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:

Lifestyle: Getting Accustomed to Making Your Meals At Home

Eating a balanced diet doesn’t need to be labor-intensive. With planning and being efficient with shopping, you can save your mola and feel good. Here I am highlighting some how-tos on eating home-cooked meals, catered to those looking after blood sugar control, which in a way, relates to everyone. 

“If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Sketch out 7 days and plot 2-3 meals, based on real food, plus snacks (if needed). Intend to make surplus for the meals so you have leftovers. Looking at your calendar:

  • Do you have plans for meals out this week? Will you need to pack any meals for school/work/appointments? For the latter, can you make things or buy items that can easily be eaten as is, or cooked in the microwave?
  • How many people are you responsible for feeding? 
  • Do you have any long days or night errands to run? You will need something portable
  • Make a grocery list with meals in mind and use ingredients that can come from the freeezer or pantry, in the scenario your schedule changes. No one likes throwing money away. 

A French man once said he walked into a North American grocery store and couldn’t find any food.

What? Well, if you think about and roam the aisles and food labels enough, you will find that this certain man is onto something. A majority of our packaged food is not real food. Just this morning I rant to the grocery and reviewed a dozen products and set them right back down because of cheap, unhealthy ingredients listed on them such as GMO beets (sugar), canola oil (very inflammatory), food colorings, chemicals, HFCS, more sugar, MSG, artificial sweeteners, BHA/BHT, nitrates, sulfates, the list goes on. Yet, my point is, know what is good for you and have an idea of where to get it.

Put together a grocery list before you head out. Ideally capture it on your phone. We often leave home without a list, but rarely forget our phone. Review your list before you go, and make sure the items you plan to buy, reflect the volume of foods you want on your plate. For example, if you intend to have half a plate of vegetables, make sure you buy enough vegetables. Same for protein, make sure your cart is about 25-30% of animal protein and 25-30% of fruit, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.

Additional ways to save and simplifiy:

  • Look at ads, use coupon apps available on smartphones
  • Buy ingredients, not products
  • By produce in season, when cheapest
  • Grow your own vegetables/herbs
  • Never overeat and see how the quality of food, not volume, makes you feel satisfied (intuitive eating)
  • Cook in bulk and freeze portions for leftovers
  • Buy in bulk, and choose ingredients that can used in multiple dishes
  • Buy whole, canned wild fish or frozen fish
  • Buy fruits and vegetables frozen (just as healthy, if not more healthy)
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat and slow-cook it to tenderize it.
  • Don’t major in minor things. Focus on buying real food and don’t stress if you can’t get organic or grass-fed
  • Avoid foods void in nutrition, which can simply just increase appetite. For example, gluten-containing grains, sugar, processed food, granola bars
  • Cut out the extras – bottled water, mints, etc
  • Keep food simple, yet, have variety so your palate doesn’t get bored.

Food prep can be therapeutic; especially when you look at it as a time to unwind and forget about stressors. We need to unplug, to recharge. Set aside time, one time a week, to prep meals so when you come rushing in the door, or out, you have something nutritious to quickly reheat or consume within a short window of time.

Meal Ideas:

  • Frittata – these are great, and can be made in advance, sliced and heated or chilled for a well-rounded breakfast or lunch. The ingredients do not need to be elaborate. Choose some produce, lean meat and spices. 
  • Slow-cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup
  • Salad with Tuna – as simple as it sounds. When I was on the road a lot with work, I would run to the grocery before Monday AM, pick up a bag of lettuce greens, canned tuna, eggs (then hard boil them) and some other type of produce, and throw it all together for 3 lunches or so a week. 
  • Lettuce Tacos – buy some lean meat, mix some spices and throw it over some vegetables or romaine leaves. Leftover meat is great with eggs too. 
  • Grilled Fish and Frozen Veg with spices – buy some frozen fish in bulk, pull out however many filets you need in the morning, thaw in the refrigerator, and cook in a skillet with some lemon, butter and pepper and pair with a vegetable. 
  • No-bread Sandwiches
  • Snack options, including portable food ideas
  • Scrambled Eggs and Ham – simple, cheap and satisfying. 
  • Banana Pancakes – take 2 eggs and one small banana, mash, and make 2 pancakes. 

Real change is not easy, but it is worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,


Let’s Make This Year (2018) Different

How many people do you think made a weight loss wish when the ball dropped this year? Chances are, quite a few.

With two-thirds of Americans overweight, there are an estimated 45 million people on a diet right now, chalking up $33 billion per year on weight loss products.

Yet, times are changing, and so are the approaches to improving our health. The dogma of calories in, equal calories out has been exploited. There is far more involved with wellness and weight loss than the obsession with eating perfect portions of perfectly healthy food.

Make this year different by relaxing the efforts on dieting, and create a balance between the mind, body, and spirit, emphasizing how you feel, how, what and when you eat, and what you believe makes you healthy. I’ve included a few items to focus on below:

1. Hydrate

The goal is to drink half your weight in ounces, and more if you are exercising or traveling. Start the day with an inner bath and drink 20 ounces first thing. In the winter, I fulfill this need by carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go, or more often you will see me with my Continga containing hot water with lemon.

2. Don’t Major in Minor Things

Sometimes eating “perfectly” can do us more harm than good. Relax and don’t give up 95% of your life to drop 5% of your weight (or fill in the blank of what you are trying to achieve). The healthiest version of yourself isn’t how good you look in a swimsuit. The healthiest version of yourself is when hormones are balanced, your body and mind are strong and you have the energy to do what you love. When you push your body to extremes, including talking to yourself in a negative way, you’re giving up more than calories. You miss out on life.

3. Avoid Vegetable Oils and Man-Made Oils (Canola. Corn, Sunflower, Soybean oil, Safflower and Cottonseed oil)

These oils have large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful to our health.  The more Omega-6s you eat, the more systemic inflammation you will have. Opt for better fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil. palm oil, grass-fed butter or ghee for cooking, and olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil for cold uses. Make sure to have some sort of fat on your plate at each meal, and the right kind of fat.

4. Know Hunger is the Best Sauce

Master hunger and feel comfortable being hungry 30 to 60 minutes before a meal. Eat when you’re hungry – but only when you’re hungry. Forget the clock and listen to your body instead. 

5. Moderate

Perhaps my favorite tip: moderation (and I am not talking food). While working hard in your career, parenthood, friendships, life, find a balance in enjoying things like make you happy. Being healthy is a balancing act, and not about deprivation nor perfection.

6.  Stress Less – Sleep More

Sleep is the backbone of good health. Guard your bedtime as sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control.


Mastering Your A1C

Blood sugar control is tricky. What often works this month, won’t work the next as there are a number of variables that play into the result. Unconventional variables include hydration, the weather, stress/workload, sleep (deprivation), hormones (my basal changes every week of the month), sunlight exposure, magnesium status, nutrient deficiencies, electrolyte status, activity, happiness, diet, etc.

However, in my 26+ years of having type 1 diabetes and working with hundreds of clients with diabetes, below are key players that help keep an A1C ideal. Please note, that an A1C is not the only goal with diabetes, it’s just an easy lab to draw that can paint a picture of blood sugars averages over the last 60-90 days.

  1. Check blood sugar regularly. In the book Sugar Surfing, the authors suggest skimming the information on a CGM up to 50 times a day, and I totally agree. It’s most crucial to review information/moving blood sugars that occur upon awakening, post meals, and pre/post workout.
  2. Review trends. it’s hard to manage what we don’t monitor, and thankfully there are great apps and programs that make tracking easy. I personally use Glukoo and I have a number of clients using OneDrop.
  3. Be mindful when eating, and this includes eating slowly and chewing your food. If you are on Humalog or Novolog, always eat your carbs last, and your protein and vegetables first. The new insulin, Fiasp, you may not need to do this as it works 3x harder and acts faster out of the gate.
  4. Have consistent meals from one day to the next with the same amount of carbs. Besides optimizing our metabolism, this practice can help us create the right portioned meal to sustain satisfaction to the next meal and appropriate insulin delivery.
  5. Practice eating with the sun, and allowing an intermittent fast for 12-16 hours. I like turning this into a fun game and using the Zero app to track my fast from an early dinner to breakfast.
  6. Hydrate – I recommend 10 glasses of water a day. This will take effort, and it’s worth it. Hydration leads to better blood sugar control and fewer cravings.
  7. Post meal – move. Walking is magical for blood sugar control. Indeed a fast-paced walk can lower blood sugar 1-2 mg/dl per minute.
  8. Make sleep quality and quantity count. Have a set bedtime, turn off electronic hours before bed and/or use blue light blocking glasses, make sure the temperature is ideal (68F) and there is no light exposure.
  9. Take supplements such as a high-quality probiotic, B-complex, magnesium, and fish oil. I recommend and source only pharmaceutical grade supplements.
  10. Tap into (or build) your Diabetes Team. Seek out a health coach/dietitian if the need is there and the timing is right. Be prompt with your endo appointments and seek a social support system.

Cheers to you and good health,

The Diabetic Dietitian

Mealtime Shortcuts + Healthy Eating Solutions

My fingers on the keyboard, pondering how to open this topic and my mind quickly goes to a phrase: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Seriously, in the world of Amazon Prime, we can surely find a way to make dinner healthier, easier, and faster. Maybe we just use Amazon Prime 🙂 So let me just get right to it. Here are some of my kitchen hacks on how to build an easier dish and simpler solutions for mealtime.


  • If you plan to have a daily salad, make a large one and store it in the salad spinner. It will last longer, and usually, when you open the fridge it will be at eye level, which will also influence you to eat/want more of it.
  • To whip together a diverse salad without chopping a lot of things, combine coleslaw vegetables with lettuce greens. Come mealtime, top this with high-quality protein (wild, canned seafood or pre-grilled meat) and nuts, and you are good to go. Portable packets of extra virgin olive oil are clutch, along with lemon packets. This serves as a simple, portion-controlled dressing.
  • Portable fruit is a great way to round out a salad-based meal. Don’t fear carbs.
  • Whatever you store the salad in, put a paper towel in with it. It will extend the life of the leafy greens. If I have 1 limp salad, my desire for salad over the next few days…are limp.


  • Buy pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables/fruit. Have you seen the awesome cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s and Costco? Or the frozen zoodles from Trader Joe’s? Easy peasy. You can microwave both of these. Top with some olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper. Nom nom.
  • Canned organic beans. So versatile. Open a can and rinse the beans and toss them in a skillet with a little avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Stir for 5-10 minutes, depending on the texture you prefer. Sometimes, I just want them warm. Overall beans are a great slow-cooker or vegetable addition. Have you made chili yet this Fall? It’s a 5-minute prep process! Pull a pound of ground meat out of your freezer, organic beans, organic diced tomatoes and a pre-mixed spice packet (you can make your own combination, but we are talking easy here). Toss all the above in the slow-cooker and let cook for 6 hours on high and you are good to go. I love my chili with a dollop of guacamole (Costco has a great pre-packaged one. I do not like the 100 cal packs of guacamole as they taste off).
  • Roast veggies (3 sheets of veggies at a time. Make true use of the time you are using the oven. I often roast chopped Brussel sprouts, frozen veggies and some form of potatoes).
  • Fruit or sliced veggies with nut butter packets (like these).
  • I make a box of lentil-based pasta every week (I get my pasta from Trader Joe’s or Thrive Market). I drizzle olive oil on it after cooking to prevent leftovers from clumping together. This is a handy and satisfying side to mix with most things.

Slow-cooker: Perhaps I should have put the chili comments down here, but REALLY, befriend a slow-cooker and/or an Instapot. The saved time will be worth your money. Shoot, you can even use Kohl’s cash on these kitchen tools. Tis the season.

  • I work from my freezer (A LOT) and my family really enjoys when I do slow-cooker tacos/Mexican. I pull out a bag of frozen diced peppers and onions (Trader Joe’s), a pound of ground meat and spices. Sometimes, I will get a little frisky and add in some salsa. If I don’t do the salsa, I just add a little broth. Thanks to Costco for conveniently offering bone broth at an awesome price, I often have a carton opened in my fridge at all times. The broth is great for bumping up the nutrition of a meal and reducing the need for adding fat to saturate ingredients.
  • Chicken Artichoke (hello fiber) Stew: I get the frozen artichoke from Trader Joe’s, I use 2-3 chicken breast, enough broth to just cover, a carton of sliced mushrooms and enough peas to add good color. Salt and pepper to taste, cook on high for 6 hours. This is awesome when paired with some cauli-mash.  


  • Meal prep paleo pancakes. Pancakes were my go-to before I knew I was sensitive to eggs (KBMO Fit Test). Overall they are healthy, filling, high in protein and good fat and easy to take when wrapped in foil. I like the recipe of just mixing a small banana with 3 eggs – or – adding 1 scoop of protein powder (like my favorite one from Standard Process) + 2-3 eggs. Mix the 2 ingredients together until you get a batter-like consistency and make 1-2 pancakes out of it.
  • Overnight oats (gluten free) with collagen protein powder and some nuts/chia seeds in mason jars. 
  • Combine smoothie ingredients in a blender, the night before, and store in the fridge. Come morning, you can blend and go.


  • Carton/canned real food soups. I like Amy’s brand among many of the cartons offered at Whole Foods, Mariano’s Fresh Thyme, etc. Be sure to add collagen (I buy mine from Vital proteins or Thrive Market) to help keep blood sugars stable and assist with keeping you full until the next meal. Also consider adding a fat to round out the meal (olives, avocado, olive oil packet, nuts, seeds, etc)
  • Chicken sausages – and I am picturing the various flavors from AmyLu. Throw 2 of these in the microwave or skillet, slice and have with some fermented saurkraut. Pair with some leftover roasted veg or gluten-free grain like wild rice.
  • Mason jars salads
  • Leftovers

Dinner: always double recipes and use leftovers for following lunches and dinners.

  • Regardless of what you put together – keep the ingredients simple.
  • Breakfast for dinner! Pleases everyone.
  • Buy an organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (or from somewhere like Boston Market, but when the quality of the chicken is lower, avoid eating the skin) and have it with a salad kit or leftovers.
  • Cook fish from frozen. My fam loves the salmon burgers from Costco. Heat oven to 400F, cook for 12-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. 
  • Have a smoothie for dinner. Mix frozen greens, vegetables, ice/water, spices (cinnamon, ginger, or cocoa) with some frozen fruit, high-quality protein powder. I always top my smoothies with something crunchy to help enjoy “eating” my meal. I like baked coconut flakes, sunflower seeds or cocoa nibs.

Above all:

  • Be organized – have the right tools in your kitchen: a good knife, cutting boards, blender, food processor, slow-cooker, ceramic skillet, and a white/board.
  • The whiteboard or menu board can help make the meal ideas easy – and assist in building a grocery list. Try to only grocery shopping 1-2x a week to save time, and download an app like AnyList to have a handy list at all times.
  • Pack your lunch – and be sure to have good containers, thermos, shaker bottles, water bottles and lunch boxes. I have way too many water bottles and bento boxes, but you know what? I am always hydrated and have a packed meal when need be.
  • Buy as many things you can online. I use Amazon Prime (also for Whole Foods produce) and Thrive Market.

What tips and tricks do you use/do? I want to hear, selfishly to make the mealtime even easier!

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?


As I sit (let’s be honest, I am standing) here at my desk, I am having a serious brain bash because my mouth is numb from the dentist and my mind is telling me to run and go drink a tub of honey. How does this make sense? Well, when my blood sugar is super low my tongue and the side of my mouth always tingle. If you have diabetes, I am sure you can empathize. To say the least, while I am working, my eyes are glued to my continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

In a nutshell, this situation I am experiencing right now is how I have felt about my diabetes in the last month. It’s been a knee-jerk and while my blood sugars have been decent, they have been way too much freaking work to be where they are. And never in my (adult) life have I cared about what people think, or where their eyes go when I meet or greet them, but I am feeling sensitive about the fact many people directly look at my Dexcom arm, which usually has a bright purple sticker on it and my upper back where I have been recently hosting my insulin pod. Indeed I ripped my CGM off my arm last night partly because I am over this! I needed a break, and although my CGM break was short, I found myself seeking a new spot (my butt) to put my Dexcom to deal with this emotion.

What’s going on with me? I usually jump at the opportunity to educate people about what is on my arm and back…Ahhh, I am totally burned out.

My lifestyle and diabetes are not dancing very well together, and I realize I need to take a big deep breath (or 10) and figure out how to get the 2 at least on the same radio station. The best way to do this, I am finding is slowing down, breathing more and talking about it.

I have dozens of clients with diabetes and while I am providing sound recommendations I am being transparent with my current struggle and human feelings. Simply writing this post is allowing me to have a weight lifted off my shoulders and I would love for viewers to add any feedback or mentions on how they can relate in the below comment section.

I may be the @diabeticdietitian, but I am not superhuman. I want to eat or be able to not eat whenever I want, sleep however I want (often I roll onto my CGM or pod and it hurts), and not think about the carb, protein, fat breakdown of food. I can loosen my expectations for my control, but I know that will make me a cranky person, so what goes?

Instead, I am making small tweaks, setting boundaries (like turn phone to airplane mode come 9pm or really work at being present when I am with people) and reaching for broader goals. As shared, instead of chucking off my CGM for days or months (which is totally fine to do, and I have done that), I am finding more conservative spots to stick my CGM and my pod (lower back) until I want to forwardly talk about them in public. Instead of obsessing about tight control, I mapped out a plan to eat super nutritious, and more importantly, desired foods. I know what I like, I know how to bolus for some of my favorite foods, I just need to slow down, lighten my to-do list and ground myself.

Diabetes can knock us down sometimes, but it brings us opportunities and connections we would never have otherwise. As my Insta-friend @type1dchick put it best, “God gave his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers” and I will add that the diabetes community is a strong one and a great place to be.

Chin up.


This year, 2017, has been filled with gems. From our first family ski trip to seeing dear friends get married to finding my village in our new(ish) community and more. But this year has also involved a lot of loss. Loss of family members and people who seem like family. After returning from my husband’s hometown after saying goodbye to his childhood home mid-June, I stated, “We’ve done enough #adulting for a lifetime.” Overall with the waves of life, we need to be reminded to make each day count and to give ourselves grace.

In the last 72 hours, I have said this very statement at least twice in all my counseling sessions. We are all focused on bettering our health, and we need to be graceful with how the journey unfolds.

Wellness is far more than diet, probiotics, sleep, and exercise. It’s about being connected with ourselves and knowing that we are worthy. We are the very person we should be at this very moment and we need to stop doing and start being. Being in the sense of self-love, forgiveness, and self-acceptance.

Life is short and amazing. Each week find time to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a spa day, but it has to be something more than what we are accustomed to doing.

These images were gathered from some of my Insta-friends @thebalancedbeancounter, @catharticspacecounseling & @cappellos.

Activated Charcoal Lemonade with Collagen Recipe

*This article was originally published on

Our take on the activated charcoal lemonade craze looks much cooler than the sludge-colored detox drinks everyone seems to be sipping lately. We froze our activated charcoal into ice cubes, creating a stark contrast when served in bright lemonade. When the ice starts to melt, it creates a cool-looking swirling effect as the charcoal mixes with the drink. To give it an extra boost, we mixed in Great Lakes Gelatin’s Collagen Hydrolysate powder. Collagen helps keep joints flexible and skin supple but because it decreases with age, it’s important to replenish with collagen-rich foods or supplements. This powder from Great Lakes has been hydrolyzed so it won’t congeal and features a unique combination of amino acids that may be beneficial for bone and joint health.


Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours (freezing time included)


For the activated charcoal ice cubes

For the collagen lemonade

INSTRUCTIONS (Youtube video here)

Make the activated charcoal ice cubes

Break charcoal capsules by cutting with scissors to add the charcoal powder to a large container. Add the water. Stir until blended. Pour the liquid into ice cube molds. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

Make the collagen lemonade

In large pitcher, add honey, collagen powder, and hot water; stir until honey dissolves. Add lemon juice and cold water; stir until well mixed. Fill a glass with activated charcoal ice cubes and pour lemonade over the ice. Garnish with lemon slice.

Recipe credit: Angela Gaines

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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