Tuesday, January 26, 2010

treating low blood sugar naturally and oh ya, i suck at blogging~

everytime i get on here to do a post i'm reminded at how badly i suck at actually being a good blogger. not good. but then, i hope i redeem myself in what i blog about when i do blog. :)

as most of you know, i'm really into trying to eat healthy, whole, foods-in-as-natural-a-state-as-possible-foods. ok, i think i coulda said that differently.

am i a hippie? a lot of people tell me i am. i admit, i am pretty crunchy at this point in my life! ok, i'm very crunchy. but when some people find out i have type 1 diabetes and am on an insulin pump, all the luddites start screaming and run away.

but i read something in a book on natural medicine and diabetes written by a N.D (naturopathic doctor---yes, they attend medical school) and a M.D. when i first got diagnosed, the book really helped me put my "state of affairs" into perspective. while some things in the book are problematic, the following statement, to this day, holds true to my health philosophy:

Individuals with type 1 diabetes absolutely require conventional treatment with the hormone insulin. We consider this approach consistent with natural medicine---after all, the goal is simply to provide the body with a critical natural hormone.

take that, stinky hippies. ;) just kidding. so basically, what dr.banting and best did for us was hormone replacement therapy---they, to this day, helped us replace a hormone the body should naturally be making, but no longer does. now off my soapbox.
now when you run into somebody who wants to hassle you about your disease and how you didn't eat an anti-parasitic ayurvedic diet or something, just throw that statement in their face and it'll shut 'em riiiiight up. sometimes. ok, most of the time. not that i don't adore ayurvedic food. ;)

the bottom line: i try to do my best at making the entire spectrum of my eating-with-type-1-diabetes-experience as natural as possible. even when it comes to lows. however, a word of caution, when you're low, you're low. don't get stupid and start insisting on things that aren't available if you're out and about. just fix the damn low.
case in point: we were out the other day, i overbolused for lunch, had my little all-natural juicy juice (only 16 grams, yikes!) but calculated from my insulin on board that i needed waaaay more than that, and miraculously, we were headed to whole foods for groceries, yaaaay! so i'm thinking i'll go by a piece of fruit. but then, well then. it was sunday! and on sundays whole foods has lots of free junk food out! [note: i love how most of these natural foods markets are made up of just as many processed, packaged foods as anybody else. what? just cos you don't use partially hydrogenated oil you think you're BETTER?! haha] really, i should've just bought the damn apple.
so we begin to wander around, me in my slightly-low-stupor. and all i'm eyeing is carbohydrates. free carbohydrates. so we see some mini-cookies. we look at the box, realize i'm gonna need to eat like 6. despite my temporary insanity, the dignified person in me realizes that eating 6 of the cookies would be: 1) rude 2) noticeably odd, ie, mommy, that girl's eating all the cookies! 3) quite piggyish.
so i had 3.
on the search for more snacks, i mosied up to a table of pita chips. mmm, when was the last time we ate pita chips? my stomach asked. clearly, too long ago. so i ate about 3. ok, 4.

the problem with this whole scenario is i went waaaay beyond what john walsh in his book "pumping insulin" calls the "tipping point". i'll blog about this wonderful function of pumps later. for now, just know that i "out-ate my low". we all know what that means. but, like i said, when you're in a situation, you do what you gotta do, people!!

but if you can, treating lows with natural fast acting carbs are easier on your body, safer, and more easily calculated. i am so done with glucose tabs. the dyes in them really, really freak me out. and because you need to eat about 4 or 5 when you're low, i swear i can taste the dye. if only i'd had another juicy-juice on me that day....

here's how i [most often] try to treat my lows:

1. skip the cookies. too high in fat. fat prevents the sugar in the whatever-you're-eating from getting into your bloodstream fast enough. this is why a snickers bar will do you no good. neither will "all natural sun drops" (whole foods' store version of peanut m&m's.) because i eat whole grain breads, i even find their "lower glycemic index/load" extends my low longer. we're talking rapid-acting sugars.

2. use juice or dried fruit. there's a reason they're both on your daily no-no list. they're super concentrated in sugar. whole fruit is good for you, but i find the fiber in most fruit (which is what makes [most] fruit low glycemic, makes it just that: low glycemic. doesn't burn fast enough. dried fruit's pretty much had the fiber sucked out of it, and juice is like drinking double-digits of your chosen fruit. nice. i found these mini "juicy-juice" boxes at Target that have 16grams each. usually, this is enough. sometimes, not so much. ;) lots of flavors to choose from. i like the orange juice.

3. try fruit strips. natural foods markets often make these--sometimes called fruit leathers. they cost too much there. sorry to keep promoting Target (don't lie, i know you love it, too) but they make some boxed ones that are organic and about 11grams each. now, that's a little low in carbs for most of our lows, but hey, they're basically squished dried fruit. i think they taste great and are easy to get down, like juice. not like glucose tabs.

4. a tablespoon of honey goes a loooong way. what?! you don't carry around a trusty bottle of honey? just kidding. this one's more for home-lows. this makes me want to break into song: home, home on the range. where the lows can make you deraaaaaanged. ok, i'll stop now. but seriously, honey's a great way to treat a low: even though it's natural, it's super high-glycemic (watch out, you non-diabetics who only sweeten with honey-cos-it's-oh-so-natural.) i think it's basically like maple syrup, in that it's about 16 grams carb per Tbs. wow.

these are my main go-to's...but of course, sometimes there are situations. ;)

Friday, January 8, 2010

breakfast and who woke YOU up on the wrong side of the bed?!

i know.
i haven't blogged much this year. please don't hurt me. :)
i was...thinking.
too heavily, but you know...
i'll update more (i promise) and let you know all i've been thinking and learning about.so.very.much!
however, for now, i thought i'd reiterate my low glycemic-how-do-we-do-the-things-we-do-with-type 1-kick and start the new year with one of our favorite meals of the day
[insert snicker here]:
ya, i'm calling breakfast a fave.
my fave.
well, before i got diagnosed with the big D (or little d, in my little case) in 2008... i was like, a BRUNCH FREAK. i mean, this gal i know and i seemed to make it our life's purpose to go around all of albuquerque finding the hippest, funnest, yummiest places... for brunch. it's not just about eggs, folks. it's all of the swonderful-smarvelous-simply-splendid things you can do for breakfast.
until i got diagnosed.
ok, i sound like i just went off the deep end. and i did...kinda. because i was an adult when i got diagnosed, the whole "golden year" they talk about in the medical field was like, 100 times worse in me: i wanted to rock this beast of burden. i even swore off bread for a while. ok, like a day. but it felt like, forever!

disclaimer: i promise i don't actually say "like" in my daily vocab. it's just happening here because i'm trying to be like, thoroughly honest about my utter FREAKNESS phase i went through until i started figuring out how to actually cook and eat without missing out or...denying myself...or losing too much weight (i'm already too thin) or also, just saying f*%& it i'm gonna be just like those people who actually believe the statement, "you can eat whatever you want...as long as you cover it with insulin."
um, i'm sorry, but like, no. NONONONONONONONONONO. that does not work. i don't care who you are and what you tell me, i know you're lying. and so will everyone else in the DOC. word on the street: don't lose your cred!
anyway, back to breakfast.
i know it's tough. i wanted to go after somebody with one of my whisks and whip their heads into shape who told me to just double the dose because of the insulin resistance experienced by type 1's in the morning.
can i hear a WTF?!
i actually did this sometimes (more like triple) i confess. laziness, pure laziness.
then this summer (due to over full-time health classes) i promised myself i would find a way to balance my day by way of breakfast. 'cos you all know: you screw up breakfast, it takes all damn day to balance it out. it's even worse when you already woke up with Danny Dawn Phenomenon at your side. (it's like, whoa there! i am NOT into these random one night stands! you just think you can show up when you want to?) god, SUCH commitment-phobia!
so i wanted to offer some advice on what i have found that works SWIMMINGLY SWELL for little birdy's pancreas named peabody---who, by the way, did not feel so misadventurous at the end of the summer: that A1c i thought was gonna be in the mid 6's came back as (get this) 5.8%! you read that right. ok, i'll stop bragging.
note to readers: to comfort you, remember i just got my pump in late october and my initial A1c is gonna be like, 6.7% (i'm projecting) OH.DEAR.GOD. take comfort!
my point is i'm trying to show you that getting your food down, your exercise down (even a little--i promise i'm no gym freak) and not starving or overeating will do you wonders:

1. don't skip breakfast and eat it by 9am.
in Traditional Chinese medicine, the Stomach is active between 6 and 9am. with diabetes, we all know rapid-acting insulin's peak is about an hour after you inject and the duration is about 2-3 hours (unless you eat a high fat food.) my logic here (based solely on my personal experiment) is to then go on to to have a snack about 10am. i'm hoping you'll eat breakfast by 8am...

2. don't make breakfast too high-carb.
the logic is of course, morning insulin-resistance---experienced by all people, not just diabetics! the worst thing you can do is eat things like waffles or pancakes....at 8am! trust me, your pancreas (that isn't actually working anymore...hmmm, we need to have a chat about that someday, immune system!) and stomach will thank you.
they're like, "please don't make me work that hard, i just woke up, too." when you wake up, go easy on your body.
ideas that work great for me:
-a nectarine or black plum with a handful of salted almonds (it's a super-yummy combo that your tongue will thank you for!)
-old fashioned rolled oats (if you can't stand the idea of soaking steel cut and cooking in the morning) with a handful of flaxseeds and a squirt of agave nectar (this stuff is sooo sweet to me, go easy on it.) the oats are fibrous, slow-burning and filling, while the flaxseeds give you some much needed omega 3 essential-fatty acids.
-elana amsterdam's amazing recipes for all kinds of muffins are super healthy, low carb and did i mention tasty? i make her recipes all of the time and my BG does beyond great. in fact, i adjust most of her recommended 1/4 cup of agave nectar for each recipe to half that amount and (due to agave's sweetness) have done even better!
-lowfat plain greek yoghurt with a handful of oats and a squirt of agave nectar. the entire meal is low glycemic and filling.
-homemade miso soup. i know you think i'm crazy, but it really is fast, filling, and diabetic friendly. go easy on the paste (because it is salty) and pleasepleaseplease buy it organic (someday i'll explain the dangers of soy), and preferably low-sodium. miso is a version of soy(fermented) that is good for you, by the way, unlike most soy products in the u.s.

3. go easy on the caffeine.
i know i'm a natural-health nut, but seriously: a cup of decaf coffee or green tea will keep you from getting delayed hyperglycemia---which i was experiencing, i don't care that the study was solely on type 2's---and still give you the slightly-caffeinated boost you're begging for. i'm not lying, you will still get the psychosomatic response you need to 'wake up'. just do the weaning process slowly: when you go to buy coffee, fill the bag 3/4 to 1/4 caf to decaf, then the next time 1/2 and 1/2, and so on until you feel you're down to only decaf. nobody said it's a sin to want some java; just try cutting out the caffeine and you'll still feel rejuvenated without the negative effects. try to make this the only cup of coffee that you have a day, though (your adrenals will thank you.) you know, chai tea is a very nice drink throughout the day...wink, wink.
note: the warm drink also stimulates your Spleen to dump--which it should be doing. this is why we have a bowel movement in the morning. well, you should be, and if you're not, your Spleen is not happy, as this is it's time to shine. this is why it's important to eat/drink warmer foods in the morning; it allows the spleen to dump waste-products---Save Your Spleen! um, my new campaign. ;)

4. don't be afraid to snack.
the goal being that your chosen snack will be healthy and not the size of a small elephant---and i'm not necessarily advocating radishes. i'm simply saying if you go easy on the size of your breakfast, you will find that your blood sugar will go easy on you, and then you can have a worthwhile snack, which in turn will cause you not to gorge yourself on lunch and end up with carb coma at 2pm. ahhhhh, good ole carb-coma-high-blood-sugar-to-crash-cycle.
-another kind of muffin!
-piece of fruit. i don't care what dr. bernstein says, i do not advocate that people not include fruit in their diets as diabetics. while i understand and appreciate much of what he says, fruit has too many vital vitamins and nutrients naturally occurring to be avoided and then just taken by way of supplements your body will only then poop out. i eat fruit everyday (2-3 servings by way of a smoothie with almond milk or just munching away) and feel that the fructose in it is just enough to give me a boost---and because it is a more complex molecule than glucose, it burns a bit slower in the break down. unless you know you're most likely low in something, get your vitamins and minerals by eating healthy, people!
-a bit of cottage cheese with tomatoes or fruit slices---no joke, it's really good if you like cottage cheese, right? i also think oikos greek yogurt makes these fun little organic cups in vanilla and blueberry (my faves) that are quite low carb.
-celery, apples, or bananas with peanut butter. it's important to have protein with carbs---for anyone not just diabetics. but it's especially important if you have blood sugar problems, which type 1 diabetics do...inherently. you could call us "carbohydrate reactive" as one nutritionist told me. and boy, do we react. :)

this is all i have for now. if this post seems odd or incomplete, get serious. it's wacky birdy we're talking about...of course it'll be odd. no really, please let me know if you have further questions. love&peace to you all, we're all in this boatload of learning together!