Input from Crossfit Owner, Low Carber Managing his Type 1 Diabetes – @Type1CrossFit

I had the pleasure in the last year to cross paths with Eric Pelletier, thanks to social media, and am thankful to see someone also living with type 1 diabetes and not being afraid to push their themselves physically and mentally to be in the best care of their ability. Today’s post captures an interview with Eric, and can be helpful to many others looking for inspiration and understanding on adapting to a healthy lifestyle for stable blood sugars and an optimal quality of life. Thank you for your time Eric!

Please tell us a little about yourself. From your social media updates, I see you are eating rather low carb and perhaps playing with some intermittent fasting (IF)?

You are correct I am still dabbling in IF and trying to maintain ketosis regularly. I also own Type 1 CrossFit in Wheeling, IL so it makes for a badass platform!

A little bit about me? Well I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 28 days old. I am 26 now. For most of my life I was spoon fed a traditional diet (Food Pyramid) and put on an insulin sliding scales to maintain blood sugar levels. As a kid and through high school I was not very athletic; bowling. I was always afraid of what would happen if I went to hard and did not know how to manage my blood sugar levels.

Fast forward a few years, I began working at Naval Station Great Lakes in the Fitness Center and in this location I was introduced to CrossFit. When I heard about it I went home and read What Is Fitness and Foundations and it was like a light bulb clicked on. I was hooked as what I was reading made so much sense. Low carbohydrate diets, coupled with high skill movements, performed in a fashion that maximized results. Yep. I was hooked. 4 years later I am currently located at 9 Huntington Lane, Wheeling, Il, 60090 with Type 1 CrossFit.

What diets or food plans have you tried to control you blood sugar, and what has been the easiest and most successful? Why?

The easiest and most successful program sits beautifully inside my Diabetes management brainchild, but it is a diet void of food allergies or sensitivities, a diet that ensures maximum insulin sensitivity, and optimizes nutrient intake. If I remove things that cause problems in blood glucose levels/are inflammatory, minimize insulin needs, and eat vitamin and mineral rich foods, I don’t see how ANY case of diabetes is hard to manage. Think about this.

You only get one or a zero. Do you eat vegetables at every meal? Do you eat protein at every meal? Do you eat fat at every meal? Do you limit carbohydrates to post workout, primarily? Have you eliminated potentially problematic foods to see what happens? If you said no to any of these things, you are not doing what you could to optimize your health.

Personally I have also played with intermittent fasting as I find it quite fun, and very good at returning insulin sensitivity after maybe a tough training cycle or a bad eating day.

When you do intense workouts, such as Crossfit, how do you stabilize your blood sugar. Do you eat before/after and what do you do with your insulin dosages?

In my gym I always have juice on hand and insulin around. For me, as long as my blood sugar is in a good range, depending on what the workout is will depend on how I take care of it. Very short couplets get a nasty spike, so I bolus pre workout. Longer (15+) get a spike and then a drop so I will pace at about 80% and make sure to test immediately after to ensure I don’t drop too bad. Strength and skill pieces cause a drop due to the lack of “balls to the wall intensity.”

When you eat or have eaten a ketogenic-like diet, how is your insulin sensitivity affected?

Eating a ketogenic diet or IF, my insulin sensitivity is amazing! Here is a beautiful analogy! Spray perfume in a room and at first you smell it really strong right? After a few minutes you lose the sensitivity to smell it. In order to re-sensitize you have to either spray MORE or leave the room. In the case of the diabetic, MORE means more insulin which leads to fat gain, heart issues, and potentially many more issues. The other option is the remove the need to produce or TAKE insulin. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in this case, growing fonder means increasing sensitivity  Your body doesn’t realized the potency of what it had (good or bad) until it’s gone.

Before anyone else that has type 1 diabetes attempts a ketogenic diet, what do you first recommend before jumping in? For example, move to a moderately low-carb diet, and then tinker into ketosis, etc?

Be aware, your basal needs will drop DRAMATICALLY! Your body is at a baseline requirement level in relation to the current diet you have and what you are doing. If you make a dramatic change, it only stands to reason that your insulin needs need to change as well. I notice in online communities that this idea is overlooked. If your baseline levels are running lower (hypo), doesn’t it make sense to reduces your baseline insulin? Yes. My recommendation is to first and foremost, remove some potentially problematic foods. Wheat or dairy at first, and if you are eating sugar as a regular part of your diet, and not as a requirement to maintain a normal blood sugar, address that too. Remove one thing, adjust insulin, and repeat.

Kelly: As a dietitian working with many other patients with diabetes, changes need to be adapted slowly. It’s too hard to generalize what to do on a website, as we are all coming from different places. Work with a healthcare professional when making such changes. And of course, I am always happy to help. 

As for food groups or ingredients, are there any certain things you avoid, such as gluten, soy, dairy, etc? How does the avoidance or inclusion of certain foods help manage your blood sugars?

Gluten is terrible. End of story. Dairy, even with no carbs in it (cheese) causes a huge spike. I also find that if I have a big meal with virtually no carbohydrates (save veggies) I have an automatic increase in insulin sensitivity, and by default, lower blood sugars.

Kelly: I want to also add, in case anyone with type 1 diabetes is reading this post, overall this is general information. When eating a low carb diet, which may not include many carbs per meal, you still need to cover your meal for protein can convert into sugar. Please work with your team, myself included, to assess what the best protocol is for you.

How have your labs changed since adjusting your diet to low-carb?

My labs have improved greatly. At one point in my life I have hit 11 on my A1C. Recently I was at 6.5. not too bad for a lifer with this!

Some final thoughts:

Fix your food first. Do not fall victim to the idea that exercise will fix it all. If you eat poorly so as to induce inflammation, insulin insensitivity, and lack vital nutrients, you do not need to exercise. It may actually make it all SO MUCH WORSE.

Ask yourself this, why are you eating so many carbohydrates when the result is the need for insulin. Insulin managements and blood glucose management are the hallmark of BOTH cases of Diabetes. Why would you eat in a way that induces complications to that maintenance  That’s like being allergic to bees and kicking a bee hive. Not only is it crazy to do, but it does NOTHING to improve your health.

Where to find Eric:
@Type1Eric
@Type1CrossFit
www.facebook.com/crossfitovercome (soon to be /type1crossfit)
Email: [email protected]

Ketogenic Diets

First and foremost, let me start off with saying ketosis and ketoacidosis (DKA) are two very different things.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes, predominantly in those with type 1 diabetes. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications.1 An example of how someone with diabetes, such as myself, can be in a state of ketoacidosis is say when my insulin pump has problems delivering me insulin due to a kink in the site (connection on my body) or blood in the tubing and therefore the needed insulin is not getting in my body.

Ketosis or a ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates, thus a fat burning mode.

Medical professionals are using ketogenic, carb restricted diets to:

And many people have discovered that a ketogenic diet is a very effective tool for regaining health, losing excess weight and building a muscular, healthy body. Among those having success with ketogenic diets includes low carb advocate, Jimmy Moore, which he has published these 12 foods to serve him well for his nutrition ketosis objective.

Furthermore, a client has agreed to share his regime when he dabbles with ketosis and it looks  something like this:

Pre-Breakfast – Start off with a huge glass of ice cold water, along with fish oil, magnesium, Vitamin C, D, and zinc to help with inflammation (this helps a ton with recovery for tough work outs)

Breakfast – Another glass of water to start meal, huge bowl of spinach, some tomatoes (sometimes I get lazy and just eat spinach), 3 slices of bacon, a sausage patty, and 2 eggs.

Post-Breakfast – Cup of coffee, no cream. Stevia.

Lunch* – 1 Large glass of water along with the supplements in Prebreakfast. 2 Salmon patties or some sort of protein, maybe steak or chicken thighs (I don’t use breasts as they don’t contain enough fat). If its a lean piece of meat, I cut up a half avocado to get some fat content in, OR and don’t hate me for this, I put mayo, and a big bowl of spinach.

Snack – Usually some beef jerky or pork rinds… hahahahaha

Pre-Workout Drink – BCAA’s, Protein Whey and Creatine. It helps me with recovery.

Post Workout Drink – Same as above.

Dinner – Same as Lunch*.

Additional comments: IF I work out, the meal immediately after, if its either lunch or dinner, I cut out the spinach, as I’m looking for two sources of fuel at this point: Fat and protein. That’s about it. Its a pretty Spartan diet but not changing it helps me stick to it. I use this mainly prior to competitions where I have to lose weight to make a certain weight class in a healthy manner. My BF percentage goes down a ton and my energy levels go way up.

An important thing to note though is that I don’t stay on this diet ALL year. 

If you are interested in implementing a ketogenic diet the Ketogenic Diet Resource website has some detailed advice.

Resources:

More Books to Recommend

The Paleo Answer

Dr. Loren Cordain’s bestselling The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook have helped hundreds of thousands of people eat for better health and weight loss by following the diet humans were genetically designed to eat: meats, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and other foods that mimic the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. In The Paleo Answer, he shows you how to supercharge the Paleo Diet for optimal lifelong health and weight loss. Featuring a new prescriptive 7-day plan and surprising revelations from the author’s original research, this is the most powerful Paleo guide yet.

Good Calories, Bad Calories

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well— with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind.

With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.

Sweet Potato Power

Low carbs need to be smart carbs. Lucky for us, nature has given us the nutritious, delicious sweet potato. This super food gives all the benefits of other high energy foods with more nutrition and without spiking blood sugar. Plus, this humble tuber tastes great and is easily incorporated into your diet in seriously good ways.

Sweet Potato Power gives you the tools to run your own tests to determine the diet rules that work specifically for you and your unique biology. Through self experimentation you can cut through diet mumbo jumbo, and let science and your numbers speak for themselves to answer questions.

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

Do you want to lose fat and stay young, all while avoiding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and a host of other illnesses? The Paleo Solution incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best.

Monday Movers – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

After wrapping-up some must needed domestic duties this weekend, I found myself reading one of the most interesting and epic studies of the year – the research was all about smiling.

In a nutshell, doctors Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen reported on a study rating the smiles of 230 baseball players (pre-1950 athletes) from the Baseball Register. Can you guess what they found when cross-checking these player’s smiles to their longevity?

  • No smile = age 73
  • Partial smile = 75
  • Full smile = 80

Pretty interesting, right? This study is consistent with other data addressing emotional health to heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Optimistic people have half the risk for cardiovascular diseases when compared to the least optimistic folks. Stress does more than just turn the wheel in our heads. It has been associated to harm our arteries and our tickers. Shall we let the science speak and turn all frowns upside down?

If only it were that easy.

But it can be. If you are having a tough time right now, relax. If you are frustrated about something, try to let it go, or work it out. But do not fret; too much.

A smile may not be a game-changer but our outlook on each day may be. This data along with other supporting research on mental health share a common denominator of a positive, optimistic outlook on life and each day.

Mondays are no fun nor are cold days (it’s winter in Australia) but they can be. A change in perspective is all it takes. Find out what you like doing, who you enjoy hanging out with and what invigorates you and do more of it.

This Monday I have booked a yoga class for the evening and plan on walking to work (LOVE walking). What is on your agenda? I hope it is something that makes you smile.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers

Tis the season to be Jolly…falalala la la la…

Have you finished you holiday shopping? Have you started? Right about now I am thinking that I could have easily done some Christmas shopping this wekeend and….I did not. In all honesty at this point in the game I have only frequented my friend Amazon for gifts. But really, eeek, Christmas is around the corner! Along with this beloved holiday there can be a truckload of to-dos, let alone breaking your nice daily routine of work, gym, personal time, etc.

However, embrace the chaos and alter your perspective; if your thoughts are similar to the Grinch’s. Christmas comes only once a year and this week go with the flow and choose your food wisely and fit in fitness where you can. Hey, why not sing some Jingle Bells in the shower while you are at it. I will.

Along with my caroling this week I am lacing up my sneakers and plan to get back to running. It’s been months! My jaw is healing pretty well, the pain is subsiding and running is calling my name. For a little inspiration and perspective alteration, read what Dean Karnazes has to say:

“Running has an uncanny ability to mellow the soul, to take the edge off hard feelings, and put things back into healthy perspective.”

Burn more fat while breaking a sweat

Skip breakfast before exercise to burn more fat, studies say

By Maria Cheng, The Associated Press
LONDON — Running on empty may not be such a bad idea after all. Though many athletes eat before training, some scientists say that if you really want to get rid of more fat, you should skip the pre-workout snack.

Several studies suggest exercising while your body is low on food may be a good way to trim excess fat. In a recent paper, European researchers found that cyclists who trained without eating burned significantly more fat than their counterparts who ate.

Muscles usually get their energy from carbohydrates, which is why athletes like Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps scarf down enormous amounts of food before a race. But if you haven’t eaten before exercising, your body doesn’t have many carbohydrates in reserve. That forces it to burn fat instead, scientists say.

“When you exercise (after fasting), your adrenalin is high and your insulin is low,” said Peter Hespel, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Leuven in Belgium. “That ratio is favorable for your muscles to oxidize (break down) more fatty acids.” Hespel said that people who exercise without having eaten burn more fat than they would if they had grabbed a bite beforehand.

In a study published in April, researchers at the University of Birmingham and elsewhere assigned seven people to cycle three days a week, followed by an intense session an hour later without eating. Another seven people followed the same regime, without the instruction to fast.

Though members of the group that didn’t eat performed worse on the intensive training, they burned a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the group that ate. The results were published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

In a 2008 study, Hespel and colleagues tested the effects on men who did endurance training without eating versus those who ate. In the athletes who hadn’t eaten, the researchers found a spike in the amount of proteins needed to process fat, meaning their bodies had been primed through fasting to burn more fat.

Hespel recommends people do this kind of training before breakfast, since eating carbohydrates interrupts the process of metabolizing fat for about six hours afterward.

Though he and colleagues have primarily studied the effects of exercising without eating in young, healthy people, he thinks the method could also help people with problems like diabetes. Because exercising without eating produces muscles that are better at absorbing glucose — which is important for preventing diabetes — Hespel theorized the strategy would also help diabetics control their insulin levels.

Other experts said that even though people may burn more fat this way, it is mostly fat within the muscles that will be lost and won’t make a big difference to people trying to lose weight.

“When you exercise (without eating), fat is broken down more quickly in the muscle,” said Andrew Greenberg, director of the Obesity and Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University. “You may enhance how you burn the fat in the muscles, but it doesn’t affect your overall body fat,” Greenberg said. He said more intense exercise may prompt the body to burn more fatty acids in other regions of the body, but that a lot of training would be required to see a big difference.

For recreational athletes interested in maximizing their exercise regimen, some experts recommend a regular training session where you deliberately do not eat beforehand.

“Science is finally catching up with what smart runners have always known,” said Ron Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain. “If you have a long, hard run without breakfast once a week, that hard run will train you to burn fat,” he said. “And for the rest of the week, have plenty of carbohydrates so you can train hard.”

Maughan cautioned against doing too much exercise on an empty stomach. “That might help you get very good at burning fat, but you won’t be very good at whatever exercise it is you’re doing,” he said. “Without enough fuel, you won’t get the intensity of training you need to get improvements.”

Others were more skeptical and said people shouldn’t exercise without having at least a small snack first.

“I think it’s actually a pretty bad idea,” said Dr. Alexis Chiang Colvin, a sports medicine expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York who has worked with professional football and hockey teams.

“If your blood sugar is low, you could wind up getting dizzy and you might not be able to exercise as well as if you were well-nourished,” she said. Colvin recommended having something small like a banana before training. She also warned the strategy might make people more prone to injury and that eating was important so the body would have enough nutrients to recover from a bout of exercise.

Hespel acknowledged the method wasn’t for everybody and that aside from the pain of struggling through an exercise session while hungry, there are other potential pitfalls.

“When you postpone breakfast to exercise, it is possible you might eat more afterwards,” he said. “People exercising (without eating) need to respect all the normal strategies of weight control like not overeating.”

Daniel Kobbina, a personal trainer who also runs a martial arts school in London, said the method requires discipline — but it works.

“If you train on an empty stomach, you’ll see that six-pack a lot sooner,” he said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I did it!

Last week I reached an amazing personal goal. I ran the Disney World half marathon and I beat my boyfriend! Kidding aside, my focus was not on beating my boyfriend (even though it felt pretty good), yet, I was determined to push myself beyond my mental ability.

Orlando, Florida hadn’t seen snow for decades but on this given weekend, 9th of January 2010, it snowed like it was Chicago. Not only did pretty snowflakes come down and covered the course, but there was rain and hail. My limbs were nearly numb running and it did not help having to be at the race 2 hours before the start. It had me shivering to all ends.

So the race started and I ripped off the trash bag I was wearing for warmth and my legs were moving faster than I was thinking. After the second mile mark and my continuous celebratory fist punch in the air (which I did at every mile mark), I told myself I wasn’t going to stop until I past the finish line.

I wasn’t doing this all for myself but in my head I told myself I was doing it for all the type 1 diabetics who feel or have felt held back by their disease to reach physical goals.

I was once one of those diabetics, but I am proud to say I’ve enrolled in 4 half marathons, a dozen of 10k’s and many many more races in the last few years. I will admit, every race I have fear of going low or skyrocketing high, yet, I know how to react to these occasions if they arise and I do my best to be my best and to keep my glucose levels in goal range.

So I was right around mile 5 and there it was, the shriek of pain in my left leg. My IT band, as expected, was acting up. But in my head I told myself to run through the pain to prove myself that I can reach this half marathon goal and that this pain was only the beginning of what is to come. I was and am determined to give back to the diabetic community and reach every goal I set for myself.

The next milestone was right around mile 8. Wow, eight miles. I’ve never ran this much without stopping for a stretch or a water break in my life! But I will admit I wanted to crawl up in a warm bed more than anything. Again, I told myself, “there is no pain, no gain, I am keeping to my goal.”

It is not easy getting through the last few miles of a half marathon. I focused on positive things and I mostly thought of the lessons and morals my parents and peers have taught me.

I heard my dad echoing in my head to always strive to be the best person I can be and to live my dream. I kept recollecting how well my mom and dad raised us four kids and that we are so fortunate for the bond we have and much more.

I guess these races really break you down right?

After the race my dad and mom were the first people I wanted to call to tell how well I did! I called them as soon as my hands warmed up enough to move and my determination to reach more goals hasn’t stopped there. I plan to become a more solid player in the diabetic charitable and research community starting…yesterday. I turned down a great position on the Chicago Dietetic Association board to spend more time with another passion: JDRF.

Two-thousand- ten (2010) is going to be a good year and it took a 13.1 mile race through hail and rain to prove it!

Have a healthy and fit day!

Jay Cutler: a becoming face for diabetes

Every night before Jay Cutler goes to bed, he puts a can of Coke on his nightstand. It usually sits next to a Reese’s peanut-butter cup.

Cutler keeps the junk food close in case he feels woozy in the middle of the night and needs a sugar fix due to his glucose level dropping suddenly. Like many afflicted with Type 1 diabetes, Cutler injects himself five times a day with insulin to prevent anything like that from happening.

Still, Cutler knows it could.

It might be in his bedroom on a weeknight or on the field on a Sunday afternoon. But Cutler lives every day knowing it could.

That is among the messages Cutler delivers in a webisode to be released later this month — National Diabetes Month — that the Tribune previewed Wednesday. The revealing, three-minute video is the fourth in a series that began appearing on the Web in mid-October. The final two, all produced by Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company that hired the Bears quarterback as a spokesman, are in the works.

“The worst thing imaginable is to get really low and pass out in the middle of a play or in the huddle or something,” Cutler said in the latest video. “I think that would scare a lot of people — not only myself but fans and the public in general. We try to avoid it as much as possible but it’s still a reality.”

Appearing more vulnerable and candid than anybody in Chicago has seen him, Cutler looked into the camera, his eyes darting back and forth, and talked about the kind of pressure that has nothing to do with getting sacked.

Seeing Cutler discuss injecting an insulin pen into his stomach put into perspective hearing him answer questions Wednesday about how sore he was after the Browns game. Bruises go away after a couple of days. Barring a cure, his diabetes never will.

“Living with diabetes in the public eye, it makes it harder,” Cutler continued in the video. “There is no real room for error. Every day I have to be on. If I go out and have a bad game and my numbers are way off I’m going to get criticized for it. I can get real low and not know exactly what’s going on and get hit the wrong way and hurt myself. There are definitely dangers out there.”

Initially after being diagnosed in April 2008, Cutler didn’t want to discuss those dangers publicly. He told the Tribune he first needed to figure out how to live with the disease before he felt comfortable educating others.

“It was a very personal battle so I needed to take some time,” Cutler said in an interview. “I knew there would be a time when I would want to do something, especially with kids. It’s hard enough growing up these days without having to worry about an insulin pump or pricking your finger. I wanted those kids to know I was like them.”

In the video sessions shot in the offseason with a relaxed Cutler in a white button-down shirt and khaki pants, he recalled the diagnosis bringing relief because he wasn’t dying as he feared after he lost 33 pounds. He also shared how difficult it was to tell his parents, especially his mom, Sandy, who “cried for two days straight.” When Sandy Cutler wanted to come to Denver the night he had to start injecting insulin, her son intervened by saying, “Mom, I’m 24 years old.”

The biggest mental hurdle Cutler had to clear? Jabbing himself with a needle.

Seeing Cutler discuss injecting an insulin pen into his stomach put into perspective hearing him answer questions Wednesday about how sore he was after the Browns game. Bruises go away after a couple of days. Barring a cure, his diabetes never will.

“Living with diabetes in the public eye, it makes it harder,” Cutler continued in the video. “There is no real room for error. Every day I have to be on. If I go out and have a bad game and my numbers are way off I’m going to get criticized for it. I can get real low and not know exactly what’s going on and get hit the wrong way and hurt myself. There are definitely dangers out there.”

Initially after being diagnosed in April 2008, Cutler didn’t want to discuss those dangers publicly. He told the Tribune he first needed to figure out how to live with the disease before he felt comfortable educating others.

“It was a very personal battle so I needed to take some time,” Cutler said in an interview. “I knew there would be a time when I would want to do something, especially with kids. It’s hard enough growing up these days without having to worry about an insulin pump or pricking your finger. I wanted those kids to know I was like them.”

In the video sessions shot in the offseason with a relaxed Cutler in a white button-down shirt and khaki pants, he recalled the diagnosis bringing relief because he wasn’t dying as he feared after he lost 33 pounds. He also shared how difficult it was to tell his parents, especially his mom, Sandy, who “cried for two days straight.” When Sandy Cutler wanted to come to Denver the night he had to start injecting insulin, her son intervened by saying, “Mom, I’m 24 years old.”

The biggest mental hurdle Cutler had to clear? Jabbing himself with a needle.

“That’s where it gets a little iffy,” he said.

To get him in the proper frame of mind for his new reality, Cutler thanked his quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt, Jimmy Kiser. Kiser, 51, is one of the 3 million Americans afflicted with Type 1 diabetes and has lived with it for more than 20 years.

“The first thing he said was, ‘You’re going to be fine,’ ” Cutler said.

John Holcombe, a research physician for diabetes care affiliated with Eli Lilly, was more effusive given Cutler’s line of work.

“People like Jay Cutler are phenomenal,” Holcombe said in a phone interview. “Exercise is critical in treating it but it also plays havoc with your blood-sugar level.”

It is why Cutler pricks his finger so often to make sure his level is between the acceptable range of 90-120 or 130-150 during games. It is why Cutler might be prone to mood swings after exertion. It is why it’s hard to look at No. 6 the same without thinking of the numbers he checks five times a day.

“I’m still struggling with this,” he said in one of the webisodes. “Over time you get used to and it becomes part of you. I’m not to that point yet.”

Showing a sense of humor, Cutler recounted cleaning out his refrigerator within days of the diagnosis. Type 1 diabetes prevents the pancreas from producing insulin required to metabolize sugar from food and convert it into glucose the body uses for energy.

“I miss a lot of foods,” he said. “I used to love desserts. I miss sweet tea, lemonade. Do I ever cheat? Yes, I do. Reese’s peanut-butter cups is my cheating food.”

Sounds like a commercial pairing. But for now, Cutler is more interested in education than endorsements — a point he made directly into the camera.

“I’d love to use my story to inspire kids who get diabetes at 4 or 5 years old and they think it’s the end of the world, they can’t have dreams or do what they want to do in life,” Cutler said. “It’s entirely false.”

The truth? We have marveled at many Cutler highlights since he became a Bear. But he never has been more impressive on video than when discussing his life as a diabetic.

[email protected]

Reach for Chocolate Milk Soccer Players

A study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, provides athletes and dietitians another reason to get excited over milk. When low-fat chocolate milk challenged a specialized carbohydrate sports drink, the low-fat chocolate milk was comparable, if not better, in muscle recovery when consumed by college soccer players.

This is an exciting study because it shows the benefits of whole food compared to a science formulated beverage. Milk naturally has vitamin D, calcium, potassium, magnesium and other crucial vitamins and minerals.

To learn more details about this research click here.

Have a healthy and fit day!