composition. I want my sleep to better.” But your focus and your intention was to have improved health and healing, which I think is such a beautiful focus and it takes emphasis on the physicality. It’s more like, let’s focus on what’s going on inside in our bodies, which will be reflected in the outside.
Jessie Inchauspé: Totally. Well, because balancing your glucose levels is so foundational to your health, if you’re somebody who could feel better than you currently do, you should probably try this. That’s really the pitch, [laughs] whether it’s fertility, cravings, energy, skin, you want to put your diabetes into remission, you want to sleep better, you want to have less brain fog. It’s just foundational to health. My first book came out last year, and it was a really very rich book with lots of hacks, lots of science testimonials, the agriculture revolution. After that book came out, I know it changed many lives, but I also started getting some messages from people being like, “Jessie, I love it. I want to do everything, but I need your help to actually do it.” People were asking me to move in with them and help them do the hacks day by day. So, I thought, “Hmm, that’s an interesting idea.”
So, instead, I created this new book called The Glucose Goddess Method, and that’s a 4-week guide. It’s like a fast track to study glucose. In these four weeks, we incorporate one glucose hack per week for these four weeks. By the end of it, your glucose is steady, you feel amazing. There’s lots of super easy recipes to do this in the book. As you mentioned, I had almost 2,000 people go through this in October 2022 to go through the 4-week plan. The results are amazing. And again, apart from the hacks, which are savory breakfast, vinegar, veggie starter and movement, apart from the hacks, you can do whatever you want. There’s no restrictions whatsoever. You just add these into your life. I’ll read you a few of the results. About 90% of people are less hungry, 89% of people reduce their cravings, 77% of people have more energy. There’s lots more in the book, but just to show you– Again, this is not like a clinical trial. It’s just an experiment, but it really has a profound impact in your days. Then when you feel much better, you feel more connected to yourself, to your purpose, to your life, like, it’s a much nicer place to be.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I think for those of us that have written books and we have programs incorporated in the books, when it’s something that’s tangible that people can successfully implement and they can see quick wins, so obviously the sleep, the stress management, the changes in body composition, which was not the focus, but I’m sure for many people, just doing these little– They’re not little. They’re substantial, but yet, they don’t feel so overwhelming, can certainly have a great deal of improvement.
Now, one of the things that I know you talk about in both books and certainly is for our listeners, my listeners, certainly a huge pain point is sleep. And so, most of my listeners are perimenopause, menopause. So, 10 to 15 years preceding menopause. So, women north of 35, sleep can suddenly become a huge problem. This is why I think CGMs and glucometers are so beneficial, because sometimes when people are waking up in the middle of the night, it’s because their blood sugar is high. It could be because their blood sugar is low. And so, your participants did see significant improvements in their sleep quality and what have been some of the–[crosstalk]
Jessie Inchauspé: Yes, 58% of people sleep better after four weeks.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. So, in terms of research, what have you found about hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in terms of impacting sleep quality? Usually, I woke up between 01:00 and 04:00 AM, either my heart was pounding or I woke up and I was sweaty. Neither one of which–[crosstalk]
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, that’s a very clear sign of basically having a glucose crash. That’s one of the most common symptoms of having a glucose crash in the night, which is you woke up, you’re sweaty, your heart is pounding, and you just don’t feel well at all. But it goes even beyond that, because the scientific research shows us that if your glucose are deregulated, you’re going to have less restful, less restorative deep sleep during your night. So, you wake up and you’re tired. What happens when we’re tired? We want sugar because we want to feel better. And so, we grab a sweet breakfast and then we grab more sweet stuff and then it’s just a vicious cycle. But the good news is, the studies show really wonderful improvements in your sleep quality, and how easy it is to fall asleep and stay asleep when your glucose levels are steadier.
Again, it’s a really important place to start. For me, it changed things so much. I used to always go to sleep with a glucose spike. I would always wake up in the morning really tired and rely on a lot of coffee. I just thought that was like the human condition. I was like, “Everybody around me seems to be going through the same– Everybody’s exhausted, everybody’s caffeinated. I guess this is just normal [laughs] wild though.”
Cynthia Thurlow: It is wild. And so, when you’re talking to your community or you’re being interviewed on podcasts, what is your thought process on eating too close to bedtime impacting sleep quality, or eating when it’s light outside, not eating when it’s dark outside. I’m saying this to a European. So, this is probably sacrilege. But just in the perspective of, what are your thoughts? Like, what has been your experience and what have you found in the research? Because that chronobiology piece, I think is so impactful in terms of insulin sensitivity and all these other things that we’re talking about.
Jessie Inchauspé: Well, it’s pretty clear from the science that it’s better to eat when it’s light out, and it’s pretty clear from the science that it’s better to have a lighter dinner. I guess, it’s up to you to figure out if you’re going to make this part of your life personally– This is one of the areas where I just love having a big dinner. I just love eating a lot at dinner. It’s the meal at which I eat the most. I know it’s not great, but you got to pick your battles. [giggles] So, I use the hacks to try to reduce the impact. But what I have been doing that has been super helpful is getting light in my eyes in the morning when I wake up. I started doing this a couple of months ago and I just love it, because that sets your circadian rhythm and that makes sure your body is producing melatonin around bedtime. That has changed everything for me. I really, really love it.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it’s one of my favorites. We have two dogs and we’ll walk them in the morning.
Jessie Inchauspé: That’s so good.
Cynthia Thurlow: So, without sunglasses, not a wiser just walking the dogs. It’s absolutely part of my connection with myself and getting the day going. What has been your experience with menopausal women? So, there were many of my listeners were giving specific questions that they were hoping you would touch on. I know this isn’t your area of expertise, but obviously, the participants in the program, The Glucose Goddess Method, I’m sure you had plenty of middle-aged women and they were probably struggling with blood sugar dysregulation.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yes, absolutely. So, two things. One, the studies show us that the more glucose spikes you have, the more you’re going to have symptoms of menopause, whether it’s hot flashes, whether it’s insomnia, okay? Second, your hormonal system and your glucose levels are very tightly linked. So, if your glucose levels are deregulated, whatever your age, you’re going to be having more hormonal symptoms. You’re going to have worse menopause symptoms, you’re going to have worse PMS symptoms, you might even skip periods and not ovulate, if you’re still in that phase of your life. So, it’s very clear that if you want to put stack the odds in your favor, it’s very, very clear that you need to be studying your glucose levels.
Unfortunately, it’s an area that has, for a long time been, very understudied. I think things are really changing now, which is super exciting, but we definitely need more research. But just from a biological perspective, we know that link is so clear between glucose and hormones that very good idea to study your glucose levels, [laughs] if you want to help your menopause symptoms. And in the book, I have lots of testimonials from people who are going through menopause who talk about improvements, etc. So, it’s really cool to see.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I do agree with you. There definitely needs to be more research women in general. I know even when I was writing my book and there’s always that, “Well, why isn’t there more research on women?” I said, “I think that a woman’s menstrual cycle is considered to be a variable that a lot of researchers don’t want to work around.”
Jessie Inchauspé: Oh, yeah. For fasting, it’s a huge thing, right? There’s so much research done on men and so little on women. Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, except it is lab animals as you know or obese menopausal women. It’s like everything else in between. It’s like, okay, what has worked clinically, but I can’t point to a research study and say, “Oh, yeah, this is statistically significant. It’s five women.” Let’s talk about how weight gain can be protective from glucose spikes, because I found this fascinating. It’s really, again, a reframe, because we think of it as, “Oh, you’re just eating too much.” No, that’s actually not the case. It could be that your body is trying to create a protective mechanism.
Jessie Inchauspé: Well, listen, your body, at its core, wants to keep you alive. Your body is not fighting you. Your body is trying to keep you alive and trying to deal with what’s happening with what food you’re giving and how you’re living, etc., So, that’s important to remember. Your body is your friend and is trying to help you. So, when it comes to gaining fat on our body, we have a pretty complicated relationship with that concept. A lot of us are like, “Oh, I gained some fat on my body, you are horrible.” Well, actually, one of the reasons that you gain fat on your body is that when there’s excess glucose in your body, again saying your body a lot, but your body [giggles] tries to protect you from that extra glucose, and stashes the extra glucose away into your fat cells, into other places too, but in your fat cells too to protect you from the damage, from the extra glycation, the extramitochondrial stress that spike is causing. So, that’s important to remember. You should thank your body for putting that extra glucose away in your fat cell.
Now, that being said, I understand why people want to reduce fat on their body. There’s also different types of fats, depending on the type of fat where it is and it will actually be really inflammatory and really harmful to your health. So, it’s important to remember that in the context of glucose spikes, when you reduce those spikes, you’re giving your body a chance to not store so much into your fat cells, and instead learn to burn fat for fuel, which as you know very well from your domain, which is really important, that’s called metabolic flexibility. And the ability to burn fat for fuel is really key to having sustained energy, to not feeling lightheaded between meals, to not having low blood sugar, to just having a body that’s in good health.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it’s such an impactful way to find that reframe about weight gain. Understanding that your body is trying to find a protective way of reducing the net impact of hyperglycemia, but also understanding that these changes that you’re suggesting, which I think are incredibly helpful, are ways that we can realign that metabolic flexibility. We do want our bodies to be able to use both stored fat and glucose or even ketones as fuel substrates and not just glucose.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, absolutely.
Cynthia Thurlow: Now, movement. I used to actually make fun of. I say this lovingly. We lived in Washington, D.C. for a long time and relocated during the pandemic, and we had these wonderful couples that would walk after meals. In the evening, we used to look at them when were younger, my husband and I, and we’re like, “Why are they walking after meals?” And yet, this is ingrained in so many cultures, and yet– We thought it was so funny. And now, this is something we do actively. So, let’s talk about the role of movement and how it has a positive net impact on our blood sugar. What’s happening mechanistically in the body when we’re walking.
Jessie Inchauspé: Well, so, every cell in your body likes using glucose for energy, and your muscle cells are the same. So, every time a muscle contracts, it is happy to use glucose for energy, and we can use this to our advantage. After a meal, if you use your muscles for 10 minutes and it can be anything from walking to cleaning your apartment to doing the dishes, to playing with your dog, to doing some calf raises, to going to the gym like whatever you want to do, some of the glucose from that meal will go in priority to those muscles to fuel the contraction happening. And so, as a result, you’re reducing the spike of the meal, because some of the glucose is going to be used by the muscles instead of sticking around and doing that big spike. So, it’s a really key part, actually, of balancing your glucose levels. And again, it can be super simple.
So, in The Glucose Goddess Method, in week 4, we add those 10 minutes of movement, once a day after one meal a day. There’s this new move that I love, and I mentioned it’s the calf raises. So, you can be sitting at your desk or in a chair and just push up your feet onto above of your feet and just up and down just up and down, just using calf raises. There’s a muscle in your calf that’s really good at soaking up glucose. It’s called the soleus muscle. That’s a really easy way to get that hack in, but you can do any other type of movement as well.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and I think it’s all about making things that are accessible. So, you don’t need special equipment, you don’t have to have a gym membership, you could literally put your shoes on, walk up and down the stairs in your house.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, absolutely.
Cynthia Thurlow: We don’t have to make things complicated. Just lastly, let’s talk about the savory breakfast. So, this is the last component or one of the four components in the new book. Again, the photos in your book are absolutely beautiful. Savory breakfast, let’s differentiate that from a sweet breakfast and helping people understand how that can set you up for your day with your blood sugar.
Jessie Inchauspé: So, sweet breakfast is a breakfast that tastes sweet and is usually just carbs. That’s what most people have. So, muesli, cereal, fruit juice, acai bowls, whatever sweet, like a pastry, blah, blah, all that stuff is going to create a big glucose spike. As I explained, if you have a big glucose spike at breakfast, that’s one big glucose roller coaster for the rest of the day. So, you’re tired, you have cravings, you’re fatigued, you’re hungry all the time. So, in week one of the method, what we do is we switch to a savory breakfast. Again, it doesn’t matter what time you have your breakfast. If you’re fasting, you can have your breakfast at 04:00 PM, It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a savory meal. So, you want to build your savory breakfast around protein, add some fat, add some fiber, and then you can still have some starches, if you want, for taste. You can add a slice of bread, you can add some potatoes for taste, as long as they’re not the centerpiece of your breakfast.
Then finally, a savory breakfast contains nothing sweet, except, if you want, again, for taste, some whole fruit. So, you can have some banana, you can have an apple, strawberries, kiwi, whatever, but nothing else as fruit. If you do that, you’re setting yourself up for a day of steady glucose and feeling really amazing, having all this energy. It really gives a completely new tone to your day. If you’ve always had a glucose spike at breakfast, you don’t even know how you can feel. It’s a whole different universe. Because I was asked so much for recipe ideas and examples in the book, I really put a lot of effort and love into creating all these delicious savory breakfasts that are not all just eggs, because that’s the place we usually go. We have lots of vegan options, vegetarian options, gluten-free options. My intention with this book is that you open it, you’re like, “Oh, it’s easy, I get it.” Five minutes, six ingredients. Most of the recipes don’t even involve cooking and that should help you get on that fast track.
Cynthia Thurlow: Now, if you have a listener listening to you, maybe they’ve been underneath the rock for the past year, maybe they don’t know who you are, this is all new for them, help them navigate, understanding, thinking, big picture. So, glucose spikes? Yes. Mitochondrial dysregulation? Yes, understanding over the long-term. So, we didn’t really talk about some of the long-term impacts of too high blood sugar for too long. So, whether it’s NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, which we now really think of as type 3 diabetes, PCOS in younger people, infertility, etc., We could talk about skin manifestations. So, talking from a big picture level, help them understand why blood sugar, wrapping this up, why blood sugar is so important. It’s just something that when I look retrospectively over the last 40, 50 years, clinically in the literature, it’s really understanding how much our lifestyles have really impacted the way that we are aging.
I don’t mean it on a superficial level. I’m just saying, like, our quality-of-life metrics are largely impacted. I know if you travel outside the United States, which I know you do. Sometimes, I’m surprised to see how much healthier a lot of other nations are navigating our modern-day lifestyle. So, here in the United States, about 92% of Americans are no longer metabolically flexible. And so, really, the big picture for me when I’m talking to patients is helping them understand like, this is reversible, these are things we can change, but all these modern-day diseases and disorders are really a by-product of our lifestyle.
Jessie Inchauspé: Yeah, you said it. Essentially, most of us are walking around with unsteady uneven glucose levels that are causing all these symptoms that we don’t even realize are symptoms that we think are just like our lots, the cravings, the fatigue, the skin problems, the fertility issues, the sleep issues, the diabetes, the prediabetes, all this stuff. Actually, we might feel overwhelmed, we might feel confused about this crazy food landscape we live in that’s increasing all of these conditions. But by coming back to the science and the biochemistry of your body and by using these easy principles, you can not only help yourself today, you’ll feel better. You’ll feel more energy, more your purpose happier, but also help prevent all these diseases that are preventable. That’s the key. It doesn’t have to be hard. It’s not an intense diet, it’s not this vague, like, eat better, exercise more. We’re talking very practical, simple, clear steps, savory breakfast, vinegar, veggie starter movement.
If you start with those, as the palette experiment shows, you’re going to start seeing really incredible impacts on yourself. I hope that this is going to be your first step towards that long, happy life that you can enjoy, because we only have one. My intention is really that. Just helping people make that first step in a way that feels approachable and friendly and really easy.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I can’t thank you enough for your time today, Jessie. It’s really been an honor to connect with you. Thank you for the work that you’re doing and being a bright light in this space. Please let listeners know how to connect with you, how to get a copy of your new book, and your other book, Glucose Revolution, both of which I highly recommend. Got to check them out.
Jessie Inchauspé: Thank you. So, Instagram, @glucosegoddess. My new book, The Glucose Goddess Method, out May 2nd. I’m so excited about this book. Then you can go to my website, glucosegoddess.com, and the books, The Glucose Goddess Method and my first one, Glucose Revolution are available anywhere that you buy books, but please support bookstores. So, buy online, buy at a local bookstore, and yeah, I hope you enjoy it and send me a little DM with your amazing results. I’m always so happy to hear the feedback and the stories.
Cynthia Thurlow: Awesome. Thank you so much.
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