Posted in Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes

Dining at the New Good Food-Low Carb Cafe!

A little while ago, a new restaurant popped up in my area that I was super excited about as a type 1 diabetic: a low carb cafe! I was looking forward to visiting this place as it features a low carb, gluten free, and grain free menu with items that have no added sugars of any kind (including agave, honey, syrups, or fruit concentrates). In addition, given that one of the owners is a type 1 diabetic, they have carb counts for all their meal items too. This made the decision to try it out a no brainer! I had to go!

At this point, I have eaten there a couple of times now and have always been super pleased with the food. One of the items on their menu that I was really looking forward to trying out the first time I went were their low carb flatbread pizzas, which are made with almond flour. I wanted to try multiple items though, so I got 2 entrees and ate half of each. I had half a buffalo chicken and bleu cheese flatbread pizza and half a salad that had pico de gallo, mixed greens, a little bit of pan seared onions and bell peppers, avocado, and chicken. The entire thing of flatbread pizza had only 7 grams of carbs while the whole salad had 23 (due to the onion and bell pepper). All of it was delicious! The pizza, especially, made my day as I had been longing for pizza for soooo long. It was great to be able to enjoy pizza without having to stress about blood sugars.

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Buffalo chicken and ranch almond flour flatbread pizza (7g of carbs for the whole thing)
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Fajita salad (23g carbs)

In addition to eating delicious pizza that day, I also took home with me a chocolate peanut butter bar (7g of carbs each) and ate some of it the next day for lunch with my leftovers. These dessert bars were a delicious treat!

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Peanut butter chocolate dessert bars (7g of carbs)

The second time I went, I had another of their salads (pictured below), which was also amazing. And the third time I went, I had one of their zucchini noodle bowls (artichoke chicken flavored) and shared a margherita flatbread pizza with my husband. All the items I have had there so far have been excellent. My boluses have worked well for the most part. However, I have had to watch for the delayed protein rise as although the food is low in carbs, some of the entrees can be fatty and cause delayed bg rises. Still worth it in the end.

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Another one of the delicious salads. This one had avocado, chicken, cheese, sunflower seeds, and a lot of veggies. I think this one was 14 g of carbs.

In the future, when I get to go during breakfast time, I look forward to trying out their low carb pancakes as they sound delicious. I wish there were more local restaurants (not chain restaurants) with carb counts for their food items. Would definitely make dining out with type 1 diabetes much easier. However, I am glad that they aren’t too close by to me as I think I would spend a lot of money eating there all the time, lol. Looking forward to my next visit and trying out more of their creations!

PS: In case anyone is interested in visiting this restaurant, the Good Food-Low Carb Cafe is in Madison, Wisconsin. Below is a link to their website:

http://www.goodfoodmadison.com/low-carb-cafe

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Posted in Diabetes

Dear Coffee, we may have to break up…just a little bit

I absolutely love coffee. It gives me the jolt that I need on days when I am feeling a little bit energy-less and helps me get through busy work days. However, drinking too much seems to cause elevated blood glucose levels for me, which has been an extremely disappointing discovery for me. And this is plain unflavored, black coffee with nothing in it, mind you. No milk, no cream, no sugars, no artificial sweeteners….NOTHING……a zero carb beverage.

At first, it wasn’t very obvious that black coffee did have an effect on me as it seemed like my pancreas still had the ability to handle it. However, as my type 1 diabetes honeymoon phase continues coming to a close, it has started to become quite obvious that on days where I drink more coffee, I run higher. And not only does it affect my blood glucose levels two hours after a meal, it seems to continue affecting my blood glucose levels throughout the rest of the day and/or night. It can either cause my blood sugars to slowly continue rising hours after my meal and many times causes me insulin resistant highs at my next meal that sometimes don’t come down until I stack insulin and crank up basal by a lot. It seems that either the caffeine or something in it causes my adrenals to go into overdrive, telling my liver to dump out sugar, which makes my basals and boluses not to work as well as they usually do.

Although this has been a depressing discovery, it has helped make sense of some situations in the past where I have had some unexplained highs. I remember one day I had a coffee maybe an hour and a half or so after I had lunch. Two hours after lunch, I was somewhere around the 130 range (and this is a lunch I have had many many times before with no issues). When I got home a couple of hours later, I decided to test before changing my insulin pump and my blood sugar was over 200 when I had not eaten any actual food or carbs in over 5 hours. 200!!! I had even gone for a one hour walk that day after having the coffee, which should have helped increase insulin sensitivity. This isn’t the only isolated case either. There have been other situations in the past where I have had highs that when I think back on, there was always coffee involved either during the meal or maybe I drank a bit too much coffee earlier in the day.

Not all my highs are related to coffee consumption, obviously. However, after studying my blood sugar trends for a while and comparing weeks where I have more caffeine vs less caffeine, I am pretty certain that coffee/caffeine is yet another variable that affects my blood glucose levels and is something I have to be very careful about from now on. My insulin dosages are definitely higher on weeks I have more caffeine. Some people say plain black coffee has no effect on their blood glucose levels and don’t have to worry about bolusing for it as it is a zero carb beverage, but for some of us it definitely does have an effect on our blood glucose levels. Just goes to show that everyone’s type 1 diabetes is different and everyone has to figure out what affects their diabetes.

I still don’t plan to break up entirely with coffee though as I just love it too much. I just have to be extremely careful from now on and can’t drown my sorrows in too much coffee (unless I want to gain a ton of weight from the extra insulin I would have to take to cover it). Thinking I may need to start looking into a coffee substitute that won’t cause blood glucose chaos. Hmmmm. Anybody else experience blood sugar spikes or rises with coffee or caffeine? Any coffee substitutes you have tried that you can recommend? Comment down below! ☺

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Ah coffee, you feed my soul. Why must you be so evil to my blood glucose levels though?
Posted in Diabetes

My Type 1 Diabetes Athlete Role Models

As anyone with type 1 diabetes already knows, managing exercising with type 1 diabetes is difficult. It presents many challenges that normal people with a functioning pancreas don’t have to worry about. Blood glucose levels that are too high or too low impair athletic performance and can also be extremely dangerous. Take too much insulin for a meal before a workout and you can end up with a low blood glucose level putting you at risk for blacking out or immediate death. Other times, you may end up with an adrenaline spike, which causes your liver to dump out a massive amount of glucose and can make your blood glucose levels skyrocket, causing damage to all your organs in the long term. This set of challenges can make exercising a very daunting experience for many type 1 diabetics and is why some may choose to avoid physical activity all-together.

In my experience, I sometimes don’t know what to expect. Some days my blood glucose levels drop and other days it can sky rocket. I know that with muscle building/strength training type of exercise, blood glucose levels tend to rise more rather than fall due to the stress on the body while with plain steady state cardio blood glucose levels tend to drop. Therefore, with my goal of building muscle mass, exercising can be a little bit scary at times. It gets hard to predict the adrenaline spike as sometimes it happens immediately after my workout or other times it happens much later. It is always a relief for me to not end up with a high blood glucose level as it can sometimes take a long time to come down or other times I take too much insulin to cover the spike and end up plummeting. It feels like I am walking on a tight rope and playing with fire at times. However, I cannot let this stop me from achieving my goals. The benefits of having more lean muscle mass for better blood glucose management (and just to have a healthier body) will be worth it in the long run. Plus, the fact that exercising makes me feel so much better and clear headed mentally and emotionally is always worth the constant micro-managing that has to go on before, during, and after exercising.

However, sometimes I do need a little bit of inspiration to keep going and pushing myself and this is when I go to the internet to look for motivation. These are a few type 1 diabetic athletes I have found that have been truly inspiring to me. They do intensive exercising and strength training and don’t let their diabetes stop them from achieving their goals. I cannot let T1D stop me from achieving my goals either. If they can do it, I can too.

  1. Chris Ruden

Chris Ruden is a powerlifter. He has a birth defect that left him with two fingers on his left hand and he also has type 1 diabetes. He lives his life under the motto: “limitations are self-imposed”. I found one of his videos a while after I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was looking for some type 1 diabetic athletes for a bit of inspiration/motivation. I later saw that he was a member of the type 1 diabetes athletes facebook group that I joined a while back, which blew my mind. 🙂

 

2. Jay Maryniak

Jay Maryniak does crossfit and has type 1 diabetes. He is also a member of the facebook type 1 diabetes athletes group that I joined a while back. That is how I came across this first video of him. The first video is an amazing display of athletics (such a strong core, geez) while in the second video he talks a little bit about his type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

 

I hope this post helps anyone out there with type 1 diabetes find motivation to pursue their health and fitness goals. Although I am sure there are many other successful type 1 diabetic athletes out there to look up to, it is very hard to come across them. I hope this post helps spread the word about the type 1 diabetic athlete rock stars that are out there! 🙂

Posted in Diabetes

Joining a Gym to Build Lean Muscle Mass-1.5 Month Update

Toward the end of last year, I joined a gym with the purpose of building more lean muscle mass to better manage my blood glucose levels. Prior to joining this gym, I used to do workouts at home by myself. My workouts were mainly cardio with some light strength training exercises with dumbbells. Although I varied my workouts around from time to time, I got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t making any progress nor getting stronger. I was essentially just doing maintenance exercise and not challenging my body enough to force my muscles to grow, which led me to take the next step and join a gym to get some professional help from personal trainers.

As of today, I have been attending this gym for about a month and a half (3 times a week). I am happy to report that I have noticed much improvement already in strength and flexibility in this short period of time. The stretching routine I was given has been extremely helpful to get the flexibility back in the foot I had injured a while back. Although my foot had already healed, it always felt extremely stiff and as soon as tried to do any exercise that would challenge it a bit, it would complain. In addition, the stretching program I was given has also helped me release tension in other areas that are a bit tight for me, such as my hamstrings.

One particular area I have noticed much improvement in is my upper body strength and core strength. I had almost no upper body nor core strength when I started these workouts. Any exercise that involved my core, in particular, felt extremely strenuous initially. Although my core is still weak and has a long way to go, I have noticed significant improvement. Although my muscles don’t “seem” bigger yet, I am excited about the progress I have been making and love feeling stronger every day. I can now lift 15 pound dumbbells, a month ago I could only lift 7 pound dumbbells and they felt heavy. I have also been able to squat with a 30 pound weight while a month ago I could only squat with 14-15 pounds. This is definitely progress in my book!

In addition, we did measurements on Friday and the numbers definitely show some progress. My waist circumference has reduced by a ¼ inch and my body fat percentage has decreased by 2%. Doesn’t seem like much, but this is huge progress for me as when I was injured late last year I did end up gaining quite a bit of body fat and was starting to look “skinny fat”(yes, lots of people are skinny fat=appear slim but have very little muscle mass and are holding onto some fat around the belly area). This happened to me despite the fact that I was still exercising in any way I could, was still eating clean meals, cut a massive amount of calories from my diet, and cut carbs even further.

To be honest,  I wasn’t expecting to have lost any body fat at all though as I have snuck in a few restaurant cheat meals during the month of January since I started these workouts. They’re still healthy clean foods though, just extra calories and carbs. I felt I have needed them to recharge though. I feel that as long as I stick to my exercise regime and my home made clean meals for most of the week, I should be fine.

We didn’t do measurements of arms and legs this time around as the trainer thinks there wouldn’t be much difference in a month and a half as building enough muscle to notice a difference takes some time. It’s good to know that I am headed in the right direction though, building more muscle and losing body fat %. I look forward to seeing where I am at in a couple of months after I have been at it for a while.

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Working hard to build lean muscle mass.

 

Among other things that have been going on in life, I convinced my husband to give the gym a go and I will be adding him as a partner to my workout sessions! I think it will be great for both of us to get healthy and fit together. Also, I feel it will help keep us more motivated on those days when we may not be feeling the gym. Looking forward to having a workout buddy! 🙂

Posted in Diabetes

Joining a Gym to Build More Muscle for Better Blood Glucose Control

During the last week of 2016, I joined a gym to work with personal trainers in order to help me move towards my goal of building more lean muscle mass. At home, my strength training regimen has involved really long sessions with lots of repetitions (with light dumbbells), which hasn’t really gotten me anywhere. I know that to build real muscle I have to stress my body and keep progressively adding weight to make the muscles grow stronger over time. By doing the same thing and lifting the same size weights over and over again, the body just becomes used to it and gets to a point where it won’t continue growing. Therefore, I decided it would be best to get professional help that will take me through the right progression as I know that I would probably injure myself easily by just trying to add more weight when my body may not be ready for it.

Before deciding to join said gym, I went in for an assessment after emailing to inquire and letting them know about my goals/injuries/etc. Right off the bat, I knew this gym was the right place for me. I really liked the trainers and the gym. Before the assessment, we sat down and discussed my goals and history in detail. The trainer I talked to had already talked to the other trainers about me and let them know that I had a foot injury that I would need some help with to recover, which was nice. I felt like they listened to me and we were on the same page. I knew I would be in good hands so I decided to join. The trainers designed a workout program for me that focuses on the following:

  1. stretching to prevent injuries and gain more flexibility in certain areas that are a bit tight
  2. strength training to build large muscle groups
  3. cardio

I have worked with a few of the trainers already and they change the workouts around depending on how I have been progressing with the exercises. The workouts are also changed around to make sure that different body parts are targeted during each workout. This is to avoid overworking certain muscle groups too much and also to make sure that all muscle groups are getting a proper workout. The trainers always make sure to take notes so that the next trainer that works with me knows what we worked on at the previous session, what size weights I was comfortable with, etc.

The few sessions I have had so far have been extremely helpful. I feel like I am working different muscles that I have not used before in my workouts. We have also been working on improving my core strength, which is an area that is extremely weak for me. Gosh, I did not realize how weak and out of shape my core was! I hope it starts getting stronger soon.

In addition, the stretching program I was put on to improve the mobility of my foot has helped tremendously. It is starting to feel a lot better and less stiff. I look forward to continue working with the trainers to reach my fitness goals.

So far, I have liked having the guidance of personal trainers to take me through the right progression and take me at a pace that is comfortable for my body. I know that if I tried to do muscle building by myself, I would try to do too much too soon or start overworking muscle groups too much until they get injured. It’s nice to have expert guidance to design a program tailored to me specifically and also watch my form to make sure I’m not doing anything that will hurt me.

The experience with this gym I decided to join was the complete opposite from the experience I had with the first gym I had gone to earlier in the week. The first gym I had visited just didn’t feel right for me at all. I felt my injuries weren’t respected very much during the assessment and their packages pushed all this other stuff I wasn’t interested in (beauty consultation, cryosauna sessions, and stuff like that). I’m just a normal person that wants some help with working out and wasn’t interested in all the add-ons nor becoming a star athlete. Therefore, I decided that wasn’t the right place for me.

I am glad I took the time to find the right gym for me as I know my muscle building journey will take a long time. Muscle building is something that doesn’t happen overnight and it will take years to get to where I want to be. I am a member of a type 1 diabetes athletes group on facebook, and a lot of the transformation stories are truly inspiring. These transformations have taken many years and have involved a lot of effort and discipline. I am mentally prepared for this and know that I should not get discouraged by apparent lack of progress during the first couple of months/years. I am looking forward to the journey and am confident in the ability of my trainers to get me to where I want to be. I know it will take a lot of time and effort on my part and I hope I don’t give up even when the going gets rough.

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One of the motivational messages outside my gym. I always enjoy reading these, especially on days where I am exhausted and not feeling the gym at all. They always pump me up for my workout!
Posted in Diabetes

My Goals for Diabetes Management in 2017

It’s been a while since I last posted. I was busy towards the end of the year with work and then took a much needed vacation during the holidays. My husband and I took this time off to stay home together. We visited different coffee shops and just did a lot of walking around playing Pokémon Go. It was fun and a much needed break for the both of us. It was also nice to get to spend more quantity time together as sometimes we get so busy and caught up in our schedules that we feel we barely get to see each other at times.

This time off also gave me the opportunity to reflect on my goals for my type 1 diabetes management in the new year. This post a is a bit late to the party as we’re already two weeks into 2017. However, I decided I should post it anyway so I can hold myself accountable and look back at it later in the year. Short and sweet, here are my goals and a short summary of how I am already working towards them:

  1. Continue exploring the potential of my Omnipod for Diabetes Management

I started on the Omnipod insulin pump almost two weeks ago. So far, we have been working on tweaking basals and insulin to carb ratios for different times of the day and I think we have a pretty good starting point for settings now after some trial and error. However, it is up to me now to keep tweaking and make my numbers even tighter as I know tighter numbers make me feel better. I feel I still don’t know enough about some of its features like extended boluses and whatnot to see if I can use these to experiment with different foods, especially when dining out. So far, I have definitely been making use of temporary basals for exercise, when I see I am starting to go low, etc, but need to explore its other features a little bit more. Will have to do some more research on this.

2. Lift Heavy Weights to Build Lean Muscle Mass

This is a goal I have been working on since being diagnosed towards the end of 2015. For a while though, I have been feeling that I was at the point where I needed to take it to the next level and start lifting heavy weights. I have been doing too much cardio and not lifting weights that are heavy enough. While cardio has an immediate effect on blood glucose levels for a day or so after doing it, developing muscle is what will help better manage blood glucose levels in the long run. Therefore, I joined a gym where I have been working with personal trainers to help me reach my goal of building more lean muscle mass. Will make another post on this discussing how it has been going.

3. Meditation and not letting diabetes affect my mood

My mood and emotions are extremely affected by blood sugars. Although I have pretty tight control of my blood sugar levels with an A1C of 5.8%, I am very sensitive to the ups and downs of blood sugar rises and falls. The ups cause me an immediate feeling of anxiety (especially when the rise is rapid) while going low or dropping too quickly causes me feelings of depression and fear. I try to keep myself as flat as possible as that is when I feel great. However, as anyone with this disease knows, you can do everything the same way every single day and you may not get the same result day in and day out. I have to train myself to just let it go on those days that are not going well and cause me to feel crummy. I am hoping meditation can help teach me to calm my mind during these moments of stress. I feel my mind probably makes the situation 10x worse and amplifies my feelings of un-wellness.

That’s it for my 2017 goals. I am working hard on my goals already and hope that when I look back at this in a year I can say that I have made progress on each of them. Here’s hoping to a good 2017!

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Here’s my  Omnipod  insulin pump Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) ! Have been loving the Omnipod so far.
Posted in Diabetes

Success! Omnipod Insulin Pump Approved!

Today, I received a call from my Omnipod customer service rep indicating that my Omnipod insulin pump application has been approved by my health insurance company. The supplies are being shipped out to me today. Merry Christmas to me! Awaiting the call from the trainer to schedule training so I can then go to my endo’s clinic and meet with the diabetes educator nurse to actually get started on it. Nervous about it, but excited at the same time. Although my control on injections is currently very good, I look forward to seeing how this further helps with my diabetes management. Time to celebrate!

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No related picture to share today. Just a pretty picture of our first snow a couple of weeks ago.