During one of my very short trips, I almost accidentally met this full of energy young women Jessie. Even though our meeting was very short (one lunch exactly), I was caught by her stories and passion. You might know Jessie as @glucosegoddess, an Instagram account that educates about glucose. As for me, I came across the word glucose just because I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, and checking her profile made me realize that I did everything wrong! So today, I am talking with Jess about glucose, lies, inspiration, and what you and I should know about our health and glucose’s role in it.
Hi Jessie, so good to have you here on Abstract Stylist, and thank you for taking your time! First, I want to ask, what is everyone doing just wrong, and what is a golden Glucose Goddess rule?
Haha. Well I don’t think people are doing anything “wrong” – I think that everybody is trying their best to feel good, but the messages we get in food marketing are what is wrong. So what’s wrong is food marketing. Not what people are doing. To give you an example: fruit juice is marketed as a healthy drink, a great source of vitamins. So many of us drink it first thing in the morning thinking it’s good for them – because after all, that’s what it says on the package! And unfortunately that’s not true. Once you turn a piece of fruit into juice, you’ve extracted all the sugar and you’ve made a drink that is the same for you as a can of Coca-Cola with vitamin C in it. One of the Glucose Goddess principles is: only eat your fruit whole, never juiced or dried.
Our monthly topic is REBIRTH, and I think it’s kind of what you help people do through the diet. I believe you had some amazing stories shared by your followers. Maybe you can share with us how simple habits helped them?
Absolutely. It’s my favorite thing about my work – getting DMs every day from people who have started the hacks and have seen incredible improvements in their physical and mental health, very quickly. It’s funny you say Rebirth, because I recently got a message from someone who said exactly that – that she felt she had been reborn. When we flatten our glucose curves (which is what happens when you use my hacks), so many things fall into place: cravings, mood, energy, sleep, skin, weight… self-confidence and happiness too.
And again, but from your perspective, why should we all change how we eat? I know people tend to seek visual results like weight loss, brighter skin, etc. What about the long-term wins?
I categorize the effect of flattening our glucose curves into two categories: One, the short-term, “sexy” things: we lose weight, our skin clears up, we get a lot of energy back, our hormones come back in balance, we can get pregnant, etc. And the long-term preventive effects: reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer… But you know, people care more about short-term wins. And that’s human nature and it’s totally fine – we’re hard wired to prefer short-term rewards. What’s great is that by using the hacks you get the short-term wins and the long-term advantages too.
Mental health seems to be one of the main pandemics buzzwords. But, is it true that we eat how we feel, and we can change our mindset by changing our eating habits?
Completely. Everything in the body is connected. But we don’t often realize it. Here’s an example: if you hit your toe on the corner of your bed in the morning, it hurts a lot. Maybe you ice it. Maybe you can’t wear your regular shoes that day. If someone asks you why you’re in a bad mood, you can tell them it’s because you hurt your toe this morning. But with food, the connection is complicated. Unless you have learned about it, you probably don’t know that your morning oats bowl is causing you to be tired or sad at 2pm. The connection is not so clear – maybe you blame the weather or an email you got or you don’t even know why you feel bad.
But the science is clear: how we eat impacts how we feel. What we have for breakfast will influence our hunger and mood for the rest of the day. Depression and anxiety get worse when you experience lots of glucose spikes. The list goes on!
What is the biggest lie in the food industry?
That calories are all that matter. That fruit juice is healthy. That if you can’t lose weight it’s because you’re not exercising enough.
All of these are lies – putting the blame on the consumer instead of putting the blame on the processed food that makes us sick.
You seem like a very positive person; how do you handle the negativity that usually comes through social media?
It’s a muscle! It’s daily work to keep myself in a positive place so that I can give to the world. It’s part of my job to protect myself. But it still gets me down sometimes.
One important thing I did from the beginning was deciding to not post personal things on my instagram. I don’t tell people where I live, who my friends are, what I do in the evenings… I keep it all about science. So that doesn’t invite many personal attacks.
The negativity I do receive is from people who just don’t like what I’m posting because it goes against their own views on nutrition science. I actually try to engage. I ask them why they think that and usually they end up thanking me for listening. And I often learn things.
But also I get trolls or people who are upset at me for not answering their DMs (they get really upset sometimes… I just don’t have the time because I get hundreds a day). I usually ignore it and move on. But if it affects me, I put my phone down. I call a friend and ask them for a pep talk. I workout. I get a good night’s sleep. I focus on the 99% of people in the community who are so kind and thankful for my work.
Could you tell us more about your day at the very beginning of creating your profile @glucosegoddess and now? I know you had some sort of a deadline…
In April 2019, after deep diving into glucose science and wearing a glucose monitor for several months, it was clear to me that I wanted to share this information with the world. I wanted to teach people about glucose. It was very exciting to me. But also scary (what if I fail? What if somebody does it better than me?) But the pain of potentially failing was smaller than the pain of not trying. So I started posting my home-made graphs on instagram. (And my instagram wasn’t called glucosegoddess at the time, it was just my name: jessie.inchauspe).
Nobody really cared. It was a bit “silly” to people around me. So I made a deal with myself: That I would work on this project for one hour every day for 6 months. It was tough. I wanted to quit so many times because it was so hard to get even my first 1,000 followers. But I kept at it. I messaged a bunch of brands asking them to repost me (nobody answered), I made graphs for big influencers in the space (nobody reposted), but I just kept at it. And then, 6 months passed, and I was so proud. I think I had 5,000 followers then. So I continued. That was the hardest moment to go through. But I proved to myself that I could be dedicated enough to do something on my own.
Maybe you have some advice to share with people in deep knowledge but still searching on how to share the word?
Try to explain things to your family. To your friends. To people at the coffee shop. They are the first place you should test your creative explanations. You’ve got to show up for yourself and be brave. Trust me, everything feels silly at first. Then one day you have 10,000 followers and people think it’s awesome. But YOU are the one at the beginning that has to push for the idea on your own.
I know from my experience that communicating sensitive topics such as how to eat, sustainability, physical activity, etc., takes a lot of time and responsibility. How do you source-check and distinguish good quality content and something that people can just make up for marketing purposes?
I base everything in science. Everything I share on my instagram is based on scientific papers that have been published by reputable teams around the world. But you know, even there, there is bias. So you have to double check things thoroughly – who funded the study, are there any conflicts of interest, how was the study designed… I’ve made an entire career out of this – I think you can’t learn it overnight. It’s an incredibly deep field… And now my bullshit detector is very accurate! I can glance at a package or an Instagram post and tell you immediately what is bullshit and what is not. That’s because of years and years of experience.
About the responsibility – it’s a huge responsibility. Especially with an audience as big as mine. I am extremely careful of what I post. It looks fun and spontaneous, but every post goes through very careful design and reflection. I want to make sure that it can’t be misinterpreted, that I’m being sensitive to everyone, and that the message remains positive. I guess it’s a bit of a secret sauce? I just love it so much.
Who is behind Glucose Goddess? What are your favorite foods, art, movies, or music? What do you love but do not share on your account?
Ha !! The mystery remains… Just kidding. I’m Jessie. My family calls me Jess. I am obsessed with parmesan and eat it every day. I think the movie that touched me the most was Blue is the warmest color. I’m very big into self-discovery and personal growth. I love music. I write songs on the piano and produce too. It’s one of my favorite things to do (apart from sleeping).
What is next for you? Any big plans?
Yes, something very big that I’m announcing in November! Stay tuned 😉
More about Jessie
Jessie Inchauspé is on a mission to translate cutting-edge science into easy tips to help people improve their physical and mental health. She’s the founder of the widely popular Instagram account @glucosegoddess where she teaches tens of thousands about healthy food habits. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Kings’ College, London, and a Master of Science in Biochemistry from Georgetown University. Her work at a genetic analysis start-up in Silicon Valley made her realize that food habits beat genetics for good health. Through her work, Jessie shares her startling discovery about the essential role of blood sugar in every aspect of our lives, from cravings to fertility, and the surprising hacks to optimize it while still eating what we love.