Monday, November 30, 2015

My First Low Carb Thanksgiving

This year hubby and I celebrated my first low carb Thanksgiving at my parents' house.  His parents and brothers drove down and joined us for a lovely turkey dinner.  Our menu consisted of turkey, green beans, cheesy broccoli, rice dressing, twice baked sweet potatoes, potato salad, a full salad bar, and 2 different gravies - regular cornstarch gravy and my low carb sour cream gravy, which turned out to be pretty yummy!  We had tons of different drinks and desserts too, including my low carb pumpkin pies and lemon cheesecake fat bombs.  (Recipes for both are in the LCHF Recipe tab at the top of the page.)

Between my salad, green beans, and broccoli, there was so much green on my plate I didn't know what to eat!  Everything was so good and my blood sugars managed to stay decent (despite my battles this week with higher numbers). 
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We now have a ton of leftovers in our new fridge which hubby and I both love because it means he doesn't have to eat sandwiches and bagels for dinner at work and I don't have to cook if I don't feel like it. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Kissed Carb-Counting Goodbye

If you had told me a year ago, when I was looking at graphs like this, that I would someday soon be able to sleep through the night with steady blood sugars, I would've had a hard time believing you.    
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And while a little over a year may not seem "soon" to you, to me, it's a big deal.  This crazy graph right here was the norm for me for 18 years.  I just didn't know it until I got my Dexcom.  What a world of difference it has made.  Because now my norm is starting to look more like this:
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This was last night.  (Yes, the date is wrong by a day, ignore that.)  That little bit of food I ate at 8am?  A cheese stick, because I felt like eating it and knew it wouldn't affect my blood sugar.  And I only needed 6 units of Levemir to maintain these numbers.
My daily stats look like this:
 photo 11-13-15 stats_zpsjmwrtuuf.jpg

Pretty dramatic difference if you ask me.  As many of you know, I was addicted to sugar before this year.  Yup...addicted...hardcore.  My husband always used to tease me about how I liked "a little bit of tea with my sugar."  And it was true.  I grew up thinking I could eat whatever, whenever.  All I had to do was count the carbs and bolus for it.  The only problem was, I didn't always bolus for it.  In fact, most of the time, I didn't.  And when I did, I still fell victim to the awful roller coaster effect...I chased my blood sugars up and down and up and down.  I experienced burnout and extreme depression.  It felt like a never-ending losing battle.  But I kept on.  And it was sad.  I didn't know there were other options.  My doctors never told me there were better ways to do things. 

I also have to admit that part of my thinking included preferring the "real thing" to artificial sweeteners.  I knew that artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, were not good for you, as they are made up of chemicals that are not beneficial to your body.

As it turns out, my nutritionist courses have pointed out that aspartame in our food allows too much calcium into our cells, which basically stimulates our cells to death and destroys neurons.  Many chronic illnesses that have been contributed to by long-term exposure to aspartame and MSG include MS, ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Dementia, and neuroendocrine disorders.

However, the "real thing" isn't much better.  Sugar is addictive, lowers the immune system, feeds cancer cells, feeds yeast overgrowth in the colon, significantly promotes obesity and type 2 diabetes, causes inflammation (direct proponent of diseases such as Alzheimer's), and acidifies the body (promoting osteoporosis).  Not to mention its affect on blood sugars and all the nerve damage and complications that come with that.

The average American consumes 45 teaspoons of sugar a day - that's almost a full CUP of the very substance that not only lacks any type of nutritional benefit but also robs your body of essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

"So how did a sugar addict with crazy roller coaster blood sugars manage to achieve that constant flat line??"

Easy.  I kissed carb-counting goodbye.

"But didn't you experience any kind of withdrawal?  How did you break your addiction?"

I think it started when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in May 2012.  That cut out all the wheat, rye, barley, and oats from my diet.  However, I was still eating corn, rice, potatoes, and gluten-free grains, which all have pretty high glycemic index values.  It was definitely a process that happened a little at a time as I researched different diets, from gluten-free to paleo to organic to low carb.

If I went through withdrawal, I don't remember how it felt.  I just know that I was super determined to get my health on track, no matter what it took or cost.  After I got my Dexcom and 2015 rolled around, I had pretty much decided to limit my carb intake even more and cut out the gluten-free grains and starches.

Dr. Bernstein's book, Diabetes Solution, helped all the pieces fall into place.  I jumped in head first from that point and haven't looked back...except to reflect on where I was and how far I've come.

I know I've given up a lot of foods - and I mean A LOT - to get to this point, but I also know without a doubt in my heart that I'm on the right path.  I no longer have carb or sugar cravings.

I kissed them all goodbye. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The past two days

My blood sugars the past two days have been pretty amazing, minus the little spikes I seem to be having around bedtime.
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I'm trying to figure out which set of numbers I'm going to believe...My Dexcom and glucometer, or my endo's A1C test.  My Dex and glucometer are lower and seem to line up with more resources that I have.  My endo's test seems so way out there. 

Which means if I believe my Dexcom and glucometer, my A1C is not 6.0 (126 mg/dl) but 5.1 (107 mg/dl).  That's a big difference to me!  What do you think?  Which would you believe?  Should I do a home A1C test? 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Chuggin' Right Along

I'm pretty impressed with my numbers last night/this morning.  They came down pretty quickly and stayed constant while I was sleeping.  I'll be doing another basal check next week to see how it compares to this week's.  Overnight checks are rough so I think it's best to space them out a little.    

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Gap in my numbers due to restarting my sensor session.  At least they stayed where they were supposed to stay!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Overnight Basal Check

Seems like not too long ago I was doing overnight basal checks.  Truth be told, I'll always have to do basal checks to make sure I'm getting the right dose.  It's not a "one time and you're done" type of deal.

So it went pretty well.  I love love love the nice straight line I had the whole time!  My numbers were pretty beautiful, although I did have to take 2 sugar cubes to keep from going under 60, so I think that stopped the test, technically.  Anyway, it was a very informative check.

To start, I had my last meal at 5:45pm and didn't eat anything (just drank water) or bolus any Apidra after 8pm last night.  My numbers stayed pretty consistent the whole time I was fasting.

Here's the graph with fasting prior to midnight, and into the test.
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5:45pm - 96 (3g carbs, 2 units Apidra)
7:50pm - 85
9:10pm - 76
11pm - 86

Midnight - 79  (5 units of Levemir)
1am - 88
2am - 84
3am - 72
4am - 64
5am - 60 (took 2 sugar cubes = 4g carbs)
6am - 69
7am - no test
8am - 75  (5 units of Levemir, 1 cheesestick, go back to bed)

11:50am - 81

This graph is from Test Beginning to Test Ending, and a little bit beyond.
 photo 11-3-15 basal_zps6qaqsfkm.jpg

I'll obviously need to repeat this test 2 more times at least just to make sure but this test showed me what's really going on, at least last night.  An ever so slight decrease in those first 5 hours.

(Ignore the incorrect date at the bottom of the Dexcom didn't reset correctly with the time change.  Ugh.) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Truth About Carbs and Glucose

"Diabetics Need Carbs And Sugar To Survive."

You'll see a lot of people on the internet and in your daily lives pass around misinformation about carbs and sugar, or glucose.  The fact of the matter is, carbohydrates and glucose are related, but not entirely one and the same.

Glucose is a single chain sugar molecule with the molecular formula C6H12O6. 

Carbohydrates are a multi-chain complex molecule made up of several glucose molecules.

So in essence, carbohydrates are just lots of sugar molecules all stuck together to make one big molecule.  This means one entire carbohydrate molecule must be broken down into each of the individual glucose molecules in order for it to be absorbed and used by the body.

Our bodies need approximately 83 mg/dl of glucose in our blood to perform at an optimal level.  Below 60 mg/dl is considered hypoglycemic (low blood sugar).  Above 120 mg/dl is considered hyperglycemic (high blood sugar).  

Modern doctors want their patients to maintain blood sugar levels anywhere from 70 - 200+ mg/dl.  The problem with this is that they view carbohydrates (specifically from pasta, cereals, bread, desserts, pizza, candy, you name it) not as a bad thing, but as a good and needed thing.   

In reality, diabetics are carbohydrate intolerant.  

You read that right.  

Carbohydrate Intolerant.  

Our bodies do not produce the insulin we need to effectively lower blood sugar levels after eating high carbohydrate-filled meals.  We have and inject synthetic insulin, yes, but those insulins do not work quickly enough and are often given without the precision of which our bodies are capable of administering.  Therefore, we can not metabolize carbohydrates and are intolerant of them.  

So if diabetics are carbohydrate intolerant, how do they keep their blood sugars from going too low?  Don't they need sugar to keep that from happening?  Yes, they do, but they can get all the glucose they need from protein, vegetables (gluconeogenesis), and fats (ketosis).   Gluconeogenesis and ketosis are how the human race not only survived but in fact thrived before medical experts and agricultural advances started forcing UNNECESSARY complex carbohydrates down our throats.

Many people will also try to say that diabetics should eat carbs and sugar in moderation.  I would first point them to this article:
I would then say that eating a healthy diet comprised of low carb foods is the only way for a diabetic to achieve normal blood sugars and live a long and healthy life.  Moderation is a big fat lie.  

Poison eaten in moderation is still poison.
Our country’s living proof of it. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Diabetes Awareness Month

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November 1st marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month and I thought it would be appropriate to share a post to kick things off.

There's a pretty hefty question that's been on my mind this year, and that is:

"Can diabetics eat whatever they want?"

Honestly, the answer to that question is no.  They CANNOT eat whatever they want.

I had to learn this the hard way.  I struggled with my numbers for 18 years before I realized my eating habits had to change if I wanted to see improvements in my numbers.  My blood sugars were constantly in the 200s, 300s, 400s, and even 500s for all those years and my A1Cs were always over 10.  Why?  Because I ate whatever I wanted and didn't care about what they did to my numbers.  I just cared about being (or appearing to be) "normal".

It wasn't until this year that I realized I had to stop eating all those sugary, carb-filled foods if I wanted to see consistently normal blood sugars that would allow me to safely get pregnant.  There's just no way to have normal blood sugars and eat whatever you want.  The insulin can't keep up with the carbs, no matter how you bolus or pre-bolus.  It's impossible.

Simply put, diabetics CANNOT tolerate carbohydrates.

Can those with peanut allergies tolerate peanuts?  No.

Would you tell them to eat peanuts anyway and just take an Epipen shot for them?  No!

So why oh why do doctors push carbohydrates on diabetic patients when diabetics cannot tolerate them?

Spikes in blood sugar from carbs cause more complications than your doctor will tell you.  At 140 mg/dl, nerve damage takes place but doctors urge their patients to keep higher blood sugars and higher insulin doses because they're scared of being sued if a diabetic dies from a low blood sugar!

The best way to minimize your complications later and maximize your life expectancy is to cut the carbs!  The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you need, the fewer highs and lows you will have, and the easier it is to keep your blood sugars where they should be (70-100).  83 is considered normal blood sugar.  The rule of small numbers is the best way to go about eating...small number of carbs = small insulin doses = less room for high spikes and low valleys.

Many diabetics follow a low carb diet that consists of no more than 30g of carbs a day.  They eat lots of healthy fats, meats, and vegetables and maintain A1Cs in the 4s and 5s.  This is what diabetics need to do if they want to live a long healthy life.

Unfortunately, many of them have not seen the light yet.  Many of them believe that their doctors know best and they are happy "being able" to eat whatever they want.  Many of them follow that path and go on to suffer from numerous complications, including neuropathy, blindness, and loss of legs, fingers, toes, and arms.

These complications honestly never used to scare me, even while I watched other family members experience them.  I had that "invincible" will never happen to me, I'm still too young for that to be something to worry about, etc.  I'm now ashamed that I didn't care more.  I can't tell you how much better I feel physically and mentally, and how empowered I feel by stepping up and taking charge of my care.   

I recommend Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution if anyone wants to read about the approach to which I now subscribe.  Dr. Bernstein has been a type 1 diabetic for over 70 years and he put the low carb diet into action for many diabetics.

He's saved my life.  Will you let him save yours?