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Diabetes & The Long Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what keeps you going throughout the years?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paleo Scones

Going grain free = going bread free.

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

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

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

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

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

Paleo Scones

You’ll need:

3 dl almond flour

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

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp psyllium seed husk

A pinch of salt

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

Do this:

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

Nutritional info (per scone):

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

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

 

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

New Year – New Resolutions?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion”

So why stress yourself to a goal you think you need and want?

I don’t believe in new years resolutions.

They are very often a surefire way of setting yourself up for failure.

Why is this?

There are many more or less valid reasons to why you don’t stick with your own promise to yourself.

I want to run through five of them with you today.

 

  1. You set goals you don’t want yourself.

Why, or, rather, for whom do you want to lose that weight?

For your partner to find you more attractive? For your kids? To keep up with the Joneses?

It’s all a damn lie.

If you don’t want it for yourself, and yourself exclusively, you are very unlikely to actually stick with it.

Ask yourself if the promise you made yourself last week actually is for your own sake or for someone elses.

FIX: Chose a resolution for YOU.

 

  1. You say the same old resolutions you did last year. And the year before. And the one before that.

“I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that sound familiar? (Turns out that they are some of the most common new years resolutions, so technically, they should be familiar!)

Do they also happen to be the same ones you made last year?

Keeping up “appearances” in front of yourself is just a huge let down. Let’s face it; if you didn’t manage to make all of that happen last year, what says you’ll be able to do so this year?

Maybe something else is keeping you from creating your new life? More on that in the next point.

FIX: Ask yourself what you want NOW, for THIS year as the person you are TODAY and want to be in a year from now. What you wanted last year doesn’t matter. Anymore.

 

  1. You bite off more than you can chew.

Back to the example: “I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that even sound realistic at all?

I know a year might seem like a huge chunk of time for you to get everything done and dusted. But if we’re real here for a second, we both know that that’s not the case.

Every day life gets in between your high hopes and promises to yourself, and all you end up doing is to stress and be disappointed in your seeming inability to make “any changes”.

You’re simply not giving yourself a chance!

FIX: Set realistic goals. What can you achieve within the next year? What do you want to achieve in the next year? Pick your number 1 on that list and stick to it. (If you manage to do more of them, awesome job!!)

 

  1. Your resolution isn’t focused enough.

If you’ve ever done any kind of coaching, or are at all into that sort of thing, you’ll have heard of SMART goals.

Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely are more likely to be reached.

And although this is a fantastic starting point of goal setting, there is one thing that is more important than the others: SPECIFIC.

If your goal isn’t specific enough, such as “I want to lose weight”, you never know when you’ve reached your goal.

If your goal, on the other hand, is specific, such as “I want to lose 5 kg until the trip I’m going on 20th February”, it’s a completely different thing.

Your brain registers it as a goal with a deadline that you have to make continuous effort to reach.

Do you see the difference?

You need to set your goal in a way that leaves you knowing exactly what you need to do next as a first step toward a healthier, happier, and better you.

FIX: Make sure your resolution is specific.

 

  1. You’re should-ing all over yourself

As in, if you don’t really want to make this change for yourself (see point 1), but feel you S H O U L D do it.

I’m sorry, game over, better luck next time.

If you say that you “should lose weight” instead of that you “want (really badly) to lose weight”, there’s a huge difference in how you, your body, brain and energy interpret that message.

A resolution that comes from guilt with an added side of stress and unhappiness for dessert will never work. And you should never say never.

It’s similar to that ever long to do list you have made for yourself that you know, deep down inside, you will never finish. Or want to finish either. It just creates too much anxiety, too much stress and too little fun!

FIX: Eliminate “should” from your resolution vocabulary. Or, better yet, altogether.

 

Your goals and resolutions ultimately have to make you happy, make your soul bubble and your heart shine.

Reviewing said goals and resolutions definitely should happen more than once a year as well. This is my biggest pet peeve with new years resolutions – once a year, on a more or less alcohol induced evening, you “have to” make promises for the next year.

That’s just weird!

 

Help is right around the corner though. And especially so if you’re in the Zürich (Switzerland) area!

If your (true) resolution is in any way health or fitness related, I’ve teamed up with two beyond excellent coaches to give you the best possible start of the new, healthier, happier, fitter and more productive you. Check us out here!

And, if you are in or around Zürich on the 17th January you have the exclusive chance to try us out and take us out for a test run! More details and to book your seat, click here!

 

Remember; resolutions are out, fun is in.

Lonely Diabetes?

Plus one is the loneliest number.

And my constant companion Diabetes knows exactly which buttons to push to make me feel lonely, alone and isolated.

It’s the time of family gatherings, meeting friends and spending time with those you love.

But if your (involuntary and unwanted) BFF Diabetes doesn’t play along, it doesn’t matter who else is around you.

This post is NOT about diabetes making you different from other people or that you have to things that are usually associated with being a drug addict, like shooting up and (sometimes) being paranoid.

It’s about feeling lonely although you have your best supporters, your true fan club, around you.

The other night, Dexter (my Dexcom CGM system) woke me up from my hazy sleep.

He had just buzzed 3 times, and because I wasn’t quite with it, I couldn’t remember what 3 buzzes meant – was I high or low?

I had only gone to bed 2 hours prior to this (quite rude) wake up call with a great blood sugar level, so I wondered which way it had gone wrong? 

Dex said “LOW”, below 4.0 mmol/l (72 mg/l). I took out Doris (my OmniPod and trusted ally) and checked my blood sugar; 2.1 mmol/l (38 mg/l).

Nothing was making sense to me at this point; I was sweaty, my head fuzzy, I didn’t recognize where I was or what I had to do next.

I told myself I had a pretty low hypo for being me and that I needed to get to those glucose tabs faster than lightning, right after temporarily lowering the basal on my pump to -85%.

In my mind I gracefully climbed over my husband in the sofa bed we were sharing and jetted straight for my suitcase, where I had packed the glucose. (We were on a trip, staying with fantastic friends)

But in reality I was probably half-suffocating my husband, stumbling around like a local drunk and made more noise than I could ever realize.

Anyway. I sat down on the floor to eat some of the glucotabs. The slightly chalky texture and the acidy taste of them only intensified my symptoms.

During some of my lows I need something to chew on after the glucotabs, something that won’t help the hypo, as it otherwise overshoot. But just the feeling to keep chewing makes me feel safer in an unsafe situation.

I found, again in my mind very gracefully, a bar of 85% chocolate in my handbag, and started munching, instantly feeling a little bit better.

To I keep awake, I tried to play some simple games on my phone, none of which were making any sense to me. Playing cards, letters and colors were all a big mumbo jumbo, although it’s actually 3 separate games on my phone.

In this very moment I realized I was feeling really lonely. 

This was despite having my husband snoring right next to me, and some other people sleeping in the same room. And I knew I could wake any of them up to keep me company and make sure I survived yet another hypo.

But I didn’t. Just because I’m not allowed to sleep right now, doesn’t mean others aren’t either, I thought to myself.

So I kept to my incoherent gaming, but couldn’t shake the feeling of being the loneliest person in the world in that moment.

As soon as I saw the number on my dexcom starting to go up, I put down my phone and went back to a hypo-sweat-drenched-sleep.

A few hours later, waking up with the biggest hypo-hangover ever, it made me feel lonely again.

I quickly resorted to some victim mentality thinking with thoughts like “why me?” And “no one understands me or what I’m going through or what it all feels like”, aka Loser-ville thoughts.

While I might have been right after yet another time with diabetes trying to kick my ass, I can’t forget what it has thought me about life.

A few of the useful and positive examples are: Being alone. Maths. Thicker skin. Acceptation. Pain. Fending for my life. Handling disappointment. That life is precious and frail. That I’m not invincible. Gratitude. Appreciation. Friendship. Health. Healing. Happiness. And, above all, the importance of Love.

Being (nutritionally) wealthy

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

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

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

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

  1. Mentally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give it a serious try.

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

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

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

  1. Heartlly

Secondly, your heart needs to play along, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Digestionally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy Holidays in One Step

It’s that time of the year again!

Stores are filled with holiday cheers and people seem to start getting a little lighter mooded, most of them looking forward to the holidays.

And I heard this year’s first Christmas song yesterday!

As you may know, I’m not exactly a fan of how sugar coated the holidays are. Every year, your sugar consumption explodes toward the end of the year. Sugar destroys so much more than it gives, and this constant overload just isn’t worth it, in my opinion.

And the sugar you eat now, still has an impact weeks and even months from now (A1c tests, anyone?)

So, in the middle of this Sugar Avalanche, made out of chocolate, candy canes, Rudolph cookies and mince pies (and the sugar bomb that is mulled wine), what are your options? What is an easy step to take if you just wantto make your life a little healthier during the holidays?

If there’s ONE STEP you can take to make your December just one (or 24) bits healthier, it’s to swap out the usual chocolate advent calendar.

Packed with sugar and chemical stuff beyond belief, most advent calendar are a health hazard.

“But what’s wrong with just ONE piece of chocolate a day in December?” you’re asking?

Essentially, not much. But for me it’s about the inherent need for sweets this time of year, and not the fact that you actually want them.

As a few alternatives, I’ve compiled a list of healthier advent calendar ideas for you.

If you (or the one you want to surprise) are into taking care of your body and beauty, I have some great tips for you right here:

The Body Shop’s nearly iconic advent calendar seems to still be in stock (it usually sells out in no time): 

Or, I’d happily take ANY of these advent calendars on this wonderful list (hint, hint), from clothesandcamera.com:

Or why not try a tea one this year, where you get a different flavor every day? (An example right here)

While we’re on beverages, for your whiskey.loving partner, why not get a whisky calendar, where one kind is hiding behind each door?

Do you have a brainiac on your hands? A daily puzzle or Sudoku of some kind would keep them busy until Christmas.

 

For the kids, why not try one of the Lego or Playmobil calendars (available anywhere)?

Or, alternatively, why not make a Random Act of Kindness calendar for your kids? Get ideas on how: http://www.everydayroadtohealthy.com

For the classic holiday celebrator, try a “normal”, paper calendar. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has gorgeous ones: http://store.metmuseum.org/holiday/advent-calendars/icat/adventcalendars

There’s also the alternative of an advent candle, counting down the days while spreading blissful peace. (Why don’t you meditate while you’re watching the candle burn?)

 

Or make your own!

It can be filled with loving messages, vouchers, cinema tickets, experiences, happy thoughts, affirmations, home made healthy snacks, supplements, spices, magazine… suited to the receivers tastes and preferences, of course! For kids, this could include stickers, colouring pencils, small toys, or, like I mentioned above, Random Acts of Kindness!

For the framework, you can just use envelopes, small paper bags, matchboxes or individually wrap them. Be sure to have a look at Etsy to find quirky alternatives as well, here is a link: https://www.etsy.com/ch-en/search?q=advent%20calendar

 

There are also countless digital advent calendars around, just Google it and find your favorites. That way you can have (way) more than one! 😀

 

What is your favorite type of advent calendar? Let me know in the comments!

Diabetes & The Victim Mentality

Scanning the diabetes related forums I’m active in, there are a few commonalities.

Supportive members. Great discussions. Awesome tips and tricks to manage everyday life with diabetes.

But there is another one – a more negative one.

That is the fact that there’s a lot of victim mentality within the diabetes community (and, I’m sure in other chronic illness communities as well, but I don’t know those well enough to comment).

Post like this one are pretty common: “I just can’t handle diabetes anymore, I’m always feeling bad and my mood is always so low!” Or this one: “I’m feeling trapped. I’m trying to feel up beat and strong and focused, but I’m falling apart.”

And, yes, every single person, diabetic or not, does this from time to time.

YES, clearly and of course diabetes is a tremendously difficult partner to have by your side at all times. And handling it 24/7, 365 days a year, year after year is a challenge to say the least.

All the higher powers (no one mentioned, no one forgotten) know that handling diabetes is never easy. No matter how well you’ve learned to tame it or not, it never gets easy.

But, and trust me on this one, it won’t go away just because you can’t take it anymore. It will come back, and it will bite your butt even harder the next time.

At this point, the only thing that can change is your attitude.

Change view

Awesome quote by Wayne Dyer

 

Let me be frank with you here for a second. To some extent, it’s always a choice – you choose to be a victim.

It’s so much easier to just complain about your situation, rather than doing something about it. And I really get that. I do.

But it doesn’t change anything. Diabetes will still be there when you’ve (conveniently) “forgotten” about it for a while (hours, days, weeks…). So why not do something about it, instead of complaining and whining about what you can or are willing to do?

Here are 5 tips on how to get past Victimville (or at least a first step out of there):

  1. What is the one diabetes related thing I can make easier for myself?
    Can you have an alarm on for checking your blood sugar, if you tend to forget? Or, is there an app for recording your values, instead of using pen and paper?
  1. What is the one big diabetes thing that you keep screwing up?
    Is it preparing healthy meals, and resorting to take outs a little too often? Forgetting that night time basal shot? How can you work on this?
  1. Is your self-care more of a challenge when you’re not at home?
    Lack of exercise while on vacation? Not sticking to your routine? What can you do to maintain all the hard work you put into your care whilst being away?
  1. Identify hurdles before they appear!
  1. Focus more of your energy on what’s working in your self-care, and not on what isn’t.
    Again, a shift of energy might just work little wonders on your motivation. Are you really good at remembering to check your blood sugar? But perhaps not so good to change your pump site on time? Focus on checking that blood sugar, and the rest will come.

 

You’re stronger than you think. One of my favorite quotes of all time is:

“You never realize how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Remember this. Yes, because of your illness you may have to be stronger than others, and than the people around you. But that is a great thing!

Diabetes teaches you a lot of things as well; it’s not only a curse. It teaches you discipline. Humility. Being a winner. Being a loser. Maths (forget calculus, this is the real deal). Time management. Budgeting. Tech knowledge. It teaches you to power on, even if you think you can’t do it anymore. It allows you to get to know yourself on a completely different level than most. Amongst other things, of course.

If you want to feel the best that you can, you have to work with your body instead of against it. No matter what you may or may not have.

 

When do you slip into a victim mode?

Green smoothies – why I don’t recommend them.

Ah, the rave about green smoothies!

Green smoothies to heal this, green smoothies to clear that infection, green smoothies for brighter and clearer skin.

The list is endless of what green smoothies can (apparently) do!

Yet, I might be the only nutrition specialist that doesn’t recommend drinking them. Especially not for people with diabetes. 

Have you ever thought of the ingredients in these smoothies?

Sure, they’re packed full of good stuff like spinach, kale, cucumber, various other veggies and sometimes even spirulina and other gently detoxifying stuff.

Have you noticed that most recipes contain an enormous ratio of (high sugar) fruit, though?

So much so that it becomes closer to the American Diabetes Association’s outdated recommendation of 60% carbohydrate to every meal?

And, a smoothie should probably not even be considered a full meal! (Unless you’re doing a juice cleanse, in which case I wish you good luck if you have diabetes.)

 

Let’s have a look at some of the recipes I’ve seen recently:

1. Avocado Coconut Smoothie (from: finerminds.com)
1 large avocado
1 large banana
3/4 cup organic pineapple juice
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 can organic coconut milk
1 tablespoon flax seed oil3 tablespoons melted extra-virgin coconut oil.
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sounds super yummy! But what’s the carb count?

1 large avocado has about 17 grams of carbohydrate (fiber 14 g), 1 large banana about 31 g (3,5 g fiber). ¾ cup pineapple juice has about 25 g crabs (0 g fiber). 1 can of coconut milk has 10 g carbs. The rest of the ingredients aren’t too carb-filled.

The total? 83 grams of carbohydrate. In one drink. Even if you discount the fiber count (which I only heard that you can do recently, and doesn’t work for me) you still get 65.5 grams of carbs.

Although this smoothie has a lot of good fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, I’m honestly surprised at just how much carbohydrate there is.

 

Let’s have a look at another one.

2. Pomegranate Citrus Punch Green Smoothie (2 servings) (from simplegreensmoothies.com)
2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup water
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 banana

OMG, get in my belly! And the title sounds so carb-innocent, too, right?

Well, 1 banana has 31 g (3,5 g fiber), and 1 cup orange juice 26 g carbs (0.5 g fiber). 1 cup pomegranate seeds has 32 g of carbohydrate, with 7 g fiber

This gives us a grand total of 89 grams of carbohydrates, 44.5 g per serving. Without the fiber, it’s still 39 grams of crabs per person. Yikes!

 

Third time’s the charm, right? Let’s take a really simple one, with only 3 ingredients. How bad can that one be, really?

3. Basic Balance (from: rawfamily.com (Victoria Boutenko))
1 mango
1 cup kale
1 cup water

1 mango has 39 grams of carbs, 4 g fiber. 1 cup of kale has 6 grams of carbohydrate, so not very much at all!

Still, 45 grams of carbs in one drink is way too much for me…

 

Do you notice just how much carbohydrate these drinks contain? (AND WHAT IF YOU DON’T LIKE BANANAS?!)

In comparison, a can of coke has 39 grams of carbohydrates. Granted, there’s no fiber (or any other nutrition for that matter) in a can of coke, so it’s not exactly the same. But comparing the pure carb values? And what carbohydrate, in whichever form, does to your blood glucose levels in the end? Ouch, that’s going to hurt in the morning.

Yes, the type of carb in fruit and vegetables is infinitely better than eating 100 g of pasta, as it’s more nutritious and filling. But: there are simply too many carbohydrates turning into sugar in these smoothies to be able to include them in a low(er) carb lifestyle.

With the carbohydrates, fibers and occasional fat added too, it can get very tricky to get the insulin dose right for a diabetic, as well. Let alone if you buy it from a healthy store/juice bar and haven’t even made it yourself, meaning that you therefore have very little clue of exactly how much banana (or other high sugar fruit) is in that smoothie.

It’s not all gloomy days when it comes to green smoothies, though.

I have two suggestions for you so that you can still enjoy these bombaliciously nutritious powerhouses!

My first suggestion is to make your own, at home. This way you have the best possible control of what’s in it, making sure to use the freshest and most organic ingredients you can possibly find.

There are some really neat (and cute!) carrying/take away options you can use. I’ve even seen mason jars with a special lid for straws, like this one.

My second suggestion is that you make sure it’s a GREEN smoothie. What I mean by this is that you use about 90% vegetables in your smoothie. Please avoidmaking a “fruuitie”! What I mean by that is to avoid using mostly fruit with some added vegetable and think that it won’t affect your blood glucose.

Here are some excellent, low(er) carb green smoothies that won’t send your blood glucose and insulin requirement on as much of a rocket ride.

I want your opinion; am I being too harsh? Have you tried green smoothies? What are your experiences?

 

(Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to do a HAPPY DANCE for the first blog post with the new web page design! Woohoo! )