Category Archives: product review

Treato Offers Prescription Side Effect Help


I’ve learned of a pretty cool website called Treato which helps organize and combine different people’s experiences with prescription drug side effects.  You can go here to watch a short video that explains how it works.  It’s free and I tried it out with one of my prescriptions and was pleased at how organized and limitless the information that came up was.  For those of us with a chronic illness, I find that it can be overwhelming to deal with prescription drug side effects because we have to figure out how to separate those symptoms from the symptoms we sometimes get from our illness.  For example, I had trouble recently figuring out if high blood sugar was causing dry mouth or if the new prescription I was taking was the culprit and Treato helped clue me in.

I asked Noam Mantel, who works with Treato, a few questions to learn more:

Have you received any feedback from the medical community regarding the safety and efficacy of Treato?

We are pleasantly surprised to receive such positive feedback from the medical community. We genuinely thought the process of having the professionals on board with the idea would take much longer than it has. Today, Social Media plays such a big role in health that people are taking it very seriously, including the pharmaceutical companies. A great example of positive feedback is a blog post written by Andrew Spong which really blew us away ( .

One of the issues we have come across is info validation. We hope to start integrating medical databases with our personal experiences database so our users can benefit from the best of both worlds at once. We sometimes see raised eyebrows but, especially with professionals, once they see thousands of real patient experiences on one condition or medication, it’s extremely hard to ignore.

What are some practical ways someone might benefit from using Treato?

This is an interesting question because you can take the system to so many places and we hear about new applications all the time. The most obvious way is to get more information on a medication. If you’re already taking a medication and are getting side effects, the site is a great form of assurance that you aren’t the only one getting them. If this is the case, you can compare your medication to similar ones to try and find a medication that less people have said to cause your side effect. Once you’ve found a few potential alternative medications, you can read people’s experiences with switching from your current medication.

Now, this was just an example of people who are already taking medications. People use it to find information about medications they’ve been prescribed, look up medications for recently diagnosed conditions and so on. On a more personal note, I used the site this week for something much less serious. My eyelids were burning when I was exercising so I looked it up on Treato and found out what other people are calling it. This way, I can come up to my physician and say “I think I may have so and so”. This specific application may not have saved my life, but it did make it easier.

Let’s say I look up my medication on Treato and discover that many people have had the same reaction to the medication that I”m having and let’s say I read that several people found relief taking a different but similar medication. How should one go about mentioning this to their doctor for consideration?

We understand how much more difficult it is for doctors today. Patients are coming into their office with printouts of the research they did at home and we’ve heard that some doctors (not all of course) do not care for this. We think the best way to approach a doctor with this is to print out the general statistics you found and then a few specific posts that got your attention. Speaking with doctors, we found that they would respond better to people’s real stories as opposed to medical information from sites. If you show them a few posts of people doing better on a different medication, chances are they will listen.

Of course, if they’re not convinced, you can always show them to the site so they can research the matter further themselves.


Here’s to making sense of our symptoms and prescription drug side effects!

The Book of Better, Book Review


Chuck Eichten has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years.  He has written a book called, The Book of Better targeted at anyone with diabetes.  The book’s all encompassing message to you: that perfect isn’t possible but improvement always is so why not strive for that?.  Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

The book is written in an extremely straight forward style, suitable to those who respond to that and perhaps, most any man.  It’s a really witty book, includes fun visual art and a lot of aesthetic appeal (with exception of some white font on yellow background-well at least it’s large white font).  This comes as no surprise since Chuck Eichten is Nike’s creative director.  In fact, Nike’s timeless “Just Do It” slogan totally relates to this book, which admittedly delighted me to no end.

I have to say, I felt like boxing with the author a couple times.  He says insulin pumps are “the Best Available Treatment”.  I agree on the condition that it is actually what works best for someone.  And someone isn’t equivalent to everyone.  I haven’t had an A1c over 6.0% in over 5 years and I’ve never had a seizure or passed out from a low and I don’t use a pump.  I did for seven years and it did not work for me.  In Eichten’s opinion, you’re crazy if you have access to a pump but don’t have one.  He talks about how pumps allow a person the flexibility to sleep in late, to skip meals or snack in between them, and to be more sexy on dates because it’s probably more of a turn on to be on a first date and hit some buttons on a gadget that’s mysteriously connected to you by tubing than to inject a needle at the table.  I use Lantus and Humalog insulin and between the two I can sleep in and skip meals and frankly, I feel sexier when I’m not connected to the pump.  It’s just easier to move around and wear dresses and door knobs don’t yank me back by two feet of tubing.  And also, Chuck, how do you test your blood sugar?  Because the only way I can do it is by bleeding.  And I don’t know anyone who finds bleeding sexy.  But I know of someone, who find me sexy whether I’m connected to a pump or injecting a shot or pricking my finger.  So for me, the human element is the key.  Though, many might agree with you and that’s the beauty of it I suppose.  It would just be nice to have the other option properly acknowledged because it can and does work for some people.

I can’t help but wonder if this hailing of the pump is partly one person’s way of supporting technology to continue advancing for our benefit.  If that’s the case, then great and thank you.  But I worry about those who can’t get access to a pump, who hear that they are the best thing, and then lose all hope in their MDI.  And we all know how important it is that people have hope, right?  In all essence it’s like we’re in the same league, playing on different teams, but with the same end goal of winning in mind.

Enough about pumps!  The book, for me, is an awesome dose of perspective.  At least once every chapter I exclaimed, “YES!” out loud, prompting my husband to ask me what the commotion was all about.  The author does a fantastic job of confronting the root issues that people have with certain aspects of life with diabetes and then he explains them in a way that makes a person realize he is right and our excuses are absolutely useless.

For example, I have long been in an internal battle over the “Yes I can eat that” campaign.  I feel like “yes…I can…but, I want to be healthy so often, no I can’t…”  You know what I mean?  Well, the author reminds us that there are two conditions to the “yes I can eat that”.  We’re empowered patients, after all.  People with type 1 can eat anything but if they’re smart, they are going to be picky about when and how much they eat, not because they are strict and deny themselves pleasure, but because they know they deserve to take care of themselves.  This is a really powerful message and there are many like this in the book regarding diet and exercise and one’s attitude.  By the way, Chuck eats a totally unhealthy breakfast every day and impressively balances it out in real life way you will want to read about.

This book does another fine thing by reasoning with our emotions and appealing to our genuine worries.  For example he says, “You are not boring, you are consistent”.  People think it’s fun and attractive to be spontaneous and diabetes tries to challenge us on that.  And the author is reminding us that the fact of the matter is diabetes likes consistency and if we try to keep some things consistent, we’ll be better off.

He also heavily promotes that all people with diabetes move each day.  Instead of sounding like a doctor “you’ll be healthier, your risk for heart disease will be lower”, the author actually goes to the true places in all of us and mentions how, for example, if we move more, we’ll spark a chain of events that will ultimately get us more of what we want and less of what we don’t want.  Finally, someone who knows how to motivate.

I have been gathering information regarding lifestyle habits of long time type 1 diabetics who are very healthy and this book just so happens to discuss many of those consistencies.  If you want to live a long and healthy life with diabetes, this book won’t steer you wrong. You might actually go for a pump after reading the book. And that’s ok because it may work for you.  Winking smile

You want an excellent dose of reality, perspective, hope, and humor?  Read this book.

You can buy it here.

Natural Glucose Tablets! The Glucolift Review


You probably already know I’m into “natural”, “healthy”, blah blah blah.  You may be, too.  If you’re not and wondering why a natural glucose tablet may be worthwhile, this here is especially for you.

First of all, I know many of you treat lows with candy and fruit juice.  Sometimes I have no choice but to use something like that, as well.  However, when we’re low the fastest thing we can use to bring up our sugar is glucose and that’s why glucose tablets are a smart choice.  The problem is they contain artificial flavors, colors, and genetically modified ingredients which over the course of time is not going to support our health.

Glucolift glucose tablets are created by a fellow diabetic.  They don’t have anything artificial and they don’t have a yucky chalky taste to them.  We received some bottles to try out and Ana and I really loved them.  What struck me though, was just how much I missed them when I ran out and went back to my old glucose tablets.  I almost gagged.  So perhaps at first taste Glucolift tablets don’t taste very different-after all they still have the same 4 grams of glucose per tablet, but once you go from these to the regular artificially flavored tablets, oh you’ll know the difference.

Let’s face it, when we’re low, we sometimes want to make the experience a little less crappy so we dig into ice cream or candy.  The truth is that we do best by relying on what our body is in immediate need of and that is glucose.  We also do best to enjoy the way our glucose tablets taste so the experience isn’t a complete drag.

So we love the taste:  I love the cherry the most, Ana loves the wildberry flavor the most, and others have reported that they are head over heels for the orange cream flavor.  We love the easy flip lid that allows easy access while trembly and low.  And we love that someone acted to fill a diabetic consumer void.

We’re happy to give this product a big thumbs up.

If you’re interested, you can order at Amazon!  I’m going to get my cherry tablets right now.

Book Review: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes


Today for Fabulous Friday where we celebrate and encourage self love and respect, I want to review a book I read recently.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes is written by Amy Stockwell Mercer, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting earlier this year at the Diabetes Sisters Conference.  Upon meeting her, I was struck by what a great listener and empathetic person she was.  Then I found out she was coming out with this book and got the opportunity to read it.  Here is my honest review:

Aside from great advice on many aspects of life with diabetes, this book is often a compilation of different voices, gathered and arranged by Amy, into topics such as Eating and Motherhood and Exercise.  The result, I found, was a chicken soup for the diabetic woman’s soul.  Amy talks a lot about her own experience with type 1 diabetes all throughout the book and adds the separate perspectives of many other women with diabetes from all walks of life.

I was particularly surprised by how emotional I became while reading this book.  I wasn’t expecting this at all.  This book portrays the honest and open feelings and thoughts of women struggling with diabetes and since I’m struggling with diabetes, I couldn’t help but relate and find comfort in the fact that I certainly am not alone.

I also became very aware of some repressed emotions about my experience with diabetes.  For example, I read about women who have struggled with eating disorders and realized that although I have never skipped insulin or thrown up, I have had a very intense and harsh internal battle with myself about the weight gain I experienced after my diabetes diagnosis.  I realized that even now, I still have some unhealthy tendencies that I need to work on.  There is advice found throughout the book that is gentle and practical and truly helpful in the area of eating and all the other topics the book covers.  I imagine that for other women with diabetes, this book could help surface some emotions that need to be properly acknowledged and dealt with.  Don’t be afraid of this, it’s a natural step forward towards healing and feeling better.

I saw someone on Facebook ask why a book would focus on women with diabetes.  I think the answer is obvious.  We menstruate, can get pregnant, go through menopause, and society puts unique pressures on us as women.  This book speaks to us individually through the candid and often funny perspectives of different women with diabetes.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book and appreciate Amy’s hard work, honesty, and willingness to wear her heart on her sleeve.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to recognize some truths in me and another solid truth:  that I’m NOT alone with diabetes.  While our experiences are our own, it doesn’t mean someone out there doesn’t get it.  I curled up on the couch with this book, sipped tea, and felt like I was totally understood by girlfriends.  It was really nice :)

You can get the book here.

The Coffee Replacement I’ve Been Looking For!


I haven’t been this excited in a while.  I’ve written a few times about how I’m very sensitive to caffeine and how even a tiny bit will fuel anxiety and drive me bonkers (and just plain mean, ask Alex).  I’ve been trying to find something that replaces the huge hole that coffee has left in my heart and belly.  I tried hot chocolate but the packets I find have hydrogenated oils and too much sugar, the homemade version takes me too long (I’m kind of lazy), and tea is so…watery and…clear.

At the whole foods store the other day I picked up some organic fair trade coffee for Alex and something called “Teeccino” caught my eye.  I noticed it was an all natural “herbal coffee”, with no caffeine, 75% organic, and it came in delicious flavors like vanilla nut and almond.  I took home the almond amaretto flavor and brewed it just like coffee this morning.  I put a tiny bit of cream in it and took a sip.  It’s thick, flavorful, deep, nutty, and slightly sweet.  I really don’t have appropriate words to describe how it tastes except to say that I’ve found the coffee replacement I’ve been looking for.  It’s super delicious.  It’s something that even the kids can drink and only has about 20 calories per serving.  It’s low on acidity which is something that coffee is high in (and if you’re wondering, being too acidic is not ideal).

If you’re looking to cut down on caffeine or remove it altogether, try this stuff and gradually brew coffee mixed with this while adjusting the ratio of coffee and Teeccino in favor of Teeccino until you’re happy where you are at.  Seems like a painless way to do this.  If you feel fine and happy with your coffee, then cheers to both of us enjoying a morning brew.  I was beginning to feel left out.

Check out







Bella Soul Diabetes Case Review and Giveaway!


You all probably know by now that I love my myabetic diabetes case.  I do.  Though like any girl who can’t just have one pair of awesome shoes, I’m open to checking out other styles and colors.  I’m so excited that there are other companies popping up all the time to serve the needs of people with diabetes.  Products with different styles and details to choose from add to our quality of life.  If one product line doesn’t fit your personality, then certainly, another out there will.

The people of Bella Soul have recently introduced a line of feminine diabetes cases.  They sent my sister Ana and I each a case.  What follows is our honest opinion of the product (in other words you can’t buy us love nor favorable reviews here).

Ana’s Review:

Well, let me begin by telling you all that I love bags and purses. If I could, I would have more of them right now. Needless to say, I was so excited when Sysy informed me that we were each getting an awesome diabetes case from Bella Soul (I looked at their website). I received the green leather one which is funky and definitely eye-catching because of its bright green color. It’s probably one of the prettiest shades of green, in my opinion. Besides the beautiful color, the style of the case is very stylish and you can tell it is well-made. The gold zipper accents the green perfectly and it doesn’t get stuck like cheap zippers do.

While I love the appearance of the case, I must admit that its a little too compact for me. I can fit my meter, lancet, bottle of strips, two insulin pens, plus chapstick and an ink pen, but when its closed it appears to be about to burst open. I wouldn’t want to risk ripping the case, but who knows, maybe it can actually handle all that stuff. The current size is convenient, but not realistic for my own supplies. The case has a nifty waterproof pocket for an ice pack, but there’s no way I would be able to fit one. But just because it doesn’t work perfectly for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! Check out the pictures below :]



Sysy’s Review:

First of all, I’m really excited these products have come out at top tier for quality.  Does yours truly have the money for a beautiful leather or embroidered case?  I’d have to save up.  However, I know a good chunk of the many millions of women with diabetes are at least willing to save up for something that makes them feel really special.   These cases are pretty knock out.  I received a black embroidered one with a gorgeous colorful pattern.  I can’t wait to take this out.  It’s so good looking.  Can I say that about a diabetic case?  These organizer cases have a wrist band so you can party away while keeping your meter close by.  The company also offers small bags with cross straps that are pretty convenient and in style right now.  They also offer larger bags with special slide in compartments for the organizers.

As far as a downside the only thing I see is that it’s quite compact.  I notice I have to put everything in it’s place or I won’t be able to close it.  And the leather one hardly fits my strip bottle for my accu-check meter.   This is a popular meter so I’d say the organizer cases all need to be a bit thicker in dimension.  I tested the fit of both cases to the One Touch Ultra Link meter and the One Touch Ultra Mini meter and those fit nicely in case you have that meter.  Whatever meter you have, just make sure the test strip bottle isn’t wider than an inch-that’s where it gets tricky.  Most new test strip bottles are rather small, I believe, but I just want to give you a heads up!

The price may be a drawback for some but every product has it’s niche and this will suit the neat, organized, and feminine gal who wants a really pretty case that she can be proud to show off.  Some of these cases have a design that look hippy chic to me.  The leather ones look classic chic.  I love fashion so I could go on but instead I’ll just show you pictures so you can make your own mind up!

The one I got is the Claire in coral.  A bit roomier and equally stunning.

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We’re all for this company’s mission of empowering and supporting women with diabetes.  As a plus, this company gives a significant portion of their earnings to research foundations such as the International Diabetes Federation, the ADA, and the JDRF.

Now for the fun part.  Bella Soul has sent the pink patent leather case for us to giveaway to one of our readers. To enter, add a comment letting us know you want to be entered in the giveaway and make sure to include a valid email.  In one week from today we’ll draw the winner.

This patent leather pink one is called Cindy and is just like the green one Ana showed you, only…pink :)

Cindy-pink sm

Good luck and check out the other gorgeous stuff at Bella Soul!

Book Review: Your Diabetes Science Experiment

I firmly believe in telling the truth when I review a book or product and this post is no different.

There were particular changes I made to my diabetes management several years ago.  As a result, my blood sugars went from chronically high to very well managed.  Nerve pain in my feet and cramping in my legs ceased.  My kidney function returned to normal.  My head stepped out of a fog.  I had the clarity of mind and the physical and emotional energy to change my job, relationship, and diet.  My depression alleviated.  I’m much happier and healthier now, a wife, and a mother.  So it’s my opinion that getting my blood sugars managed was a completely life altering experience.  I now consider blood sugar management my top priority.

The steps I took, the reason that I have improved my blood sugars over the years had to do with a few basic ideas that I acted upon.  Recently I read Ginger Vieira’s book, “Your Diabetes Science Experiment” and practically jumped for joy when I finished it.  The very information that saved my life and changed it entirely for the better is in this book! This book does what every Endocrinologist should do, but doesn’t have time to do or doesn’t do because he or she doesn’t feel the info is relevant to share with patients. This book educates you on how the human body works in relation to insulin, stress, food, and exercise.  This book does not give you any unscientific nonsense.  Instead, the information in it, if taken seriously, has the potential to make your diabetes management what it needs to be.  Our reality is we need to avoid lows and highs.  We need to know how to manage our diabetes largely on our own.  We need to understand how our bodies work so that we can make our own adjustments quickly and accurately.  This book can help you do that.

The info in this book will empower you.  I find it incredibly useful to know for example, that a low uses up glycogen stores in my muscles and is therefore the reason that my post low blood sugar workout is going to make me feel like a wimp.  For someone who isn’t aware of this, they might be the person to say something like, “Sometimes I have energy for my workouts and sometimes I just don’t, there is no rhyme or reason, and it’s because I have diabetes.”  We need to empower ourselves with knowledge and get away from these general expressions that mean nothing.  They just reveal our vulnerability to the facts about the body and diabetes.  They also take away our power to foresee changes in our diabetes management which could otherwise be dealt with successfully or at least more successfully, more often.

I started this blog to share what I’ve learned the hard way over the years and tell you what has worked for me, just in the case it works for you.  Reading this book has confirmed what I do and why I do it.  It does much more however, as it gives you the full, clear, and organized explanation as to why something is the way that it is.  Ginger shoots from the head but is also quite warm and inspiring.  She is a record holding power lifter and uses the information in the book in her own life.  I appreciate the examples she provides in the book which have to do with her own experiences.  I also really appreciate her positive attitude and the clever metaphors she uses in order to make concepts easier to understand.

This isn’t a book published by a huge agency.  It’s not coming to you through the ADA.  I do however, wholeheartedly recommend it to you.  If you have money to buy only one book this year, make it this one.  And when you get the book, travel slowly through it.  Take your time soaking in the information and sit down with your own data to perform your own diabetes science experiments.  Seriously, do them.  As Ginger reminds us, the work involved is well worth it.  I have little adjustments that I do according to variances in my routine which took some time to get right but now that I have those adjustments, I don’t know what I’d do without them-because they work so well.

Diabetes management can be less of a puzzle.  Many don’t like me to say that I usually know why my blood sugars are what they are.  The old me wouldn’t have liked it, either.  Maybe you don’t want to read this book because the idea that there is a scientific reason behind each one of your blood sugar results seems unrealistic or far fetched.  I assure you it’s not.  I completely understand the place many people are in where they work very hard and don’t see the results they deserve.  It’s too bad that doctors never shared any of this information with me and that people like Ginger and I had to look it up and research it for ourselves.  It’s not your fault that your diabetes causes this cycle of ups and downs but the ability to improve your situation is in your hands.  I promise you can improve your diabetes management with the information in this book.

I have a lot of respect for someone who writes a book that has no BS factor and is altogether upbeat, hopeful, and honest.  Ginger, thank you for writing this book.  I did not know how I’d feel about it.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book is a treasure and it is my strong hope that you’ll all read it.

You can buy the book here.  Check out Ginger’s website here.

Angell Bar Review


For those times when I splurge, I like to really enjoy what I’m having.  I think I’m a pretty conscientious individual so to enjoy something, I need minimal guilt involved.  For example, I love Walmart’s prices but don’t shop there because I know they pay their employees less than other places.  When my husband presented me with a gorgeous engagement ring, my first thought was, “YES!!!” and my second was, “Wait, is this a blood diamond?”  I only feel right eating eggs if I get cage free and organic.  So yes, I like to try and live in a way that is respectful and accountable.  I don’t always succeed and a lack of unlimited funds presents a major challenge, but I try.

I recently discovered that the #4 most common question I get emailed is, “What chocolate or candy bar would you recommend?”  (For some reason only women have asked this)  I get so excited when I hear this question because I can honestly recommend something I have NO qualms with whatsoever.  I’m really picky with chocolate and desserts.  Your average dessert doesn’t impress me anymore.  I go for quality.  So anyway, months ago I found Angell Bars at my local Nature’s Food Outlet store.  When I bought one, the store manager said, “Have you tried these?”  I said, “Not yet, but I hear they’re good!”  He replied with his hands wildly gesturing, “You have no idea!  My wife says if she had to choose between Angell Bars and me-we’d um…well we’d be in trouble!”  “Yikes”, I thought…they can’t be that good.

So I got in the car and tested my blood sugar and saw I was 65.  Oh looky here I need sugar!  So I had the Snow Angell Bar that has coconut and white chocolate.  I felt the way I do when I get a back massage and I melted away into a dreamy oblivion.  Then when I awoke from candy bar heaven I sat up and loudly exclaimed, “OMG!”  I even think my hands became tiny excited fists.

After this I tried the other flavors involving chocolate and was just amazed by the smooth and rich taste combined with exceptional quality and texture.  My husband loves these bars, too.  He could easily take an Angell Bar over a Snickers bar, any day.  His favorite and mine- is the company’s “sleeper hit” the Snow Angell Bar.  There’s something about it…

In fact I’ve bought a box of these bars during PMS season each month for guilt-free consolation.  And I never buy a box of anything chocolate.

Here is the other part to these bars I really want to share with you.  Taken from the company’s website:

“By making our bars Certified Organic and Fair Trade, we can indulge in a delicious treat, knowing that no toxic herbicides or pesticides were used to grow any of the ingredients, that our candy bars do not support child labor or slavery, that no one is drilling oil wells to get fertilizer to grow our ingredients, and that no harmful runoff from our ingredients is ending up in our fisheries or our drinking water.”

To me this is guilt-free eating.  And I love it.  Can you imagine what would happen if we all demanded quality like this more often?  Wonderful things would happen everywhere.  We just have to dream big and then act on those ideas.

And luckily for our candy bar-loving-ways, Chris Angell and his wife Suzanne have done just that.

Check them out online!

Review of ADA’s Complete Guide to Diabetes


A while back I was sent an advanced copy of the American Diabetes Association’s Fifth Edition of the Complete Guide to Diabetes which comes out this June.  I also got to ask the Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, Dr. David M Kendall a few questions.  Read on for the review and Dr. Kendall’s answers.

This four-hundred-some page manual provides the most updated info on:

  • Preventing Complications
  • Managing Blood Glucose Levels
  • Handling Emergencies
  • Using a Meter
  • Insulin Pumps
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sexuality
  • Coping
  • Family Life
  • Travel
  • Pregnancy
  • And more

I found this book to be the kind of reference book I’d want at home for those times when I need to look something up.  It’s less overwhelming than searching on the internet, although I search there, too for additional information and other opinions.  I’d also expect this book to be purchased by health care providers.  If every general practitioner read this book, we’d have a lot less friction with these folks.  They’d have a very good general understanding of diabetes and the tools it takes to manage blood sugars.

There are helpful discussions in the book which are important to bring up-such as, “Is intensive management right for you?”  and “Choosing a diabetes care provider”.  There is a lot of guidance on these and many other subjects which I found valuable.  I enjoyed the long chapter on insulin and was surprised to learn a few things.

I know a book cannot possibly cover everything in the world of diabetes as it’s such a complicated disease.  One thing that an updated book might have included is information on blood ketone strips.  Only the urine ketone strips were mentioned and the blood ketone strips pick up on trace amounts of ketones before the urine ones do.  Also, the book states there are more than 10 different forms of diabetes. I couldn’t help but wish some of the more unknown forms had been touched upon or discussed. I suppose we serve the masses.

Also, there wasn’t enough information, in my opinion, having to do with guiding a person through their food choices depending on what their blood sugars are.  I suppose this has more to do with the fact that we haven’t come to a consensus about how to change one’s meal supposing blood sugar is elevated.  For example, for a type 1 diabetic, if blood sugar is high before a meal, should one give insulin and wait until blood sugar is lowered before eating?  Or should one go ahead and eat a low carb meal?  Or neither?  This seems to be up to debate and different for each and every one of us depending on our preferences.  It is my experience however, that my lowered A1c’s were achieved only when I began waiting for blood sugar to lower into range before eating.  (Not something that can always be done with children, I know)  I would expect a newly diagnosed to find guidance on this topic rather useful.  For a type 2 diabetic, I would personally encourage them to cut back on grains if it elevated their blood sugars.  Yet, there is that debate going on as well.  Is it healthy to omit carbs?  I think the answer is it depends on who you are.  I think it’s important to remember that some people feel rather good eating low carb and others don’t.  I know for a fact though, that no one does well or feels well with elevated blood sugars.  So if something like lowering carbohydrates helps blood sugars, I see it as a win over carbs not being the ideal fuel-because high blood sugars do more damage. 

The ADA keeps their alliance to the food pyramid as a general guide for all.  And overall it promotes what I would as well.  I just think the relationship between blood sugars and carbohydrates deserves extra attention. 

I asked the ADA’s Chief Scientific & Medical Officer Dr. David M. Kendall about why low carb eating was not discussed or mentioned in the book (it is my understanding that low or lower carb diets help many with diabetes out there) and I also asked him why eggs were not recommended in the healthy eating section of the book.  His reply:

“There are so many pieces that make up the best individual plan for living with diabetes, and the Complete Guide to Diabetes tries to touch upon all of them in some way in these 500 pages: from medications and meal plans to insurance coverage and travel tips. For anyone looking for more in depth information, the Association has even more resources available at 800-DIABETES or”

I can understand the confusion surrounding how we should eat, especially considering it varies due to personal preference and how our bodies feel with certain foods.  So, I asked Dr. Kendall what he considered to be the most impactful lifestyle change someone with type 2 diabetes can make.  He said:

“Research shows that being physically active (at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, everything from walking to more vigorous aerobic exercise) and losing weight and/or maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or delay diabetes complications.”

That’s good news!

I mentioned how people with diabetes are viewed as an economic burden and seen as unwilling to take care of themselves-a great injustice.  Dr. Kendall and the ADA’s statement to that was this: 

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires long term attention to limit the impact on a patient’s health and ultimately on our health system. Neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes develop as the result of an individual’s own “actions” – very simply no one should be “blamed” for their diabetes. Both genetics and a number of environmental triggers (many are poorly understood) give rise to a risk for diabetes. Diabetes does not develop from simply eating “too much sugar” nor is obesity – a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes – the sole fault of an individual who may develop type 2 diabetes. Just like diabetes risk, the risk for overweight and obesity are the result of genetic and environmental factors. While much can be done in hopes of limiting some of this risk, knowing your risk and taking steps to stay healthy, active and lose a modest amount of weight can be helpful in preventing and treating diabetes. If someone feels that they are being discriminated against at work or at school, they can contact the American Diabetes Association at 800-DIABETES to find help”

The reason I’d recommend this book to any person with diabetes is that I’ve found that having all the basics laid out in front of me in an easy to search and read format helps tie loose ends together.  It helps that the second we have a question regarding our diabetes, we instantly have a resource to go to.  I also recognize that although much of the info in this book doesn’t apply to me right now, it doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.  Having a heads up and being aware of things such as medications that can help insulin resistance and knowing the symptoms of diabetes related complications may be crucial to our well being.

As always, my stance is this:  Knowledge is power.  Being informed is a lifesaver.  It’s not always easy or convenient, but having a reference at our fingertips backed by the ADA is a pretty good start.

If I could, the first people I’d hand this book to would be the newly diagnosed.  This book, chapter by chapter, eases a person into the world of diabetes management very gently and I think that is important.

Kudos to the ADA for mentioning the support that can be found online in blogs and message boards. For their next edition, I hope they’ll call it by it’s unofficial title, the Diabetes Online Community.

If you want the book, get it at the ADA’s site or at Amazon.

Type 1 University


I was invited by Gary Scheiner, author of Think Like A Pancreas to try out a class from Type 1 University.  Type 1 University offers online learning experiences from highly qualified certified diabetes educators for those with diabetes who use insulin.  Even though I’m pretty knowledgeable about diabetes and health topics in general, I know there is ALWAYS more to learn.  So needless to say I jumped at the chance.  My latest woe is those 20 pounds I can’t seem to get rid of so I chose to take the weight loss for insulin users course. 

The day of the class I was emailed the link to the class and the password.  I was also emailed the slides for the presentation, mine to keep.  Once in I realized Gary was giving the class live, which I wasn’t expecting.  So you get a certified diabetes educator on audio and video, chatting you, and talking you through the class with slides.  You can chat him questions during the class and get the sense you’re on a one-on-one visit with a CDE.  It was pretty cool. 

Gary Scheiner has type 1 diabetes so don’t worry about feeling preached to.  It’s more about him sharing what he knows with you and doing so in an easy to understand manor, full of relatable examples, and often in a humorous way.  If you get Karen Franey leading the class, she has a child with type 1 diabetes and is also a CDE, so again no worries about someone not “getting it”.

I had no problem paying attention to this hour long class and found it fun to sit at my desk in front of the computer, with my lunch while enjoying a multi-faceted learning experience.

About that…I got reminded about how weight loss works for people with type 1 diabetes.  My suspicions about more insulin resulting in more fat were confirmed.  What is great about this class is you get plenty of information and guidance on how to lower insulin needs safely and get to a place where weight loss is possible and simultaneous with proper blood sugar management.  You also get important information on exercise and diabetes that I feel was really valuable to hear. 

I’m excited about my refreshed efforts to lose weight as a type 1 diabetic and will be filling you all in next month on my progress. 

Want to take a class?  Go to Type 1 University and you will see a column in purple of all the courses available.  You will notice that a prerecorded class is $19.95, which is a great deal and might certainly fit your style.  For just $29.95 though you can have a live class and get access to the CDE for questions that pop up in the middle of the presentation and includes a printable copy of the slides for note-taking sent to you by email.  All without leaving your home.

High quality, convenient diabetes education with a CDE who gets it?  Priceless!



Disclosure:  Yes, I took the class for free but I’m only writing about it because I loved it and wanted to tell you about it.