Free eBook! How to Start Your Own Diabetes Blog

I wrote this for those of you who want to blog about your diabetes but need a little jumpstart.

Inside I cover these topics:

  • Why Start a Diabetes Blog?
  • What Kind of Blog do you Want?
  • What to Name Your Blog
  • Deciding Whether or Not to Self Host
  • Your Web Hosting Provider
  • Theme Selection
  • Web Analytics
  • How to Hire Help
  • Your First Blog Post and Content
  • Growing Your Blog
  • Beginner SEO Tips
  • and more!

To download this free eBook just click here:

How to Start Your Own Diabetes Blog

10 Things I’m Doing this Winter to Avoid Diabetes Burnout

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This applies to this Winter 2011-2012 because last year, boy did I have burnout.  I just wanted to clarify that.  Also, I have had days where I deal with burnout.  However, these don’t melt into weeks and really affect my blood sugars too much.  I always have higher blood sugars in the Winter because of how I despise cold weather and the way it dries me out.  Somehow that really impacts my mood.  Being outside with fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun are all so important to me.  I also don’t stay as active since I am so paralyzed from the cold.  I’m not sure when I’ll get over that…

Anyway, here are 10 Things I’m Doing this Winter to Avoid Diabetes Burnout:

10.  Look ahead into the future.

I’ve tried to focus on enjoying the present but also spent plenty of time day dreaming about what is to come and then taking steps to prepare for those things.  Getting one step closer to the things I’m excited about gives me energy and hope.

9.  Exfoliate.

Two to three times a week, I take olive oil and sugar and a little lemon juice and make a quick sugar scrub.  I use it all over in the shower including my face and lips (be gentle there) and it really helped me avoid the eczema patches that I tend to get each Winter.  Skin also feels silky smooth afterwards and it gives me a refreshing sense of wellness.

8.  Cuddle up in bed and read something inspiring.

It’s ideal that when it’s cold and dark, we slow down a little, eat warm foods, and recharge after the crazy holidays.  I also find that too much social media can sometimes overwhelm us a bit and disconnecting from all the stimulation can do some good.  So lose yourself in a book, make yourself some tea, put on warm socks, and repeat as necessary.

7.  Spring cleaning a little early.

We all get a sense of elation newness when Spring arrives and we clean our entire home.  But this year I did it right before Spring.  It gave me an indoor project, which is where I want to be when it’s cold, and I look forward to welcoming Spring with a clean house.  So that’s what I’ve been working on lately.  Getting old stuff thrown out, going through clothes and getting rid of what I don’t really use.  You get my drift.  The great part is that when it’s nice out, I am all done with my indoor projects.  All I have left is my kitchen pantry.  Need to stop putting it off…

6.  Seek help.

This means many different things to different people.  For me, it meant to get help with my anxiety and even depression issues that started creeping late last year.  I feel and function much better now and am reminded how important it is to deal with issues like these head on.  Ignoring stuff like this only fuels diabetes burnout.

5.  Update your look.

Women often cut and color their hair a lot because it gives us a feeling of fresh and new and exciting.  I hate to admit it but it’s true.  I got a few new additions to my wardrobe via Ebay and then got some lip stain and Elnet Hairspray and frankly, I feel better.  Don’t judge.  (By the way, Elnet is magic.)

4.  I worked a little on the outside, now let’s nourish the inside.

I have been meditating for the past few months.  I do a 5 minute meditation several times a day (so easy).  And I do an hour meditation a few times a week.  It’s amazing.  I can’t say I’ve reached “enlightenment” but I have gained an awareness and focus for my goals this year that I had no idea was possible.  I really recommend spending some quiet alone time to just experience nothingness.  It’s so much more than nothing.  hehe.

3.  See people more.

I’ve written about how I’ve been pretty much isolated the past 3 years since getting pregnant with my twins.  As a result, I got lonely and anxious about spending time with others.  So I’ve been making an effort to see more people, invite them over, and so on.  It’s been so helpful.  So much joy comes into one’s life this way.

2.  Lower carbs.

I’ve been heading in this direction for so many years.  Only now do I accept for myself that because I have type 1 diabetes and cannot metabolize carbs, limiting them is what I must do to avoid wild blood sugar swings.  I know that “I can eat that” and grains are a part of a “balanced diet” but I no longer believe any of this for myself.  I don’t want to wait on a piece of technology to come along before I get near normal blood sugars.  I want to strive for those blood sugars now.  I know that just 10 years with type 1 can cause some pretty mean complications and I plan on living many decades with it and in good health.  So from now on I am a low carb advocate when it comes to treating diabetes.  However, that doesn’t mean I think any less of anyone else’s diet.  You do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me. But if what you’re doing doesn’t work…

1.  Remember you’re one of billions.

You know how when you were growing up you would complain about the food on your plate and your mom would say something like, “You should be grateful, there are starving children out there!”  Well, it doesn’t help children much…but I think it helps adults to think that way.  Yes, our pain and suffering matters just as much as someone else’s and yes, it is very real.  However, I noticed that thinking often about those who don’t have enough food, water, clothes, medicine, love, respect, etc. really made me appreciate what I have.  And when talking about diabetes, I am a type 1 diabetic who has always had all the supplies necessary to manage my condition.  I’ve always had family and friends who cared and treated me well.  I’ve never gone hungry or thirsty or without clothing or shelter.  And billions of people (that’s a lot!) do not have what I have.  Or what you have.  And that’s something for us to think about when we are in need of comfort.

As always thanks for reading!

Take care of yourselves!

How do you avoid or manage your diabetes burnout? Share!

We Need Your Help

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There is a wonderful blog written by a mother of 3 children with type 1 diabetes.  Her name is Meri.  She writes at Our Diabetic Life.  Meri is a beautiful writer.  She Is also a deep and caring human being who constantly stirs our diabetes community with profound and meaningful observations and reflections.   Meri is one of the most wise and graceful diabetes advocates I’ve encountered and I love her sense of humor.

When I first learned about her family and how they have 4 boys (4 boys!) and how three of them have type 1 diabetes, I was blown away.  I knew what it was like to grow up in a household being the oldest of 5 kids, two of which having type 1 diabetes and I couldn’t imagine there being another with type 1.  Three just seems so overwhelming for one family.

Then yesterday I read through my usual diabetes blogs and found out that Meri’s husband, Ryan, has just been diagnosed with having 6 brain tumors and several in the lungs and abdomen.  I felt like I was reading a story and not a real person’s post.  Because it just can’t be.  The world works in mysterious ways though and Meri and her family have firmly decided to go ahead with aggressive treatment and to ask everyone who’s ears this news touches to please pray hard.  They are in need of a miracle.

You don’t have to be religious. If you’re not, it’s a matter of believing that the most unlikely thing could happen without a reasonable explanation.  What if we expected it?  I don’t know.  I just know that our community always supports every member in need and right now, the primary need for this family is that we be positively, without a doubt, sure that Ryan Schuhmacher is going to be ok.

Please visit the Schuhmacher Family Miracle page on Facebook and “like” it.

On Sunday the 4th of March, the family is taking the day to pray and fast. They are asking for strong prayers that day if you want to join them.

Believe you and I can help with thoughts and prayers.  I do.

XOXO

The Sushi Pushers

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My husband gets sushi at the same place every time.  The guys at the sushi bar know him and enjoy chatting in their native language with my husband each time he stops by.  Sometimes we stop by together and they always wonder why I don’t get sushi, too.  I have always brushed it off saying I just don’t want any when the truth is that I love sushi, but I avoid rice because it makes blood sugar management a little too complicated for me.

The other day I went to this place alone and was thinking of getting my husband some sushi.  I got him the usual when I got asked the usual question in Spanish, “Why aren’t you getting any for yourself?”  I said, “No, I just don’t want any, thanks…” Then they offered me a free sample to eat on the spot from a little bowl.  For something like this I’d typically give insulin and wait a few minutes before eating.  So I didn’t take the sample.  They asked again, “Really!  Try it!  It’s got shrimp and avocado and onions!”  I have witnessed them doing this to all the customers that stopped by and rarely did anyone refuse a sample.  That all sounded delicious to me but those little sushi rolls still had rice so finally, thinking about how I’m supposed to be a diabetes advocate, I explained to the guys the real reason.  “I have type 1 diabetes and must give insulin before eating anything and I don’t want to do that right now.”

Silence.

“But you’re young and you look healthy.”  “Well, I am young and healthy.”  Then I explained what type 1 diabetes was and they asked me about how I give insulin.  I explained that I give insulin shots as needed to bring down my sugar and to cover the carbs in any food I eat.  One guy said, “I didn’t know healthy people could get diabetes…”, shaking his head slowly.  Another nodded enthusiastically and said, “Good for you, you seem very happy for a person with something so serious.”

I thanked them for listening, they assured me they would no longer push me to sample sushi, and we said “adios”.

There really are countless opportunities to advocate for our condition.  We should take these opportunities, even if someone has been rude, because if not us, then who?

Glucose Quick Sticks Review

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By now you all may be inclined to think that “Sysy doesn’t do negative product reviews”.  But sadly, here’s one for ya.

I got some On the Go Glucose Quick Sticks recently which I tested out the other morning for a low I experienced.  This product boasts a 100% daily serving of Vitamin C and an “on the go” delivery method that needs no water.  There are 10 grams of glucose per serving (meaning you’d probably more than one to treat a low).  It comes in flavors such as watermelon and sour apple.

So the other day, I confirmed my low blood sugar and tore one of the sour apple sticks open.  They just so happen to resemble jumbo pixie sticks with a powdery fine filling.  I poured half of a stick in my mouth and gagged.  Something out there actually tastes  worse than glucose tablets.  Then, because I was low and shaky and my tongue was numb, I started to choke on the powdery glucose.  You sort of chuck it from the packet down your throat and it’s all too easy to choke on, in my opinion.  Maybe not the best for young children.  Or maybe just me.

The fun didn’t stop there.  Since I was shaky and flustered, I fumbled the darn thing (which is as light as a feather) and dropped it.  Powder filled the air and settled all over my desk, keyboard, and carpet.  The only thing it did right, once I opened a second packet and downed it, was get my sugar up quickly.  But the main ingredient is glucose and that’s it’s only job.

I feel like a glucose delivery product should taste decent and function well in a diabetic’s sweaty, trembling hands-because that’s our reality.

So if you see this at the store next to your glucose tablets, look away and grab your bottle of tabs.  Better yet, I recommend Glucolift glucose tablets.  Now there’s a well thought out product for a diabetic.

Sugar Bag Review and Giveaway!

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Carolyn Jager has type 1 diabetes since childhood and was diagnosed just after her younger sister was also diagnosed.  (That story sounds familiar, doesn’t it Ana?)  Carolyn’s mother made her and her sister homemade cases that were fashionable and much less serious than what was available at the time and eventually, Carolyn decided all people with diabetes should have an option for a much more stylish and fun diabetes bag.  Luckily for us Sugar Medical Supply was born.  Ana and I received complementary diabetes cases (which do not dictate or sway the contents of these reviews).

These bags offer different fashionable designs, an easy to wipe interior and exterior, and fits the overwhelming majority of meters out there.  They have all the necessary compartments inside the case, but also an external pocket where you could put your cell or a cold pack or glucose tablets.

You can view all the designs and products here.

Ana’s Review:

After seeing the products that Sugar Medical Supply offers on their website, I was so excited to receive my very own “sugar bag” :]. First of all, the pattern is very cute and I love the colors. The size is convenient as well, not too small, not too large–I knew it would fit all of my supplies perfectly.

I have the tiny one touch meter, so I was worried that the featured universal strap wouldn’t be small enough to fit my meter, but it is! You just have to mess around with it for a bit. As you can see in the photos, I also fit my two insulin pens, a bottle of strips, a lancet, a spare battery, lancet and pen needles, and a small notepad.

I love it! I definitely recommend investing in a sugar bag. It has to be cute with that name!

 

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Sysy’s Review:

The Sugar Bag reminds me of those really cute and colorful make up bags, only on the inside there are places for all your diabetes supplies. I appreciate the size of these bags-not too big nor small. (Funny, Ana and I agree on that and we wrote this separately without talking to each other about it.)

For women who want a discrete and non medical looking diabetes case that is also affordable, these would be a great purchase.  These bags make a really cool gift idea for anyone with diabetes.

Of all the bags I’ve been sent, these are probably the most practical ones.  The quality of the zippers and compartments are great and the patent pending, see through, stretch-to-fit-any-meter band is genius.  I can see myself using this bag anytime I go somewhere with my kids (which is a lot of places) because it’s tough, cute, casual, and holds everything.  These are not your typical boring case and are a great fit for everyday use.

And now for the giveaway!  If you’re interested in having one of these, please state in the comments that you want to be entered in the drawing, which will close in one week from today.

When you win, you can choose from this design:

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or this one:

 

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It’s your call :)

Good luck!

Natural Supplement for Nerve Pain Relief

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I was sent a free sample of Neuropasil, Nerve Pain Formula recently.  It was developed by a renowned podiatrist who specializes in Medicine and Surgery of the foot and ankle, Dr. Enrico.  I’m all for natural products so I was eager to see what was in this formulation.

You take one tablet twice a day and get a cocktail of vitamins and minerals, including alpha lipoic acid and inositol.  These ingredients all promote optimal nerve health and supposedly you start to experience results in 2 weeks with maximum relief in 4-6 weeks.  I’m not sure I have enough nerve pain in order to experience “relief” since all I ever get once in a while (if I wear high heels) is a twinge of nerve pain under my right toe.  But I can say that after 3 weeks of taking this I haven’t felt any twinges of pain.  So that’s cool :)

I asked Dr. Enrico a few questions about this product:

Who is Neuropasil for?

Neuropasil is a nutritional supplement that people can use to manage nerve pain and support nerve health. Anyone who suffers from nerve pain, or neuropathy, may benefit from this supplement, including people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, chronic neck and back pain, neuropathy associated with chemotherapy, among others.

Can people get the ingredients for Neuropasil in their diet?

Theoretically yes, but realistically no.  Neuropasil contains a proprietary blend of B vitamins, minerals like Alpha Lipoic Acid and supplements. While these ingredients are naturally occurring in certain green vegetables, in order benefit from these you would have to consume a very large amount of these foods. Its best to incorporate a nutritional supplement with these ingredients into your daily diet to get the nutrients that you need.

Aside from taking this supplement, what else can people with nerve pain do to help their symptoms?

In relation to diabetic neuropathy, the best thing to do is keep your blood sugar under control and to exercise, which keeps you healthy and releases endorphins which can help ease pain.

Thanks, Doc, for answering those questions.

Here is more info:

Website: http://drenriconutritionals.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NeuropasilDr-Enricos-Nutritionals/220351811345879

Have any of you tried this product?  What did you think?  I know our feet are really important to us :)

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The 5 Stages of Grief Apply to Diabetes

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You know how when someone dies, a loved one often goes through stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance?

I think that when someone gets a diabetes diagnosis, they go through those same phases.  No one has died in this case but something has-life as we know it.  Our lives matter a lot to us, there is no denying that.  So when a doctor informs us that we have a disease that will last the rest of our lifetime, requires constant monitoring and care, changes to habits and routines we may have in place, and causes all sorts potential health problems that bring about inconvenience and pain…well, it’s not unlike experiencing the death of a loved one.

I’m not saying it’s as painful as experiencing the death of a loved one.  I’m just saying the stages of grief are the same.  For example, when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11, my first inclination was to be like…”noo……really?”  I quickly got angry and though I didn’t show it, I know it because my diary at the time has a page on it where I wrote, “Damn diabetes, I hate you!”  The letters are made out in straight lines and you can tell I pressed down really hard, accentuating each stroke with multiple slashes from my ball point pen.  Next came bargaining.  I grew up in a place where almost everyone is religious and so friends would take me to their churches in hopes that their pastor could “cure me”.  I went along because deep down I wished someone could.  I also didn’t even think a single cuss word between the ages of 12 and 14 in an effort to be “good” enough for God to cure.

Then came depression.  This stage lasted a long, long time.  Many years in fact.  There are catalysts that move us out from the first few stages of grief.  We can’t physically handle staying in shock and in denial for too long.  We only have so much adrenaline and reality is a very persistent nag.  Anger usually leads to self-destruction and it wears us out until we realize it doesn’t improve anything.  It doesn’t take long to figure out that bargaining isn’t going to cure us.  But depression is a disease.  It eats at our brains and takes away our strength every day.  Depression literally changes the chemicals in our brains.  So people often hang out at this stage for a long time.  I was no different.

Acceptance.  It’s so empowering, so forgiving.  When we reach this stage a sense of peace comes over us.  The thick cloud of our diagnosis lifts and we are able to hope, be inspired, and dream about our future.  Life isn’t a drag anymore and our diagnosis might actually do the unexpected-bear gifts.  We can move forward.  We see potential and possibilities.  We know we are going to be ok.

If you’re a diabetic and haven’t reached the final stage of acceptance, please know that you can.  You just have to give yourself time to heal and time to learn about what your diabetes management requires.  Nothing is wrong with you for grieving the loss of the life you once knew.  And you have permission to move ahead when you’re ready.  Get help for the tough days and look forward to the better ones.

They are coming.

Practicing Material Unattachment

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In our household, my son is normally the one to break things.  I call him “Henri the Menace”.  He really is.  No.  Really.  He is.  Anyway, yesterday however, my daughter Aurora had a stellar, record-breaking day.  She threw a ceramic decorative mask on the marble fireplace mantle, she smashed a cordial liquor glass that I was letting her look at on the wall just for kicks, and when I let her put on my necklace she ripped it in half like the Hulk would.  Oh, she also accidentally dove off my bed head first but luckily she’s fine.  That’s what happens when you smile at yourself in the mirror while jumping on the bed, chica.

Each time something broke I had to close my eyes and take a deep breathe.  Obviously it wasn’t her fault I let her handle any of these objects but a flutter of achiness stirred in me because of the loss of my things.  I had to really focus on how these objects are just that and how really, I’m just happy no one smashed their head or any other body part anywhere.

And so yesterday reminded me how it’s good not to feel too attached to our material belongings.  They bring us pleasure but they are no where near as important as the people in our lives.  It’s scary to think how we might guard a special piece of jewelry more than a loved one’s heart, but we often do.

So today, let’s just remember that things are just things.  But I will not be letting that little girl anywhere near my meter or insulin vial.  That would just be asking for it.

Happy Friday!

Closing the Kitchen

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Recently, my kids have gone from eating their brown rice and veggies, quinoa with garlic and ginger, and organic poultry, fish, and meats to wanting only fruit and dairy and grains.  They’d probably want coke all the time except that stuff has never passed their lips so they don’t know what they are missing.  And that’s why they prefer the starchier, sweeter stuff.  They’ve had it and they’re not naïve anymore to the big world of junk food.  I should have kept them in the dark…

Anyway, my only hope is to have them be hungry enough at meal time so that they’ll eat what I have to offer.  I don’t plan on being cruel and force feeding them what they don’t like.  But I need them not to eat processed foods and I want to avoid scenarios where they tire me out to the point of desperately feeding them crappy sugar laden breakfast cereal “Fine, you win!  Just stop the whining!” (yes, it’s happened).

I’m going to close the kitchen.  I grew up hearing that children require snacks in between meals because they’re growing and they get hungry more often.  But, I have been learning more and more about nutrition from experts and many of them hold the opinion that we should be hungry before meals and we shouldn’t snack all doggone day-and this includes children.  And while I don’t think snacking is a sin, I do think that for me and my kids it’s become an inconvenient appetite destroyer.

I try to make every meal and not pull it out of a box.  I also eat different foods than my kids.  And my husband eats different foods from me and the kids.  So by the time dinner rolls around I’ve made seven different meals and cut up fruit or vegetables or cheese for snacks and it just hit me that I practically live in the kitchen.  Not cool.  I grew up hearing the whole “pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen” saying and swore I’d NEVER spend too much time in the kitchen.  In fact, when I was pregnant, I looked down to find myself barefoot in the kitchen, freaked out, and quickly got some shoes on my swollen feet.  You can say feminism has scarred me.  Whatever.  Point is, I hate looking at food all day you know?  It says, “eat me!” and so all day I’m fighting the temptation to eat the kid’s whole wheat pasta or my husband’s rice and beans.  Or I’m sneaking in a bite of food here and there and realizing that one bite of food is enough to throw blood sugars and weight loss efforts.  It’s exhausting.

So I’m closing the kitchen.  I’m going to make sure the kids eat a good breakfast and then I’ll have my grapefruit or avocado or whatever I’m having and then kitchen closed.  It will reopen for lunch and then it will close.  It will reopen for dinner and then it will close.  My kids are used to a bottle of milk or coconut milk or almond milk before bed.  I’ll leave them that luxury.  But snacks in between meals?  Nope.  I need them hungry enough to eat what I know is best for them to eat.  I mean who’s in charge here?  Me or them?

Ok, I’ve adequately pep talked myself.  Let’s do this!

(I’ll keep you posted on our progress…or lack thereof :)

Do any of you stick to three meals and no snacks during the day?  If so, how does it work for you?

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