Diabetes Blog Week 2012! Find a Friend

It’s Diabetes Blog Week and here is the prompt for today:

“Click for the Find A Friend – Monday 5/14 Link List.
It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends.  With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections.  Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!!  Let’s all find a new friend today!    (Special thanks to Gina, everybody’s Diabetes BFF, for helping me title this post!)”

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I think most people know about Riva Greenberg and her posts on her website Diabetes Stories and the Huffington Post but in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her posts, I’m telling you to check one out today!  Her posts are very intelligent and advocacy centered and I always take away some very useful nugget of information.

Everyone has their style of diabetes blog that they like to read.  I prefer diabetes blogs that aren’t so much therapeutic as they are sharing of information or inspiration that can be useful to me.

My exercise and hardcore athletics blogger friend is Chris Scully at CanadianDGal.  She has helped me so much with keeping up my exercise routine and pushing it further (and I love her dry humor).  I find that I keep up my exercise as long as I read her posts because I think that “surely I can take a walk, Chris runs marathons!”

I also have a really sweet blogger friend, Melissa who blogs at In the Short Rows who has a backyard farm and shares much of what she and her husband are doing there while tying it into her life with diabetes.  I totally love to hear about how she cooks their home grown food, takes care of chickens and bees, and balances that life with managing diabetes.

Edibles…(The Diabetic Edition) by Nathan is my new favorite blog.  He writes about his diabetes management in a way that causes me to question, learn, and think about my diabetes management.  Blogs like this one yield tangible results in my diabetes management and that is priceless!

I love reading about fellow diabetics who live differently from me and have talents that I don’t have.  It makes me feel awe about the world we live in.  It reminds me how there are a million ways to do the same thing and that our differences are fun and exciting and a great way to learn new things.

2012 Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk

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Built into the DiabetesSisters Conference is the Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk taking place on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM in front of the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh,  NC.

Taken from the website where you can register and learn more:

“What is ORANGE:WILL?

The orange:will campaign was started by DiabetesSisters in 2010 to raise awareness of the unique issues faced by women with diabetes and to establish orange as the official color of women’s diabetes.  Most people are unaware of how different diabetes is for women, so this campaign is our way of acknowledging those differences and educating the public about them.

You can help by joining us for the walk, bringing friends/family members/co-workers to the Walk, forming a team, or raising funds to support our cause.  Everyone who raises at least $40 will receive a souvenir Walk t-shirt to wear at the event.  The top three individual fundraisers and the top team will receive special prizes – such as an iPad, custom-fitted tennis shoes, designer sunglasses, etc.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about prizes.

**LOCAL & NATIONAL VENDORS WILL BE ON SITE FROM 7:30am-10:00am on MAY 20th.”

If you’re going to the Diabetes Sisters Conference in Raleigh next week, please make sure to register so they have a proper head count!

If you’re going to be in the Raleigh area next week…join us for the walk!  The more, the better as media will be there taking note of the event!  Again, click here to register!

My husband, Alex and I will be there, we hope to see ya!

You’re Always Somewhere You’re Not

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Bad genes or no bad genes, excellent lifestyle habits or not, many are missing the point.  The issue isn’t “some people didn’t give themselves type 2 diabetes-it was their genes!”  I mean when we focus on that, what are we saying, that some people deserve to be judged and some don’t?  I don’t care if someone only ate McDonald’s from their couch their entire life and got type 2 diabetes, they didn’t mean (at least not consciously) to attract harm into their lives.

How about we focus instead on educating everyone to respect each other and to support each other with whatever step of their journey in life they are on.  Some people are just not “there” yet.  Some people aren’t ready to change their diet.  Some people are not ready to listen to recommendations from peers or experts.  Some people are.  Judging someone because they are somewhere you’re not is not a good idea.

Because wherever you are, I can guarantee there is somewhere you’re not and therefore, you’re just as vulnerable to the judging that goes around.

So what I’ve been pushing on myself lately is:

A:  Recognize that just because someone is not in the same place in life you are, doesn’t mean they aren’t trying or that they mean harm or that they won’t succeed in the end.  Can you read a person’s mind?  Maybe they are mentally getting to a place where they might begin to make big, lasting changes.  Your criticism doesn’t speed things up for them-your kindness, patience, and encouragement might, though.

B:  Next time you ask yourself why someone does or doesn’t do something, think about what you do or don’t do.  You’re not exempt of faults and shortcomings so try not to make a fool of yourself.

C:  Support people wherever they are.  Do they want to start training for a marathon?  Cheer them on.  Do they want to get outside once a week for a walk?  Cheer them on and think of that feat in the same way you think of a marathon completion.

People firing back and forth over how others see them as responsible for their disease are not getting anywhere.  Educate people through your actions and your goodness and honesty.  Take responsibility for what you can do for yourself.  Admit what you feel you’re not doing well or right.  You’ll be surprised how everyone will appreciate your openness and feel they can safely admit to their challenges as well.

Peer to Peer Support Reigns

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My type 1 sister Ana’s diabetes themed artwork-you can probably guess what this is, right?

 

I definitely don’t think of myself as an “A1c Champion”.  I just think of myself as someone who finally stumbled upon what works and what doesn’t for myself in the realm of diabetes management because of my being excruciatingly tired of the alternative and unwilling to settle in life.

By keeping healthy and by being rather disciplined with my diabetes management, an opportunity opened up for me to interview for a program called, A1c Champions.  This program sends people with diabetes to lead discussions with other people with diabetes.  Peer to peer support is a brilliant idea and basically my motivation to start this blog in the first place.  So to be able to get out there and talk to people face to face, tell my story, and show them that it’s never too late to turn things around is like a dream come true.  I’m happy to report that I passed my three interviews and will be training later this year.

It’s a dream come true because I wish I had experienced this opportunity as a teenager with uncontrolled diabetes.  I would have loved to see someone with diabetes come talk to me about how they manage to stay healthy and how they too, have struggled.  I did have one experience like this but this woman said she always had taken great care of herself and this made me feel like I couldn’t relate to her.  I also had plenty of people try to cheer me up and motivate me but none of them had diabetes and therefore their words didn’t have the weight attached.  I didn’t feel understood and therefore it was like their words weren’t meant for me.

So to be able to talk to someone who is where I used to be and tell them that I really understand where they’re at and have been there is something I really want to do.  For the little kid inside me.  For the sake of helping others avoid the years of suffering that I recall having.  For those who don’t feel empowered about their diabetes.  For those who feel like hopeless failures.  Before the fabulous “You Can Do This” project came about I wrote one reason on my site for wanting to blog and it was, essentially, to spread the message to others with diabetes that, “You can do this!”  I think that message is extremely powerful and empowering.  And more so when coming from one’s peers.

So if you’re interested in becoming an A1c Champion, check out their website here.

And if you haven’t already participated in the “You Can Do This” Project that Kim Vlasnik launched last year, then I highly encourage you to do it now.  Do it for someone who sees themselves in you.  Or if you need the therapy, watch videos and take comfort in knowing you are definitely NOT alone.

A Great Diabetes Blog to Follow

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Many of you have heard of Richard Vaughn, longtime type 1 diabetic and author of a wonderful book which talks about his journey with type 1.  He’s very active in the DOC and has provided tons of people with hope by reminding us that for many years (due to lack of modern technology and information) he had consistently high blood sugars but is healthy and still going strong.

Richard is so active via email and discussion boards that maybe some of you aren’t aware that he has a blog!  So I just want to broadcast to you all that one of the treasures of the DOC has a blog we can follow at Richard’s Rambling Review.

Every time I feel panic that somehow my diabetes is going to kill me or leave me covered in complications, I remember Richard and his many decades with type 1 and the way he is happy and healthy and always giving back.  We all could use a blog buddy like that Smile

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

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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!

 

Sugarless Tuesdays

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Jessica Apple of A Sweet Life.org has started something that I would love to encourage all of you to consider.  Sugarless Tuesdays.  I asked Jessica “why?” and this is what she had to say:

“Why Sugarless Tuesdays?

Most of us have heard of Meatless Mondays, a movement to reduce meat consumption.  I’m not against Meatless Mondays, but I don’t think meat consumption is the main problem with America’s diet.  I’m someone who feels deeply about animal rights and doesn’t like the idea of eating animals, but I believe humans have evolved to do so.  What has no place in the human diet are foods with added sugar.  Sugar is essentially toxic to our bodies.  For diabetics it’s immediately toxic and for everyone else it’s something that slowly causes illness.  Since I’m passionate about trying to help people with diabetes – and everyone at risk for diabetes (which is almost everyone in America!) – I decided to start the Sugarless Tuesdays movement.  I think that anyone who gives up sugar one day a week will see how easy it is and find themselves giving up sugar many days a week.  Additionally, once you start to think about not eating sugar, you begin to realize just how much sugar you’ve been eating.

Sugar consumption isn’t just connected with obesity.  It’s also connected to heart disease and cancer.

Who could benefit?  Everyone.  It’s the easiest most obvious path to better health.  Just one day a week with no sugar.”

Thanks Jess!  I totally agree.  In my health coaching work I’ve been working on creating a presentation on the topic of sugar consumption and it’s effects on our health.  And the research I’ve encountered about sugar is downright frightening.  Read this article on it by Gary Taubes.  Excellent stuff.

Did you know sugar qualifies as an addictive substance?

According to Joshua Rosenthal in his book, “Integrative Nutrition”, It’s addictive because:

A, If you quit cold turkey, you will endure withdrawal symptoms.  You’ll feel similar symptoms quitting sugar, caffeine, and cigarettes.

And B, a little taste usually makes you want more.

This doesn’t mean we deny ourselves any sweets.  The problem is the way too many of us consume too much sugar.

Sometimes when we talk about “sweets in moderation” we are still consuming way more sugar than what is healthy for the human body.  So try out Sugarless Tuesdays today and see if you feel better at the end of the day.  See if your mood was impacted at all.  Try reducing your sugar intake on other days of the week.  Do you find you miss it like crazy?  Don’t fret.  Awareness leads to all things good.  If you come to the conclusion you are addicted to sugar, join us on Sugarless Tuesdays and then maintain an awareness for the rest of the week and reduce your sugar at a really slow pace so that you don’t have to go through tough withdrawal symptoms.

I will leave you with this:

Dr. Nancy Appleton’s book, Lick the Sugar Habit lists a ton of ways excess sugar can hurt our health.  Here are just 10 of sugar’s effects according to her:

1. It feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach.

2. It can cause autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis.

3. It greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida yeast infections.

4. It can increase the size of your liver by making your liver cells divide and it can increase the amount of liver fat.

5. It can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney such as the formation of kidney stones.

6. It can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

7. It can cause hormonal imbalances such as: increasing estrogen in men, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone.

8. Your body changes it into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.

9. It has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.

10. It upsets the mineral relationships in your body causing chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

This is not about fear mongering but about using information as power.  And this isn’t just for diabetics, this is for everyone.  We can do this together.  Click here to like Sugarless Tuesdays on Facebook!

What You Have No One Can Take Away

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What you have, no one can take away.  What you have is ownership over all of your decisions.

You choose what to eat.  Are you on a tight budget?  You can still eat healthy.  This will probably take sacrifice and creativity on your part.  But it’s still your decision.

You choose how to take care of your diabetes.  You struggle with it?  Everyone who has diabetes struggles with it.  It’s the name of the game.  But you can struggle against or with the wind.  I suggest riding every breeze or gust that comes your way.  An opportunity to take a walk?  Take it.  A choice between a healthy meal and a pastry?  You know what to do.

You choose your attitude.  Your family sucks?  According to psychologists, most families are dysfunctional.  You hate your job?  Find a way out even if it takes years.  Know that you have more power than you think.  Choose positivity, potential, and carefully plan your way to where you want to go.  In 5 years, if you’ve done nothing but complain, you’ll wish you had just set sail on that long term plan you had because now you’ll find that you’re stuck, miserable, full of regret, and…older.

You choose if you exercise each day or not.  You’re busy and can’t afford a gym membership?  Then watch your must see TV while doing squats and push ups.  Get a yoga DVD, figure something out.

You aren’t motivated?  Get to the bottom of that.  It’s normal not to feel motivated but it’s a major setback.  Talk to a friend, seek help, write in a journal-just figure out a path to motivation.  Even if that path is 100 miles long, it’s better than never starting the journey.

Decide today that you have infinite possibility and potential and power within you.  Decide that no one can take any of that away.  They can challenge you, throw hurdles, cause you major reroutes but ultimately they cannot stop you (they’re too busy on their own sorry path).  Two steps forward and one step back is still progress.

And it’s your choice all the way.  Just make it and don’t look back.

Tough love for all of us…including myself.

XOXO

My Ideal Diabetes Support Group

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This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival Topic is: “Describe your ideal diabetes “support group”? What would you discuss?”

Well, I’d be happy to tell you.  My ideal diabetes support group meets once a week.  That’s a tall order isn’t it?  But that’s what I would like.  Frequent “support”.  There would be plenty of members so that if half of the group can’t show, there is still a group to meet and carry on.

Also, I would like any type of diabetic because that way, we could all become friends and defend each other against the media’s war between the diabetics and spread our ideals all over the land, causing no more arguing between the types ever again!  Muahahaha!

Next, I’d like us to all exchange numbers and emails and facebook and twitter handles.  I’d like us all to know we can interact later on the DOC as much or as little as we’d like.

My ideal support group would discuss any and all issues brought up by the members of the group.  Why not?  If we are going to talk about something R rated, we can definitely decide to do so on a pre-established day so those who don’t want to discuss that topic don’t go or meet up at a coffee shop to talk other things.

I think it’s ok to get into groups by “type of diabetic” in order to get down to the technical nitty gritty aspects of living with type 1, 2, and so on.  It’s true that a type 1 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 2 and a type 2 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 1 so it makes sense if people want to divide up in order to discuss particular things.  Maybe people would want to divide up by age as well and that certainly makes sense.  I like the idea of meeting with everyone and then splitting up to talk about certain things like motherhood and diabetes or dating and diabetes and therefore specific groups forming for that.

Overall, we’d be a support group utopia!  How does that sound?

Today is Friday so we’re supposed to talk about something that involves self love.  Getting support is TOTALLY an important part of loving yourself.  If you are able to, check out a local support group!  If there isn’t one, consider starting one!  And if those aren’t options, join the diabetes online community!  Check out DSMA and all the support it offers.  Oh and read more entries like this one.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

Raw Milk Experiment

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My family and I live in Virginia where it’s illegal to buy and sell raw milk.  However, clever people have found a legal loophole.  The law states a person can consume the milk from their own cow.  So we have bought what is called a cow share.  It allows us to legally purchase raw milk because we’re just drinking what our dear cow provides.

Don’t worry, I researched this farm, talked to people who’ve been drinking their milk for years, and even inquired into the health and total treatment of the cows.  Safety is very important with stuff like this.  Totally unrelated, but I love cows.  Such gorgeous lugs :)

Anyway, why am I trying raw milk?

First of all, I’ve become aware that much nutrition is destroyed in the pasteurization process.  Some don’t agree but I’ve found more researchers agreeing than not agreeing.  Milk is pasteurized to kill anything harmful in it.  However, a cow that is healthy, that eats it’s proper diet (grass, not grains!), is treated with love and care, and is milked under strict sanitation guidelines yields safe, healthy milk.  And that appeals to me.

Also, there have been too many studies for my comfort talking about a link between pasteurized milk and type 1 diabetes in children.  I have two such children and therefore take this information very seriously.

Raw milk proponents say the benefits include:

-More Vitamin A, C, and D

-More readily absorbed calcium and iron, Vitamin B12, and B6

-More minerals, including Iodine and Folate

-Protection against asthma and allergies in children (pasteurized milk has been strongly associated with the increase in asthma, allergies, ADD, auto immune diseases and more.)

(View source for the above info.)

My husband grew up in a rural area and drank milk straight out of the cow’s (and goat’s) teets and he literally is the healthiest person I know.  Literally.  All he’s ever had to deal with is a cold and because this is all he’s ever experienced, he is severely annoyed by something as simple as a runny nose.  (Lucky…)  Is there a connection?  I don’t know but I’m intrigued.

I’ve been drinking the milk for a week now and all I can say is tastes amazing.  It has no strong flavor whatsoever.  It just tastes like creamy heaven.  One of the best parts is it doesn’t taste like stinky plastic because it hasn’t been sitting in a plastic container for weeks or months.

I will let everyone know if I notice any benefits to our family in the next weeks/months.  I’m not looking for any, instead, I’m trying to tie us closer to things as they come in nature-keeping safety as a priority.  I figure that’s the healthiest way to go.

Anyone out there drink raw milk or have any opinions on it?  I’m very interested to hear!

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