Children With Diabetes Deserve Insulin Concentration to Meet Their Needs

Young children with type 1 diabetes face a serious conundrum and that is that the available insulin is often too concentrated for their needs.

As a result, endocrinologists wanting to avoid terrible lows (and subsequent lawsuits) in these little ones order parents to feed a certain number of grams of carbohydrate per meal or they convince parents to put their child on an insulin pump, which can dole out smaller increments of insulin to meet their requirements.

However, the high number of carbs many type 1 kids get these days is a dangerous thing for these children because it crowds out essential protein and fat and can lead to weight gain and directly paves the way to roller-coaster style blood glucose management that I promise you, is worse for the child than the parent–no matter how much work and worry is involved on their part.

In the case of an insulin pump, not everyone wants this technology which comes with concerns about tubing issues and scar tissue development and also, not every family can afford one.

Why isn’t insulin made at different concentrations? I mean, it is, but mostly to meet the needs of the type 2 diabetes population which generally has very high insulin requirements. I’ve talked with many type 2s who use in one day, the amount of insulin I use in a week. This isn’t a judgment on them, it’s me pointing out that adults are getting their needs met in this regard and children are being left behind because why? Is it that they can’t advocate for themselves and their parents are being misled by pediatric endocrinologists who don’t know better? Pretty much, I think. One may argue that they grow up quick and then they don’t need such small insulin quantities but childhood health is essential to the rest of one’s life and so optimizing their care while they’re young is morally imperative.

There is a solution for those who want to give their child a smaller amount of carbohydrate and who don’t or can’t use an insulin pump. Diluted insulin. Special diluent fluid is provided free upon request from insulin makers and shipped to your nearby pharmacy. You can do it yourself or have a healthcare provider do it (if you can convince them to). The diluted insulin means you can dose to correct and cover for your child without the elevated risk of sending them low or needing so many extra snacks. This offers the potential to lower their carbohydrate intake, leaving sufficient appetite for what drives growth in a child–protein.

Regarding growth, look up the science, there is nothing indicating your child requires a lot of carbohydrates to grow. I think this is oft repeated mostly due to the above phenomena or lack of time and willingness on the part of physicians to do the proper research as well as their overreliance on what they’re told by other physicians and by governing associations. My daughter, on a very low carb diet, just shot up over 2 inches in 4 months. Before that, she was on a moderately low carb diet for a long time and her height is over the 90th percentile. Her bones and musculature are impressive. Her hair is thick and long, her nails are strong.

Aside from adequate nutrition, kids also need something else to grow to their full potential and that’s normal or near normal blood sugars, which only low carbohydrate diets achieve and which diluted insulin in children enables.

Diluted insulin could be a service pediatric endocrinologists provide to parents of young children with type 1 diabetes if we demanded it. I admit it’s intimidating to do one’s self. First, we have to educate ourselves and then them. Health care professionals feel really bad for us because they know what type 1 diabetes means in the long run for our children and they know the demanding lifestyle we parents lead (because we advocate well for our own suffering–lack of sleep, anyone?) but they’re not being very brave or ethical by ignoring what is going on with kids these days. Too many aren’t thriving!

Not only do most type 1 children have poor blood sugar management, but many are also gaining excess weight. This doesn’t bode well for their future and it’s not fair that adults have appropriate insulin and children don’t. As parents, we have to fight for our kids. Maybe I’m completely wrong. Fine. Maybe you should find out if any of this is true and if so, I implore you to think and discuss the topic with others. I was one of those kids with high blood sugar and weight gain after diagnosis and it made me extremely depressed and unmotivated, totally slowing down the trajectory of my life which has only got back on the rails by a bunch of miracles, sweat, and tears.

I’ve had enough of this poor treatment of children with diabetes and will not stand for it when it comes to my dear daughter. Children deserve medicine that is dosed for their size. They deserve myths to be expelled by our careful investigation and attention to the matter. And they deserve normal blood sugars.

Teaching My Kid How to Recognize Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

If a minute passes while I can’t locate my type 1 daughter, I kind of freak out. She doesn’t know what a real low blood sugar feels like and that makes me nervous. In the few months since she’s been diagnosed, her lowest blood sugar has been 58 mg/dl and at the time I tried to get her to describe how she was feeling but she said she felt perfectly fine.
She doesn’t like me panicking, and I don’t either, but lows are serious and one can’t ignore that. It’s only been four months so I think as we get into more activities this Spring and Summer, we’ll have more opportunities to learn how to cope.
Once she does get a reading in the low 50s or below I hope to get her to pay attention to the symptoms so she can start recognizing lows the way I do.

About My Typical Low Blood Sugar Episodes

I have about one low blood sugar a day. These are usually not below 60 though and they’re very slow moving so they’re very rarely a bother. (Slow moving because I follow a low-carb diet which removes almost all threat of fast-moving, scary lows).
However, I think it’s valuable that I can sense them physically because it helps keep me safe and I want that for her, too.
Here’s what my low blood sugars feel like:
As I slowly drop (fast drops feel different), I’ll first start to feel better–like super healthy, good energy, and this is when my blood sugar is in the 70s. I don’t know why but I feel like superwoman in the 70s. Then I’ll start feeling a bit weak and hungry and feel a sense of urgency thanks to an elevated heart rate from an adrenaline surge–that’s when I’ve typically hit the mid-to-low 60s. If it continues to the 50s, every symptom will increase in severity and I might start trembling. Since I was a kid I’ve grabbed a piece of paper with my thumb and forefinger to check for trembling–makes it clearer. I may now also get a numb tongue, which is weird. The 40s feel awful, with tightness in the chest and impaired cognitive abilities. The 20s and 30s are rare but I have experienced them all while conscious. They feel like I’m disassociated from my body, slightly drunk, and heading towards the impending emergency shutdown of the body–on the way to unconsciousness to try and conserve energy for necessary organ function and to preserve life as long as possible (my drama-filled guess anyway). 
I tell my daughter what my symptoms are but have let her know that hers could be different.

Confirm With Meter or CGM to Be Sure

I’m teaching my daughter that while recognizing the symptoms is useful, checking blood sugar is still important because symptoms can overlap. For example, being nervous or even very excited produces a rise in certain hormones and the symptoms of jitteriness, fast heart rate, sweating, weakness, and anxiety can all feel very much like low blood sugar.
Sometimes a high can be confused for a low, too. So, it’s just best to confirm.
Not to mention, you can’t figure out if you’re on point with your observations unless you confirm with a meter. But, it’s helpful to first feel symptoms, take a second to describe how you feel to yourself, and then check to see if you’re close.
Over the years, I have become pretty good at guessing my blood sugar within 10 points. But sometimes I’m way off and so obviously, it’s still necessary to not solely rely on feeling.
This is what I’m teaching her. I am enjoying the fact that she hasn’t had a low that makes her feel awful, yet, but it’s only a matter of time before she does and when that happens, I want her to remember what it feels like so she can recognize it the next time around.

Why My Child Eats Low Carb for Her Diabetes

In a post for Diabetes Daily, I wrote about the 5 main reasons why I feed my child with diabetes a low-carb diet. My duty is to deliver her safely into adulthood and ideally with perfect health, so that’s what I’m going for. And yes…her mental and emotional health is one of the priorities. Click below to go to DD and check out the article.

Share with a parent of a child with diabetes you think may be interested. As a former child with diabetes, I wish someone had shared something like this with my parents.

https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/5-reasons-why-my-child-with-diabetes-eats-low-carb-608466/

Is a 6.5% A1c Good Enough for You?

The premise that a 6.5% A1c is great for a type 1 diabetic is based on the widespread belief that we simply cannot expect better results than that and still maintain safety from low blood sugars. The truth is that a 6.5% A1c in a non-type 1 diabetic is medically diagnostic criteria for type 2 diabetes. It is well established that type 2 diabetes is detrimental to one’s health, especially in the long term, though probably also in the short-term, though that is more difficult to quantify due to comorbidities.

It’s possible that a type 1 with a 6.5% A1c is different from a type 2 with a 6.5% A1c because the type 1 might be having more blood sugar variability, which the body doesn’t like. The type 2 in many cases has additional metabolic distress in the form of insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease which would also make a difference when comparing their 6.5% A1c to that same A1c in type 1. Therefore, there are factors making this a nuanced issue.

However, if you look at cardiovascular outcomes of people with A1c averaging in the lower normal A1c range and compare them with those whose A1c averages in the upper normal range, you’ll find that the former does much better than the latter. Many people with type 2 diabetes experience complications and most likely their diabetes started after they became adults. So imagine what may happen to the type 1 child who experiences an additional two or more decades of harmful blood sugar by the time they’re 50? If you’re thinking that’s not fair, I agree.

If you have type 1 diabetes and have a healthy weight (which is increasingly less common) and you have low blood sugar variability and you feel good and all other vitals are in optimal normal range and you’re not making visits to the emergency room, then you may be completely content with your management. Or you simply may not be willing to make certain changes for what you may deem a very minor improvement in the quality of your life. Or maybe you were diagnosed much later in life so you have a long and protective history of excellent blood sugar. Or perhaps you aren’t willing or ready to aim higher right now. We all have this freedom to choose what is right for us and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

As for children, ethics would dictate that our choices must reflect much higher standards on their behalf.

For those who want better than diabetic blood sugars and are willing to do what it takes, there is a way to manage diabetes so that you can achieve normal or near-normal blood sugars and see less severe hypoglycemia. I don’t know of another way to do this than to eat a diet that is comprised of very low carb, high protein, and fat to the degree you require. There is more to it than that, though. You may be tired of hearing this but if you read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, you’ll learn what you need to know to get on the road to optimally healthy blood sugar management.

Ultimately, I want you to know that if you want it, it’s possible. Regardless, I wish all diabetics the very best of health.

The Diabetes Post I Never Wanted to Write

I knew quite a bit about type 1 diabetes before I diagnosed myself with it at age 11. My sister was diagnosed earlier the same year and I read up on it at the library in order to be useful to the family.

I still remember sitting in science class in 1994 when it hit me. I knew I had type 1 diabetes.

Days ago I got out the diary I wrote in between the ages of nine and 14. I read my early entries to my two nine-year-olds. They thought a day in February was hysterical which just said: “I’m SO bored!” I read to myself some of my age 10 entries, leading up to my diagnosis. Boy, was I moody…I couldn’t help but get a feeling of deja vu later that day when my daughter said something similar to what I had written on December 8th, 1995: “I just don’t know…” I wrote that so I know the feeling behind it and the way my daughter said it when I asked her if she was ok actually gave me the creeps. She sounded dazed and confused. I felt panic because it seemed that if I didn’t know what was wrong, and she didn’t know, then how could I help? She is an articulate child and generally knows herself so this kind of response was disturbing and abnormal.

Then on a typical Wednesday, my son comes up to me and says he is nervous because his vision is blurry. I stay calm and tell him that I’m going to check his blood sugar just to rule that one thing out. Type 1 diabetes in my children is a constant worry of mine.

I have two siblings with type 1 and an uncle with it, too. We definitely carry the genetic predisposition for it.

Alex is home from work now and he encourages our son to let me prick his finger.

He’s very nervous but he lets me do it. He’s 108. My stomach falls. I wish it was lower. That number is just good enough and just bad enough that I sit there dumbfounded. He looks worried and says, “that’s a little too high, isn’t it?” I have never lied to my kids so I tell him, “I think so…but it’s not too bad, we’re just going to keep an eye on your blood sugar going forward, ok? You don’t have to worry about it right now.” (His vision was back to normal after we checked him, turns out he had been pressing on his eyes, you know, things kids do).

Then suddenly, I decided I must check my daughter’s blood sugar. She is afraid of having her finger pricked so she runs away to her room. Alex has a chat with her and I am able to do it, though it’s no easy task. She has generally always been a very tough patient and I’m distracted by trying to keep her calm and keep her from pulling her finger away until the meter quickly counts down and beeps and the strangest number shows up on the screen: 245 mg/dL making my jaw fall open.

I’m speechless. I show Alex the meter and he looks just like me. He mouths the word “no…”. I tell our daughter there was a mistake and that I need to check her again. She’s upset by this and asks why. At this moment our son is looking at the result on the meter and says, “Was that her number? She’s really high…oh no, mom, I’m scared” And he starts to cry. She is on the other side of the room avoiding another finger prick. We check her again and confirm the high. She walks away to the couch and is upset about her bleeding finger and the slight throbbing. I accidentally pricked her too hard due to being unable to stop my shaking.

I check Alex’s blood sugar, for some strange reason. I don’t know what I was hoping for, the possibility of a screwy meter? He’s 100 mg/dL. I feel a rush of despair as I realize that our kids, who should have lower blood sugar than their dad, both have higher blood sugar than him.

Immediately I start thinking about research that shows what the chances are for a fraternal twin to get type 1 if one has it. I think the chance was about 22%, which is crazy high. For identical twins, I think it’s 50%.

I sit crying quietly with Alex at the dinner table for a few minutes. Then, while he’s holding our daughter in his arms, I ask him, “should we tell her?” Our daughter still doesn’t know what’s going on while the three of us are all mourning for her. Alex nods to my question. So I tell her that her blood sugar was high. She immediately knows she has type 1 as she covers her face to cry. She’s lived with it all her life by being my kid. Since she’s always been homeschooled, we’ve spent all our days together and she and her brother have not only seen all that I do to manage but have also heard me talk about it often. She even knows the risks and complications that can come with type 1.

I inform her with strong conviction that I have learned how to manage type 1 diabetes well and that we would take care of her. This is true. I have been a weird type 1 diabetic. I’ve talked and written about it much more than most type 1s would ever want to. Recently, I had told Alex that I still didn’t know why I have been obsessively compelled to learn so much about diabetes and to constantly read about it.

Sometimes you work hard and spend all your free time on something and you don’t understand why you’re driven to do it, you only know you must. I don’t enjoy learning about diabetes or talking about it or writing about it all the time. But now I know what I was training for, apparently.

A few years ago I imagined what I would feel if one of my children were diagnosed with this and I vividly saw myself on the floor, a puddle that no one could pull up and console–a pitiful shell of a person that couldn’t help anyone. I truly imagined that I would be so emotionally injured that I would die. But since my kids need me, I decided then that I had to toughen up. Because I can’t die on them.

Over the last few years, I have changed dramatically. My mindset is different now and many of my beliefs, too. I studied philosophy to learn how to determine was it real, true, and good and I started looking at everything more objectively. I was able to stop being mad at certain things and start being mad at things that deserved my wrath. I began to hold myself accountable and responsible for my life and my emotions. I stopped being fragile, honestly. I have been transmitting all this to my kids, teaching them how to think critically, be resilient, be righteous, and brave.

So I realized that night, standing in the kitchen with Alex’s arms around me, that I wasn’t a puddle on the floor. I was full of adrenaline of course, but I was standing tall and determined. If type 1 diabetes were a person, I’d be glaring at it, calculating just how I was going to beat it down.

Alex and I had a meeting with the kids the same evening about how we were all going to eat from now on. I eat a very low carb diet to manage my diabetes and now my entire family is going to do it. They are already used to a low carb diet but the step down to “very low carb” is not easy. I was surprised by how willing our son was to do this for his sister.

My daughter hasn’t cried again since…even after seeing me break down after the official diagnosis at the doctor’s office days later. She just took my hand and looked me in the eye and said firmly, “Everything is going to be alright.” I told her I was just so sorry and that I never wanted her to have what I have. She said, “I know, mom, it’s ok. Let’s go home.”

When did she grow up? Was it the day she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

We caught the type 1 early so she doesn’t need insulin, yet. Her diet is keeping her mostly in the 70s and 80s. I check her during the day and in the middle of the night. She’s like a new kid when it comes to the finger pricking. She easily gives me her pinky, her favorite finger–mine, too coincidentally, turns her head away and covers her eyes with her free hand.

I’m still bursting into spontaneous tears at times but I don’t feel weak and hopeless. I am devastated. Yet, my love for my kids fuels me. I will take care of my daughter’s diabetes and teach her how to have excellent blood sugar management. I will keep an eye on my son’s blood sugars. I will make sure my husband knows what he needs to know to feel confident when I’m not around.

If there’s anything I’ve learned thanks to diabetes is that life is hard but much harder if you don’t learn to defer gratification and be stoic and use restraint and wisdom and curiosity. It feels good to avoid sweets in order to see better blood sugars. It feels good to check blood sugar in the middle of the night to stay safe. Everything you do that is wise but difficult will boost your self-confidence and self-respect and make you the person you always wanted to be: healthy as is possible, brave, and in some very meaningful ways–triumphant.

I strive to be humble, patient, empathetic, calm, and respectful with my daughter throughout this journey. I know that if I do these things, she’ll likely treat herself that way the rest of her life and she only deserves good things–including normal blood sugar.

15 Weeks Carnivore Diet Update

I made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving!

During the last few weeks, the cold arrived, typical for this time of year. I don’t do well from November to March because of the cold and darkness. I should probably move south. Anyway, it’s been harder to stay motivated and on top of tasks. Something as simple as neglecting to go to the store for beef has led to a little cheat here and there. However, these have been revealing:

A spoon of cashew butter caused stomach cramps and bloating.

I suspect chocolate (Lily’s sugar-free dark chocolate) bothers me. I wake up stuffy the way I used to. I have a lot of environmental allergies, and I know chocolate is high in histamine, so I wonder if that’s the main issue there. I should learn to keep chocolate as a very occasional treat.

Cheese isn’t a problem except for the way it hinders bowl movements, so it needs to be very minimal in my diet. This happens to many people, I know. If it doesn’t happen to you, I’m jealous!

A chicken wing from a store that had a tiny amount of flour added to the coating caused a good deal of bloating. Note to self: don’t forget to read labels.

A small bite of banana while low caused bloating and cramping.

Needless to say that the above experiences all led to me feeling worse and encouraged me to hop back on the never-cheat-train.

More Observations

My second menstruation experience on the carnivore diet was different than most of my periods. This time I had zero cramps and I usually have plenty of very painful cramping which started up last year after having been gone for years. Ah, lady hormones and the maddening confusion they cause…

Eating meat has become easier over the weeks and months. If I happen to have tough meat, I can just swallow cubes and digest it without any problem.

I found that steak tips cooked in an instant pot are pretty good and cheaper than whole steaks–which admittedly are by far the most satisfying. I never knew what the difference was between cuts. Now I know I prefer the porterhouse, followed by the ribeye, and the flank iron. For some reason I didn’t enjoy a filet mignon I found on sale. Too lean, perhaps? Due to my discovery of steak I’ve been eating what is on sale and having eggs in the morning. Sometimes I have burgers. It doesn’t cost more than how I used to eat (all that variety adds up!), but that’s because I’m not a big person and don’t need a lot of food. This is costly for others, for sure. A tall, active male would be spending quite a bit on food!

I think I might be having less joint pain, but I can’t be sure, and I’m not confident saying so. I will keep putting attention to this, though. Coincidentally, my knee has stopped hurting. It’s been hurting consistently since I tore a significant tendon back in March and in the last few weeks, it hasn’t said a thing, which is terrific because maybe now I can do something other than light walking for a change.

Some Labs

I have just been to the doctor for labs and haven’t received them so far except for my A1c, HDL, and LDL numbers. My A1c is 5.5% which is up from 5.1%. This is due to two reasons. One: I had a stressful couple of months unrelated to diet and two: the carnivore diet helped me almost completely avoid lows, and my A1c changes partially reflect that. My HDL went up from 64 to 70 which is great and my LDL, as would be expected, went up from 115 to 145. I will be interested in seeing my triglycerides soon as well as all the other lab results. I can update on that, later. I have heard that LDL isn’t super reliable for assessing risks and that it tends to go up when losing weight and changing the diet and then it may go back down. I don’t know, but will be following these numbers.

For reasons I’ll share in coming posts, I’ve stopped the carnivore diet (has nothing to do with the diet). I will be reintroducing vegetables and more nuts now.

Thank you for reading. I’m grateful I’m alive and silly enough to try things most people would wildly advise against. The journey is packed with lessons and increased self-awareness. I do think I’ve gained something from this experience.

 

8 Week Carnivore Diet Update

I didn’t think I’d make it this long. Here are the last few weeks’ observations:

I began to check my blood pressure once or twice a day and found it keeping around 95/65 which is a bit on the low side. I take 10 mg lisinopril per day and cut down to 5 mg. My blood pressure dropped a little more and made me dizzy, so I removed it entirely.

But, something always stresses me out each month as I have terrible premenstrual syndrome symptoms and poor stress management (I think, anyway), so I kept a close eye on my blood pressure. Sure enough, stress made it jump up one evening to 130/115 so for several days I was sure to keep taking enough medication to push that back down. The anxiety has subsided, and so has my blood pressure, so now I’m down to 2.5 mg- 5 mg per day as a buffer–it doesn’t make my blood pressure too low and is there to help should I get overstressed. As soon as I feel stress growing, I think I’ll have to check my blood pressure and give a little more medication as prescribed (my doctor lets me monitor and adjust my dose slightly on my own).

Carnivore Diet Plus PMS

It was hard going through my period without alcohol or something sweet to help me cope. I might be more ashamed to admit this if I actually knew anyone who didn’t lean on something edible for comfort. If you’re one of these people who can go through physical pain and emotional turmoil and not turn to a little food or drink, I think I’d love to meet you. And maybe learn from you.

Anyway, once that was over, I felt much better. Something I did in the week before the extra stress and blood pressure elevation was consumed pre-salted hamburger patties (which were way too salty for me). I felt better switching to eggs at mid-morning and steak in the evening, both with salt. If you research the carnivore diet you’ll hear that you need plenty of electrolytes. This may be true but my blood pressure medicine raises my potassium a bit, and I take magnesium powder every morning. The moderate amount of salt on my food seems ok so far. I’ll keep noting further changes as this is new to me.

I’m still recovering from a knee injury from May, so all I can do is light exercise. That’s perfectly easy to do on this diet. I can walk miles, use resistance bands, and cook/clean without problems. I feel better actually, possibly due in part to my blood sugars being even better than before but also because my digestion is a non-issue for the first time in my life. I’m not even aware of it. I think that’s how we’re supposed to be, no?

I’m doing better with cravings now. I wish I didn’t have to fix the occasional low blood sugar with glucose because that keeps me in touch with the taste of sweetness. Still, I can watch someone eat pizza and feel nothing. I crave broccoli…but you know what’s funny? I don’t crave the thought of broccoli unless it’s got cheese or butter on it. When I think of other vegetables, the same thing happens! Does this mean I’ve been using vegetables as a carrier for other foods? Has my loud and proud love of vegetables been more of a virtual signal this whole time?

You could argue I like the combinations of the bitter and salty and sweet and creamy, etc., and you’d be on to something. We don’t tend to overconsume butter alone, we overconsume butter when it’s mixed with sugar and flour and salt and made into cookies. And many of us can’t resist these combinations–to the point of utterly destroying our health. Am I one of these people? Maybe. On my regular diet of animal foods and vegetables, I tend to avoid low-carb treats because the Pringles Syndrome– “once you pop you can’t stop” sets in.

My weight is down a bit more. I can finally put on most of my pre-pregnancy clothing. I have been trying to do that for about ten years, and I did it without feeling hungry!

At this rate, I’ll be at my pre-wedding weight by Christmas. I’ll be curious to see if that helps my blood pressure. I’m sure it will help my knees. Any extra weight means compounded weight on one’s knees and feet, and less is more for healing my quadriceps tendon tear.

I haven’t noticed any positive changes in my skin issues nor joint clicking and pain. Even if this diet doesn’t solve specific problems, it may help me rule out some things or provide hints. It may take more time, too. So many unknowns! I feel kind of nuts, but not entirely because I feel better than before and better is…well, better!

Three Weeks Eating a Carnivore Diet as a Type 1 Diabetic

I have been eating a “carnivore diet” for three weeks now. Today starts week four.

The cravings hit pretty hard during week two where I prowled, ironically, like a lion on the hunt. Except I was hunting for anything but meat.

I learned something interesting recently. I don’t like the taste of meat. I love the taste of sauces, salt, spices, and herbs. I’ve always seasoned my meat and ate it with other foods like vegetables or tomatoes. Not doing this makes it very dull.

I also learned that apparently, I derive quite a bit of joy from food. So when going a few weeks only eating meat with salt (and mostly beef for that matter), I have had to confront all that I have otherwise used food to cope with.

Anxious? Sad? Worried? Enjoy a tasty meal or snack! Not doing so meant sitting down on the couch utterly dumbfounded, trying to figure out how to deal with my feelings in another way. I thought I had resolved food issues by eating primarily meat and veggies for a while and feeling good and happy about that, but I guess there was, even more, I didn’t know about.

Week three went more smoothly. I only ate hamburger patties–two to four per day. That and coffee with a little cream. I have not been hungry. I have not had any gastrointestinal upset. I have had way more time than usual thanks to meals being super easy to prepare.

I haven’t been checking my blood pressure enough to note changes so I’ll be doing that this next week.

Finally Losing Weight Without Hunger

Something I’ve been pleasantly surprised with is that despite eating the same number of calories as before, I’m now losing weight after I had come to a standstill. Earlier this year I had lost weight by eating low fat and low carb for a few weeks. This was very difficult. I lost 5 pounds and couldn’t continue being hungry and tired.

In three weeks I’ve lost 5 pounds without ever being hungry and while getting adequate protein just the same. Super weird! I wonder if it will continue to work that way and if I can finally get past my lifelong plateau? We’ll see.

The fat I’ve lost is definitely in the right place. My clothes all fit the same except at the waist.

Other Notable Changes

I’ve been warmer than usual, maybe due to burning a bunch of calories. I don’t have to sleep with socks anymore which is nice. My feet are just warmer.

I’ve finally stopped all the crazy sweating. Maybe that was part of the adaption process?

I tried walking 3 miles pretty quickly and found I had high energy for it.

My blood sugar levels have been crazy good. I got emotional a few times in the past few weeks because I would go all day with my blood sugar staying between 80-90 mg/dl–even during exercise, and it made me remember what it was like not to have diabetes. This part is heaven.

If you’re burnout by type 1 diabetes, I can’t advise you to do anything, but I will say that in the future, I will personally be doing this diet to cope with burnout while keeping great control of blood sugars. Please note that insulin needs may change dramatically and you’ll want to know how to manage those before attempting.

I also have noticed that I’m less congested in the morning. I used to always have post-nasal drip in the mornings due to a plethora of allergies but not now. My voice and my eyes have been clearer upon waking. I no longer sound like Marge Simpson in the morning.

Geez, I wonder what food was doing that to me?

Side Observations

Ancient Stoicism teaches that if you feel you can’t live without something, you’re a slave to it and should thus practice living without that something so that you can rise above the fixation or addiction or whatever it is.

Let’s not go the path of wondering if it means that we should live without a spouse or child or basic needs.

I’ve been wondering if I have been relying too much on food to serve as an emotional crutch.

Forced instead, to properly deal with feelings has been useful in identifying things that need my attention. I think it’s pretty common for us to feel overwhelmed, eat food we enjoy, and never really pinpoint just what is upsetting us, which then means we aren’t able to act on it.

Things that are upsetting us are very often lying behind something else–which is more of a trigger.

For example, I would say that pet peeves that make some people go bonkers are mere triggers for something entirely different that is seriously bothering a person. Like, really, you can’t handle how your partner loads the dishwasher? I think you’re anxious or upset about something else.

In Stoicism, the challenge you’re facing is your path. Are you having a hard time managing your diabetes and is that the center of your issues? Well, then your focus should be figuring out how to manage your diabetes. Are you continually failing at trying to avoid overeating sugar? You may want to live entirely without it.

People cite eating disorders with this line of thinking. I don’t know enough about eating disorders, even though I used to have very disordered eating before I learned to manage my diabetes, but according to the definition of eating disorders, society, overall, is not doing too well with food. So many have a constant unwelcome preoccupation with food and overeat it. Is that disordered eating?

I love food like a gourmet foodie nerd but is there a reason I seek that kind of flavor stimulation? Is that reason positive or negative or is this an overcomplication of the fact that people enjoy life? What happens when we enjoy it to the point of becoming miserable because of the consequences?

If dietary sugar generally has a negative function in the body, and research seems to show this, I don’t see how a radical avoidance of it can be wrong for those who struggle with cravings or overconsumption of sweet foods or merely want optimal health. You can’t have too much health or happiness (or even loyalty from your partner) because those are good things. And you can’t actually have too much of a good thing–an objectively good thing, that is. You can’t say sleep is good, but we can overdo it. The right amount of quality sleep for an individual is what’s good.

My health challenges are a mystery, so I’m playing Sherlock Holmes and trying to go about deducing a better outcome. So far I’ve had positive results from this diet, even though I don’t love what I’m eating. It does satisfy, and I enjoy not feeling hungry, so in that sense, it’s effortless to continue.

I will update you again, soon.

What is the Carnivore Diet and Why am I Doing it?

The carnivore diet generally consists of eating only animal meat. For many, it includes other animal products that don’t raise blood sugar like cream and butter.

There are various reasons why people are doing this diet. Some are doing it because they’ve heard that it boosts physical performance and they want to see if it does that for them.

Some are doing it because it sounds appealingly primal. For these people, this sounds like a temporary fad diet.

Others, connected to Bitcoin, are doing it as a lifestyle statement of sorts protesting centralized banking and healthcare–or something like that. You’ll have to read more about it as I do not have an affiliation with this group.

One of the more common reasons I have found for people taking on such a limited diet is that they have ailments they are suffering from and are desperate to treat in a way that doesn’t include harsh drugs but rather work at the root of the problems. This is the camp I fall into.

I’ve been following this diet for several years out of curiosity as an objective observer. I’ve read claims of an all meat diet healing one’s gut and therefore being useful for those with multiple food allergies, sensitivities, and autoimmune conditions. The goal here is to heal and then reintroduce foods.

This past year I’ve had several months long bouts of fatigue and joint pain flares. These have happened over the last decade but the pain and duration of the flare-ups have been getting progressively worse. I’ve also developed some kind of dermatitis on my face and have psoriasis. Things get real when they happen to your face because you can’t hide it and you’re constantly reminded of it.

My doctor said that he could give me prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen but those can damage kidneys over time. He said he could give me steroids but those would raise my blood sugars. Neither option seems like a solution to me. I’m only 35 years old.

My kids have my genes and another motivation for me to figure out what might help autoimmune problems is to know what may work in the case my kids were to develop something.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

So anyway, I finally became fed up enough recently that I decided to find out if the diet could be tried without serious health consequences.

I did research on the topic of how bowel movements happen in the absence of dietary fiber, the need for vitamin C changing while not consuming carbohydrates, and what the latest science says about cholesterol. If you’re interested, I urge you to research these fascinating topics.

Sufficiently armed with a base level of confidence that I wasn’t going to kill myself by doing this for a few weeks, I plunged into the diet one week ago. I haven’t removed coffee because I don’t want to deal with caffeine withdrawal just yet. I’ve been eating beef, chicken, salmon, sardines, pork, eggs, butter, and cream.

One Week Symptoms

Here’s what I’ve experienced so far:

The first two days I had cravings for everything except meat. I also started sweating a lot, which for me isn’t much, because I am not one to sweat, so just sweating period was a strange occurrence. I would sweat at each meal which wasn’t very appealing. I sweat a lot the first two or three nights, too. My weight, after 3 days, went down 3 pounds which may have been initial water weight loss.

On day 3 I noticed that my stomach has flattened. That’s weird, I thought my belly was just really pudgy. It appears I was bloated or retaining fluid there. My husband was surprised to see a little bit of a four pack of abs. He said, “Wow, your waist is actually really small, isn’t it?” Apparently so.

Another thing I noticed on day 3 was that I sprung out of bed so easily in the morning. For many, many years, since I was a teen, I’ve been trying to wake up while feeling happy and energized. I couldn’t do it. These last 10 years have been brutal. I have needed more than 8 hours of sleep each night and I have had such a hard time in the mornings that I had extended my waking hours into the night (since I feel pretty good then). So two years ago I was going to bed at 12-2 am most nights and getting up late. All this time I’ve been wanting to get my sleep schedule in sync with my husband’s–he gets up at 6 am, sometimes earlier. Well, since day 3 and each day since, I’ve been up at 5:30 or 6 am.

In the past 20 years, I’ve consistently struggled in the morning because when I wake up I feel like I’m dying and feel super depressed and stiff for about 30 minutes. Eventually, I feel better but it makes life hard when you don’t welcome the day. Maybe I’m just excited and these effects will wear off soon. We’ll see.

Another thing I’ve noticed is my coffee has started to taste much sweeter despite me drinking it the same way I have been having it for a long time.

As you can imagine, my blood sugars have been ridiculously stable. On the first three days, I had to treat a  few low blood sugars with a glucose tablet or two but I’ve since lowered my basal and haven’t had any more lows. I am now taking 6 units of Tresiba in the morning and 3 units of Tresiba at night. I take about 6-8 total daily units of regular human insulin with my meals. I may take a unit or two of Humalog as a correction to stay below 100 mg/dl.

Speaking of meals, I’ve needed only two a day because the food is so filling.

My digestion is fine (I was worried I’d get constipated but that hasn’t happened). I take a magnesium supplement every day and Vit D3. I’m thinking of adding a little bit of Vitamin C.

The other thing I’ve noticed is I seem to be much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol this past week. Just the other night I had two shots of liquor (something I do only a few times a year with no problems) but this time I suffered the worst hangover of my life and the first one as a mother, which truly embarrasses me. I endured nearly 8 hours of vomiting–that was just yesterday.

I don’t know how that happened. I threw up bile for the first time since I was in the hospital with severe kidney stone pain 12 years ago and had to keep a hawk eye on my blood sugars while sipping water infused with electrolyte drops. Lesson learned the hard way. Take severe caution with alcohol.

Maybe I’ve hurt my liver in the last week and that’s what happened? Not likely. I’ve been eating mostly meat and veggies for a long time and my liver tests have been great. I do have high bilirubin levels but always have and providers have speculated that it’s a harmless genetic thing (possibly Gilbert’s Syndrome).

I Will Keep You Updated

It’s still early for me so I will strive to be objective as I continue to note whatever positive and negative things pop up. I have no big hopes or expectations. I just want to find out if this helps. If not, I’d be very happy to go back to my beloved vegetables, nuts, and dark chocolate.

The good days of my monthly menstrual cycle are currently happening. The effects of rising estrogen and the oomph of extra testosterone make everything better. I’ll have to really test this out through my monthly week of low hormone hell which nothing–not even rainbows or ice cream can survive.

I do want to point out that I’ve never been a big meat lover. For the past decade, my favorite foods have been mostly vegetables, flavorful sauces, herbs, spices, and sweets. I joke that I like steak only because I get to have steak sauce. Or that I like shrimp because of that tomato-based cocktail dip. Wings dipped in blue cheese–you get the idea.

Eating only animal products has made meals so strangely satisfying. I can’t figure out why that is if I love veggies but am no longer eating them. I’m entirely weirded out. Since I’m feeling fine, I’m going to keep it up for a while to observe my symptoms.

Time will tell me more. If you think this sounds crazy, I’m with you, but I hope I am not judged harshly for trying to stop my widespread pain. It’s bothering me enough now that I’m willing to try anything. I don’t feel like I have anything to lose. I have other ideas to try to help rule out causes to my symptoms. I’m determined to somehow make things better for myself. Right now, it’s the carnivore diet.

For better or worse, I will update you soon.

Why There is Nothing Wrong With Sharing Your A1c

Why do some people with diabetes share their A1c? Why do some not share that info? For various reasons, of course. I support people doing what they feel is right to do for themselves. If you don’t want to share your A1c or weight or the square footage of your home, I respect that.

Why do I share my A1c? Because I used to think that normal or near-normal blood sugars were not something I would ever get to enjoy as a type 1 diabetic…until I heard that some people like me had A1c levels in the 4-5% range and I thought, “wait a minute? this is possible? It couldn’t be…how do they do it?”

Their A1c level was like a signal for me. It led me to seek out these people and what they were doing to get that A1c. It led me to figure out what might help me improve my blood sugars. Along the way, I had to learn how to avoid lows and what technology best served me and how insulin works. But, I eventually became one of those people with a “normal A1c” and darned straight I’m going to tell people about it because others once did me a huge favor by telling me!

That said, I don’t care if no one cares about my A1c. What matters to me is why I share. I think it might be helpful to someone and I’m willing to spend time sharing on that hope.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your A1c because it doesn’t hurt anyone to do so. Some say it does hurt some people’s feelings but so does announcing a pregnancy, engagement, or job raise.

Those who insist on speaking for others need to think twice–are you sure they want you to speak for them? Those whose feelings are hurt who notice that others are doing just fine with the same information may want to look inward and consider that shame or jealousy may need to be addressed. I say that because someone gave me that line and I found that focusing on my personal issues was a life saver. Who cares if someone shares their health data? Not me.