Inspiring Others with Type 1 DM – My Interview with Colleen Rinehart

In April of 2018, Colleen and I (pronouncing ourselves as the “Sugar Babies”) had a blast working together on a presentation for the local Columbus, OH JDRF chapter for the annual Type One Summit. Our talk was a true success (in my opinion!) and a true friendship had begun. Colleen is refreshing and an inspiration and I can’t wait to share her story and tips with you.

Tell us a little about yourself? 

I grew up in Boston Massachusetts and indulged in the life of living close to the shore. I attended Boston College and graduated with my BSN.  I am a die-hard Red Sox, Patriots, and Boston College fan! I moved to Ohio in 2004 after meeting my now husband, Todd.  He was working for the Red Sox during a summer internship.  We met during a harbor cruise and the rest is history!  We were married in 2006 and now have 2 spunky little boys.  Landon who is 7 and Nolan who is 3.  They are a genuine mix of the both of us.  I work as a CDE for The Ohio State University Medical Center and learn daily to balance the joys and hardships of home and work life (when someone finds out the key to this, I’ll pay you in gluten-free baked goods for the rest of your life).

I LOVE LOVE  LOVE to throw down in the kitchen with my boys and also it’s a place of solitude when I just want to see what I can create with random ingredients.  I became a runner after college and started working it into my daily regimen when I became pregnant with our first son.  It helped me stay active, healthy, and sustain uncomplicated pregnancies.

How long have you had diabetes?

I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 8 and will celebrate 30 years this October.  My mother is a sleuth when it came to picking out and tracking symptoms.  I was incredibly thirsty, increased urination, and was close to being 10 lbs underweight for my age.  Since I was not feeling well I was sleeping in my parent’s room. This is when my mom could smell acetone on my breath and took me in to see multiple doctors before insisting a blood sugar was checked.  My initial blood sugar was in the 500’s and I was admitted to The Massachusetts General Hospital.  Days later I became a type 1 warrior.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats and shaking and eating at 2am.  My body would always wake me up. I have had good and bad days with diabetes.  I had a poor relationship with it during my late teen years and fortunately realized what I was putting my body through in my early 20’s.  My husband is the reason I started being a T1D champion.

I choose daily to make it a positive part of my life.  Why not?  Choices I make regularly set me down a path of wellness.  I know that maybe one day my metabolic memory will rear its ugly head, however, today I’m going to be a wife, mom, friend, nurse/CDE, runner, and foodie.

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

My eating styles have shifted.  Being aware of the effect certain foods can have on my BG and attitude have been a game changer.  My brother lives with Celiac disease and I know living as a T1D I am predisposed.  My style is definitely just what works for me.  I have been very rigid and content and then have been less strict and happy also.  I do identify changes with foods and when I find what works best I tend to stick with it.  I feel best gluten and dairy free.  My blood sugars also love me when I tend to eat lower carb or mainly stay away from processed foods.

CRAVINGS!!! We have all been here before.  When my 3 year old offers me a taste of his ice cream, what should I do? I have a taste and then move on.  I cannot consistently beat myself up about food choices.  I do try to have healthy good tasting food at my disposal to avoid the food trap my mind can play on me.

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

I have used MDI’s/shots in the past and I now wear a T-Slim insulin pump and it helps me run my busy life.  Using temporary basal rates has helped me run better without interruption, have a water balloon fight with my husband and sons without missing a step (we are a bit competitive), and also indulge in a glass of wine or two without becoming hypoglycemic.

How do you treat a low blood sugar?

The elusive low BS ( I call it BS for a reason)! I keep fruit snacks with me during the day or I will have juice available at home.  Glucose tabs are also a mainstay.  They are affordable and effective.  I also temp basal (50%) for at least 15 minutes if I am hypo.

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

Exercise is just as important to me as insulin and my CGM.  It sets my mind right, improves my mood, and I crave it!  I try to run at least 5 days per week and incorporate in cycling and a barbell strength class in at my local gym.

Running with my insulin pump.  My formula is: if my BG is close to 100 then I temp basal at 40% for an hour before my run.  When I start my run I turn my pump down to 30% temp basal during the first 30 minutes and then typically it goes back to 100% for the last 15-30 minutes.  I keep glucose tabs with me in case and will have one tab (4g carb) every 15 minutes if needed but often times I don’t need them.

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

Tips: Diabetes is manageable!!! I was given something I can control as long as I’m conscious of my choices.  We are constantly aware of numbers, dings, bells, whistles, packing food, preparing, etc—burn out is REAL!! Talk to people, anyone you trust.  If it is your Endo, spouse, best friend, or T1D confidant please talk about it.  If you have a bad day just put it to bed and kick it’s ass tomorrow.  You’re unique and diabetes is a condition, not a disease or disorder.  Take it easy on yourself.  You are now the owner of a sleeping pancreas.

Social Media: I love this for the huge community available and we all can relate.  Saying that, there are many many people who can reflect a perfect life with diabetes and this can cause comparison.  Stick to YOUR guns! Know what works for you and then incorporate or experiment with a lifestyle you are interested in learning more about.  For example, if you haven’t tried to eliminate gluten from your diet and want to see how it might work for you…seek good resources and give it a  go! Try for 3 weeks to one month.

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

Breakfast: coffee made in a French press with truvia and some organic soy milk, egg white omelet or a blueberry Vans gluten-free waffle with PB.  Or I skip breakfast and might eat this same meal around 10 or 11am

Lunch: protein, veggies, and a carb such as half a Lara Bar or Luna Bar if I have exercised in the am.  Water or flavored water

Dinner: tacos are a focus at our house. My kids and husband love them and they can be FULLLLLL of delicious options.  I sometimes have a taco salad or two corn tacos.  I add in avocado, tomatoes, sour cream (dairy free), lettuce, etc.  and I can’t have a taco without mild taco bell sauce (I find this at Walmart).

Lots of water and then I do drink wine.  Rose is a favorite in the summer months.

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

Hard?  I think losing a family member/friend is hard.  Giving birth is hard.
Diabetes is mine and I’m thankful for the challenge.  The best part is that I can do this and succeed!  I am a messenger and I try to live by what I teach, believe, and speak. Do your best every single day! Not merely with the BS levels but with what means the most to you.

Any closing thoughts?

Positive reinforcement! Reward yourself! Be your BEST SELF ADVOCATE! No one knows you like you do.  Be relentless at seeking ways to be your best self, be happy, show constant kindness and reflect that.   Accept help! Believe in your ability.

Find someone like Kelly Schmidt to roll with.  She’s my homie and I adore her.  You’ll soar high and be an advocate and mentor.

15 Paleo Foods (That Are Also Bulletproof) to Snag at Trader Joe’s

This month I had the opportunity to speak with the editor over at Bulletproof.com to help out with a need for recommending a few gems from Trader Joe’s. Click here for the full article and below you’ll find my top picks with some nutrition tips.

Just a Handful of Pitted, Salted Manzanilla Olives

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Just a Handful of Pitted, Salted Manzanilla Olives

These olive snack packs are a great choice if you’re on the move, and at .99 cents a pop, easy on the wallet too. “Dare I say, I’m eating these as I respond to this interview?” says Schmidt. “These are great for travel and so satisfying for a salty craving. Low in carbohydrates and full of healthy fats, these are a complement to any meal or snack.”

Cauliflower Gnocchi

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Cauliflower Gnocchi

Trader Joe’s new cauliflower gnocchi, found in the freezer section, has only four ingredients: cauliflower, cassava flour, potato starch, and extra virgin olive oil. “These gluten-free, real food ‘pasta’ alternatives are full of nutrition compared to the grain version,” says Schmidt. “This is a newer item, but hopefully, one to stay.”

Matcha Green Tea Packets

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Matcha Green Tea Packets

If you’re searching for a coffee alternative to mix things up, look no further than matcha — a highly potent green tea that’s chock-full of quality fats and antioxidants. Try it in a recipe: How to Make the Perfect Bulletproof Matcha Latte

Grass-Fed Beef Sirloin Roast (Fully Cooked & Sliced)

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Grass-fed Beef Sirloin Roast_New

Trader Joe’s sirloin roast is a great option for a quick lunch. Pair with some steamed broccoli doused in grass-fed butter or ghee, and you’ll be powering through your afternoon.

Frozen Carrot Spirals 

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Frozen Carrot Spirals

Each box contains just two ingredients: carrots and sea salt. “These are awesome,” says Schmidt. “Who knew spiralized carrots could be so good? Full of vitamin A, dress these up with grass-fed meatballs or a sugar-free marinara and dinner will be easy, satisfying and delicious.” If you’re sensitive to lectins or nightshades, toss them in a green chimichurri sauce instead.

Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

A lot of brands add sugar to their coconut flakes, but Trader Joe’s flakes are “pure,” says Schmidt. “Fiber-rich and gentle on blood sugars, these coconut flakes are a favorite topper to smoothie bowls or as an ingredient for a homemade trail mix,” she says. Try it in a recipe: Vanilla Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Keto Fat Bombs

Frozen Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets

Trader Joe’s frozen wild Alaskan sockeye salmon is one of the cheapest around — at $7.99 a pound, give or take, it’s almost half the price of what you’d find at other supermarkets. “The healthy fats in this wild salmon are brain food,” says Schmidt. Choose wild fish over farmed, since farmed seafood is high in pesticides, heavy metals, parasites, and environmental contaminants.  Try it in a recipe: Wild Baked Salmon With Buttered Kale

Just Coconut Chunks

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Just Coconut Chunks

Coconut is a great source of anti-inflammatory saturated and medium-chain fats, which is why it’s a go-to food on the Bulletproof Diet. But who has the time (and the courage) to crack open a coconut? Try Trader Joe’s frozen coconut chunks — just coconut, and nothing else. Throw into a smoothie or eat as is for a filling, fat-fueled snack.

Organic Grass-Fed Ground Beef

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Organic Grass-Fed Ground Beef

“A great product that is very versatile and can be made into a stir-fry with some chopped vegetables, used in a chili, or as taco meat,” says Schmidt. “Grass-fed meat has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids compared to the conventional version.” Try it in a recipe: Sweet Potato Skins With Rosemary Ground Beef and Avocado

Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter

A half-pound of Kerrygold typically sells for $4.99 at gourmet supermarkets, but at Trader Joe’s, you can snag that same amount for under $3.

Saba Bananas (Mini Plantains)

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Frozen Mini Plantains_New

Since they’re high in calories, sugar, and carbs, you should think of plantains more as a starch than a fruit. They’re a good form of resistant starch — which is great for gut health — and it’s best to eat them at night with probiotics. Throw these frozen guys in a smoothie or simply eat straight out of the bag.  Related: Is There Such a Thing As Bulletproof Resistant Starch

Riced Broccoli

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Riced Broccoli

If you have cauliflower rice fatigue, switch it up for Trader Joe’s riced broccoli. “Toss in a salad or throw in a stir-fry,” says Schmidt. “Broccoli is high in vitamin K and C, and high in folate. Be sure to use this vegetable shortly after purchase to retain most of the vitamin C, otherwise put it in the freezer and pull it out when you want to cook.” Try it in a recipe: Korean Beef Bowl With Kimchi

Raw Almond Butter

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Raw Almond Butter

You don’t want to eat too many nuts — they are often high in mold toxins and omega-6 fats (these oxidize easily and cause inflammation). Raw almonds are one of the safer nut choices — they’re rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Enjoy Trader Joe’s raw almond butter on celery sticks as a snack. Or mix equal parts almond butter and grass-fed butter with cocoa powder — eat with a spoon or spread on veggies.

Canned Sardines in Water

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Canned sardines in water

It may have a strong, fishy flavor, but it’s hard to beat the health profile of this low-mercury, oily fish. Chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, sardines added to salad or mashed with avocado are the bomb. “Drain the sardines and mix with some olive oil, dijon mustard, and fresh lemon juice,” says Schmidt. “Try this food with an open mind and be surprised at how pleasant it can be.”

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Packets

13 Paleo Foods to Snag at Trader Joes_Organic virgin coconut oil packs

Talk about convenience: you get 14 mini packs (.51 fluid ounces each) for $3.99. For those days when you’ve run out of your Brain Octane Oil (a more powerful source of fat than coconut oil), stir one of these packets into your coffee or tea. It won’t have the same benefits as BOO but it’ll give you a bump of energy nonetheless. You could even use a pack as a spot moisturizer on dry elbows or as a hair conditioner on your ends.

 

Inspiring Others with Type 1 – My Interview with Hanna

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

  • Tell us a little about yourself!

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

How long have you had diabetes?

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

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

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

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

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

How do you treat a low blood sugar?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any closing thoughts?

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

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

Weight Loss Food Myths

If you didn’t catch my social media posts about an interview I had with Redbook Magazine, catch the details here. 

9 “Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Destroying Your Weight Loss Goals

Like that cup of yogurt, for starters. 

You know that all-too-familiar feeling: The one when you desperately need a snack, so you pour a quick bowl of whole-grain cereal or grab a bag of pre-portioned pretzels. Smart, right? Ehhh. It might make you even more hungry, unfortch. “When you eat processed carbs (anything made with refined grains, flour, or wheat), your blood sugar rises quickly because there’s little to no protein or fiber,” says Akilesh Palanisamy, M.D., an integrative medicine physician and author of The Paleovedic Diet. What’s worse: They could be sabotaging your weight loss goals, wreaking havoc all over your digestive system and making it virtually impossible to lower that number on the scale. So read on to learn more about the foods you thought were a wise choice—especially when you just need something other than kale—and what you can swap ’em out for instead.

Quinoa Chips

This new-to-the-scene snack food features all the buzzwords that make it sound like the ultimate healthy snack: It’s asuperfood! And gluten-free! There’s protein and fiber! The problem: They’re basically corn chips with a little quinoa thrown in, says Kelly Schmidt, R.D., a nutritionist and blogger at Paleo Infused Nutrition. And the quinoa itself has been so highly processed that it’s lost the nutritional boost that made it healthy in the first place. Need proof? Just compare the stats of one cup of cooked quinoa (8g protein, 5g fiber) to one serving of quinoa chips (1g protein, less than 1g fiber)—and then listen to your stomach make noise because it’s still going to be hungry.

The better choice: Beyond nuts and seeds, there are plenty of ways to get that crunchy texture. Choose super-portable whole fruit like an apple or pear, or go for freeze-dried fruit—it has a sweeter, crispy taste and way less sugar than dried fruit, says Schmidt. Bonus: They’re not super perishable, so they can be the go-to snack in your purse for a few days.

Microwaveable Popcorn

Nutritionists always say popcorn is ahealthy snack, and it is, so long as it’s made right. “The microwaveable kind has cancer-causing chemicals in them,” explains Palanisamy. One is called PFOA, which the EPA says is likely a cancerous carcinogen that’s found in the plastic of the bag. The other is in the butter flavor, and it’s known as diactyl, an organic compound that’s been linked with breathing issues and lung disease, thus making “popcorn lung” a real—and serious—health concern.

The better choice: Still go for the fiber-filled popcorn, just DIY it on the stove (using heart-healthy olive oil) with an air popper like this one from Cuisinart. And don’t be afraid to play with flavors, asadding in spices like turmeric or cinnamon can kickstart your metabolism without adding calories.

Fat-Free Cheese or Greek Yogurt

The obsession with low- and no-fat products we had in the ’90s still lingers, but reaching for them isn’t better than grabbing the full-fat kind. Researchers found that people who ate full-fat dairy tend to have lower body weight, less weight gain, and a lower risk of obesity compared to those who continued the fad. They think it’s likely because when you remove fat from dairy, you also strip away beneficial fatty acids that can help you feel full, so you end up eating more in the long run. Plus, a lot of people opt for flavored yogurt, which has tons of sugarthat, once again, put your blood sugar on a crazy roller coaster ride.

The better choice: Go full-fat—and don’t feel one stitch of guilt about it. As for flavor, mixing in natural foods like fruit, honey, or coconut chips can take your spoonful in whichever direction you crave.

 

Pretzels

 These salty bites may sound like a smart snack since they’re lower in fat and calories than potato chips, but they actually won’t do your waistline any favors. “They don’t contain any nutrients,” says Palanisamy. “They’re basically all carbs and loaded with sodium,” so they’ll put your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride, spiking your levels sky-high only to make you hungry as soon as it drops back down.

The better choice: Coconut chips, says Schmidt. Never heard of ’em? Get acquainted, as these babies are filled withhealthy fats to keep you full. And while they’re typically sweet, savory lovers can get in on the action now as brands likeDang Foods offer up flavors like bacon or chili lime.

Vegetable Chips

Chips made with sweet potato, beets, or parsnip—those ought to be healthy, what with vegetables being the primary ingredient and all. But Palanisamy says they’re pretty high in fat—around 9g per serving—and it’s not the good kind. The oils used range from canola to sunflower or safflower, all of which contain omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammationthat’s been linked with autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, insulin resistance, and weight gain. Plus, the whole reason you’re eating them—because you want those good-for-you nutrients from the veggies—is a farce. Palanisamy says the chips have been stripped of those benefits, and they provide no protein and little-to-no fiber.

The better choice: If you’re craving the crunch, go for a handful of nuts (almond or macadamia) or seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) instead, says Palanisamy. Yes, they’re high in fat, but it’s the healthy omega-3 kind associated with heart health, lower risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and reduced inflammation.

Rice Cakes

These have the perpetual stigma of being a smart, low-cal “diet food,” and sure, they’re not the worst idea in the world. “Rice cakes can make a good snack for people who are transitioning toward agluten-free diet if it’s a smart health decision for them to do so,” says Schmidt. But since they’re high in carbs, they’re high on the glycemic index, and a recent study found a potential link between high-glycemic foods and lung cancer. Not to mention high-glycemic foods tend to cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, which makes you hungry all over again shortly after you snack.

The better choice: Top your rice cake with almond butter or mashed avocado to give it some staying power, suggests Schmidt. The spreads contain healthy fats and protein, which will keep you full longer and your blood sugar from rising too quickly.

Cereal

Truth: The breakfast staple usually plays a major role in taming mid-afternoon hunger because it’s fast, convenient, and you can eat it straight from the bag. But therein lies the danger—it’s super easy to eat a reasonable portion, and then some more, and more after that. Then you’ve blown over 200 calories on an unsatisfying snack, because most of the time it’s made from refined grains that aren’t rich in nutrients, says Palanisamy. Another problem: Boxes tout being “high in fiber,” but it’s usually insoluble fiber that’s been shown to cause irritation in the gut, bloating, and other GI issues, he adds. Healthier, soluble fiber is what you find in foods like barley or beans.

The better choice: Make a bowl of plain oatmeal as it has the soluble fiber that can reduce your risk of heart disease and help food move along your GI tract (not to mention nix bloat and constipation), says Palanisamy. Ramp up the flavor—and score extra nutrients—by adding berries and chia seeds, which have a high level of omega-3s.

Popped Chips

Sadly, “popping” chips instead of baking or frying them doesn’t make much of a nutritional difference, says Palanisamy. Yes, they slash the fat content in half compared to regular potato chips, but they don’t offer any micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and their paltry fiber and protein quotas (1g of each)—not to mention calorie count—is comparable to what you find in a serving of the regular stuff.

The better choice: First, figure out if you’re actually hungry. Schmidt says people often reach for processed snacks when it’s a craving, and not true hunger. Ask yourself, “Would I eat carrots or an apple right now?” If the answer is yes, trythese junk food swaps. If not, grab a glass of water instead.

100-Calorie Snacks

Seems like a genius idea: Grab a bag and you have a pre-portioned, calorie-conscious snack at your convenience for those times you’re craving dessert. But you’re better off grabbing a more caloric snack that has tons of nutrients to actually keep you full. “When you’re eating a small 100-calorie bag of cookies or crackers, you’re not really getting what you want,” says Schmidt. And that makes you much more likely to reach for another, and another, and another.

The better choice: “If it’s not a whole food, it’s not worth your money,” says Schmidt. If dessert is what you’re after, try foods that are naturally sweet, like dates stuffed with peanut butter or any of these healthy options.

Better Blood Sugars with a Paleo/Primal Diet?

Last month I had the pleasure to talk to Ginger Vieira with Diabetes Daily. The conversation was posted on their site, but If you missed it, enjoy the below. Here is a link to the original post as well. Have a healthy one!

 

Kelly Schmidt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she 8 years old. Today, she follows a low carb, real food diet, uses a continuous glucose monitor and predominately an insulin pump.

Kelly-0001-300x200“I take months off from my pump going on shots from time to time (mostly during the summer). Of all the kids in my family (I am the youngest of 4), siblings and their children, I am the only one with type 1 diabetes,” explains Kelly.

Kelly is a registered dietitian, a dietitian nutritionist, and certified group fitness instructor. Her book, “Primal Eating and the Paleo Diet” is a guide for anyone interested in eating a diet focused on whole foods and fewer carbs. Learn more about Kelly’s work at PaleoInfused.com.

Ginger: Okay, first, let’s start with your own definition of the Primal/Paleo diet…

Kelly: Conventional wisdom tells us all food and food groups are healthy in moderation; however, the paleo and primal diet challenges this theory. For example, as nutrition research continues to grow out of its infancy, data is showing that foods that contain gluten-containing grains (including wheat, barley, rye and non-certified gluten free oats) can damage nearly every part of the body, including the brain, digestive tract, skin and pancreas.

paleo dietThe paleo and primal way of eating and lifestyle presents a nutrient-rich diet that affects every cell in the body, which can present itself in long-term health, a strong immune system, energy, glowing skin, and more. To paint a picture of what foods are allowed in a paleo lifestyle consider – all fruits, vegetables, quality protein from poultry, beef, game meat, all animals, seafood, eggs, nuts/seeds and healthy fats including olive oil, palm oil, avocado and coconut. Things that are purposely missing include – grains, man-made/vegetable oils, dairy, legumes, sugar and soy. One distinctive difference between paleo and primal, is a primal lifestyle includes more carbohydrate food sources, such as white potatoes and rice, but also high quality forms of dairy (full fat, grass-fed, raw, organic; read the book for more information!).

Ginger: And how do you feel it would benefit people with diabetes?

Kelly: If I had to provide a one word answer, it’d be “endlessly.” And this would be for everyone, not just those of us with diabetes. But getting to your question, the first and foremost benefit I see with this population is better blood sugar control, and being able to predict blood sugars verses chasing blood sugars. Follow this up with more energy, better sleep, weight loss and more. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s a road in the right direction. We have to understand eating food dense in nutrients is great for our health, but it’s never good to overdo healthy food. Eating too much of anything is unhealthy and can cause inflammation, high blood sugars etc. Point being, eat when hungry, stop when satisfied.

Ginger: Has diabetes and nutrition ever been a struggle for you?

Kelly: While my diabetes is in great control now, I was a teenager and didn’t prioritize my diabetes or diet at times. Nothing extreme, but I certainly had a need for improvement on my labs, especially while I was in transition of living on my own in college. From my personal experiences in the last two plus decades, I more than understand the struggles and dedication needed for good blood sugar and my choices have come a long way. In life, especially with managing my diabetes, I am a student eager to learn on what I can improve regarding mental health, supplements, exercise, meds and diet.

Ginger: How did you become passionate about this approach to nutrition?

Kelly: Can I copy and paste my book here? I kid. Honestly it all began with the silver lining of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a disease that is so influenced by what we eat. From there I planned a way to pursue a career as a dietitian and once I got into the field, I had many personal experiences, predominately controlling blood sugars, which lead me to question conventional wisdom. In 2009 a friend nudged me to participate in a conference her company was doing the event planning for, and speaker after speaker had a common theme among their message and it was to eat more real food. That’s common sense, but wait, what did that really mean?

Fortunately I had some one on one conversations with the speakers and asked how they thought I could tweak my diet to improve my blood sugar. Immediately the response was hands-down, cut the gluten out of my food choices. I was paralyzed. I thought, “How could I do that when I have so much to watch in my diet already?” But I had nothing to lose, and I have never turned back from that weekend. From there I returned home up north, and cut the obvious gluten culprits from my food, and over time, became squeaky clean gluten free. Moving on, I dug further into what using food as medicine meant for me, and truly assessed how certain ingredients made me thrive verse spike my blood sugar, alter my digestion, mood, sleep, etc. Going through this personally, I was and am more than excited to help people learn that “feeling good,” has various meanings, and today I eat foods that I love, and love me back.

Ginger: What are the most common misconceptions people have about the Primal/Paleo diet?

Kelly: One big misconception I discuss often with people is that this diet is not meat only nor meat heavy. Yes, there is a focus on protein, as I believe it’s vital for optimal health, but the lifestyle encourages produce, micronutrients coming from fruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds, maybe even more so than animal protein. Generally the paleo diet is lower in carbohydrates than the Standard American Diet, but it still offers foods rich in nutritious carbs ie. Fruit, yams, taro, sweet potato, white potato, plantains, etc. It is also not a fad diet. I could jump on a soap box here, but it’s a lifestyle. If you really see what the “paleo” experts are eating, it’s not 100% compliant. It’s a template of paleo foods, and non-paleo foods that work for us individually. Did I just have some organic hummus? Yes, and it was delicious. At this point, I tolerate it very well, and above all I truly enjoyed it.

Ginger: Could a person who is drawn to certain aspects of the diet add some of it to their life without going full-blown, 100% paleo?

Kelly: Absolutely. A diet that is enhanced with more real food, replacing something processed, is always a win. And I indeed do not advocate a 100% paleo diet to many, if anyone. Food is pleasure and if we look at what we eat with a black and white frame of mind, we are missing the benefits of such nutrition. For example, I eat quite paleo, but I will enjoy cheese, rice, quinoa and few other items when I want. I just know what works well for my body and my health and progress a diet on this note.

Ginger: Are there certain common mistakes a person might make when they first start down this path?

Kelly: There are some common themes I see. One being, people will eliminate all non-paleo foods from their meals/snacks and next thing you know, they are significantly undereating. When taking on anything new, I advise to have a plan and eat beyond eggs for breakfast, salad with protein for lunch and chicken and broccoli for dinner.

Seek out whole real food, but also nutritious food with diverse nutrients i.e. organ meat, different forms of protein (go beyond poultry), sea vegetables, seafood galore, various fruits and veggies. There are so many veggies that people try when jumping to this lifestyle ie. Zucchini noodles, vegetable-based lasagna, eggplant pizza crust, plantains (my fav!!), and more. Another situation to note, is this diet will likely bring down someone’s total carbohydrate intake if they are coming from a standard American diet, yet, people also tend to, in addition, cut down on fat. No need to be fat phobic. This way of eating it about listening to what your body craves and finding a whole food source to fulfill that.

Ginger: Lastly, what are a few tips you might have for someone who is really interested in adopting this approach to nutrition?

Kelly: Do a little homework before jumping in. Know it’s something to move towards in making it a true lifestyle over time. No need to consider this as a diet you are going to go on, and then jump off once you hit a health goal. Not to plug my book, but I will, find a resource as such, and in the back I have also included a handful of other resources that can further help people including blogs, books and podcasts.

Ginger: Thank you, Kelly!

 

‘Hands Down’ the Paleo Diet is the Best Solution for this Case of Diabetes

Thanks to social media I was able to connect with yet another fellow health advocate, using the paleo diet to control his type one diabetes. The below interview was held with the writer of Intrepid Pioneer, a site about modern homesteading principals.

Perhaps, you as the reader, can connect with this interview and maybe find yourself inspired to optimize your diet. Feedback is welcomed.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

How long have you had diabetes?

I was diagnosed May 2011 during my routine annual physical. At that time my blood sugars were up around 360 and my AC1’s ran around 12.3. At first I was treated as if I was a Type 2 with Metformin. The medicine only helped to control my blood sugars down to around 250 or so. At that time my endocrinologist informed me that I probably have LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, which basically has been coined type 1.5 Meaning I developed adult on-set Type 1. My father has had Type 1 all his life and was diagnosed as a child.

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet?

Paleo, hands down, without a question. It took me some time to get there. I had tried Weight Watchers, and measure portions, etc. but I still just felt that each time I checked my glucose it was a crap shoot. I eventually did the Advocare 10 day cleanse and my blood sugars stabilized. Next I started researching Paleo and ultimately I ended up taking on the Whole 30 challenge. That was it and I’ve been keeping a food/exercise journal since Jan. 2013 and am now able to completely understand how my body metabolism it’s sugars. Sometimes my glucose is a surprise to me and when that happens I can look back through my food journal to see just what I ate or did for that number (good or bad).

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? 

I’ve lost about 15bls and I am exercising on a more regular basis and enjoying it. Whereas I used to say the only time I ran was when I was being chased and now I’ve let a buddy talk me into running a Rock and Roll half-marathon in 2014. Plus, I’ve started doing Crossfit and I love strength training, lifting weights and the intensity that Crossfit brings as well as the community of likeminded no-bullshit real people.

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? 

Yes, not only do I feel better, and have tighter control over my diabetes, I absolutely recommend it to anyone. Here’s the deal too that I like about Paleo – it can be as strict as they want or modify it to fit their lifestyle. For example, I am a home brewer and I love beer AND I love cheese. Those two delicious pieces of goodness I will never give up, so instead I gave up hot, fresh, warm bread and pasta. It’s all about choices.

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

Easy. Take today for example:

6:30a – BG 82mg/dl
20oz black coffee and 1 banana (it was a rough morning, sometimes I eat eggs or I’ll make a protein shake)

8:30a – 103 mg/dl
another 20oz Black coffee

9:35a
1 apple and 1/3c raw almonds

11:15 – BG post snack 125 mg/dl

12p
1 salad (bib lettuce from my garden), with radishes, scallions, cucumbers and 1/3c raw sunflower seeds, a little goat cheese and rice vinegar dressing. 1 large avocado and a 12oz can of seltzer water.

1:15 BG post lunch – 97 mg/dl

2:45p
1 string cheese and an organic raspberry yogurt.

7:50p 237 Pre dinner (went out to a pub for Guinness and ate happy hour bar food)

9:45p 155 post dinner (took 8u fast acting w/dinner since I was so high from the bar food)

Here’s another example:

6:05a 138 fasting

6:30a 2 eggs over medium + 1 banana

8:45a 160 post breakfast

9a 20 oz black coffee

10 a 1/3c raw almonds and an Asian pear/apple

11:15a Turkey burger with mustard 2 slices whole wheat and cheddar) not paleo I know 🙂 Wanted the carbs for my workout.

11:30 2 servings of my C4 pre-workout drink

12 Crossfit during lunch

1p 2 servings whey protein shake post w/o

3p 127 post shake

7:15p Paleo Chicken in Mushroom coconut sauce over quinoe and garnished w/scallions + 1 glass red wine

9:05p 106 post dinner

Pick any day of the week and or specific day (this year) and I can tell you what I ate and when. I realize today might be the best example of a day.

What is the best thing about the diet? 

If I fall of the wagon for some reason and eat some chips or red vines (my kryptonite) I don’t feel guilty, like I did in the past when I tried Weight Watchers. I still mark it down in my journal, take it as head nod and move forward. You can make what you want of eating Paleo, be strict, or give yourself a cheat day. I love eating real food, that’s not prepackaged crap, I feel healthier and have more energy each day.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? 

Plan. For me that is the most essential thing. I found that when I didn’t plan, I fell off the wagon and I only had me to blame. It’s easy to do, but to stay focused you just have to plan. When you know what your meals are for the week, you can get home from work and then get at it in the kitchen. No excuses.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? 

Since eating the Paleo lifestyle, and I hate it when one calls it a diet because then it feels temporary, I’ve pretty much stop taking my fast acting mealtime insulin. Meaning I only inject fast acting when I know I’m having Pizza for dinner as a treat, or for a thanksgiving meal, etc. My long acting insulin has reduced by over 10 units since starting this diet. All of that said, Paleo is great and it all tastes so good because it’s real food, but I have found that I also need to exercise, eating Paleo combined with exercise has yielded dynamic results. My endocrinologist was blown away by all that I had done, reduced my insulin injections and basically had my A1C’s in check — my last appointment I was 7.3. Still a bit more to go but the last time I was pushing 9 just six months before.

Lastly, some may say that eating Paleo is expensive, I would then ask, which is more expensive paying for real, quality food, or paying a doctor/insurance company for advice and then paying for an prescription? It’s all just choices.

 

See You Later Hypertension

Last fortnight I was asked to participate in an online interview (article originally published on: http://www.bloodpressurecharts.net/kelly-o-connell-interview.html) about natural ways to manage high blood pressure. Not only was this request interesting but it is a topic that needs more coverage. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. I hate to be so blunt but there is no way around it – one in four adults (US data) have hypertension. Untreated hypertension can get ugly causing kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, dementia and more. However, with most things related to health, you can turn it around for the better. If hypertension is something you deal with personally, consider the below to incorporate with your daily routine. As always, if you need some help, feel free to contact me.

  • What supplements/foods do you recommend people with high blood pressure try, to help lower their blood pressure?

Before advising someone on what to eat and what to supplement with, I first need to understand if there is anything else going on with their health, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. I also want to know what medication they are taking.

Generally speaking though, I advise eating a moderately high protein and fat diet, with moderately low (less than 150 grams per day) carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be mainly sourced from vegetables, legumes/lentils, tubers and fruit.

Important foods to consider are those rich in potassium (bananas, avocado, herbs, cocoa, nuts, and tomatoes), magnesium (pumpkin, squash, cocoa, nuts, fish), vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, celery) and vitamin E (almonds, herbs, olives), omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon or sardines) and flavonols (red wine, grapes, cocoa). Do you see a trend? I am a believer in dark chocolate/cocoa nibs and consume cocoa in one shape or another daily.

However, more important than knowing what to eat is knowing foods to cut back on, including foods high in fructose and processed foods (chips, deli meat, bread, pastries, cookies, desserts, etc).

Fructose, simply put, is a type of sugar. It is under a lot of scrutiny causing detrimental things to our health including hypertension. While the jury is still out, there is a true consensus that fructose does more harm than good. The important take away is to know what foods are high in fructose i.e. candies/lollies, cold breakfast cereals, desserts such as ice cream, cake, muffins, salad dressing, breads, pizza,crackers, canned fruit and juices with added sweeteners and more.

My recommended supplements include high-quality fish oil, a strong probiotic, magnesium twice a day, Himalayan sea salt and CoQ10. Food always comes first.

  • What are your thoughts on salt and high blood pressure? Should we be limiting salt intake or is the salt thing all blown out of proportion?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not stress salt restrictions. Processed foods should certainly get more vigilance in this space. I think overall sodium claims are blown out of proportion and certainly, I strongly advise the use of Himalayan sea salt. Overall, individuals need to self-assess how salt makes them feel. If the consumption of salt makes someone retain fluid or make their heart palpitate/speed up, then a reduced salt intake should be implemented. However, I think there are far more important actions to take than demonizing salt. Focus should zero in on stress levels, adequate sleep, exercise, eating whole foods (this does not include whole grains) and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Not necessarily specific to high blood pressure, but what are your top 5 healthiest foods we should all be trying to eat more of, and why?

Grassfed/free range meat – protein is essential and free range meat, ideally, beef, has an optimal fatty acid ratio, up to 6 times more omega 3’s compared to the grocery store variety. Certainly, omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in our bodies. Beyond the nutrient profile grassfed/free range beef offers, it is a great tool for optimal health. It is satiating, protective against cancer and cardiovascular disease, has low insulinogenic properties and more.

Coconut – whether it is coconut oil, flour, cream or milk, I welcome it all. I consume this functional food daily, reaping one of the thousands of benefits it offers. In traditional medicine, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is so versatile to use. I make pancakes from coconut flour and milk, I cook with coconut oil, especially with eggs and coconut cream is delicious with berries.

Pumpkin – is loaded with healthy starches and it is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin is nutrient-rich, easy to make and can satisfy a sweet or savory craving. I have learned to cook pumpkin in a variety of fashions from pumpkin soup (with coconut milk and cinnamon), roasted pumpkin salad (with pine nuts, spinach, feta and homemade balsamic dressing) to pumpkin porridge (mixing puree pumpkin with eggs, nuts, and raisins).  Pumpkin can also serve as a dessert by garnishing it with spices and honey.

Free range eggs – they are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and are far superior to caged eggs when it comes to nutrient content. They are rich in vitamin A and E and omega 3 fatty acids, among many other important vitamins and minerals.

Fermented foods – I am all about gut health and a happy gut, makes a good immune system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc provide probiotics to our intestines. There are plenty of benefits to adding probiotics to our bodies, including protection from colon cancerrelief from lactose intolerance and diarrheareduction in cavities, and more. Improved digestion means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed, making you an overall healthier being.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel
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