Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nobody Really Cares, Do They?

I want to bring up a subject that seems to come up a lot among diabetics who are eating the LCHF way or any other alternative diet for diabetes.  The subject of dealing with friends, family members, co-workers and food!

You know what!  Nobody cares!  Really!  Get this through your head right now!  Get a clue!  The rest of the world (for the most part) is not thinking of the diabetics in the room when it comes to dinners, parties, birthday treats at work, etc., etc., etc.

In fact, my experience has been that the thought process of others is more like that of the medical profession and the diabetes educators in general; "Just eat what everyone else eats in smaller portions and take your medications or insulin, if need be, and play nice!"

In my own family, on both my side and my husband's side, there is no thought to the diabetics when making the menu for a family gathering like Thanksgiving even though it would be very easy to accommodate with a side salad or some non-starchy vegetables added to the menu along with the stuffing and mashed potatoes.

Oh, and I love it when someone says to me "Well, your sister is a diabetic and she is eating the cranberry sauce!"  or "Come on, it's a holiday.  You can forget your diet today!"  Ah.... diet!   I'm not on a "diet".  I'm trying to control a disease!

In my small office of five people, two of us are diabetic and another is pre-diabetic.  At our monthly meetings, donuts are still served and birthday treats brought in are still brownies and caramel bars!   Even the other diabetic is the one bringing the donuts to the meetings!  Oh, she throws in a few apples once in a while to satisfy herself that she is trying to offer healthy foods.  Of course, the apple will be eaten later, after the donut but at least one can fool themselves into thinking that they made a wise choice!

Let's face it, when it comes to gatherings, we are the odd balls!    I sometimes feel a bit like "bubble boy".   Oh, I've heard about the comments made behind my back at the office regarding the butter I keep in the fridge there and the coconut oil that I put in my coffee at work.  I don't announce it or anything but they all know.   I've been told that when I am not there they discuss my foolishness and wonder how long it will be before I fall over of a stroke.  All of this, of course, discussed while they munch on chocolate covered donuts in the break room.

I've gone away hungry more than once with a table full of food.  The comments made to me by others is that there was plenty of food available so if I went away hungry it was my own fault.

Well, I guess that is true!  I am the one who has to think about my food plan.  No one else is thinking about it at all.  Should I call them ahead and ask what is on the menu?  Should I offer to bring a dish and then bring one that I can eat and others can eat or choose to pass on?  Should I eat before I go?  Well, how rude would that be; to eat at home and then decline to eat at the gathering?

It has been said, and I agree, that Diabetes is no longer looked at as a serious disease.  That label is saved for diseases like Cancer or Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke!    Most diabetics, when diagnosed are not even told that there are dangers of all of the above other diseases along with loss of limbs, eyesight, or kidney damage.  It seems that to most of the "normal" world these complications are completely unthought of.   Only those who have seen a diabetic parent, sibling or friend go through these horrible complications seem to understand.

I don't have all of the answers to this yet but I do know one thing for sure, nobody else is going to change for me so I need to "suck it up and deal with it".  No amount of whining or complaining is going to change anything.   I know that many of you can identify with this blog post and have your own experiences.  I hope that this will help you to be strong and find ways to help yourself by realizing that you can't expect the world to understand you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

No More Chili For Me And Other Thoughts On Food

I need to get back on track and eat MORE FAT!

Last weekend I made a batch of my favorite chili.  It is a "low carb" chili but it probably has around 16 grams of carbs in a cupful or so.  I really didn't know that until yesterday when I spent time inputing my recipe into   I knew that it was a carbier dish for me but I didn't know that it had that many carbs!  Every once in a while I allow myself the pleasure of making up a pot.   I only use 1/2 can of black beans in a whole pot of chili.

My husband doesn't eat chili so I am the only one eating the pot and of course it only lasts several days in the fridge.  I try to only have one serving of it per day.  Still, every day this week my blood sugar got a little bit higher.   A few nights ago I had a small second helping because I was really hungry and because I love it so much!   I did make sure I got the fat in by adding some cheese and sour cream to the bowl.  After eating the chili and the small second helping my after meal blood sugar was 155 two hours later.  It was still 130 at bedtime!  Not good!

My morning blood sugar was creeping up each day as well as I continued to eat one bowl or so each day.  I knew that I was out of ketosis which isn't good because my body was becoming a sugar burner again and I was seeing my old diabetic blood sugar issues that I have not seen in a year.  All the time as it was going up day by day I was questioning what the heck was going on with my blood sugar!

I now realize that I can't justify ever making this particular chili with even a small portion of black beans anymore.  Even the canned tomatoes are a problem for my blood sugar.  I have to remove this chili from my food plan in the future.  I say this with a heavy heart!  

Today, I'm getting back on track eating more fat, and smaller portions of meat and vegetables until my blood sugar normalizes again.  I am already seeing progress.  The chili is gone, and sadly, out of my life.  I may try my old version again that had no beans and 6 grams of carbs but I won't try that for a while.

Just like anyone else, I seem to have the ability to fool myself into thinking that I can eat some of my favorite foods without consequence!  It may not be the donut that ruins your day!  It may just be the "healthy" food that you think just couldn't possibly be the problem but it is!

It may be the one piece of "healthy whole grain" bread that you eat every day because you have been told that you need just a bit of fiber, or the apple a day that "keeps the doctor away".   It may be the tomato meat sauce on the spaghetti squash that you think is low carb but for some "unknown" reason your blood sugar goes up way high every time you eat it?  Is it the stevia with the  maltodextrin that was listed on the label that you didn't read?  How about the low carb protein shake with a bit of fruit to sweeten it up.  For some it is the "full fat" greek yogurt at 7 grams of carbs per serving but you are really eating a serving an a half instead.

What is it for you?  Do you secretly know it but refuse to accept it?   Do you need to eliminate your "healthy" favorite dish as I now have to do with my favorite chili?    Denial is "sweet" like candy is but it isn't good for a diabetic!   What do you need to do?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Heading Down The Slippery Slope!

I've been very, very good and now have also been bad.  Without really knowing it I have gone down the slippery slope of allowing my self a bit too much dietary freedom in the past month.

It happened very innocently and casually almost unnoticeable to me until something happened to hit me square in the forehead, you know, like in that V8 commercial!  Bonk!  High blood sugars!  Dawn Phenomenon!  Both suddenly back to visit me.  WTH!  What happened?

What happened is that I started regressing to my old ways of liberalism, that is liberalism with my food choices;  a little bit here and a little bit there; too many added ingredients adding up to additional uncounted carbs.

I have always tried to keep meals simple.  That is the best way to know how many carbs, proteins and fat I'm getting.   When I start combining ingredients or increasing portion sizes I can get into trouble.  That is what happened this past week.

I made several dishes that were healthy and low carb but in total were just too high in carbs or too low in fat.   I was also allowing extra vegetable portions and larger than usual meat portions.  Because my blood sugar has been so good I thought I could eat a 5 oz portion of meat rather than the 3 oz portions that I had been eating.  The Egg Fu Yung with just a bit of gravy the last time didn't hurt my blood sugar so the next day I added just a bit more gravy.  The extra portion sizes and the addition of a few sauces were making my blood sugar creep up.   It didn't happen overnight but it happened over several days.

While I was enjoying some low carb casseroles and dishes and taking second helpings (they were so good!)  I was pushing myself out of ketosis.  Some of these mistakes were just little things like eating the 2 breaded chicken nuggets that my husband didn't eat and a few of those curly fries that just looked so good!  Oh and I almost forgot the $5.00 movie night with free popcorn.  I only ate one cup!  It had butter on it too!  That was fat, right?   My blood sugar was just fine after that.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't higher and it wasn't bad the next day either!  Ah, but the slippery slope!  Slowly, a little bit each day my blood sugar was going up.  After meals and fasting too!

I really couldn't pinpoint the problem until I was once again watching a presentation by Nora Gedgaudes and went back to her book, "Primal Body, Primal Mind".   I got my wake-up call!

I have to go back to basics!  Very low carb, adequate but moderate protein (2- 3 oz's a meal) and fats to fill in the remainder and fill me up!  It's not rocket science but it is important science for managing diabetes.  I hope that I will be more mindful of that in the future!  Let my mistake keep you from making the same one!  Thank you again  Nora Gedgaudes for your wisdom!

My Most Significant Change Yet!

I have kind of abandoned this blog in the last year mainly due to being busy with 4-5 Face Book pages that I have.   There have been a few changes since I last posted here.  The most important and significant change was that I began the high fat, low carb ketogenic diet last December.  Following is the text of my "experiment" as I had originally posted it on my Face Book page.  Here goes.....

My High Fat Ketogenic Experiment

Because of the huge success of my experiment with eating according to the book "The Art & Science Of Low Carb Living", I am posting my experiences here in one place so that it is easy to find and read. This is by far the most exciting thing that has happened in my life since my diabetes diagnosis in 2009! 

The Beginning. Here was my first post on my experiment.
The book I've been reading is called "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. It is written by Steve Phinney and Jeff S. Volek. Phinney is a physician-scientist who has spent 35 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation. Dr. Phinney has published over 70 papers and several patents. He has many studies publish on the Pub-Med website. The book is kind of technical so it is not for everyone. Taubes said it is the book he wished he had written. A chapter of the book gives me a great explanation of why my current experiment of less than 20 gr. carbs and 70% fat in my diet has brought about a complete reversal of insulin resistance in a matter of days. They point to some studies including one of Phinney's. A small study of insulin resistant patients showed that insulin resistance (high blood sugar) was not improved until fat in the diet was at least 70% and carbs were less than 20 gr. per day. At lower fat percentages (35-60%), insulin resistance DID NOT improve! My experiment seems to prove this out and others in this group like, Geoff Smith, Andre Chimene, and Steve Cooksey, seem to have had the same success. Again, a WARNING! If you are on medication, do not attempt this experiment as I have found that blood sugars plummet! Do not attempt this without lowering your medication and working with your doctor and explaining what you want to do. 
The Book is here:

Day 3
I've been having an interesting and successful experiment the last three days. I decided to start using Fit Day to log my food and making sure that I am to less than 20 grams of carbs a day. I think I was at about 35 prior to the experiment. I am making sure that no meal or snack has more than 7 grams of carbs so that they are spread out even over the day. I am making sure that my protein is less than 50 grams a day with no more than 4 ounces per meal. I've increased fat to 65-70% of my daily calories. Each day my blood sugar is coming down. This morning my fasting glucose was 94. Before supper, about a half hour ago, it was down to 84. It seems that my protein and carbs are now low enough that all of the stored glucose has been used up so my liver is no longer pushing out sugar between meals or in the middle of the night. There is no extra sugar to store from carbs or protein anymore. I am very happy to see NORMAL blood sugar! There is one other interesting thing that I've observed using Fit Day. Although I'm eating lots more fat by using more coconut oil, butter, etc., my actual daily calorie count is less than 1100 per day. It's very hard to get a lot of calories when you are only eating average size portions of meat and smaller portions of vegetables and salads. I've been eating more things like cheese, nuts and olives to try to get at least 1000 calories a day in. I haven't been hungry except for a late night snack. I am a happy camper right now!

This Chart Shows How Much Fat, Carbs and Protein I am Eating
This is exactly the breakdown I should be at. 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs.

Meal Samples
Three Weeks Into The Experiment
I'm ending the third week since following the diet in the book, "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living". I have to keep pinching myself because it seems like a dream, a very good dream! For the last 3 weeks I've not had a fasting blood glucose over 94 and in the last several days it is very steady in the low to mid 80's in the morning. In the last three days I've had NO blood sugar reading over 98! Not one! Not even after a meal! Of course I'm not cheating much but I did go through Christmas on this diet so I did cheat a little and I did have some cocktails. It didn't seem to matter much although my numbers were a bit higher over the two days of Christmas celebration. As long as I keep the carbs low and the fat high enough (as I described from the book), a little cheat doesn't seem to be a big deal. Now, don't get me wrong! I'm not talking about cheating like in a bowl of ice cream! I'm talking about cheating like in having 5 nachos with cheese and salsa. A little cheat! I make sure that the fat is added to anything that isn't normally fat enough because that seems to be a key to this working. It is harder to think ahead for work and it is harder to go to restaurants because I need the extra fat. I've learned to take it along in a small container and just pour it on. I bought a chipotle infused olive oil that I pour on salads and meat and in restaurants I ask for extra butter (never margarine!). As before I make bacon and flax/almond buns ahead for taking to work or for breakfasts. As I keep saying, this is it for me. It is the food plan for my life!

This is the book:

Five Weeks
It has now been a full five weeks since I started eating according to the book "The Art & Science Of Low Carbohydrate Living". Five weeks in and no cheating, (well, a few cheats at Christmas!) This is amazing and you can do it too! A caution to all of you on insulin or other diabetes medication, your blood sugar will DROP and you will need to adjust medication almost immediately on this high fat/very low carb eating plan! Here are my fasting blood sugar numbers over the last three days! Five weeks ago my fasting blood sugar was always between 110-125.

Meter Readings at Five Weeks-

At 4 months

I can't beleive that I am 4 months into my ketogenic eating plan! There have been some ups and downs. (in blood sugar literally, lol!) My average morning blood sugar is from 82-94 with a few days around 100. The days that I am at 100 are days when I slept in late. My liver still does push out some extra sugar if I sleep more than 7-8 hours but I have also determined that when my numbers are higher in the morning or anytime for that matter it always comes down to the amount of fat that I ate the day before or that day. I have to keep my fat at more than 70% and carbs at less than 20-25 grams a day but not all in one meal please!

I have managed some creative ways to get more fat and so I will share those ideas here.

I Mix avocados into everything that I think it will taste good in. Dressings, homemade fish sauces, creamed cheese dip for celery or mini peppers, etc. I make a great avocado sauce for topping fish. It is shared on our group page. Just do a search for it.

I drizzle a flavored olive oil on just about everything I am eating. Even if I am putting a fatty dressing on my salad I top off with a drizzle of olive oil.

Feta cheese sprinkled on salads, fish or anything I think it will taste good on!

I mix farm rendered lard or tallow into my ground beef before cooking it. This includes burgers, meatloaf, main dishes. Yes, it is hard to find lard that is not hydrogynated. I am lucky to have found it locally. Otherwise maybe mix in olive oil or bacon grease.

Coconut oil in coffee or tea. Butter in broth

for every one whole egg I cook, I add a yolk. Standard breakfast would be one whole egg, one yolk cooked in fat of some kind, with bacon and extra sour cream or extra butter.

Mayonnaise on top of fish, chicken or burgers. Still also drizzle olive oil on it if at home but not in restaurants because I don't know what oil they are using there.

If the meat is a very lean meat, I slather extra butter on it, or I will eat a few radishes with a pat or two of butter. I find that the butter goes down well that way. You could try eating butter with celery or other veggies too!

Enjoy cream cheese or sour cream on anything you think you might like it on. I like sour cream on my eggs!

cream cheese spread made with various other ingredients like chili sauce, garlic, mashed oliveswhatever else, Be creative.

I've had to cut way back on nuts. They seem to make my blood sugar higher the next day. Macadamia nuts are the only nuts that are fatty enough to not push sugar up. If I do eat nuts, I add an ounce of fatty cheese. Watch labels on cheese, some are only 6 grams of fat, otheres like havarti can be up to 10. I look for the 9 or 10 grams of fat and no more than 7 grams of protein per serving. Many cheeses will meet this criteria.

I could go on and on about these tips but I just can't think of them all right now. I hope this helps all of you who are trying this nutritional ketosis experiment yourself.
5 1/2 Months into it.
I made a little more tweaking to my diet because I was bound and determined to get my blood sugar to stay below 100 around the clock, including after meals.  For the last few days, beginning on Thursday, I changed my diet to higher fat and lowered carbs even more.  I had to work really hard to do this.  I bought some especially fatty brat patties that included cheese & bacon and are 90% fat.  I've been eating some Irish pastured butter before meals,  when I eat eggs I use one whole egg & one yolk along with a 90% fat sausage patty.  beef burgers with cheese & mayo cooked in lard.  I've been eating cream cheese, Boursin 90% fat cheese, butter, coconut cream and coconut oil.  I've cut back on greens and vegetables.  I've only been eating a small side of greens like kale, spinach and leaf lettuce or a few slices of cucumber and avocado as my sides.  I have been able to eat a bit larger portions of protein now though.  In order to have a more controlled experiment, I have not taken any of the berberine or other "blood lowering" supplements.  By Thursday night I had a before meal blood sugar of 90.  On Friday, I woke up to an 80.  Before supper Friday night it was 90 as well.  I have only taken a multi-vitamin and magnesium.  Below are links to photos of my numbers over a 12 hour period.

Other Notes On The Experiment
 which is no longer an experiment. It is now my way of life! My diabetes is reversed and I am happy to say that!