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?