Nutrition

Let’s start by saying that I’m not a dietitian, I’m not a medical professional, my degree is a Bachelor of Arts: HISTORY degree.

That being said, I believe the academic and mainstream systems don’t support in-depth research on aspects/theories that fall outside of the accepted realm. This concept crosses genres. Not meaning to step on anybody’s beliefs: spiritual/religious/evolutionary etc. (we really don’t know – we all just have beliefs & theories – nothing has been proven as modern society demands, it comes down to faith in one or another path). My blog here isn’t about that though, it’s about nutrition.

Historically speaking the accepted theory that the middle eastern breadbasket and agriculture were fundamental in the explosion and spread around the globe of humanity. Mainstream thinking refuses to examine, or accept, evidence for previous cultural (and catastrophic) cycles. Another example is found in weather science – specifically how mainstream scientists refuse to take solar weather into account in forecasting (earthquakes too: see https://suspicious0bservers.org/ for details). Both areas are seeing grassroots movements to change this. Nutrition and health also follow this trend.

The most noticeable aspect is through the popularity of the vegetarian, vegan, ketogenic, paleo, carnivore, low carb high fat diets, as well as a resurgence of the South Beach Diet and the whole foods (we’re talking not processed food rather than the store) trends. In addition to high protein versions of Weight Watchers et al, the IIFIMM (if it fits in my macros) approach and so many more. America has been running on the food pyramid and the portion or “plate” method for decades. There are diets put forth by leading associations for specific diseases (and “options” with narrowly varied specifics for ‘new’ diseases) like the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association and even leading hospitals (think John’s Hopkins). [Sidebar: have you ever carb counted a hospital “diabetic” lunch?!?!?! It’s ridiculously not diabetic friendly, granted the approach for “control” is eat whatever just take enough insulin for it. Big pharma anyone?]

Something with the status quo of nutrition has not been working. People are struggling with health issues, and often obesity (and the trillions of side effects aka diseases/disorders); thus society has begun looking for something better. Right now the vegetarian, ketogenic and whole foods approaches are seemingly the most popular.

Due to type 1 I’ve been trying to talk myself out of carbs and into at the very least a low carb version of eating. I do good for a little bit then I start having a rash of low blood sugars so I have some juice to immediately correct then rebound then am on a roller coaster for a few days. Not to mention the cravings and falling off the bandwagon for just one day. No strings attached meals are important but sugar addiction is a really hard thing to kick. I’ve attempted to adjust my basal rates to avoid lows (by 1 setting option at a time) and that helps for a few days, then, with no change from day to day, I get thrown off. I either start creeping high or have a random low and the roller coaster again. <<This is just my experience, every body’s experience is different.>>

I like meat, so vegetarian doesn’t work for me. Plus I have to bolus for lettuce so guesstimating all the counts for non-starchy vegetables as a way of life, not worth it for me. It’s great for some, just not me.

Ketogenic was super scary because Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a super dangerous by product of having no insulin. I got lucky and haven’t had DKA and I don’t want to. I broached the subject with my specialist and (even though she’s pretty amazing) she scared me away from anything that results in ketosis. Looking more into it ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis are very different things. The details always make the difference. As I’ve been researching I’ve run across quite a few diabetics who live keto (or carnivore) and their results are what I want. Super steady blood sugars in normal range (we’re talking in the 80s) with great A1c results.

As I’ve been discussing this with my husband, we think the difference between D(iabetic)K(eto)A(acidosis) and Ketogenic diet or nutritional ketosis is the protein source. DKA stems from a lack of insulin to get fuel into a cell and the snowball effect of your body breaking down it’s own muscle because it thinks it’s not getting nutrients through eating. Then the acid levels build up along with high sugar levels and no fuel getting in. Bad all around. Nutritional ketosis occurs when you take in no carbs or sugar but you are eating plenty of calories from protein, veggies, fats etc and your body breaks down the animal proteins et al you are eating. So you’re not breaking your own body down producing acids AND you still have (are giving in my case) insulin to get the fuel into the cell.

So, what is keto? It’s basically extra low carb (20 grams or less per day) with higher fat intake and moderate protein. The goal is to switch the body into running on fat instead of sugar. KenBerryMD on YouTube/Facebook/Twitter etc really breaks this all down in his videos – which I linked to in my previous post. I’m still working juice and fruit which is not (generally speaking) keto friendly into my keto plan. Because, really, this is what I want to do.

Then, I happened upon the carnivore diet and a type 1 who has been living it for a year. Shoutout to Andrew Berger “@type1berger” on Instagram and Twitter. His results are phenomenal! Do I really want to eat only meat? No, but wow, if he can successfully live on the carnivore diet (we’re talking phenomenal A1c, great steady blood sugars, no mega cravings or mood eating etc.) and reduce his insulin dependence – surely I can do the low carb/keto thing!

Really long blog short: I got re-energized about trying to actually live low carb/keto. Further keto (and even carnivore for some ancestral groups) is pretty ancestral if you look into how ancient humans lived – as far as we can tell from the oldest records we have combined with archeological evidence. And I may even try carnivore sometime!

Adjusting my Fit-losophy

Fitness is a journey and I’ve not been disciplined this past week.  It started with the understanding that rest days are important. But instead of doing yoga or stretching on those days, I’d just play on my phone instead.

I’m okay that I did that but now I’m ready to restructure my routine and get back into it.  I pushed myself and as I got stronger I relished that I could do more. Now I’m working to find a balance to stay fit and toned. Bree with thebettyrocker.com has lots of workouts and recipes to try if you’re looking!

Reading thebettyrocker.com blog and listening to her podcast helps me sooo much. I listen to her on Castbox.

Part of restructuring is focusing more on my nutrition.  Have you ever honestly counted every carbohydrate you’ve taken in, in a day? It is stupid easy to eat 150 carbs or more (especially if you’re a breakfast lover). I’ve long been a fan of keto and keep thinking I’ll wean myself off carbs and sugars. Let me introduce Neisha and her husband Dr. Berry.

This is her Keto playlist from NeishaLovesIt on Youtube.

She’ll take you grocery shopping, or vlog about what she eats in a day, or just talk about her experience. She also has fashion and decorating posts if you dig that!

I’ve followed Dr. Berry for a few years and just adore Neisha. Well, now I’m focusing on actually eating low carb, high fat, moderate protein (LCHF[MP]) on the daily. Yesterday I jumped off the bandwagon with cereal and a sweet potato. My blood sugars are still in the 140s+ when they’d been running in the 80s. #type1 Trust me when I tell you this: carbs are not worth it.

Keto 101 (Amazing Results) playlist by KenDBerryMD on Youtube

He’s straightforward and pretty entertaining. Watching videos of them together is super cute. He gives solid information. And he is a board certified medical doctor, plus he reads a lot which means more to me than all the education in the world.

2 hours after starting this post, I’ve dropped my blood sugar with a Fitonapp workout and some more insulin and am ready to at the very least live low carb. Like actually low (less than 90 g of carbohydrate a day – including when I’ve corrected for lows). That’s the tricky part, it means that I have to aim for even fewer carbs so I have wiggle room for copious amounts of juice aka liquid sugar. I have plans to blog about the struggle of adjusting a basal rate of insulin to prevent those lows.

I’m back… again. Consistency take 2

So yes it’s been 4 months. That snuck up on me and it’s not like I’ve been having a rip roaring of an adventurous life, nope, just at the house. Working from home, getting groceries and meds delivered, losing my senior dog, gaining a new nephew and a niece, fixing up the house, and of course working out from home. All while trying to maintain inner peace, smooth blood sugars, and everything. I succeed with most of it, most of the time.

I came back here because one of my role models started a podcast! The Betty Rocker Show, and you can find links and episodes here: https://thebettyrocker.com/category/podcast/ and on your favorite players if you’re interested. I’m getting caught up on episodes and the last one I listened to has a commitment statement. Normally I put those on Instagram but not today!

I, Heather, commit to taking action by being mindful of how close to bedtime it is when I choose to snack or eat (low blood sugar treatment is exempt of course), and to drink more water, in the upcoming month. I will look for the good in myself, I will celebrate my wins along the way, and I will stay true to the #allorsomething mindset – because I am fierce, worthy and capable, and mostly because I value myself and take action toward what matters to me.

What’s bold are the parts that I had to fill in. I chose what aspects to take action on in the next month. I choose what aspects of myself will help push me to achieve those goals.

I encourage you to write your own and work toward your goals. (And check out The Betty Rocker – she really is flawesome!)

Fit From Home

So with all this Stay Home, Stay Healthy coronavirus social distancing – there is a surge in working out at home rather than going to a gym. As someone who prefers this, I have a few options for those who may be looking into it, or who may be burned out with what they have, or whose current routine may be starting to get … boring. 😦

The last thing you want is to get bored with your workout. It’s not so much about ‘confusing’ your muscles as it is about keeping your brain interested so you want to continue dedicating the time to actually do it.

Muscle confusion was recently touched on in the Curiosity Daily podcast on February 24, 2020 show: https://curiositydaily.com/your-dance-style-is-as-unique-as-your-fingerprint-the-myth-of-muscle-confusion-and-how-animals-get-color-without-pigment/. It’s an interesting podcast in general but more to this point: I was one who really believed you had to change your routine otherwise your muscles would stop responding. Come to find out, it’s more your interest that stops responding.

Some phenomenal platforms to help keep your workout fresh are social media in all its iterations, fitness websites, and apps (requires some research).

Instagram (follow those amazing workout peeps because the professionals typically have IG video workouts – Check out The Betty Rocker at: https://www.instagram.com/thebettyrocker/). Bonus to this method is that IG will alert you when a new story is posted and you can get up and workout right then. Or you can pull up the video at your workout time.

Same concept with the websites and apps. Most options will have a website if they have an app. It’s really user preference which is better. The sites/apps I use are FitOn, FitnessBlender, and YouTube:

FitOnApp (app version) that you can check out at: https://app.fitonapp.com/. Sidebar: I don’t have an apple and I’ve used them all on both my phone and my pc. 🙂 I also use Fitness Blender: https://www.fitnessblender.com/. And SaraBethYoga via YouTube.

All of these have the option to pay for premium but I’ve been using them for over a year without paying. And I workout consistently 3-5 times a week. (Not always is it hardcore but I have goals.) Remember that consistency is key, if you are persistent you will see results, just keep going!

Type 1 Tech

I briefly mentioned how diabetes technology impacts my management in the kick off to this “series.” Tbh I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this potentially overwhelming topic. Enter podcasts, and COVID-19. Yup, I’m not leaving my property for the next while.

The whole subject of diabetes, and its technology, is really big. I found a podcast about a month ago and it’s amazing so I’m going to refer anyone interested to them. It’s called “Juicebox Podcast: type 1 diabetes” and it’s done by a dad who has a diabetic daughter and it’s a journey in learning about life with the condition. But it’s so much more than their story. Seriously, if you’ve been looking to learn, or not feel so alone, or for tips… check it out!

I’ve been getting my insulin pump supplies and my insulin shipped to me for years. And it’s a big way to cut some worry out if my life. But I started the Dexcom cgm in December and have been picking it up every month in the store. Well, that’s gonna have to change now.

I have test strips as back up and to make sure the cgm is reading accurately. But nobody, nobody, really wants to go back to finger sticks if they’re information driven like I am. So I get to contact my pharmacy about making that happen. Luckily for me I’ve done this process before and it’s pretty easy.

I have to get them shipped in the first place because I am practicing social distancing. Having a chronic illness, I am being extra cautious. My job is incredible. I was watching the virus race around the world, then our nation, and trying to balance my health & safety with my budget. We all know that struggle! Before I had to make that decision, my job sent me to work from home. Then got me set up with a workstation so I could be even more efficient. Really, I can’t say enough praise and appreciation here. *Side note: being blatantly open with your boss and everybody about diabetes helps their understanding!

Fast forward to today. The Governor declared a shelter at home status for counties with cases of the virus for the elderly and people with high risk (read that underlying chronic health conditions). I live in one of those counties. I have 21 days (in addition to the 3 1/2) I’ve already done to be home bound. My first priority? Getting my medication switched to being shipped. My second? Making sure that my mental (and physical) health stays as good as it is now or gets better.

Let me tell you: I’m part introvert soooo I’m not too worried about going stir crazy! Not to mention I have a husband who likes to learn, who reads, and loves to have pretty in depth discussions on a wide range of subjects. Plus I am still responsible for about 95% of my job duties (can’t answer the phones from here). And I’m savvy enough to start video calling as I need contact… and podcasts. Podcasts bring people to me. I should worry about groceries but they have so many no contact delivery services ramping up right now that I’m not!

Technology is making the transition to being part of the “shelter-in-place” demographic totally handleable. Plus I have a husband whose pretty darn amazing! ♡ Tech. helps me manage my diabetes through better blood sugars. And a greater understanding of the specifics of what and how food, insulin, stress, and activities affect me. It’s going to continue to help me manage my well being. Maybe in a future post I’ll dive into some specifics of how each piece (insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, and the internet et al) helps me.

Stay healthy!

Working Out …continued

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Is your workout plan today lifting a pint? Mine is a short HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. 15-20 minutes a day and I’m good! I love squeezing in a workout when I don’t think I have time because I feel way more energized and productive afterwards.

Well I was doing phenomenal AND THEN I slacked off. It happens. It does. And it really is okay. For a long time I had a beginning and end approach to working out. If I missed more than one or two workouts in a row it was all over and I thought I had to start again. Not true.

Recognizing that working out is a process. And that there will be an ebb and flow, is life changing. For me, it took the slacker or lazy component out of my self talk. (Self talk can be a huge bonus or detriment in exercise.) Gotta tip my hat to the Betty Rocker for teaching me this.

The point is: if you are moving, you are doing good. The bottom line is that you need to work. You want to work (because you feel better [sense of accomplishment, endorphins, etc.]). Your body also can use rest periods.

I’ll be completely open here. How did I get started on actually doing something everyday? The 30 day (completely free, & I get nothing for mentioning this) #makefatcrychallenge by The Betty Rocker. So, her adds kept popping up on Facebook last year. Ya know, the ones in January that appear because you and everyone you know decided to actually “do something this year”… those. Only this time I clicked on it, then I ‘joined’ by adding my email. And following her on Instagram. You want to talk about motivation?!? This lady is like my big sister/coach/workout buddy. She and her team are a.m.a.z.i.n.g. I still haven’t paid for any products although I want to. 🙂

It is more than working yourself every day. It is deciding to get into it. It’s creating a routine that helps you work. A routine that reduces stress, builds confidence and helps you feel better. That’s the important part.

I’ve taken some time to rest (a few weeks). I’m accountable to myself. Now I’m ready to get back into working out. I’m ready to take the time for myself again. I’m ready to find beast mode. Are you?

Type 1: a series (hopefully).

An introduction to diabetic focused series I hope to create.

What does “type 1” diabetes mean? Super briefly it means that my immune system overreacted to an exposure (3rd time to be exposed that I know of) to chicken pox (most likely) and rampaged to kill all my beta (insulin producing) cells.

I was diagnosed in 1997 with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. A few pivotal topics related to that are – what exactly does type 1 mean, weren’t insulin pumps a thing in ’97, and life now. I’ll focus on the tech side of things, so management focused.

Let’s be honest. Management of any chronic illness is largely dependent on what insurance is willing to pay for. In the ’90s insulin pumps were used to treat insulin dependent diabetes but they weren’t the “go to” method for teenagers. Further, the Dr. had to prove that the diabetic was ‘brittle’ or uncontrollable. Well, I’ve been listed as ‘uncontrolled’ for the entirety of my diagnosis. I’m still listed as uncontrolled. I’ve also been labeled a ‘brittle’ diabetic for the entire time as well. [What these types of labels even mean is a subject for a future post.] Yet, no insulin pump for me. At the time I didn’t know I could advocate for one.

Times changed quickly but I did not. Management wasn’t the focus, instead I targeted “good” blood sugars with finger sticks and shots. Those snapshots from finger sticks looked good enough so I got comfortable. If it’s good enough why would I worry about devoting more of my time or energy?

Insulin pens. Okay those were cool and I discovered slightly better management. I didn’t try insulin pens until around 2005. I was only willing to try them because the needle seemed smaller and I could dose more accurately, more easily. I stuck with them for a few years (no pun intended) but I was increasingly getting more interested in making my A1c number lower. [Side note: an A1c is a 3 month reflection of average blood sugars based on what red blood cells show.] My finger sticks were still good but my A1c was more variable. I had no real understanding why.

At this point, I didn’t trust technology to work right. “An insulin pump is basically a battery operated computer, what if it malfunctions?!?!?” I thought at the time. Why not try it? I will always (still do) have back up syringes and dose myself if I need to. Enter the amazing product by Insulet: the Omnipod. No tubes. 3 days of insulin stuck on me. I just have to take my blood sugar and input my carb count. It calculates my dose and upon confirmation delivers it to me. “Easier than injections … okay, I’ll try it.”

Fast forward to 2019 and I just can’t ignore the commercials about CGMs. So I ask my endocrinologist, “what’s all this about a CGM?” [A Continuous Glucose Monitor measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid instead of the blood but -depending on the version- can be scanned whenever or automatically checks levels every 5 minutes!] Thankfully I have finally found an incredible team. The response was an instant briefing on what they are, how they work and what her experience was with each of them. This is a pretty common topic on better known blogs all over the internet, but in a future post, I plan to gush about the amazingness of CGMs.

Now it’s 2020 and I sport a Dexcom G6 CGM in conjunction with an Omniopod insulin pump with full confidence. I’m trending for a much lower A1c at my next visit. More data gives me greater ability to manage my blood sugars. I don’t want to consider going back to finger sticks and shots, not for me. If they work best for you – run with it! [Also, what does MDI actually stand for? Manually dosing insulin? I’ll try to find out for my next diabetes related post.] Technology has made a tremendous impact in my quality of life. Management of this chronic illness is leaps and bounds better than it was 23 years ago.

One thing I’ve learned from a Year of Working Out

As you can tell by my Instagram widget, I work out. A lot. I wouldn’t classify myself as a fitness junkie – but others might. I’m also Type 1 diabetic.

So why did I start working out? The usual, I wanted to loose the jiggly part of my midsection and the pounds that it signified. Very specific, very weight centric. Very common way of thinking but not the best goal for me. In case it helps you understand me, I’m a Capricorn (sun and moon sign) so I’m astrologically goal oriented. Add managing diabetes with my personality and you get a person who likes to plan, likes their plans to happen as planned, and gets a fantastic sense of accomplishment when plans come to fruition in achieving those goals. Weight by number is not a good goal.

Okay so maintaining a healthy weight is important, don’t get me wrong, but its not a good standard to mark my progress with. I spent months on months on months telling myself (and not really buying it) that muscle weighs more than fat. Which is true.

It wasn’t until I ran across a pin that side by side compared fat and muscle. It showed (and captioned that) 5 pounds of fat takes up about the same space as 3 grapefruits, while 5 pounds of muscle takes up about the same space as 3 tangerines. Read that again, grapefruits versus tangerines.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have that number in my head that would be nice to see pop up on the scale. But I’m learning that when the guru’s and coaches and people who have been doing fitness for decades say “pay more attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel than to the number on the scale” – they may know what they’re talking about.

I still have goals. That whole “strong is the new sexy” movement? I dig that, I’m just not willing to discipline my plate that much yet. And I’m okay with that. I’m still trimming, building, sculpting, and jiggling less overall. I’m eating better (like much much much better) than I was. And my A1c is better, especially if I stick to actually counting my intake to accurately dose, which in turn helps me choose better nutrition. But that’s 2 totally different posts and the title of this is “…1 thing…”

I’m going to try to give you other things in future posts. There’s a lot of options. I’m thinking a post on consistency. Perhaps one on the types of exercise that are available. Maybe even some on living with diabetes. For now, trust the method that relies more on the fit of your clothes rather than number on the scale – it really is more accurate!

Drawbacks to the job I love

So I work as an editorial assistant. Which means I grade papers, kinda, and only for format and to make sure the text matches what is currently in existence. It’s a very particular process which means that I’ve trained myself to catch irregularities in text.

This bites me in the peach when I read a lot of things on the internet. Mainly because I turn into a spelling and grammar taskmaster and can’t do anything about it. I totally get that more than occasionally a finger misses a key. But, proofreading, and having a proofreading buddy, is vital to good writing.

I implore writers to let the creativity flow. Don’t be constrained by “proper” writing if the story calls for something else! However, unless it’s to be written colloquially, please let the piece set for at least a day before revising. And find a fellow blogger or kindred spirit to glance over your work before you hit that beloved Publish button. If they’re slacking on keeping up with your pace, find a second person who can help. Unless you’re a poet – then the rules just don’t apply. Do what you do!

I know I don’t have any room to lecture; I make more than my fair share of errors. But please, plan ahead and write accordingly. It’s well worth the time in the end.

Learning

I’ve obviously been out of the blogging game for a few years. So when it comes to getting back to blogging I have to learn what feels like a whole new platform. I can do it, it just takes more effort than hopping back on that bike and riding, so to speak. Further, I find I am way lazier than I used to be. That I blame on the structure of tradition learning. Someone want to create an outline for me and I’ll blog like a good student? That’s a rhetorical question… mostly.

As for the platform, it is more intuitive and does seem to make the process run more smoothly. Like switching to a ten-speed. It definitely makes the editing process easier.

Perhaps it’s the change of the new platform that had me complaining about learning something new. I generally enjoy learning. Change takes time, energy, and effort. Which is a big part of why I stopped blogging years ago. I had a lot of changes happening and 5 years later I feel like my life is settling down. Here’s hoping that means my blogging persona is back! And that whoever is reading this, is forgiving.