mySugr Challenge Group Recap

frankLast week I led 4 type 1 diabetic friends in a mySugr challenge group on Facebook.  [Click here to learn more.]  I did this because “I” needed motivation, and it’s seemed to cause many in the #doc to want to run challenges of their own.  That’s so cool.  It definitely did the trick for me.  It got me focusing my attention on everything I needed to.

For me, what participating in the challenge did was it made me feel like I wanted to provide a good example, so I was more diligent in checking my blood sugar, and doing correction bolus’s.  It allowed me to see how much insulin I was dosing for all those carbs I was eating!  Holy cow!  That caused me to eat fewer carbs, leveling out that trend line in the app.  It let me see first hand how many hypers/hypos I had in the last 7 days, which was kinda upsetting.  It made me try harder to keep them to a minumum for the second half of the week, which worked!  These are just some of things that helped me.  Now I’d like to share what other challengers have said about being in the challenge group.

“It helped me focus for 3 straight days. It made me focus on what I’m doing in a more structured way. It confirmed how long my digestion is often taking to kick in which helps me have more confidence in what I’m trying . . . “

gerald“It’s very difficult to give constructive criticism on something that seems so perfect, so fun and so exciting! I only have the free version so I have not been able to experience the awesomeness of the full app. I do plan on purchasing this app and recommending it to EVERY pwd that I know.”

“What I like about the challenge group is the feeling of “I need to stay on top of things”. Whether it’s making sure to check BG before meals or when I felt high/low, lasering in on carb-counting, or simply just checking in with my moods and extra-curricular activities, I was able to keep track of trends a little better.”

I’ve been asked to try to think of recommendations for the mySugr team, but like one of my friends above said, it’s hard to find constructive criticism for mySugr when it’s so perfect the way it is.  I too plan on purchasing the full version of the app.  The only thing I can really suggest is perhaps adding a couple more free challenges so that we advocates can have options for running more challenges to get people excited about using mySugr, and improving their diabetes control.  Maybe a 3 day and a 5 day challenge.  Oh yeah, and if you wanted to name them after famous vampires, that would be totally cool.  😉




A mySugr Challenge Group

mysugr companion juniorDo you know what mySugr is?  (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled.)  If not, it’s a great diabetes management app, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  Watch the video below to get an idea of why it’s so awesome.  Well, today is the start of our local Quad Cities adult type 1 diabetes support group‘s mySugr challenge.  What does that mean?  Well, when I used to be a Beachbody coach, we would run “challenge groups” for the different programs like P90X3 and T25.  Small support groups of less than 10 people, for motivation.  It was done through FB, by creating a private group, and inviting everyone into that group.  Then each day, I would post videos, tips, motivational quotes, etc.  All of the challengers were expected to report in each day that they did their workout and kept to their diet.

So for this mySugr challenge, 5 of us are committing to use mySugr for 7 days straight, to record our blood sugars and carbs (more if they want to).  At the end of each day, we’re going to post screenshots of our mySugr overview screen, and then post about our struggles and our wins.  If someone doesn’t report in for that day, they get tagged and we ask them if they’re ok, or if they just forgot to post.  My responsibility is just to post daily helpful info.  Maybe a blog I read that applies to what we’re doing, or videos or product info about a mySugr feature not everyone is a aware of.  See how that works?  It’s fun!  You should try it with your local group!  This is kind of a trial run.  Just 7 days, to see if people like it.  If they like it, the next step is to run a 21 day challenge, since it takes 21 days to create a habit.  I’ll blog about this again next week to share what our results are, and any insights we had as a result of doing this.





My Fear of Hypoglycemia

HypoglycemiaDo you have a fear of hypoglycemia?  I’ve been type 1 diabetic for 44 years now.  I can’t possibly count how many hypos I’ve had.  I’ve survived hypo seizures that should have killed me.  You’d think that after 44 years I’d either be an expert at diabetes, or that I’d at least be used to hypoglycemia, but no, I still fear hypo’s like nobody’s business.

Over the years my hypo symptoms have changed.  When I was a kid, my tongue and fingers would tingle.  When I reached my teen years, my body would get this weird sensation that I can’t really describe?  Kinda like your skin was crawling?  Then a little older and I would get berserker angry and my vision would blur.  Years later it changed to my sentences not making any sense to those around me, and not being able to speak clearly.  Now what happens is that I feel like I have sudden bouts of alzheimers or something.  Like suddenly I’ll realize that I can’t concentrate.  I’ll be trying desperately to formulate a sentence, and then I realize I can’t, and then I realize it’s because I’m hypo.  The overwhelming feeling of not being in control of your mind is terrifying.

So to avoid being hypo, I sometimes do things that I know I shouldn’t.  Like if I’ve been battling frequent hypos all day, I’ll eat something before bed, and not bolus, so I can ride the night out high.  Or if I’m out of glucose tabs, and I know it, and I want to play disc golf for a couple hours, I’ll eat, and bolus less than I’m suppose to so I don’t have to worry about hypos on the course.  I know this isn’t good for me, but if you’ve experienced some of the hypos I have, you’d be saying “right on brother”.  Do you do similar things to avoid hypos?

Now, here’s an amusing hypoglycemia story for you.  My mom told me this story a while back, and I almost couldn’t believe it.  Once when I was about 7 years old, I was acting like my blood sugar was low, so she told me to go check my urine (we used litmus style yellow tape that you peed on back then).  Normally I would have gone into the bathroom, but no.  What do I do?  I walk over to the fridge, litmus tape in hand, open the door, and proceed to pee in the fridge.  Yep, I totally did that while hypo.  LOL!

Driving With Diabetes RANT

vanessa-shaneI’m not going to make any friends with this post, but it’s important and it needs to be said.  I should warn you that this is a driving with diabetes RANT, and I’m pretty hot right now.  Am I the only type 1 diabetic that sits in his car for half an hour or more if his blood sugar is low, waiting for my blood sugar to rise, waiting until it’s safe for me to drive?  If my blood sugar falls below 80 mg/dl, I DO NOT DRIVE.  I take glucose, and I wait.  I sit, and I wait, I wait until I see my blood sugar has risen above 80 again, but I DO NOT DRIVE.  If you’re on my FB list, you’ve seen me post when this happens, and I sit there as long as it takes.  Whether it’s takes 15, 30, or 45 minutes.  It makes me so angry when I see diabetics posting about hypoglycemia while driving, like it’s no big deal.  Acting like they’re not even aware they did anything wrong?  Do you post on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, when you’ve been drinking and drive home?  When you’re not sure if you’re drunk, but you might be, so you’re not going to post about it?  Hell no!  Diabetics have medical devices that PROVE they are unfit to drive, yet some choose to post it all over the internet when they do so anyway!  What is wrong with some people?!?!  Can you tell I’m hot about this?

When you drive, KNOWING that you’re hypoglycemic, you are worse than a drunk driver.  You KNOW that you have a condition that can impair your driving, and you’re making the conscious choice to drive anyway, because waiting for your blood sugar to rise is so terribly inconvenient.  Poor you.  You’re putting not only your life at risk, but the lives of everyone on the road, just like a drunk driver.  I understand that some people can’t feel their hypoglycemia symptoms.  I’m not talking about them.  That happened to me once 20 years ago too, where an unfelt hypo left me unconscious at the bottom of a ravine in my car.  Thank god I didn’t kill anyone.  That has never, and will never, happen again.  It scared the hell out of me, and so I never drive without knowing my blood sugar.  I’m talking about all the diabetics I see post about driving, while knowing that they are hypo.  I’m afraid to actually Google this topic.  It’s people like this that make getting our drivers license renewed such a pain in the ass.  I can only hope that their behaviors change before they kill themselves, or worse, someone else.

The online community loves to rally around causes.  I saw we rally around this one.  Responsible driving as a diabetic.  Before you put that car in drive, you check your blood sugar, and if you’re hypo, YOU DO NOT DRIVE until you’re not.  If you feel hypo while driving, pull over and check.  That picture up there at the top of the post is a picture of a young lady who was killed by a diabetic driver who plead guilty to driving on a suspended license (due to her lack of diabetes control), who admitted that her blood sugar was to low to drive.  That same woman had been in 3 previous accidents due to the same circumstances, but this time she killed someone.




Is Shakeology Good For Diabetics

Click To OrderI’m a Beachbody coach, and therefor I recommend Shakeology, even to diabetics, but not all Shakeology is good for diabetics in my opinion. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t recommend it for everyone else, because I’ve never felt more strongly about the quality and value of a nutritional supplement. Those who know me, know that I’m a supplement nazi, and I don’t pretend to hide it.  I’m the worst critic of every nutrition product, until I read the nutrition label.  Network marketers trying to sell me their nutrition products hate me.  All this being said, Shakeology is hands down, the absolute best quality health shake I’ve ever seen. However, there is 1 flavor of Shakeology that is better for a type 1 diabetic. Here’s why . . .

There are 5 Shakeology Flavors, 2 of which are vegan. They are Greenberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, Vegan Chocolate, and Vegan Strawberry. Each of them has a little bit different nutritional profile. All of them include complete nutrition in a single glass. Some of them however, are higher in carbs and sugars, and although they are all certified as low glycemic, most of them still spike my blood sugar. It’s the standard Chocolate flavor that does not spike my blood sugar, and thus the one that I recommend for diabetics.  It has only 17g carbs, 6g sugars, and 6g fiber. I have not tried the new version of Greenberry, but it’s nutritional profile looks like it might be even better for a type 1 diabetic. So the vegan flavors, in addition to the vanilla flavor, all have more carbs, more sugars, and less fiber. Now we’re not talking much difference, but enough to make a difference in my blood sugar. The most carbs in any shake is only 22g in vegan chocolate, with 9g sugars, and 5g fiber. That’s probably why it’s my favorite. It tastes sweeter, so it spikes me. LOL!

Click To OrderNow I’m a type 1 diabetic pumper with a continuous glucose monitor, so I’m more aware of spikes than some diabetics are.  Your diabetes management might be different than mine, and those other flavors may not spike you like they do me, but if you were curious about trying it, I would recommend starting with the standard Chocolate or Greenberry flavors, which come in this handy sampler pack to the right. The benefits you get from Shakeology are vast, including all day energy improvement, possible weight loss, improved blood sugar profile, and more.  There are amazing testimonials of how Shakeology has helped people, but the only way you’re gonna know how it’s gonna help you, is to try it.

Many people are surprised by the cost of Shakeology, but here’s the thing.  It’s complete nutrition in a glass!  It’s replacing a meal, and it’s GOOD FOR YOU, unlike what you’re eating now.  It’s your daily dose of nutrition.  The cost is $4.33 per glass, or $130 per month.  Whether you’re diabetic, overweight, have migraines, chronic pain, arthritis, or whatever challenges you face, you can either invest in your health now with good nutrition, or pay for medical expenses later.  If you take no action,  you’ll always wonder if it would have helped.  Wouldn’t you like to at least know if it would help?


Complete Nutrition Information Available 
On The Order Page


Don’t Restrict Access To Blood Glucose Test Strips!

SIGN THE PETITION NOWThe following is a guest post regarding Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission making a recommendation to restrict access to blood glucose test strips for people with type 2 diabetes on the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan (OHP)  This post is from Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and Registered Nurse, Tavia Vital.  

I (Tavia Vital) am a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Registered Nurse. I have survived with Type 1 Diabetes for 33 years with no major long term complications largely due to access to test strips and appropriate insulin therapy.

There simply is no substitution for having access to appropriate therapy including adequate test strips in order to decrease glucose variability, A1C, the risks for acute (hypo or hyperglycemia, especially severe episodes which require Emergency Medical Assistance and/or hospitalization) and long term complications (micro and macrovascular diseases and neuropathy leading to blindness, amputation, kidney failure requiring dialysis, stroke, and/or heart attack, for example) of diabetes.

I recommend you review the DCCT, UKPDS (including the 10 year review of both studies), STeP-2 studies/trials. Then review annual costs of medical costs on the healthcare system of diabetes. Then review annual costs per case of poorly controlled versus well controlled diabetes. You can Google search to find all of this info easily. To help you get started:


There is no way for healthcare professionals to make meaningful, appropriate, and safe medication adjustments without adequate blood sugar testing. There is no better way for people with Type 2 Diabetes to evaluate and modify the lifestyle changes they are making (which is the foundation of diabetes management (or the effectiveness of medication changes) than frequent blood sugar testing.

I implore you to think about what coverage you would want for yourself, your parents, or your children (of whom 1 in 3 is predicted to have Type 2 diabetes if they were born after about the year 2000). Thank you for considering the value of the lives, and quality of life, for your clients with Type 2 Diabetes.



I’d like to thank Tavia Vital for sharing her article on

T1 Diabetes Video Game @GameEqualsLife

The Magi and the Sleeping StarThe Magi and the Sleeping Star is a Kickstarter for a T1 diabetes video game, that’s designed to help kids understand how to manage their blood sugar.  The game play is genius.  Ya know how in a normal video game when you start losing life points, how you have to run over some sort of health blip, or food item, in the game?  Well in this game, you actually have to pause the game, go check your blood sugar (in game), and decide whether you need insulin, or food.  Your life points are based on your blood sugar being in range. That is so awesome!  Wait, it gets even cooler!  You can use YOUR CHILDS insulin sensitivity and carb ratio from their own pump, so it’s like your child is really in the game!  Wait, it gets even better!!!  Their powers are more powerful when their blood sugar is 90-110, but they’ll work ok when they’re a little above or below.  Get to much above or below, and their powers fail.  Is that not wicked cool? I hope this guy gets the funding he needs, because I might just go buy a game system so this 45 year old kid can play this diabetes video game.

The guy who’s trying to create this awesome video game is Adam Grantham, and he’s been type 1 diabetic for nearly 20 years.  He’s a professional game designer with a background in animation and post-production. Most recently he’s designed for Square-Enix, Sony Santa Monica, and The Workshop Entertainment, helping to ship Sorcery in 2012 and God of War: Ascension in 2013. He’s already got the prototype created and has some walkthrough videos and a lot of game art available to see.

Below is a walk through video he has on Vimeo.  You should give it a look!


The Magi and The Sleeping Star – Prototype Demo from Game Equals Life on Vimeo.

You can find The Magi and the Sleeping Star at the following links:

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 Big Blue Test = Diabetic Synergy

Big Blue TestMy favorite diabetes non-profit is the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF).  There are many other amazing diabetes non-profits out there, but I especially like DHF because of their Big Blue Test campaign.  The Big Blue Test encourages diabetics to test their blood sugar, get active, and then test again, so they can learn how exercise improves their diabetes and their blood sugar.  After doing this, you go to the website to record your results, and for every test that’s recorded, corporate sponsors will donate $5 per test to help educate, and provide life-saving diabetes supplies and services to people in need.  So in helping yourself, you’re helping others.  What an amazing brainchild!

Big Blue TestI only discovered the Big Blue Test last year around this time, but ever since then I’ve been a very outspoken advocate of it.  With being a health coach, and a type 1 diabetic, I believe the Big Blue Test executes perfect synergy in both encouraging us to exercise, and in educating us on the benefits, not to mention helping other diabetic brothers and sisters while we do it.  When you participate in this test, you’re also helping by providing valuable research data (anonymously).  Last summer at the American Diabetes Association’s 73rd Annual Scientific Sessions, this data was presented as a study poster showing the results of the compiled data, an average 20% drop in blood sugar.  I was lucky enough to have been invited to the sessions, and got to see the poster first hand.  I even got to talk to scientists and doctors about the Big Blue Test!  Oh, and Big Blue Test poster even won a Big Blue Ribbon.

How will you get active?  What’s your favorite form of exercise?  Are you a runner or walker, a biker, a gym rat, a sports athlete?  Personally, I like playing disc golf, or doing Beachbody workouts.  My favorite workouts are Les Mills Pump or Body Beast.  I just like the weight lifting aspect of these workouts.  If you’re already an active diabetic, I hope that you’ll take the test, and record your results, and if you’re not active yet, I hope you become active soon so you can take the Big Blue Test too.


Diabetic Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

Michael Jackson ZombieWelcome to my diabetic zombie apocalypse survival guide!  There are many zombie apocalypse survival guides out there, but not very many that deal with the special needs of an insulin dependant diabetic. This article will review some of the special things you’ll need to think about in prepping for a zombie apocalypse, or any sort of doomsday scenario as a diabetic.  There are so many other things to consider in doomsday and zombie prep, but this article will only touch on the needs of a diabetic.

The first thing I’d like to say is that your survival as a diabetic in a zombie or doomsday scenario is dependent on many things, but first and foremost, you should be prepared for the idea that your chances of survival are slim compared to a non-diabetic. You can however, improve your chances of survival by prepping properly.  Much of your survival will depend on exactly what kind of doomsday or zombie apocalypse we are struck by.

Many people will say they’re going to grab all the guns and ammo they can carry, and go break into the local pharmacy to steal all the insulin, then they’ll go to the grocery store to steal all the food they can, stock up their truck, and drive to the local police department to break in and hold up there.  Really?  *shakes head*  I’m going to try to be more realistic, and provide some things to think about for the average person that doesn’t think they’re Rambo.

If you’re at home when said apocalypse occurs, then you’ll be much better off, because you’ll have your stored supplies available to you. If you’re not at home, try to get home of course.  Some of the things to think about for your diabetes survival, is to have a large supply of batteries for your diabetic devices. If you have rechargable devices, you should have backups that are battery operated. You may not have power to charge your diabetic devices, such as in the blackout of over 50 million people in the northeastern United States of 2003.

Baron SamediYou’ll also of course need a store of insulin and test strips.  Insulin is not easy to stock up on, because it has an expiration date, and most pumpers require insulin that needs a prescription.  However, Regular insulin DOES NOT require a prescription in most states, so you could stock up on that, for survivals sake.  It’ll make your control a little challenging at first, but will keep you alive for a while.  Also, when you’re pump supplies run out, you’ll need a store of syringes.  Syringes you can get without a prescription in small quantities in most states, but boxes of 100 often do require prescription.  Ask your local pharmacy.  If you’re a CGM user, and you have the ability to keep a store of those supplies, awesome, but as we all know, these aren’t easily found at the local pharmacy, so you’ll need to revert back to finger sticks.  So you’ll also need a store of test strips, but remember that test strips also have expiration dates.  When you run out of test strips what do you do?!  Well, watch the color of your pee.  When your pee is dark or brown in color, it means your kidneys are filtering out glucose, which means your blood sugar is high.  Hard to dose insulin based on that, but it might keep you out of DKA?  Most of us already have a supply of lancets that will last us a lifetime, so no need to get all worried there.  (Since none of us changes our lancets for weeks or months at a time.)

Another thing most people probably don’t think about, is water.  If you become dehydrated in the apocalypse, you’ll develop insulin resistance, making your blood sugar control difficult.  In an apocalypse, the water supply may become infected, or tainted, so you’ll want to get your water from rain, lakes, streams, rivers, or other natural means.  Regardless of whether you get your water from a faucet or a natural source, you’ll need a store of water purification tablets, and a canteen or water jug.  If you’re in the wild, water is heavy, so you can’t carry a lot at once.  That canteen will literally be as important as your insulin.

Night of the CometYour diet will suddenly change if said apocalypse or doomsday occurs too.  If you have foodstores of non-perishables, that’s great.  You should choose foods low in carbs of course, and try to have foods higher in protein in your store, although that’s not easy with non-perishables.  Now if you don’t have a supply of non-perishable food, you’ll need to know how to hunt, forage, or both.  You’ll want some sort of wilderness survival guide, or a basic Boy Scout Handbook.  If you don’t own a bow or a gun for hunting, just having a frog spear in your survival stash will help.  You attach it to a broom stick and you have a hunting spear.  You’ll want a number of good knives of varying sizes to fashion hunting tools from, to clean the animals you hunt, and a multitude of other things.  If you’re against eating animals, then you’ll need to know how to forage, and know what wild foods are ok, and which are poisonous, not to mention how many carbs are in wild foods.  Hunted animals as food is of course lower in carbs than foraged food, making your blood sugar control easier.

I hope this gives you some ideas that you hadn’t thought of before so when the inevitable zombie outbreak occurs, you’ll be able to survive for a little longer.  If you like this article, please retweet and share it with your friends!  For my article on diabetic vampires, click here:  Diabetic Vampires.


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