Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 7 gluten and dairy free update~

Well, all I can say is that I've seen amazing improvement in my blood sugars since going off gluten and dairy. We're talking easy-peasy post meal numbers---as most diabetics, I struggle to keep them in range.  My postpartum A1C has not been awful (maintaining a 7.1%) but it's not where I really need and want it to be (low to mid 6's) as I'm planning my second pregnancy in the next year or so (did I just share that personal info?) I'm trying to bring it down slowly because this is safer and reduces the risk of dangerous low BGs, but my averages were just kicking my butt in general---they wouldn't budge for months from the 160's for a 30 day average. After just a week of cutting out gluten and dairy alone, they've slid down to the mid 140's. Nice.
Having said that, I don't really feel any different. My skin is still breaking out quite a bit but only on my jawline (classic female hormonal acne---hello postpartum for real!) but not getting worse (that's good, right? Right?! More on what I've chosen to do herbally in another post to rebalance my hormones) and I don't feel sluggish as I did before...which I do think was due to the dairy.
We'll see what happens when I do the "Challenge" days (which is what you do on an Elimination/Challenge diet. I'm going to be happily eating cheese and heavy cream and whipped cream at every meal for a full day. And then I'll either realize I'm ok (no negative bodily response) or I'll be one very, very unhappy and feeling ill gal. I wonder though, too much dairy in general even when people *aren't* technically sensitive can give people some digestive discomfort, so I wonder how I'll know the difference? This is why I'm actually thinking of just not going too overboard and eating as I normally would've ingested dairy---pastured cream in my morning coffee, some cheese and an apple for a snack later. Ok, maybe I'll have grilled cheese for dinner to make up for lost time. Ha! Oh wait, I can't...because I have to do gluten on a different day. Oy. This is annoyingly complicated!

My point is that this has been hard (all I want right now is some cheese and crackers!) but it's also not been that bad. And wow, the blood sugar stabilizing is pretty amazing....I think, perhaps what has happened is that I'm eating healthier options when I have the common dairy/gluten cravings (which, hilariously often go together): cheese and crackers are replaced with a piece of fruit and some almonds, instead of toast I baked way more almond flour muffins to curb the craving/need for something glutenously carby (yes, that is a term, believe it, belieeeeve it!) and I've noticed my dinner plate is way more full of veggie options since I'm not just piling on....oh wait, that's weird. My carb options for dinner generally never involved a lot of gluten (ie, pasta) but I think honestly because my cravings for it are being curbed, I'm going easy on things like rice (even though we only eat 100% wild) and potatoes. Weird, huh? This is real food for thought.

So what this boils down to is:
just trying this experiment----and it takes willpower, I tell ya, sheer WILL POWA!---rebalances your body to decrease the cravings for refined carbs.  Yes, I thought that was so important that I just italicized it and wrote it in bold. I'm feelin' bold so I emboldened it. ;)

So take the plunge. Give it a shot. You might not find that you're actually truly allergic/sensitive/intolerant to gluten and/or dairy, but you might get some insights into your diet, your cravings...and especially your blood sugars. I'm even gaining insights into the why's and when's of my gluten/dairy cravings. Which, as we all know too well, play a huge role in the types and amounts of our carbohydrate intake.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

being free, going free~

Lately I've been experiencing a bunch of odd "symptoms" here and there when (at least I think) I eat dairy and grains. But I'm not sure. It could just be something stupid, too. I often feel sluggish, achey, have insomnia, and lately, the worst of all: I'm experiencing cystic acne in a way that I have never experienced in my life. The sad part is, I eat a healthy diet overall, my blood sugars are balancing more and more everyday that I am postpartum, and I exercise. Maybe it's stress? Who knows, but I think looking at our food is always a good place to start.
Whenever I look at Paleo diets I get kind of overwhelmed by all the do's and don'ts. I agree mostly with its premise (not eating anything our ancestors wouldn't have eaten---aka, eat Whole Food/Real Food instead of Oreos and Cheerios and Fried Rice) but I have doubts about the dairy thing. Mostly just that I think pastured butter and heavy cream are good for us. So no, I'm not talking about low fat yogurt and skim milk. Those are devoid of all their nutrient value and should be banished from our minds as "healthy foods." You've basically taken a whole food and processed it down to its sugar base. Not so good.
I've decided to do a 14 day [mostly] Grain Free/ Dairy Free experiment. That way I'm not feeling overly restricted. I think the more a person restricts their diet, the more they are at risk of a vicious cycle of restricting/bingeing. I am a person who likes to eat all foods; so I'll never be someone on a "diet" in which I eliminate an item unless absolutely necessary---as in, if I discover that I am experiencing a food sensitivity to gluten or dairy.
God, I hope not.
Because I do love cream and toast and cheese and icecream and butter and...hey, you know what I just realized? There are so many alternatives to wheat nowadays, I highly doubt I'd miss that one too much. It'd be more the issue of avoiding it because it's in so many things. I definitely would miss dairy more, I believe.

So I made a 14 Day Gluten-Free/ Dairy Free Meal Plan. It's a bit boring and may get changed around here and there to fit my family's eating schedule, but here is Day 1, below. I'll try to update you as much as possible (maybe even every day? Maybe I'm dreaming? :) But either way, I'll try to give you a few ideas at least if you're interested in doing something like this via my example days:

Porridge---I prefer to add more Almond flour, use any type of alternative milk available (almond, flax, etc if you don't have coconut milk or don't want it too coconutty) and leave out the honey. My BGs are beautiful every time I eat it. I kid you not.

Salad greens with beans (I know, I know, not Paleo, but this is not a total Paleo challenge!) and Coldcuts, oil-based dressing.

Paleo Spaghetti and Meat Sauce---there are multiple options, just do a search for one that fancies you, but here's an example (I definitely recommend using a spaghetti squash rather than kelp noodles, though...)

For dessert, well, I have all kinds of recipes I love for gluten and dairy free options. I'm making these tonight, one of my fave cookie recipes on the planet.  Here's a pic of what mine tend to turn out like (and a view of my Littlebird begging for more in the background, haha):
Wish me luck! Let me know if you've been doing any "clean eating overhauling" (among other things) this year and what you're doing to make it happen; I find these things quite difficult nowadays with a toddler and all. But our health needs to be our priority---I plan to live with this disease for a *ahem* terribly long time, winkwink.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

S.A.D: seasonal affective disorder~

Well, it's January and seasonal affective disorder seems to be in full swing for most people I know. I was humming along all this Fall and through the holiday and BAM! January 2nd comes and I actually contemplated crawling inside the couch cushion. It's so hard for me to deal with this because I'm usually a pretty upbeat person but damn, I'm still adjusting to our new move on top of reeling from the stress after Hurricane Sandy hit our town. So much was up in the air, we seriously thought Christmas was cancelled. Not cool.
I wanted to talk about S.A.D a wee bit on my diabetes blog simply because stress and good blood sugars don't really mix. Also, we tend to eat like royal crap when we're stressed (can I say Comfort Food?!) and then the vicious cycle of momentarily feeling better only to be followed by frustration ensues. But anyone can use these ideas---it's great for diabetics who are really trying to work through, but I think most people feel a bit [of] SAD from January-March and could use some pretty easy, straightforward practices to move yourself out of those dark moments literally in the dead of winter...

  • Listen to music. Go ahead and laugh, but I particularly find Louis Armstrong, Buena Vista Social Club, Jack Johnson, and anything not too hipster-melancholia-makes-me-too-nostalgic-moody good for my winter state of soul. Do you have any music that gets you through? Share your ideas in the comments below, I'd love to get some fresh music on my iPod.
  • Drink Lemonbalm tea. It's calming and regenerative and tastes so good it literally makes you happy. It's also antiviral, a great thing during the cold and flu season. However, it's mildly suppressive to the thryoid, so people with hypothyroidism may want to avoid it. You can buy the dried leaves and simply steep them (about a tablespoon) in a tea ball or sip through a tea straw. 
  • Do calorie burning exercise sessions on Fitness Blender. (I'm not being paid to say that) Seriously. It's just an awesomely fun, no frills, no tacky music, husband&wife team who do exercise sessions from 10-30 minutes that have really been working for me as a person with diabetes (and a toddler) trying to find creative ways to do cardio since it's too freaking cold out for me to really enjoy walking. Hey, I live by the ocean, it's superwindy in the winter! ;)  I really liked starting out with this one; it's great if you're just getting back into exercising. 
These are my ideas that have really helped me in the past years---pretty easy, eh? Sometimes these types of "guides" get out of control, I think, and people end up being so overwhelmed with the information provided they don't feel like they can even do one of them. Basically, I suggested that you relax and escape (through music), relax and slow down (with tea time---literally making the time for tea; there's a point to it---it forces you to relax), and get moving---but still relax (with exercise); you'll feel the effects of it immediately after doing even 20 minutes of cardio---your mood will be improved, your entire outlook [for winter, haha] and the aftereffects continue on in the form of relaxation, improved sleep (even if you get little of it due to having a toddler) and just feeling better about yourself knowing you are taking care of your body. And because the mind-body connection is well, true, it all connects back to itself because taking care of your body is taking care of your mind. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the overhaul~

It's been painfully long since I blogged on here. My sad little forgotten, avoided, worn out from the misadventures of Misadventures of Peabody blog. Sigh.
The truth is, (and I know I simply should've been blogging about this) I had a bad case of diabetes burnout. Ok, it wasn't that bad. But bad enough.
After I gave birth to my little boy, my family and I moved and then this huge Derecho storm hit that summer and then Hurricane Sandy hit that Fall and then the holidays and then BAM! I got hit with the realization that I was barely managing my blood sugars---at least in my book. I haven't had a health scare or anything, but I don't want to keep heading down this path---the one where you're just correcting as you go. Well, that about sums up type 1 diabetes in a nutshell, but I think most of us want to at least attempt to have [some semblance, haha] of better control over this beast.
And I don't feel like I have that right now. Particularly regarding stress.

So my A1c came back at 7.1%--same as it was last time, which, I suppose is better than creeping up even more. But I honestly think it's only because I was crashing so often after correcting for blood sugar surges. I'm still breastfeeding my almost 2 year old (which we are both very happy with) and so I think I'm also dealing with the nursing hormones that can wreak havoc on a woman in general, let alone your BG. Sigh. I sigh a lot about this lately. And that's also why I wasn't blogging. I didn't really know what to say and certainly didn't want to use my blog as merely a place to vent my diabetes frustrations---although that may not have been a bad idea, now that I think about it. It's often how so many of us in the DOC manage the emotional aspect of this disease on top of gaining insight and input that can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes, I'm like a turtle, where I retreat into my shell to think long and hard and sleep on something. And yes, most of it emphasizes the retreating part. Which we really can't do with type 1 diabetes, can we? It's 24/7, no ifs, ands or buts. Collective Sigh. ;)

So what's a busy mama, feeling the slow onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder coming on to do?

An overhaul. That's what the hell I'm gonna do.

I'm talking about paying attention. I know, right? PAY ATTENTION! what a great idea! Duh.

In my case, I haven't really been. I've been allowing myself to fall into bad habits and patterns that really aren't that hard to break but I've simply been lazy and I also have this thing about self-love that I need to work on that I believe has a lot to do with it---I'll blog more about that later. But let's just say that the emotional aspect of dealing with this disease can really wear on your psyche and your attitude towards eating and taking care of yourself---so much so that you actually just...don't.  An amazing thought considering the entire disease is about just taking care of yourself. But why is that so hard? Don't we owe that to ourselves? Our families? To just hunker down and really take good care?

I'm not talking about not eating yummy foods, either. That's what everyone always thinks it translates into: a gym membership and a raw foods diet. Ha! I'm merely talking about some basic goals. Small changes. Little things that I know I'm having problems with that are so straightforward I really am being lazy not to. Well, that and the self-love-deserving-to-be-healthy issue as to why I haven't "allowed" myself to completely move into this approach. I didn't want to put it all out there because I was simply afraid to. Oh, the judgments and criticisms and the fear of letting that all go. Especially from ourselves; the worst kind, right?

I'll start my New Year Diabetes Overhaul [golf claps, haha] with mentioning some concrete things I want to change and why:

  • I bake 95% of the time with nut flours (almond and coconut) and my BG does beautifully with these. The problem is that sometimes I get so hungry or have cravings when I'm out visiting or on an excursion that I eat junky sweets that make my BG super unhappy. I need to remember to just snack on this stuff at home most of the time. 
  • I get into a super bad mood---you know the fuzzy, cotton-mouthed stupor of oncoming/swimming in high BG? Ya, that. In my case, I often also feel a sense of fear and doom---kind of like the craze you feel when you're low and your brain tells you GET SOMETHING, ANYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON FAST---AND LOTS OF IT! ha! But I start feeling very agitated and frustrated and worried and anxious. The sad part is that I really thought I had an anxiety problem until recently I pinpointed my feelings to occur during high BG. This especially frustrated me because I felt I had decreased my stress a lot and had worked on my anxious states from way back when---only to think it was returning. Well, some of it was due to the stress of moving across the country, but I knew that was situational and temporary. This felt deeper---like I said, doom-like. Making me fearful. I think it was my brain telling me the pendulum swing was about to happen (that awful high BG-to-low-BG crash cycle.)
  • I want to try to cut out The Whites: white sugar, white flour, white pasta, even whole milk. I'd like to stick with coconut sugar and raw honey, spelt flour and sprouted wheat, whole grain pasta (we so rarely eat it, but if/when we do...) and half&half or heavy cream. This is not about a low-carb "diet". This is about trying to work towards the most whole foods I can eat in order to basically stop craving white sugar. Again, I don't know why I get stuck in this madness anyway since I have the knowledge and baking skills (and have seen the gorgeous corresponding BGs to prove it) to not do this to my body. It goes back to that whole lazy thing. And self-love. And self-care. And knowing what a real "yes" and a real "no" means---accommodating only what your body truly wants. In my case, I know it's not white sugar. Oy. 
  • We'd like to have another child in the next couple of years and when I think back on my first pregnancy and how "stressed out" I thought I was, I'm kind of appalled! Ha! I seriously think this. Now I know what my Endo meant way back when I got diagnosed and he said, "It won't always be this easy." And now it isn't. Things have changed. My body's really changed. I know it won't ever be the same, but I know I also need to remember what got me through the pre-pregnancy planning and intense prenatal care was my deep desire to be healthy for both him and I. I don't sit here and wonder "Well, what went wrong?" It's not about judgment, but rather, What's changed and how do I learn to work with how things are now?" I think I just put so much of myself into the planning and subsequent pregnancy and delivery that I literally burned-out just from that, in some ways, to be thoroughly honest. So now I'm just trying to get back on the horse, so to speak. To try and get back into some of those habits I just made myself form before I got pregnant with my son. 

So this is my new-ish goal for this blog this year: to work on being more open and honest and regular about sharing my journey towards the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, I'll do that turtle thing and just isolate myself from sharing it and then...I think little change occurs because it's easier to just wallow than start over again. Even if it's starting over every day. Which type 1 diabetes really is anyway! 

Is there something you feel you need to do a major Overhaul on this year? What do you think led you to this point? Do you think you can change it by backtracking small?

I know I'll never own this disease. But I don't want it to ever own me. So who does then? Maybe no one. Maybe we all do. That's a nice thought: a collective owning of something we truly all do better with when we feel the community support and input and guidance from each other. No judgments, no criticisms, no perfectionism allowed. Just all of us. Learning to own it together.