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Type 1 Thursday – Why the Dietary Wars?

In today’s Type 1 Thursday, it’s time for a more personal comment… 

Why do people disagree so strongly about what people with diabetes should eat, when we all should have a common goal (notmal, healthy blood sugars)? 

Type 1 Thursday with Hanna Boëthius – Why the Dietary Wars?

What’s your opinion about this? What tools and tricks have you tried to try to manage your diabetes and what worked for you? I would love to hear in a comment somewhere and I will be happy to chat with you there. Comments and questions are welcome!

Transcription

If you prefer to read, here’s the transcription of the episode above:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Type 1 Thursday with me Hanna, one of the cofounders of The Low Carb Universe. Also, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say many, many times now, I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes since I was two years old. So for 34 years, I’ve been juggling this wonderful roller coaster that is Type 1 diabetes. And I am happy to share some of my knowledge with you that I figured out and some of the aces up my sleeve that I have gathered in these 34 years! I wasn’t always in control, as I am today. I was very uneven moment, even majority of my diabetes career…

But today, I want to talk about a topic on more of a personal comment. And this is actually something that I’ve gotten comments about before and also during this series, namely the nutrition debate for people with diabetes.

Why is it so inflamed regarding what you should eat as a person with diabetes? How can there be such divided opinions? Everyone who has an opinion seems to be going head to head with each other about this?

I’m actually sad about this, because we all should have that one common goal, which is that all people with diabetes are worthy of normal, healthy, happy healing blood sugars. How the person in question, who is living with diabetes, gets there should be less of a question – as long as they do. If someone comes to me and says, “Hey Hanna, I went vegan and since then my blood sugars are really great!” I’m like, “amazing, great! I’m so happy you found what works for you!” Or if someone says, “you know what, I’m following the Western diet to a tee, and I have amazing blood sugar’s” My response? “Great, fantastic!!

No one could be happier for you than I am in that moment, when you tell me that you have fantastic blood sugars regardless of how or what you’re eating, I, and I know very many people with me, who do advocate for a lower carb, real food, sugar free way of eating don’t want to be militant about it. It’s not that I want to convert every single person with diabetes, that’s not my point. It will never be my point.

But the point is to educate, to inform, and to make people with diabetes aware that they do have a choice.

There is a choice when you’ve tried everything else. When you’ve tried every single diet, every single insulin, every single supplement, way of eating, timing of insulin, there are still options. There’s always, always, always something that you can do in order to improve your health.

It’s not about being militant, it’s not about standing my ground and holding it tight. No,. My goal is for every person with diabetes, to know that there are different ways of managing blood sugar and diabetes, and it but it doesn’t have to be according to the standard Western diet, it doesn’t have to be a vegan approach. It doesn’t have to be low carb, it can be something completely different, as long as it works for YOU. The main point to find what works for you, you can’t look at anyone else. You can draw inspiration from other people who are doing something that is working for them, and then take the good parts. And leave what doesn’t work for you, it’s all about information.

I have had a struggling past with diabetes, it’s been very, very difficult for me to control my diabetes with the standard Western diet that I was told to eat for 26 years. Which, requires, well, recommends, 35 to 60 grams of carbs per meal, five times a day. For me that became unreasonable. It didn’t work. I couldn’t maintain good, healthy, normal blood sugars, without mountain tops and valley bottoms, in terms of blood sugars, which of course doesn’t make you feel great at all. It makes you feel terrible.

My whole point about advocating for low carb for diabetes, and I know very many with me, it is that as long as you get stable, healthy, happy blood sugars, we are all game for it. It wasn’t until I actually did start cutting down my carbs, coincidentally, perhaps, that I started to get better control of my diabetes. So I went from a double digit HbA1c, to a level of 5.1% last time. This is well within the healthy range!

I swear that I could not have done that without the help of dietary change, a change in my lifestyle, and a change in the way that I was eating. For me, I know that it’s not sustainable to do that on a standard Western diet with up to 240 grams of carbohydrate a day, I can’t chase that with insulin. We come back to the law, small numbers, this works a lot better for many, many diabetics.

I really wish I would have had the choice myself earlier to know about that there is a low carb way of eating so that I could have made the decision and try it out earlier, seeing the benefits. I would have saved myself a lot of pain, a lot of suffering a lot of worry, a lot of anxiety because that always comes hand in hand with wobbly blood sugars

This is this is why it’s become such a passion for me, and for the rest of us talking about low carb for diabetes, that every single person with diabetes knows that there is that option to try out as well. When every other option has been explored and transpired, that’s run out of time. It is so important to me that you know that there is another option. And that there are very many options beyond this, too. The main point is that this isn’t disregarded as an option.

So it’s so sad to me that the nutrition debate, especially within diabetes, but also generally, for the general population, has become so inflamed. And I really wish that we could see that we all have a common goal, all of us trying to educate people with diabetes, whether it is with different ways of eating, with exercise, with all of these lifestyle measures… I just would be so happy if we could just realize that we have a common goal, and that is that people with diabetes have normal, healthy, happy blood sugars.

If you have any questions or comments, or what’s your opinion about this? What tools and tricks have you tried to try to manage your diabetes and what worked for you? I would love to hear in a comment somewhere and I will be happy to chat with you there.

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Type 1 Thursday – Blood Sugar Ranges

Welcome to this week’s Type 1 Thursday with me! I’m doing this series ahead of the world’s first event solely focusing on diabetes from a low carb perspective, diabetes. by The Low Carb Universe!

We’re talking blood sugar ranges today, what is normal, what can be expected on low carb and how to get there. 

Did you learn something new in this episode? Let me know in a comment below!

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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.

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The Low Blood Sugar Make up

Diabetes gets in the way of life sometimes.

And the other way around, too. But that’s the topic of another story.

Being such a big part of our lives, it would be weird if it didn’t mix in and mash up your plans sometimes.

Sometimes we’re talking about interrupted sleep, another time it’s an unplanned meal on the menu. And sometimes it’s about being so tired, simple chores can be compared to climbing Mount Everest. At least. Not to mention the guesstimation game we play with the pancreas on our hip, in a pen or syringe. Up? Down? A little up and then down? The other way around? Or even *gasp* stable and level? (Watching your blood sugar do a salsa dance on a cgm is sometimes entertaining, as long as you don’t put too much personal attachment to the numbers)

You can almost never tell with 100% accuracy where your blood sugar will end up after a meal, some insulin or just by plain old living.

And sometimes you can’t let the stubbornness of diabetes get in the way, either.

Like the other morning, when I had to get to an appointment I had.

I woke up at 4.4 mmol/l (79 mg/dl), which I was happy about. My cgm curve looked smooth from the night and I was even more happy about that.

I jumped in the shower, washed my hair, moisturized and brushed my teeth. I was feeling a little sleep-groggy, but nothing else.

I went to put on my clothes, got dressed and noticed an odd, fuzzy thought popping up in my head that usually stems from the low-blood-sugar-drawer in my brain.

Nevermind that right now, I had other things to do, like taking my morning medicine (thankfully not insulin) and supplements.

When I got back downstairs from the kitchen, my next task was to do my make up. But I decided to check my cgm first, which showed 4.1 mmol/l (73 mg/dl).

Ok, I thought, that’s not bad, although I’m dropping. More of the odd, fuzzy thoughts popped up, and I decided to check my blood sugar on my blood sugar meter, if only to ensure myself that I wasn’t low.

3.4 mmol/l (60 mg/dl) “treat your low BG!”, my d-companion Doris (OmniPod) was telling me.

“Ahh, eff-word”, I said out loud. “I don’t have time for this!”

I usually don’t treat lows until below 3.5 mmol/l, as I find they usually recover fine from there with just the help of lowering the basal on my pump. But as I was leaving, and it was 0.1 mmol/l lower than my usual threshold, I decided to pop a glucose tablet and shut of the basal on my pump for 30 mins.

Knowing I’d be completely OK within 15 minutes, but had to leave the house in 20, I had little choice but to continue with my morning routine and my make up, which is a fairly effortless task.

If you’ve never experienced a low blood sugar before, let me tell you that it can be quite “interesting”. It feels a bit like being tipsy, without having had anything fun to drink. Or like being in a very fast, accelerating car while standing on the ground. It can be dizzy, vertigo, confused and temporary vision problems all in a big merry go round that doesn’t want to stop right now. (It can also feel a gazillion times worse than that, but thankfully that wasn’t the case this time.)

Having to think twice if you’re *actually* using foundation and not the bright pink blusher heavily all over your face is a challenge I’m usually blessed from. I usually know where things go in terms of make up…

Or double-checking that the eyebrow pencil is still brown and you didn’t accidentally reach for the turquoise eyeliner to fill in your eyebrows instead. Or concentrating so hard on getting mascara ON my eyelashes and not only underneath my eye. Not to mention actually getting that blusher semi-equally distributed. Or checking that the foundation isn’t blotchy anywhere.

This can, but probably shouldn’t, be compared to doing your makeup after a good after work drinking session with your colleagues. In short, no bueno.

Throughout this particular mornings routine work, I kept thinking if I actually managed that well with everything, or if, once I was back on track again, would find myself looking like some Cubist rendition of myself. Or like a clown. Or like Gene Simmons from Kiss.

All I could imagine seeing once the low blood sugar fog had lifted was some weird version of myself, as it would have been painted by Pablo Picasso himself. Or something equally scary.

This time I was lucky, though.

When my blood sugar was back in normal range again, I saw that I looked more or less like myself, if only ever so slightly more tired.

What do you do when your blood sugar drops low, do you keep going or stop and wait? What does your decision depend on?

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HbA1c, just a number?

Do you ever find yourself paying a little too much attention to a specific number?

Your weight? Your distance covered? Milestones reached? Friends on Facebook?

Or, perhaps, your HbA1c, the “lighthouse” of how you’re doing as a diabetic?

It’s easy to put a lot of weight on a number (pun intended!), because it’s something measurable, something you can follow and have a direct understanding of whether it improves or gets worse.

What’s difficult to understand is that these numbers, none of the ones I mentioned above, matter much.

Your weight technically doesn’t matter much, as long as you feel fit and healthy with it. Neither does the amount of kilometers you ran last week, unless you were in a race… Counting milestones only creates an inner stress and pressure to reach your goals faster, harder, more productively. And, friends on Facebook – are they r e a l l y friends…?

I know. This is crazy cakes.

We’ve been told, time and time again, to set measurable goals, and it’s really hard to find ways to measure improvement without those numbers.

So also when it comes to diabetes care and the HbA1c value.

I’ve been conditioned for 30 years to regard my HbA1c as the shining light of how well I’m doing, so the habit isn’t easy to break. Even when I know I’ve done pretty darn well lately.

I had my a-few-times-a-year appointment with my endocrinologist earlier this week.

Driving there (only takes about 7 minutes, but still), I was super-nervous and kept sending little wishes out for a lower-than-last-time HbA1c reading (which was 6,4%).

I got there, peed in a cup, had some blood taken, weighed in and measured my blood pressure. For someone who has a severe case of “White Coat Syndrome”, which is when you get nervous just seeing, being near or even thinking of a doctors office, the last part always seems a little stupid. And it was this time too, because it was through the roof.

I got into my endo’s office and we chatted a bit about life in general, before we got into the whole diabetes thing.

Once again, I was complimented by her on how well I’m doing. This is still a weird feeling to me, after having basically been a disappointment and being scolded for the other 28 years I’ve met with endocrinologists.

She told me that there probably isn’t much more I can optimize about my care without having a lot more hypos. “Watch me” I thought to myself, as I still think I can, and I will keep trying to optimize and improve until the day I die.

Anyway, to the value that every diabetic has been conditioned to regard as a sign of life or death: my HbA1c was 6,2% this time, or 44 mmol/mol.

This is the lowest I can ever remember having during my 30-year career in and with diabetes. I asked my parents, too, and they can’t remember anything lower either.

The fact that I’ve put so much emphasis on it and then receiving exactly the result I was hoping for made me ecstatic. Happy, euphoric and close to tears of pride. In my opinion, with all right. (And I have yet to celebrate this properly!)

After we had discussed some other topics, and I had received all the supplies I needed from their office (making it feel like Christmas every time I go there!), I got into my car and drove off, full of joy!

I got home, told my husband about the result, he gave ma a huge congratulatory hug, and I was so darn pleased with myself. I posted a rarely-seen-selfie  and got on with my day.

Later in the evening it hit me though. I was sad. Despite my excellent HbA1c result. Despite the praise and the congratulations. I felt saddened.

It took me a good few minutes to figure it out, a little EFT tapping and some meditation came in very handy at that point.

I was sad, because that result didn’t mean anything, really.

Fine, it means that I’m reasonably well controlled in my diabetes. It means that I’ve come a long way from where I started a few years ago after a long diabetes burn out, giving me double figure HbA1c’s. And it gives me a little hope for the future.

But it also means that I’m not really awarded in anyway for it (unless I buy myself something pretty, or have a glass of champagne to celebrate). It doesn’t give me a break from diabetes, not even for a minute. It doesn’t stop the poking, prodding and always having to be on alert. It doesn’t mean I can live carefree and forget about everything.

It just means that I’m alright and that my doctor is proud of me. And that I’m technically “pre-diabetic” according to my HbA1c. 

Don’t get me wrong.

I love the fact hat I’ve found my own way and am finally in the position where I feel like I have even the faintest of clues about this whole diabetes thing.

I love the feeling of not being scolded by my dream health care team. And I love that I can say that I’ve reached a new record in my life.

But I don’t think it’s the best idea to put as much of a value as I do on this one value. Especially as there are so many other factors that determine how well I’m doing and/or how healthy I am.

 

What about you – do you also put too much emphasis on one single number? Perhaps it’s your weight? How far you’ve run this week? Or maybe you’re like me and put (too) much focus on your HbA1c?

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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?

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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!

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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!

 

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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

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Diabetes Belief

Don’t stop believin’!

Dealing with any kind of health challenges is, well, challenging to day the least.

And, yes, it’s even more so when you know said challenge (say, diabetes) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

This is exactly the point at which it’s so important to keep believing.

I’m definitely not talking about a religious belief here. No Jesus, God, Allah or Buddha right here. I’m talking about a much deeper, more profound belief, the belief in yourself.

Believing that everything is going to be OK. Believing that you will wake up the next morning. Believing that your blood sugar won’t pull a 180 on you while driving. Believing that the hypo treatment will work in time, and that your body can take (yet another) beating in the form of a hyper high blood sugar.

Having said this, you can’t just leave it all up to chance either. Behind that strong belief lays tons of hard work, dedication, resilience and, yes, pain. There are tons of blood sugar checks, basal tests and some near death experiences behind it, too. As well as many crappy doctors appointments and opinions, bad medical team members and just sheer experience.

But having the trust in yourself that you have the knowledge and tools necessary to pull through this situation (too), is truly one of the most valuable things you can have. Believing that you can handle everything that life throws at you, and that you can do so with ease and grace (well, more or less, although we both know there’s nothing easy or graceful with waking up with a 3am low blood sugar…).

Trusting that everything is going to be OK, and that there will be a cure for this someday (even if it might be “5-10 years from now” 😉 ). Believing that there is a purpose to all this madness of poking yourself with various needles and staying off the regular coke, unless it’s a medical emergency. And believing that you won’t find yourself with missing limbs, vision loss and gastroparesis any time in the future.

This kind of belief system is vital for you to keep going, to wake up every morning and feel that you’ve got this. Knowledge and believing you can is truly powerful. Sometimes you have to dare to be wildly optimistic!

Just by showing up every day, you’re already doing an amazing job and have taken one giant leap towards starting to believe in yourself. Remember that there’s never been, and will never be another you, so it’s better to work with what you’ve got.

Being able to believe in yourself and your capabilities has a lot to do with self-love, self-appreciation and self-esteem. Basically you have to know who you are on the deepest of levels in order to know in your core that this is something you can handle.

Also, for me, attitude and being able to believe like this go hand in hand. So it might be that all you have to do is to dig a little deeper in your attitude closet – you’ve got this. I believe in you.

Ps. And for a little comic relief, here’s the awesome song that I know you’ve been singing in your head since you read the first sentence of this post (but in the much more awesome Glee version)