I was diagnosed last year with reactive hypoglycemia, and I have to be attentive to the glycemic index of everything I eat. Unchecked, reactive hypoglycemia can lead to diabetes.


 For a while, I thought the problem had resolved when my endocrinologist lowered my dose of hydrocortisone, and I was seeing consistently normal glucose values for the first time in a Siberian winter. But as time passes, even on the reduced dose of hydrocortisone, bread is once again causing my blood sugar to spike. I saw 197 on the glucometer after eating two slices of toast with two eggs and a slice of cheese, and freaked out.


It’s all fairly complicated, but it’s carbs that cause my blood sugar to spike. Grains of any type — and the wholeness of the grains makes no difference, nor does brown rice, or any other color or texture — have more carbohydrates and a higher glycemic index per serving than, for instance, dark chocolate or carefully selected ice cream without corn syrup. In other words, what it seems I cannot eat if I wish to maintain safely sub-diabetic glucose levels, are grains: bread, rice, pasta, or any other type of grain; whether wheat or quinoa, it makes no difference. It’s the number of grams of carbohydrate per serving that counts.


I’ll mention here that this is about a quest for bread available in a store. I no longer make my own bread because my hands hurt all the time.


My husband and I have done a lot of research on carbohydrates and hypoglycemia, and did more again after the recent scary spike incident. The fact remains that I must eat like a diabetic or become one. Most competent diabetics count carbohydrates, and they don’t worry as much about the sugar they put in their coffee as they would about a serving of corn. My husband found a reference to low-carbohydrate bread that helped other people with reactive hypoglycemia to stay level without giving up bread entirely. One brand, proprietary to Trader Joe’s, was made without flour, and used pecan meal instead. Unfortunately, this variety is not available at my particular local Trader Joe’s. There was another reference to a bread at Whole Foods Market. There is no Whole Foods Market where we live, but my husband works a few blocks away from one. I called our local health food store, Marlene’s, and they were very interested in such a thing but did not presently have any sort of low-carbohydrate bread.


After finding no low-carbohydrate bread on the shelves of Whole Foods Market, my husband asked the bakery manager about it. She found a bread that has no sugar or gluten or any fillers or starches of any kind except pure grains and seeds. She sliced it thinner than most bread comes sliced. I found a thin slice to be more filling than thicker slices of less substantial bread. We weighed a slice of this new bread and divided by the carbohydrates per ounce on the label, and came up with 6 g of carbohydrate per slice, compared to 18 g per slice of the 12-grain Orowheat bread that caused my spike.


 People who have to manage carbohydrates and glucose get used to doing the math for everything they eat. It’s worth it: I had a slice of the new bread from Whole Foods Market with my normal low-carb chicken and vegetable stirfry dinner. My postprandial blood glucose was 106. The specters of insulin, blindness, amputations, dialysis, and life being a hassle melted away. I retested in the morning after a slice of toast and was 107, still perfect. I’ll keep testing, but if I can continue to eat a slice of this particular bread safely, my husband is to return to Whole Foods Market with the empty bread wrapper, find that bakery manager, thank her, and elicit a promise that she will never, ever run out of this worldly bread of life.