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


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.

My Diabetes Supplement Stack

supplementsI’m in a local diabetes support group, and over the weekend I was asked what supplements I take, what brand I use, and why I take them.  My diabetes supplement stack consists of CoQ10, Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Aspirin.  Notice I don’t have a multivitamin?  Most people need a multivitamin.  Anyone on the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) usually need one.  I’ve been tested with a blood test called a “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel”, which gives me a good overview of my nutritional needs.  [Note from my CDE] While you do get sodium, calcium, and potassium with this test, you don’t get magnesium or any vitamin levels. Vitamin D and B12 are very common deficiencies in PWD and are often ordered for people with general complaints of fatigue, malaise, etc. whose thyroid levels are normal.  All lab values, similar to A1C’s or blood sugars, vary based on your current level of hydration, blood sugar, and nutritional status. See something slightly out of range? Get it rechecked another day soon. If it’s still out of range, or if you see something really out of range? You likely need a medication, BG, food, or supplement change. [End CDE Note]

Maybe ask your health care provider about getting these tests done for you?  I just think that supplementing without a need, is a waste of money, right?  One important thing about supplements is quality.  Whatever you do, don’t buy supplements off the shelf at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, or the grocery store.  Those supplements are the lowest quality out there, and they often produce no results.

First, some cautions that I’d like to mention about supplementing.  There are 2 basic types of vitamins.  Water soluble and fat soluble.  The main difference being that a water soluble vitamin, your body will just get rid of in your urine if it doesn’t need it (and it turns pretty colors).  However, if you take more than you need of a fat soluble vitamin, it can become toxic and cause you harm.  Your body stores the vitamin in your fat cells, and levels rise, until toxicity occurs.  Also, some supplements like magnesium, iron, and calcium can interfere with some medications like blood pressure, blood thinners, and thyroid medications.  Before starting any supplement, talk to your health care provider and do tons of research.  Most health care providers don’t know about supplements, or disregard them, so you may be on your own.

So the first supplement I take is CoQ10 from Cocoa Well.  High quality with the benefits of cacao, and the company supports fair trade.  Without CoQ10, your muscles wouldn’t move.  It’s part of the ATP synthesis process.  (Google it!)  I take it because of my heart history.  I take only the recommended dose.  It’s a fat soluble anti-oxidant, and has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, among other things.  The brand I take is Cocoa Well brand.  After adding this supplement to my stack, the next HDL test I took went from 54 to 74.  Very few men ever have an HDL that high.  HDL is the cholesterol that protects you.  It cleans your arteries so to speak.  Oh! If you take a statin drug for your cholesterol, you NEED A CoQ10 supplement!!!  The statin destroys most of your naturally occuring CoQ10.  Have muscle aches?  Yep, that’s why.  Take CoQ10 and those muscle aches will probably go away.

The second supplement I take is a fish oil supplement called MorEPA (yes, that’s spelled right), from a company called Minami, a subsidary of Garden of Life.  I take the recommended dose of 1g per day (1 pill).  I take it for heart health, but it helps with so many other things in the body, that I can’t possibly write about them all here.  (Google it!)  I take THIS brand, because it’s pharmaceutically pure and they consider the environment in everything they do.  With Minami, you only need take 1 pill per day.  Any doctor worth their weight, recommends fish oil for their patients.  With any fish oil supplement, if it doesn’t tell you what kind of fish is the source, don’t buy it.  Quality brands are made from the smallest possible fish source.  In most cases sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.  If it doesn’t say that it comes from these sources right on the label, then don’t buy it.  MorEPA does say this right on the label.

I just started taking magnesium citrate, made by Vitamin Shoppe.  I take the recommended dose of 200mg once per day.  I take it for my diabetes. Magnesium activates the enzymes necessary for a number of body functions, including muscle contractions, and heart function. It’s known as the muscle relaxer. So far it seems to have improved my insulin sensitivity, which was my goal.  My guess is that improves insulin sensitivity by relaxing the muscle cells allowing easier carbohydrate synthesis.

I also take Vitamin Shoppe brand Vitamin D3.  I take it because I was dangerously deficient 2 years ago.  I take more than the recommended dose.  I take 5000mg once per day.  Vitamin D levels should be above 31 mg/ml and lower than 100 mg/ml.  Mine is now 47 mg/ml.  2 years ago, it was 11 mg/ml.  Lastly I take a basic 81mg aspirin every day.

I take all but one of my supplements in the evening with my thyroid and blood pressure meds.  My research showed there was no adverse interaction between them.  The one I take by itself in the morning is the magnesium, since it would interact negatively with my thyroid medication.

Before taking any supplement, research it from only respectable sources such as Harvard Health, Mayo Clinic, university clinics, etc.  Check not only the benefits, but the possible side effects and drug interactions.  If you have a health care provider that’s not clueless about supplements and nutrition, ask their advice.  Here is a video from my favorite celebrity doctor about the benefits of supplementing for diabetes . . . . .


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.


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?

Update: My New Nurse Practitioner Is Amazing!

2614Today I went to my first appointment with the nurse practitioner that my Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) recommended to replace my old endocrinologist.  It was a little creepy at first, because her office is right across the hall from his office, and they have windows next to each door.  Literally like 5 feet away.  I tried to quickly scoot into the office before anyone across the hall saw me.  It was rather funny actually.  So I get inside, and wouldn’t ya know it, I remembered all kinds of crap to bring with me, except my insurance card!  I left my wallet at home!  I never do that???  *Gibbs slap*  Luckily, I’m such a geek, that I had the info stored in my address book on my phone. So no big deal.

Anyway, the first thing I liked about this office was there were health and exercise mags in the waiting room.  That’s a good sign.  The wait from my scheduled appointment time was about 45 minutes, but boy was it worth it.  Once I got to see her, I think we spent a full hour talking about my history, what I’m struggling with, baselines, prescriptions, attack plan, and so much more.  It was definitely a “discussion” and not her dictating, which is exactly what I hoped for if you read my last article.  I did not feel rushed like I always did with my last endo.  I’m really happy with her!

So here’s why I’m happy with her.  She did a FULL examination.  Not just a quick haphazard “lets pretend I’m listening to your lungs” kind of examination.  She checked my feet very closely since I told her about my beginnings of neuropathy.  She actually said I passed completely?!  She checked my infusion sites for scar tissue and infection.  We discussed my concern that the neuropathy could cause digestion and dizziness issues.  Answered my questions and set my mind at ease that she didn’t think it was affecting me that way.  She checked my ears and discovered I have wax packed on my eardrum which is probably what’s causing my dizziness.  Suggested seeing and ear nose and throat doctor.  She knows enough about nutrition to know that 125 carbs per meal is ridiculous (my last endo didn’t understand that), and she recommends a rather paleo style diet to her other patients.  She stays up to date on studies and research, and is active with the American Diabetes Association.  She’s willing to communicate with me via email.  No other doctor I’ve ever had have been either equipped, or willing, to do this.  They’re smart enough in her office to know how to access my pump readings and settings through the CareLink website at Medtronic, from their office, so they can go look at my settings and make a recommendation for changes via email.  OMG, HALLELUJAH!!!   A health care provider that understands technology!  They also are equipped to read my Dexcom and interpret it!  She does everything!  Oh, and when I told her I hated my Apidra and I wanted a script for Humalog again, she just gave me 2 bottles to take home with me.  Finally, since my A1C is still rather high at 8.4, she wants to tackle that right away and see me each week for the next 4 weeks.  Tweeking my pump settings, reviewing my exercise and meal notes, etc.

So now I want to reveal my nurse practitioners name, so that all my friends, family, and co-workers in the Quad Cities can know who she is, just in case you’d like a health care provider that’s amazing for your diabetes care.  Her name is Brenda Borkgren and she’s board certified in diabetes care.  Her specialties are listed as endocrinology, metabolism, and diabetes care.  For the time being, she’s accepting new patients.  She has offices in Bettendorf, Rock Island, and even Geneseo.  That picture at the top of the article is her profile picture.  If you have diabetes, and you’re fed up with your current diabetes care provider in the Quad Cities area, I recommend you make an appointment with her today.

[CLICK TO VIEW HER PROFILE]   http://www.unitypoint.org/clinics/provider.aspx?id=2614&clinicid=580&Brenda++Borkgren%2C+N.P.

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.

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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 ———————->

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?

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