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Type 1 Thursday – Weight Loss & Type 1 Diabetes

Today’s topic is T1D & weight loss, a hot topic!

I asked on Instagram what topics you wanted me to cover on Type 1 Thursday, and a good amount of people said WEIGHT LOSS!

So I took the opportunity to gather my thoughts on weight loss and Type 1 Diabetes in a short video for you! If you prefer to read about weight loss and T1D, I’ve transcribed it for you below.

Hanna Boëthius – Weight loss & Type 1 Diabetes

What are your experiences with Type 1 Diabetes and weight loss? What worked for you, or what didn’t work for you? Let me know in a comment!

Transcription

If you prefer to read this, please go ahead:

Weight Loss & Type 1 Diabetes

This is the moving party of a Type 1 Thursday! I have been doing Type 1 Thursday for 17 episodes over on The Low Carb Universe (my other project). I’m very, very happy to welcome Type 1 Thursday back to where it belongs – on the diabetes page (that would make more sense, right?!)

I am a Type 1 Diabetic since 34 years, and I am very, very happy that you are here with me, because today’s topic is super interesting. And it turned out to be a really hot topic! When I asked on Instagram a couple of days ago what I should talk about, a good few people said this topic. I am very happy that I have the chance to cover that for you today. And the topic is, not maybe completely unexpectedly, Type 1 Diabetes and weight loss and how that works together.

It can be really tricky when you are taking a lot of the fat storing hormone, insulin. The more insulin you take, the more weight you gain. It’s not always easy to lose weight with T1D. I wanted to try to describe a little bit what is going on in your body and how it could work for you as well. (And please, please, please do share your experiences with T1D and weight loss, or weight loss at all in the comments! I am very, very happy to talk to you more there!)

Weight loss has many reasons, there can be a gazillion reasons as to why you want to lose weight. There are two main ones, with the first one being you want to improve your health. And that can be of course a reason to lose weight, which is good, that’s great. Secondly, it can also be vanity. So I think, first of all, anyone who wants to lose weight needs to be honest with themselves as to why they want to lose the weight. Is it because of health reasons? Or is it simply because it would feel great to have those last 5 kg/10 pounds, or whatever else off the body and feel accomplished? It’s definitely an important thing to consider.

There are also two main weight loss theories. The first one is the hormone theory, which is that weight gain and weight loss is all about the hormones. It’s all about insulin, and it’s all about how insulin is the master hormone, and how that then impacts the other hormones. The other theory is the the old one, to eat less and move more, the kcal theory, which I feel like we’ve disproven this one? In my humble opinion, I feel that it is actually a combination of the two. Yes, your hormones have to do with weight loss, absolutely. But so do calories, I don’t believe that you can eat 15,000 calories in a day and still be losing weight. Unless that helps to regulate your hormones in some way. Your hormones need to be balanced for you to lose weight. And that actually requires a certain amount of calories, and a certain amount of the right macronutrients. Enough amino acids, enough fatty acids, because those are both essential for the body, there’s no essential sugar for the body. There is essential protein, and there is essential fat so that the hormones can become regulated. Those two for me (not saying anyone else!) but for me really go hand in hand. So it does require both of them to work to get there!

The old saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is true! I’ve heard several numbers on this, but there is an 80/20 thing going on, that 80% is the food and 20% is the exercise. So there you have this again: both go together for weight loss. And if you’re really overweight, if you just start eating the right things, you perhaps don’t even have to exercise in the beginning. That’s great, right? Generally, if abs are made in the kitchen, movement does also play a part in regulating your hormones.

What do I eat if abs are made in the kitchen? Well, there are, like I said, essential protein to the body, amino acids are essential. Focus on that. That is also what, for example, Dr. Bernstein talks about in his “Diabetes Solution” – to focus on the protein. And if you see someone really ripped, there’s a good chance that they are eating a good amount of protein. That’s also because protein is thermogenic. It actually it burns calories when the protein is processed in the body, shortly explained. Also have some fat for good measure, and to regulate your hormones. It may be difficult to get up to an OK calorie count in terms of protein only. So do have some fat. But when you get to stable hormones, and become a fat burner, you will use the fat that you already have on your body, which is actually a very simple way of weight loss, right? Then, of course, carbs; keep them to a minimum, mainly leafy greens. This also really helps your blood sugar, which does help in weight loss, as well. It’s incredible how much goes hand in hand in this!

What does this kind of eating, focused on protein, some fat, a little bit of carbs, what effects does this have? Well, it’s clearly that if you lower the amount of carbs, you lower the amount of insulin that you’re taking. And because insulin is the fat storing hormone, and the master hormone, if you use less of it, there’s a good chance that you will store less fat, as well. And, like this, you won’t really add too many calories on to your diet, which is also goes back to one of the two theories that the calorie, “eat less and move more”, (the 80s called and they wanted their nutrition advice, or weight loss advice back!). I do think it does play a role, I just don’t think that is the only thing that plays a role. Protein does repair your body and it helps to build muscle, which really does help you in losing weight, as well.

In order to lose weight, you also have to be motivated, and you have to find your WHY? Why do you want to lose weight? This is where my background as a coach comes in quite handy! Ask yourself why in three levels; why do you want to lose weight? And the answer to that ask why again? And then the answer to that as why again, so that you really know what is behind your choice of losing weight.

But could it be something else? Why did you gain the weight in the first place? And did you gain it overnight? Or did it take a while to accumulate? Because there is no overnight solution to losing weight. It is hard work! And it is a lot of trial and error, just as getting a grip of diabetes is, so is the weight loss process. Could it be something else than just “random” weight gain? Could it maybe be your thyroid? That also has a lot to do with hormones! Could it be stress, which is the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and can really drive weight gain. Can be fluid retention? Are you retaining fluid for some reason? Maybe not enough salt? And could you be pregnant? Could it be some sort of medication that you’re on? For example, antidepressants are usually causing weight gain, so it’s corticosteroids. Antipsychotic medications and birth control pills can really, really make you gain weight because that also goes back to the hormone theory.

Please do share your weight loss success or questions in the comments, and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.

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Type 1 Thursday – Injections vs Insulin Pump?

Today’s topic is MDI (multiple daily injections) vs insulin pump – which is better?

This comes after a question I got on an Instagram post, where I was asked if it’s necessary to use a pump as a Type 1 Diabetic?

My short answer is DEFINITELY NO! If you achieve great results and reach your goals, it doesn’t matter what kind of insulin delivery system you use. The main point is that you have normal, healthy, happy blood sugars.

Watch the video (or read the transcription below, if that’s more your thing) to find out my pros and cons of MDI and insulin pumps.

I want this to be a conversation starter, so why don’t you let me know YOUR pros and cons in a comment below? And, what do you use to deliver insulin? Let me know!

Transcription

The age old question for most people living with insulin dependent diabetes, is the question I recently got on my Instagram post.

The question was about whether it is necessary to use an insulin pump, or if multiple daily injections, either though a pen or syringe is better for diabetic?

This is very difficult to answer straight off the bat, because this is a highly individual topic. In my opinion, the short answer is that it doesn’t really matter what you use to deliver the insulin, that you do need as a Type 1 Diabetic, as long as you do. If your diabetes is well managed with maybe a completely crazy version of either MDI or insulin pump or whatever, then hey, that’s fantastic. You found what works for you, and that is great.

Today, I wanted to have a conversation starter with you, which we can happily continue in the comments below. I wanted to outline my pros and cons for both MDI, which is multiple daily injections, you deliver your insulin by injecting yourself every so often with both basal and bolus insolence. And also pros and cons for the insulin pump that I’ve noticed for the past couple of years. Maybe this can help you make up your mind, maybe there you find out something that you want to try, and if you do, please let me know in a comment.

My own story in regards to my insulin delivery method has been a little bit jumpy. Well, I was actually flat out refusing to have an insulin pump for so many years. I had had diabetes for 27 years before I finally agreed with my diabetes nurse that now I was ready to try. And this despite health care professionals suggesting an insulin pump to me, for the majority of my upbringing, (well, maybe not in the 80s. They weren’t super common back then.) since they have become more common, they have been suggest to me every once in a while, and I’ve always refused. Because, and this was the biggest con for me the insulin pump back then, was that there’s something always attached to me. I was afraid that I would feel sicker than I have to be. And I was afraid that I’d be constantly reminded of that I am maybe not as chronically healthy as I would like myself to be or as other people may be. (I am, however, chronically awesome!)

So I was very, very hesitant and very afraid of getting myself my first insulin pump. I opted for a tubeless patch pump, which then changed into a tubed pump, about one and a half years ago, I took the step towards a tubed pump for a variety of reasons, which we can happily discuss, and maybe a little bit later. I’ve done multiple daily injections for a lot longer than I have lived with an insulin pump constantly attached to my body.

I wanted to outline few pros and cons of them each.

So let’s start with MDI, as that’s where I actually have most of my personal experience. I want to start with the pros. This is a biggie for me, and for very many other people who live with diabetes, the freedom factor you have with multiple daily injections. You don’t have anything attached to your body, unless you’re wearing a CGM, but they are a lot smaller and maybe you don’t want two things connected to your body at all times.

Hand with this goes also that it makes the illness more invisible. Because you don’t have a pager looking thing stuck to your hip or your clothes somewhere. It becomes a very much more visible illness to live with, with an insulin pump.

If you do multiple daily injections, you can also take a lot more different types of insulin, because different insulins act in differently during different times. For example, as Dr. Bernstein always recommends, is that you take regular insulin, or R insulin, to cover protein, and the protein spike that comes a few hours after you eat a lot of protein. This is easier to do if you are on MDI then having to remember to also have another shot when you’re on an insulin pump. You can also then take fast acting insulin, to which you have to correct high blood sugar or for covering for carbs. Finally, you can choose which long acting insulin that you combine this with in a way more flexible way. When it comes to types of insulin that you take, you can find a routine and a regime that works for you. And for your diabetes, to manage it properly.

MDI can also be seen as being a bit simpler, you take an injection and you’re done. Instead of having to care about every time you remove a piece of clothing or something that the tubing gets stuck or you snag the the infusion set… If you get the benefits and reach your goals with MDI, then why not stay with that?

I think it can also be argued that MDI is cheaper than being on the pump. With the pump comes very many things that you have to pay for, such as rent of the pump, for example. I have to pay rent every month for having my pump. All the supplies for it also cost a lot. It’s not just the insulin that costs! With MDI, either you use syringes that are reasonably cheap, or you have insulin pens that most people with diabetes actually get for free.

Also, from a very, from very superficial point of view, because sometimes you need to be that, too. On MDI, you can wear anything, and you won’t see any devices poking or sticking out, or being in the way, or there’s a seam or there’s something that is just obstructing either the pump or the tubing. With MDI, you are freer in that way too.

I would conclude that with the main point of the pros of MDI is freedom.

The cons of MDI! I find it in hindsight, it is quite inconvenient to be on MDI for myself. I can only speak for myself here! But every time I had to correct, every time it’s time for the the basal shot, I had to pull up my shirt, or pull down my pants… For me, it became quite inconvenient, because I had to inject myself about 10 times a day, before I swapped to the pump. That was a big sales argument for me, to be honest, not having to pierce myself with a needle 10 times a day, only do it once every three days, that sounded like heaven! That’s why I went for it, actually. You also have to remember to take your basal insulin at the right time. It became a huge effort for me to try to remember when and how and how much, which dose at this time of day…

What else I see as a con for MDI, in my opinion, is that you have a lot more to carry along with you when you leave the house. An insulin pump is always on you. So that’s it for the insulin thing. Then you need a blood sugar meter, maybe some glucose tabs and that’s fine. That’s a lot easier to carry then two types of pens and the pen needles and blah, blah, blah, for me it becomes a lot more carrying along. That being said, for most people is not a problem.

Another, slightly inconvenient part of MDI, is that you have to expose body parts. Usually this is not a problem at all, whether you’re female, male, whatever. But – imagine what is it really, really cold, and you have to like take up your shirt, and you feel that icy wind against your skin. Then you also have to inject yourself. I don’t miss that at all. I really do enjoy the fact that for example, if I am out and about around town or something, I can just take up my insulin pump, I can look like I’m texting (or whatever ignorant people choose to believe). That’s how easily I’ve saved my life with more insulin if that’s what I need, or turned down the basal if that’s what I need. But it becomes a little bit inconvenient for me to expose body parts here and there, especially when I’m out and about.

The importance of rotating sites becomes very, very big on MDI, because we all have those favorite spots that we like to inject ourselves in. And that’s fine. But you do have to rotate your sites! I noticed for myself, that it is a lot easier for me to rotate pump sites than it was to rotate injection sites. It even got so bad that no one could touch my upper thighs for a while because I had just injected so much long acting insulin into them.

For the MDI cons, in conclusion, inconvenient to me.

Let’s move over to the pros of the insulin pump. So the absolute highlight for being on an insulin pump for me is that it is very, very flexible. I can be very flexible with my basal rate, for example. If I notice that I’m trending upwards, I can change it, I can add on a bit of temporary basal to see if that’s the problem. And also with the bolus, you have the different bolus profiles. Instead of, as I was talking about in MDI, you can use different insulins for this, you use the same insulin the whole time, just in different profiles, so to speak. For me, it’s a lot easier to just remember that I have one tool to work with and I can do different things with this same one thing.

My second favorite pump benefit, it is micro-bolusing. I can take bolus’ in the size of 0.1 unit, for example. If I really want to, I can do a 0.05 bolus on some pumps, making it much more precise. This is not possible on MDI, because there you have the minimum is half a unit. So it depends a little bit on how tight you want to steer your diabetes ship. I really like the fact that I can really micro manage my blood sugars, to a certain extent, not overly so of course, because that becomes ridiculous on all other levels. But it is very nice that I can do a micro bolus every now and then. When I see the CGM trending up, I’m like, oh, let’s try with 0.X units and see if it comes a little bit down. If not, then I have to redo and recalculate. But it is a good check for me to see what’s wrong.

As I mentioned before, it is very easy to handle when you are on the go. You can even take care of your health and blood sugar during a business meeting (I have done that many times before), and when you’re out with friends, if you are in a busy street. Or imagine, for example, it’s rush hour at the farmers market and you feel or you get a notification for your CGM that your blood sugar is a little bit high, you would like to correct but you can’t really find a quiet corner. With an insulin pump, it’s a lot easier because you just click a few buttons and you’re done. You’ve taken care of the situation and you can move on with your day.

To a certain extent, I also find that it’s more efficient for me to treat and manage my diabetes with an insulin pump. I don’t use nearly half of the insulin as I do before. I also don’t spend as much time managing my diabetes as I did with MDI. Also, of course, if you are a data nerd, you have a lot of data to take care of and see and have insights and analyze and see trends. And the ever so important tech integration, more and more pumps now do integrate with a CGM, so that you can get both things at in the same device. And also, the looping possibilities that are coming up now that are very, very exciting to everyone who lives with diabetes.

The cons of insulin pumps (yes, yes, they are. There are cons with these ones too, it’s not all just roses and happy flower dances.)

I already mentioned one of them, which is that this is something that you always have attached to your body. And that can be very draining, both emotionally and physically and mentally, for some. It’s not always easy to always be connected in that way.

The tubing does, if you have a tubed pump, get caught on stuff like door handles, and other things, clothing, everything. It’s not really the most maybe smooth thing in the world to live with, you do have to watch out and make sure that your tubing is inside of your clothing, preferably, so that you don’t snag it somewhere.

I find that using an insulin pump produces a lot more trash than MDI. I’m not really happy about that, but as it is a lot easier for me to manage my diabetes with the help of an insulin pump, I keep with it, and I hope that the insulin pump provider companies will at some point really reconsider their recycling policies, so that you can maybe even send that stuff back so that they can take care of it. And not to mention Dexcom, please get your act together! But that’s another video. 😉

One problem with insulin pumps is that if it for some reason, malfunctions, and that can be the site malfunctions, the battery runs out, or the insulin goes bad or the machine get some sort of hiccup. If it somehow malfunctions, you don’t get any insulin at all and that can become dangerous quite quickly. That is one of the bigger cons for an insulin pump.

For me, airport security, or generally when you travel, insulin pumps can sometimes get a little bit interesting. They will want to swipe them for explosives. For certain airports, I do have to take more time into consideration when I travel through there because they just don’t know really what it is yet. It is unfortunately becoming more and more common, meaning it is less of a problem. But sometimes I could happily maybe be on MDI for a trip!

What do you have to add in terms of pros and cons for MDI and pros and cons for insulin pump? What do you use it to deliver insulin?

Please let me know in a comment below. I will be happy to chat with you there.

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Type 1 Thursday – How to eat at restaurants

Is eating at restaurants difficult while trying to maintain normal blood sugars?

Not necessarily!

This is my little guide of how to eat at restaurants while maintaining the normal blood sugars all Type 1 Diabetics deserve and should strive for!

I share my top six tips for successfully dining out, what to focus on and how to build a meal. Check it out here:

I share my best tips for dining out with Type 1 Diabetes, while maintaining normal blood sugars.

What are your best tips for dining out with Type 1 Diabetes (or if you’re mindful of your sugar consumption over all)? Let me know in a comment!

Transcription

If you prefer to read, here’s an unedited version:

Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of type one Thursday with me Hanna which is one of the founders of The Low Carb Universe. We organize Europe’s truly healthy hundred percent real food events. But that’s not what we’re here to talk to you about today.

Today is, of course, another episode of Type 1 Thursday, where we discuss all things, type one diabetes, and low carb and healthy food and healthy eating and all of that stuff that may not be talked about as much in other places. So I thought, hey, why not? Let’s do it.

I am a type one diabetic since 34 years this year, which is yay, you know, alive and stuff. Today, I will be sharing with you you how to navigate restaurants, and eating outside of your home with type 1 diabetes, and how to maintain normal glycaemic blood sugar levels throughout this. And do stay tuned, because I will be revealing my top six tips on how to actually make this happen properly, after a bit of an introduction and stuff like that.

Why are normal blood sugars so important?

This is I don’t know, like the 13th video I think I’m making in this series. So if you watched any of my previous stuff, I think you know why normal blood sugars are so important. And so also, of course, whether you are either treating yourself or don’t have another option, but to eat at a restaurant, where it is more difficult to figure out what they have added to your meal, which you may not have added at home. Yes, healthy normal blood sugars. All diabetics are deserve them. All diabetics should strive for them. And we should not be content and happy with anything else but normal levels.

That’s my opinion. And I’m sticking to my guns. And that’s why I’m making all of these videos. And of course, why it is so important is of course that you have to, well, I assume if you’re anything like me, you want to live a long, happy, healthy life with diabetes, despite diabetes, thriving in your life. And then normal blood sugars will keep you there for longer. Let’s just keep that as at as a baseline.

I am very, very happy now because this wasn’t the case before. But healthier options at restaurants are becoming more available more readily available. Just things like for example, a big normally very pasta focused chain has recently brought out noodles as an option. And that is great, of course for us who are trying to mind our glucose and trying to mind the sugar intake in our foods. For example, there’s a lot more vegetables on the menus, there’s a lot more that you can get sauces on the side and no one looks at you weirdly, you can substitute a lot of the the sides with vegetables, and no one looks at you weirdly, and side salad is a huge thing, which you can also of course, when you are fueled by other things but sugar in your body, then you can have that too without a problem and not feel deprived or anything.

So there are three things: first of all, when you see go to a restaurant, that is important that is of course, as always, no matter where if you’re all at a restaurant, but focus on the protein and vegetables, which can be solved, they can be changed. All the pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, all of these things that you know, don’t leave you feeling your absolute best when you eat a restaurant, substitute them for different types of vegetables. Here is a great tip actually, that I found out a couple years ago is that when you look at a restaurant menu, and you see, let’s take an example, a sirloin with mashed potatoes. “okay, well, the mashed potatoes aren’t great for me, but I see here with the with the seven on this menu, you serve asparagus, do you think I could swap the mashed potatoes for these asparagus?”, for example. Check what they have on the menu in other dishes, and what type of vegetables they have there. And maybe you can find your favorite there or something that is at least better for you than mashed potatoes that are currently being offered. And of course, then number three is keep all or most sauces on the side. Make sure that you get the source in a little couple of sites so that you can first of all taste how much sugar there’s in there. Even if someone tells you that they’re Oh no, it’s completely sugar free, there’s no sugar, you can taste it very quickly. And you can make your choices after that.

Easy restaurants to go to when you are minding your sugar intake and you do not have the metabolic capability of breaking these things down as effectively as maybe other people do.

This includes but is not limited to, for example, steak houses, burger places. Seriously burgers without buns with all the good cheese and bacon and maybe an egg on top and a side salad, you’re going to be full four hours. When your friends who ate a normal burger menu starts going on about “I could go for like a coffee and cake”, you know, just fueling up again, you’ll still be full, “I am winning at this game”.

Also, Italian places are fantastic for low carb you wouldn’t think it but and very very little of the Italian cuisine is actually pasta, pizza, all these heavy things. It’s more like fresh meats, fish, seafood, and a lot of vegetables. Italians eat a lot of vegetables, and the yummy yummy olive oil, of course. And that is a great tip for if you are out and about and see an Italian restaurant, if it is authentic enough, and hasn’t zoomed in on the pizza thing, because then you can just scrape off the toppings, but it’s not a great experience for anyone. So let’s not go there!

You can also go to salad bars, that’s a given. Or deli places, maybe somewhere that makes sandwiches and you can ask to have the sandwich feelings on a salad or on a plate instead.

Brazilian steakhouses are fantastic. You won’t be lacking protein after going to a Brazilian steakhouse, I can assure you that. French places are great, not as much bread as you would think. And also Greek places are fantastic, all the Mediterranean really Greek, Italian, Spanish, of course with all the tapas, and it’s fantastic. And then of course Italian as I mentioned before.

Mexican is also surprisingly good, because there you can have things like fajitas without the bread and the beans and all this stuff and the rice. You can have all of these things that are really, really yummy that people don’t quite realize are yummy, because they cover it up with all these carby things so that they don’t actually get the flavor of the real thing, which is the protein of course.

Even sushi places actually are quite great for low carb because, and bear with me, you can have a few edamames and you can have a whole plate of sashimi, which is of course the sushi without the rice, so if you’re minding your sugar intake, don’t despair if you only have sushi place at hand. There’s always always things that you can do. And I’ve seen now actually sushi places who make rice out of cauliflower rice, there is one place for example in Stockholm. I think it’s spreading, too, and this trend of maybe not wanting sugary rice is becoming bigger.

Alright, I promised you my six top tips on how to manage restaurant but the restaurant visit with type 1 and wanting to keep your blood sugar’s at a normal level, because this is what we’re striving for.

As I said before, number one, if you can do research the menu online so that you want you know what you’re handling, you can already make a couple of choices, you can have an overview of what the actually have, you can check the starters, the mains, the deserts, but seriously don’t have too much hope for the desert, because you probably won’t find much apart from maybe a cheese platter, which also is a fantastic dessert. This also helps you if you are a bit conscious about your spending.

Number two, of course, stay away from the starches. If you get offered a bread basket and you know you can’t resist it, ask them to take it away. Make sure that your dish does not contain rice, pasta, potatoes, fries, or mashes if you know you can’t navigate around them. And I’m not saying that you always have to be 100% – you do what works for you. And if tasting a bit of these things works for you, then good, keep doing that. But if you know that you can’t keep away from them, make sure you stop them from the beginning.

Number three, which I already mentioned in the beginning, but it’s very, very important: focus on the protein and the vegetables. That is the easiest thing that you can do. Even at a restaurant or at home or anywhere you are. If you’ve been invited to a dinner somewhere at a friend’s place, that is sometimes a little bit tricky. But always focus on the protein and the vegetables, and then don’t pay so much attention to the things that you can’t have. Of course, this is as much a mind game for you as anyone else. Instead, pay attention to things that you can have. Take it as a positive thing that you are doing something good for you, your body and your health. Because you want to stay healthy for as long as you of course, possibly can.

Number four, which is something I struggled with a lot. In the beginning, when I first went low carb, I’m often said, “oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry. Just bring this and this and whatever else. Like, take everything out of it. It’s fine!” No, no, no, actually, the proper way of doing it is Dare. To. Ask., make sure that you do find the option that works the best for you. Because no one else is going to be looking out for you. Dare to ask “what do you put in that sauce?” “Oh, is this gluten free?” (If gluten is a problem for you.) “Oh, is this sugar free?” Waitstaff should know this. If they don’t, they are very welcome to run back to the kitchen and check with their colleagues. It’s really important for you to know what the food that you eat actually contains. “Oh, is this thing breaded?” “Do you have bread crumbs in your Parmesan Melanzane?” There are so many ways of cooking food that should be “free food”. Not everyone does it the same way. Dare to ask. As I mentioned before, if you see a vegetable in some other dish, maybe you know they’re willing to swap that for the thing that you don’t want in the dish that you want, or with the protein that you have chosen. Dare to ask what’s in your food. How can you swap it? What can you do to make this work for you? At the end of the day at a restaurant, you are a paying customer and they generally would very much want happy, healthy customers that keep talking about their wonderful establishment and the fantastic service that they got. They will very rarely rarely be snarky about your dietary restrictions, because they want repeat customers too.

Alright, number five, you know what, if it doesn’t go perfectly fine, if something goes wrong, like you have a glass of wine too many than you expected, or if you’re eating a bit more of the starch than you expected – just don’t panic. It’s alright. You’re not going to die from screwing it up once, but it is a learning curve. So don’t panic, make sure that you remember it so that you know next time what not to do and what didn’t work for you. Work with the things that do work for you, and what you leaves you feeling the healthiest, best version of yourself.

And then number six, which is actually something that I did for myself, in the beginning. Now it’s just second nature, but in the beginning, I made every restaurant menu a game for myself. Everywhere I went, whether it was Chinese, (that is a tricky one, though, because they mix everything in sauces), or a pizza place, or Italian or burgers or whatever. Wherever I saw a menu, I made it into a game for myself to make a nourishing, sustainable dish for myself from any menu. That is my tip number six, make it a game. Oh, what can I eat at this restaurant? Uh huh. Okay, but if I swap that, with that, and then, instead of that I have that, and then I get a meal that works for me and leaves me healthy, happy and feeling fantastic. Even after my restaurant visit.

Those were my quick tips for you. Actually, let’s call it the little guide of eating at restaurants with Type 1 Diabetes. I hope you have enjoyed this video!

I want to know from you what your best restaurant tips are with type 1, or even without. If you’re just minding your sugar intake, what are the best tips that you have figured out they’ve seen someone else do that you’ve heard someone else do?

Share them with me in a comment and I’ll be happy to chat with you. Until next time!

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.

Making Lists

Do you have to make shopping lists when you go grocery shopping, just so you won’t forget half of what you went out to get in the first place?

Or, have you ever underestimated the power of a to do list, and missed to call that one person you really had to speak to?

No? It’s just me then.

This is of course a super simplistic way of looking at it, but the main message stays the same: unless you write down what you want, it will be difficult for you to get it. Or get there.

How do you keep track of everything that needs to be done?

For me, it’s definitely the easiest to make a list out of it.

Until what needs to be done becomes a routine, it’s very difficult to remember all the things that require your attention. (Not least if you’re handling something like diabetes.)

And, if there’s something outside of yourself that you want and you don’t formulate clearly what it is, how will other people ever know how to give it to you? And also, how do you get a crystal clear view of exactly it is you want?

Before going on last month’s Low Carb Cruise, I felt a bit nervous about it. First of all, it’s a long trip and secondly, I was about to be in the same room as so many of my Heroes!

I talked to a brilliant friend of mine about it, and she told me to write a list of the people I wanted to talk to during the cruise.

“This is so silly”, I thought to myself, “what’s the use of a list?!”

But, as the excellent friend she is, she pushed me to do it anyway. And am I glad I did!

Lo-and-behold, when I found my list again a few days after we had gotten onto dry land again (but my body was clearly still on the ship, everything was swaying), I had accomplished Every. Single. Thing. on that list! I had talked to all the people I wanted to talk to, and a good few more!

This close-to-obsessive list writing of course doesn’t just apply to rather mundane things, like grocery shopping, or super exciting things, like making sure you grab the chance to talk to your heroes. It’s also absolutely useful for everyday things, like what to bring on your holiday, or things like where you want to be in a year from now, what you’d like your A1c to be and what kind of tools you want and need to simplify your life. For example. Not to mention the good old to do list!

Lists don’t have to be exclusively used for practical things, you can very well use them for things like your emotions and actions to. In that case it’s called a to be list.

What do you want to be like today? How would you like to act in certain situations? And, how do you want to feel?

If you know what (or who) makes you feel good, why don’t you ask for it?

And how do you formulate said wishes, thoughts, questions and desired actions? If you leave it at just a thought, you most likely will forget it. If you see it on and off it’s easier to focus on it. You and I both know that any goal you have is so much easier to reach if you know what you want and you state it clearly, making you focus on it.

Remember that goals like “one day I’d love to be able to go skydiving” just won’t cut it either. It’s too general! Your goal needs to be a SMART one, Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. The one about skydiving then becomes “In 3 months I want to have the appointment booked for skydiving, providing my doctor says it’s ok at least 2 weeks before”

Then the challenge is just how to get there.

What do you make lists of?

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

Travel Checklist for Diabetes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food

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

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

Water

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel checklist

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

If you are on injections, also bring:

  • Insulin pens, plus back ups
  • Pen needles

If you’re on a pump, also bring:

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

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

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

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

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

travel checklist diabetes

travel checklist diabetes

 

Click here to download the list: travel checklist diabetes

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

Too Much Fat?

Is there such a thing as eating too much fat?

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

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

Let’s go back a couple of steps first…

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

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

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

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

Carbohydrates

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

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

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

And then we add in where the carbs come from.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which carbs are good for you and which are not?

It comes down to processed versus natural carbs, really.

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

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

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

Proteins

Proteins are really important for your body.

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

How much protein is good to eat, then?

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

Let’s put this into practice!

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

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

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

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

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

Fats

Lastly, but most gloriously, we have fats.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not more complicated than that, really.

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

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

 

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

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

 

Do you eat enough fat?

Diabetes Expert

Diabetes Expert – that’s a bold statement!

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

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

Right?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want you to know something though…

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

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


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

Diabetes Sweet Spot

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

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

I get that. I totally do.

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

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

 

Diabetes Sweet Spot

Diabetes Sweet Spot

 

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

First up we have

  1. Sexy Food and Water

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

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

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

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

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

All clear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Medications & Supplements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Self-love & Attitude

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

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

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

And how do you get to your Team Me status?

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

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

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

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

Here are my Top 3 Tips:

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

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

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

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

As does exercise, for example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Daily Rituals

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

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

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

My daily ritual looks a little something like this…

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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