Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Getting Better All The Time!

Well, this is interesting especially for those who still worry about eating too much fat. My lipid tests just came back.  I had my tests done just after about two weeks on the "fat fast" which I was using to get my blood sugars down to normal non-diabetic ranges.  During my fat fast I was eating less than 10 grams of carbs a day.  My usual day is 35 grams of carbs or less, average protein and higher fat to keep me satisfied and away from snacking.

My triglycerides which were at 245 a year ago are now at 131.  Six months ago they were at 173 so that is a drop of more than 40 points.  My HDL (healthy) cholesterol is at 48, up from 32 a year ago and up from 40 six months ago. My LDL (bad) cholesterol and my total cholesterol continue to remain about the same all the time at about the borderline levels.  I am not too concerned about those levels though since the AHA and ADA continues to advocate for lower and lower levels as they try to get more of the population to take statins.   There is no evidence that shows that lower overall cholesterol or lower LDL reduces heart attacks or strokes.  There is evidence, however, that high triglycerides do.

The triglycerides to HDL ratio is the most important of the cholesterol markers to determine your risk of cardiovascular disease.  High triglycerides alone increase the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold so that is an important number to me.  http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/796.cfm

I wish they were even lower but I am a work in progress! These numbers numbers are all in good normal ranges and I am certainly healthier than I was a year ago when eating a low fat diet and more so called healthy grains!   Now I have given up the grains, pastas and breads except for an occasional bit of brown rice with a stir fry.

I will stick with my bacon and steak, sour cream and healthy green veggies, thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two Years and Counting

(Update- This post was written before I started eating a ketogenic diet but I was well on my way to finding it!)

Original Post-

I am coming up to my two year anniversary of my D diagnosis.  Something to celebrate?  Well, on one hand, No, on the other hand Yes!

In three weeks I will see my doctor on my two year anniversary.  So I am going to review my stats!

Dec 2009- fasting blood glucose 225 and and A1C of 8.8 with high triglycerides- 230, low HDL at 39 and just a bit too high LDL.

Today, my average fasting blood glucose is about 120 (still too high, I know) and my A1C is 5.4. My HDL (healthy cholesterol) at last check-up four months ago was at 52, my triglycerides were 170.  It is my hope that next month at my two year check-up this will be in a normal range under 150.

I won't go in depth here about the changes I made since I go through them on my earlier blog posts.  I have made mistakes along the way with my experiments.    The best thing I did, looking back was to walk away from my diabetes education classes.  I just knew that there was something wrong with them telling me to eat more than 150 carbs a day.  The second best thing I did was to read Dr Whitaker's Reversing Diabetes book and Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution.  These books educated me to supplements and lowering my blood sugar by diet.

In my first months, I will admit that I continued to eat "healthy" foods like oatmeal and smoothies with bananas and low fat yogurt with milk and carb laden protein powder.  I tried Dreamfield's pasta and switched to whole grain breads.  I lost 20 lbs cutting back on my breads, pasta's rice etc. and getting rid of my evening half bag of potato chips but it wasn't enough to control my blood sugar.

About 9 months in to my journey I decided to give metformin a try due to my high morning blood sugars.  It wasn't working for me so my doctor doubled the dose.  I only saw a decrease in my numbers by about 10 points.  Not enough in my opinion to continue the meds.  After 30 days I stopped the metformin and instead added the Biotin and Chromium mix along with my vitamin D3 and other supplements.  This worked for me much more significantly than the metformin lowering my blood sugar by about 30 points!  I would call this my next best decision.   My doctor removed metformin from my chart.

Finally, I got it.  Reading Bernstein and then Sugar Nation by Jeff O'connell  I learned the importance of testing each food that I was eating even if they were so-called safe diabetic foods.   I found that what I thought was safe often was not.  Ketchup, BBQ sauces, bananas and other things just were not the best for me.  I needed to stop eating the pasta, the oatmeal, the breads and buns.  I did allow myself pumpernickle bread which seemed to be okay for me but as of today I have decided to just make my own flax bread and stay away from the ingredients in factory made breads because I can't control the ingredients used in them.

I went through a lot of test strips to get where I am today.  I have changed many menus, many side dishes, many main dishes to get where I am.  I have found low carb alternatives to my sauces or I have adjusted the amount of the sauces.  I am very aware of watching what I put in my mouth every day.  I allow myself between 35-50 carbs a day and I make sure to divide my allowed carbs evenly throughout the day to keep blood sugar stable.  I don't eat 30 carbs at one meal and then make up for it by only eating 5 carbs the next meal to make up for my earlier splurge.

Does this mean I never allow myself a higher carb meal?  No, I do allow some off plan eating at special times but eating off plan now means a third cup of mashed potato, not a whole cup.  It means eating 1/2 cup of rice with my chinese takeout meal and throwing the rest of it away.  When I do cheat, I expect that my blood glucose will be higher than I'd like but it is my choice at the moment.  I know I'd better not do it often so that keeps me in check.

I choose not to be on medication.  My choice means that I must give up certain foods that many would not give up.  I am happy and I almost never miss the foods that I used to eat.  I'm very happy to eat my steak smothered in onions and peppers or my pork roast with cabbage instead of potatoes.  I am happy this way and no one need feel bad for my loss of the "goodies" like breads, pasta's and grains.

So, as I come up to my 2 year anniversary I will say that it is something to celebrate.  I am healthier today than I was two years ago.  I no longer take my heath for granted and I realize that I am in control of ME!

To see my progress in more detail and to see what supplements were added as I went along on my journey you may want to go back to my posts beginning in May 2010 when I started this blog on my 5 month anniversary of my D diagnosis.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bakery, Pizza and Ice Cream. Oh Joy!

I have an acquaintance who was diagnosed as diabetic about a year ago.   When she was first diagnosed she tried going on a high carb, low fat diet.  She managed to be able to cut back quite a bit on pastries and sweets although from time to time she admitted to pigging out on those things.  She knew that she was supposed to cut back on her breads, pasta's and processed foods and she struggled with that and basically tried going to whole grain breads and pastas in order to continue to eat "healthy grains" as the ADA advises.

She also was determined to eat low fat as she believed that this was the main cause of her diabetes and high cholesterol.  Initially she did lose some weight and her blood sugar got a bit better but in a few months she was gaining it back and struggling to keep her high blood sugar under control.  She has been aware that I've been eating low carb, high fat.  We don't get into any real discussions about our diets because we just simply don't agree.  We don't talk much about our diabetes either, again, because we don't agree with each others idea's about managing it with diet.

A few weeks ago my friend suddenly seemed a bit more cheerful and about the same time she started eating lot's of bakery items, pizzas, ice cream.... no, make that several ice creams, lattes and chocolates, burgers and french fries, like there was no tomorrow.

I was shocked to say the least!  I couldn't understand the sudden change in her eating habits.  It seemed as though she had forgotten that she was diagnosed with diabetes at all, or that it just suddenly went away!   It wasn't making sense to me until I found out that she had given up on the diet and started taking 1000 mgs of metformin twice a day.  She is feeling great and can finally once again eat all of the foods she missed so much.

So, for now, I guess she is happy.  She is dealing with her diabetes in the way that many do.  But statistically for all who follow this course of diabetes management she will find that down the road, more pills will be needed to continue to eat the foods she craves.  If the condition follows it's usual course for those who do not curtail their carbs and processed foods; In 10 years, she will be on insulin injections.  She will have neuropathy, She may have retinopathy. She may be on her way to amputations, stroke and heart attack.  But for the time being, she is happy again.  That's what really counts, isn't it?

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's All The Hype About Saturated Fat?

I am constantly being cautioned by people about eating saturated fat on my low carb diet or  I hear people say to me that they are afraid to go low carb because they were told that it isn't healthy to eat meat and cheese, eggs and butter.  Yet for most of those who do change diet and eat more meat, butter, cheese AND stop eating "fake" foods and processed carbohydrates as I did, in just about every case that I am aware of all important health related markers get better not worse.

I have often said to those who lecture me on the danger of my eating plan; "show me the studies that prove that saturated fat causes heart disease?"  Funny how no one ever comes back to me with anything to prove it.

So, I decided to do a google search on this which was very simple and any one of you can do just like I did today.  If you look at the search you will easily see that I put in the search box "saturated fat heart disease studies".  Pretty specific language spelling out what I was looking for, right?   So, where are all the studies PROVING that saturated fat causes heart disease.  
The following link will show you what I found on page one of my google search.  Page 2 of the search was nearly the same as page one.    I could not find one single study linking saturated fat to heart disease!  As a matter of fact I saw things like this:  "Studies finds no clear link between people's intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease." or this one  "For decades, Americans have been told that saturated fat clogs arteries and causes heart disease. But there's just one problem: No one's ever proved it."     
Try this search for yourself if you don't believe it.

Interestingly, when I read one or two of the articles,  they had interviewed past AHA president  Dr. Robert H. Eckel about the results.  Dr. Eckel is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.  Dr Eckel cautioned against "over interpreting" the results.  "No one is saying that some saturated fat is going to harm you...people should enjoy their food".   Dr. Eckel maintained that we still want people to stay away from saturated fat.  

My question now is Why?  Why continue to insist that saturated fat is bad?   Is it because they feel that we've gone so far with the idea that we can't turn back?   I don't get it!   I say bring on the T-Bone steak with butter and onions!   My blood sugar, A1C, LDL and  triglycerides  have all come down and my HDL has gone up since I went low carb and higher fat.  Is this an accident?   Just about everyone who has changed their diet in this respect has better numbers as I do.    All I have to say to the naysayers for now on is show me the evidence, otherwise leave me alone!
                         For the results of my google search Click Here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Critique of Sugar Nation By Jeff O'connell

I mentioned Sugar Nation in my last post when I was about half way through the book. Now that I've finished it, I have some thoughts. My first thought is that I want to give the book to everyone I know because it is eye opening and perhaps life changing. My second thought is that if you don't want to reverse your diabetes and you don't want to get well, don't read this book, because it will compel you to change your life. You can't possibly read this "Sugar Nation" and not be shocked by the reality of our western dietary habits and how those habits are making all of us sick. You will understand that diabetes begins years, even decades before diagnosis. You will question why the tests that could save us from this fate are not ordered years before so that we'd have a fighting chance.

So far, every diabetes study done has shown without any dispute that changing diet and exercise ALWAYS lowers blood sugar and insulin resistance more than diabetes drugs for type 2 patients. A study in Finland showed that regular exercise reduced diabetes in subjects by nearly 70%. A follow up study three years later showed that 36% of the study members remained healthy due to continuing the diet and exercise program. The main reason for the decline from 70% down to 36%? Participants not sticking with the diet and exercise program over time.

The author points out that even when patients are able to reverse their blood sugar and insulin spikes by low carb diet and exercise, their doctors are still hesitant to take their patients off of medication. Even though the medication may not have been all that helpful to begin with the doctors seem to consider it kind of as an insurance policy just in case the patient stops their healthy ways. Another study mentioned in the book, done by the University of MA, showed that regular exercise was less effective in controlling blood sugar and insulin for those taking metformin. No one seems to know exactly why metformin makes exercise less effective but they are studying this further.

For me some of the most disturbing portions of the book was where Mr. O'Connell wrote about how the drug companies, the hospitals, the ADA, the entire medical community benefits from Diabetes and the eventual complications of it down the road. Doctors have no training in educating patients and there is virtually no focus on prevention or reversal in the early stages.

There is so much more in this book that it is impossible to discuss it all here. I urge everyone, including non-diabetics to read Sugar Nation. Not only do I urge you. I challenge you! In my opinion, not reading this book would be similar to sticking your head in the sand or covering your ears while you scream "Nany, nany nany" to block out the sound of something you do not wish to hear!

I am not telling you to go out and purchase this book if you can't afford to do so. I always suggest your local library as an alternative. I read this book by getting it from the library myself. I now intend to purchase it so that I can let my friends, family and co-workers read it as well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sugar Nation

I've been reading a book I just got from the library. It is called "Sugar Nation". I am not even half way through the book and I am more shocked than ever before, even frightened perhaps with what I am reading. Perhaps being frightened is a good thing in this case. O'connell states "Your bloodsteam is supposed to contain a teaspoon or so of glucose at any given moment. Tissues begin suffering damage when this small amount rises by even one-fourth." He continues; "Sugar gunks up the works".

He also makes it clear that it's not just sugar to be concerned about but insulin levels as well. If you are a type 2, you most likely have plenty of insulin already in your blood trying desperately to push the excess sugar into the cells. It just isn't working because the cells have no room for more sugar. The constantly high insulin levels are also causing damage to the heart and storing more fat. The blood sugar spikes and crashes, according to the author, cause damage to the inner walls of our arteries. Three out of four diabetics will eventually succumb to heart attack and we are more than twice at risk for a stroke. We are aging twice as fast as someone who doesn't have the condition and we've most likely had it going on for years before diagnosis. Millions still don't even know they have it. Many die even before they are diagnosed with diabetes. They were on their way to it but they had a coronary heart attack before they were ever diagnosed.

This is scary stuff! Why do I post this? Because we all better start thinking seriously about our own lives. The book talks about the denial of the seriousness of diabetes. People rate the threat level of cancer and heart disease at about 9-10 on a scale of 1-10. They tend to rate the threat of diabetes at 4-5, even though diabetes leads to heart disease, stroke, blindness and loss of limbs!

There is hope though. Consider it a bit of a blessing that you at least were told that you have diabetes. You have the opportunity to make changes and manage, even reverse this and save your organs. Again, O'connell, a type 2 himself says that diet and exercise is key! It is diet and exercise that stops the cycle of high's and lows. If you don't feed your body as many carbs, eventually, your cells will open their doors and let the insulin do it's job. Your insulin levels also come down because you are not in a constant state of sugar highs and lows. Your body begins to normalize. Regular exercise is a key to get the cells to start using the sugar that is in them. But we have to stop eating the 35-60+ carbs a meal that the mainstream tells us to eat. As O'connell says "Spoon feeding more sugar to a disease whose main symptom is high blood sugar doesn't make a lick of sense. Would you feed someone who is lactose intolerant... lactose?"

There seems to be a lack of serious concern about diabetes in this country and around the world. Oh, there is concern! You see the headlines all the time. But the diet that is recommended by the ADA and other health organizations keeps increasing the carb levels allowed for diabetics. Diabetics are urged to eat many times more carbs today than they were allowed to eat 3 decades ago. "They deserve to eat what everyone else eats" they say. If you were horribly allergic to strawberries would they tell you that you deserve to eat them and just shoot yourself with some epinephrin after you eat them? Of course not! But this is what they recommend to treat diabetes. Eat lots and lots of carbs and just cover the sugar surge with medication. That will only work for so long!

This book is a wake-up call and it should be read by every doctor and diabetes educator in my opinion. I'm sure that there is much more to learn since I am only half way through it. Reading it has motivated me even more! Find a way to read this book! Find it at your library if you wish but read it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What you don't know can hurt you!

I have been very concerned lately on how to educate friends and family about insulin resistance and carbohydrate consumption. I learned most of what I know now because of my diabetes diagnosis nearly two years ago. I have become educated although not in time to protect myself from getting diabetes. Knowing what I do know now, I just cringe when I see others eating things that I now consider to be poison. That may seem like too strong a word to use when we are talking about food but that is how I've come to see much of what most of us eat today.

Insulin resistance happens because for many years we eat more carbs than our bodies need. Carbs become glucose and glucose must be dealt with. It can't be left running around in the blood because it is toxic and causes all kinds of damage. So, insulin comes to the rescue! We need insulin. Obviously if we don't produce it we will be in trouble because there will be no way to process the glucose and transport it into our cells or to store it for later use.

The problem is that we were never meant to have insulin levels up all of the time. Prior to agriculture and processed foods our bodies only took in carbs from vegetables, fruits and nuts. Insulin took care of it easily. Not any more! When we eat our western diet of cereals and grains and breads etc. our insulin is working overtime, all of the time in fact. This is not good! We were not meant to have insulin levels high all day long. Over the years the insulin just can't keep up, the pancreas becomes less efficient at producing it.

Not everyone gets diabetes from this cycle of bodily abuse but there are many studies that now show that insulin resistance and too much insulin in the blood all the time is the cause of other diseases like heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer's. There are articles that cite studies which show that it may be hyperinsulinemia that causes heart attacks and not high cholesterol at all!   So, although a person may never be diagnosed with diabetes the constant high insulin may cause their death anyway or bring about their dementia.

If the food pyramid or the "newer" plate idea is really the right way to eat then why is it that we are all getting fatter and sicker? We all need to wake up to this epidemic and help our family and friends to understand it as well! Please go to my facebook group and get educated! The link is at the top of the page.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Update-Atkins and me

(Post update-   At the time that I wrote this post in 2011 my knowledge of a proper LCHF Ketogenic diet was not yet known to me as it is today.  I have figured out since then that I was not eating enough fat and was eating too much protein to make up for the carbs.  This is not an effective ketogenic diet.)
Original Post-

Well, on the 8th of August I decided to experiment with going super low carb by trying Atkins Induction Phase. I guess I will say that I cheated twice and a few other days I was close to less than 20 carbs but I did go over a bit. I found that it is very very difficult to go that low carb. Even nuts have some carbs and any kind of condiment like ketchup will increase carbs by more than you would think.

I guess my experience leaves me pondering if I am an anomaly. Although the first two to three days I saw some decrease in my BG numbers, overall there was no change from when I was eating 50-60 grams of carbs a day. I still averaged about 138 2.5 hours after a meal, about 120 five hours after a meal and about 135 in the morning. I never saw a number under 100 during these few weeks. I admit that I didn't get my exercise everyday and the days that I did I can't say my results were much different.

I do know that if I go over 60 grams of carbs a day I will suffer with numbers in the 150-180 range which is not acceptable to me so low carb is still the way that I have to go. I will admit that I am disappointed because I had expected to see a huge improvement. I will stay at the 20 grams a day for a while in the hopes that it is just going to take me more time. I admit that I am concerned that I may have more beta cell damage than I thought I did since my blood sugar goes up and stays up while eating so little carbs.

Although today I feel somewhat beaten down, I still say "I won't give up! I won't give up!" Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Atkins Diabetes Revolution and Me

I started reading Atkins Diabetes Revolution last week.  I'm not yet finished but I've already learned so much.  I really like how it's all written in plain language and so easy to understand.

So far, the book has made me determined to make some changes again in my diet, if only for the short term as an experiment.

There are three levels of daily carbohydrate limits suggested in this book.  Although the book is specifically written with diabetics in mind it also addresses weight loss which is an important part of managing or reversing diabetes. The three levels of carbs are 1- 20 grams per day, 2- 40 grams per day, 3- 60 grams per day.  Right now I am eating between 40 and 60 grams of carbs per day.

Although my blood glucose has come down significantly, I have been disappointed that I have remained pretty much in the 120's range just about all the time.  I may at times go down to 103 or up to 135 but for the most part I've remained in the 120 range.  I rarely, almost never actually go under 100.  I do not take any diabetes medication.

The book explained that for some people, like myself, even 40 grams of carbs a day are too many.  Besides lowering blood sugar, "another goal of carbohydrate restriction for diabetics is to "heal" the pancreas and give it some much needed rest so that the beta cells can regenerate".

I have decided to experiment by cutting my carbs to 20 grams a day. I want to see my overall blood glucose numbers go below 100 where they belong.  I'd also like to see if I can get my "dawn phenomenon" fasting numbers down to 100 or less as well. I really want to reverse my diabetes and bring my numbers down to a normal level, I guess I am one of those people who has to severely limit my carbohydrates to stabilize my metabolism.

I'm going to try this for 2 weeks and see what happens.  According to the book, you then increase the carbs by 5 grams a day and see what happens.  If you get to a point where the blood glucose begins to go up then you need to lower it again.  So really, your body will tell you what level of carbs you can handle.  Each person is different.

What I really like in the book is that it gives menus and recipes for each of the three carb levels.  It makes it so easy!   For example, the recipe for beef stew is for the 20 gram a day menu but it gives additional ingredients that you can add for the 40 gram and the 60 gram level.

I never thought I'd get so excited about going super low carb but I'm looking forward to getting my blood sugar normalized and I'm hoping that this will do it!

There are plenty of vegetables and even some fruits allowed within the 20 grams a day so I don't think I will feel deprived at all!  The recipes are great too!  You wouldn't believe the amount of food you can eat and the excellent recipes!

I will report on my progress along the way and I hope that you can benefit from my personal experiment.  In the meantime you can check out some of these Atkins Recipes.  They are so good!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Productive Day- Feeling Good!

I'm winding down from a great and productive Sunday.  As usual, my Sunday always means food preparation for the coming work week.

Today I made my new coconut, almond muffins so I will have them for breakfasts and snacks this week.  I also made some tuna salad with lots of celery and onions.  I threw some sliced almonds in for extra crunch.   That will be for throwing on top of salads for lunches.

I Boiled up some eggs that will be for breakfasts and a topper for salads too.  Oh and I cooked up more bacon too!  I went to the store and picked up some steaks for the grill, a pork roast for the crock pot, some bacon, cheese and vegetables.  So, I think I'm ready for the work week!

For supper tonight my husband cooked Bratwurst on the grill (enough left for another meal this week too!).  For the first time I tried wrapping my brats with romaine lettuce leaves.  Romaine works great for this because the romaine leaves are long and you can place the brat on top of two leaves, add the onions, pickles and condiments and simply wrap the sausage and eat it.   The brats were actually quite tasty this way!  I ate two of them for about 6 grams of carbs (most carbs from the ketchup).  I had a small piece of watermelon too as I've discovered that it doesn't spike my blood sugar much!

Finally, to end the day we took a five mile bike ride stopping at a relatives house at the half point of the ride.  My blood sugar reading after the bike ride came in at 89.  Priceless!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Using Canola Oil For Heart Health? Please Reconsider!

Revised Post- Updated

I swore off of  "processed" vegetable oils a few years ago.  Not only those oils containing trans fats, but processed vegetable oils as well.   I do end up consuming small amounts in dressings at restaurants and I accept that taking my own dressings every where with me is not really convenient especially when traveling.

I watched a few videos and read some books that talk about these so called "healthy" oils that we were told to switch to in the late 1970's about the same time we were told that meat and saturated fats were bad for us.

I consider myself to be a rather intelligent person so I began to question why processed man made oils would be better for us than natural oils that nature and god gave us.  I have also read that these man made oils have been potentially contributing to the increase in heart disease over the past 30-40 years.   You can read a little more about that in this Science Daily Article from 2013.

I watched a video about how Canola oil is made from the rapeseed. Rapeseed is a seed used in making mustard gas and is also used to make industrial solvents!   It's toxic so when they process the rape seed they have to remove those toxins with a solvent.  Next, they bleach it and then remove the wax which is then used to make shortening and margarine.  Yum!  Next they wash the oil with sodium hydroxide.  After that they bleach it again and deodorize it because it smells pretty bad. Because of the multiple heating processes the oil is rancid before it even hits the grocery store shelves!   Dr Josh Axe writes about that in his post:  Are You Eating Rancid Oils? 

Please watch the video below.  Oh, and just forget the first part of the video where it says its so healthy.  You'll understand what I mean right after you watch it!

I'd like you to see for yourself and decide if you really want to put this stuff into your body.  I don't want to put it in mine!  I'm trying to reverse my diabetes and get heart healthy.   Eating right is important!  Click on each link for the short three minute videos.

Olive oil is a much better choice if you wish to use a non-solid oil.  You can see the difference in how it is made here.  Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Lard and old fashioned Tallow like Great Grandma used to eat are all good choices.

If you still want to know more read The Great Con-ola by Mary Enig


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Settling In

Just like moving into a new home where it takes time to get used to all the new surroundings, getting used to the "newness" of diabetes takes some time.   It's been a year and a half since my diabetes diagnosis and I have to say that I am finally settling in and starting to feel like my new life is normal.   I wasn't sure that I was ever going to be able to say that but the day has come.

Does that mean that I have it totally figured out?  No, not exactly.   What I have learned is more about me.  How my body responds to foods, stress, exercise and non-exercise.  I've learned what foods to avoid and what foods to eat to keep my blood sugar as close to normal as possible.  I know what will happen if I decide to eat the bag of chips.  That doesn't mean I won't eat them necessarily but I know what will happen if I do!

I've learned to take my favorite recipes and adapt them to limit carbs and blood sugar spikes.   I've learned some new recipes, made up some new recipes and I've found the right mix of supplements that work for me.

My blood sugar numbers have stabilized for the most part although there is the occasional bad day.   I'm to the point where I probably could stop pricking my finger several times a day but I seem to be addicted to wanting to know my "number" all the time.  Funny, isn't it?  I mean why do I want to keep pricking myself several times a day?

I know that many who read this are not "settled in" yet.  But hopefully you will be soon.  Find the right articles to help you, read the right books, listen to the people who have been successful and find out how they did it.   You will get there.

Here is a very helpful article by Dr. Mercola.    He says everything that I would say but of course just linking to him is a lot easier.  Just click on the following link.    Reversing Diabetes Is Possible!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brand new three year study shows vitamin D lowers diabetes risk!

This new study involved more than 2000 people who were pre-diabetic or had risk factors (family history) for diabetes.  These people were followed for more than 3 years and will continue to be followed for several more years.

The study did not include people who already had diabetes.  It would be interesting to see the study expanded to include those who already have the condition or who have metabolic syndrome.

I believe in it!  I personally take 6000 IU per day with my Doctor's blessing.   I must admit though that I backed off on taking it lately as I have been experimenting with some of my other supplements.  I have found that my blood sugar numbers have gone up a bit so I've learned my lesson.  I will keep taking the 6000 IU for now on without fail!   To read the study follow this link  http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20110628/study-vitamin-d-may-cut-risk-of-diabetes?src=RSS_PUBLIC

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fight The Good Fight With Healthy Choices

One of the hardest things about keeping my diabetes under control is to make sure that I am eating the right foods every day.   It’s not always easy to do with my busy life.  It is even more difficult in the summer now as I am coming and going with outdoor activities, traveling and picnics.

I know what things I am supposed to be eating but with working and running errands it seems so convenient to go through the drive thru or grab some Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper on the way home.  As a society we have become more reliant on the pre-packaged meals and processed meats etc.  Many of the ingredients in these processed foods have been linked to diabetes and heart disease as well as the epidemic of obesity in our children.   The more that we can go back to basics and eat real homemade foods like grandma use to make the better off we will be.

It takes a bit of work to make sure that we have healthy foods on hand or that we are eating the right foods when we do have to eat out.  I have a few tips on what has been working for me.

Have a day set aside to make some of your weekly food staples.   I usually do this on Sunday afternoon or evening.  I make up a pot of my favorite low carb chili or vegetable beef soup.  I roast some chicken or turkey with a bit of rotisserie seasoning and break it into chunks for sandwiches or for chicken salad.  I cut up some onion and other vegetables that I may want to use during the week in salads or dishes to save time after work.  It’s easy to do this because I am already cutting them up for my chicken or tuna salad anyway. I just cut up extra right away. I scramble up some eggs with added veggies and ham etc. for a quick breakfast for the next few days.  I make hard boiled eggs too so I can grab one for breakfast or chop one up on a salad.   I actually keep some salad dressing at work.  We have a refrigerator at work and so I can keep some healthy things like cottage cheese, string cheese or fresh berries there.  I keep nuts at home and at work for a quick pick me up between meals.

If you absolutely must stop for fast food, or you are just too tired to cook then check out the best choices at Women’s Health Eat This, Not that “Top Swaps”.   Just click on the restaurant and you will see the best choices as well as the nutritional information for each item.
Check out your “usual” on the way home restaurants and make a note of the healthiest choices.

It takes some thought and a little bit of effort to eat healthy for diabetes but it can be done!   Like they say, “nothing good ever comes easy”.   Well, we can at least try to make it a bit easier!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great Results After Adding New Supplement Formula!

A few months ago,  I changed to a new supplement that had a blend of supplements that I was already taking in individual pills.  The new supplement also had several additional nutrients and herbs that I had wanted to start taking.   I was very happy to find this supplement because it enabled me to take one capsule instead of taking ten.    I never share results here until I've been on them long enough to be certain of their effectiveness or non-effectiveness.   In this case, I also gave this supplement to my Mom (type 2 insulin dependent for 15 years).

This new supplement is called Vitabase Blood Sugar Formula.   After 2 months, I continue to be impressed with the results.   Although I try to stay on a low carb diet which is what works best for me, I've found that I can relax my eating standards a bit and I still have excellent blood sugar control while taking the Blood Sugar Formula.    Since my first week using this formula I have not seen any after meal numbers over 130 mg/dl.  Prior to adding this formula my after meal numbers averaged 140-165.  My pre-meal numbers have also come down, although not as significantly.

You may think that 140-165 after meal numbers aren't really that high to begin with but I had already lowered my numbers several months earlier with the addition of biotin and chromium picolinate as you can read in my past posts.  My after meal numbers a year ago averaged 155-185 or more.

In addition to changes in my after meal numbers, my morning number has come down from about 145 fasting to 120 or below fasting.  

So now, I can eat pizza!   Well, I'm not going to let myself go back to unhealthy eating habits but it is nice to know that I can relax my diet restrictions a bit once in a while :)

After my success, I offered this to my Mom who has been frustrated with her numbers continuing to go up and up in spite of increasing metformin and increasing her after dinner insulin.   I had at first given her the biotin and chromium mix a few weeks earlier which helped her significantly.  She was already reducing her insulin in the evening.   Once I was having good success on the Vitabase formula myself I gave my Mom a week's supply of it.   My mom is not one to watch what she eats which has been part of her problem.  After the 2nd day, she called me to report.   She said that her after meal number was 188.    I didn't think that was too significant until she said "It's usually over 300!"   On the sixth day she called me in a panic because she was going to be out of the pills the next day.   She told me that she had blood sugar numbers below 150 and was cutting back on her insulin.  She said that her morning numbers were now under 90.  She called my brother and told him "you have to get some of this stuff!"

Now that my Mom has been on this for 3 weeks her after meals numbers are usually below 130 and she no longer has any numbers over 160 anytime of the day.   The biggest concern for her now is that because she still takes insulin at night her morning numbers have been around 70 and she has to be more careful in taking her insulin at night so that she doesn't go too low in the morning.   That is a concern that she will need to address with her doctor.

For myself, I have seen a drop in my A1c from 6.8 in Dec 2010 to 6.1 in March 2011 after 3 months on the biotin and chromium mix.  After adding the Vitabase formula in March my average glucose is less than 130 every time I test it and my A1c is in the normal range, under 6.0.

Better than that I can report that my HDL (healthy cholesterol) has gone up from 46 in Dec 2010 to 55 at the end of April 2011. My LDL is down by 30 points, triglycerides are now within normal range and my blood pressure is down from an average of 140/90 to 105/80.   This is true success for me!

For anyone wishing to try this same regimen it is the following: 5000 mcg biotin, 800 mcg chromium picolinate, 2000 IU's of Vitamin D and 1 Vitabase Blood Sugar Formula twice a day.  All  of these supplements should be taken together about a half hour before lunch and a half hour before supper.    If you have high blood sugar after breakfast you can take one of the Vitabase before breakfast as well because the bottle recommends up to 3 a day before a meal.

I sometimes take 2 Vitabase if I go to a big buffet or a party and I know I'm going to over eat or I am going to have lots of carbs.   Everyone is different in when their blood sugar goes highest so you may find that trying the supplements earlier in the day is better for you.  

Again, I will state that you should continue to work with your health provider and always tell them what supplements you are taking.  My doctor knows what I am taking and approves of it all.  I have a very progressive doctor and I am appreciative of that fact.

I get my Vitamin D, biotin and chromium picolinate at Puritans Pride because it is usually buy 2 get 1 free.   The Blood Sugar Formula and a listing of it's ingredients are found at the Vitabase website which is on the products page at the top of this blog.

If you try this and it works or doesn't work for you please let me know!  I want to know if this is successful for others as well.   I will be 55 next month and healthy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You are your own best advocate!

As I talk to people facing diabetes, so often I find that they are struggling with the traditional diets and medications that are offered by the mainstream.   Drugs are usually the treatment method of choice and the conventional mainstream diabetic diets don't stray very far from the average non-diabetic diet.

Diabetes is difficult.  It takes a lot of work to manage.   Taking pills and insulin always ends up meaning that you will need more and more of these drugs as time goes on.   These drugs have side effects.    Diet is mentioned casually but medication is the chosen method of diabetes management by most doctors.  Supplements are rarely suggested.

I say, be your own advocate.  This is your diabetes, your health.   Since I began eating a very low carb diet and added new supplements my diabetes is as close to being reversed as it ever was.  

I spend a lot of time researching and reading.  This is important stuff.  My step dad died from diabetes.  He went blind first, had extreme pain from neuropathy for years.  It is worth it to try to keep your blood sugar down to as close to normal as possible.

I have tried many things.  Some have worked and some have not.  Now I have my diabetes in check.  an A1C of 6.1  (under 6.0 is normal)

I am happy to say that I have a progressive doctor.  I make suggestions for my own treatment and she approves of those suggestions.  She takes notes from me on what is working and has been very supportive.   If your doctor isn't interested in helping you beyond giving you medication than maybe you're in the wrong place.

Diet, exercise and supplements are important to add to your treatment regimen.  Get involved in a diabetes group.  There are some very good ones on facebook.   There are groups like Spark People for free weight loss support, etc.   We all need help on this journey.  Let's go!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What are you eating?

I like to go to restaurants.  I don't go often and I stay away from fast food restaurants for the most part.  I've been learning a lot about restaurant foods and the more I learn the more shocked I am about what I'm really putting into my mouth when I go.  I'm especially shocked by the fact that what I think is healthy is really just not!

For example an Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad with the dressing will pack on 1240 calories and a whopping 87 gms of carbs!   Don't be surprised if your blood sugar spirals out of control after that meal.  If you take away the dressing you have a more reasonable calorie count of 570 but the carbs are still too high for a diabetic at 53 gms.

The better choice at Applebees is the Grilled Chicken Salad at 820 calories with the dressing or 370 calories without the dressing and 21 gms of carbs.   The point to be made is that what looks healthy is not necessarily so.  

David Zinczenko has written a whole line of books such as Eat This, Not That or Cook This, Not that.  Womens Health also has a website where you can look up foods before you go out to eat or before you buy them at the grocery store.  You can also sign up for the email newsletter there.   I just happened upon the website and have been searching it.   As I said I have learned a lot!   Many of the books are available at your local library if you don't want to buy them.   If you like what you read you can always buy it later.  

Here is a link to the Womens Health "eat this not that" web site to get started searching and find out what you're really eating!    Just click on "restaurants" to check out your favorite restaurant meals.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Carb control=Glucose Control

I've been reading Dr Bernstein's book "The Diabetes Solution".  I got it from the library last week.   I've learned some very interesting information from this book so far although I'm not finished reading it yet.   Dr. Bernstein explains that 1 gm of carbohydrate increases blood sugar by 5 mg/dl.   That's approximate because your weight plays a part in it too!  It's making me rethink my food choices as well as my serving sizes.    I just looked at a serving of ketchup for example and saw that 1 Tbsp has 4 gm's of carbohydrates.  So,  that 1 tbsp. of ketchup will increase my blood sugar by 20 points.  I guess that's fairly significant when you think about it.    If I eat a meal that includes 1 chicken breast without breading (0 gm's), a small baked potato (22 gm's), and 1/2 C of corn (20 gm's) and one small whole wheat roll (13 gm's)   I can expect a rise in blood sugar of 275 points for just that one meal for a person who produces no insulin (type 1 diabetic).  For those of us who are type 2 diabetics our bodies would make and use some insulin of our own and we wouldn't necessarily see our blood sugar rise quite as high as that.  If you are on insulin or oral medications you would not see your blood sugar go that high because of your medication.  But, you can see why a meal like the one above would make it much harder to control your blood sugar even on your medication.

Now that I am aware of how much my blood sugar would be affected by the meal above I can choose to make some changes.  I can eat the same chicken breast (0 gm's) and instead of the small baked potato I choose a cup of cooked cauliflower (5 gms), add a small lettuce side salad (3 gm's), and the whole wheat dinner roll (13 gms), I am eating a larger amount of food and I am going to see a blood sugar increase of 105.  (again assuming that your body would have no insulin or medication to control it).   Take away the roll and instead eat a larger salad and you'd reduce your after meal numbers even more!

This seems complicated at first but it is a very important tool in figuring out a menu plan to help get our diabetes under control.    It is an important reason for planning ahead so that we aren't just quickly throwing just anything together at the last minute or hitting the drive through at the fast food restaurant on the way home.

So, I guess there is some science in all of this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Can't Believe Everything You Read.

I get a lot of email from various diabetes sites that I've signed up for.   I got an email today that included a recipe for a diabetic dessert.  

First of all I'm skeptical of any kind of so called "diabetic" dessert but his particular one was just shocking! First of all, just the title of the recipe told me that it wasn't going to be good for any one with diabetes and the next thing I saw was that 1/2 cup of this dessert contained 34 grams of carbohydrate.    I'm sorry?  Was I supposed to skip the main course?

This recipe, which was submitted by a diabetes nutrition specialist, made me cringe.    It had dried apples which would have more carbs than fresh apples and it had raisins which are about the highest carb anything out there!   Then the rice and the milk, oh and oh yeah, let's make sure to throw in a quarter cup of sugar for our sweet tooth!   Wow, this recipe must have been meant to make sure that the nutrition specialist would keep her patients for a long long time because I'm sure that if you weren't on insulin before  this you are soon going to be if you eat this kind of stuff!

Believe it or not, this recipe came from a very well known organization that puts out a national monthly diabetes magazine.   I've seen some other unbelievable recipes on other websites as well and it makes me wonder what is really going on.   Is our nation really committed to creating healthy lifestyles and helping people manage their diabetes and metabolic problems, or is our nation committed to keeping us on our prescriptions?

I was walking through some isles the other day at a Walmart while I was waiting for a prescription to be filled.   I happened to look in the aisle where the diabetic products were and I also looked at the diet aisle.  I just shook my head in consternation.   Why are some of these products being marketed?   There were diabetic shakes with 25 grams of carbs and 7 grams of sugar!   "Diet/nutrition" bars with 34 grams of carbs and 12 grams of sugar, etc.   What's going on here?

As a diabetic, trying to control my diabetes with a minimum amount of medication, I find that the maximum carbs per meal should be less than 20 grams and better yet, less than 15 grams per meal.  When I see the things that I've been seeing it makes me wonder if the goal is to keep us all fat & diabetic and on medication.  This may sound harsh and unbelievable but the evidence seems to be there for me to think it.

The bottom line here is that you just can't believe what you read or hear and just because someone says that they are a nutritionist or a doctor doesn't mean that what they are telling you is the right thing.   I'm learning to be very wary.   I spend a lot of time looking for the right answers and I hope that by spending a lot of my time I can help others who don't quite have the time.    So, be careful out there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Progress

Since I made my resolution to start Dr Al Sears PACE exercise program and follow the glycemic load eating plan, I'm feeling very positive.  I think that I've really finally found the key to eating properly for diabetes.  The Glycemic load is different than the GI plan in that it determines it's effect on blood glucose by portion size.   So, something may have a GI number of say 70 but it's glycemic load may only be 4 by it's portion size of 1/2 cup.  (watermelon is an example).
Dr. Sears explains the GL very well in his book.

So, I'm experimenting a lot and I'm finding that the foods that are below 10 on the glycemic load scale really don't do much to my blood glucose.  This is good.  Very, very good!

The exercise part... I'm still struggling with getting myself motivated to stick to a schedule but I'm working on it and I will get there.

To check the glycemic load for your foods check out nutritiondata.com
To learn more about what the glycemic load is check out Dr. Mendosa

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I hate it when I screw up!

I started out so well yesterday.   I made some special soup that had lentils and a bit of barley, fresh vegetables, spinach and cabbage.... oh and it tasted good too!    Everything I ate yesterday was low glycemic and healthy.  I made my healthy chia/flax and cocoa drink  (see my recipes).  I did my 14 minute PACE program exercise and all seemed good.    Then came last night and a movie at home.  I had some left over tortilla chips from Christmas so I thought it would be a good treat to grab some nacho cheese dip to go along with the tortilla chips and the movie.   Then there was that gumdrop cookie, (just one cookie mind you, after all I do have some control!).  A little later I saw the leftover mini wieners in BBQ sauce so I heated up about five of them too!

So much for yesterday!  I hate it when I do this!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

News Year's Resolutions

Time goes so fast.  It's been a year since my type 2 diabetes diagnosis and I've learned a lot.  At times I've felt it to be like two steps forward and then a step back but I guess that's normal.   I've been stuck lately though and my A1c number went up a bit from 6 months ago.   I did finally start to take 500 mg of Metformin at night just to get my morning numbers down because despite all I do that so called "dawn phenomenon" just stays with me.  

I have resolved that this year I'm going to lose another 20-25 lbs and start using the PACE exercise program by Dr. Al Sears, to get into shape and strengthen my heart & lungs.   I want to get my A1c number down to below 6.0 and I want to stop taking the Metformin.  I'm hoping that losing the weight and committing to PACE will be the answer.  What is your resolution?