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LCHF Pancake Recipe

Do you remember when you were little and your mom would make you these amazing, perfectly fried pancakes?

Well, I do. And I’ve been missing them a little since I cut out grains from my diet, a good few years ago now.

Throughout the years, I’ve been trying one low carb pancake recipe after the other, but they never quite get to where I would like them.

They’re either too soggy, too thick (I much prefer crepes to american style pancakes!), taste too much like nuts, don’t contain enough fat, or, frankly, are too complicated to make with ingredients that you have to really go on a hunt for.

Call me the Goldilocks of Pancakes if you will, but finding an easy, yummy, healthy, low carb pancake recipe has not been easy. I might as well have gone out for that hunt of those ingredients no human has in their pantry ever.

I’ve recently given up a bit on searching for The Pancake Recipe. Too much milk products isn’t an option, neither are fake ingredients. Or combinations of ingredients that give them a funky flavor. No, thanks!

Until now.

I’ve quite frankly completely stumbled upon what might just be The Complete Pancake Lovers Awesome Recipe For Low Carb High Fat Pancakes!

I was first alerted to this recipe through a fantastic Facebook group I’m in, and thought it sounded a little weird, to be honest. “Egg and cream cheese, that’s it?! They’ll never keep together and the’ll taste like, well eggs and cream cheese. Perhaps sometime when I have n o t h i n g else at home.” my mind started blabbering.

That day was the other day (although we had tons of other yummy food at home). Turns out, they hold together just fine, almost better than “normal” pancakes. And the taste… I bet you anything no one would realize they’re not “normal” pancakes if I served them these. They taste exactly like I remember pancakes tasting!

 

lchf_pancakes

Yummy LCHF Pancakes

 

This recipe is from the wonderful blog I Breathe I’m Hungry, where you can find the recipe in all its glory and originality.

This is my version:

Real LCHF Pancakes

Makes: Four pancakes/crepes

You’ll need

  • 2 oz (60 grams) cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon xylitol (or sweetener of your choice) (this can also be completely skipped, they’ll still be awesome)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (because who doesn’t love cinnamon?!)

Do this

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth
  2. Let rest for 2 minutes
  3. Pour some batter into a hot pan with some melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes until golden, flip and cook 1 minute on the other side.
  4. Serve with some fresh berries, cinnamon, sweetener if you want, lemon, almond butter, butter, bacon… The world’s your oyster and the sky’s the limit!

 

lchf_pancake

LCHF Pancakes with Raspberries, Coconut cream and Cinnamon

 

Approx nutrition info per batch:

344 calories
29g fat
2.5g net carbs
17g protein

Enjoy these amazing pancakes!

Hope they can become a staple in your food routine, it’s always nice with new inspiration.

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe you want to share with me? Comment below!

 

Too Much Fat?

Is there such a thing as eating too much fat?

It’s been widely proven by now that eating fat isn’t bad for you.

But just how much fat is too much fat? And especially on a low(er) carbohydrate eating plan?

Let’s go back a couple of steps first…

When you eat something, your body starts digesting it in your mouth with enzymes. Starting with the sugars, as the food moves along the digestive path, other carbohydrates, proteins (amino acids) and fats are all digested and broken up into little, usable parts for the body. The body uses these small parts to rebuild itself, give you energy and make sure every single cell works just like it should, from your hair follicles to your intestine wall. If you’re eating the right things, that is…

So what should you eat, whether or not you have diabetes?

Essentially, it’s pretty simple: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.

But I guess you were looking for a more detailed description?

Carbohydrates

The issue with carbs is that it’s really a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, they provide you with lots of energy that your cells know exactly how to use.

On the other hand, it’s way too easy to over-load on said energy, which your body will only turn into saturated fat in your fat cells.

And then we add in where the carbs come from.

Phew, no wonder everyone seems confused about this and keep arguing about what’s right and what’s not!

What’s true in terms of how the body works is that every type of carbohydrate you eat is eventually split up into a simple form of sugar (aka glucose). This means that all that bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, and sodas (to mention a few) you eat and drink eventually end up as glucose (sugar) in your body.

While sugar is indeed energy, and your body needs some to survive, it is actually quite toxic in large amounts. The cells in your body has an amazing capability of burning (and also storing) this energy, but for that the sugar needs the key to get in. The key is called insulin. And what don’t we produce (enough of) if we have diabetes? Yep, INSULIN.

In super simplified terms, insulin stores sugar as fat in your fat cells. And if you’re insulin resistant (Type 2 Diabetes), or not producing insulin (Type 1 DIabetes), it prevents sugar AND protein (amino acids) from entering muscle cells, so you can’t build or maintain your muscle mass. Joys of diabetes, hey?!

I think we can all agree that knowing this makes it a good idea to make sure we don’t get too many carbohydrates. And I haven’t even mentioned high blood sugar yet!

How many carbs you can eat is quite individual, but if you have problems with your blood sugar (diabetes of any kind or type) or insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, your carb count should stay low. How low is up to you, but I’m sure you’ve figured out that the mentality of just “eating whatever you want and cover for it with insulin” doesn’t exactly work flawlessly for many of us…

Which carbs are good for you and which are not?

It comes down to processed versus natural carbs, really.

All of the ones I mentioned before (bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, fruit, dessert, candy, sodas…), I wish would just disappear from our food supply. They’re all highly processed, made in a plant with ingredients that have little or no resemblance to the natural, nutrient dense foods we used to eat. Making them easy to overdose on.

What you’re left with is basically vegetables. Organic, if you can. Some berries. And sometimes fruit (but they have quite a lot of carbs, so watch out if you have diabetes!).

But, if you eat less of the carby stuff, what is left?!

Proteins

Proteins are really important for your body.

They are the building blocks that your body uses to repair itself.

How much protein is good to eat, then?

A great rule of thumb is to calculate about 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. If you’re looking to lose weight, this should be 0.8-1 g per kilogram of your goal weight.

Let’s put this into practice!

So, if a person weighs 60 kg, they should be eating somewhere in the range of 48-60 grams of protein a day. That does NOT mean 48-60 grams of meat, for example, as meat only has 20% protein. This means this awesome person should be eating between 240 and 300 grams of meat a day (if meat is the only protein source, of course).

On the other hand, if a person weighs 100 kg and wants to weigh 90 kg, they should be eating around 72-90 grams of protein a day, meaning 360-450 grams of meat a day.

Keep in mind that there are other protein sources as well, and I’m only using meat as an easy, accessible example.

Eating more than this runs the chance of your liver (mainly) turning the excess protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis anyway, which you really don’t want, especially if you have diabetes.

To summarize it so far, less carbs and moderate protein. Are you with me?!

Fats

Lastly, but most gloriously, we have fats.

The fear of fat is really outdated by now, being started by a scientist that turned data into what he wanted it to show (Ancel Keys).

Today we luckily and happily know a lot better! Now we know that eating fat is necessary, there are essential fatty acids we need to get in order for our bodies to work properly.

Generally, there isn’t really an upper limit for fat intake. You just eat the rest of your food in the form of fat when you’ve fulfilled the carb and protein ratios.

Again, there’s a difference on fats and fats, just like i mentioned for the carbohydrates.

The key really lies in starting with the cleanest saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, dairy (if you can handle it), meat, cocoa butter) you can. Everything gets better with butter! Secondly, choose your monounsaturated fats (nuts, olives and avocados). Lastly, choose your healthy polyunsaturated fats like certain nuts, seeds, avocado oil and fish oils (omega 3).

It’s not more complicated than that, really.

Of course, if you’re eating lots of fat, keeping your carbs and proteins where they should be, and STILL gaining weight, you could be eating too much of it for your individual needs.

Another way of telling that you’re eating way too much fat is by looking at what comes out, i.e. your poop. What you put in is what you get out! If your poop sticks to the toilet (you have to use the brush a lot), it’s a sign your body can’t use all the fat you’re eating.

 

To sum these shenenigans up: figure out your carb count, then your proteins, fill the rest up with fats. Simple, right?

But whether or not you’re eating too much fat majorly depends on what else you’re eating.

 

Do you eat enough fat?

Weight Loss – 5 Tips

Sure, food is a big part of losing weight. But it’s not the only part.

This is such an important realization to make, if nothing else to stop yourself from buying into the next fad diet with some super formula that will make you loose weight faster than lightning.

That’s nothing more than excellent PR and marketing work. Rarely there’s any science at all behind it.

The following tips are true for the vast majority of people, whether or not you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, adrenal fatigue, other problems with endocrinology, or just plain don’t-know-what-to-do status.

 

1. Mental Clarity

The major, number one on the list of weight loss tips is: Mental Clarity.

This is so important I could talk about it all day.

What you eat and how/if you move is crucial to what happens to your weight.

But so is also your mental state.

You’re probably confused and feeling lost when your weight loss suddenly stops or you can’t keep the 500 kcal limit a day (ok, that last one is i n s a n e). You start wondering what’s wrong with you and why you can’t look like that Victoria’s Secret angel…. (ok, that last one is probably self-explanatory… We all have different circumstances and starting out points; all of us can’t end up looking like a super model!)

So you end up feeling stuck. What’s a girl to do?!

a) Answer these crucial questions for yourself:

– What/who/why am I holding on to this weight for?
– What is my excess weight shielding me from? (This can be mental or physical things, like not wanting extra attention or having been bullied around the time when you started gaining weight.)
– Who will I be when I’ve lost this weight?
– How will people see me when I’ve lost the weight?

The answers to these questions will help you clear your mental blocks around weight loss.

b) Why?

Another question!

Answering your “why” (as in why you want to lose the weight) is bringing back the enjoyment in the whole process. It’s a motivator, part of the goal and something to look at on days where everything is blah.

So WHY do you want to lose weight?

If that doesn’t work, you might need more help, in which case I’d recommend working with a coach, therapist or practitioner (for example nutrition and/or emotional freedom technique (EFT Tapping))

 

2. Sleep

No sleep – no weight loss.

This has so much to do with hormones, de-stressing and giving your body the time it needs to heal and repair itself.

When you’re depriving your body of sleep, you’re actively stressing it. And let me tell you this, nothing will happen to your weight if you stress! (Apart from if you want to gain a few and feel miserable.)

Stress hormones, such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and epinephrine give your body other things to do than to focus on weight loss. They throw your body into a “fight or flight” mode and all your body will care about is surviving. Certainly not about losing weight, it will rather hold on to it in case it needs it for the flight-part.

A night here and there without proper sleep is, admittedly, not going to do much. But when it becomes a habit, it might halt your progress.

This goes for any other stressors as well, not just the lack of sleep. Our new favorite hobby, “being busy”, definitely doesn’t help and is a reason why I think so many are overweight these days.

 

3. Exercise

“Eat less, exercise more”, right?!

God no, please don’t!

Exercise shouldn’t be a self-punishing mechanism, although I know very well that it can easily be one.

You should exercise because you enjoy it. Because you feel that your body feels well. Because your mood improves and you can push yourself a little further every time.

Yes, it’s important to exercise. But it’s just as important not to do it out of hating yourself. You have to love the weight off!

As for what kind of exercise you “should” be doing, I couldn’t care less!

Do what motivates you, what makes you feel good and what makes your heart and soul sing those happy tunes.

Be it power walking (with a good audio book!), running, dancing, weight lifting, swimming, mountain climbing, (aqua-) aerobics, pilates, yoga, tennis, football, floor ball, basket ball… You get the point; whatever it is that makes you feel good – do it!

 

4. Eating only when you’re hungry 

“Ooohhh, it’s almost 12 o’clock, that means I get/need to have lunch!”

Recognize yourself?

Unless you actually are hungry (and by hungry I mean properly so, not just any little rumble in your tummy), don’t eat a full meal.

If you’re not hungry when your usual lunchtime rolls around, there’s no one who says that you h a v e to eat. Save it for when you actually are hungry.

Eating because you’re used to it is frankly pretty silly. It makes you eat more than you need to, and, in most cases, it puts you back on the blood sugar roller coaster. (You don’t want that, whether you’re diabetic or not.)

I’m definitely not advocating any type of eating disorders!!

But I am telling you to listen to your body. What does it tell you? Are you really hungry, or are you just bored? What does it need? Are you procrastinating something that you know you should be doing with a snack or a meal?

Check in with yourself before your next meal, are you really hungry?

 

5. Food

This point could (and will be) a whole blog post/a third of my book.

That you are what you eat is clear by now, with everything you eat slowly becoming part of your cells, muscles, skin, bones, organs, hair and nails.

So that what you eat plays a more-than-crucial role on your weight journey is clear as crystal.

Let’s assume you’ve realized that all them carbs aren’t your best buds.

And let’s assume you’ve done something about that. Like starting to eat less processed carbs, flour, bread, pasta and rice, and have started eating more healthy, healing, happy fats. For instance.

And what if your weight is still the same? Or, gasp, has increased?!

If you’ve gone over the point’s I’ve mentioned above, here’s 3 things for troubleshooting Vol. 2.0:

– You’re not eating enough fat, and still eating more carbs than your body can tolerate.

– You’ve fallen for the “low carb baking” train and use almond flour (etc) like it would be water. There is such a thing as eating too many nuts, and in this case, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening.

– You’ve heard dairy is basically a “free food” instead of the carby stuff, so you use it. A lot. But it might be that your body cant handle all that diary, and reacts with bad skin and weight gain.

No bueno. Dial back on these things one by one until you find which one(s) is(are) your culprit(s).

 

5.5 Patience 

Patience, my dear, patience.

Being someone who has close to zero patience (working on it!), I understand you completely.

You’ve made all the changes needed; you’ve even given up on bread.

So, naturally, you expect results, like, yesterday.

Except that’s not always the case.

After years, even decades of abusive eating, your body won’t “get it” straightaway.

We can adapt, and your body will adapt to your new, healthier ways. Being animals of habit, the same goes for your body when it comes to weight loss. It knows what it knows and not a thing more. But it can definitely learn new things.

All you need to do is to give it a fair chance to do so, too!

Can you show yourself, your weight loss journey and your body a little more patience? I think you can!

 

Quick recap of what’s important with weight loss:

1. Mental Clarity

2. Sleep

3. Exercise

4. Eating only when you’re hungry

5. Food

5.5. Patience

 

Which of these have you tried? Where are you still struggling? Answer in the comments below!

 

 

Fat Facts

Food fact: Fat, glorious fat!

Let’s set the record straight here once and for all: not all fats are bad!

Sure, the transfatty crappy vegetable oils (cottonseed, rapeseed and processed sunflower oils for example), margarine, the junk food you get at most fast food restaurants or chips/cakes/cookies/candy aren’t what we’re talking about today. (Which are all pretty sorry excuses for food, really.)

We’re talking about the good, healthy, happy, healing fats, like salmon, coconut, avocado, eggs, olive oil, butter, nuts and seeds, for example.

Eating more fat (and less carbohydrates) has amazing benefits on your health.

When you start adding more fat to your meals, your blood pressure is likely to go back to normal.

Fat also has very minimal, if any at all, effects on blood glucose levels (yay for us diabetics!), meaning less roller coaster and more stroll in the park action.

Chances are also that eating more fat will make you lose weight (I’ll explain this more later in this post).

It also keeps you full and satisfied for longer, meaning that snacking and unnecessary meals are less likely to sneak in to your eating plan.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, here are 7 more reasons you need to give your body fatty acids to work with:

  1. Fat = energy

Good fat contains more energy than carbs or protein. This is energy (calories) that the body can use and knows how to use, unlike processed carbs, for example.

  1. Healthy cells need fat

The walls of every cell in your body (the membrane) is made out of fat. If you don’t eat enough fat, you can’t build healthy, properly functioning cells. And that’s putting yourself in a pretty bad place; if you can’t build cells, your body can’t function like it should.

  1. Think fat!

The cells I just mentioned of course also include your brain cells. But fat is needed for more than that – it’s also needed to build myelin, which is insulation for the nerve endings in the brain and helps carrying messages across.

  1. Fatty vitamins

The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can’t be absorbed by the intestines without fat, meaning you are depriving your body of these vital vitamins unless you eat enough fat.

  1. Hormones are made of fat

Your body produces sex hormones with the help of fat, as well as many other hormones and hormone-like substances (like prostaglandins). Your hormones are vital to your body functioning properly, and any irregularity in hormone production can have some unpleasant or even devastating consequences.

  1. Your skin loves fat!

Your skin is one of the first things to react if you eat too little fat – it gets dry, flaky and feels too tight. The fat we have right underneath our skin also helps to insulate us in colder weathers.

  1. Fat protects your organs

Just as the whole body is insulated by fat, so are your organs on the inside. Especially the kidneys, heart and intestines rely on fat to keep them from harm and in their correct places (your kidneys can actually start “traveling” in your body if you don’t have enough fat to keep them in place.)

 

There are two common misunderstandings about fat that I regularly hear:

  1. “But isn’t eating more fat gonna make you fat?”

Let’s crush this myth once and for all: fat doesn’t make you fat! 

Of course you can overeat fat, but it will be difficult as it’s very satiating. Your body has a natural stop that prohibits you from overeating as easily as you can with, for example, carbs.

  1. “But isn’t fat free of nutrients? How do you get your vitamins?”

The richest sources of vitamins D, E and K2, and choline all come from food sources rich in fat (cod liver oil, red palm oil, grass-fed butter and egg yolks)

Fat also makes vitamins in the other food more available for the body to absorb.

 

So, where can you add more healthy fats in your day?

Eggs and bacon for breakfast? Avocado and walnuts added to your lunch? Fry the vegetables for dinner in coconut oil? Perhaps you can even have some glorious salmon for dinner?

 

Fat is healthy and desperately needed by your body, don’t deprive it of this great source of everything.

Lots of lardy love!

 

 

Being (nutritionally) wealthy

“I’m eating all the right things, but I don’t feel any better yet. What am I doing wrong?”

When you start a healthier lifestyle, there are a lot of other things that need to change than “just” what you eat.

For the sake of clarification, I’m not saying what you eat isn’t important – what you eat is the deciding factor of whether you improve your life or not. But there are a few factors that you may not be thinking about.

Today, I want to highlight 3 factors that might be the reason for you not feeling your absolute best just yet, although you’re doing “everything right”.

  1. Mentally

The concept of eating healthily needs to really click in your brain.

You need to understand, down to your last cell, that eating healthy is what you’re striving for, aiming for and need to do in order to feel your very best.

Let’s take an example we both understand to illustrate.

Let’s say you’re on a flight. After the fasten seatbelt light has been switched off after take off, the stewardesses start serving the food.

Airplane food. Within Europe, if you get anything at all, it’s usually just a snack; a sandwich or something of that category.

But, if you notice that they are serving something that doesn’t suit your healthier way of life, do you have to eat it? NO, of course not; you always have a choice!

I kindly, but firmly, rejected a vanilla bake thing that was served on a flight I took this week. I kindly asked to see the ingredients list, which even I was shocked about. Sugar was mentioned 7 (yes, S E V E N!) times in the ingredients list. It almost blew me away (or propelled me forward, not sure yet).

To this, I observed that most people either chose a Coca Cola or an orange juice. More sugar, how lovely. And then people wonder why they’re not feeling healthier, loosing weight or normalizing their blood sugars….

So, what choices do you have? I can think of 3 right off the bat:

a) Eat normally so you don’t have to snack in between/on the flight.

b) Be p r e p a r e d! Bring snacks you know are good for you, like nuts, fruit bars, dried meat, fruits or vegetables.

c) If both of the above fail you, just do better next time.

Ok., but how do you get to that mental clarity of that eating healthy is the only choice?

Give it a serious try.

For 2 or so weeks, make an effort to really eat healthily.

Your body will, slowly but surely, realize that the nutrients it has so desperately been looking for is in the “new” food you’re eating, wanting more of it and less of the old junk.

Deal with your emotions that are connected to food, through something like meditation, EFT tapping or contemplation. Remember, food is not a reward – you’re not a dog.

  1. Heartlly

Secondly, your heart needs to play along, too.

But, apart from the possible risk of coronary heart disease, what on Earth does your heart have to do with eating healthy, losing weight and normalizing blood sugars.

The answer is a simple, four-letter word; LOVE.

You need to decide in your heart that you’re making a change. You need to want the change deep, deep down, as otherwise you might be half-assing your new way of life.

You need to love the weight off, you need to love your body for it to function properly, you need to show yourself (and your body!) how much you love it.

This is where self-love rituals are so amazingly important for a healthy life style.

Just don’t show yourself “love” by shoveling down a chocolate cake every day. That’s not love, that’s abuse.

What are self-love practices, are things like reading your favorite magazine, although you “should” be doing something else, it’s to give yourself time on your own, perhaps even in the form of an appointment at the spa. Or going for a long walk, a run or a yoga session. It’s to spend time with those you love, family and friends, or enjoying a big cup of your favorite tea.

  1. Digestionally

As I already mentioned above; if you eat great, healthy, healing foods, your body will want more of them.

The reason for craving more bad foods when you eat bad foods (chocolate craving train, anyone?) is that your body is looking for the nutrients it’s not getting, so it wants more and more of said food, hoping to find a nutritional jackpot somewhere.

What our amazing body doesn’t recognize however is that there is very, very little nutritional value in an energy drink and chocolate croissant!

That’s up to you to re-teach your body, especially after years of abuse. Luckily, your body is an excellent student and a fast learner.

Your intestines need to learn how to re-recognize the good stuff that food has, and not only the processed stuff that leads to so many pains and troubles.

Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, good carbohydrates, excellent proteins and amino acids and healing, yummy fatty acids are all stuff that an abused body and digestive system wouldn’t recognize at first.

Also, give it a little bit of time. Technically patience should be the 4th point of this blog post…

It’s taken years and years of abuse to get yourself, and your body, to this state (perhaps over weight, high blood pressure, high blood sugar etc are among the suspects on that list?) – it will not be resolved over night.

 

 

I really despise the word “diet” with a deeply rooted passion. And I can assure you that I would never (and you should never say that!) ever tell anyone to go on a diet.

What I do advocate is for you to find YOUR way of eating healthily. This doesn’t mean it’s the same for you as it is for your best friend, rather far from it sometimes, but it does mean that you can start at the same starting point and move forward in parallel directions.

So my tip for you today is: do not diet, get nutritionally wealthy instead.

It doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as it’s not nutritious enough, you’re starving yourself.

What step can you take today to make your life healthier? Or, do you recognize yourself in any of the three points above? Let me know in the comments!

Diabetes Interview: 30 Questions

Sometimes, working on my own can feel slightly schizophrenic.

I know you have tons of questions for me.

And today you’ll get some of them answered!

I’ve done an interview with none other than my fabulous self. I asked myself, included the ones from you (and googled some) questions to answer.

So here we go, here is the GrainBrain.ch interview with Hanna Boëthius:

Beginning

GrainBrain: What type of diabetes do you have?
Hanna Boëthius: I have Type 1 Diabetes.

GB: How long have you had diabetes?
HB: I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 2, 29 years ago now.

GB: How did you manage, growing up? Did you hide your diabetes?
HB: I had my moments. Up until the age of about 10, my parents had full control of the diabetes and me. That’s also when I learned how to do my own injections, which gave me a little more freedom. I can’t say I ever took pride in having diabetes before.

Being a teenager with T1D was difficult for me, I wanted nothing else than to be like “everybody else”, and I felt the diabetes hindered me in that. Starting at about age 16 I started hiding the diabetes more and more, at times even ignoring it.

It was a stupid move on my part, as it brought me to the ICU on the night of my high school graduation with a life-threatening DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), but luckily I survived, thanks to the excellent health care staff around me. This complete roller coaster of taking care of myself vs not doing it continued a few years after that too, purely because I didn’t achieve the results I was promised and that I was working towards.

GB: Was it tough on your sibling, with you being the center of attention?
HB: Oh yes, most definitely. What she actually feels about it, you’ll have to ask her, but I think she has found it very tough.

GB: What was hardest for you and your family — emotionally? Or financially?
HB: A little bit of both, I think, but mainly emotionally. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have excellent health insurance.

I know my mother was terribly afraid of needles until my diagnosis, and then got over it because, well, she had to. And to get over something you’re afraid of is incredibly difficult. So it has affected my whole family in many, many ways.

Also having to deal with the doctors visits, the low blood sugars, the high ones, the inexplicable ones, the food, the insulin, exercise, hormones as well as other factors that influence the care of diabetes is life changing. And definitely not just for the patient, but also for the ones around them.

gb14_about_me_detail

Treatment

GB: What treatment do you use to treat your diabetes?
HB: Medically, I use insulin and check my blood sugars often.

GB: How often do you have to test your glucose levels?
HB: It’s gotten a little easier with my newest acquirement of a CGM (continuous glucose monitor), but I still measure up to 10 times a day. Before that it was 7-12 times a day, depending on how I felt and what I was doing.

GB: Do you use an insulin pump or injections/pens? How often do you need to inject?
HB: Since about a year, I use an insulin pump. Her name is Doris, and we’re a great team. But for the other 28 years I’ve used syringes first, and then insulin pens. So I know all about feeling like a human pin cushion!

The benefit with an insulin pump is that it injects small amounts of insulin every 5 minutes, giving the body a smoother supply of insulin, rather than injecting huge lump-dosages and hoping for the best.

The reason I changed was a lifestyle improvement, but also to cut down the margin of error of the big dosages I mentioned.

GB: What kind of insulin do you take?
HB: I use NovoRapid in my insulin pump.

GB: What insulins have you had throughout your diabetic career?
HB: Oh, I don’t think I can even remember them all! But a selection of them is: Humalog, Lantus, Levimir, Protaphan, Humulin, Actrapid…

GB: How well do you think you manage your diabetes?
HB: I think I’m doing better now than ever before!

I take much less insulin and other medications now, my blood sugar is more stable and all my laboratory results and measurements are better than they ever have been.

GB: Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar?
HB: Yes, most of the times I can.

GB: What symptoms do you get?
HB: When I have a high blood sugar, I get sleepy, my brain feels like toffee, I’m lethargic and I can’t concentrate. Sometimes I’m insatiably thirsty as well.

When it’s low, I feel jittery, I might shake, I can’t see properly, and I can’t concentrate then either. But although that’s exactly what I need to do, I rarely feel hungry, that comes afterwards.

GB: How often?
HB: It depends on what I’ve been doing. Stress, too little exercise and water, and too many carbs make it go up. And too much exercise and insulin makes it go down. It’s a careful balancing act.

GB: How do you treat a hypo?
HB: I’ve learned to become more patient. Before I used to eat whatever I found, and too much of it, making my low blood glucose race up to be too high.

Now, I reduce my basal rate on my pump to -80% for ½-1 h and eat 4-8 carbohydrates in form of glucose tablets, depending on how low it is. Usually I’m back to my awesome self within 10-15 minutes.

The worst thing for me is waking up with a low blood sugar in the middle of the night and then falling asleep again, once I’m ok. Getting up the following morning is a real struggle. It’s (much) worse than waking up with a hangover!

Food

GB: What do you eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner? When?
HB: I actually eat very simple food. Clean, whole foods that have been minimally tampered with is my preferred choice.

I always eat proteins, good, healthy fats and vegetables. And I don’t eat grains anymore, as it impacts my blood sugars too much to handle. It’s not worth it.

I very rarely eat breakfast nowadays, but rather do a form of intermittent fasting, which has tons of benefits. But mainly because I’m not hungry then, and also because that gives me another couple of hours of stable blood sugars. For lunch, around 12am-1pm, I very often have a mixed salad with fish, meat or eggs and avocado and olive oil. Or a vegetable soup, or an omelet. And for dinner, usually around 7pm, it’s usually some kind of cooked/warm vegetables and meat or fish and some great fats.

If you want to see what I eat, you should follow me on Instagram where I have my “food diary”. 

GB: Do you vary your insulin dose if you eat something that is not really good for you?
HB: Of course, that’s what I have to do to feel well. But I try not to eat things that I know aren’t good for me very rarely. And if I notice it wasn’t good for me, blood sugar-wise, I give a correction dosage as soon as I notice it.

GB: Do you eat snacks in between meals? Soda?
HB: Very, very rarely. I’m not hungry between meals, which is something I make sure of by eating what my body needs at meal times. And soda makes me feel terrible, even the diet ones, so that’s not usually on the menu either.

GB: Do you eat vegetables? Drink lots of water?
HB: I eat TONS of vegetables every day! They are nutritious and taste great. I have no problem substituting things like pasta or rice, which are frankly quite tasteless, for yummy vegetables.

I make sure to drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I notice on my blood glucose straight away if I haven’t had enough water.

GB: Do you ever skip meals?
HB: Mmmm, no not really. Apart from breakfast, like I mentioned before.

GB: Do you find the diet restrictive?
HB: Absolutely not. Actually, I vary my eating a lot more now than I used to before. And judging by the fact that I feel so much better eating like this, I only see benefits to it.

Completely besides the point is that I’m a nutrition coach that hates the word “diet”…. Ugh!

GB: Do you get annoyed when people ask if you should be eating a certain food?
HB: Not nearly as annoyed as I get by the word “diet”!

I actually don’t get that question too often, especially now that people have realized that I know best myself what I can and can’t eat. But I see it as people trying to look out for me rather than let it annoy me.

Gemuse

Exercise

GB: Do you exercise?
HB: Yes. It’s essential to my well-being, so I exercise pretty much every day.

GB: What do you do?
HB: For many reasons, I’ve found that the form of exercise that suits me the best are walks of varying length, intensity and geography. Sometimes I wish there would be more variation in my routine, but I do enjoy my daily walks a lot.

More

GB: Do you do anything else to manage diabetes better?
HB: Yes! Diabetes management goes WAY beyond just eating, medication and exercise.

I have found that having a daily routine helps me manage diabetes, as well as various forms of stress reduction, like meditation, breathing techniques, massages and self-love, keeping up motivation, the right supplements, along with exercise, eating the right things, drinking enough and taking the right medication.

GB: What is the hardest part of being diabetic?
HB: The constant worry. And keeping up with the roller coaster, both physical and emotional.

GB: And the best part?
HB: How it’s shaped me as a person. It’s taught me self-discipline, celebrating the small things and victories, made me stronger, more resilient and to find happiness in every day.

GB: Does your diabetes cause you any other problems?
HB: I try not to see the limitations of diabetes, and at least not let them limit me. But of course there are moments I have to sit down and take it easy rather than going at full speed…

GB: What would you like a non-diabetic to know about having diabetes?
HB: There’s much more to diabetes than eating and taking insulin. And blaming people for having diabetes is not exactly right either, it only creates a social stigma. That stamp is difficult to get rid of.

GB: What would you tell someone who has just been diagnosed with diabetes?
HB: I would tell them three things:
1) Take a deep breath, I know it’s overwhelming.
2) Your doctor doesn’t have all the answers, you’re your own best doctor.
3) Keep at it, it takes time, but when you find what works for YOU it’ll all be alright.

GB: Who do you get support from? Who treats you?
HB: Oh I have a whole team of teams!

My first priority is Team Hanna, which consists of my body and I. Secondary is my husband, then family and friends. Thirdly, I have assembled a real Dream Team of medical staff consisting of an endocrinologist, diabetic nurse, diabetic educator, ophthalmologist, podiatrist, and dermatologist.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to know about me or diabetes? Ask them in the comments and I’ll answer them too!

PS. Did you see my Diabetes Advent Calendar yet?! Sign up for the ADVENT-ure now!

#1 Restaurant for Healthy (Diabetes) Eating

You know exactly how it can be.

You’ve stocked up your fridge. It’s full of awesomely healthy things to make.

And the intention is there to actually make that chicken soup, the lamb and the crockpot (that’ll leave leftovers for lunch the next day, too.)

Yet, when it’s nearing dinner time, you say “eff it. Let’s go out for dinner.”

Or maybe you actually have something important to celebrate! Wohoo!

Whether you have diabetes or not, you want to continue your healthy lifestyle even if you (have to) go to a restaurant every once in a while.

But how on Earth can you do that?

What type of restaurant has the most options available to mix and match a menu that suits your individual needs?

That restaurant, my friend, is a steakhouse. (if you’re a vegetarian, I understand if you close this page now. Come back next week, though!)

And, before you want to leave me an angry comment below this post, no, red meat is not dangerous for you. At least not in the amounts you can eat in one sitting. If you follow me on Instagram, where I post a lot of what I eat to inspire you to a healthier lifestyle, you’ll see that I often eat red meat. And I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been!

With the usual steakhouse mix and match type of menu, it’s usually incredibly easy to find things on there that suits your particular needs in terms of food. They’re usually constructed something along the lines of this model:

1. Meat. Choose the cut, type and degree of it that you like. Usually there are also other things that would fit under this category, like chicken, fish, or some seafood dish, if you don’t feel like having red meat.

2. Side. An absolute majority of steakhouses have some type of vegetables listed under their side dishes. You might need to use the old willpower card for the fries, if you usually love those. I promise you it’s not worth it though.

3. Sauce. If you want to be extra cautious, choose the garlic/herb butter, as the Béarnaise sauce can contain wheat (gluten) and other nastiness. Or if they have a chimichurri or gremolata, that works too. Also avoid the salsa if you can, many add sugar to theirs!

The other pitfall might be desserts, but if you’re anything like me, you’re too full from the real food to even think of that kind of stuff at the end of a steak house meal. Decaf espresso please, and the bill!

And that’s about it. It might just be the easiest restaurant menu to navigate in the world.

My number 1 tip at any kind of restaurant is: Dare to ask!

Dare to ask if they have some vegetables instead of those fries, if there’s wheat in that sauce, or if they can make a sugarfree margarita (most can!).

It’s always a better option to ask than to sit at a lovely restaurant knowing that you’re going to feel not-so-great in a second, or even worse, not have any clue of it and it hits you like a wet fish in the face.

Extra tip: If you’re (ever) in Zürich, I have a golden tip for you…

Restaurant Goodmans. Holy cow (ha!), that was beyond yummy! We got a viewing of their meat cooler where they hang-dry the beef, which the quality of is so amazing at this place. Not to mention the wine, the service (thanks, Rob!), and the side dishes. They also cater for any allergies or food intolerances. Everything was so well organized and well made, I just can’t WAIT to go back to this restaurant!

There are of course many, many other types of restaurants that are flexible, willing and able to cater for your needs. What is your favorite type of restaurant to go to?