Avocados – A Superfood For Diabetes

avocadosAs a diabetic, I love AVOCADOS!  So why do I love avocados, and why are they so good for those with diabetes?  Well first, it’s all fat, and it’s all good for you.  It’s yummy like butter, except instead of killing you, it’s saving you.  I know, I know.  Big claims, but why?

First, let me just say that Weight Watchers is STUPID for putting avocados on their avoid list with their new Simple Start plan.  Anyway, here are the basic nutrient wonders of an avocado.  An average medium California avocado has about 320 cal, 17g carbs, 13g fiber, 30g fat, 4g saturated fat, 20g monounsaturated fat, 4g polyunsaturated fat,  and numerous vitamins and minerals, including the ever so important electrolytes potassium and magnesium.  In fact, an avocado usually has 3 times more potassium than a banana does.

Now lets break that down.  320 calories.  That’s pretty high, right?  So what!  With everything you get in this wonder fruit, it’s worth it.  Yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable.  It’s sometimes called an “alligator pear”.  17c carbs and 13g fiber.  As T1D’s, you know that’s a really odd ratio, and it seems that you may not even need to take any insulin when you eat one of these things, because we always substract the fiber from the carbs to calculate our insulin needs.  I know I don’t take any when I eat one.  That’s part of why I love them.  30g fat.  That’s high too, right?  So what!  Fat doesn’t make you fat, carbs do, and with no insulin, you can’t store fat anyway.  You get 20g of monounsaturated fat with these little green wonders, which is a roto rooter for your arteries.  That’s a massive dose!  Monounsaturated fat raises HDL cholesterol (the good kind), which collects bad fats from all over the body and takes them to the liver.  When your HDL reaches a certain level, compared to your overall cholesterol number, you’re considered “protected” from heart disease.  We as diabetics must worry about our cholesterol because diabetes can lead to heart disease.  As a diabetic who’s already died of heart disease once (for about 60 seconds, and was then rushed into emergency quad bypass), I can say that my last cholesterol test was near this heart protective range with no medication.  That range is below 3.5:1.  Doctors get worried when you go above 5:1.  Now lets finish up, and talk about those electrolytes.  You ever get a headache, get cranky, have muscle pain, and then realize your blood sugar’s off the roof?  You’re getting those symptoms because of electrolyte imbalance, caused by your high blood sugar.  If you’ve ever been treated for DKA, you already know about this.  Blood sugar goes up, body tries to level it out by evacuating water from kidneys, which reduces electrolyte levels.  The body cannot function without electrolytes.  So avocados help us diabetics keep electrolytes levels up.

So the benefits of avocados for diabetics are:  Low insulin needs, increases good cholesterol, and keeps electrolyte levels up.  Oh, and with that much fiber, it’ll make ya poop the way you’re suppose to.  ;P

So how do you eat an avocado?  Well, I’m to lazy to do anything fancy with an avocado.  I just cut the thing in half with a big sharp knife (Carefully, click here to learn how:  http://youtu.be/eI-IVnwnbyg ), take out the huge seed, and scoop it out with a spoon.  So yummy in my tummy.  The first time I bought an avocado, I had no one to teach me how to know if they were ripe.  Mine was not, and I could not eat it.  A ripe avocado will be a very dark green, almost black.  It’s not ripe if it’s bright green, and it’s over ripe if it’s black or brown.  Ripe will be barely soft if you gently press your thumb into the skin when you pick it up.  If it’s ripe like this when you take it home, you can’t let it sit there for a few days.  You have eat it quickly, or it’ll go bad.  To make them last longer, I buy a whole bag when they’re not yet ripe, then stick them in the fridge until I need one.  Set it out a couple days, and it ripens.  I enjoy avocados on sushi, salads, sandwiches, or wherever I want.  I just let other people prepare it that way for me.

Now I’d like to provide you with some helpful links to more information about what I’ve talked about today.  As someone taking control of your own health, you have the responsibility to do your own research, and not take what I’ve said for granted.  Google things, click these links, have fun with the research, and then go eat an avocado.

Avocados:  http://www.avocado.org/about-california-avocados/

Dietary Fats:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-full-story/

Electrolytes:  http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/lifestyle/weather/stoppler_07_19_06

 

Secret Paleo Dragon Chili Recipe

Fire Breathing DragonMany years ago, my brothers godfather Hank, gave me an awesome Cincinnati chili recipe, that I’ve modified just a little, and now I call it “Paleo Dragon Chili” because it’s pretty hot.  This is homemade chili, not the kind of stuff you get in a pouch at the grocery store.  Hank used to win chili cookoffs, and so I’ve always kept this recipe a secret, until recently.  Now I’d like to share it with the world.  Many flavors blend together in this chili, and there’s even a secret ingredient.  So anyway a lot of my friends really like it, so I thought I’d post it here on my blog for you.  I know this is out of character for my blog, as I’ve never posted a recipe before, but with winter approaching, I’m just in the mood to post about my favorite winter food.  Chili.  I hope ya like it, and thanks Hank.

First, add olive oil to a large (4-6 quart) pot over medium heat. Then add the hamburger and sausage.  Brown the meat, then strain the grease.  Don’t over brown it!  Leave some pink edges.  Mash it with a potato masher if you have one, to make the pieces as small as possible.  While meat is browning, proceed to step 2.

Add tomato sauce and paste to slow cooker.  Slowly mix them together mixing in 2 cups of water to create a nice smooth tomato base.  Then add other liquid ingredients and blend in.  Next add dry ingredients into a covered container like a small Tupperware or Rubbermaid dish.  Shake well to evenly blend the dry ingredients.  Then add the dry ingredients to the sauce you’ve created in the slow cooker and stir.  Now add the 1oz. block of unsweetened chocolate.  (Avoid the urge to add more chocolate, you’ll regret it, it tastes awful.)

Now take the raw vegetables and either dice them into small pieces, or process them in a  food processor, so that they are very small undistinguishable.  If anyone asks you what’s in it before they try it, just tell them not to try it.  Add the vegetables to the slow cooker and stir.

Now add in the browned meat.  This will make a very thick chili.  It will thin as it cooks down, but you may want to add more water at this point as you stir the ingredients together.  1 – 2 more cups depending on whether you like thin or thick chili.  You’ll notice there are no beans in this chili.  Just whole food vegetables.  That’s because it’s paleo chili.  No beans.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork or pork sausage
1 tsp. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. salt

1 habenero pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small sweet potato
4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 12oz. can tomato paste
1 15oz. can of tomato sauce
2 to 4 cups of water
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 oz. block of unsweetened baking chocolate (the secret ingredient)

Let the mixture stew in your slow cooker for at least 6 hours on low.  The smell of those natural spices will begin to permeate your home over the next 6 hours until it’s finally done.  Then give it a taste, but be prepared.  There’s a reason I call his “dragon” chili.  Oh!  Don’t go and ruin the chili with crackers, sour cream, or cheese!  Eat it raw, and let the heat warm your whole body until your head sweats.  That’s the ticket!

If you’d like to store leftover chili in tupperware containers, but you’re afraid of those nasty red stains on the tupperware, don’t worry.  Slice a lemon, and use the slices as a stain remover from your tupperware.  I’ve tried this, and it really does work.

 

 

Always Read The Nutrition Label

Nutrition LabelLet me start this article by saying “always read the nutrition label”.  Yesterday, my cousin, who cares about my health, was concerned for me when she discovered that I still drink diet Coke.  I asked why, and she said she’s read lots of horrible things about artificial sweeteners.  (That’s a whole different blog.)  She told me that she’s removed diet coke from her life and replaced it with something healthier.  A “healthier” energy drink.  She wanted me to try it, so I asked how much sugar it has in it.  She said it was sugar free and handed me the container.  Sure enough, it said “sugar free” in bold letters on the front.

I turned it over to see the nutrition label.  The first thing I saw is that it had 45 calories?  *confusion ensues*  It’s an energy drink.  It doesn’t have fat.  It doesn’t have protein.  How does it have 45 calories if it’s sugar free?  You got it!  It’s not sugar free!!!  It had 11 carbs.  When I looked for “other ingredients” on the label, the first ingredient listed is “maltodextrine“.  An chemically altered carbohydrate used as a filler in many products.  A form of sugar.  Not only that, but the last ingredient on the label was “sucralose“.  Who knows what sucralose is?  It’s Splenda, an artificial sweetener.

Now “legally” they can probably say sugar free because it doesn’t contain “sucrose, or table sugar.  Who knows.  All I know, is that you can’t trust marketing labels.  You have to read the label of every food that comes in a container, especially as a diabetic.  When it comes to health marketing, I think it’s safer to assume “guilty until proven innocent”.  Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!!

The Wonders of Chia for Diabetes

Chia SeedsDo you have any idea what the wonders of chia for diabetes are? Please allow me to enlighten you! Chia, a plant from the mint family, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. Used by Aztec and Mayan warriors as fuel for battles and long runs. Once thought to be more valuable than gold to the Aztecs. A tiny gluten free seed, that’s a diabetic superfood. I’m glad it’s included in my Shakeology!

One of the reasons chia is so good for diabetes is that when chia enters the stomach, it develops a gel around it, which greatly slows down it’s digestion by the body.  It’s believed that adding chia to any other food will slow down it’s digestion and prevent spikes in blood sugar. Chia is packed with both macro and micro pro diabetes nutrients.  Some of those nutrients are fiber and healthy fats, both of which also slow down digestion, and magnesium which is known to improve insulin sensitivity.

Aztec WarriorWhat I really like, is that a 1 ounce serving of chia (2 tablespoons), has 12g of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of fiber!  With a carbohydrate profile like that, a handful of chia will curb your hunger for hours and keep your blood sugar flat lined.  Amazing!  It also has more omega-3 fats than flax seed at 7g, and it’s easier for the body to digest.  That 1 ounce serving also holds 23% of your daily requirement for magnesium to help improve your insulin sensitivity.  And finally, chia has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and improve cholesterol by both lowering LDL and raising HDL.

Chia also has hydrophilic properties, meaning it keeps you hydrated for long periods of time.  It also has both soluble and insoluble fiber, key in lowering cholesterol and leveling blood sugar.  Plus it’s a rich source of the omegas, that are the essential oils the body needs to absorb vitamin e, vitamin d, vitamin a, and chia has 6 times the calcium in milk.  Oh, I almost forgot!  Chia is one of the few vegetarian food sources that includes all 9 of the essential amino acids.  A complete protein profile!  You can’t get better than this.  And now, here is a link to the chia nutritional profile.

I hope my blog causes you to Google more info about chia, to see if it’s something you’d like to add to your diet.  I get my daily dose in my health shake, but I think I’ll also get some raw chia soon.  What about you?

The Great Diabetes and Pizza Controversy

PizzaDiabetes and pizza.  Hmmmm?  If you have diabetes, and you love pizza, you’ve probably experienced the blood sugar roller coaster that occurs after you’ve filled your tummy with as much as it can stand without exploding.  (Everybody’s done it!)  Over the last week or so, for some reason, pizza has come up in conversation with many of my diabetes peeps. Then today I read this neat story at www.sixuntilme.com about pizza, and I figure this is the universe telling me to blog about it.

I love pizza, but I don’t eat it, partly because I don’t have the math skills to figure out the bolus required for eating pizza.  Here’s what typically happens to diabetics that don’t yet understand pizza and diabetes.  Let’s say you eat 4 slices of pizza, and you start with a normal blood sugar of about 100 mg/dl.  4 slices is approximately 100g of carbs.  Notice I said approximately.  You never really know how many carbs are in each piece for a bazillion reasons.  (It’s a word.  It’s MY word.)  So you bolus for 100g carbs.  Between 1 and 2 hours later, you crash hard.  Your blood sugar is like, . . . in the 50′s.  So you eat what you’re suppose to, exactly 12 carbs, and you check, and your blood sugar is around 80 mg/dl.  Then 2 hours later it’s 270!  WTH?!

Here’s what probably happened.  The high saturated fat content in the cheese caused temporary insulin resistance, slowing down the initial blood sugar spike, AND hours later it causes your remaining bolus and your basal to be less effective  So you bolused for 100g, and since the fat slowed down the carbs, your blood sugar didn’t rise as quickly as it would otherwise, but your insulin still did it’s job, so you crashed.  Then you corrected at about the same time that the fat is causing insulin resistance, so you’re rising from your correction, AND you’re rising from the insulin resistance.  This can last for hours.

Now if you didn’t know this, don’t feel bad.  I only learned about saturated fat’s effect on my blood sugar last year.  I have my CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) to thank for educating me on this.  Have I mentioned that she’s amazing?  Now that I understand this, I have a lot less “unexplained high blood sugars”.  Below is how I deal with high saturated fat meals.

First, don’t just try this without first consulting your endo or CDE, because saturated fat doesn’t effect every diabetic the same way.  I’m just sharing what I do.  So here goes.  This first bit is VERY IMPORTANT.  When my meal has more than 25g of saturated fat, then I increase my total bolus amount by around 25%, BUT I  DON’T TAKE IT ALL AT ONCE.  I take 40-60% of it with my meal, and then I take the rest of it in a dual-wave bolus set for 4 hours.  That usually works for me, but you have to fine tune it every time depending on how much carbs, and how much saturated fat you eat in a meal.  When you’re meal has less than 25g of saturated fat, it’s less likely to affect you this way, so if you only eat 2 pieces of pizza, you don’t usually have to bother with this, but again, it’s different for everybody.  (I know, to many commas.  I don’t care. It’s my blog! *grin*)

I actually don’t eat pizza anymore because I try to follow the paleo lifestyle most of the time.  However I do eat large amounts of saturated fat every once in a while, so I still have to deal with this.  It’s been so long since I ate pizza, that I honestly can’t even remember the last time I had it?  Some diabetics will say pizza is horrible and you shouldn’t eat it, some will say anything is ok in moderation, and others don’t limit themselves and enjoy what they like.  Whatever you choose, I hope this blog helps you understand pizza’s effect on your blood sugar.

If you found this blog helpful, please share or comment, or both.  Thanks!

Agave Nectar and Fructose Are Evil

star_wars_phantom_menace_sith2Yes, agave nectar and fructose are strong with the dark side of the force.  Last week, I posted a tweet that said “fructose is poison”, and small group of people disagreed with me, and asked me to provide how much is safe, and proof of why I think it is poison.  One of them suggested that I’m a “Lustig Devotee”, but I don’t even know Lustig, so no, I’m not a devotee.  So here’s my reasoning about why agave nectar and fructose are evil, mostly agave nectar actually.

First, I should explain why some people think that agave nectar is good for diabetics (that’s the evil part).  The agave nectar companies as well as many raw food activists swear by this stuff, and they do their very best to convince us that it’s healthy for us.  They say it’s good for diabetics because it doesn’t raise your blood sugar much.  It’s true that it doesn’t raise blood sugar much, but it’s not true that it’s good for diabetics.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  The important thing to know about agave nectar is that it’s 90% fructose.

So if it doesn’t raise your blood sugar, or cause an insulin release, what happens to it?  Fructose cannot be processed into energy by your muscles.  Instead it’s processed by your liver, and turned into fat to be stored in your fat cells, to be converted into energy at a later time.  They’re actually called triglycerides.  Wait a minute.  Your liver turns all that fructose into triglycerides?  You know, the stuff that’s stored in your fat cells, and that raises your risk of heart disease, as if your risk isn’t high enough having diabetes?!  Yeah, that stuff!  Now, imagine using agave nectar as a sweetener in everything, replacing your household sweeteners with it.  Madhava-Organic-Agave-Nectar-Light-235-oz(Remember, it’s 90% fructose!)  This is what the marketing companies want you to do.  To buy agave nectar as your primary household sweetener, because it’s a “healthy alternative”.  Christ!  Every time I hear that I want to scream.  The marketing companies that market agave nectar want you to believe it’s good for your diabetes and instead it could kill you.  You’re trading a short term health benefit, no blood sugar spike, for a long term health risk, heart attack resulting in death.  I have experience in death, so please excuse me for being a little dramatic, but I want to stop you from having to go through that.  It sucks big time!  When they checked my cholesterol in the hospital after my cardiac arrest, my triglycerides were 289 I think, and my HDL was 29.  That’s the exact recipe for heart disease.  I had heart disease, and the first symptom was cardiac arrest!  If high quantities of fructose in agave nectar can add to your triglycerides, wouldn’t you want to discontinue use of it, or never even try it?  You’re already at risk because you have diabetes.

So how much is safe?  I have no flippin’ clue, and no scientist or medical professional will give you a straight answer to that question anyway.  All I know, is that I prefer sweeteners that don’t make friends with you like Senator Palpatine, only to try to kill you later as the Emperer.  Yes, fructose is in many other whole foods in natural form, but those foods aren’t 90% fructose.  It’s that 90% part that I’m going to protect myself from.  It’s like PURE FRUCTOSE and PURE EVIL.  No thank you!!!  So that’s why I called fructose poison in my tweet, but I should have been more specific and called agave nectar poison, because that’s what is truly evil.  The fact that it’s touted as a healthy alternative for diabetics, when it’s just as bad for you as sugar is.

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

 

 

Paleo is helping my diabetes!

I’m happy to report that the paleo lifestyle has helped me to improve my hemoglobin A1C by 2.5 points in 6 months!  This is huge for me!  Just like many type 1 diabetics I ride the blood sugar rollercoaster, and even though I try to help diabetics by blogging, YouTubing, posting daily motivation and tips, I struggle just like you all do.  I’m going to admit now, for the first time, what my A1C was back in March when I started on my paleo journey.  My A1C was 11.4.  Shocking right?  Now it’s 8.9.  The lowest I can remember actually.  For those who are not diabetic, that number is suppose to be under 7 for good control of diabetes.  Being diabetic for 42 years makes it really challenging to get that darn number down where it belongs, but getting it this low, that quick, has me motivated to get it down to 7.5 by years end!

The only thing I changed back in March, was starting to live paleo.  I’ve always worked out regularly, so I’m not really accounting my exercise in this improvement.  I’m probably about 70% paleo overall, but at home I’m 100% paleo.  My home no longer has any processed foods that come in a box, can, or sack.  I buy whole foods (fruits and lots of veggies), a little frozen veggies for convenience and storage time, lots of meat, no dairy, and lots of olive and coconut oil.  I cook a lot now, which means I do a lot more dishes than I want to, but it’s been worth it.  If I only had a garbage disposal and dishwasher!  I have a friend that does house cleaning.  I wonder what her rates are?  :)  Anyway, back on track, I started doing something where each time I’d go to the grocery store, I’d buy a fruit or vegetable I’ve never tried before.  I discovered I like a lot of things I’ve never tried before!  Like . . . OMG . . . KALE!!!  Kale fried in coconut oil is like health candy, and I think I might overdo it sometimes?  LOL!  I’d never tried kale until I started paleo.

I used to live on cereals, tv dinners, potato chips, cookies, microwavable meals, fast food, pizza, etc.  Then I discovered paleo.  Now I call myself a paleobetic, because I’ll be paleo for life.

What is paleo and why has it helped?  Paleo is a lifestyle.  It’s pretty simple, eat like our hunter gatherer ancestors, exercise like them, get outdoors, and reduce your carbs.  Most people these days eat anywhere between 200-300 carbs a day, and a some eat even more!  On paleo I’ve been averaging around 100 carbs a day.  I tried the low carb (30<) thing, but that led to some diabetic challenges.  Be very careful doing low carb as a type 1 diabetic.

You can find my favorite blogs, websites, and YouTube channels, about paleo and primal living in the column to the right.  What got me started down this path was a movie called Fat Head.  Seeing that movie caused me to go out and buy “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf, and “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson.  I read those faster than I’ve ever read a book before.  Then I started doing research online and found the online paleo community.

I’d like to take this moment to personally thank Robb Wolf, for answering questions for me in your podcast, replying to my Facebook messages, and for your leadership in the paleo community.  Robb, your accessibility to an average guy like me is  . . . well, awesome.  Thanks man.

Please join me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads by clicking the socialize links to the right of this article ———————->

Yes, you’re responsible for the obesity epidemic . . .

Yes, you heard me.  It’s not the fault of the government, or the advertisers, or the farmers, it’s you.  Every time you make the choice to buy fast food, or one of those food products that you KNOW is bad for your body, and bad for your health, you are responsible for the obesity epidemic.  It’s your food choices, that fuel the government to keep subsidising GMO farmers, that keep advertisers finding new ways to hook you with their products, and keep the farmers trying to find those subsidies.  Every time you purchase foods from McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendys, or Oreos, ice cream, soda products, juice boxes, and more, you are enabling the obesity epidemic.  You know what’s good for you.  Just choose it!

We have the responsibility as consumers, to let our government, our advertisers, and our farmers, know that we choose to live healthy, and that we prefer to spend our $$$ on whole foods, fruits and vegetables, grass fed or open pastured animal products.  That we want to live vibrant healthy lives, instead of the lives the majority of us are living right now.  With lifestyle diseases that are completely reversible like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and so many more.  We let them know this with what we spend our $$$ on.  Yes, it’s more expensive in the grocery store to buy healthy whole foods instead of frozen, prepackaged foods, snack foods, juice boxes, cola, etc.  Do know how much it costs for 10 years of diabetes treatments, or for bypass surgery?  A LOT MORE!  My bill after bypass surgery 10 years ago was $120,000!  Spend now, to save later.  Besides that, spending money on healthy foods makes your life more enjoyable because you feel good, instead of being cheap and living sick, and then having to spend all that money on treatment, and still not feel good.

Everyone wants to be healthy, but some people just don’t have the motivation.  How do you find that motivation?  You have to find your why.  The reason that you want to be around as long as you can.  Is your why your kids?  Do you want to be here for their high school graduation?  For college?  For their marriage?  To see your grandkids?  Do you want to fullfil a lifelong dream of running a marathon or a cross country bikeride?  When you discover your why, it makes those choices easier.  Everybody knows what their why is, but some people are afraid to think about it.  I encourage you to think about it.  Then admit it to someone, so they can help you stay on track, by reminding you of your why when you jump off the wagon.

So the next time you pull into the drive through, or you’re at the grocery store, and you reach for that bag at the window, or those packaged foods that you darnwell know are bad for you, you’re going to pause, and remember this blog.  You’re going to think of your why.  You’re going to wonder if you’re spending $$$ is really contributing to the obesity epidemic.  Then you’re going to look at yourself.  Then you’re going to put it down, and walk over to the produce isle and pick a food you’ve never tried before.  You’re doing to do this every trip to the store like I do, and you’re going to start to lose weight and feel good about your body and your choices.  Then you’re going to share your experiences with others, until you can inspire someone.  We can cure this epidemic, even it’s only 1 person at at time.  Be that person today.  Make the choice.  Be healthy.

 

“True health reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington.”

 

More Paleo and Ketosis for Diabetes Observations

I haven’t been working out for about a month now, as I was trying to ease into a ketosis lifestyle.  I stopped my workouts because I was already stressing my body with the ketosis.  In the past when I tried this lifestyle, I found that when I did try to exercise, I had zero energy, and usually couldn’t complete my workouts.  So I’ve realized the same thing again.  Plus, when I workout on the ketosis diet, my blood sugar spikes like crazy.  It doesn’t do that if I’m not in ketosis, and it actually falls like it should.  My guess is that my liver is either entering gluconeogenesis (converting protein to glucose), or it’s just dumping whatever glucose it has left, so that my muscles can operate to the best of their ability.  I’ve just decided that ketosis for diabetes is not my thing.

The other thing that happened to me again, is that after about 10 or 12 days, just like the last time I tried this, I had a bout of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), where my ketones went off the scale, my blood sugar spiked, and I had to literally OD on insulin to bring it down, then I had to scarf down gobs of carbs (yeah, I don’t care about grammar right now) to keep me from seriously crashing.  This is a process that can take anywhere from 6 to 18 hours to treat, so you can’t sleep if it’s happening to you.  Don’t worry, I know how to treat DKA.  I do the same thing they’d do at the hospital.  I’ve been doing this for 42 years, so I know how this works.  Those are scary days even so.  Both times I’ve tried ketosis, after 10 or 12 days, I have this DKA fight.  Then I go high carb for a few days because I get paranoid.  Then I come back to at least eating normal paleo.

So I’ve decided that ketosis is not for me.  I’m going to stick with paleo for sure, and I’ll keep my carbs to under 100, but not under 50 which causes ketosis.  I’m a Beachbody coach, and I get paid to workout, so I have to workout.  My income depends on it!  Besides, working out to Les Mills Pump is fun, and those female trainers are hott!  What really sucks though, is that on ketosis my blood sugars were almost normal.  My 30 day average blood glucose dropped by 100 points from 265 to 166.  I’m still kind of eager to get my A1C done at the end of the summer though.

If you’re a type 1 diabetic that’s on a ketosis lifestyle, please comment below with your experience.  I wish I could find a community of T1D’s that live in ketosis?

Paleo and Ketosis for a Type 1 Diabetic

ketosis-ketostix-ketoacidosisjpgKetosis and diabetes are 2 words that instill fear in the hearts of most diabetics.  It used to instill fear into me as well, until I started reading about paleo and primal living, and how ketosis doesn’t always mean you’re gonna die.  When I started to read about ketosis, and how some diabetics have taken control of their diabetes with it, I began to get excited.  I studied and studied for weeks.  Trying to understand everything I could about paleo and ketosis, and I was slowly starting to believe that there’s a way to be in ketosis as a type 1 diabetic, without it killing you.  I have a lifetime of beliefs, drilled into me by my doctors,  that ketosis means death.  It does, “IF” you’re in ketosis and you’re blood sugar is over 250 mg/dl.  Most diabetics know this as DKA, or Diabetic KetoAcidosis.  Your blood literally becomes toxic with acid created by the lack of insulin in your body.  This is a life threatening condition, and must be avoided at all costs, by all diabetics.

So why on earth would a type 1 diabetic want to intentionally enter ketosis? What is ketosis?

Let me start by answering the second question.  Ketosis occurs when you’re body doesn’t have enough fuel.  Your bodies primary fuel comes from carbohydrates that the body turns into glucose to feed the muscle cells and the brain.  If you’re body doesn’t have enough glucose, it has to get fuel from somewhere so it starts to burn or break down fat.  When a fat cell is broken down, that creates ketone bodies.  3 types to be exact.  2 are used for fuel, and the 3rd is just waste.  (Which you can smell on the breath.  It’s called Acetone.)  The brain and the muscles can run on ketone bodies.  Actually, the heart runs close to 30% more efficiently on ketone bodies.  When ketone body levels get to high, the body produces insulin, and they are reduced.  If no insulin is sent into the bloodstream, the ketone bodies rise, and so does the blood glucose.  Since the 2 ketone bodies that are used as fuel are acidid, this combination causes the blood pH to become acidic, and toxic, causing Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA.

I wanted to go on a ketosis diet, because I read story after story of type 1 diabetics that got off the rollercoaster by going low carb (which naturally causes ketosis).  By low carb, I mean around 50g or less per day.  Low carbs = steady bloodsugar.  This means you eat mostly fat and protein.  (Hello butter and bacon!)  I know, I know, you think I’m going to clog my arteries.  Well I’m not, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I tried this for a week back in March as an experiment, and it worked great after about 7 days, but for those first 5 days something weird happened.  I wasn’t in ketosis continuously.  I kept jumping in and out of it.  Whenever I’d be in ketosis, my blood sugar would spike, dangerously high, over 250!  When I’d bolus, it wouldn’t go down!  (I had never been in ketoacidosis in my entire life, so I didn’t know how to treat this.)  Tons more research about treating ketoacidosis, and I got it under control.  I discovered that if I bolused, AND did a 4 hour temporary basal with my pump, everything worked great and the blood sugar would come down.  Perfect!  Nothing had I read warned me about this, and when I went looking for answers, I didn’t find any on the big name blogs.  Where I found answers was in the forum at Marks Daily Apple.  Other T1D’s told me this happens to a select few type 1′s when they start a ketogenic diet (lucky me) and it will go away in a few days.  It’s caused by the body being stressed due to what I’m doing to it, and that stress creates cortisol, which tells the liver to dump what little glucose it’s storing, or to convert protein into glucose (called gluconeogenesis).  After 5 days, everything was running smoothly.

But then I tried to come out of ketosis.  To end the experiment.  I increased my carbs back to around 100c per day.  Well, that didn’t go so well.  If I went for more than 3 hours without carbs, I’d get ketones, and my blood sugar would spike, and I developed dawn syndrome.  (Ketones early in the morning because you’ve been without carbs for hours.)   So I did a lot of fighting my blood sugar for a while.  Adjusted my basal rates, and my carb ratio, and got back to normal (the normal highs and lows I mean), but still had dawn syndrome.

Then I got a Metronic continuous glucose monitor (CGM).  I had become even more paleo over the last few months, and even more strict with my food choices.  Loving my bacon and butter, and all the steak, burgers, etc.  So I decided to do this again, but go even more hardcore into it, and NEVER COME OUT OF IT.  The CGM sure makes it easier to do this that’s for sure, because you can see your blood sugar change in almost real time.  I went with no carbs for 3 days at the suggestion of 1 particular blog, to effect the conversion from carbs to ketones more quickly.  It worked!  Smooth transition with no spikes, and my blood sugar hasn’t climbed above 150 for 7 days straight.  Most of the week my blood sugar has been around 80-90 mg/dl.  I used to be afraid of that low of a number!  I’d start eating glucose tabs, afraid of a crash.  Now I’m annoyed if it goes above 125!  I’ve been in ketosis 100% of the time all week now.  It’s been emotionally uplifting too.  Not that I have any kind of depression problems, but it just feels good that I’ve found a way to control my diabetes that’s actually working.  I keep seeing carbs everywhere, and thinking “No Rich, that will make your blood sugar spike, today, AND tomorrow, and the next day.”  Then I just walk away happy that my blood sugars are normal now.

Now, I feel the need to say this . . . . . DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.  There’s a lot of things about starting a ketosis diet that you need to learn, and it can be really dangerous if you don’t do insane amounts of research.  I’m a little crazy, and don’t believe mainstream medicine, and this is MY LIFE, but I definitely don’t want you to try this just on a whim because you read my blog.  I wanted to tell you my story, so you can see what happens, because I didn’t see this in any of my research, and had no idea that it might happen with all of the hours of research I did before I tried (maybe 50 hours I think).

I hope this article was helpful to you.

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