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?

Burnout

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.

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:

INSTRUCTIONS
  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. 🙂

 

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.

Recap of Week #1 on the Cleanse

Oh man, do I have an update…

Last week I shared how I prepped for my upcoming Standard Process cleanse. This week I have a ton to share. Maybe a book’s worth, but I have tried my best to make this concise!

The kick-off went smoothly, crediting batch cooking, organized smoothie recipes/ideas, and grocery shopping. I roasted veggies (2 cookie sheets) 2-3 times, I tried to take it easy, although my husband was traveling most of the week, and I planned some exercise to fit with the program.

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However, this is not an excuse, but honesty of how the week went. I cheated, and I planned on cheating. What? Yes! All the details below.

Before I get there, have I shared why I am detoxing in December? Well, here goes:

For this program, I have the best intentions and high exceptions. I not only want to do this cleanse and feel awesome and accomplished after it, I want to learn everything about it, making myself a guinea pig so I can best steer consumers on a well-rounded cleanse.

Yet, I originally thought I would do this cleanse with patients, but when organizing my plan and collaborating with my local Standard Process rep on how I want to help guide consumers towards a detox like this, he suggested I do the full program first. Oye, which left me with the holiday season to do so.

LESSON #1 – Find a period of time that it’s realistic to meet the guidelines of a program to do a cleanse.

So December is it. I knew I would be challenged with baking (did fine!), social gatherings, reunions with friends, etc, but I was and still am confident I can be compliant (and have been 100% with food).

Mid-week, I knew there was an event on Saturday and I began stressing over not enjoying it because of the detox. I decided ahead I was going to bend the rules, and I have more details and feedback below on day 7. I needed to end the debate of what I was going to do, so I made a decision and made a plan of how I was going to go about it.

LESSON #2 – Relating to a cleanse, and all health initiatives, if you eat something indulgent or off plan, do not beat yourself up and drag on a negative conversation with yourself. I work clients on this all the time. Assess the moment, enjoy what it was, and move on. If able, learn from it too. Don’t turn something as innocent as food into a personal debate and an emotional drain. Life is short.

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A play-by-play of Week 1:

Day 1 – Where did my appetite go? This was actually a big surprise. I started the day with a smoothie (coconut butter, spinach, clove, ginger, stevia, ice, water), which was low carb as I am used to a high fat and protein-based bfast and didn’t want to rock the boat too much with my blood sugar and insulin needs. I had a baby shower around lunch and just nibbled on the fruit and vegetable for the offered lunch and had a smoothie waiting for me in my cold car. Dinner was roasted vegetables and half a cup of lentils. Day 1 was, dare I say easy?

Day 2 – I could tell I was detoxing. Feeling cold and sluggish, and (no filter) I was peeing like a race horse. I know it was expected to have an increase in bathroom visits, and I felt like I was non-stop urinating. As I am not a napper, even with a newborn in the house (16 months ago), I did need to rest for 30 minutes mid afternoon. I did a smoothie at bfast and dinner, and think a better plan is a smoothie for bfast and lunch. We are allowed to have a smoothie with a meal, the general rule is to just have 1-3 smoothies a day. My lunch was an awesome Kale Soup w/ lentils and I wrapped the day with a light hot yoga session at Blue Spot Bexley.

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Day 3 – I’ve been perkier getting up in the AM. This morning I didn’t want to move. Thankfully I didn’t have anywhere I had to rush to on day 3. Maybe less energy than day 2, so opted to exercise post work with a 30 minute walk with a small incline. Overall, I am definitely not hungry. My gut is telling me some of the ingredients in the smoothie control appetite, but overall not finding the no meat as hard as I imagined. Also no coffee is somewhat breezy. I am starting the day with Yerba Mate tea. Maybe my new go-to post cleanse and use coffee as an occasional treat.

Day 4 – Hallelujah. I feel like a million bucks. It’s not that the first 3 days were terribly hard, I was just dragging and as expected come day 4/5, cleansers start to feel better. I woke w/ no appetite, but eventually had a smoothie to break the fast after a 20 minute swim and sauna session. So reflecting on the day I had an easy intermittent fast and progressed per norm.

Day 5 – Good energy, and a healthy appetite. I had a smoothie for bfast, 2 lunches of veggies and oils, and a smoothie for dinner. I thought I’d eat more salads and raw veggies, yet, It’s been quite cold out and all I want is warm food.

Going back to my plans for this program. I met with my rep in November but also had a conference call on the books with other health care professionals that have done and supported clients on this program. I learned a lot from these veterans and have adapted the program for my needs and goals. Being diabetic I do far better with a fat and protein breakfast. Also, if someone on the program knows they are absolutely not sensitive to eggs, that can be included in the program as well. The next adaption I am amending for myself and will coach people on is the day they start to reintroduce animal protein.

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Day 6 – Therefore with day 6 I kicked things off differently. I started with eggs and avocado, lunch was smoothie and veggies as was dinner.

Beyond food, I had a big surprise on day 6. I had this wave of anger (so not the norm). It was almost an out of body like experience. I started researching and came across data showing it’s common to not only detox toxins during a program, but also emotions. It was wild and I have never felt something like it, but it went away by day 7.

Day 7 – Saturday, I felt great waking up, especially coming off such an emotional day before. I did a Bikram class first thing and it was awesome. My food and smoothies were spot on, including my evening out. I ordered a basic salad with olive oil for dressing and asked to have a serving of wild salmon with the greens. It was easy and delicious. Now more details on the “bending of the rules.”

The evening was a double date with dear friends of ours, and a couple who is always on the road, which makes it a treat when we see them. Starting off the week I knew this night was planned and I was honestly stressing about it. I was emotional about being overly anal with the ingredients at the restaurant and more so wanted to have a drink with them. So I decided I was going to nail my meal of food but was going to have some wine. I was going to treasure it; and I did. I noticed I was more sensitive to alcohol, and pass some of my glass to my husband to finish.

I also was overly mindful with my day before and after. I did additional lifestyle detoxing techniques and drank more water and as mentioned, did hot yoga. I organized the plans so started the evening with one of my Dry Farm Wines. Side note, the wine industry is like the supplement industry. There are really good wines out there, such as Dry Farm Wines, and there are really pesticide, sulfite, sugar filled wines out there. I love Dry Farm Wine and Naked Wine as they are clean healthy options and also uber gentle on my blood sugars.

So was the wine worth it? I think, but I made sure I enjoyed every sip and kept focused on my health initiative.

So that’s a wrap. I will be back next week with an update and let me know what info I didn’t share that you may want to know!

 

JANUARY CLEANSE – If you are interested in doing a cleanse in the New Year, Standard Process is kicking off their 21 Day Standard Process Purification program with a webinar on the 9th of January, and the diet/supplement regime starts on the 10th. Let me know if you need to order a kit, and I will get you what you need. Their cleanse has dairy free and a standard version (both ~ $235)

This program has a Guide and a full eBook (1 Degree of Change) with step by step meal plans and a free app you can download, which has tracking tools, shopping lists/list builder and recipes from the meal plan.

A lot of information, but all of the above makes the program really easy to follow. Hope you have a healthy New Year and entire 2017 in whatever way you choose to strive for your best health.

My 21 Day Cleanse

Dear Blog,

Or should I say mom and sister (aka sista)? Maybe I have a few more readers than that… 🙂

In this write-up I am sharing how I went about my first 21 Day Standard Process detox. This is a first for me, as I have never bought into the idea of a cleanse and have opted instead to eat a pure, clean diet (sans gluten, dairy, corn, soy, most grains, minimal legumes, etc) that supports my detox pathways and health. However, I felt it was time. Our environment is filled with toxins, and let’s be honest, I have had my fair share of wine. So I have set out to prep and learn what this detox could do for me; and more information below if you are interested in doing a program like such in January 2017.

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My biggest worries:

  • how hard would it be to stay compliant,
  • how much time it would take to plan for my meals,
  • how tired am I going to feel? I already have 2 little ones, a husband that travels a lot, and run my own nutrition practice. Am I able to keep up? (Yes! I am determined!)
  • No coffee!! Maybe avoid me for a few days!
  • More than coffee, I think I will terribly miss my eggs. But my focus is looking at all the foods I can eat.
  • Oh! And I am doing this in December. There are social events galore! But this year, I am determined to make December my healthiest month.

How I have prepped:

  • I organized my supplements for the detox
  • I read the handbook on the program. The gist is the first 10 days are meatless, day 11 I can include fish, lean meats (no pork) 2-4x a day, and the entire program has a set routine of 2-3 shakes (and meals), vegetables 2x as much as fruit, no nuts, some seeds, healthy oils, no dairy or gluten, and 1/2 cup of lentils, peas or quinoa 1x a day and supplements. I am excited to try new vegetables or way of spicing them/cooking them.
  • I also familiarized myself with the grocery list and ensure I had enough ingredients on stock. While it’s super beneficial to have a clean cut meal plan, I am somewhat of a rebel and don’t plan to follow it in it’s entirety. I will stick to the allowed foods, no doubt. But I will pick a handful of the recipes to try new things, and come up with a few meals on my own. If I were to follow the meal plan, I’d feel overwhelmed.
  • Batch cook a bit and have a few shake go-to recipes.
  • In addition to the recommends included in the program, I have also started a gratitude journal. Each morning I list 3 things I am grateful for, and bullet 2 affirmations. Mind-body connection is just as important as diet.

Day 1 starts Sunday! I will be sending updates weekly. Stay tuned. 

 

JANUARY CLEANSE – If you are interested in doing a cleanse in the New Year, Standard Process is kicking off their 21 Day Standard Process Purification program with a webinar on the 9th of January, and the diet/supplement regime starts on the 10th. Let me know if you need to order a kit, and I will get you what you need. Their cleanse has dairy free and a standard version (both ~ $235)

This program has a Guide and a full eBook (1 Degree of Change) with step by step meal plans and a free app you can download, which has tracking tools, shopping lists/list builder and recipes from the meal plan.

A lot of information, but all of the above makes the program really easy to follow. Hope you have a healthy New Year and entire 2017 in whatever way you choose to strive for your best health.

 

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.

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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

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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: www.diabetessisters.org  for more information about the organization.

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To Yolk or To Eggwhite

From A1c%, to cholesterol, triglyceride labs, to CRP – there are numerous tests we draw to understand how our diet is affecting our overall health. While research shows that 90% of heart disease is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors, there is still a lot of confusion of what foods to eat and which to avoid. (1) Zooming in closer, I am going to layout some thought starters on cholesterol/cardiovascular labs, and propose some advice on how to hit optimal targets.

Strawberry Scrambler - 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #swee

Yet, first let’s get the elephant out of the room: high cholesterol is a symptom of some sort of inflammation in the body. It is not necessarily caused from eating egg yolks, and or other high quality cholesterol containing foods. Conclusions from research based in the 1960s suggested that cholesterol was caused from high cholesterol (animal) foods and saturated fat. However, more recent data, and stronger research puts this myth to bed. While 25% of the population may respond to a higher cholesterol intake, the increase does not impact heart health or the LDL to HDL ratio. In other words, I have no problem starting my every day with eggs and or bacon/sausage, and some sort of vegetable of course, even as a type 1 diabetic with an increased risk of heart disease. I digress.

Long-term studies on saturated fat and heart health are just as comforting, if not more. Low carbohydrate diets tend to be high in fat, including saturated fat, and have shown health benefits beyond lowering cholesterol including weight loss, decrease in triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference, c- reactive protein/CRP (indicator of inflammation), to name a few. (2)  So once again, understand you are doing no harm to yourself when you consume saturated fat and high quality cholesterol foods.

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Diet and overall health marry this quote perfectly.

To improve heart health first know your numbers, and what they mean, and how to interpret them. The total cholesterol is not the be all. Nearly half of the heart attacks, take place with people with low cholesterol. With all my clients, I hear their story, understand their lifestyle and interpret labs with this angle:

What is total cholesterol? HDL? LDL? Total triglycerides? The I take it a step further and measure: Total cholesterol/HDL? Triglycerides/HDL ratio?

With these results, I also want to know if my client has lost weight recently, and how long the weight has been stable, and/or if the client is postpartum. All the above can affect the lab results. Further more, let’s use some hypothetical lab results and play with the interpretations:

 

CHOLESTEROL 160 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 61 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >499 mg/dL
HDL CHOLESTEROL 70 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): >50 mg/dL
LDL CHOL (CALC) 78 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): < 100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >189 mg/dL

As you can see beneath each result are optimal ranges. However, going off what I want to know, I will calculate a few ratios.
Trig/HDL = 0.87
– Ratio is ideal 1:1 or less. If it’s 2.5-3.0 there are some said lifestyle changes to made. If it’s >3 may indicated insulin resistance and increased heart disease.

Total cholesterol/HDL = 2.285
– Goal is to be below 5. Closer to 5 or above, can be an indication of cardiovascular diet/lifestyle modifications.

Ideally want HDL to be above 70 mg/dL for immunity and overall health outcomes.
– HDL increases with exercise, grassfed butter, cream, and coconut oil. HDL is made from fat, so we need to eat clean and quality fat for the raw materials. A little alcohol can also increase HDL.

A high LDL can be a sign of maybe some low thyroid, as well as, miss managed stress, sleep deprivation, high blood sugars, or too many carbohydrates in the diet.

If Triglycerides are high, review the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. Research has shown by limiting carbohydrates to 120-150g per day, can improve triglyceride levels, unrelated to weight loss. (3)

Understand what foods to eat and avoid:

  • Avoid man-made foods, including vegetable oils. Indeed, vegetable oils/margarine were once recommended for heart health.
  • Avoid eating large portions of foods that are high in omega 6 fatty acids. For example: nuts and seeds should be treated like a condiment. Please note the emphasis on “large.” Nuts are healthy and have many wellness benefits, but any good thing, can be overdone.

Feed your heart the nutrients it needs:

  • Eat whole real food, more often than not,
  • Have wild seafood twice a week (omega 3 fatty acids),
  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods at every meal (think produce, coffee, chocolate). An awesome goal to strive for, is 2 cups of vegetables at meals and 1 cup at snacks. Enjoy fruit, but keep quantity less than vegetables.
  • Enjoy polyphenol- rich foods such as cocoa, coffee, spices, tea, wine, vegetables, fruit.

Treat yourself with the care it deserves:

  • Sleep like you are getting paid for it. In a way you are!
  • Get spiritual – religious or not. But make the goal of getting in touch with yourself, being present, and finding calm in our busy lives.
  • Be kind with your thoughts and actions. Our feeling shape who we become.

Above all, remember that it is hard to manipulate nature. I always tell my clients, “Mother Nature cries everytime we throw out a yolk.” Keep things simple. Eat real food, and try to not over think it.

PS – the picture is a Strawberry Scrambler – 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #sweet

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