Posts

Diabetes Lies

How do you feel when you find out that someone has been lying to you?

You feel cheated, stupid and end up having trust issues.

It doesn’t even have to be full-on lying, it can also be a few mis-truths, or not telling you the whole story so that you can’t put things into context.

For 26 years I believed a lot of things about diabetes that I now know are untrue. For 26 out of 30 years I believed that I knew less than my doctors, that I couldn’t trust my instincts and that I was just doing it all wrong.

And all along my mother has said that “you’re always your own best doctor”. Boy, oh boy is she right! But when you’re told, repeatedly by people who “know better” that this isn’t the case and that you should really be doing it their way, which is usually straight out of a medical textbook, you start losing faith in your own thinking, reasoning and ways. What about what works for YOU as an individual? We both know that diabetes is a very individual disease and there are as many options to manage it well as there are people who have it.

It wasn’t until I was finally brave enough to look my own health in the eye and decide to take it into my own hands that I noticed that I truly had the power to change my own health destiny. This was an incredibly difficult step to take, not to mention scary.

I had been told for far too long, and far too many times, that what I was about to do I would probably die from. Straight away. This was clearly a blatant lie, I’m still here and I’m doing better health-wise than ever.

But what I’m really here to do now is to stop the lies. Stop the untruths that are clearly ruining more people’s lives than they have to. They’ve had their time on stage, it’s time for the truth.

Do you ever feel like there has to be more to it than just “eat like everyone else and take more insulin”?

Have you lost a little hope to ever get diabetes more controlled?

Diabetes can often put you in a life or death situation. Sometimes more often than you’re willing to give it credit for. This is why it’s so important to stop being lied to, to trust your gut feeling and to realize that more insulin isn’t automatically the only answer there is for you to control diabetes better.

I know what it’s like to being close to giving up completely, just do what the doctors tell you (because-they-know-best) and deep down wonder “why me?”. To play a game of Russian roulette with your life at stake – every day. It sucks. It feels so hopeless and there’s no end in sight. At the same time, you don’t have the energy to do anything about it, either. Mainly due to your fluctuating blood sugars, where curves closely resemble something like a roller coaster. You’re stuck in a well, looking for the rope you need to get out.

In order for you to actually get out, and here comes the major suckage, you have to take responsibility for your situation AND your own health. You need to look your own health in the eye and show it who is boss. Plainly put, it’s about going from not giving a shit to giving tons of shits.

But you can only get there if and when you know the true facts. The real things that will help you feel better, be healthier, happier and more blood sugar stable. The information that takes you off the roller coaster and puts you in the spinning tea cups, if you will.

Diabetes will never be completely at bay, especially not if you have Type 1. But with a few changes of food, simple tricks and lifehacks it can get so much better.

You just have to realize how to make the shift of going from doing-it-by-the-book-but-it-doesn’t-work to ah-this-is-awesome. With this shift, you choose to be healthy and happy.

A great first step could be to join the webinar I’m hosting on Monday, 13th July 2015, where I’ll be talking about 5 major lies your doctor tells you about diabetes. This is your chance to learn how to help yourself to a better life with diabetes. It’s not hopeless, if I can do it, so can you.

Sign up for the webinar here.

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!

 

Travel Checklist for Diabetes

Maybe you’re planning a trip soon and would love a travel checklist for diabetes?

(I made you a travel checklist for diabetes below, make sure to check it out!)

What is necessary to bring along on a long trip with diabetes?

Sometimes I feel like diabetes just has it’s own luggage to bring along, physically as well as emotionally.

The emotional luggage we’ll have to discuss another time, because this time I want to talk about the physical luggage Diabetes brings along. Especially when traveling.

As if packing for a trip isn’t stressful enough (“what shoes should I bring?”, “does this dress go with that jacket?”, “what make up should I bring?” and “WILL IT ALL FIT IN MY BAG?!” – you get the point…), as an added bonus, you also have to haul around on all the stuff that you need for diabetes to keep in line.

I always bring all my supplies in my carry on bag when I fly. That way it’s harder to lose it, and the insulin stays at the right temperature throughout my trip.

The size of said carry-on bag has changed, though, in favour of trying to save my shoulder from falling off from carrying all the heavy stuff. Now I bring along a small, cabin sized wheelie bag where I have all my supplies, from insulin, to pumps, to test strips, to hypo treatment.

I also deposit a few things in my traveling buddy’s, usually my husband’s, bag. At least that way, if I lose my carry on, I’m not completely stranded in terms of diabetes. He has an extra blood sugar meter and test strips, and insulin with emergency-syringes. And glucose tabs. One can never have enough of those.

While I make sure to bring along most things on my travel checklist for diabetes, I don’t always bring everything.

Like ketone sticks, for example. I don’t usually bring those, unless I’m traveling somewhere really remote with no pharmacy within the next hour or so of driving. I figure that I can buy them pretty much anywhere I go.

On the other hand, insulin and BG test strips can get really darn expensive, not to mention inaccessible without a prescription, unless you prepare properly and take enough with you for your whole trip. “Enough” here means way too much, by the way. You never know what might happen, so it’s better to be prepared for most things that may happen.

Food

And, pretty please, get organized and bring your own snacks. Food on the road is generally beyond terrible, and like that you know you can at least eat something. I bring things like nuts and dried meat and other cutleryless foods on the plane, whilst in a car or on the train you can get a little more creative. This time around I’m going to make low carb pancakes and wrap them up in foil to bring along on my long flight, as I know from experience that food on flights is never good.

Another note regarding food, please don’t get fooled by the “need” to snack, which is most commonly masking the fact that you’re bored out of your brain.

Water

Traveling by plane is like sitting in the middle of the desert, although maybe not quite as warm. It’s dehydrating like nobody’s business! Being hydrated can really be one of the keys to better diabetes management, so please do us both a favor and DRINK A LOT OF WATER! (and skip the booze up in the air, but that one is evident, right?)

Security

Getting through airport security can be a lot easier than it’s made up to be. This is of course assuming that you don’t meet an a-hole security agent.

In my 30 years of living with diabetes, having traveled to many different parts of the world (although I have MUCH left to see and visit!), I’ve been stopped exactly twice at security. Once for my test stripes (what, you didn’t mind the syringe full of potentially very deadly stuff in my bag? Ok, then.) And once because my pump set the alarm off. In both cases it was easy to explain, and I didn’t even have to show my medical certificate. Security agents see so many diabetes supplies on a daily basis; they’re barely phased by them anymore. At least within Europe.

Now, I’ve heard that US TSA agents can be a little trickier to handle. For example, they have no problem jeopardizing your super expensive medical equipment and tell you to go through the full body scanner wearing your insulin pump, for example. I would insist on the pat down, not risking any breakages or malfunctions. This of course means that it might take a little longer for you to get through, but it’s worth it, and as long as you know about it, you can plan for it.

The bottom line is, as long as you’re nice and cooperative (enough) to them, they’ll usually treat you with the same respect.

Anyway, let’s check out the goodie in this blog post, my Travel Checklist for Diabetes.

These are the absolute essentials that you need to bring with you (or at least ocnsider bringing with you). If you think “I’ve never needed that before”, you should probably take it along anyway, as traveling can make your body do some funky stuff.

Travel checklist

  • Enough insulin to cover the days you’re gone (this should be a no brainer!) Make sure you bring both basal and bolus insulin, even if you’re using an insulin pump. You just never know…
  • Blood glucose meter & enough test strips, extra batteries (it might even be good to bring an extra BG meter.)
  • CGM sensors
  • Keto sticks (As I said, I don’t always bring them)
  • Glucose tabs (or whatever you use to treat a hypo)  (Bring too much of this, you never know what your body think of your new location.)
  • Snacks. (See above)
  • Glucagon Kit (most airlines don’t have these on board their planes. Better be safe than sorry!)
  • Alcohol wipes (these are great, not just for setting infusion sets and cleaning fingers, but also for wiping surfaces like tables, handles or cutlery that seems unclean.)
  • Other prescription medication and supplements you may be taking (easy one to forget, trust me. I’ve done it before.)
  • If you’re going somewhere really warm (lucky you!), bring something like the FRIO bag to keep your insulin in. (http://www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com)
  • Medical Certificate (This can save you at security checks!)
  • Diabetes ID (If you’re found unconscious somewhere, I’m sure you’d prefer that the EMTs knows what you’ve got.)
  • If you’re going somewhere remote, bring a glucagon set. (Again, you never know.)
  • Your BG diary, if you use one. (Otherwise there’s some great apps for that, for example www.glucosebuddy.com or www.mysugr.com)
  • Address and telephone number of your doctor’s office.

If you are on injections, also bring:

  • Insulin pens, plus back ups
  • Pen needles

If you’re on a pump, also bring:

  • Your pump, as well as possibly getting a back-up pump. (This can be ordered from your pump manufacturer.)
  • Batteries/Power adapter
  • Cartridges (if your pump uses those)
  • Infusion sets, or just enough of patch pumps
  • Syringes/pen for emergencies
  • Basal insulin for emergencies

If you’re planning a pumpcation (vacation without your pump):

  • Your action plan, that you’ve talked to your med-team about
  • Pens and needles
  • Basal and bolus insulin

It’s better to take too much than too little!

I’ve made a pretty print out of this list that you can print out and tick off the boxes as you put the items into your bag.

travel checklist diabetes

travel checklist diabetes

 

Click here to download the list: travel checklist diabetes

What are your best traveling tips? What can’t you travel without? Let me know in the comments!

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?

Diabetes Expert

Diabetes Expert – that’s a bold statement!

Being an expert, you have to be perfect, don’t you?

You need to be able to juggle anything that is thrown at you, know every single little detail about your topic and preferably have 67 Masters, PhD’s and other qualifications to be one.

Right?!

I used to think so. I really did. “Experts” in my life used to be my doctor and endocrinologist, for example. And these people know a lot, they definitely do. But they usually have zero training in nutrition, for example.

And they may not know or understand everything about YOU and YOUR individual case. You’re always going to be your own best doctor, because you know YOUR body, your situation and your case the best.

So, who am I to call myself a Diabetes Expert? 

It’s true, I don’t know everything about you, your life and your case. Yet. But I am willing to listen, learn and help you on your road to become a healthier you.

It’s really my passion in life, to get to help you through what I’ve already been though. To share all the tools, tricks and food that I’ve found has helped me and many others.

But what happened to GrainBrain? I’m sure you’re curious!

GrainBrain has been a fantastic stepping stone on my journey of becoming healthier, happier and more experienced. And it has served me very well when I was only about eating healthier (i.e. grain free).

Now that I’m fully focusing on helping people with diabetes to become healthier, lower their A1c’s and feel more confident, I feel that the name GrainBrain has run it’s course in my business.

I don’t want to hide behind a brand anymore, I want to show even more of myself, my journey and how I can help you on yours. Become even more authentic, if you want.

Which is why I’ve decided to change the name of my business, refurbish the website and get a fresh breeze in here! So please help me welcome Hanna Diabetes Expert!

In light of this, I looked up how a few people define what an expert is. And their answers made me smile.

Warning – there’s some self-assessment coming up! 🙂

“What qualifies anyone to be an expert? I view an expert as someone who has considerable intellectual knowledge and real world experience in a particular field, area of study, process, or activity. They possess knowledge and experience in greater measure than a majority of others in their field. And they can express their expertise in order to help others understand and implement any appropriate ideas and actions based on that information. (…) Today, I would venture to say experience builds expertise faster and stronger than education. For education not applied is merely knowledge locked in the brain and not tested in the real world.”

Well, if 30 years of trials, errors, successes and blood, sweat and tears aren’t experience enough, I’m not sure what is?

I thought this was a really interesting point of view. Another article I found, listed 5 quite similar characteristics of being an expert as states above:

“Knowledge: Clearly being an expert requires an immense working knowledge of your subject. Part of this is memorized information, and part of it is knowing where to find information you haven’t memorized.

This is one of my favorite parts of doing what I do – I learn new things every day. Whether it’s about myself, a client, or diabetes in general, I make sure there’s an ongoing addition to my knowledge.

“Experience: In addition to knowledge, an expert needs to have significant experience working with that knowledge. S/he needs to be able to apply it in creative ways, to be able to solve problems that have no pre-existing solutions they can look up — and to identify problems that nobody else has noticed yet.”

Having a coaching background that has taught me a trick or two throughout the years is certainly beneficial. Experience and knowledge go hand in hand. And, the whole reason you work with someone, be it a coach, mentor or expert of some sort, is to get another perspective on your situation. It’s so easy to get stuck in your own bubble and lose view of the Big Picture. Working with someone on the “outside” of that bubble can really help you regain your aerial view.

“Communication Ability: Expertise without the ability to communicate it is practically pointless. Being the only person in the world who can solve a problem, time after time after time, doesn’t make you an expert, it makes you a slave to the problem. It might make you a living, but it’s not going to give you much time to develop your expertise — meaning sooner or later, someone with knowledge and communication ability is going to figure out your secret (or worse, a better approach), teach it to the world, and leave you to the dustbin of history (with all the UNIX greybeards who are the only ones who can maintain the giant mainframes that nobody uses anymore).”

Yes, communication is definitely key. In any relationship. But there’s also a huge difference between talking to someone and talking at someone. The latter is usually a waste of everyone’s time. And you can only communicate your solution to someone who is ready to hear it.

“Connectedness: Expertise is, ultimately, social; experts are embedded in a web of other experts who exchange new ideas and approaches to problems, and they are embedded in a wider social web that connects them to people who need their expertise.“

I aim to help as many people with diabetes as possible. To get new input and not get stuck in old ways, I make sure to stay connected to different other experts within fields of interest to my clients.

“Curiosity: Experts are curious about their fields and recognize the limitations of their own understanding of it. They are constantly seeking new answers, new approaches, and new ways of extending their field.”

One fatal mistake would be to get stuck in my thoughts, my ways and in what has worked for other clients. Every client is a new, exciting opportunity to help someone with a problem (or many).

I want you to know something though…

Being and calling myself a Diabetes Expert definitely doesn’t mean that I have perfect values all the time, endless amounts of energy, smooth cgm curves and my A1c keeps effortlessly where it should be. I have catastrophical days, too. Because there is no such thing as a perfect diabetic.

Diabetes is a lot of hard work. Sometimes grueling hard work. But it’s also about perspective and wanting to find a solution. Finding YOUR solution, how you can cope with it and how you can turn it into the very best you can.


What are you an expert in? How do you share this with the world?

Diabetes Sweet Spot

When you start on a new journey, you ideally want to know what the eff you’ve gotten yourself into.

Not least when it’s about your health, well-being and future life.

I get that. I totally do.

And I’ve got something really special up my sleeve for you today!

This is one of my biggest secrets in doing what I do. You could see it as a 4-year short cut, as that’s how long it took me (well, plus 26 years…) to get to where I am today.

 

Diabetes Sweet Spot

Diabetes Sweet Spot

 

Let me explain this diagram a little (?) more in detail…

First up we have

  1. Sexy Food and Water

What I mean by this is real food that makes you feel your absolute best, fuels your body, your mind and your soul whilst not jerking your blood sugars around.

In my experience, and many others that I’ve helped and talked to, the mentality of “eating and covering for it” simply doesn’t work.

Eating a lower amount of carbs than we generally do today is very beneficial to most people. Even more so if you’ve got diabetes as a constant companion.

Picture this, a doctor tells their patient, who is lactose intolerant, to drink 1 liter of milk a day, “because it’s good for them”… Do you see the flaw in logic here?

If that patient does drink that milk, “like the doctor said”, they will be in a world of pain, discomfort and also spend too much time on the porcelain throne. Because their body is unable to process lactose properly.

All clear?

Now, picture this; a doctor/CDE/nutritionist tells a person with diabetes to eat 60% grains and carbohydrates with every meal, “because they need it”… (Wait, where have I heard this before…?!)

Carbohydrates, no matter in which form (pasta, rice, bread, cereals, pastries, cookies, ice cream….) turn into pure sugar (glucose) as soon as it hits your mouth and the enzymes in your saliva.

And what do people with diabetes not produce (enough of)?! The hormone that lets energy, in the form of sugar, into the cells, namely insulin. And if we can’t produce it ourselves, we have to add it in a much less precise and guesstimating way in comparison to our well-oiled-running-like-machines-bodies.

Ergo, removing some (or even all) of those sugar-shape shifter-carbs from what you eat is a great idea.

That would be the same logic as for our lactose intolerant friend I mentioned before – to take away what your body can’t process properly to reduce pain, discomfort and make life easier.

(I’ll happily talk more about this, if you don’t agree, let me know in the comments below!)

And water. Tons of clean, clear water infused with alpine air (in a best case scenario).

You need water not only for hydration, but also for moving energy/sugar around, to keep the insulin you take active and to flush your system of toxins and other stuff slugging around.

  1. Medications & Supplements

Even if you do everything else right, it doesn’t disguise the fact that you’ll still need insulin. Just a lot less of it, which in my books is a definite winner! Today, I’m taking 1/3 of the amount of insulin that I used to a couple of years ago.

When you start taking better care of the other areas in your life, you’ll usually get the privilege to cut down on, or even completely stop taking, other medications you might be on.

For me it was the case with my blood pressure medicine. I could cut my dosage with 75% after I started eating better, relaxing and taking better care of myself. But just because I was able to cut down, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to take them at all, I still do. Just a much smaller dosage.

And I still haven’t needed medication for my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is usually treated with hormones.

I generally recommend a series of supplements, which I’m currently taking myself as well. Yep, all of them:

Vitamin D3, Omega 3, Antioxidants (in the form of green powders), Probiotics, Vitamin B Complex, Magnesium and Zinc. Sometimes I add Chromium to the mix as well.

But these aren’t set in stone; it really depends on you and your own journey.

  1. Self-love & Attitude

Oh, how I can go on about the importance of self-love!

The fact is though, that when you start seeing yourself, your body, mind, soul and brain (and every little cell in between) as one Team, shit starts to shift.

This means that you don’t think of your pancreas (for example) as the bad guy for having applied for (way too) early retirement. Or hate your immune system for attacking your pancreas, thyroid, skin (or whatever else it’s decided you could do without).

And how do you get to your Team Me status?

A lot of it comes from self-love, making sure you feel good and love yourself.

What is self-love then? Here are some ideas:

  • Eating well. Healthy, healing real food full of happiness and love.
  • Water! It purifies you, makes sure you get energy to your cells and hydrates every part of you.
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Breathe deeply, truly and all the way into your toes.
  • Stretching or going to that yoga class you know you love.
  • Rocking it out to your favorite tune is the pure definition of self-love!
  • Make Gratitude your Attitude! Tell yourself what you’re grateful for every day, either just mentally, or write it down in a journal, or make a gratitude jar.
  • “Do nothing” days
  • Essential Oils
  • Reading your favorite magazine with a cup of tea/coffee/or hey, even bubbly.
  • Treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi.
  • Treating yourself to that one thing you’ve been eyeing up lately. It’s ok to be materialistic, too!
  • Putting up boundaries. What’s ok for you and what isn’t? Break up with those things that aren’t.
  • Prioritizing good sleep is good self-care. (Danielle LaPorte said that, and I know she’s right!)
  • Put. Away. Your. Phone. I promise you, you don’t need to know what is happening on Facebook every second of the day.

But how can you make sure you don’t forget about loving yourself?

Here are my Top 3 Tips:

  • Schedule it. Otherwise it’s the easiest part to neglect for me (even though I really know I can’t afford to).
  • Make it a daily practice. Can you feel the benefits of it when you meditate? Make sure you practice it regularly. Does a long walk in the sunshine do you worlds of good? Get hooked on them!
  • Make yourself your first priority. It sounds really selfish, but it’s not. Think about it, how can you be there for others if you’re not feeling well yourself? Make a team out of your body and yourself, call it “Team Me”. This team always has priority over everything and everyone else. Fact.
  1. De-stress & Movement

This point goes much hand-in-hand with the previous one.

If you’ve changed your attitude about yourself and diabetes, you will have a lot less stress in your life. That’s a promise.

Meditation, eating well, and all of the others I mentioned above help de-stress you and your life.

As does exercise, for example.

I’m not saying you have to turn into an instant iron man competitor, ultra marathon runner or Olympic-grade swimmer right now. (Although if that’s what you want, then by all means go ahead! You have all of my awe and respect)

Start s l o w l y, gently and build on your exercise and fitness level every day. It’s not more difficult than starting with a short, brisk walk outside.

After a while, the walk will automatically become longer or more intensive, as your body feels it can perform better. Before you know it, you might even want to try jogging or hiking in the mountains.

And all of this while not even thinking about your daily walks as exercise! How flipping great is that?!

It doesn’t have to be a walk though, anything exercise-y that floats your boat is awesome, be it yoga, zumba, dancing on your own to your favorite tunes, body exercises, stretches, skiing, swimming, or a royal mix of them all.

The most important point is that it shouldn’t feel like exercise – you should do it by yourself, without thinking “this is hard”.

  1. Daily Rituals

The rituals you set up for yourself is what you can lean back on when times get a little less rosy and sunny, for example.

If you feel a little lost, you know that your ritual (or routine, but that’s a boring word) can be a saving grace.

Also, if your body knows approximately when or in what order something will be given to it, it knows to prepare for it.

My daily ritual looks a little something like this…

I wake up at 7:30am, find myself a centering thought for the day, after which I check my blood sugar (both on my cgm and manually). Then I check the main notifications on my phone (I want to change this)… Then I get up, take my supplements and proceed to my morning meditation. After a shower and putting some clothes on, I open my laptop and work until lunch, before which I check my blood sugar manually again. It’s a healthy, happy meal. After checking the notifications again…. I go back to my computer and work for another 2 or so hours. Then I go out for a walk (my daily walks are holy) as an afternoon break, after checking my blood sugar. Back to work (client/computer/meeting) until it’s time to make dinner and check my blood sugar. After dinner, my husband and I talk, go out for a date or do something productive. Before bed time there’s the last batch of supplements, taking my make up off with coconut oil, checking my blood sugar and showing gratitude for the day I’ve just experienced. Lights out, sleep.

Of course this differs when I have something special to do, but this is my ground framework.

But this way things like checking my blood sugar becomes part of my routine and it doesn’t feel as difficult or even impossible to do it. I even miss doing it if I somehow skip it in my routine, or have ran out of test strips… (I know, I’m a little weird. But I’m happy that I am, life is that much easier when you’re a little weird.)

 

 

Et viola, if you get these areas right for YOU, you’ve entered into what I love to call the Diabetes Sweet Spot.
This diagram is essentially a summary of the last 30 years of my own research and experience, and if you do need some help on the way here, I’m all ears and would love to help you.

 

Have you found your Diabetes Sweet Spot? How did you get there? And how long did it take you?

When Diabetes is bigger than it needs to be

Diabetes is undoubtedly a very big part of your life. Just as it is of mine.

And you can blame a lot of stuff on it. Sometimes you have to blame more on it than you’re willing to admit.

If you’re anything like me, people have asked you why you don’t blame MORE stuff on it to get out of sticky situations etc… I have to admit sometimes it’s tempting, but I have enough things I have to blame on diabetes, and I don’t really feel the need to make it any worse.

But there are certain moments when diabetes is pointed out as the bad guy, even if it (for once) has nothing, or very little, to do with what’s going on.

When diabetes becomes bigger than it has to be, I sometimes find it difficult to cope. It feels a little like just because I have diabetes, I’m not allowed to have “real people feelings”, but instead everything has to be related to that my pancreas doesn’t work like it should. I’ll show you some examples in a second.

These are all examples that has happened to me, or that I’ve noticed recently.

Doctors blaming everything on diabetes. Yes, they’re doctors, yes, they know all of your health history, and yes, they (sometimes) see the bigger picture.

And whilst things like infections, colds, poor healing time and your thyroid doing a funky dance can very well be diabetes related, it doesn’t mean everything is.

Like an injury you’ve gotten while being (or trying to be) sporty. Unless you had a mega hypo or hyper blood sugar when it happened, it quite probably has nothing to do with diabetes.

Or an allergic reaction. Again, unless it’s gluten (which can be diabetes related), my seafood allergy probably isn’t connected to my diabetes.

Yet, in both of these instances I’ve gotten the answer that it’s “because of your diabetes”. Newsflash!

Being thirsty. While excessive thirst is a good indicator of your blood sugar being high, again, it doesn’t have to be the case. At all.

A “normal” person needs anything from about 1,5 liters of water and upwards per day. And this can vary greatly if you’ve done more exercise than regular, if you’re on certain medications, if you’re stressed, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your altitude, if it’s hot outside, if you’ve had alcohol, if you’re sick with fever or diahorrea… The list goes on! And that’s ignoring any kind of diabetes, high blood sugars, and other fun stuff.

And yet, especially as a child, I was always asked if my blood sugar was high when I was thirsty. (Sorry, mom! I know you were only worried about me.)

There could have been a gazillion other reasons for my thirst. But then it was always had to be due to my blood sugar and that I had somehow misbehaved and eaten something I shouldn’t have.

This lives on in me, and every time I’m super thirsty, I automatically check my blood sugar. Even if it’s first thing in the morning when your body is automatically de-hydrated and needs to fill up on the water reserves.

Being tired. Yup, it’s exhausting to live with diabetes 24 hours of every day, of every year. It is.

But it’s also exhausting to be a human being, with everything that one needs to do, should do, and does anyway.

Every yawn, every early night and not being the last man standing at a fantastic party isn’t automatically connected to me having diabetes.

Maybe I have something to do early tomorrow and need my sleep? Maybe I just love sleep? Maybe I can feel so much better if I only get a proper nights sleep on it? And maybe you do, too?

We all need, under optimal circumstances, about 7-9 hours of sleep per night. To let your body rest, to let it regenerate those broken cells, to think clearly the next morning. And for things like weight loss and hormone regulation, proper sleep is crucial.

Having a bad day. As soon as you’re having a bad day, those loving people next to you automatically assume it’s because something’s up with your diabetes. I know, every single one of you only wants the best for me, and you’re worried about my well-being. And I am grateful for that.

But “normal people” aren’t Mary-Poppins-ray-of-sunshine all the time either.

It may very well be that people with diabetes have these days slightly more often than people who don’t have to worry about things like asking a little computer how you’re doing in that minute, and worry (more or less) about what that number means.

Everyone has days when they just want to give up, when they feel hopeless and feel like they can’t take it anymore. Everyone, including those with diabetes, have those days.

And they are allowed. Those days are needed, too. If only to remind you how well you’re doing on other days.

Manicurist… This is a fantastic story. And it happened to me quite recently.

One day, not too long ago, I decided to treat myself to a manicure.

For once, said manicure wouldn’t be done by myself (gasp!), but by a professional. And I was really looking forward to some me-time, some pampering and switching off my head and just relax.

The manicure itself was lovely, I felt amazing after it and having chosen to do gel lack, I expected it to last at least a week.

When I woke up the following morning, I saw one of the nails had already chipped! Off of my expensive manicure (not even that is cheap in Switzerland).

I was upset and frankly a little shocked. I didn’t think it would start chipping off that soon. I called the nail lady to let her know, and she told me to come back later the same day to fix it.

When I got there, we got to talking. I told her that I have diabetes, and of course her grandmas cousins friend had it too, but died. Great.

Suddenly she says “I know why it chipped off so soon on you!” Being all ears, I asked her to explain.

“It’s because of your diabetes!”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

I asked her if she was serious, and she told me that was definitely the reason.

Almost speechlessly I thanked her for her help and that she was so nice as to fix my problem so quickly.

This might even have been a believable reason, if it wasn’t for that other times I’ve treated myself to gel lack manicures, they’ve held just fine. No chips, no complaints until about a week after. Which is normal. To me, she was just blaming her crappy job on my very-handy-for-excuses illness…

 

Diabetes is always a double-edged sword; on one side you have the negative stuff that is really painful, sore and keeps you in bed some days. On the other, you have things you can, should and need to do. Like having “real people feelings”.

 

When have you experienced people blaming your diabetes for something it wasn’t really part of? Tell me in the comments below!

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!

 

 

Seed Crackers GrainBrain Style

Have you ever tried seed crackers?

All you wanted was a little crunch in your life, but all you got was disappointment.

Were they a little… papery? Or were they full of chemical stuff, or stuff that you can’t/don’t want to eat?

I’m making you a very happy bunny today.

Almost everyone who has tried these seed crackers has asked for the recipe. I’ve even ended up selling quite a lot of it!

So today I’m going to be super nice and share it with you so that you can make it yourself! ! It’s safe to say that this will be the only crack(er) recipe you’ll ever need.

And, what’s fantastically awesome about these is that they are completely allergen free! No grains, no gluten, no dairy, no egg, no soy, no funky chemical stuff. Well, unless you’re allergic to seeds (sesame?), or crunchy seed crackers!

The recipe is actually super simple, and can be tweaked exactly to your liking.

GrainBrain’s Seed Crackers

3,5 dl (1,5 cups) sunflower seeds

1 dl (0.4 – 0.5 cups) flaxseed

1 dl (0.4 – 0.5 cups) sesame seeds (can be swapped if you’re allergic, see below)

0,5 dl (0,2 cups) pumpkin seed

3 tbsp psyllium seed husk

a pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp olive oil

4-5 dl (1,7 – 2 cups) water

  1. Mix all the ingredients carefully. I like to mix all the dry ones first, then add the olive oil and mix again. Lastly, I add the water. Mix!
  1. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Put the oven on 150 degrees celsius (300 fahrenheit).
  1. Bake half of the mix out between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out. The mix gives you two baking sheets, depending on the size of your oven, of course.
  1. Remove the upper layer of parchment paper, and cut the dough into cracker sized pieces before putting it in the oven.
  1. Let it dry in the oven for 55 minutes each.

Et viola! Enjoy with some butter and your favourite sandwich topping.

Nutrition Info:

(Whole batch)
Carbs: 55 g
Protein: 36 g
Fat: 114 g

(If you divide the crackers into 24 pieces per baking sheet, 48 pieces total)
Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 0,75 g
Fat: 2,4 g

These are super filling and contain so much good stuff, like fibre, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc.

The only problem you’re going to have is to stop eating these…!

Customise it (or Pimp my Crackers)

You can add all kinds of herbs and spices to it to make it your own and to add variation.

Here are some ideas: chili flakes, Italian/French herb mixes, sea salt, pepper, paprika spice, taco spice mix (make sure it’s a clean one), fresh garlic, rosemary, oregano or basil, or even cinnamon or cardamom to put a sweeter spin on it.

I’ve also played around with adding and removing different seeds to the mix. I’ve added chia seeds and whole psyllium seeds, for example. This gives it a completely different taste and texture.

I’ve also used a chili-garlic infused olive oil instead if the plain one. There were some sparks flying off of that one! J

Please try this out, it’s definitely worth the longer time it takes to make it than just picking any old crap up from the store. And don’t forget to leave your comment below of what you think of it!

 

Make A Change – 4 Steps How To

It’s never too late to start a positive change.

 

“The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

It’s easy to think that “you’re too far gone/old/overweight/addicted/stuck” to make a change for yourself and your life.

I know where you’re at right now. I really do.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know how I’ve struggled with making changes in the past…

Having spent a gross majority of my life (26 years), trying to make the right choices for me and my health and having learned lessons from each and every time, whilst not getting anything right.

Seeing different doctors, nutritionists, nurses and experts, even psychologists. And no one could tell me or even give me a clue of what I really needed to do.

I’ve basically ran on wild goose chases in terms of my health my whole life. Different medications, different diets, different motivators and different dream health care teams (of varying success).

This tires a person out, and can even wipe them out completely. What you’re left with is zero motivation, zero patience, zero happiness and 100% wanting to sleep through it all.

At this point I really started feeling like a pre-programmed robot, dreading the future and being sure I wouldn’t see past the age of 30. I was following all of the books, one at a time, and NONE of them made anything better. At all.

It was after that I started studying again, this time to become a nutritionist. And thank the Universe I did.

Somewhere, somehow I found the motivation of giving it (and myself) One. Last. Try. with all the stuff I was learning at school.

And that’s when the proverbial hammer hit the head of the nail – I managed to create something so much more beautiful that I had ever imagined for myself. More health, more freedom, more wealth, more pride, more self-esteem.

This, amongst many others of my stories, taught me a Big Lesson: It’s in the big hurdles that we gain the most insight into ourselves and the most experience in life.

 

“Nobody can go back and change a beginning. But anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson

 

Even if you’re 96 years old and realize that, hey, smoking doesn’t serve me like it once used to, it’s better to stop the nasty habit and move on. It doesn’t matter if your last day on earth is tomorrow or in, well, 96 years, there’s always, always, always space to make new positive beginnings.

This is especially true if it comes to improvements in your health and well-being. As we both know, there’s nothing left unless we have this very founding principle in place.

So, what can you do if you realize that there is a change (or even two) you would LOVE to make for yourself?

  1. Realize that you’re not stuck.

You never were, you never will be. I know it’s not easy to break free from old habits, after all our lizard brains make sure that it’s very comfortable right there. But: getting out of your comfort zone and sniffing a bit of fresh air is essential to making a change. How can you get a breath of fresh air today? How can you move out of that couch potato state of mind? It does take making a plan of action for yourself, and not let said plan be defined by your age or held back by your current situation.

  1. What are you afraid of?

What’s stopping you from making the ultimate commitment to invest in yourself, your health and your future? Spend some time identifying what might be holding you back. Then find a way to work through them, or get help from a coach or practitioner who knows exactly in what kind of deep ditch you’re currently sitting.

  1. Find your ultimate motivation.

And make sure this goal is for you and no one else. This is just as true for general goal setting as it is for a lasting life-style change. Why do you want this change? How will you feel once you’re there? What will others think of you?

  1. What’s the one baby leap you can make today to start it all off?

Take one little step a day, but make sure you take one every day. Help yourself to make an easier transition in the not-too-distant future. It definitely helps to set a deadline for yourself, and work toward that, step by step.

 

There’s always, always, always something to be grateful for. So why not make one of those things to be grateful for that you made a decision to invest in yourself and your health?

The bottom line is, you don’t need to wait for the “perfect moment” to make things happen. You can decide any time you want to that the time is right for YOU to make a change.

 

“It’s never too late. Don’t focus on what was taken away. Find something to replace it, and acknowledge the blessing you have.” Drew Barrymore