Tag Archives: diabetes and food

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.

Saturday 2015 Diabetes Blog Week My Favorite Blog Post

Click for the Favorites and Motivations – Saturday 5/16 Link List.
If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blog post that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?  (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic.)


My favorite blog post: (Because getting this info down took forever and it’s one of the biggest things that helps me…)

Classification of Carbs


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

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

I classify my carbs:

-Refined grains

-Sugar/sucrose/plain fructose (no fiber)

-HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

-Chocolate, ice cream, and other high fat desserts


-Fruits and vegetables

Refined Grains

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

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


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

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

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

High fat desserts

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


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

Vegetables and Fruits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 2015 Diabetes Blog Week What I Eat

Click for the Foods on Friday – Friday 5/15 Link List.
Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)


Here is what I ate one day last week.  It’s pretty typical though I do like to change it up quite a bit:


In a magic bullet blender I put in a handful of frozen berries, a little fresh mint, some kale, chard, spinach, (or other dark leafy greens), some almond butter, chia seeds, and unsweetened coconut flakes.  I drink it up in a wine goblet.

11am I have coffee with a little milk.


Kale salad with feta cheese, tomato, red peppers, and olives.  A slice of uncured deli turkey.

3:30pm I have tea time.  Today is a chocolate mint mate with nothing added.


Some sauteed mushrooms, potato, squash, in a bed of peas with mint.  A glass of cheap wine.  A hibiscus popsicle.


This is a typical feel good day.  There are days when I have pizza with grilled veggies on top and ice cream.


Diabetes Blog Week 2012, Me and Food Need to Kiss and Make-Up


Click for the One Thing to Improve – Wednesday 5/16 Link List.
Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!


Well, reading all the posts from yesterday about what people do well gave me a lot to think about.  With just about every other post I thought, “wow, nice, I wish I did that really well…”.

What stuck out the most for me was something I didn’t catch anyone mentioning and I suppose it’s because many of us people with diabetes struggle with this:  Our relationship with food.

I don’t know about yours but even though I eat pretty healthy, my BMI is within healthy range (um, barely), and my blood pressure, lipid profile, thyroid function, and A1c are all within normal healthy ranges, I still feel like the missing piece to my puzzle is predominately my tumultuous relationship with food.  I don’t remember having this problem before my diabetes diagnosis so I will blame this largely on diabetes.  But also on plain old me.  I’ve abused alcohol, painkillers, and food in the past and it’s all partially connected to the way I really long for an easy escape from my feelings about my problems.  I’ve done a lot better in the past 6 years and now feel like if I could just grip my food struggles, man would that be nice!

So what is what I need to improve exactly?  Well, I’d say…anxious over-eating.  You know, the opposite of mindful eating.  I do pretty well all month long and then bam, about 10 days before my period I’m a disaster eater.  Who cares if I eat too much of something healthy?  It’s still going to pack on the pounds, leave me feeling miserable, and negatively impact my blood sugars and health.

So one issue to work on- pms symptoms.  A second issue is we don’t have a dinner table.  Well we do but it’s one of those high ones and the stools that went with the table all broke over the years (They really don’t make furniture the way they used to, sigh.)  Ok, we’ve got one stool left but sitting in it feels like it cuts off my circulation so geez was that a bad purchase or what!?  Alright, so I eat standing up most of the time which really helps me eat too quickly.  Also, my little ones are the perfect excuse for me to feel like I should really hurry and eat.  I ought to just copy exactly how they eat-slow and in the moment.

Let’s not forget diabetes genuinely causes issues in this department.  Low and not hungry?  Too bad, you sad sap, stuff that mouth full of calorie heavy glucose.  High and nauseated because you ate something you were really craving?  Aww…you just can’t win can you?  lol…Next thing you know food is medicine and food is a drug and food is a vice and a form of punishment and relief and pleasure and arrghhh…

Ok, this post has been seriously helpful.  It’s helped me see the light.  What’s the point in complaining if one isn’t going to make a plan of action, right?

I talked with my husband and we’re going to focus on saving towards a new table…seeing the impact on our health and what our kids are picking up as habits, we think it qualifies as a priority.  Eating with the kids, sitting on the floor, on the ottoman is getting cramped and too messy.  Yes, the living room ottoman is our dinner table.  Bet you didn’t know that interesting fact about me?

Also, what emotions do I have hidden under the surface relating to food?  Why such animosity?  Why do I want to simultaneously praise butter in all it’s buttery goodness and strangle it by it’s rectangular, slippery throat?  Why do I feel like throwing away all the cutlery in the kitchen in a desperate attempt to alienate food?  I will think and meditate on that and get back to you.

So what would you like to improve?  Remember there’s no shame!  In fact, take this time to identify your “thing”, whatever it is, and work on making it better.

As our D-friend Ginger always says, we are works in progress!

Why I Love the Study of Nutrition


I love the study of nutrition…

  • Because I’ve learned food is medicine
  • Because what we eat influences what we think.  A world that eats high quality food is a world that has more positivity, love, and patience.
  • Because what we eat communicates directly with our genes.  What we eat is information.  And that information helps determine what diseases we’ll develop or not develop and what health issues our children will be predisposed to or not predisposed to.
  • Because to be sick we either have too much or too little of something.  And a huge chunk of that has to do with food and all that’s in it or not in it.
  • Because the more we know and apply, the better we feel.  The better we feel, the more we can do.  The more we can do, well…the sky is the limit.

As people with diabetes, I think we benefit enormously from learning about nutrition because when you have a chronic disease that impacts every part, every organ of the body, you need all the help you can get.  We eat every single day and so every day is an opportunity to give ourselves something that will make us healthier, stronger, smarter, and happier.  The right foods do that.  And I think it’s amazing.

5 Reasons Why Food Becomes an Issue for People with Diabetes


Because diabetes management is also food management, you can imagine, if you don’t have diabetes, that the issue of food for a diabetic, is indeed a complicated one (much like this sentence).

5 Reasons why food becomes an issue for people with diabetes:

1.  Carbohydrates must be consumed to level out a low blood sugar or to prevent one due to active insulin.

This is the case even if you’re not hungry, even if you’re nauseated, even if you are stuffed on Thanksgiving Day.  Carbohydrates are full of calories so weight gain can become an issue if someone is having too many lows.  Carbs are also filling and eating while not hungry or just to fix a low tends to push a person into an unhealthy habit of eating to pacify a symptom (perhaps depression or anxiety) or to fix feelings of fatigue or tiredness.  Next think you know, a person is apt to think they need a snack every time they have a headache or feel weak or are nervous or feel sad.  The list goes on and on and since food really is medicine for people with diabetes, the stable use of food easily derails.

2.  Some foods are much harder than others to cover successfully with insulin, creating a good foods, bad foods war.

A popular idea out there is that there are no bad foods.  I understand the thinking behind that train of thought but personally, I do think there are bad foods.  It all depends on your definition.  For me, something that doesn’t support health but rather damages it, is “bad”.  While you and I might disagree on that, we probably agree on this:  Because rice is trickier to cover with insulin than say, chicken, we get into negative feelings about rice over time.  Not all of us, but if rice doesn’t give you any hurdles, just replace it with whatever does-like pasta or pizza.  The point is that a perfectly healthy food like brown rice can become demonized in our minds simply because of our frustration with it’s complex carb load.  I like brown rice but I almost run from it screaming because of how difficult a time I have covering it with insulin.  I eat a few fork full and I know I need to be done.  It’s a shame that we also find that cheese, often full of saturated fat and sodium, tempts us to eat too much of it because it’s so easy to cover with insulin.

3.  More insulin means more fat so people who use insulin therapy have a unique weight management challenge.

Let me explain.  The more insulin one takes, the more fat they will gain.  So let’s say that I’m having a rough year (which is quite human of me, right?) and as a result I don’t carb count and measure and insulin dose as accurately as I should (also normal human behavior), well, because I’m sometimes giving a little too much insulin and needing more food to cover for that fact and because I’m sometimes giving too little insulin resulting in a higher amount of insulin needed to bring blood sugar down after the fact, I’m apt to gain a few pounds between consuming more calories than I’d like and giving insulin to cover a high blood sugar that a non diabetic never has to worry about.  Phew! The key to weight management is carefully counting carbs and covering those carbs at the right time and with the precise amount of insulin.  That key, my non diabetic friends, is not one that humans hold, it’s in the hands of Zeus and his friends.  So, what do diabetics taking insulin do?  I don’t know but I know what I do, I eat less than most people and I exercise more than most people.  That’s what I do.  Others probably count carbs carefully and probably don’t have a disposition to insulin resistance (which causes one to need more insulin and thus gain more weight).  Still, others eat low carb so that insulin intake is low and so is weight.  The rest of us may have a few extra pounds we could do without, seeing as we didn’t even earn them.  Sigh.  What a dilemma.

4.  Due to the above, it becomes tempting to skimp insulin in order to manage weight.

This is a scary one I’ve never personally tried.  However, it’s a realistic problem for many people with diabetes at some point or another.  Some people get quite desperate to manage their weight that they don’t take their insulin.  This causes high blood sugar, ketones, and body fat burning.  This also causes death and if you or someone you know is doing this, get help ASAP.  I write about this one because while it may seem pathetic to the outsider, it’s not at all.  I understand that it probably starts with just a moment of desperation, a longing to be thin without having to work doubly hard as everyone else.  Diabetes that isn’t tightly managed usually begets unwanted pounds so I can understand how it’s tempting.  But like I said, it’s very dangerous and something that you should never ever do if you have diabetes.

5.  Eating becomes an abnormal event.

When someone who takes insulin before a meal does so, they have to start some math in their heads.  They have to take note that their fast acting insulin begins in about 15-30 minutes.  Then they have to recall their blood sugar and figure out how long it will take the insulin to start pushing down the blood sugar.  If my blood sugar is 150, for example, I don’t eat right away.  I wait about 25 minutes instead of my normal 15 minutes because I want to start eating when my blood sugar is a little lower than 150 but higher than 100.  Are you still following?  OK.  Then, I have to make sure that I eat the amount of carbohydrates that I’ve just given insulin for.  So, when one of my toddlers needs something in the middle of dinner and I get up to do it, that means when I sit back down, I have to now speed eat.  I have to stuff myself to make sure I don’t get a low, providing I don’t already have one.  Or let’s say I’m at a restaurant.  I either try to guess when the food is being brought out or I let my food get a little cold before eating.  Sometimes I’m a little high but I’m hungry so I eat really slowly.  Sometimes I have literally inhaled my meal because of a low.  Either way, I can’t always just sit down and enjoy. my. meal.  This speed eating might also become a habit.  And you know what else?  When we eat while low, we become used to eating when feeling trembly or weak or flushed.  So I’ve noticed when I’m nervous or anxious or tired, I eat really fast!  It’s like I’m used to shoving food in my mouth in an effort to make those symptoms associated with low blood sugar, go away.  Why?  Because when we have a low blood sugar, we’re essentially on the way to death and our body makes us feel really awful so that we get the message, follow what our body is saying, and eat some carbs!  Preferably fast acting carbs.

Diabetes and food, they go together like a knot.

So what can we do?

Ok, this post was all doom and gloom so here is the light at the end of the tunnel.  Next week I’ll post what I have set up as some rules that work rather well for me and others I know.  These rules have helped me enjoy food more and stress over it less.  This doesn’t mean some of the above doesn’t still occur but I have lessened the occurrences which is something.

Coming next week:  5 Helpful Food Rules

Can you think of any other ways that the relationship between food and a person with diabetes is complicated?  If so, share!

Malnourished and Overweight

Practically Void of Nutrients, (Courtesy of digitalart)


Many of us suffer from malnourishment.  It’s one big reason we may overeat.  We eat too many foods that don’t nutritionally satisfy our bodies and as a result we’re left hungry.

To many outsiders, the solution seems to be to “well, then stop overeating” but as we discussed here before, why does anyone think that a hungry person would just stop eating?  Hunger is a very strong sensation and we’re built to obey it.  So that tactic isn’t going to work for long.

Often, the root of the problem is a diet high in processed foods.  Vitamin and mineral content is low in these foods and so you have to eat large amounts of it to feel satisfied.  When your body gets what it needs, feelings of satiety settle in.  Sometimes the body doesn’t get what it needs and we’re left feeling stuffed and anxious because our bodies still feel like something is “missing”.

But then what is the way to fix the problem?  Take a multi-vitamin?  That could be a start.  How about trying to fill up on whole foods so that the body begins getting what it needs.  For someone on an unhealthy diet, I’d recommend eating whole foods and not worrying about which ones for a time being.  For example, are you craving berries?  Have berries.  Craving potatoes?  Try potatoes.  Just stick to real food by avoiding food that comes in any kind of box or sealed package.

Over time your body will fill up faster because it’s getting what it has needed all along.

Last but not least?  Get a bottle you can constantly keep with you for sipping on water throughout the day.  Sometimes we eat and eat and eat and really our body is like, “Yo! I’m just thirsty!”

So moral of the story today:  Instead of trying to eat less, replace.what you eat with whole food alternatives.  Make it so you’re too full for junk food.

Food Journaling and Food Cravings

Painting by Ana Morales


I’ve been doing a small experiment as part of my curriculum at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition called food journaling.  I’m being taught that we, being mammals, intuitively know what to eat.  The problem is that modern grocery stores have everything you could imagine from all parts of the world and advertisers spend billions on us in hopes we’ll crave what they’re selling.  This all confuses us and suppresses our natural cravings.  It’s also popular and widely acknowledged that we have junk food cravings and so I don’t think most people are encouraged to give into or be open to healthy food cravings.

When I was pregnant with my twins I started craving steak and other high iron containing foods.  Then I found out I had very low iron levels.  “Gee, that’s convenient”, I thought.  I also craved big salads and that makes sense considering I was now needing nutrients for myself and two others.  I was fascinated by the fact that my body was reaching out to these foods in order to take care of me and restore balance in me.

Anyway, I’ve found food journaling very helpful lately.  I write down what I eat for meals and take note of how I feel before and after those meals.  I also spend time thinking about what I really want to eat and then I eat it.  I haven’t had any cabbage whatsoever in about 3 years.  In the past week I’ve had 2 heads of cabbage in a raw coleslaw made with cabbage, carrots, cashews, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and agave syrup.  Then I bought something I’ve only had twice in my life-saurkrout.  Once home and unpacking the groceries I realized that saurkrout was cabbage, too!  This is when I started thinking that perhaps my body was in need of something that cabbage contains.  I’ve never liked cabbage but at this moment it’s better than chocolate to me.  It’s particularly nice to crave something healthy for once.  I just read that cabbage is high in vitamin K and C and is a pretty good anti-inflammatory.  From what I’ve read in the past, vitamin C levels tend to be lower in people with diabetes and high blood sugars cause inflammation in the body.

I’ve only been doing this a week and find it more than interesting to note that in the past week my anxiety has decreased, my energy levels have increased, and suddenly my husband is the most wonderful person ever (despite him acting exactly as before).  And this is pms season proven by my crying yesterday at Disney’s Mulan movie.  In other words, my mood is different.  They say food affects our mood and I have always believed it.  The problem is that I have forgotten about this to some extent and getting back in touch with the information has been SO valuable.

I highly recommend to anyone to try this.  It’s easy and inexpensive and the information you get out of it is priceless!  Go to the grocery store and stay out of the aisles with the boxed food.  Just walk around the produce and other whole foods areas and try to listen to what your body is calling out for.  You may be surprised!

The Hope Warshaw Article that Caused an Uproar

Photo courtesy of Carlos Porto


On every online forum for diabetes there is a low carb debate.  Does it help those with type 2 diabetes?  How many carbs per day constitutes low carb?  Does it help those with type 1 diabetes?  But doesn’t the brain need glucose for energy?  It’s a hot topic to say the least. 

While many debate against the details of what constitutes low carb, few people on these forums combat the notion that reducing carbs helps many people with diabetes.  And this is where I get confused with articles such as this one by renowned dietician and diabetes educator, Hope Warshaw.  In her article, she says low carb diets are not effective for people with diabetes and that weight loss will not lower blood sugar. 

Warshaw says there are “countless” studies to confirm the merits of the diet she recommends which is 45-65% of one’s calories coming from carbohydrates.  Yet, she does not cite a single one of those studies.  As for the weight loss, she points out that  “Large studies have shown that with loss of five to seven percent of body weight (approximately 10 to 20 pounds) and 150 minutes of physical activity (30 minutes five times a week), people can prevent or delay the progression to type 2. Once insulin production is on a dwindling course (particularly after 10 years with type 2), weight loss has less impact on glucose control.”  That’s not a lot of weight loss.  This would be like someone going from 200 to about 190 pounds.  How much blood sugar impact could that have in the long run?  Maybe we should note how well blood sugar is impacted by seeing what happens when an obese person’s weight drops to the healthy weight reange .  For optimal health, the goal is a healthy weight, no? 

Warshaw claims that treating diabetes by reducing carbs is an old dogma because that’s what we did with diabetics back in the days before insulin and medications.  True.  We didn’t have many options back then.  Today, many type 2 diabetics have found it useful to be somewhere along the spectrum of softly limiting carbs to harshly avoiding them.  There are also the type 1 diabetics out there like myself, who have managed to finally lower A1c levels by reducing carbs.  How does someone as influential as Hope Warshaw ignore the online ravings of people with diabetes on the success they have by limiting carbohydrates to some degree?  Does she read this stuff and think that something else must be to blame for our improved health?  Does she read this stuff at all?  Because I tend to think our community’s online sharing is pretty valuable information to medical experts.

I don’t know that every adult with diabetes must limit carbs.  According to my research it seems they should at least be careful about grains.  I just know that I feel and look healthier with my A1c close to a non-diabetic’s and the only way to do that for myself is to limit carbs from grains like bread, pasta, rice, and corn. 

What I find interesting is many dieticians including Hope Warshaw, explain the ineffectiveness of low carb by saying it’s unrealistic eating behavior.  Warshaw recently went head to head with Dr. Bernstein and said that eating low carb is unsustainable.  She said people have the right to eat what they love.  She said we deserve it.  If I want to sell a book about health to the masses, that’s how I would go.  I would tell people what they want to hear.  Many people with diabetes do not feel well and are thus quite vulnerable to an expert’s say so it’s genius, really.  However, when a person smokes too much and are on the brink of emphysema, should a doctor say, “Aw you know what?  You’re addicted to smoking.  Why should I try to take you away from something you love and are addicted to?   Why don’t you just switch to a higher quality tobacco?  Let me prescribe something to help with your symptoms.”  I’ve never heard of that happening.  My thinking is I deserve a long and healthy life with diabetes and so does everyone else.  Does that come with the need for restraint?  Why yes!  But so does being married, being a world class athlete, and doing well in college.

Warshaw says a low carb diet is hard to stick to in the long run.  My thought is, don’t people have a hard time sticking to ANY diet in the long run?  I don’t think low carb is an exception.   Experts stating over and over that low carb is just too hard for people makes me wonder if someone thinks we’re weak little creatures.  Golly, how do we manage to go to work every day?  I mean, the discipline involved!  Round of applause and a cupcake for me please, I got out of bed at 5am this morning to exercise.

Again, I’m not saying low carb is the way to go for everyone.  It just doesn’t make sense to say it’s wrong without any real proof, without consideration for the success others have with it, and without any valid reasons to tell someone not to simply try it.  Telling someone not to try low carb because it’s hard is like telling a child not to go for being a president or a basketball champ or a published author because it’s too challenging.  Puleeez. 

How many times a day do I hear “low carb is a fad diet”?  A lot.  And yet I’ve seen my lab results on the ADA diet and I’ve seen them on the lowish carb diet I follow consisting of around 50-75 grams a day.  The difference is startling and I’m reaping the benefits.  You won’t find my doctor telling me to change my diet.

I have nothing against Hope Warshaw or other medical experts.  I only wish they would recognize what we in the low or “lowish” carb community are desperately saying to them.   We’re saying that A) lowering carbs is helping us be healthy, B) the same diet doesn’t work for everyone (see; the world’s people), and C) what people deserve is to be healthy and to be encouraged towards that and not instant gratification.  Oh and D)  Ignoring the above is dangerous and irresponsible.

We’re not doctors or famous people but we’re capable of great things and we need the medical community to take note of our valuable observations and to believe in us.  We’re smarter and stronger than they seem to think.

Saturday Snapshot

Today Diabetes Blog Week continues…

Saturday snapshots – Saturday 5/14: Today is the only day I’ve brought back a fun topic from last year. Inspired by the Diabetes 365 project, let’s snap a few more d-related pictures and share them again. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Be creative! Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures. Or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Nighttime snacking is something I consider very dangerous for myself because if it goes wrong or the insulin coverage for it goes wrong I’m left with two not so good possibilities:

A) My blood sugar drops in the middle of the night

B) My blood sugar is high during the middle of the night (and means I won’t catch it for a while so that is too many hours of high blood sugar) 

I figured that if I could get somewhat close to guaranteeing myself great blood sugars from 8pm to 8am then I’d have pretty decent glucose management for half of my life.  Makes what happens during the day a little more tolerable.  Now, for children and their never-ending activity this is a whole different story but I noticed that as I got older I was more able to get my overnight blood sugars stabilized by either not eating after dinner or being careful what I ate after dinner.  So…here is what my husband has been preparing us lately for a night snack (although, really it’s my dinner because it’s so much).  There is tomato, lettuce, avocado, radish, carrot, broccoli, hummus, and a little of the best French sheep’s milk cheese I’ve ever had (for the indulgence factor).  Sometimes we add chicken.  Oh and those are shrimp forks by the way, that’s not giant broccoli ;)


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