Tag Archives: partying and diabetes

10 Thanksgiving Tips for Diabetics

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

-JFK

I think Thanksgiving and respect go hand in hand.  We give thanks on Thanksgiving Day and when we give thanks, we are grateful.  When we’re truly grateful for something we have the desire to maintain it or keep it.  For example, I’m grateful for my husband and children and try to do my part to keep them safe and healthy and happy.  I’m grateful for my current state of health and therefore work to keep it that way.  I’m even grateful for this awesome computer and try to treat it nicely so it doesn’t die on me (even though sometimes I want to throw it out the window). 

So since Thanksgiving and respect are like cousins, I want to propose that although you might look forward to filling up without regrets on Thanksgiving dinner, may you also keep in mind just a few things.

Below are 10 Thanksgiving Day Tips:

1.  Whether you’re religious or not, your body is your temple.  Give it some turkey, veggies, and don’t weigh it down too much with the mac and cheese or neverending bread rolls. 

2.  Be mindful of every bite.  Be grateful for every bite.  I once inhaled 3 pieces of pumpkin pie only to realize, much to my dismay, that I forgot to enjoy a single bite of those 1000 calories!  What a tragedy…

3.  Go for fresh and simple.  Green bean casseroles are yummy, indeed.  But, have you tried plain steamed green beans with a little seasoning and salt?  So fresh and flavorful and a perfect compliment to other heavier foods.  Easy to make too!

4.  Distract yourself from food.  For some reason I eat less on Thanksgiving than I do on the other days of the year.  I’m weird in so many ways, believe me I’m just happy that in this regard, my weirdness is actually beneficial!  Anyway, the reason I eat less is I’m overwhelmed with everything else going on.  I’m bopping along to music, talking and joking with others, seeing what interesting special is on TV, etc.  The point is, I’m not eating too much, and I’m having fun.  You too, can balance out the large meal you’re going to have by getting up after dinner and trading seconds for a fun impromptu dance in the living room.  Or karaoke.  Or whatever, you get the point.

5.  Be picky.  I don’t eat certain dishes every Thanksgiving.  Not because I don’t like them.  It’s just that I like other dishes more.  So by being a little picky, I can reduce lots of calories and carbs and still enjoy some of what I really love-like dessert!

6.  Focus on people.  Ask anyone what they think is most important about a Thanksgiving gathering.  “People, loved ones, family, friends” is usually the answer.  However, we spend tons of money on food, eat tons of it, all at the expense of our health and in the end, don’t our loved ones want to see us healthy and feeling good?  A great way to distract from food is to focus on all the conversations you have with family and friends.  Act like food isn’t the main attraction (even if it is).

7.  Get creative.  I once knew a family that had an interesting way of avoiding over-eating.  Instead of eating and then lingering at a table covered with possible second helpings, everyone would eat slowly and when everybody finished, they’d all get up and help out with clearing the table.  They would just leave out water and wine and sit and talk without all the food tempting them to eat some more.  I thought it was a great idea.  They would soon relocate to the living room for more talking, TV, music, and games.  And everyone went to bed without feeling like a stuffed turkey.  

8.  Tweak holiday meals.  You don’t have to replace your favorite dishes.  You can do a lot of good by just searching for healthier alternatives online.  Try a search, I guarantee you’ll find lots of raved about recipes.

9.  Breathe deeply.  Holidays are stressful.  Lots of heart attacks occur on Thanksgiving and the days surrounding Thanksgiving.  Try to remind yourself to breathe deeply throughout the day and try not to sweat the small stuff. 

10.  Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to test.  In particular, don’t test right before eating, test an hour before eating.  Trust me, you don’t want to find out your blood sugar is high right before eating.  This happened to me once and I sure regretted having to eat dinner all alone at the table an hour after everyone else. 

It may seem a bit much to go to so much trouble for your health on Thanksgiving but, remember, one of the greatest things to be thankful for is your health.  Treat your body like you’re truly thankful for it.  Unlike all that stuffing, it always loves you back in the end.

Check out last year’s post, Be a Grateful Diabetic on Thanksgiving Day.

My Top 5 Diabetes Blunders

 

Because I’m human, have something so ongoing as diabetes to take care of, and well, because I’m ME, naturally there will be plenty of mistakes.  The key is to learn from them.

Here are my Top 5 Diabetes Blunders-so far!  (In no particular order)

5.  You may have already read this story.  You can read it here.  I once gave 20 units of Humalog in place of Lantus.  I had been up very late the night before and was sleepy the next morning when I gave the injection.  I realized I used the wrong bottle of insulin just after injecting all of the insulin in.  I took matters into my own hands and had my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, rush me to the ER where I proceeded to inform them I’d need intravenous glucose immediately.  They thought I was suicidal, I thought they were kinda ignorant.  Fun times.

4.  When I was 13 I rebelled against all things diabetes.  I tried to manage my sugars about half of the time while the other half was spent pushing the boundaries.  Somehow I managed to survive a year with an A1c of 11.6.  I spent Christmas that year especially miserable because I had a gum grafting surgery in my mouth which was to stop my sliding gums from sliding all the way off of my teeth.  My blood sugars have never been so high since feeling the fear of losing my teeth.

3.  Not managing my blood sugars well during my wedding.  Honestly, it was a huge disappointment for me to dance my first dance with my husband and focus on foot pain because my blood sugar was really high and I was in uncomfortable and sky high heels.  My honeymoon was spent in pain as a result-not cool.  If one could only go back :(  Check out this guest post I did for LemonadeLife.com about Diabetes Wedding Day tips.

2.  One of the best nights I ever had with my husband was when we were dating.  We were at a party, had tequila, and danced the night away.  You know that saying, “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!”?  Part of what makes the story so memorable is the way I hit the floor a few times while dancing and how nice Alex was about it.  For this diabetic, being drunk (something I have done a few times in my life) was a way to escape diabetes-if not for a moment.  Truth is, it does not work.  After being super happy that night I finally tested my sugar and found I was over 400.  I vowed to never let it happen again.  Alex vowed to never drink again because he was so upset at how high my blood sugar was.

1.  I drank too much again despite that previous vow.  This time, I didn’t feel my low until I went to test and came up 30 on the meter.  I panicked as stupid drunk people can do when a grim reality sets in.  I don’t remember much except scaring Alex to death, throwing up in the parking lot of a gas station, and screaming about my blood sugar.  I try to promote and advocate for fabulous diabetic women taking care of themselves.  This sort of story is one I remember from time to time and feel ashamed of.  Sure it can be sort of funny, but, what if the worst had happened?  How fabulous would I be then eh?  I shudder to think.  I have now gone years without this sort of thing happening again and intend on keeping the vow this time for good.

Believe it or not, the most alarming thing is I have hundreds of stories similar to the ones above…I just can’t think of them right now.

So If any of this relates to you-know you’re not alone.  Also, know that sometimes you’ll be lucky and other times you may not be.  If you are a diabetic, you can live a pretty “normal” life.  But, managing blood sugars should be the top goal-and not taking wicked chances.

 So, what are your diabetes blunders?

Wine and diabetes

 

Wine is becoming increasingly popular in many places. Many are even learning to like wine in place of beer. This can be a good thing for wine loving diabetics, if we can exercise the discipline to stop after several ounces.

Most people who drink beer do not stop at one or two where as most people who drink wine do. (According to certain stats, anyway) Since beer has more carbohydrates than your average red or dry white wine, the wine lover is going to have less of an impact on their blood sugar.

What if you don’t like wine? Be glad! Because diabetics really don’t need it. To those who don’t have perfect health, alcohol is just a system aggravator, throwing off the balance even more. But, that lady down the street with diabetes drinks wine all the time you say? Well, chances are, her health could improve big time. Don’t be fooled. A lot of diabetics don’t take care of themselves the way they should.

For those of you who have pretty good diabetes control and health and cannot stay away from beloved wine, well, a dry wine is probably your best bet-and certainly just one glass at a time.

We hear a lot about resveratrol, the anti-aging chemical found in red wine. Problem is, you could get a lot more resveratrol from a pill than a glass of wine. And that glass of wine gives you alcohol.

Another thing to point out is if you are the type that can stop drinking when you want, you have a big advantage towards those who cannot. If you cannot, you really shouldn’t be drinking. I tend to do most things in extremes so I am not big on drinking. If I don’t have a drink I’m fine. If I have one I want another. So, I just don’t start. How about you? Which category do you fall in? And if you drink wine, what type works best for you? Do you just have one glass?

For guidance and info on drinking alcohol, read: Diabetes and alcohol; how much can I drink?

The Diabetic Girl’s Playlist

  This is a contributing post by Ana Morales.  She is into all kinds of music and has phenomenal playlists (that I like to steal) so I asked her to write something about music.  Love of music and diabetes is something we all have in common and not only is music entertaining, it can be quite a life saver, too.

 

To me, listening to music is a wonderful way to relieve stress and feel better on a not-so-good day. The following playlist contains songs that are not only great musically, but also contain messages that we as diabetics can apply to our lives. For each song I have selected a phrase or multiple phrases that I felt were especially inspirational. Read on and enjoy!

 

 1.  “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles

“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” For years the Beatles have blessed the world and the music industry with simple yet extremely memorable songs. This particular song reminds us that when we put love into everything we do, we can do anything. Keeping an open heart as you work to maintain control of your diabetes will allow you to accept challenges and overcome them.  

 

 

 2.  “The Heart of Life” by John Mayer

“You know its nothing new, bad news never had good timing.” How many times have we told ourselves, “This is the worst thing that could happen to me right now…”? Well at what time would you have preferred it? We can’t let ourselves dwell on the bad things that have happened to us. Instead, we have to put our energy into learning, moving forward, and improving.

 

 3.  “Soul to Squeeze” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Its bitter baby and its very sweet. I’m on a rollercoaster, but I’m on my feet.” Even during times of sickness, extreme stress, or just hard times, we have to remember to stay on our feet because diabetes never takes a break.

 

 4.  “Float On” by Modest Mouse

“Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands. Good news will work its way to all them plans.” Here it is again! Keep moving forward!

 

 5.  “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.” These are not lyrics; rather, it is how Cohen described the meaning behind this infamous song, which I find to be more important. Diabetes may not be something we love having, but it is something we are able to learn from and take advantage of. Read 5 Things I have gained from having diabetes  for a more in-depth discussion on this.

 

 6.  “Fix You” by Coldplay

“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed. When you get what you want, but not what you need…” Remain faithful and don’t give up when your efforts seem fruitless. Every step you take towards a healthier life will be worth it in the end.

 

 7.  “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

“Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright.” Maintaining a positive attitude will help you in all aspects of your life, including your diabetes control.

 

 8.  “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall

“She’s got the power to be, the power to give, the power to see.” Despite having this terrible disease, you are SO able to do things! Be thankful for that and don’t waste a second feeling sorry for yourself.

 

 9.  “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

“It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything everything will be just fine. Everything everything will be alright, alright.” What he said. Be patient and know that goals are reachable but not all are achieved immediately. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see results as soon as you had hoped.

 

 10.  “Dream City” by Free Energy

“You know deep down you can find a better way. Tired of feeling bad, don’t you wonder why you keep telling yourself it’s alright.” Another good point. Even several of the songs on this list say that “everything will be alright.” This is true, but only if you make an effort to make everything alright. You have to learn and accept that getting better requires hard work and sacrifice. Don’t expect everything to be easy.

 

 11.  “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae

“Maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it’s alright.” Remember to take time to relaxxx! Don’t be fooled; that is also part of taking care of yourself. Diabetes is a scary thing, but its controllable, so don’t let it take over your life.

 

 12.  “Help Yourself” by Sad Brad Smith

“But we’re willing to wait on you. We believe in everything that you can do if you would only lay down your mind. I want you to try to help yourself.” Be thankful for the people in your life that have helped you along the way, but don’t solely depend on them. You are the person in charge when it comes to your health so don’t neglect that responsibility.

 

 13.  “Lost” by Coldplay

“Just because I’m hurting, doesn’t mean I’m hurt.” There are moments in our lives that seem especially bad, but don’t let those moments bring you down. Instead, learn from them.

 

 14.  “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root

“Send me on my way.” Don’t let diabetes stop you from doing what you love. Just be cautious and ready to adapt if necessary in order to maintain good control.

 

 15.  “We Are the Champions” by Queen

“But it’s been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise. I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose.” This popular sports event song is also the perfect anthem for us diabetics. Everyday we make it through with this disease is proof of how strong we are, even when we don’t feel like it.

 

 16.  “Beautiful Day” by U2

“It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.” Enjoy your life. Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from doing that.

 

 17.  “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” Once again, it starts with you. Commit to taking care of yourself and others will be inspired to do the same.

 

 18.  “McFearless” by Kings of Leon

“So I know I must show, its my show, I must go, with my soul, not my hand, where I stand, its my role, its my soul. “ Let out your inner rock star and live life with confidence and passion. Do what is necessary, even if it scares you.

 

 19.  “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab for Cutie

“I want to live where soul meets body, and let the sun wrap its arms around me, and bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing, and feel, feel what its like to be new.” Take time to pamper yourself every once in a while, even if it’s just an at-home pedicure or five extra minutes in the shower.

 

 20.  “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy

“Oh yes, I am wise, but its wisdom born of pain. Yes, I paid the price, but look how much I gained. If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.” Learn from your mistakes; God knows we all make them. Grow and teach others the things you’ve learned on your journey. And most importantly, be the strong, invincible woman you know you can be!

Fabulous pedicure and massage for diabetics!

 

It’s summertime and I don’t know about you but, lately I’ve been looking at my feet thinking they need some TLC.

As diabetics we should be in a foot checking habit of some sort.  I check mine when I bathe.  Yet, I could also benefit from a nightly foot massage.  An endocrinologist once suggested I get in a routine where I check my feet each day and then give them a 5 minute massage to increase blood circulation. 

I’m going to put together a nighttime routine for diabetics and try to follow it for a week or two.  I’ll report soon about how that goes.

In the meantime why not give ourselves this amazing pedicure and massage?  See below :)

First step is to set the mood.  Get some dark chocolate or some nuts or other indulgent but, reasonably healthy snack.  I drink mineral water with lime for some reason, It’s like my “thing”.  Anyway, don’t forget to put on your favorite relaxing music.  Ok now you’re ready!

1.  Wash your feet with soap and water so you begin with a (literally) clean slate.

2.  Remove any old nail polish and cut your nails if needed.  File them if you like.

3.  Use a wooden cuticle stick and some cuticle remover gel and gently push back cuticles.

4.  Soak your feet in warm soapy water or your favorite indulgent bath soak (I like lavender oil dropped into warm soapy water).

5.  Rinse clean and thoroughly dry your feet.

6.  Slather on some really thick foot lotion or moisturizing oil (I would suggest using Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream-it will get you the most amazing results AND smells heavenly!) 

7.  Now, using the stronger parts of your hands like thumbs and palms, massage your feet in gentle but firm circular motions.  Pay attention to how certain areas of the foot respond to your massage.  Certain areas feel better with more pressing or stroking than others for example.  If you really want to get serious check out this link to see a reflexology foot map and see what areas of your foot you may want to focus on while massaging.

8.  Use some nail polish remover on a cotton pad or cotton ball and wipe your toenails so they aren’t greasy-otherwise nail polish won’t hold.

9.  Apply a clear base and then preferably two coats of nail polish and a top coat.  (By the way, I seriously recommend Poshé.  It is a powerful top coat and dries your nail polish in record time.  I promise its worth the money!)

10.  At this point I add another bit of moisturizer and voila! 

Go out and enjoy your gorgeous, pampered, and relieved feet.  Now they look so good you could surely get someone to massage them for you next time ;)

Looking back on Freshman Year

This is a contributing post by my sister Ana (also a type 1 diabetic).  Look forward to hearing a lot more from her on this site in the near future :)

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Back in January, I wrote about the food aspect of college in Diabetes and Food: A University Perspective. Now that I’m back at home on summer break, my eating habits have improved significantly. I drink less soda, eat more organic (organic) foods, and cut back on the processed foods.

Looking back, I can’t believe how quickly I got through my freshman year at JMU. Nonetheless, I remember the roller coaster of emotions I endured during that time. At the time, I felt that college took a significant toll on my level of sanity. In other, less dramatic words, it stressed me out a whole lot at times. This was expected, but it’s different when it’s actually happening…

It was mostly a matter of trying to get work done, taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, going to church (in my case), keeping in touch with family and close friends, and learning to live with a stranger who was very different from me, all while trying to maintain some kind of a social life and getting involved in clubs and other activities.

 

Me on campus
Me on campus

                 

The definition of a “social life” for most of the college students I know involves partying. While I enjoy having a good time, my idea of a fun party differs from my peers’ ideas of one. The major difference is alcohol. I don’t go to parties and drink not only because I’m underage and simply don’t like alcohol, but also because I know it’s more of a risk for me, as a diabetic, to drink. I don’t know how my body would react to too much alcohol, and I don’t want to find out when I’m among people who aren’t even aware of my diabetes. I wouldn’t expect anyone to take care of me when they can’t even take care of themselves if they’re under the influence. I consider myself fortunate for not having the desire to drink, because it allows me to take better care of myself. Since most of the parties consist of people drinking, I just chose not to go to any.

 

As a studio art major, I was constantly working on some type of art assignment or project. It was a whole lot harder than I thought it would be to dedicate a sufficient amount of time and energy to each of my five classes. Being more interested in my success as an artist, I made my art classes my priority. While I still worked hard in my other classes such as literature and macroeconomics, I know that if I had more time to do so, my grade would’ve more clearly reflected that. This obstacle, in which I had to balance different challenges in different classes, was a major cause of stress for me, and my inconsistent blood sugar levels were proof. I found that going to sleep early, eating well, and remembering to stop and breathe were the best ways to decrease how stressed out I was feeling at times.

 

rubberbandart

  one of my 3D art projects—consisted of roughly 1000 rubber bands

one of my 3D art projects—consisted of roughly 1000 rubber bands

 

Fortunately, I rarely had cases where my blood sugar dropped while going to class or while I was sleeping. One time, however, my blood sugar dropped down to the 40s when I was alone in my room close to 2 am on a weekend. Normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal since I always had food and/or juice in close proximity. Always, except for at that moment. I started panicking a little because I could feel my sugar dropping fast and I knew I had to run down 3 flights of stairs, through the study lounge, up another flight of stairs, and across the TV lounge in order to get to the vending machines. But I had no other choice so I grabbed my ID card and my phone and ran out the door. A seemingly drunk guy called out to me as I darted past him in the stairwell, but I just ignored him. I could barely feel my legs and I was shaking and sweaty, but I finally reached the vending machines and bought a bottle of apple juice and some fruit snacks and mini muffins just in case. I drank half the bottle of juice, walked back to my room, and collapsed onto my bed. I didn’t feel okay till about half an hour later, but I was relieved to be back in my room with food. After that incident, I made sure to always have some source of sugar close by.

 

Even though I was away at school, my family, especially my parents, still checked up on me and made sure I was taking care of myself. Although sometimes I wish they would leave me alone to deal with myself, I’m really glad they don’t because it helps a lot to have that kind of support system. Hopefully everything I experienced and learned during my first year at college leads to an even more successful second year with consistent healthy habits, normal blood sugar levels, and (crossing my fingers) less stress! Wish me luck! And good luck to all you students who are starting your first year at college this August ?

How to safely go out clubbing as a diabetic

         

I was asked by someone to share what I’d do to go out clubbing while keeping it safe.  So I just want to share what worked for me during my “clubbing/partying” years. I could tell you what didn’t work but that would be a scarier story…

The first rule I’d put down is NO alcohol or at least limit it to one serving. Being out in public with lots of music and people for distraction is challenging enough for good diabetes management. Add alcohol into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you feel left out of a group who is having some drinks, focus on the fact that you are fabulous and do not need an alcoholic drink. Only you can take care of yourself so be proud and confident about your decision to not drink or to limit it. If it helps you, keep in mind lots of famous celebrities do not drink for reasons of maintaining their health and good looks. People still worship them just the same. Alcohol does not make the world go round.

Now, how to carry all your necessities into a club without bringing the big purse? What I have done is find a clutch purse that is small but, big enough to carry my meter, insulin, syringes, and glucose tablets in it. Then I either keep it on my wrist or hook it onto my jeans. What is that I hear? You want to wear a dress? Well, in this case I have danced with the clutch in my hand or had my date carry my necessities in his pockets. This only works if you trust your date enough to carry your stuff and to stay around in the case you need it.  Once, I had the bartender stash it behind the bar counter next to the rum-but again this demands trust and I wouldn’t put my diabetes supplies in the hands of someone I didn’t know.  I suppose you could also get a clutch that has a long strap or chain attached and wear it cross body wise and wear it the entire time. 

What helped me most was eventually accepting the fact that we’re different because of having diabetes and we have to do things a little bit differently. It would be sad and stupid to sacrifice our health and our life just so we don’t stand out as being so odd amongst the crowd. Besides, isn’t it good to stand out? Isn’t that a tiny part of the reason you spent two hours getting ready to go out? Yeah…I thought so.

And again…you may be bummed to have to give up getting tipsy but, trust me you can have an awesome time without alcohol. Focus on the music, your friends or your date, getting your hair like Ke$ha’s, get your nails done all wild. What happened to girls going out and just having fun? 

Remember to test before you go inside!  And here is something I was able to order for free at the bar:  glass of water with a squirt of lemon juice and some mint leaves on ice.  Everyone seemed to think I was having a mojito.  Nope, just getting hydrated :)

Take care of your health first-it’s the most attractive thing you can do for yourself, trust me.

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