Category Archives: Diabetes Management Tips

My Biggest Worry about Pumps

561431_328756620514808_1838768377_n

“Ketones” by Ana Morales

 

I’m all about people using pumps if they like them (or don’t like them but find they manage their diabetes well with them).  It’s a wonderful device and I’m happy technology like that exists for us.  I used a pump for 7 years, which is plenty of time to experience just what pumping is all about.

So I want to talk about something I noticed during my pumping years and after them.

It occurred to me recently that my numbers rarely go high enough to induce DKA.  I can count on one hand the occasions in the past 5 years where my blood sugar has gone over 350 and it hasn’t been over 400 in 6 years.  I’ve been off the pump for 6 years and find I can’t go back, yet.  One of the most dangerous things in my mind is DKA and very high blood sugars.  I experienced super high blood sugars enough as a teenager to know I never want to go through that again.

When I was on the pump, it was a regular monthly occurrence to have a 400+ blood sugar reading and it was almost always due to a pump or tubing or pump site malfunction.  I knew that my being human provided sufficient variability and error to my diabetes management and I began to seriously resent the pump for adding to that risk simply because I didn’t have the energy to keep up with it’s extra requirements.

What I mean is people who don’t endure these pump issues have very good discipline when it comes to changing their pump site and checking their tubing and changing the site when they suspect they need to.  However, I know that many of us don’t do this.  I completely understand why-it’s hard to keep up this kind of diligence, especially if it means inserting a painfully long needle more times than we’d like.

Those who use pumps should probably be in a very good place when it comes to their motivation to do all that is necessary to successfully use the pump.  I was not one of these people because I resented wearing the pump and as a result, kept my site in too long sometimes and suffered the consequences.  Of course, sometimes, we can do everything right and something wrong can still happen with the pump though the likelihood is very much decreased if we keep up the right routine.

I love using syringes because I get piece of mind each time I give insulin, knowing I don’t have extra variables to contend with (there are SO many as is).  And mostly because I never have a high blood sugar surprise that is a result of my not receiving any basal insulin for a mysterious amount of time.  The danger of very high blood sugar isn’t just that, it’s also the lows that can result from giving insulin over and over again in an effort to push that really high and resistant blood sugar down.

Obviously there is more involved in keeping blood sugars stable.

Reducing my carbs and using shots has made my blood sugars so much more stable, with little extra effort involved.  And to me that’s practically miraculous in terms of gains to my quality of life and health.  So while I don’t mean to say that people shouldn’t use a pump I just think we should each be honest with ourselves about how it works for us.  I realized I was no longer a good candidate and got off the pump and there is nothing wrong with that.  And there is a good possibility that one day I’ll get back on a pump.  They are making wonderful improvements to pumps each year and I’m becoming a more responsible and disciplined person each year.

Very well meaning people tell me all the time, “but don’t you miss being able to sleep in and eat when you want?”  News flash my friends, there are now long acting insulin such as Lantus which serve as a basal insulin.  The NPH and R insulin of the past are just that.

I guess what I’m saying is, are you having a lot of extremely high numbers due to pump issues? If so, work to reduce them with your healthcare team and if you know in your heart that you aren’t keeping up with site changes and all the pump requires, think about your options.  Whatever you do, do it in favor of your health.  Everything else will surely fall into place.

Classification of Carbs

384646_257589894298148_254597271264077_771496_1551342629_n

I really believe carb counting alone is insufficient when it comes to my diabetes management.  At least the simple way it’s taught.  It’s just my opinion and I’ll explain why:

I’ve found that for ME, there are adjustments I make for different types of carbs.  These are adjustments beyond just subtracting grams of fiber.  A carb is not a carb.  They vary spectacularly and learning their differences helps me keep my blood sugars in range and helps me decide which carbs to avoid.

I classify my carbs:

-Refined grains

-Sugar/sucrose/plain fructose (no fiber)

-HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

-Chocolate, ice cream, and other high fat desserts

-Poultry/Meat/Seafood

-Fruits and vegetables

Refined Grains

When I eat anything with processed grains like white rice sushi or pizza or cookies, cake, or crackers, I have to watch out for a post meal blood sugar skyrocket.  It doesn’t happen right away which is why it’s often confusing to dose for these kinds of foods.  For example, last time you had pizza you were high afterwards so this time around you give more insulin, only to get low in the middle-towards the end of your meal.

I find that about 30 minutes after eating anything with refined or processed grains, I have to give another dose of insulin.  An insulin pump option on a dual or square wave bolus works well for a lot of people, but from what I gather, people with and without pumps have a hard time keeping blood sugars in range with processed grains.

Sugar

Eating something like candy made from glucose or sugar or drinking plain 100% juice or sugar sweetened beverage is a bit different.  I find that if I’m going to consume this within a reasonably fast amount time (as opposed to snacking over a period of 30 minutes) then I count carbs and using my 1:15 scale, I give just that amount of insulin.  Then I wait 15 minutes for the insulin to start working (more if I’m not in range).  I find that the insulin cancels out the sugar carbs pretty well and there is no shocking aftermath.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This one is interesting.  At least for me (remember, this is just what happens in MY body).  I find that candy or beverages made with HFCS works like when I eat refined grains.  But that makes sense to me when I think about corn being a grain!  It’s easy to forget because people serve it to kids and say “eat your veggies”.

High fat desserts

This gets it’s own category because of the large amount of fat (and because they’re my favorite!)  I try to stick with dark chocolate for a low dose of sugar.  I also make sure to buy desserts that do not have HFCS in it as a sweetener.  I try to get the gourmet kind with minimal ingredients and then I count carbs and give insulin in the middle of eating since the fat content really slows down the absorption of most of these foods.  If there is a lot of sugar I give insulin prior to eating as usual.  I’m referring to a dessert like high fat truffles, mostly.

Poultry/Meat/Seafood

I count carbs and then add a tiny extra amount of insulin to my carb count depending on how much I eat.  I don’t have to do this unless I’m really filling up on this protein source.  I love how these foods fill me up and do very little to my blood sugars.

Vegetables and Fruits

I’m a fan of these, especially in terms of carbs.  As you are well aware, the high antioxidant, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water content of these foods makes them wonderful for our health.  I definitely don’t need as much insulin for these foods.  I count the carbs and then omit for fiber content.  Fruit is something I stick to consuming in it’s natural state and in small quantities.  The sugar in fruit is fructose and too much overloads the liver, causing fatty liver problems.  Oh and it definitely affects blood sugars.  My favorite are cherries, they are very low glycemic.  Have you tried them for a low?  It takes so many!

I know I didn’t talk about legumes or nuts.  I don’t eat legumes anymore.  I think I ate too many as a kid.  I treat legumes like vegetables and I treat nuts like meat.

With any food:  If I eat a lot, I need to give a little extra insulin for the full stomach effect that Dr. Bernstein has talked about in his books.

I adjust for a few other things.  I’ve mentioned them before but here we go again:

BM status.  Eww, I know.  But being backed up might make a person anticipate a need for more insulin.  The opposite of that issue= less insulin.  So watch out for major lows if you get food poisoning!

Stress.  If I’m stressed, I have to give a little bit extra insulin to combat the stress hormones and their affects on my blood sugars.

Exercise.  Different types of exercise require different diabetes management approaches.  Read Ginger Vieira’s book for that info and so much more-even worksheets for getting all these changes right!

PMS.  Days before I start, I need to up my basal insulin.

Sleep.  If I stay up late (past midnight), I have to give some extra insulin (unless I’m active).

Sedentary.  If I’m being sedentary more than two days in a row due to sickness or diabetes burnout or whatever, I definitely have to up my basal insulin substantially (by 30-40%).

Too much artificial sweeteners.  Certain artificial sweeteners in high doses do contain carbs (it’s a small amount per serving so they’re legally allowed to round down to 0) so if you’re binging on diet coke, check your blood sugar and stay alert to a sneaky increase.

That’s all I can think of.  It’s just an example of how you want to be aware of how your body reacts to different types of food and activity.  You can see why I stick with meat/poultry/seafood, vegetables, and fruits.  Much better blood sugar stability and less variability for me.  But when I do splurge, at least being aware of how those foods act differently help me manage them for those occasions.

I write all this out because you can have tighter blood sugar management.  It helps to learn yourself and the foods you’re eating.  Again, get Ginger’s book or ebook and discover how to improve your blood sugars.  I highly recommend it.

Sanofi iBGStar® Blood Glucose Monitoring System in the U.S!

46108-Phone-DeviceStrip-md

 

Do you live in the U.S. and want to check your blood sugar with your iPhone or iPod Touch?

Now you can.

Today, Sanofi launched the iBGStar Blood Glucose Monitoring System in the U.S.  It’s a glucose meter than connects directly to your iPhone or iPod touch.  You can get the iBGStar at Apple Retail Stores and at all Walgreens stores nationwide, online at Apple.com, Walgreens.com, and through Diabetic Care Services.  Check with your insurance about test strips being covered by your insurance.

From the press release:

About iBGStar®
When iBGStar® is directly connected to an iPhone® or iPod touch® and used with the iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App, blood glucose results are presented on the Multi-Touch display quickly after monitoring.

iBGStar® can also be used independently to measure blood glucose levels; results can be synchronized later to an iPhone® or iPod touch®. iBGStar® and BGStar® Blood Glucose Test Strips, which are used with iBGStar®, are available at all Walgreens stores nationwide and online at Walgreens.com and through Diabetic Care Services. These test strips may be covered under certain health insurance plans so individuals should check directly with their provider.

The iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App has a range of features and multiple views for analyzing glucose patterns on-the-go. Visual graphs and statistics can help people record and track their readings, carbohydrate intake, insulin doses (if taking insulin) and more. Color-coded scorecards show individual monitoring results for easy identification of high or low blood glucose levels. A ‘share’ function allows specific data to be sent via e-mail to caregivers and/or healthcare teams. The iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone® and iPod touch® or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

How did the iBGStar come to be?

Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski wrote a really interesting blog post talking about the players that made this possible  I’m impressed with the insight of these people and grateful that they looked at our lives and found a way to integrate our daily tasks of making phone calls and checking email with our daily task of testing our blood sugar.

Are the strips covered?

I just called my insurance company and they had to call a pharmacist who had to look up this device online and then report back that they can’t give me pricing info on the strips, yet.  I’m to check back in a month.  I will be checking back and if my strips are covered…what a wonderful thing that will be!

 

Real Age Diabetes Tool at Diabetes Care Club

relaAgeLogo

I work a bit at Diabetes Care Club, writing blog posts and helping out on the forums.  While logging on the other day I noticed they entered into an exclusive partnership with Real Age to create a diabetes specific real age evaluator.  I thought this was cool because I’ve taken the Real Age Test before but was a bit bummed out by how it wasn’t able to capture information based on my diabetes management and therefore not really give me a more accurate or personalized assessment.

My Real Age Diabetes score is 26-which is pretty encouraging considering I’m about to turn 29 in a couple weeks.  That’s the fun game aspect of the Real Age test but it’s not what I consider the most important aspect.  The test asks questions on every element of health imaginable and then, depending on your answers, gives you information and recommendations.

I found this test to be a helpful tool to me because it pointed out my weaknesses in my overall health.  For example, I realized that I’m eating and exercising pretty well most of the time but maybe I’m not as socially active as I’d like to be or I’m not testing as often as I’d like.  Also, the test reminded me about all the annual diabetes wellness check ups I should be having such as a visit to the eye doctor and podiatrist.

We don’t necessarily need help pointing out what we’re doing right.  We need help to pinpoint what we need to improve upon and taking the Real Age Diabetes assessment helps to organize your strengths and weaknesses in an easy to view and understand way.  And yes, it is kind of fun to work to lower one’s “real age”, I’m not going to lie.

Something I want to mention:  The regular Real Age test gave me a score of 24 and the Diabetes one a score of 26.  I think that’s interesting to note because it shows how diabetes does make a difference-not that we didn’t know that!  But it shows that creating a diabetes focused Real Age test was really worthwhile.  The truth hurts but it’s also empowering.  Let’s try to focus on the empowering part and on the part we CAN influence.

Take the test here! (you will have to register and sign in first)

Check Anywhere and Anytime You Need To

April 2012 103

 

Sometimes I hesitate to check my blood sugar because it seems inconvenient based on my location or what I’m doing.  But really, a high or low blood sugar that’s not caught in time is the real inconvenience.  So check, test, and measure your blood sugar when you need to.  It’s A-Okay.

Oh and generally, the same can be said for diaper changes ;)

 

April 2012 105

 

I hope you had a great Easter!

I’ll be in DC for a few days with WEGO Health for the DTC Conference, will post again on Friday! XOXO

Tips for Dealing with the 2012 Allergy Season

388104_257601964296941_254597271264077_771632_1363302013_n

I see a beautiful forest AND a full on immune system attack…

 

I have major allergies.  By major I mean severe and numerous.  I have been on allergy shots for 11 years where most people are on them for 3 years because I’m allergic to so many things.

Anyway, because I have all these allergies, have been seeing an allergist for over a decade, and because I have a deviated septum and diabetes, further predisposing me to sinus infections, I want to share a few great tips I’ve learned along the way.

Nasal Irrigation is your best friend.

I used to have what I call “eternal sinus infections” meaning I never got rid of them.  I spent years with a constant sinus infection that increased and decreased in severity but never went away.  Eventually, when I was desperate, I saw an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor.  She said, “Ohhh you’ve got a deviated septum, that doesn’t help matters!”  So basically that means my nose is a little crooked and it prevents drainage from one side-helping me get infections really quickly.  She gave me a Neil Med sinus irrigation bottle and it’s been a miraculous cure to sinus infections for me.  I don’t know what I’d do without it.  Neti pots work similarly and are well loved by people out there, too.

If You Take Zyrtec, Save Money!

A few years ago my doctor told me how to save money on Zyrtec (which is pretty pricey). He told me to go to Sam’s Club (or go with someone with a membership) and look for the generic of Zyrtec which is Certirizine. A year’s worth of that costs about a month’s worth of Zyrtec from CVS. HUGE savings and he says it works the same!

Also, if you take Zyrtec, take it consistently before you need it. It needs time to work properly and to work well you need to take it each day-not just when you think you need it.

By the way, be careful with Benadryl, it causes your heart to race and can cause problems.

Managed blood sugars are crucial.

When I got a grip on my diabetes management, I got a lot less sinus infections starting in the first place-which was awesome.  Also, it’s faster to heal from an infection when there is no extra sugar in your body for bacteria to ruthlessly feed on.  People without diabetes can get in on this one as well.  Eat less sugar and you’ll prevent and heal from infections faster!  Also, infections make blood sugars hard to manage so prevention really is key.

Ear Drops

This is a weird one, I know.  I buy these ear drops at the local food store that are made for kids.  They contain olive oil and garlic extract.  You put a few drops in each ear at night and cover with a cotton ball.  This keeps the area inside the ear moisturized so that there is no dryness and less irritation present.  I use it on my kids to help them avoid getting sick, as well.  Apparently, dryness doesn’t allow our mucous membranes to kick out viruses and bacteria and allergens.

Eat Seasonally

How ironic is it that nature provides Spring greens and berries?  These foods are known for being cleansing and detoxing.  These foods help clear up mucous!  It’s like nature knows we’re going to need some help clearing all the pollen that’s out there and wants to help us out!  So buy all the fresh locally grown greens in your area.  Make a lot of salads.  Add a little olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh squeezed lemon.  (Apple cider vinegar and lemon are alkalizing) (lemon is a natural expectorant to help you get rid of mucous).  Enjoy those salads and feel your body letting go of the Winter time heavy feeling that you accumulated with all the stews and nuts and meats you ate to keep warm.

Wash your hair each night.

Pollen gets blown into your hair and if you sleep on it, (and if you happen to be allergic to pollen) you’ll wake up feeling congested and groggy.  Take a bath each night during allergy season.  Get all those allergens off before you go to sleep and you’ll wake up feeling much better, I promise.

Avoid processed foods.

I’ve found that avoiding processed foods does more than just help me with my blood sugars and weight.  It helps me with my allergies.  I find that if I steer clear of alcohol and sugar and foods with chemicals, I cut down on my reactions and sneezing fits, big time.  Perhaps this is because our systems are overwhelmed when we have allergies.  And by keeping our bodies clear of other irritants and aggravators, we keep the body feeling more calm and less on the attack.  Also, less sugar means less inflammation.  Allergies cause quite a bit of inflammation and discomfort in our sinus cavities.

Consider allergy shots.

Allergy shots kind of work like vaccines only they don’t have any adjuvants you worry about.  Allergy shots give you a tiny amount of what you’re allergic to (mine is a cocktail of trees, grasses, weeds, dust mites, molds, and so on).  The hope is that over time, by receiving small amounts of what your body is confused about will help your body stop reacting so wildly to.  Basically the shots sneak up on your immune system and try to tell it “Yo! There is nothing wrong with a little grass, see?!”  Over time, you can either eliminate or lessen your allergy to something.  I used to be severely allergic to dogs and cats.  Now I’m just moderately allergic.  That’s a big deal for me because I used to have asthma attacks and so much congestion I couldn’t breathe near dogs and cats and now I don’t have those issues.  I’m no longer allergic to certain trees and molds and I’m less allergic to other things.  It really works.  The problem is it’s very expensive and stupid insurance companies are still not on board with covering allergy shots.  They don’t think they are a “medical issue”.  Really?  That excuse won’t last much longer.  So hang in there.  More and more should be covering these shots, soon.

Last but not least, drink lots of water

Water helps keep you hydrated, less inflamed, and it helps flush toxins out of your body.  If you have allergies, you really need plenty of water each day.  Surprisingly, this is the hardest thing for me.  I really need to work on this one.  How bout we work on it together?

En Fin…

Allergies make a person miserable, I know.  And those who don’t have allergies often think we’re all wussies.  I know what you’re going through and honestly, these tips have helped me get back to normal, cut down on migraines, and function during this time of year.  I do get more drowsy, so I try to just go to bed earlier and go with the flow.  But overall I feel WAY better than I used to.  And you can, too.

If you have any tips, please add in the comments!

How I Use MDI

544584_328755177181619_254597271264077_965186_576102910_n

 

A lot of people have asked me questions about how I manage my type 1 diabetes via multiple daily injections so that’s what this post is about.

Firstly, I want to say that this is what I do and what works for me and before you try to change anything to your diabetes management, you want to talk to your doctor.  Insulin dosages vary person to person depending on their weight, activity level, stress level, diet, insulin resistance, medications, etc.

I use Lantus insulin as my long acting “basal” insulin and Humalog insulin as my fast acting “bolus” insulin.

My Lantus routine

Every night around 10pm I give an injection of Lantus.  Based on my weight which hovers between 130-140 pounds, I am to give about 20 units per day.  This does work for me.  However, I try to exercise each day and eat a diet that is void of processed foods and low in glycemic load.  These two factors cause my insulin needs to decrease.  If I’m exercising and eating the way I try to, I use about 12 units of Lantus.  If I don’t do one of these, I will need about 15-16 units of Lantus.

I just want to note that when I removed wheat out of my diet, I lowered my Lantus by about 5 units, daily.  Kind of amazing.

Anyway, Lantus is advertised as a 24 hour insulin you take once a day.  If you open up the folded pamphlet that comes with Lantus and read it, you’ll discover Lantus lasts closer to around 20-21 hours.  So being aware of this, each day around dinner time, I give a extra unit or two of insulin in order to combat the dying out of Lantus in my system.  Or I do a really short workout and that takes care of things, too.

How do I deal with dawn phenomenon?

Well, I had a hard time with it when I gave my Lantus in the mornings because it would run out just before I woke up and cause me to wake up pretty high unless I slept around 75-80 (in that case dawn phenomenon didn’t do anything to me).  So that’s why I give Lantus at night.  Each morning, I notice that if I wake up at 7:30am or before 7:30am, I don’t deal with the dawn phenomenon.  If I sleep past that time, I will start to go up pretty quickly.  I don’t know why my dawn phenomenon seems to kick in so late, but it does.  By experimenting with testing at different times in the morning before you give insulin or eat, you can pinpoint the general time your body starts pushing your blood sugars up each morning.  I do find that if I sleep under 100, dawn phenomenon doesn’t do anything.  But sometimes I don’t feel safe sleeping at that blood sugar level, because perhaps I did more exercise than usual or something and in those cases I’ll try to sleep between 110-140.  Being in that range in the early morning typically causes a dawn phenomenon spike for me so I try to get up at the same time each day and give insulin and eat first thing.

My Humalog routine

I use Humalog as needed and before meals.  I just count carbs and take note of my insulin/carb ratio which is about 1:15.  Most of my meals let me give below 2-3 units of insulin so I don’t usually have to worry about really high or low post meal blood sugar swings.  I do notice that sometimes I’m really stressed and sometimes forget to drink water.  As a result my blood sugar climbs considerably.  I give an extra amount of insulin with meals to combat this.  If the stress is a bit chronic (long term) I’ll up my Lantus instead of my Humalog-which I reserve for very temporary situations.

About injecting

I inject in public as needed.  I inject in my abdomen, hips, arms, and above my breasts (click here for a video of that).  I reserve my hips and arms for times my blood sugar is kind of low (around 75) and my abdomen and the fatty tissue above my breasts for the times I’m ready to eat or over 120 because those areas tend to yield faster results with the insulin.  I rotate a lot more than I used to because it helps avoid the buildup of scar tissue-which absolutely affects insulin absorption and makes it more random.  After giving an insulin shot, I put my fingers over the area and press gently for a few seconds.  This is supposed to help the insulin get absorbed.  I don’t use insulin pens because sometimes I am not sure how much insulin I got or sometimes insulin leaks from the site.  I like the small child-sized syringes by BD that hold up to 30 units of insulin and have a very short and fine needle.  If you are not thin or average weight, you’ll want a longer needle in order to ensure the insulin gets properly absorbed.

Carrying and caring for insulin

I carry a case with my meter and Humalog insulin at all times.  I keep Lantus in the fridge in the butter compartment.  I don’t keep Humalog anywhere near my Lantus because I don’t want to risk giving a huge amount Humalog when I intended to give Lantus.  I’ve done that twice and it resulted in me seeing the paramedics on both occasions.  After 30 days I dispose of Lantus and Humalog (even though I have plenty left).  I never refrigerate my Humalog because it lasts 30 days without refrigeration and it is supposed to be disposed of after 30 days anyway.

Does it work for me?

So that’s how I do it.  I have managed to use the method described above for 5 years now and keep my A1c below 6% the entire time.  Shots work if you understand some insider info and consider appropriate timing and carb counting.  I had to learn a lot of this the hard way or through my doctors.  If any of this info is news to you, talk to your doctor about it.  Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the insulin you use.  It totally affects diabetes management.

Please read this part again:

Please remember that changes to your diabetes management should be done carefully and *technically* with the approval and guidance of a physician.  Don’t get hurt and then blame me Winking smile

XOXO

Don’t Settle When It Comes to Health

380498_257601800963624_254597271264077_771624_1837414961_n

I know it’s comforting to settle for the current level of health we have, especially when faced with the prospect of making seemingly impossible lifestyle changes.  Yet, I find that at the end of the day, much of our frustrations and grief, directly or indirectly, come from our less than stellar health.

Most days I feel like I can say I’m “pretty healthy”.  There are days though, when I’m more honest with myself, and picky, too.  On these days I realize I have a long way to go to reach the level of health I long for.  When almost everyone we know struggles with some fatigue, extra weight, acne or other skin issues, mental illness, and other nagging health problems, it’s no wonder so many of us tend to feel that it’s just all an unavoidable part of being human.

Many of us have forgotten that it’s possible to feel and look much better than we do.  I used to think that all teenagers got acne.  Then I learned my parents never got acne and their peers rarely did, either.  I didn’t until I was 23 and my horrible diet finally caught up with me.  I used to think that everyone got indigestion after many meals.  Nope.  Some people rarely get indigestion.  Or headaches, stiff joints, mood swings, irritability, hot flashes during menopause.  Some people don’t even have to brush their teeth to avoid cavities, bad breathe, and gum disease.  Can you imagine?  But these select people eat very differently from us.  And in most cases, they do it because they have no other choice.

While these people have to work hard to find and prepare the food they eat, we have to work hard not to eat.  If the only choices we had were vegetables and fish for dinner, we’d just eat it and reap the health benefits.  You and I have a unique situation that is becoming the norm across the globe.  We have thousands of foods and “foods” to select from and then hundreds of dietary theories from which we can subscribe and it’s all very daunting.

Why is there a type 2 diabetes epidemic? I hear a lot of talk that it’s our genes that are somehow making us more and more susceptible coupled with our changing lifestyle habits and environment. And that’s technically true, but do we ever think about what changes our genes in the first place? According to what I’ve learned, a big part of the reason is the food we eat and the food we don’t eat or rather the food our ancestors ate and didn’t eat. With each new generation, eating habits in recent years have included more genetically modified foods and chemicals and when we have children, we aren’t building a person as well as we could because our diet doesn’t provide us the tools with which to properly do this. Teeth aren’t as straight, facial features aren’t as symmetrical, brain cavities aren’t as roomy (affecting hormone production), and so on.  Nutrients are needed to make a human being and bring them healthy into this world. In a nutrient starved world, we’re consistently churning out more and more children who are challenged with early health issues like the predisposition to allergies, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

The good news is that even if we suffered the effects of malnourished ancestors, (remember you can be overweight and malnourished) we can still turn things around for future generations. We can change our eating habits and create healthier children, who will in turn be poised to create healthier children themselves.

We can also change our habits and gain from doing so right now.  Genes get activated much like an on/off switch with what we eat and how we live.  If we carry a predisposition to type 2 diabetes, a certain lifestyle has the potential to keep the switch on off and help us avoid developing type 2 diabetes.  This is not an easy task in this modern world of ours but I think it’s empowering to know what’s possible and to strive towards the best outcome for all of us.  I understand we can’t do this overnight.  Personally, I’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy to trying to begin to change my lifestyle habits.  I can attest to the fact that it takes time and a lot of effort.  But, I do think it’s worth it and doable.

Health isn’t just about comfort and looks.  It’s about humanity, economic stability, peace, creativity, and growth in a society.

There is no blame game here.  None of us is perfect.  We are all allowed our weaknesses.  It’s about taking responsibility for our bodies and choosing to pay attention and learn about what to do to stay well and improve health.  Those of us with extra time or ability to do so can advocate for those who can’t get access to healthy foods and information.  Policies from government need to reinforce healthy lifestyle habits because even the most determined and self willed individual is up against huge obstacles when it comes to a healthy diet and lifestyle and where does that leave the rest of us?

I don’t want to settle for so-so health, when I could have awesome health.  I’m worth awesome health.  And definitely, so are you…and your children, and grandchildren, too.

The Hard Truth About Blood Sugar Management

388887_254602137930257_254597271264077_762890_852154847_n

Blood sugar success belongs to those who are good at managing their blood sugars, not necessarily those who have good intentions about doing so.

Unfortunate, right?  It doesn’t matter how much you want it or how hard you try.  If you try in the wrong way, you’ll never get the results you’re looking for.  It doesn’t matter if you think about it more than someone else or that you need healthy blood sugars more than someone else.  All that matters is that what you do be effective.

So while this is initially harsh, really it’s quite liberating.  I take it this way:  If we emotionally separate from our diabetes management and rely on our logic and reasoning and focus on results, we are much more likely to reach our goals.  Emotions and diabetes…well, as normal as this duo is, it’s not very conducive to healthy blood sugar management.  Unless those emotions are positive.  But, they’re often not and they just get in the way of what we need to do.

It’s like this with everything in life.  The CEO of a successful company doesn’t have to have the best intentions, he or she just has to be effective.  That’s the kind of CEO we need to be to our diabetes.  One that functions logically, calmly, and effectively.

When I thought of my management more along these terms, I began to realize that discipline was dutiful and that my emotions needed to take a back seat to logic.  Funny thing happened though, my blood sugars behaved much better and that in turn uplifted my mood and provided me more positive emotions.  It was and still is a win-win.

You’re the fabulous ruler of your body and your diabetes.  Don’t you forget it.

DSMA February, Depression in the Winter

dsma-button

DSMA asked us last month (I know, I’m late!): 

What can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months?

Well, this is a good question indeed.

I think first we need to make sure we are getting sufficient Vitamin D.  Next time you get blood work done, have your doctor test your levels.  If they are not in optimum range, get a supplement (or sunlight if that’s possible where you live).  Do not take Vitamin D2.  Take Vitamin D3.  This is really important.  Don’t count on the Vitamin D in your soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk-it’s all D2 and this form does not raise your levels.  So be sure to get D3.  Have your levels checked again in a few months to make sure you’re not under or over supplementing.

Secondly, I find that if I am dealing with a little depression before or during the Holidays, by the time January rolls around, I kind of fall apart.  So I think being proactive is important.  Getting Vitamin D levels at optimal levels by September, exercising a little each day or at least each week through the Holiday season, and making plenty of time to slow down and rest.

For people with diabetes, we tend to go, go, go during December and eat the goodies we want, resulting in higher blood sugars.  Higher blood sugars for a few weeks predisposes us to depression because it really alters our moods.  If you feel sick for a few weeks, it’s naturally going to take a toll and this isn’t limited to your body as your mind also gets affected.  So I think that trying to sustain blood sugar management during this time of year is crucial.

By January, I am tired of working out when it’s cold and then I run into problems with my blood sugars.  I think that finding creative ways to work out indoors is also important because the reality is that I’m not the only one who doesn’t make it out due to the weather.

Being focused on gratitude and possibilities is helpful, too.  Keeping perspective.

Lastly, putting off feelings of depression often makes them worse.  Get help.  See a therapist or counselor, tackle the issues mostly fueling depression, and if needed take something to help you get out of the cycle of lowly feelings.

I’ve struggled with depression in the Winter since I can remember.  This year is the first year I’ve taken Vitamin D year round and I feel much better.  I’m also taking something for anxiety and depression and that has helped immensely as well.  If you’re struggling, tackle the problem and work on healthy lifestyle habits.  You can feel better.

######

To read other entries, click here!

Copyright © 2017. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.