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. ;)

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