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Juice Fasting with Type 1 Diabetes

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I’ve written about juicing in the past here.  Last week I decided to try a few days of juice fasting.  I drank about 2 to 3 liters of vegetable and fruit juice each day and the only other thing I consumed was water.  I used a high quality omega brand juicer and drank mostly non starchy vegetables.  I lasted 4 whole days.  Here’s how it went down:

First of all, why did I do this?

Several reasons.  First of all, I just felt like it was the right time for me, motivation-wise.  But, also I was extremely curious to see how someone with type 1 diabetes, like myself, would manage such a drastic reduction in calories and a juice fast.  I also wanted to welcome springtime with tons of fruits and vegetables without their pulp for an infusion of vitamins and minerals.  And I wanted to reset my way of eating.  I hate Winter and so every year when it’s cold and dark, I tend to comfort myself too much with sugary and fatty foods.  It doesn’t matter how healthy walnuts and almonds are, eating too many will make you fat.  It seems easier for me to do something extreme like a juice fast in order to remind myself how much better it feels on a really healthy diet.  Last summer I did a raw food detox for a few days and felt so great, lowered my need for insulin, and felt ready to eat healthier again so I figured this would be similar.

Day 1

I started on a Saturday.  I felt fine until mid afternoon when I developed a headache.  I was outside much of the day and running after the kids.  It was probably good I stayed a little active.  I don’t know if the fast caused my headache because I have allergies and during this time of year I get the type of headache I had that day so maybe, maybe not, I don’t know.  Either way, the headache got worse and worse (it was like a migraine).  By 10pm I was in agony and threw up 5 times and shivered violently for a good hour.  My blood sugar dropped and I had to get orange juice in me.  My husband was my nurse and checked my blood sugar every hour until 1am while I slept it off.  This wasn’t uncommon for me.  I am very sensitive to nausea and migraines often make me throw up several times a year so again, I don’t know if this was something I can attribute to the fast but it certainly was a miserable start and I worried if I was going to last another day.  That night I injected half of my long acting basal insulin and it ended up working perfectly.

Day 2

The next morning I woke up feeling perfectly fine.  No headache, no weakness, no morning stiffness in my joints.  I jumped out of bed in a majorly uncharacteristic way and got straight to juicing breakfast.  The entire day went amazing.  I felt great though I did take a nap (something I never, ever do) in the afternoon.

Day 3

I woke up wonderfully again and this time felt like I was floating on air.  This was so strange.  I told Alex, “I feel…euphoria!”  And then I googled “symptoms of a fast” and found that people often feel “euphoria”.  Wow.  Ok, so it’s not just me making this up.  I felt extremely peaceful and calm and happy.  I napped again this day.

Day 4

I felt fine again but started getting loose stools and that progressed for the worse during the day, leaving me feeling a bit dehydrated and uncomfortable.  And my peace was decidedly disturbed.  I chose to end the fast that night because during the next 2 days I was to drive a total of 12 hours to presentations about diabetes and didn’t want to be stuck in a car on the interstate while needing a restroom.  Not to mention diabetes and dehydration is a bad combination.  It only takes one high blood sugar for things to possibly swing out of control.  I made a pact with myself before I started the fast to above all, be safe.  I would have liked to continue but I think for my first juice fast 4 whole days was probably ideal.

Random things about this experience:

-I am an A blood type which is associated with eating more of a vegetarian type diet.  I looked into my metabolic typing a while back and found out I’m what they call a “carb type” which happened to correlate with my blood type.  Ignoring all this information, I have to admit I’ve always felt best on fruits, vegetables, and light protein sources like chicken, white fish, and legumes.  A juice fast is really great for my “type” (whatever that really is) and perhaps that’s why I didn’t have a lot of the negative symptoms others report during these fasts.  Just a thought.

-I’ve heard of people doing a juice fast by blending fruits and vegetables in a blender and then straining the pulp.  I wouldn’t recommend this as the best option because the fast motion of the blender is harsh on the valuable nutrients in the foods.  An Omega single masticating juicer is gentle and while it completely separates the pulp from the juice, it leaves all your vitamins and minerals intact.  The downside is these juicers are expensive and take up a lot of space.  I love mine (and am grateful I bought it before the kids were born-you know back when I had more money).

-I also know some people do a juice fast with store bought juices.  This is not a “juice fast”.  Store bought juices are miserably deficient in the valuable nutrients the foods once contained because they’ve been pasturized and stored for far too long.  Making your own juice means you know how fresh your fruits and veggies and herbs are, you ensure their cleanliness, and if you drink them right away, you get loads of nutrition in a glass that many people rarely get in a full week.

-It’s probably not correct to call this a “detox” because from what I understand, and I could be wrong, to detox you need fiber which will act like a sweeper of your colon.  Maybe what I’ll do next is just use the same foods but put them in a blender for green smoothies.  A green smoothie detox!

-Juicing omits all the fiber so nutrients are more easily digested and absorbed by the body.

-I juiced the following foods:  kale, collard greens, spinach, celery, beets, carrots, ginger, mint, cilantro, bok choy, arugula, cabbage, watermelon, blueberries, apple, lemon, oranges, and grapefruit.  You’d be surprised how good mint and ginger makes these juices taste :)

-I lost 4 pounds on the fast, my skin looked great, I felt more in tune with my body, and very satisfied with life.  All in all I can’t wait to do it again, if only for a weekend.  It’s been a week since my fast and I’m still using lowered insulin requirements so this seems to help me with my insulin resistance problems.  Now I just have to continue to eat right.  But if I slide out of place I know this may be just the encouraging boost I need to get me back on track.

Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor nor any kind of medical professional.  So don’t take my word for any of this, it’s just my experience and I’m drawing from my personal knowledge base. Some people do not eliminate on fasts (which is important) and endure irreversible damage to their vital organs such as their kidneys and liver.  A fast is something very serious if you have a health condition and you want to really research the topic, perhaps talk to your medical team, and definitely listen to your body through the entire process.  Beginners should do very short fasts at first as should people who eat an unhealthy diet.  Drink plenty of liquids, rest as needed, and stick to light exercise.  A fast should not feel awful and if it does, stop.

Mornings at the Muñoz Household

Wait, Muñoz?  You didn’t change your last name when you married?  Nope.  Social security never listed my status correctly when I moved over here at the ripe old age of one so even though I’ve always been an American citizen, my social security status doesn’t have me listed as one.  So to change my name I have to have that status changed and that takes a 300-some dollar form that I don’t have the money for considering the name thing is not a priority on the expense list.     

Anyway, mornings have always been sort of “blah” for me.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person.  I feel sleepy until 10am every day.  I also have allergies so I wake up with scratchy, dry eyes that hurt to open.  Then my morning consists of changing diapers, making breakfast for the kids, and the knowledge I won’t be speaking to an adult for 8 more hours which makes me feel sort of loony.  I wonder how many stay at home moms have felt this strain of imbalance?   I mean I LOVE being with my kids as does any mom but being with them all the time is completely different than seeing them only a few hours each day. 

It is nice to witness all their shenanigans, though.  It’s also a fun social experiment for me to see two of the same age, raised in the same environment and yet be so different.  It’s quite fascinating.  Aurora waltzes around doing karate kicks and dance moves in between yoga poses.  Alex and I are seriously thinking of putting her in karate, gymnastics, or dance lessons, especially considering how much she likes to eat.  She may or may not pay attention to you if you talk to her because she may be too “busy” daydreaming or something.  She is as hard-headed as me (ugh!)  Henri incessantly bugs his sister for his own amusement (hmm…reminds me of my brother).  He learns awfully quick.  He likes neatness and has initiative.  He picks up after his sister and when we’re leaving the house he starts dragging the baby bag out the door before my husband picks it up.  Soon he’ll be changing his own diaper.  Ok I’m dreaming.  Maybe he’ll get into gymnastics, too.  I just got the pleasure of seeing how he manages to get out of the crib.  Using total upper body strength he raises his body up over the railing smoothly and then very slowly uses that same upper body strength to gently lower himself to the ground.  His little arms tremble under the strain of all his body weight as his feet dangle.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Then again he did move around and flip over in his crib at 8 days old-something that preemies don’t supposedly do.  Ok enough baby bragging. 

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The past few days I’ve had this for breakfast right after my yoga and honestly, I can’t help but notice the pick me up I feel after drinking it.  It’s got one cup of romaine lettuce, one cup of spinach, one cup of kale, one lemon, a bit of ginger root, and some mint and basil.  This doesn’t make a lot of juice so I mix this with water and get a glass of what looks like bright swamp water.  It’s not the most heavenly tasting juice but it feels so good!  The kids drink it, too, so it can’t be that awful.  When they’re older I’ll introduce them to my old favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons and tell them this is the “Turtle Drink”.  Probably won’t work…but oh and I don’t have to give insulin for it since my yoga puts me around 70-80 when I’m done and this is super low carb.  It’s helpful if I can have steady blood sugars during the night and then throughout the morning before I possibly ruin them at lunch time.

It’s not easy staying motivated enough to do yoga and eat healthy but…one day at a time right?  As much as I feel mornings will never be my thing, I have to admit, knocking out a day’s worth of veggie intake and exercise first thing each day is a bit of a relief :)

Juicing for health for diabetics

 Many people are very attracted to the idea of “juicing”.  Making a delicious and nutritious beverage that is alive with vitamins and minerals ready to be absorbed by your needy gut is easy and fast. 

But when we think of juice we think of fruits.  Namely apple, grape, orange, and cranberry.  I think fruit juices are great in moderation.  But, what if you’re a diabetic?  Can you still “juice”?

I believe you can.  You just have to do something first.  You have to change your mindset from “fruit juicing” to “vegetable juicing”. 

Lately I’ve gotten back into vegetable juicing.  I enjoy it so much because it makes me feel energized and clear-headed.  I also feel great knowing I’m getting much needed nutrition in a small glass.  It’s really hard to eat enough vegetables each day.  Drinking them all at once feels revitalizing and helps you feel secure about your vitamin and mineral intake. 

Vegetable juicing is great for vain reasons, too.  When I started juicing I noticed better skin and nails in just a couple of weeks.  

The biggest change I’ve noticed with juicing is an increased feeling of alertness.  I feel more awake and ready to take on whatever the day throws at me.  Since my metabolic type is the carbohydrate type, I feel amazing on vegetable juice.  Others may not feel as great.  You may want to read about metabolic typing because IF you happen to be a protein type juicing may not feel as wonderful for you as it does for me.  Here is the link to my article on metabolic typing. 

A cookbook my mom let me borrow called “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” has a recipe called “Green Goddess Breakfast”.  It contains:

Celery

Cucumber

Broccoli

Parsley

Kale

Spinach

Fresh Mint

Avocado

You can optionally add stevia extract and whey protein powder.

Notice the sugar content of these items.  Exactly.  This is how diabetics can best juice.  Obviously a type 1 diabetic taking insulin may be able to just give insulin to cover any fruits added to the mix. 

How does vegetable juice taste?  Um…I can’t say I particularly love it.  The thing is, I LOVE how it makes me feel so I always come back for more.  Don’t be afraid to try it.  You may like it a lot more than you think.  My 1 year old twin babies drink vegetable juice in a baby bottle!  (Probably one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen was seeing them down their bottles of vegetable juice and then cry for more!)

The above vegetables are great to juice.  Here are some more you can do:

Leek

Bok Choy

Red Leaf Lettuce

Lemon (not a veggie but, extremely low sugar/low glycemic and I only add a little)

Collard Greens

Lettuce

Radishes

Ginger root (not a vegetable but a great anti-inflammatory and adds a wonderful spicy kick to juice!)

Carrot (I don’t add much because it increases the total carb count of my green drink)

Beet (same as carrot)

Lastly, there are things about juicing that you really NEED to know.  Check out this article at JuicingBook.com for helpful info before you begin (like which vegetables to stay away from if you have kidney issues).  Also, make sure to count the small amount of carbs in the vegetables you choose instead of assuming there aren’t any. 

Vegetable juicing is a big consideration because of the cost of a juicer and maybe you don’t want to get out a bunch of veggies and juice them. 

Personally, I can tell you I look forward to improved health from starting this up again.  If you don’t feel ready to juice now, simply reconsider it again next year. 

If you try it, I know your body won’t regret it!

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