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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!

 

Low Carb Cruise 2015

How am I supposed to summarize a wonderfully magical week full of meeting amazing people, seeing paradise islands and learning superinteresting new information? Perhaps just like that?

This years Low Carb Cruise in the Caribbean at the end of May was a complete success. We were about 200 participants, with a wonderful mix of backgrounds and reasons for being there, that set sail on the 24th May 2015.

Our ship, “Independence of the Seas” is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, with over 4000 passengers. This made our group of low carbers pretty small, but at the same time feel closer together.

With that big of a ship, the food was definitely not low carb adapted. The sheer mix of sugar, grains and other stuff we know we donät do well with was at times overwhelming before seeing the options before my eyes. Every night was a sit down dinner in the glamourous 3 floor dining room, where you could choose freely what to have to eat from a menu that changed each night. A certain knowledge of how to navigate a menu was required, at least if you are handling food insensitivities (like most of our group are). This sometimes meant that you had to choose something else than what you really wanted from the menu, although the staff were amazing at meeting every single request of special orders that they possibly could.

Food on the ship (and mainland USA, too) is still very calorie based. “Low-fat” and “sugar-free” are still considered “words of wisdom” for most people, without a care in the world that these removed items have been replaced with chemicals and additives that I would prefer not to have in my body.

 

Lobster Night at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Lobster Night at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

 

As for the Low Carb Cruise itself, we were listening to presentations by the speakers when the ship was in transit at sea. The days on the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and St. Kitts I spent with other low carbers that had chosen to go on the group excursions as well. It was wonderful to see all these places of paradise that I’ve previously only heard about!

The first seminar day of the Low Carb Cruise had a clear theme: diabetes. This was the whole reason for me to initially actually click “book” on the cruise, so my expectations were high to say the least. Especially with speakers such as Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Keith Runyan, Jimmy Moore, Jackie Eberstein and Sweden’s own Diet Doctor, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt.

Both Dr. Runyan and Dr. Westman talked about how eating low carb high fat helps in the treatment of diabetes, the former focused on both Type 1 and Type 2, the latter more focused on Type 2. These presentations were, for obvious reasons, particularly interesting to me! But it can’t be denied that Diabetes was mentioned in a vast majority of the other presentations as well.

 

 

Dr. Westman and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Dr. Westman and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Dr. Runyan and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Dr. Runyan and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

 

Amongst other highlights from the first seminar day was Dr. Justin Marchiagiani’s presentation on hormonal imbalances and the blood sugar connection, where thyroid issues were lifted forward as well. And Dana Carpender’s colorful presentation about ADHD and low carb eating. And, brilliant as always, was also Dr. Eenfeldts presentation about the Food Revolution.

For the following 3 days there was socializing and excursions on the menu:

 

Amazing view on St. Kitts

Amazing view on St. Kitts

Orient Beach, St. Maarten

Orient Beach, St. Maarten

Yummy fresh coconut in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Yummy fresh coconut in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico is one happy place!

San Juan, Puerto Rico is one happy place!

 

Once we had all gotten some sunshine on our noses, fresh ocean breeze in our hair and were many smiles and laughs richer, it was time to continue the seminars. By this point, the ship was already on her way back to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

This seminar day was nothing short of amazing, either. Speakers such as Dr. Ann Childers, Jackie Eberstein, Cassie Bjork, Dr. Jay Wortman, Emily Maguire, Jimmy Moore and the founder of Ketonix, that measures the ketone level in your breath, Michel Lundell were responsible for masses of great information, laughs and well-made presentations.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Diabetes got a lot of attention here as well, although it wasn’t explicitly on the agenda. The BIG focus was on Type 2, and how it often comes hand in hand with other health issues.

We were taught about the misunderstandings of a ketogenic diet, why you won’t lose weight although you’re eating low carb, how women’s hormones relate to weight loss and how LCHF is seen in the rest of the world.

The final day of the Low Carb Cruise 2015 was featured by Dr. Michael Fox, who spoke about women’s hormones, fertility and how low carb eating ties into it. As well as Dr. Jose Lozado’s presentation on how certain forms of cancer can be prevented by eating low carb high fat and other lifestyle choices. After that the whole intensively awesome week was wrapped up with a great Q&A session with all the speakers (and a private cocktail party after that).

The whole experience was absolutely phenomenal! I’ve met so many amazingly warm and open people (see some of my heroes that I met below! (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t get a proper picture with Mr. Moore…)), made new friends, learned so much of the latest research and had such a fun week!

Even if this week definitely wasn’t just fun in the sun and beach life, I’ve gotten to see and experience new knowledge, new places, new food and new, lovely people.

I really can’t wait for next years Low Carb Cruise!

 

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Sweden's Diet Doctor, and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Sweden’s Diet Doctor, and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Jackie Eberstein and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Jackie Eberstein and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Emily Maguire and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Emily Maguire and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Cassie Bjork, aka Dietitian Cassie, and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

Cassie Bjork, aka Dietitian Cassie, and I at the Low Carb Cruise 2015

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 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?

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

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!

 

 

Diabetes & The Long Run

When you’re first diagnosed with Diabetes, it’s a major shock to the system.

The questions are endless. What do I eat? What medications do I have to take when? I have to inject myself several times a day?! What the what? I didn’t sign up for this!!

But what happens after living with diabetes for a long time? How does it feel? How does one cope? Why doesn’t one just give up?

Technically, this year marks a series of “jubilees” for me and Diabetes.

It’s been 30 years since my diagnosis this year. 26 of those I spent on a clueless treadmill/roller coaster without a mission and without a cause. The last 4 have been the best ones, so far, starting with me radically changing the way I ate. I’ve spent 28 years with around 10 injections a day, 2 years on the pump. 1 year with my BFF Dexter (my Dexcom CGMS).

Anyway, I want to focus on the first one of these – 30 years with diabetes.

Living with diabetes for 30 years is like living with the most loyal companion (or enemy, depending on the day) you’ve ever encountered. It never leaves your side, and you never get even a second to yourself.

It takes a lot to get used to living with it being a part of you. And, because it’s always evolving, dynamic and on the move, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with it. Oh, you don’t react well to gluten anymore? Ok, let’s change that. No dairy either? Ok, well, bye bye cheese. Caffeine makes you hyper react? Ok, decaf it is. And that’s just talking about a few food things, completely disregarding certain forms of exercise, timing of medications, or reactions to certain situations.

It’s a silent friend that never talks until it screams. And when it does, it screams loudly. Scary lows, annoying highs, and the possibility of losing a limb or your vision.

The awful feelings and the taste of glucose tablets (or orange juice when your life depends on it, for that matter). Lengthy doctors appointments and the endless needles. Hospitalizations. Advice you should have never followed, other advice you should have followed from day 1. To mention a few.

There are so many things that are so bad with this disease. Horrible, in fact. But there are also things I would have never learned if I hadn’t had this Constant Companion of mine.

It has taught me discipline, timing and humility. It has shown me that life is here to be lived, not to be wasted. Life is fragile, don’t take it for granted. It has taught me about the importance of self-love, no matter what happens. It has helped me see how strong I truly am, “this too shall pass.” I’ve realized that being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing; it can even help you sometimes.

So, what keeps you going throughout the years?

You simply have to. You have no choice but to buckle up and try to enjoy the ride as much as you possibly can. Until that cure comes “in 5 – 10 years”.

Nothing gets better by ignoring diabetes. Trust me, I know.

The mental part of living with diabetes is difficult from time to time. There’s no point trying to sugar coat (ha!) that.

In my teenage years, I didn’t want to have diabetes. I was angry, disappointed at life and everything felt like a huge burden without any light in any tunnel.

Crap endocrinologists, the wrong advice and general teenage turmoil made me ignore diabetes “for a while”.

This “while” made me loose almost everything; my parents, family, friends and myself. And it almost cost me my life.

“Nothing works, why bother?”, I remember thinking. But it didn’t make diabetes go away. Rather the opposite.

Time and again diabetes would show up, scream loudly at me for ignoring it and smack me straight in the face. I was in the hospital from passing out on the street, and other times because I was in a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), close to death. And everything in between.

Once I got my proverbial shit together, it still took me years to get back to the excellent care my parents had once given me. Many, many trials and errors, wrong paths and terrible turns followed. As soon as I finally thought I had a foot firmly on the ground, the carpet was pulled out under me once again.

Luckily, I managed to find a road leading towards my path.

Diabetes IS a part of you, whether you want it to be or not. And it’s up to you to find a way to work with it in a way that works for YOU. It has to become second nature to you to check blood sugars, (gu)es(s)timate carbohydrates in a meal, take your medications and to accept your (new) reality. Not to mention finding the small things that make you feel better.

For me it was a long-winded road, the batter part of 26 years, to get to the point where I am today. And I still regularly find out new things about my life with diabetes. It’s a disease that keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.

You cope because you have to. You don’t give up because it’s not an option. And just for being in this position, you deserve a huge medal! But along the way, you may just find a wonderful path through it all that is made just for you.

What are your biggest struggles and questions when it comes to diabetes? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Paleo Scones

Going grain free = going bread free.

In the very most cases, at least. The “bread” you do eat won’t be the factory produced, refined stuff you find at the super market.

Bread is usually one of the things I hear most often from my clients that they miss when they are getting healthier. Which nowadays really surprises me, actually, although it didn’t use to… I was just as much of a bread addict as I’m sure you are, or have been, too.

But I’m very proud of you that you’re willing to make this change for yourself; to go at least gluten-, if not grain free!

So, you know those mornings (or lunches, or evenings), where you just wish there was a simple, yet healthy, thing you could throw together and have fresh out of the oven?

These wonderfully nutritious and yummy paleo scones you can whip together in under 5 minutes. And they’re done in 10 in the oven.

Paleo Scones

You’ll need:

3 dl almond flour

0,5 dl chia seeds (can also be changed to sunflower seeds or linseeds, depending on your taste and preference)

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp psyllium seed husk

A pinch of salt

You can also put some seeds on top of the scones, making it more into a type of bun than scones. Variations are endless!

Do this:

  1. Put the oven on 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Mix all ingredients
  3. On an baking sheet covered with parchment paper, make 6 socnes/buns with a spoon
  4. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes
  5. Enjoy with butter, cheese (if you can handle it), vegetables, ham, or unsweetened jam, or almond butter.

Nutritional info (per scone):

Carbs 5g, 3g fibers
Calories (kcal): 198
Fat: 16g
Protein: 7.5g

I’ve based this recipe on the fantastic Annika Sjöö’s original recipe. She’s a truly inspiring swede who is fully into eating Paleo and training CrossFit, and won Swedish “Let’s Dance” (“Dancing with the Stars”) a couple of years ago. If your Swedish is any good, check out her inspirational blog here!

 

Let me know what you think of this recipe! Do you have another favorite (grain-free) bread recipe to share with me? Post it 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.

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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!