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.





Shakeology Recipes

shakeology-recipesI’m a type 1 diabetic Beachbody coach, who drinks and recommends Shakeology, both to diabetics and non-diabetics.  When used properly, Shakeology and diabetes can make a great partnership.  It can help with your blood sugar profile, as well as all the other health and nutrition benefits it can provide.  However, many people who drink Shakeology, enjoy creating Shakeology recipes.  You have to be careful creating these recipes, or you turn the healthiest meal of the day, into something worse than a Snickers bar.  The recipe you see in this post is exactly such a recipe.

I am an admitted nutrition nazi.  I don’t believe in any nutritional product advertising, until I see the label (case and point: Advocare Spark says it’s sugar free, yet is has 11 carbs and 45 calories).  So the fact that I use, recommend, and believe in Shakeology, is a pretty big deal.  The benefit of drinking Shakeology, is that it’s a dense daily dose of nutrition, in a single glass.  The majority of the American people don’t get much nutrition in their diet, so drinking Shakeology in it’s pure form, mixing it only with unsweetened almond milk, or similar, can provide you with the dense daily dose of nutrition that it promises.  For a diabetic, most of the flavors provide a nice slow rise in blood sugar due to low carbs and high fiber.

Now, lets get to that recipe above.  Ok, so it’s a fan favorite.  Gee, I wonder why?  Could it be that it has as many carbs and sugars as 2 Snickers bars?!  Lets do the math.

Vanilla Shakeology                                       14g carbs          7 sugars
1/2c Unsweetened Almond Milk                     0g carbs          0 sugars
1/2c Yoplait Greek Vanilla Yogurt                  33g carbs        26 sugars
1/2 Banana                                                    13g carbs          7 sugars
1tbsp Peanut Butter                                        4g carbs          2 sugars
1tbsp Raw Honey                                          17g carbs         17 sugars

Totals                                                             81g carbs         59 sugars

Snickers                                                         35g carbs         30 sugars

We started with a healthy shake with only 14 carbs and 7 sugars, but due to this particualar Shakeology recipe, we ended up with 81 carbs and 59 sugars.  No wonder it’s a fan favorite!!!  Although this Shakeology recipe tastes great, it’s turned that nutritionally dense shake into a fat storing monster because of all of those carbs and sugars.  59 sugars?  No one needs 59 sugars in a single meal.  Diabetic or not.  You shouldn’t even be eating that many sugars in a whole day!  Those 59 sugars and 81 carbs are going to produce an insulin spike that will put most of those carbs and sugars straight into your thighs, hips, or belly.  Now each of those ingredients in that recipe have their health benefits (well, except 1), but Shakeology doesn’t need them.  It’s nutritionally dense all by itself. Yes, honey is full of anti-oxidants, yes peanut butter has healthy fats, yes a banana is a great source of potassium, as far as the yogurt, well, I’ll just bite my tongue.

There is only 1 time of any day, where you should add things to your Shakeology, to get the maximum benefit.  That’s after your workout.  If you drink your Shakeology after every workout, then you SHOULD add some fruit carbs to it.  I still would never create a recipe like the one above though.  After you workout, you want fast carbs in your shake to produce an insulin response, but a small one, because the insulin is what makes your muscles grow.  You want it to happen fast after a workout, within 45 minutes.  Any other time of day though, and those extra carbs will most likely be stored as fat.  Using Shakeology as a recovery shake, adding some carbs and sugars is a good thing, as long as you don’t go freakin overboard.  59 sugars?  Geez.

So the moral of the story, is please don’t ruin your Shakeology.  Let it do it’s job, the way it was intended.  If you want to create Shakeology recipes, which admittedly are fun, then just make sure you’re drinking your Shakeology as a recovery shake after your workout.

Sushi Is My Nemesis

Sushi PlateAs a type 1 diabetic, sushi is my nemesis for sure. I can’t get enough of it. On the occasions that do get to have it, I eat so much of it, that I can’t move. For most diabetics, pizza is their nemesis, but not for me. For me it’s sushi that’s my nemesis. Both pizza and sushi are high in carbs, but I can eat way more sushi carbs, then I can pizza carbs. With pizza, I could eat it or leave it.  With sushi, I can’t live without it.  Did you know that each little piece of sushi, or slice of a roll, has around 10 carbs?! Each little piece!!! I ate sushi for a long time before I figured that out.

I was introduced to sushi in my early 30’s by 2 asian friends. I became friends with them because we all worked together, and started hanging out a lot. So one night we went for sushi, and I was eager to try it, but they pulled a fast one on me. They told me the wasabi was guacamole! They told me how to apply it on the rice under the fish, and how to swirl it into your soy sauce, and then to dip the sushi into the soy sauce. The scene of my first bite of sushi had to be amusing, to them at least. LOL! It was amusing to me when I could finally breathe again!  I enjoyed being friends with those guys because they liked introducing me to foods I’ve never eaten before. They once said they liked taking me with them because I was willing to try new things, and never asked what it was until I tried it.

For many years, I had a career that allowed me to travel the country rather frequently, so I’ve been able to eat sushi in cities all over the US. My favorite all time sushi restaurant is by far Blowfish Sushi in San Francisco.  It’s an anime themed restaurant, and so they have glass tables with panes of anime underneath them that you can read at the table, anime posters on the walls, and in every corner of the restaurant, they have anime movies running on TV’s mounted near the ceiling.  Their waitresses wear anime costumes (imagine a skimpy casino waitress costume, but with an anime theme), and they serve the deadly blowfish as a sushi delicacy.  Now, the last time I was there was close to 10 years ago, so I hope it’s still the same.  If you’re ever in San Fran, you should check it out.

Now back to being diabetic and a sushi lover.  Sushi is evil.  It’s so freakin’ evil.  It’s so high in carbs that we should never eat it, but who likes doing what they’re suppose to, right?  We all gotta be a rebel sometimes, or we’ll die of boredom, right?  So yesterday I was a rebel.  I was was a Billy Idol kind of rebel (but I didn’t yell).  I was that kind of diabetic rebel.  When I woke up yesterday, I was having the craving of all cravings for sushi.  I didn’t eat breakfast because I knew I was going to have sushi for lunch.  I didn’t care if my blood sugar skyrocketed to 500, I was going to enjoy as much sushi as I could stand.  So I eat 3 plates of sushi (all you can eat sushi for $11.68, including drink).  I estimated close to 200 carbs, but I played it safe and bolused for 160.  I hate hypos.  I once saw Kim Vlasnik over at Texting My Pancreas post her sushi strategy, which, if I remember correctly was something like “enjoy your sushi and throw a lot of insulin at it”.  That’s exactly what I did.  I try to count the carbs, but with sushi, it’s not easy.  Sashimi is better for you, because it’s just the fish, but they don’t serve sashimi at lunch.  I would make them go broke if they served sashimi for $11.68 all you can eat, and I wouldn’t eat as much carbs, but dinner is twice the price, and I have to be frugal.

Hours later I was at my grandpa’s 97th birthday party (I think he’s immortal or something.  He even lifts weights and exercises!  No excuses!), and my blood sugar never climbed above 220 after the sushi.  So maybe I should have bolused for 180 carbs?  Anyway, I’m happy I didn’t skyrocket, and still enjoyed my diabetic nemesis.  What’s your nemesis?  Do you love sushi like I do?  Tell your sushi or nemesis story in the comments below!

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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