Inspiring Others with Type 1 – My Interview with Hanna

Hanna first caught my eye on Instagram, under the name @HannaDiabetesExpert, as she seemed like an eager soul to help others across the world. She has an unconventional approach to managing her type 1 diabetes and I believe her story is not only inspiring others but helping make bold changes too. I am excited to share this interview with you, and please let us know your thoughts on Hanna’s story. Thank you, Hanna!

  • Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a public speaker, writer, and advocate who loves to help fellow people with diabetes to feel healthier and happier with their own care. I’m passionate to find motivational and inspiring ways to bring about a change in diabetes management, and I’ve developed a profound understanding of how things like nutrition and lifestyle choices can balance diabetes. I also co-organise Europe’s first 100% low carb events, called The Low Carb Universe.   

How long have you had diabetes?

I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for 33 years, since 1985.

What eating style have you found to be most helpful in managing blood sugars? What hasn’t worked?

I was eating a “normal diabetic diet” for the first 26 years after diagnosis, including skimmed milk with meals and extra points for fruits as dessert, not to forget the 45-60% other carbs on my plate. Throughout these years, I could never manage my diabetes like I was expected to, my A1c was always way too high, too many fluctuations in my blood sugar, I was overweight and using insulin like it was water. I quickly got the label of “brittle diabetic” in my file. When I did my education to become a nutrition coach, my teacher, who is not a medical professional, but has more common sense than most, saved my life. When we were learning about carbs, insulin and how they work in the body, he pointed me out in front of the class and said “Hanna, you don’t even make any insulin. If I were you, I’d think once and twice about what I was eating”. That was my aha-moment, and I started cutting down on carbs soon after that. Today I eat very low carb, protein-rich and healthy fat, as I’ve found it works the absolute best for me, my diabetes and my lifestyle.

What type insulin do you use and what insulin dosage method work best for you and your lifestyle?

I went through a lifestyle transformation when I finally said yes to the pump 5 years ago. It’s vastly improved my life, and I love that I can be so spontaneous with it, for example with basal rates. I use Novorapid (Novolog) and have gone from taking about 100 units a day to 15-25.

How do you treat a low blood sugar?

Always, always, always with glucose tablets. I treat them like medicine and they are the most exact way to get to a safe, healthy range again without overshooting. Treating hypos with food never worked for me.

Do you exercise? What do you like to do for exercise? How do you handle activity with controlling your blood sugar? 

I hate exercise, but I love movement! I do a lot of walking, yoga, and body weight exercises, for example. For these movement forms, I don’t feel any pressure, like having the right gear paying expensive memberships, which is also good because I travel quite often. I personally rarely have problems with blood sugar and activity, and if I do, I can quickly correct it back into range again as I don’t have masses of active insulin. But I do know it is a huge struggle for many others.

What tips would you rattle off for someone who is trying to improve their blood sugar control? Or even for someone who is newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

There is always a way! You need to find YOUR way of managing diabetes, which takes some researching. And it definitely doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s or what your healthcare professionals tell you. That being said, with great freedom comes great responsibility. If you want to change your health, you need to be ready and willing to take it into your own hands.

What does a typical day of food look like to you? 

I get up, have a few glasses of water, as well as a giant cup of herbal tea to rehydrate my body after a long nights sleep. I very rarely have breakfast, as I’m generally not hungry then and don’t see the point of stressing my body with food if it doesn’t signal for it. It also gives my blood sugar a chance to stay stable for a few more hours. I wait with eating until lunchtime, 12-1pm, when I have vegetables, protein and fat, such as an omelet with vegetables and ham, smoked salmon and avocado, or just the leftovers from dinner the night before. I don’t typically snack unless my body tells me to. Then, around 7-8pm, I have dinner, which is again vegetables, protein, and fats, like a burger patty with spinach sautéed in bacon fat, chicken with cauliflower rice or salmon with pesto and broccoli.

To some, eating like this might sound boring. To me it means freedom not to feel constant hunger, being able to push meals around according to my schedule, as well as stable blood sugars.

What is the hardest part of being diabetic? What is the best part?

The hardest part for me is worrying about the future, possible complications, and limitations in life diabetes may bring me. Even if I’ve found my way of dealing well with the emotional and mental part of living with a chronic illness, it still gets to me sometimes.

The best part is that I know my body so much better than many others and can tell quickly if something isn’t right somewhere.

Any closing thoughts?

Dare to go out there and find what works for you and your diabetes management. It’s a difficult illness to handle, but it’s entirely possible to live and thrive with it on a daily basis.

This is one of the hopefully many interviews I will be showcasing on my site. If you have type 1 diabetes and are interested in sharing your story and strategies, please send me an email at [email protected]

Gut Health + Multiple Autoimmune Diseases

It’s late September and I am driving through the backroads of Indiana listening to a podcast as we head home from a very fun weekend in Chicago. It was so much fun, in fact, my husband had me drive as he was reclined in the passenger seat.

Either way, I wasn’t fussed as I spent the time reviewing information for an upcoming presentation I had on the books related to gut health and diabetes. Yet, with my intention to polish up on the facts, I nearly had to pull over as I had an “ah-ha” moment when tuning-in to “The Paleo View” hearing Dr. Sarah Ballantyne discuss the risk of getting additional autoimmune diseases for those who already have an existing one. As if 1 disease wasn’t enough, right?! Thankfully, there is something we can do to halt this from happening, but a little information first.

Autoimmune disease affects over 50 million Americans, and if you have an autoimmune disease, you have genetic predisposition to have an overactive immune system. With this, the risk of getting an additional autoimmune disease, according to Sarah Ballantyne’s literature review, is 1 every decade.

Hitting close to home, I felt it in my gut when I read how type 1 diabetes (T1D) is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease (AIT), celiac disease (CD), Addison’s disease (AD), and other autoimmune diseases. This isn’t common sense, nor is the information of how to prevent it from happening, but there is hope.

Looking back on my 26+ years of having type 1 diabetes I sense a relationship with this research. In 2009, my life changed when I did a gluten-free experiment. Multiple endocrinologists thought I was wasting my time, as I have proved multiple celiac diseases negative. Yet, my A1C and blood sugar control were immediately and continue to be more predictable and better than ever. Not to mention, my eczema, insomnia and female hormones are better off. Just last July I did a food sensitivity test on myself, and my reaction to wheat was off the charts, followed by gluten. An allergy (celiac) is very different than a sensitivity, and taking my food sensitivity results seriously is improving my overall well-being and help reduce my risk of acquiring more diagnoses. In the last 2 years, I’ve experimented more with my diet, and am now working to wean down or off my thyroid medication (my thyroid tanked with the onset of pregnancy with my second child). It will be a slow process, but I just had to make a decrease in my thryoid medicine dose. No doubt, food is powerful. Slower than medicine, but powerful.

In the least, it’s a good thing the progression of an autoimmune disease is not entirely determined by genetics. Reseach concludes there are 3 parts:

  1. genetics,
  2. environmental factors (from everything from a heavy metal toxicity, to a stressful emotional event), and
  3. a leaky gut. (Here Dr. Axe does a good job defining Leaky Gut, and below I highlight how to take care of your gut).

It’s valuable to understand that an autoimmune disease can sit brewing in the body for years before a diagnosis occurs and the great news is we can do a lot to prevent the last “straw” from reaching the camels back.

While there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the best way to be your healthiest and prevent any further autoimmune diseases from occurring or progressing is to focus on 1) what we eat, 2) what we absorb and 3) how we take care of our body/lifestyle. 

Diet/What We Eat:

  1. The AIP is a good starting point for anyone dealing with one or more autoimmune diseases. Not only does it exclude grains, dairy, and legumes like the basic paleo template, it also eliminates nightshades, nuts, seeds, eggs, alcohol, and sugar, leaving a pure and basic diet of meats, seafood, certain vegetables, certain fruits, healthy fats and spices that help to promote anti-inflammatory reactions within the body. Upfront, I want to highlight that while this diet can be a very low-carb diet, it can also be a high carb diet sourcing healthy foods including plantains, sweet potatoes, yams, fruit, yucca, taro, etc. This approach can be tough. Thankfully there are great resources, from books to websites and podcasts. Pheonix Helix is a leader in communicating effective ways of living this lifestyle. Her website is a wealth of information as is her podcasts and guests.
  2. A few other paths to take to make sure someone is eating the right things for their gut is they can do an elimination diet, removing the biggest offenders: gluten, wheat, sugar, eggs, soy, dairy, seed/man-made oils (think corn, canola, soy, safflower seed oils) and corn. Like I did in 2009, begin avoiding one or all of these food groups and take notes on how you feel.
  3. Increasing vegetables and fruit in the diet,
  4. Diversify meals,
  5. Incorporate good spices and herbs,

Gut/What We Absorb:

  1. First REMOVE inflammatory foods and chronic stressors, REPLACE the problem foods with healing foods, such as items listed below, REPAIR the gut with specific supplements, and REBALANCE and nurture the gut, ongoing with probiotics. This is known as the 4 R Protocol.
  2. Research suggests the gut can take on average 2-12 weeks to heal, and likely longer for this of us with an autoimmune disease. For anyone with an autoimmune disease who is also sensitive to gluten and consuming it, it can take closer to 6 months for the gut to heal. And there is little benefit in a “gluten-light” diet. A fraction of a crumb can inflame the body, and I know this first handed when the cook in a cafe I used to work in, would cut my chicken breast with the same knife he was cutting chicken sandwiches with, I’d get ill. I also think of my mother who has osteoporosis, Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis, but still gets non-gluten free communion at church every weekend. Bottomline, it’s important to be 100% gluten-free when experimenting and if implementing when a results are positive.
  3. Increase fermented foods in the diet along with coconut products, bone broth, and collagen,
  4. Avoid food sensitivities – Get tested using Cyrex Labs, MRT LEAP, or KBMO. (I can be a resource in acquiring a test). Learn how well you tolerate FODMAPs
  5. Moderate saturated fat as it can impair the microbiota,
  6. Replenish nutrient stores with potent supplements, and ask for advice from a health professional to find a high-quality product and the right product for your needs and background.

Lifestyle/How We Take Care of Ourselves:

  1. Prioritize sleep, both quantity, and quality, Did you know in 1965 we got on average of an hour and a half more of sleep per night than compared to today? That’s a big difference, and females need more sleep than males. Here is a list of how to tweak your environment to improve the quality
  2. Engage in adventure and hobbies. If you don’t have the time, shift things around so you do.
  3. Not that you don’t already, but prioritize blood sugar control. The swings cause inflammation and disturb the peace in our gut.
  4. React better to stress. It’s common to say reduce stress, but that thought only makes me a little more strung out. Instead, I put my energy on my response to challenges and tough tasks.
  5. Work on communication so you can be heard and respected.



  • 5 At Home Test Gut:

Winning with Diabetes

When I say “winning,” please don’t think it means I have perfect blood sugars, or I am skipping through this journey with bliss. Hella no. This disease is hard BUT in the last 26 years, I have unknowingly grown to love it.

You see, I was diagnosed in second grade, which is also where most of my memories begin, and I have always expressed, written and stated we need to live life to the fullest. I believe with every single one of my doctor’s appointments, shoot blood sugar tests/pricks, I fear death, and with that fear, I want to live and appreciate every minute I have in my life.

Am I alone with this thought? I don’t think so. Last month at the Weekend for Women, Diabetes Sister’s conference I attended in DC, the keynote came from Shawn Shepheard, who happened to also have type 1 diabetes. He shared that on Christmas, many moons ago, when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he needed to immediately “squeeze every minute out of life.” What an honest thought, and I recognized that he too doesn’t want to downplay the health statistics that are not in our favor, but rather he wants to use this fuel to seek happiness.

Like Shawn – I am “winning with diabetes” because it has given me the opportunity to be more connected to my soul, my purpose, my passion and serves as a reminder to seek happiness and adventure.

I have accepted my limitations and I continue to push beyond them and I thank gratitude for the solution.

How are you winning in life?

Blood Sugar Friendly Fat Bombs

Keto is trending and I am enjoying the ride. I’ve always been low carb, but in the last year I have been increasing my fat and moderating my carbohydrates and protein intake. Why? I want and deserve steady blood sugar control and this way of eating is proving to work for me, and as an added bonus I am leaning out. As someone with type 1 diabetes, I have to calculate everything that goes into my mouth and marry it with insulin. It’s a challenge, some days breezier than others, but since eating a fat dominant diet and toying with intermittent fasting (usually just 13 hours overnight) it’s been even easier to go about my life without blood sugar spikes or drops getting in my way. This path isn’t for everyone, but if a ketogenic diet is something you are interested in, make blood sugar control the target and goal. Above all, listen to your body and intuition to decide if it’s fitting or not.

This month I have been whipping up the below recipe and pairing it with my lunch or dinner. It’s delicious and my toddler Declan has been asking for “coconut balls” daily. This recipe was inspired by the blogger over at Empowered Sustenance. 

KSW Fat Bombs:

  1. Start with soft coconut butter. If mine is solid, I will remove the lid from the coconut butter jar and microwave it for 30 seconds.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a cupcake tray. I have a mini cupcake tray and they are perfect for making this recipe into bite-sized balls.
  3. In a bowl, combine the coconut butter and collagen. Add the honey.
  4. Add the coconut oil, and if you find the recipe to be too solid, feel comfortable adding another teaspoon of coconut oil.
  5. Add the vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  6. Using a spoon create small balls and place them on the baking sheet or individually in a cupcake tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.


Related Topics:

What Are Amino Acids And Why Are They Good For You?

Who Should Try the Keto Diet?

Get Moving for Your Mood

Our happiness is predetermined ~ 50% by genes. This leaves us with a huge opportunity to take action to smile, or want to smile, more often. Overall our brain is like a muscle, the more we influence happiness, the more likely or more easily it can be to attain. You see, happiness is part of a chemical process of neurons and dopamine receptors. If we don’t exercise doing things that enlighten our mood, those receptors can decrease with time and age.

Thankfully here we can hit 2 birds with one stone here! Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve mood. Not only can we look at activity for fitness, heart health, and weight loss, but overall we can improve our happiness and mental health too.

Therefore, maybe weight loss should move to way wayside, and overall mental and physical health should be capitalized? Not a bad idea and research proves that focusing on health, in general, is better and more productive than focusing on losing weight.

As someone with diabetes, exercise impacts my blood sugar control, but that doesn’t hold me back from doing interval training, yoga and heavy lifting weekly. Also, I asked a few friends from “Females with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetic Athletes Group, DMs Supporting DMs,” Facebook communities what their activity looks like, and this is what they had to share:

I have played soccer before and after my diagnosis, and crossfit 5-6 times per week. Crossfit keeps my blood sugar more level than soccer ever did! The most significant differences that I notice are overnight readings. My insulin sensitivity is very manageable as I am more aware working out… When I am not active or in the past when I have not been working out, it was much harder to notice my insulin sensitivities! Being active and staying fit has changed my life incredibly! My diabetes is pure motivation to get to the gym when I can hardly stand to do anything that day! It has really pushed me to have the desire to see within range blood sugar numbers and I know that being active is the only way I will accomplish that. Type 1 diabetes using the Medtronic 530g! Diagnosed for 10 years and 7 months! – Katelyn Partridge 

I start every day with a 2-mile walk with my dog. Then after working 8 hours depending on the night I play racquetball, tennis, do Zumba or yoga. In the winter I ski on the weekends. In the spring and summer, I do distance cycling. Exercise has helped me lose weight, maintain decent blood sugar control and it makes me more sensitive to insulin. Besides that it makes me feel good. Omnipod pump and a Dexcom. Type 1, dxed May 1975. – Clare T. Fishman 

I’ve been t1 for 24 years and got a Dexcom 2.5 years ago. It really helps with hiking. You can see a drop coming before it happens and eat some glucose to maintain nice flat lines. – Kate Sullivan 

I was a competitive dancer most of my youth and started really working out again two years ago. It changed my life and I started to feel strong and empowered again—my insulin needs dropped from 75 units a day to 45 units a day and I’ve been on a pump for 14 years…as I realized I could workout with diabetes as I had a fear that it would hold me back I found a passion in running and have now completed 5ks, 10ks and working towards my first half marathon this spring! I realized when I believe in myself, I can do anything I set my mind to. Diagnosed with Type 1 on st patty’s day 1997. – Amanda Jolene Smith 

Grew up racing BMX and mountain bikes nationally, competed in fitness competitions for a few years and now do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and stay active with my kids! Competing and exercising with diabetes can be tricky, but if you watch your patterns closely, with trial and error you can figure it out. Building muscle and staying consistent has been the best for me with managing diabetes! Also, this was crucial for two heathy pregnancies with diabetes too! Type 1 for 25 years since age 14, currently on Medtronic pump and CGM. – Allison Sigler MacKenzie 

I make it a point to exercise at the gym at least 3 (but I shoot for 5) days a week, with “active rest days” the rest of the week. Anything more than a gentle walk means I have to take extra insulin, but it’s totally worth it. Besides the benefits to my physical health, I dervive huge mental health benefits, too. When living with a chronic disease, we have to take every opportunity we can to feel good about ourselves, and to feel strong. This is how I keep my head up, and keep going on. I’m looking forward to rocking the NEXT 31+ years, whether they find a cure, or not. I got this! T1 for 31 years (pump/CGM), and active for 2 years… – Dana Coltrinari Burke 

I run 5-8 miles almost every day. On days I don’t run, my numbers are all over the place. I also do yoga and stretching almost everyday. The mental health benefits from the endorphin release and clearing of my mind is equally as important in managing this disease. Diagnosed 3.5 years ago, at age 51. I use both the Omnipod and a CGM. – Stacey Boehrer 

I mostly run, 3-5 days a week. Running has helped me reduce the amount of insulin I need to take and makes me more fit, which in the long run will add years to my life. I was diagnosed at age 5, 33 years ago. I use an Omnipod pump and Dexcom G5 CGM. – Matt Barnett  

“Control diabetes. Don’t let it control you” I had amazing parents who went through training and extreme patience when they first had to give me insulin and figure out the diet. We were an active family already so it was a little easier. Its crucial to have the support of your family and friends especially if newly diagnosed. It’s a complete lifestyle change! For those of us who’ve known nothing else it’s a little easier to transition through each phase. I tried the cgm for a week but due to the way the alarms were set, I went super high and super low due to overcorrections or overeating. For me it’s hard to change what’s been working- low carb meals, lots of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise includes walking the dogs, running, playing with the kids, swimming, tennis, basketball and whatever comes in front of me.Type I diabetic for 32 years- only on the pump for the past 7 years. My A1c has been between 5.7-6.5 for the past 10 years but my goal is to get it back to 6.0 or under. – Joella Davis 

The formula for happiness is not the same for all of us, but figuring out what we enjoy is key. Go out and play and make time for personal play. When this is easier said than done, I make a gratitude list on paper or in my head, and quickly realize, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” Or at least overly stressed. 🙂



What do you get with 1 pregnancy, followed by 10 months of nursing, followed immediately with a second pregnancy, and then 12 months of nursing? One wild ride on a 40 month plus hormone train.

Hormones are fragile, essential, frustrating and amazing all in one. They are often overlooked, but crucial to our health, and a wellness plan. Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance include an inability to lose weight, weight gain, cravings, mood swings, brain fog, sleep troubles, excess fatigue, PMS, acne, low tolerance to stress, excess weight around the mid-section and or hips and thighs, and low sex drive, to name a few. This laundry list of symptoms is one that many consumers share, but starting now there are things we can do to improve the hormonal imbalance.

The fist step in finding relief begins with lifestyle and removing the problem(s), beginning with hormone disruptors. These include:

  • Birth control
  • Plastics – coming from Ziplock bags to water bottles, shower curtains, etc. And plastic is tough on our endocrine system beyond BPA. Items will be marketed BPA free, but that doesn’t mean the problem is fixed. Opt for glass water bottles, storage containers, silverware and wash all the kiddie plates/sippy cups verse cleaning and heating them in a dishwasher. Research shows that even low-dose exposure can be harmful. From altered immune function to stimulating cancer, BPA and the likes are not worth it.
  • Skip canned foods, even if it says BPA-free. Opt for frozen, fresh or dried versions for what you need in a meal or recipe. Also, go green and ask for receipts to be sent to your email when possible. Holding a receipt for 5 seconds can transmit endocrine disruptors through the skin.
  • Chemicals in makeup and body/shower products, cleaning supplies, fragrances, detergents, etc. Have you ever read the ingredient list on the products you use on your body and hair? It’s worthwhile as we absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin. This is especially true for that product we want to work 24/7: deodorant.
  • Hygiene. Wash hands, avoiding fragrance and antibacterial hand soaps, every time before eating.
  • Conventionally grown produce. I had a client comment to me how odd it is that her mouth itches every time she eats an apple that isn’t organic. I echoed how this symptom is uncomfortable, but not far from the norm. Our food is sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and can be contaminated with industrial runoff. As much as possible, buy and eat organic and free-range food to limit exposure to such chemicals.
  • Filtered water is far safer and healthier than tap. Tap water can be contaminated with lead to birth control residue. Filter water for drinking and for bath and shower water.

Secondly, give your liver some love. The liver is not only the fat burning organ but also a detoxing machine. Methods, to nurturing your detox pathways include:

  • supplement wisely (high-quality probiotics, herbs, evening primrose oil, Chaste Tree, methylated vitamins*)
  • eat more real food, grown in nature, than packaged,
  • eat clean protein sources,
  • sweat weekly,
  • drink half of your weight in ounces of clean water, every day,
  • nurture your gut health,
  • stabilize blood sugars,
  • eat balanced meals with animal protein, healthy fat and high-fiber carbohydrates,
  • once diet becomes consistent and balanced, do a reputable food-based cleanse.

Last, but not least, get into the right mindset. Stress competes with sex hormones, and if you ar chronically under stress, your other efforts in regulating hormones are nearly a wash. A few things I recommend: start the day with a list of things you are grateful for. You can do this in your head, or better yet, whip out a journal. Today I am grateful for my children’s smiles, for my insulin pump and my iPhone, so I can Facetime and easily connect with my husband while he is traveling. At the end of the day, in bed, run through some winnings you had for the day. Last night I listed out 1) my blood sugar never went over 151 mg/dl, 2) I had a badass workout, 3) I had some really good client interactions, 4) I fueled myself with a lot of nutritious food, and my kids ate decently too. Getting my kids excited about some of the foods I make them, becomes an art and a balancing act.

Stress isn’t bad, but if we can’t manage it, it becomes harmful. Reel it in, use it to help you grow, and let go of what you can. Get plenty of rest and go live your fullest life, being patient with your journey. Balancing hormones can take 3-6 months on average, but it depends on the case and level of commitment.

Cheers to you and good health,



*Vitamins are tricky. Bottom-line you want to source vitamins that are pharmaceutical grade and sold from a health practitioner. Supplements are not FDA regulated and you want to be careful with what brands you trust. Getting supplements from a health practitioner is the best method to know you are supplementing correctly and getting a high-quality end product. If you need help, flick me an email at [email protected] 




Related Articles:

Diabetes and Womanhood

Matters of the Heart with Diabetes

“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” -Mary Tyler Moore

I cried last night (when I learned the news of MTM). Numerous times actually. Never before have I been so taken back when an icon and public name had passed. Mary Tyler Moore was and is different. She was dynamite; she was a force to be reckoned with and a voice for raising money and awareness for type 1 diabetes. She was beautiful inside and out, and I am not the only one saying this. She made an impression on millions, including Oprah.

With Mary’s passing I am reminded what it means to have diabetes. Pain does nourish courage, and every day we are brave to carry on what we do. Those of us with diabetes wear many hats. We are consumers, scientist, nutritionist and humans wrapped into one. Yes, there are some scare tactics with this disease, but on the flip side, diabetes is a reminder to embrace my body and health. I am constantly consciously and subconsciously asking myself how I feel and if I need to take action to improve my blood sugar. Diabetes is a daily reminder to live in the moment and to make the day count. 

For the last few years, especially since I was welcomed to motherhood, I remind myself to ease up, be brave and to focus on the blessings:
  • I am alive, and thriving after 25 years of being diagnosed with diabetes. This is a miracle compared to those diagnosed before insulin was discovered, let alone made in a lab.
  • I have children. When I was diagnosed on my eighth birthday, I always toyed with the idea that I would have to adopt to have kids.
  • I am so in love with my profession, as a dietitian. I am driven to be the best health coach out there. Diabetes has helped me be in tune with my body, and understand the power of nutrition. It’s given me my drive, my empathy, my passion.

This is a small list, but there is a positive having diabetes. Furthermore, I strive, and recommend others to have grace, build confidence in your choices, and to be in charge of your lifestyle. Doing so, you can put our best foot forward to feel your best, and have the best day of your ability, which plays into the best possible life.

To get the ball rolling, we need to be motivated, and that can come from many different areas. Take a moment and ask yourself where you can get such inspiration. Maybe here on this website?

This week, I picked up a new podcast, Colorful Eats, hosted by a fellow type 1, Caroline. In a recent episode, she really spelled out the meaning of giving grace. The definition is along the lines as a smooth and pleasing way of moving, or a polite and thoughtful way of behaving.

Focusing on the latter part, it’s so easy to get busy in our modern world, regardless of having diabetes, BUT it’s important to slow down, grab life by the horns, breath and notice things, be polite to yourself, your diabetes and be more thoughtful with your actions. No doubt, I more than get it. Managing my health can be frustrating, but trust me: thank your body for what it does and make lifestyle choices that your body appreciates. Something as big or small as the following:

  • End every day by drinking hot tea, and an occasional hot bath,
  • Drink water upon rising, and eat breakfast shortly after,
  • Eat more food from the earth, not a package,
  • Don’t fear healthy fats and have high quality protein at each meal,
  • Measure your carbs, and assess what amount of carbs at each meal allows you to feel your best,
  • Aim to eat more vegetables, and even try to tackle 8-10 cups a day,
  • Be consistent with your medication and blood sugar monitoring regime,
  • Relax, take more small breaks,
  • Be confident with your food choices, and be consistent,

Above all, give grace to what makes you happy and don’t judge setbacks. Move on, learn what you can and surround yourself with positive people you love.

Mary Tyler Moore was more than just a beloved American role model, she really did turn the world on with her smile and has highlighted how tough and brave we are with diabetes.

My Diabetes + My Kids

walkMy three old is proving to put up the challenge lately with sleep. And the other night, after I tucked him in, I heard him upstairs, mumbling about something “forgot, forgot, forgot.”

Mind you this was a Thursday night and all I needed at the moment was a breather, so I let him settle himself asleep as he didn’t come off as upset and he’s gotten pretty savvy at brewing up reasons he shouldn’t have to go to bed yet.


Forty-five minutes later, I make my way to our master bedroom and a quickly grew a little worried as it seemed Declan had been waiting for my footsteps. I reach the second level and immediately, I hear, “Mom you forgot your medicine.” I opened his bedroom door and asked what he was talking about. He gets up and hands me my container of glucose tabs.

Oye, #parentingfail. He was so worried about my glucose tabs and didn’t want me to go to sleep without them in their home of my nightstand. (My one year old loves pulling out my goodies and putting them all over the house. This time, they ended up in Declan’s bed.)

I tucked him away and was flattered he cared about my “medicine.”


The reason I am sharing this story, is to open up the conversation of how other households go about informing family members of someone having diabetes. Beyond the illustration I painted above, I test my blood, change my pump site and draw up insulin in front of my kids, and also share why I eat certain foods to be healthy.  While my oldest is only 3, I want to continue educating him about my health, and help him with a plan if I have a low blood sugar. It was also drawn to my attention of how beneficial it could be to educate significant others on how to test blood sugar and suspend insulin pumps.

When I did the local JDRF walk here in Cols, OH, Lilly was passing out Disney books, where one of the characters had diabetes. I loved this idea, and I am sure there are many other examples available online and beyond.

I grew up in a household where a parent had diabetes and we weren’t all too much in the know, but I wish we were. Either way, there is no perfect way of sharing diabetes nor is there a perfect way to parent. I hope this story brings you comfort and motivation to share anything needed with loved ones.

In closing, have you heard of a FREE program called TrialNet? This is a screening for people who have a relative with type 1 diabetes. There are about 200 locations in the US and to be eligible you need to be at least 1 years old. This data can be scary, but helpful and it is something I have chosen to have done for my children. For more information click here.

Cols, OH Diabetes Wine Social – Thur 11/17

Come WINE with DiabeteSisters of Columbus this Thursday, November 17th at 7:00pm


Join the   of Columbus for a Wine Social at Spagio. We look forward to meeting you over a glass or two to discuss successes and challenges of life with Diabetes. We are lucky enough to have this event sponsored by Dexcom. Please add us to your calendar, for an evening of support, sisterhood, and education.

Whether you were diagnosed with diabetes yesterday or 30 years ago, PODS Meetups offer an inclusive, open space where you can find peer support. PODS Meetups provide a regular, monthly spot for informal support and education to women of all ages with all types of diabetes (prediabetes, gestational, type 1, type 1.5, type 2, etc.).

At each Meetup, participants are encouraged to focus on their own health and share their life experiences living with diabetes with women who understand the unique challenges diabetes poses. Please visit:  for more information about the organization.




Diabetes and Womanhood

Granted I have yet to learn what it feels like to be in menopause and the likes, I surely know how to ride the insulin roller-coaster from past pregnancies, 12 months of nursing and frankly, being a fertile women. It’s not an easy road, and typically, with a normalizing cycle, my first sign I need to adjust my insulin based on hormone influxes (ovulating/menstruating) is a high blood sugar reading without good reason. Also, let’s be honest, there are a few cravings too.diabetesexpertmomnutrition

So is it fair to say it’s harder to be a female than a male in controlling blood sugars because our monthly hormonal, and eventually menopause changes? I don’t know, as I only know what it’s like to be in these shoes, but I fathom we all have our own challenges. Yet, what can a solution be or a plan for keeping and having the best blood sugars possible? Let’s see:

  • Basal testing. Have you heard of this, or tried it? To have the best A1C or best blood sugars, we want to ensure we are on the right dose of insulin, let it be multiple daily injections or an insulin pump.
    • Furthermore, it can also be helpful to have a second basal rate for the week before a female’s (on insulin) period. The extent of time to use a second basal will take some individual experimenting. Some woman will use a higher basal the week before and during a period, where others need less insulin as blood sugars plummet upon a period. Take notes each month, even if you just insert a few sentences in your calendar. We all say we will remember next month, but trust me, these notes will be handy. A quick example of how I use 2 basals: my normal, non-period basal is just shy of 10 units, and then my PMS basal is 11.5 units of Humalog. As you can see, I just need a pinch more of insulin, but it’s so helpful.
    • Know that with every month, the fluctuations and impact a period has on someone not only varies with the person, but can vary from month to month.
  • Enhance insulin sensitivity. How?
    • First look at lifestyle. Are you moving throughout the day (get your lymph system flowing), are you active enough, drinking enough water, sleeping 7-8 hours (at least), managing stress, engaging in positive things, socializing, etc?
    • We want to move every 30 minutes. This can be as basic as standing up to fill up a water bottle or using the restroom. A fast paced walk is even better. As soon as we start to sit, enzymes that help break down fat decreases by 90%, and if we were to sit for nearly 24 hours, insulin sensitivity drops 24%.
    • Drink half of your weight in ounces, and keep juices, coffees, sodas, caffeine to a minimum. If you want to have a cup of Joe, match that amount in water, and do not count this fluid intake towards the half of your weight/ounce goal. Being and staying hydrated is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to be your healthiest. Where is your water bottle?
    • Secondly, remove inflammatory foods from your diet. It’s becoming more common sense that processed foods and fried foods don’t optimize our health, but also assess how gluten, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, and eggs make you feel. Perhaps pull one, or all, of these out of your diet for 1-3 months to truly test. In the process flood your body with nutrient-dense foods. See below with more tips on diet.
    • How rich is your diet in magnesium? If like most Americans, it’s scarce, and therefore I have a standing recommendation for most people with diabetes and/or high stress, as magnesium is depleted with stress, to take a supplements, specifically, I like the drink Natural Calm.
  • Decrease PMS and menopause symptoms. PMS and menopause symptoms are not normal. Heavy cycles, extreme hot flashes, mood swings, weight fluctuations can be minimized by resolving the imbalance of hormones, blood sugar variability, resolving a nutrient deficiency and or better handling stress. Some basic thought starters to get going on this:
    • Eat within 30 minutes of waking, followed by eating every 3-4 hours. Eat more real food (produce, high quality fish and animal protein, good fats, lentils, beans), than processed foods, man-made oils and grains. In all strive for 6-10 cups of vegetables a day, chew your food, enjoy the gift of having readily available food and have some delicious chocolate. Have each meal highlight vegetables as the main dish, fill up on sides with satiating and delicious protein and fat. Also, do not be afraid of foods that are high in carbohydrates. Our thyroid thrives on carbs, and the best ones include starchy vegetables, fruits, legumes (if tolerated) and gluten free grains.
    • Nurture your liver. Yup the liver, our fat burning machine and hormone metabolizer. It’s hard to say which organ is the most important in our body, as one needs to lean on the other, but the liver is pretty high on the list. Help the liver out, by avoiding overeating, choosing high fiber foods, bypassing canola oil, sunflower/safflower oils, margarine and fried foods. Eat colorful meals and snacks and go easy on alcohol. I love sipping on dandelion root tea too.
    • Optimize gut health. Follow the advice on eating low inflammatory food, but also foods that feed your gut. This certainly includes carbohydrates (75-200g), and certainly probiotic and prebiotic foods. If consuming foods rich in probiotics isn’t realistic, consider a supplement. 

While there is loads more I can list, these are the top things to consider when you are feeling moody from hormones, and maybe even moodier with blood sugars that don’t line up.

Please share your thoughts on these recommendations, and let us know what works for you.

Cheers to you and good health,