Tag Archives: lifestyle habits

My Favorite App is a Mood and Period Tracker

I struggled with the title for this post. I wanted to call it “You Need This App!” but I imagined people would then start reading and be discouraged by the surprise theme of menstruation on a diabetes blog. However, I am certainly talking about a mood and period tracker app and it really is my favorite app.  It has improved my well-being.  It has helped my relationship with my husband.  It’s got an alienating and cheesy name-are you ready for it?  “Hormonescope”.  Look beyond that and let me explain.

We women know all too well that in the days leading up to our period, our hormone levels change.  What I have learned is that they fluctuate all month long and these fluctuations are legitimate motivators to our changing moods and behavior.  I got this app last year and quickly realized that each day, when I read what was going on with my body and why, I could easily be more in control of my day(s).

This app tracks you from the starting date of your last period and then gives you a daily “hormonescope” that is not ridiculous at all but based on science.  I decided to test it out by writing down how I was feeling each day and then reading my information for the day.  What I found was that when I was feeling more sensitive to pain, the app knew about it.  When I was feeling like a homebody, the app knew about it.  When I was feeling like dressing up and wearing lipstick, the app knew about it.  When I was about to become almost irrational with my emotions, the app knew about it.  In other words, the science was well researched to generally describe what our hormones do throughout the month and when they would do it and how that translates into typical behavior.

What about those people with irregular schedules?  Well, usually, that would be me.  For the last few years, I have normally been between 3-10 days late each month.  This app helped me with this by keeping me aware of my irregular cycle.  Combined with information about how to increase overall health, I used this awareness to motivate me to eat healthier, exercise more consistently, reduce sugar, stay away from soy, keep my blood sugars consistent, and to constantly work on stress management.  I have always had pretty terrible menstrual cramps that have diminished with better eating and exercise.  I spent the last three months working hard at my healthy habits and just had a cycle that included none of my typical cramps, nor ovarian and breast cyst swelling and pain, smoother moods, and an on time predictable schedule. It was heaven.  I’ve heard of women having this kind of cycle and I thought it would never happen to me.  I feel very much supported by this admittedly simple app and the daily dose of information it shares.

I also struggle with depression and anxiety and this app has helped me with that, too. When estrogen and progesterone start to drop about a week before our period, gloominess and worry can set in.  But what if you got a hint each day of what to expect with your hormones and behavior?  In the days leading up to menstruation, I used to get into a terrible depressed mood and be lost in my weary haze, always slightly unsure if I would ever crawl out.  Now, because I have a heads up and a reassurance that nature will help reverse the mood  in a few days, I work through this hard time of the month much better than ever before.  I drink herbal teas, wear loose clothing, and cut myself slack when it comes to chores and things that have to get done.

This app has also helped my relationship with my husband.  It has been hard on him to lose a generally happy and loving wife for about 10 days every month to extreme mood changes.  This app hasn’t just increased my understanding of what is going on with me, it has increased his understanding of what goes on with me.  “Oh, you aren’t crazy, it’s your hormones!”  Just kidding, he has never said that.  It also helps give him insight into how he can support me during that time.  I appreciate when he plans an outing out with the kids on one of the days I really need it, for example.  And I think he appreciates not having to freak out over my sudden crying at sappy animal commercials.   It’s also a bonus to be aware and take advantage of “sexy days”, days when hormones support the mood being just right.

There have been days when I feel like I can tackle a big project and the app knew about it.  I have felt like “a genius!” and the app knew about that, too.  (Too bad that doesn’t last more than a day or two) I no longer guilt myself on the few days I eat more than normal or the feelings of wanting to stay at home and chill with a book.  I jump up and embrace social outings on the days my body and brain are feeling more friendly and chatty and outgoing.  I deep clean the house when energy is up and cook simple and easy foods, otherwise known as microwave meals when it’s really low.

I never thought I’d rave about this kind of app but, it has brought me tremendous value and I recommend it to any woman who menstruates or any human who wants to better understand and support a woman who menstruates.  Just now I read my “hormonescope” for the day and it mentions that with progesterone and estrogen on a gentle rise after a previous dip, I’m supposedly feeling more creative flow and introspection but am physically jumbling my words so writing is a perfect thing to do today.  Voila.

Get it here!

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.


Changing the Norm Starts with Us and Our Children

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The kids eating kale chips.


If we think of “normal” as what we usually do and a “treat” as something we really enjoy but don’t have as often as other things, then I consider healthy eating normal and fresh tilapia a treat.

I think too many of us get caught up in other people’s description of “normal” and “treat”.  But we can make the definition anything we want for ourselves.  We can do this for our kids, too.

I want my kids to think that their healthy way of eating is normal even though it’s not the norm.  I want them to feel that a bowl of fruit or a salad with tons of different vegetables is a treat, even though in our culture, it’s more of a “should do” than a “want to do”.  I want them to think that feeling good after eating is a treat, instead of accepting feeling sluggish or hyper.  I want them to be picky and really care about what they’re putting into their bodies.  If something doesn’t make them feel good after eating it, I want them to love themselves enough to avoid that food.  Just like if someone doesn’t treat them right, I’d want my kids to avoid that person.

I still give my kids ice cream a few times a month.  It’s not about making foods the enemy.  It’s about supporting their learning of how to make distinctions between different types of foods.  It doesn’t help to let children hear that first we suffer through this healthy meal and then we get to the ice cream treat for relief.  That’s probably not teaching them something helpful.  Neither is being forceful though and I’ll be the first to admit, it’s really hard to get kids to eat healthy in this world we live in.

Here is my formula so to speak, which has worked really well so far: (keep in mind we still have days where I am an exasperated mom of two little arms crossed, head shaking toddlers)

I’ll use the example of a salad because many young children look at raw vegetables like inedible toys to play with.

I let my kids watch the entire preparation of the salad.  They’re two years old so all they can really help me with is getting the vegetables out of the fridge and drying them after I’ve washed them.  Then they watch as I cut them and throw them in a bowl.  I make it a point to look happy while doing this and sometimes make a song out of what I’m preparing.  Two year old’s get into anything:  “carrots and celery, spinach and broccoli, yummy, yummy, yummy!”  Don’t make fun of me.  It gets them dancing.  Anyway, then when my husband and I eat, we ignore the kids.  We enjoy our food, we let out plenty of genuine “mmm’s” and allow the kids to try whatever vegetable they want to try.  They’ve never tried any dressing other than olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice and salt so since that’s all they know, they don’t  complain.

The reason we ignore them during meal time is they stop performing for us.  They tend to be really cute, you know two year olds.  They’re like “look at me, I can make a funny face!”  Or they smile and want you to go “Awww!”  So while we give them plenty of this kind of attention, while we eat, the focus is, at least for now, on enjoying the food.  We also never force them to eat anything because no human being likes being forced to do anything.  And we certainly don’t want them to associate any foods with a negative memory.

They mimic us parents so I’ve found they focus on the food on the plate and with nothing left to do, they start getting curious about it.  After all, mom and dad look happy over it, maybe it’s pretty good?  They usually don’t want to miss out.  Often, they won’t like something but will try it over and over until low and behold, they eat it and find out they like it all of a sudden.  All that was needed was a ton of patience on our part.  To be honest sometimes I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because that’s just how it is with feeding young children.  Sticking with my goals has proved pretty successful and I hope others try to just hang in there.  Your hard work will pay off one day!

The other thing that probably helps us out is my kids only watch kid DVD’s.  They have never seen TV commercials.  In Canada it’s illegal to market to children and I wish it were that way here in the US.  It doesn’t help parents to have their kids subject to happy looking children enjoying junk food and toys that they may not have in their homes.

The problem sometimes with too many junk food treats is not that a few junk food meals a week will do much damage but simply that the salt, sugar, and fat content will mess with a person’s taste buds.  If a child tastes the exaggerated flavors in McDonald’s chicken nuggets and milkshake, how are they going to accept the milder flavors of grilled chicken and a vegetable?  It’s hard and it’s asking a lot of them.  I’ve found that since not having any fast food meals in years, if I have a bite of someone’s fast food meal, I can’t handle the high amount of salt, sugar, and fat.  My tongue can’t.  And I have to spit the food out.  I never thought that would happen to me but it did.  (My exception is ice cream!)  I think we can give kids this advantage.  All it takes is slowly and gradually replacing junk food with whole foods and home cooked meals.  I know that’s not easy but small steps reap great rewards in this area.

It’s up to all of us to change what the norm is.  We can change what we consider a treat.  It doesn’t have to be about replacing a birthday cake.  No, birthday cakes are wonderful!  As my mom would say, It can be about having a tiny slice instead of a huge one.  It can be about more fresh whole foods instead of bagged and boxed items.  It can be about a walk after dinner, instead of a TV show after dinner.  When we change what is considered normal, we change how future generations live.  We give them a better life.  We set them up for more success and less failure.  Right now, we’re in trouble and we all know it.  And there is no room for feeling guilty about it.  Don’t let guilt bring you down, you don’t deserve that.  It’s about taking small steps to awareness and acknowledgement of all of our hands in the matter.  Think about how easy it would be to do this if no one judged.  The reality is what it is but no one needs to be put down over it.  Not when this living and parenting this is SO hard.

If this post upsets someone it’s only because it strikes a chord.  And I’m not on a high horse.  There are moments when I am so tired I give the kids strawberries and dark chocolate for dinner.  I know that is not ideal and I try to find a way to make the next day go better and recognize that I’m a parent and being a parent is hard.  If my kids eat really well on most days, I’m happy with that.

I write this post because the one thing I feel a sense of relief over as a parent is that a meal of broccoli, chicken and brown rice makes my kids happy.  Although they don’t quite understand the connection between how they feel and what they eat, I know they want to feel good.  We all do.  Maybe when they’re older they will eat all the junk food they can get their hands on.  That’s fine with me.  Have a ball!  I have faith that when they start feeling the affects of this, they will think back to the time when they felt better and make the connection to the food they ate and the lifestyle habits we had.  And I think they’ll know their way back.  I trust that because they knew a different norm, they will be able to make better decisions for themselves.  In the meantime it will take longer for them to sustain damage from the food because at least their first few years were full of healthy food.  Anyway, that’s my plan and I’m trying to stick with it.

For support, I hope my kids find other like minded peers to live this way with.  Wouldn’t it be cool if a healthier lifestyle became the norm?  Wouldn’t it be easier for others to join in?  Wouldn’t we all find relief?  I know I would.  I’m tempted by double fudge brownies just as much as the next gal.

Cooking at Home



“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”

~ Dorothy Draper

If I had it my way, I’d be a Princess and there would be no cooking done by me.  I don’t particularly like it and wince a little to always find myself in the kitchen.  And perhaps it’s not the cooking I mind but more the clean up afterwards (I’m very messy).  I think over time I will learn to like it more.  I have no choice.  I’ve found that the healthiest way to eat is to cook my own food.  That way, I know exactly what’s in my food, how it’s been cooked, and how fresh it is.  I can control the salt, the fat, the quality of fat, the quantity of sugar, the freshness of herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables.  I can make sure my family and I consume vegetables and fruits that are washed really well, are not wilted or brown, and haven’t been cross contaminated with germs in a kitchen.

Cooking in your own kitchen ensures all this.

Most people say they don’t have time.  I think we do if we prioritize.  I often have to choose between an outing to a store and staying home to cook dinner.  That’s when I realize I have time but choose to use it in a different way.  Some people really are pressed and I understand that.  There are lots of tips out there to help with that.  The following are what have helped me the most:

-Cook for two days

This means getting large enough pots and pans but I’ve found that this is really nice when you experience every other day as a day off from cooking dinner.  The kitchen is nice on those days, too!

-Clean while cooking

I’ve made things a lot more manageable for myself by learning to clean as I cook.  It leaves only a little to be done afterwards.  Alex would beg to differ but he often doesn’t see what the kitchen looks like during the cooking!

-Get help

I do this two ways.  First, when possible, I recruit my husband’s help in cooking because then the job goes twice as fast.  When my kids are older you can bet they’re going to be helping out, too.  Second, I play fun or relaxing music and light candles.  It makes for a special atmosphere that helps the cooking be more enjoyable.  Seriously, chopping carrots to Adele is priceless.

– Keep breakfast and lunch simple

I’m already cooking a full on dinner so for the other two meals of the day I keep it really simple.  Things like eggs, fruit, oatmeal, are pretty easy to prepare in the morning.  For lunch things like wraps, sandwiches, salads are pretty quick, too.  I actually eat mostly raw food for breakfast and lunch and then have cooked food for dinner.  It helps me to not have to cook so much.  The sight of a dirty pan almost makes me pass out.

If YOU have any tips, share!  I’m trying to get better at this.  By the time I’m 30, I want to be like Ina Garten.  She seems so happy to cook!  Then again someone probably cleans her kitchen for her…

Just keep in mind that in the time it takes you to drive to a fast food restaurant, wait in line, order, pay, and go sit down with your food, you could have cooked a simple meal at home.  Especially with practice.  This is something I’m still working on but have found that I’m much more quick and efficient in the kitchen and most importantly-less apt to burn the meal, than I was a year ago so hey, we’re making progress :)  You can, too.

As a plus, just think how great it would be if fast food restaurants died out and were replaced by healthier alternatives?  That can’t be a bad thing!  When I worked outside of the home I longed for a drive by restaurant that would just give me something fresh and healthy while I was on the run.  We can change the paradigm, one home cooked meal at a time!

New Year’s Resolutions for September and October

August 2011 076

My goal for July and August was to exercise each day.  I was to spend both months focused on that one thing.  I couldn’t help but notice how my earlier goal this year of waking up early helped this last goal of exercising.  First, I got into the habit of waking up early every day.  Then, I made that first hour each day be about exercise!  One goal made room in my life for the next!

A week ago I wrote about Tips4Type1! and must say I’m so glad this fundraiser came my way.  My September and October goal is to quit biting my nails.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Seriously?  That’s your big goal?”  I know.  I’ve been a nail biter since I first started getting nervous at school when I was 6 years old.  It’s time to officially break the habit by focusing on it so that I never have to focus on it again.  My son is starting to bite his nails and I’ve realized how that is MY fault.

So, since I don’t bite my nails while they’re painted and I’ve got this great blue and silver nail polish that symbolizes diabetes awareness, I will just diligently keep my nails painted for diabetes!  How about that?

By the way, I’m using Leo Babauta’s 6 Changes Method which works like this: you make 6 changes a year by focusing on each for a full two months at a time.  The idea is that if we do something for two months, we’ve pretty much created a solid habit and can more easily sustain it over time.  It’s working for me this year just as it did last year.  This time of year is really busy which is why I chose a small goal to focus on. I’m quite relieved about that fact right about now. :)

New Year’s Resolutions for July and August

Thanks to Federico Stevanin for the cute photo!


July has just about gotten away from me and I am now realizing I was supposed to work on something specific this month and the next.

Using Leo Babauta’s 6 Changes Method, I have been using two months at a time to tackle one goal I have.  It worked great last year and it’s helping me out this year.

People knock New Year’s Resolutions because they don’t do them correctly.  It does no good to tell yourself “I will lose weight this year” because first, that’s not specific to any ACTION you are going to take and also, is this string of proclamations coming with some commitment and energy behind it?  Are you  literally going to try to tackle ten goals at once?  There is no method to that madness.

That’s why I love the 6 Changes Method.  It’s simple and focusing on one thing that I want to make into a habit for 2 months means I’m giving my new goal a real shot.

For May and June I wanted to wake up early and focus on creating.  My twins do not let me get much done during the day.  They are both very physically active and you can bet that one will be on the dinner table about to leap into the air in an attempt to grab the chandelier if I don’t constantly keep my eye on him (yes, I’m talking about you, Henri).  My blog is my creative outlet, my passion, and what probably keeps me sane so I didn’t want to neglect it.  Therefore, getting up early and getting the writing out of the way as well as my exercise has proved the best change I’ve done all year.  We’re talking about a life changing change!  It’s not easy because I am not a morning person but I’m starting to enjoy the peace and quiet I get when it’s just me and the “taka taka taka” of the keyboard.

For July and August my goal was to get into the habit of exercising every day.

I’ve skipped a few days this month but only a few and I’ve been running, getting on the elliptical, and doing yoga.  I just need to keep it up.  It’s challenging lately because Alex leaves for work at 6am and gets home at 6pm.  Yesterday in fact, he got home past 8pm.  By the time we put the kids down and do some house maintenance, it’s really late.  But this is no excuse, I need to work to get things done so that come 4 or 5am every day, I’m rested enough to get up and get on with my routine.

I have to keep my blood pressure stable so this exercising each day goal I have is a MUST.  Wouldn’t it be nice if exercise was like brushing teeth?  That’s what I’m going for, lol.  Wish me luck!

Interview with Healthy and Fabulous Type 1

I think everyone has a particular type of person whose lifestyle and successes really “speaks” to them.  Someone who has truly inspired me since I “met” her on Facebook is Ellen Sherman.  Ellen is a wife, mother of two sons, and a 63 year old woman living with type 1 diabetes.   I’d describe her as very healthy, disciplined, positive, and generous.  I am very grateful for the information she has been sharing with me which I now want to share with you.  So kick back and get some free inspiration today :) 

I will let her do most of the talking as I believe this is more powerful in her own words.

Ellen has had type 1 diabetes for 33 years.  Despite always being interested in learning about nutrition, emotional, and physical well-being, Ellen became and thoroughly enjoyed being a High School teacher.   Although diagnosed with diabetes at age 30, she was familiar with the devastating effects of uncontrolled diabetes from watching her grandmother suffer total blindness and amputation before her early death. 

Her diagnosis was a bit complicated:

“At first, I was improperly diagnosed as a Type 11 even though I had none of the characteristics–I was thin and did not have the blood profile of a Type 11. When I saw a highly recommended Endocrinologist, he did a GAD antibody test and other tests that confirmed that I was Type 1.  In addition, I was being treated with an underactive thyroid which is another autoimmune disease prevalent in Type 1 diabetics. By the time I was properly diagnosed I was terribly underweight and struggling with high glucose numbers.  I started insulin immediately and began researching various dietary recommendations that were available at the time.  After months of testing, I realized that if I kept the diet that the ADA recommended I would be taking more and more insulin, thus increasing my chances for insulin resistance and destroying whatever beta cells I had left.  I was determined to find a different approach that worked for me.  At first it was trial and error, but with time I realized that I had to make considerable lifestyle changes to achieve my goal, to remain complication free and live a long, healthy life.” 

Ellen started testing herself and keeping a journal.  She took up weight training to build muscle mass and made aerobic exercise a part of her daily life.  She tested before a meal and two hours after a meal and came up with her own diet plan.  She read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetic Solution and incorporated many of his ideas.  She says Dr. Bernstein himself was kind enough to speak with her over the phone to answer any questions she had.  Ellen doesn’t happen to agree with the high fat/low carb diet for herself in particular so she modified her own diet according to her beliefs about the necessity of preventing cardiovascular disease.

What she did instead:

“I ate lean protein like chicken and fish high in omega 3 and low glycemic vegetables and fruit.  For years I was able to maintain an A1C always between 5.5-5.7 with insulin, exercise, and a rigid but delicious diet. Fortunately, I loved vegetables and used my creativity to prepare meals that were low carb, nutritious, and delicious for myself and my family. For many years I followed this plan of action with considerable success–Cholesterol/HDL/LDL and A1C were well above average for someone of my age and being diabetic.  I was monitored carefully by my internist and endocrinologist.  They began asking me questions about how I was able to maintain such a healthy lifestyle which I gladly shared with them.”

I found out that Ellen has done a lot of giving back to the diabetes community.

“Over the years, I have helped others who have dealt with Type 1 and Type 11 diabetes, especially young children and their families.  I am a firm believer in treating the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of an individual to deal with any chronic illness.  Diabetes is very stressful to the individual and their families.  Stress has a devastating effect on one’s physical health, thus it is extremely important that individuals learn techniques to maintain a positive, problem-solving state of mind.  Through meditation, cultivating the sacredness in everyday life, and  developing cognitive behavioral techniques to overcome anxiety, depression, etc. which comes with dealing with a chronic illness.  In addition, I am a firm believer in the transformative power of mindfulness–staying within the moment.  Without these techniques it is very difficult to maintain the highest level of lifestyle to overcome the effects of diabetes on your body and spirit.  People with diabetes are unable to take time off thinking about how to control their highs and lows by testing, taking insulin and counting carbs.  Thus they need tools to enable them to obtain the peace and spiritual enlightenment to not become a “victim of diabetes”.  I believe that by empowering oneself we are able to become warriors with the strength, discipline, and dedication to control the disease, rather than it controlling us.  When I coach people, I do not expect them to follow the lifestyle that I have chosen. However, if I can teach them a few techniques that enable them to get better control.”

While on maternity leave from teaching, she “got a call from the head of  continuing education from the state department by a women who had heard about me through parents of former students and students who were now working.  She asked me if I was interested in developing a program for the state of New York on motivational techniques, time management, organizations skills and problem-solving techniques.  At first, I hesitated but then I realized that I had many techniques that I shared in my classroom that would be applicable to adults working for the state. All my seminars were based on curriculum that I developed and later approved by my administrator in Albany.   It became a very successful program for employees working at the state building, Stony Brook University, and other facilities that were state run.  In time, I found that it was almost becoming more than a full-time job, and I was being asked by private corporations to speak to their employees.  I continued conducting seminars until a few years after my second son was born and then retired.  After, I was heavily involved in volunteer work in my school district  and then I became interested in helping adolescents and young adults dealing with emotional and physical challenges who were referred to me.  Always on a volunteer basis.  Later I became interested in helping others who were dealing with Type 1 or Type 11 diabetes, again on a volunteer basis. I now do it on a limited basis.  At this point in our lives my husband and I are finally getting the chance to spend more time together.”  

Ellen and her husband, Mark


Ellen feels very strongly about daily exercise, saying it should become a part of daily life.  She suggests activities such as “walking, running, bike riding, and some weight training to build lean muscle mass contributing to the better utilization of the insulin you take or are making.”

She is a firm believer in her low carb and low glycemic diet where she eliminates anything white like sugar, white bread, potatoes, and white rice.  Ellen suggests trying to eat “vegetables of every color to maintain glucose control and obtain antioxidants to fight free radicals, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.”

I asked her what all makes up her diet:

“Fruits: strawberries, blueberries; apples.Nuts: -walnuts, almonds, peanuts (handful a day). Lean protein–chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, sardines, flounder, snapper.  Herbs: cumin, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tumeric, etc.  Olive Oil for cooking and in salads.  In addition, I love to make sandwiches for lunch or egg whites with spinach with my low carb, high fiber tortilla from La Tortilla factory.  I try to eat a salad with very little olive oil and loads of vinegar which works to keep my glucose stabilized with my dinnertime meal.  During the weekend, I allow myself a little more freedom, by giving myself a shot of novolog if it is a higher carb meal.” 

About her diabetes management and insulin intake:

“Right now I take Levemir and split it–morning dose 5 1/2 and evening dose 5 1/2 to 6 units (always adjusting according to glucose readings and a goal of 100 or less fasting/morning reading and 140 or less two hours after meal).  This seems small but I am only 5 feet and I have a lean, muscular body 102-104 lbs. mostly muscle and very little body fat for a female.  I run three to six miles in the morning after having two cups of coffee with milk no sugar until my glucose is down to 80. For lunch I have a Tortilla with tuna or salmon with humus, and whatever cooked vegetable from last night’s meal is leftover, salad and a piece of low fat cheese.  If I am higher than 140, two hours after lunch I run a mile.  My snack around 4 o’clock is two pieces of dark chocolate wedges from Trader Joes, strawberries and cheese, nuts or a piece of an apple.   For dinner I have chicken, fish, and 3/4 of my plate filled with multicolored vegetables, salad with low fat cheese, berries (balsamic vinegar, little olive oil).  I find eating between 6 to 6:30 pm works for me.  My snack after dinner if low enough –sugar free jello/whip cream or a handful of nuts. Throughout the day I test.  I graze on a few nuts or berries if I am heading below 100 before my lunch or afternoon snack.   I test myself 8-10X a day.  I have eliminated my breakfast just recently, as I have found that since I am getting older I need less food to maintain my lifestyle, energy and physical well being.” 

“Overall, I am in excellent health according to my doctors–no complications.  The last time I got my eyes tested by a retina specialist he was amazed I’ve had diabetes for over thirty years.  He saw no signs of complications.  I do not produce any insulin at this time unfortunately, but I am able to maintain a wonderful positive, happy, productive life.    Most importantly, I have tremendous gratitude and attempt everyday to help others in their struggle to deal with a chronic disease or any emotional or physical illness.”

Ellen and her son, David


Ellen said something else that really struck me and gave me more energy to continue my blogging:

“One of the most essential ingredients to living a happy life is giving of our time and sharing our knowledge. Hopefully, through your efforts and others more and more people will become aware that they can live a long, healthy life with a chronic disease. In many ways, the challenges and obstacles that I faced throughout my life have been empowering lessons that have given me the strength and motivation to obtain the happiness and serenity I always knew was possible even in my darkest moments.”

Ellen, you’re a true inspiration to me.  I hope to continue to thrive with my diabetes by taking care of myself to the best of my ability and I hope to do it as elegantly as you have with the same empowered and grateful spirit.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. 

Note:  Ellen advocates for everyone finding their own path to wellness according to their own individual circumstances and needs.  She acknowledges the fact that we all have different diabetic “profiles”.  I would have to wholeheartedly agree.

Being Ok with Being Different

The road to health is often lonely  (Thanks to Renjith Krishnan for the image)


I often say that acceptance is the key to beginning to really manage one’s diabetes.  You have to work it, not fight it.  A part of accepting your diabetes is to accept the fact that you have to be different.  This, as you know, isn’t easy.  We humans like to follow each other, hang out together and do similar activities.  We feel comfortable and cozy this way.  So when it comes to those who best manage their diabetes, one thing I’ve noticed them doing is standing alone on many of the things they do.  They have the strength and confidence to do so.  Don’t you think?

Check out my post over at Diabetes Care Club about Being Ok with Being Different.

Thanks for reading and have a great Saturday!

Good Habits Versus Bad Habits

Photo courtesy of Michal Marcol


It’s probably easier to adhere to good habits instead of always fighting the consequences of bad habits. I don’t mean “good” as in right or “bad” as in wrong. I mean “good” as in conducive to one’s goals and “bad” as in non-conducive to one’s goals.

I just read a post that talked about discipline being a myth.  The post was written by Leo Babauta where he made me think that basically, our life’s activities are made up of our habits and the outcome of what we do is based on whether those habits we have are good or bad.  Motivation, in every case is what makes us do something, not discipline.  So then self-discipline is an illusion.  Makes sense, right? 

Let’s imagine a community somewhere has the habit of exercising together before work, the habit of eating healthy meals, and the habit of say, meditating each day to reduce stress.  Well, we can assume that with minimal effort and with a nice avalanche of motivation, they will all have decent health.  Whereas in our community, if we are one of those with the habit of pancakes for breakfast and a sedentary lifestyle, well, it’s undoubtedly going to be extra hard to be healthy.  

The point is that a healthy lifestyle is easier to maintain when we make it what we always do-a habit.  It’s also easier to maintain when everyone else is doing it.  And that’s something that is a great big challenge.  You know, I’ve always been called a “health nut” and it was always said with a negative association attached.  Geez.  What’s my problem?  Why get so hung up on health?  I mean, I should just relax right?  lol

I learned a long time ago to go ahead and be different if needed to be-if it was for the best.  And I mostly learned that from my dad.  Today is his birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad!  I hope you have many, many more! ~ love, Sysy

Tim Ferriss and The 4 Hour Body


I don’t think I’ve ever said I’m a fan of anyone’s work…so here goes my first: I’m a HUGE fan of Timothy Ferriss’s work since his 4 Hour Work Week book came out several years ago.  He coined the phrase, “lifestyle design” and he has a lot of fun testing assumptions and finding out that a lot of what we’re lead to believe in our society just isn’t absolute truth-like that we must get a degree, be slaves to a job, and then retire when we’re old.  I’ve been inspired by a lot of what is in the book and would recommend it to anyone.  Tim just published The 4 Hour Body which I’m especially excited about.  He has made himself a human guinea pig for years and done something wonderful in the process: taken detailed notes about all of it.  This obsessive note taking along with connections to lots of intelligent people has produced some awesome and useful conclusions which he talks about in the book. 

It’s a book that is not to be taken as seriously as your doctor’s orders and yet I would encourage anyone to keep an open mind while reading, at the least-you’ll find him very amusing.  Since not everyone will buy the book…watch him here on The View as he explains his major discoveries featured in the book: (the first minute or two of the show is a bit explicit and not for children as he talks about sex and fertility, however the fertility info is pretty interesting as is the info about how a man can increase his testosterone levels.  Personally, I’m going to try the easy ice pack trick right away.  I’ll keep you posted! :)


By the way…was Barbara Walters in a bad mood or is it just me?