Thursday, December 15, 2011

goodbye pump, hello pen

so, today i took out pedro's battery. he is in hibernation.

shiny new futura vs. silent purple paradigm...

why? well, after 3 weeks of very frustrating trial and error with new sets and new sites, i got to a point of distrust and extreme frustation with my insulin pump, and decided (with the help of doctor and specialist nurse) that a pump holiday was the right thing to do.

i've been using a pump since i was 13, so you can imagine just how weird it is to be sat typing this post without anything attached to me. i'm going to have to relearn how to use MDI (multiple daily injections) correctly, so that i don't have too many dangerous highs and lows.

but, considering i've had both of those in the last week alone (ketones up to purple, and 3am sweats from a 2.7 - not cool), i'm actually not so fussed, because it can't be worse than i've been doing lately.

my distrust for pedro has got so bad, that i really didn't ever want to put in another set. i've been feeling that way for a week or more. i am permanently tired and lethargic with horrendous levels, and i hate to think of what this is doing to my internal systems.

i'm looking forward to not worrying about:
  • the tubing getting caught
  • infusing into muscle accidentally
  • whether the insulin is absorbing, and if not, why not - is it the set, is there a bubble, has the insulin denatured, is there a kink in the tubing, are my clothes too tight? etc, etc.
  • being concerned about whether i wear socks to bed, as this will raise my core temperature and likely make the insulin far less effective.
  • having to inject for meals and corrections anyway because the set isn't working.
  • thinking about all the possible variables!
moving onto Lantus for a while will, i'm sure, present it's very own problems. but if it helps me to see the importance of having my pump and using it well, and learning to trust it again, then i think it'll be worth the nuisance of switching back.

practically speaking, it couldn't be easier to switch back to injections really. i will be using the Lantus twice a day, 8units at 8am, 8 units at 8pm. simple, for now. i was on about 10units of basal on the pump, roughly in total, so it's been increased quite a lot. we'll see how it goes, and i will see the nurse next Monday just to confirm everything is going ok. she gave me a fancy new ClikSTAR and a HumaPen Luxura (v. posh - like it a lot!) to use on my new regime, which is exciting!

for a long time i thought it would be like admitting defeat if i couldn't get the pump to work properly, but now i'm sort of excited! i was having to carry around my HumaPen and spare sets with me anyway from the sets failing on me all the time, so there'll actually be LESS stuff to lug around all the time :)

who knows when i'll be back using Pedro, but in the meantime, i'm happy to avoid using my abdomen to give it a rest from all the scarring that's happened to it, and to hopefully put some weight on, so i have a few more places to start using sets again!

it's certainly going to be an interesting few weeks, that's for sure ♥

thankfully, it's not all doom and gloom - i had some amazing test results back from the surgery on Monday, to show that my hormones and kidneys are working awesomely well!

Monday, November 21, 2011

infusion set failures and sites

hi everyone! hope all is well :)

as i'm sat typing this i have another high sugar level. they've been mostly up for the last few weeks, and it was starting to irritate to the point where i just had had enough and rang my diabetes nurse.

you see, when i got back from Australia, i had perfect numbers. like seriously perfect. i wasn't afraid of my blood glucose testing kit and the numbers it would offer, because i just knew they'd be good.

well, the last few weeks, despite eating right, getting in good exercise, and generally just doing things exactly the same, i've been going up and down like a yoyo, with no other explanation than my infusion sets not working properly - seriously, i've thought through all other logical explanations.

my family were getting annoyed even. "wouldn't it be better if you were on injections?" was a phrase that passed over quite a few lips.

so, i rang my nurse, Mandy, who very wonderfully reassured me that i've been using my abdomen for far too long. i've worn it out basically, and need to find another option, so i can see if it will heal.

she suggested my thighs - and so today, for the first time, i inserted into my upper left thigh! i thought it would hurt loads, but the 6mm Sof-Set seemed to do a pretty good job - apparently i have more flesh there than it feels like i do :)

i made sure to get the tubing under my underwear and to have it facing the right way when i put it in - i avoided that rookie mistake, thanks to tudiabetes, and i hope i won't pull the thing out at any point. so it's sat pretty nicely under my leggings at the moment, whilst i'm sat typing. it seems like it ought to work pretty well, and i'm looking forward to trying it out!

after reading a few forums, it seems like the outer thigh is a good option too, as is the upper abdomen and arms. i've only ever used my upper buttocks and lower abdomen, and i'm pretty sure i've got some seriously bad scar tissue that may not ever heal in some places because i've used it for far too long at one go. there's a warning for you insulin pump newbies - rotate before it's too late!!

anyway, i'll be sure to let you know how it goes...

where do you put your sets? what's you favorite infusion site?

Monday, November 14, 2011

my new cookbook!

hey everyone - it's been a while since my last post, and i guess you might want to know why...

well, i'm now published! i've compiled my favorite diabetic breakfast recipes into one book full of low carb, low gi, balanced and delicious morning meals, called Healthy Breakfast Recipes. this came about through my food blog, not just apples, where i post recipes and my daily eats.

i was getting frustrated with having to go through all my haphazard notes and scribbled down ingredients lists, and so to compile all my favorite breakfasts in one place has made it wonderful for other family and friends to know what to cook for me when i'm round.



though it doesn't have 'diabetic' in the title, it might as well have, because i eat every single one. i wanted to make the book accessible to anyone who was interested in eating better, and starting the day with good food.

some of the recipes from the book are:
  • sweet pumpkin pie cups
  • buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, bacon and blueberries
  • peach and raspberry pecan crumble
  • granola with almonds and coconut
  • wholewheat cinnamon french toast
  • baked eggs with sundried tomatoes
there are things that i eat every single day, and things that i would only make for a special occasion, like birthdays, sundays or christmas. i hope you like the variation of ingredients, and it should keep things exciting each morning, without being expensive.

when i was younger i ate the same thing for breakfast every single morning - cheerios with semi-skimmed milk. since i turned 16 and started experimenting in the kitchen, breakfast has not been boring at all! i almost know exactly how much to bolus for each of the 70+ recipes now, and love making quick pancakes, bircher muesli or toasted banana bread.

i have incorporated many gluten free options, and everything is low gi, without refined flour or sugar. i believe in natural, whole food, that tastes delicious! each recipe was tested on my brother - my harshest critic, who hates 'healthy' food, so i was guaranteed that everyone will enjoy these recipes :)




i hope to be adding some more breakfast recipe videos to my youtube channel - then you'll be able to see them in action! let me know once you have your copy if there's any in particular you'd like to see...

purchase your copy from:


and please let me know what you think! i hope these will make great christmas presents for friends and family of those with diabetes, as well as being comfortably affordable for you to have a copy on your cookbook shelf at home :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

dr neal barnard's program for reversing diabetes review

hello! hope you are all well ♥

today, i wanted to do a little review of the book, Dr Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. it's a book that was leant to us by a chef friend of ours - and i'm not sure i would otherwise have picked it up. but it's got some very interesting things to say about diet and also the cause of type 1 diabetes....

 

the book has a stupid title - let me put this little aggravation to rest - because you can't actually reverse type 1 diabetes (it's impossible), and to so generalize about 'diabetes' as if they were both the same is misleading and rather concerning.

anyway, once, or if, you can get past the frustration of the title, there is quite a lot to learn from this book. dr neal barnard puts forward a very intriguing argument about the link between diabetes and cows milk protein, as well as how a vegan diet can "revolutionise" your lifestyle.

apparently, studies show that:
  1. the body sees cows milk protein as a foreign object.
  2. cows milk protein and insulin producing cells are a biochemical match.
  3. because of the similarity, the body produces antibodies to fight the cows milk protein, and ends up taking a wack at the insulin producing cells too. aka - an auto-immune attack.
no, i don't know about you, but that actually DOES make a lot of sense to me. it was like a light bulb moment, when all the information about nutrition that i've ever read came together and clicked. there's so many studies that say about how the body cannot recognise dairy - we haven't evolved enough yet for most people to assimilate it properly (and 90% of the worlds population are lactose intolerant, or don't produce enough lactase do digest it - see here).

there's the china study and the nurse's health study - two of the biggest and best nutritional studies ever to be done - and they both conclude that animal protein is a major cause of western disease. interesting, huh?

dr barnard fully believes that you can use diet (more than exercise) to acheive great readings and good control. he advocates a low gi, low fat, vegan diet to the point where he would suggest you didn't eat avocadoes or nuts. personally, i think that's a little extreme, but he doesn't think so.

he mentions studies that are going on at the moment to see whether the link between cows milk and diabetes is true. and i do think that in 50 years we'll look back and question how we drank the juice from another animals udder, that was actually meant for a baby cow, and actually advertised it as a 'healthy' thing to do.

his main concern in the book is the heart and blood vessel complications that a type 1 diabetic is at risk of, and that, if anything, it's best to change your diet to aid the perfect functioning of these systems. and i couldn't really agree more.

so as a courtesy to the doctor, i am testing it out. i want to know if i will develop increased insulin senstivity by increasing my intake of pulses and removing animal products. i haven't made the full switch yet. i'm on more of a trial run, whilst i get to grips with cooking beans and lentils in different ways.

the most interesting part of the book is the recipe section at the back! he's got things like wheatberry pancakes, oat waffles, orange date cake, roasted moroccan sweet potato, red lentil soup, etc. they're quite unique, and very tasty! i just wish there were a few more...

Monday, October 10, 2011

diabetic inflight meals and airport experiences

hello everyone - thanks for tuning in, or logging on, or checking out the blog, or just showing up! it's so awesome to be able to be a part of the DOC and to share my diabetes journey with you all...

today i want to share photos of my diabetic inflight meals with you all - because i would have wished for this sort of post before i left in order to know if it was worth pre-selecting a 'diabetic' meal over a regular one, and because i want to give you my opinion on the food, it's delivery and the whole experience in general.

let's get straight into some photos...

airports are funny things - if you only have a few dollars to spend, you don't have a lot of healthy options. of course much depends on the airport itself - but sydney airport is not much of a foodie central. so i settled with a dodgy muesli cookie from a coffee shop just so i could nestle into a snuggly seat and enjoy reading my book.


security was fine - sydney are really great at security, so i always feel very safe on the plane! this time, (and it really does depend as to who's on guard as to what they do) they closed the metal detecting gate, and stopped the whole queue for ages to wait for a woman to do a manual pat down after i'd walked through the side gate. kinda embarrassing holding up the travellers behind me, but i sort of love the quizzical looks on all their faces - not everyone gets such special treatment! :)

i'm always at the airport super duper early - just in case - and so i spent this time walking - seriously about an hour and a half with awkward heavy backpack and roller case, going in and out of shops and through from terminal to terminal. it's so worth it though, because that meant that i'd had some good exercise before sitting for ridiculous lengths of time.

the actual flight from Sydney to London is a long one. 23 hours 40 mins ish, with British Airways, including a stopover in Singapore for just over an hour - so you're fed quite a few meals. which is all included in the price - which is brilliant. of course, i went standard class, and i found it quite roomy and quiet - and the staff are always very accommodating.

the first meal was AMAZING! really tasty and nutritious and filling - i was a happy bunny. curry with rice (basmati i think? but not brown...), "salad", roll and an apple. pretty yummy really.


the second 'mini meal' on the airplane was not really any different from anyone else, i got a white roll sandwich and a little chocolate - not sure how in any way this can be classed as diabetic, but i was hungry so i ate it of course...the only thing different was probably that there was fake sweetener instead of sugar (but i never have those sweeteners anyway!!)


at Singapore airport i walked around a lot again, i think i did 8 laps of our terminal, which was pretty small. i could've walked further, but there didn't seem much point. by this point i'd polished off the 100g dark chocolate bar i'd brought with me on the flight! yum.


the second proper meal was INCREDIBLE! so much so that i had to compliment the air steward for it's tastiness. salad, roll, and seafood bake - with sweet potato, mushroom, greens, prawns, calamari and fish - it was so tasty. and then fresh papaya to follow. i was muchos impressed!


breakfast before landing was decent - 2 slices of brown-ish bread, plain yogurt, fresh papaya, carrots, 1 tini tomato half (?) and an omelette with mushrooms. not too bad carbs wise, but i didn't eat all the bread, because i'd been doing so much sitting, so i didn't really need it.


i bet you're wondering what i had on the flight over to Oz? well, unfortunately i didn't take any photos, and so all i remember was having chicken and brown rice twice. which was fine, and alright, if a little peppery to make up for the lack of flavour. but it was pretty balanced at least.

throughout the flight there's snacks and water at the back, should you need anything- so handy! i usually keep a full bottle of water by my seat and continue to drink it so i don't get hydrated. it seems to work, and means that you have to get up to go to the bathroom fairly frequently, which keeps you mobile and allows you to stretch.

often the diabetic meal was also labelled as something else too, sometimes gluten free and other times vegetarian. i understand why, but it does mean that there are compromises made, especially with the bread. i could go on and on about the bread - but suffice to say that any bread on a plane is never really any good - it's too dry and too cheaply made to actually have any real substance.

the other concerning thing is how often a sweetener instead of real sugar is the only difference in the meal. i sort of get that, but it seems like flawed nutrition to me, so what's the point of having anything different?

however, i adore getting served first, and everyone getting envious over the delicious smell of my meal. i probably shouldn't say that, but it's so true - it makes you feel a little like a rock-star.

and, i give serious praise to any company that allows you the option of having a meal, and who does it with such class is British Airways did for me this time. thank you BA!

any questions you have, please feel free to ask...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

the ups and the downs of ozzie life

g'day folks! or i should say, good morning - because i am now back in the UK ♥

i thought i'd let you all know that i am back safe from my travels, and will be resuming some semblance of 'regular' posting forthwith... including updates on my new book and new videos also.

i'm so excited to be back and to get into a regular routine. my sugar levels did eventually settle down in australia, thank goodness, but it was so tough going. i ended up having to change my set every 2 days, and increasing my basal rates heaps in order to manage my levels ok. i also went on a 30min walk twice a day most days, which was super beneficial.

the biggest shock for me, was losing control over my eating, and dealing with people's limited understanding of what type 1 diabetes really means.

i guess the difficulty really lies with the fact that i do change my diet kinda frequently - my understanding of how best to manage my diabetes is still in progress. it's a constant learning curve, and that's hard for other people to understand. especially with the amount of books about health and diabetes i'm devouring at present.

since february i've been eating 'low carb', starting out with just 30g a day, and then gradually increasing it to my sweet spot of about 100g, which is where i'll probably stay for a long time. i'm also eating low gi, and i love trying out health foods like chia and flax and coconut flour - so you can see where confusion might come in to all other people.

it's hard for someone to comprehend how a melon is actually really high GI, but an apple isn't. or, how i'd rather eat natural local honey, than Splenda. or how i love to bake with buckwheat, rye and spelt instead of wheat.



the hardest points for me where when someone had gone out of their way to make me something special to eat, and then i had a horrendous evening feeling rough because it wasn't actually low GI or low carb or a small enough portion size.

i must put my hands up and admit that i have often sabotaged myself, by agreeing to a small portion of something bad out of politeness. thinking it's ok to have a small bite now, because it's early morning and i've just been on a walk, or i'm spending a day wandering around a city - and then the person thinks that it's ok all of the time... do you know what i mean?

sometimes on holiday it's ok to have a slice of banana bread or an ice cream or a glass of Milo - but only once, and only in exceptional circumstances, not every day. deprivation on holiday isn't cool with me.



the other thing is that there's so much confusion between diabetics, and between type 1 and type 2. i found this a LOT. most people have a vague idea of diabetes, but don't know that there's such a HUGE difference between the two, and the way they get managed. or that the guidelines aren't at all strict for what you should or shouldn't eat to manage your levels. one diabetic might eat a vegan diet, another low carb, another low gi - there's so many recommendations, and different things work for different people.

i met up with a lovely diabetic in Armidale, NSW, called Beck, and she was a vegan that ate quite a lot of wholegrains, but no dairy. whereas at the time, i was eating a lot of meat and dairy but very few wholegrains. this was very confusing for my aunt and cousin to understand - how can you both have type 1 diabetes, but eat completely different diets?

i was continually eyed with suspicion and often treated like a fool when my sugar level rose up - i've had diabetes for 13 years now (almost exactly), and people reckon i ought to know how to deal with it so i never have highs any more. but, we all know that an infusion set can fail, you can forget to bolus or there can be a bubble in your tubing that affects absorption...

but diabetes is invisible. when you are high and feel horrible, it's not obvious to anyone else. they can't know how concerned you are that this one high level might be the thing that causes your sight to fail in 10 years, or your nerves to go funny as you age.

another thing i found out in Australia was how a high protein, high fat, low carb diet is not right for me. it lead to bloating and overeating, which consequently made my sets stop working and my sugar levels to fly up high. i'm currently in the process of working out what other options there are out there, before embarking on any radical new diet change. though i know it won't include heaps of cheese, chicken, nuts or bacon.

so. lessons learnt...
  1. it is never ok to eat a little bit of very tempting and delicious high GI foods whilst anyone else is watching...
  2. educating other people about diabetes, and the differences between type 1 and type 2 is paramount.
  3. being clear about why and what you choose to eat differently, and the importance of it for your future health.
  4. science is continually changing, and you always need to be open to learn.
  5. you can't expect a country to magically straighten out your sugar levels - it's a continual effort each moment to decide to do the best thing for your body to ensure it's future health
  6. 100g carbs is perfection for me, but i have yet to understand how much protein and fat my body thrives on (and of what type too - is it animal or vegetable?)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

healthy snack recipe: roasted orange

thanks for all your kind words of support on the previous post! for those of you looking for an interesting healthy snack idea - something that's great to have before exercise, or for breakfast, then roasting an orange might just be the answer...


it might not be low GI, but it's super tasty! and it's a great way to get fruit into your diet, in a slightly different way. it's great to have just before your morning exercise, and it's fresh, zingy flavour works beautifully with a little bit of cinnamon yogurt on the side.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

australian perfection?

well, g'day wonderful readers!

today is confession time. my sugar levels have been appalling since being in oz - like seriously bad. and i know exactly the reason why too...lack of exercise, and not being in control of my eating as much as normal.

it's really tricky living in someone else's home and not wanting to be pushy with cooking or be in the kitchen too much. i guess most of the time back in the uk i was a complete control freak over my eating, and all the general household duties i did (dog walking, cooking, cleaning, tidying) helped to keep everything in balance - but here i don't have that, and it's making me and my sugar levels a little crazy. granted i do my own washing, and i cook every other day - but it's not nearly enough.

and you know the other thing, there's nowhere to walk TO, apart from the local superstore, which is just 5 minutes away (in fact i've been up there so many times, i think the security guards are suspicious! - can i tell them that it's the only way i can get good exercise?!)

oz is kinda like america in it's largeness, and everything is so spaced out, people just drive everywhere in their big cars to get around. i think it would be a bit different in the countryside perhaps? anyhow, i don't want to spend money on a gym membership or classes, and there aren't any local gardening groups, or neighbours that need a hand (though i have looked into workaway and wwoofing to get a bit more exercise in).

the bad levels are starting to drive me crazy - and the next step is to up my basal rates again, which to me seems a little like defeat... oh well, i'm going to try more aimless walking around the area, and see how that goes, and try working in a more routine way each day (though even that's difficult when you rely on someone else for car use).

i've also got more of a grip on my food now, even though i'm eating completely differently from my host - which makes me feel kinda awkward. i am so thankful to my mother for being so accepting of my diet, and for coming along on the ride with me.

haha, oh well, i'll get there in the end i suppose! i WILL get this back under control. i will. i will.

i really did naively think that my levels would be perfect when i landed on these sunny shores, but that has not proven to be the case at all. silly silly me.

Monday, July 04, 2011

diabetes packing tips & list

g'day readers! i made it to australia safe and sound. thanks for all your well wishes for me before i left :)

i am staying on the central coast, about an hour north of sydney - it's very beautiful here, and i am looking forward to doing lots of exploring in the local area...

before i left i whipped up a video for you all about what i packed for this trip - there's quite a bit, but given i'm staying for 6 months, i think it's justified. it was pretty tricky to know what to take, so i've attached at the bottom of this post a list of everything i took, so then you have a list if you need to go anywhere :)


here's the aforementioned packing list, for anyone with diabetes or an insulin pump. you can see the quantity i took with me in the video, so i haven't listed them here - but most people need a different quantity of everything anyway. i always take a 10% extra lot of everything as a sort of insurance policy, or just in case. and i always take a 2 week supply in my carryon luggage (which is often my entire supply for the trip!).

here goes:

packing list for an insulin pump:
infusion sets
reservoirs
spare tester with test strips & lancets
test strips
lancets
spare pump
spare launcher
emergency hypokit
sharps box
insulin for pump
insulin for injector
injectors
needles for injectors
batteries
ketone strips
spare belt clip
glucose tablets
recording books
prescription
insurance cover
medic alert bracelet/necklace

Friday, June 10, 2011

meet pedro! my new paradigm veo ♥

hello everyone! hope all is well with you...

last Friday i received a new Paradigm Veo - so this is a little introductory video on what's different and new about it. hope you enjoy watching :)

Friday, June 03, 2011

healthy chicken salad recipe

hey everyone!

long time no speak - but i've been on holiday in France, where i fell slightly off the low carb wagon, swam a lot and got pretty freckly in the sunshine. but more on that to come...

for now i leave you with a video i uploaded to my diabetic youtube channel last month - where i show you how i put together a simple chicken salad that is perfect for diabetics ♥


let me know what you think! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

things i've learnt

taking part in this year's DBlogWeek has been a great opportunity to find new bloggers, as well as to hear other people's overwhelmingly positive remarks on how diabetes has impacted their lives.

i think that the best lesson i've learnt is that this community is really about inspiring other's who are connected with diabetes. it offers a fantastic means of support, and is THE most helpful resource for me personally.

where else can you learn that you are in fact a normal diabetic!! or figure out that everyone else is going through the same things you are. it's comforting and encouraging. and i am so so grateful for it.

thanks so much for all of your support and advice over the years - long may it continue!

and thanks karen for organising DBlogWeek 2011! i look forward to catching up on all the posts and blogs later into this week ♥

Friday, May 13, 2011

things diabetes has given me

it's weird, when i'm sat thinking about what diabetes has given me, my immediate thought is - well, how do i know? because i've been diabetic longer than i can remember. it's such a part of me, that i don't know what i would be like without it - but in a good way.

you see, i think my positive attitude, my desire to try new things and my love of healthy, natural living are all intertwined with being diabetic. who knows whether i would be the same person without D? 

but if i have to pick one particular thing, i would have to say that my passion for healthy eating is the greatest thing diabetes has given me. i've even got my own food blog, called not just apples. and am writing a cookbook at the moment too. 

without diabetes i might never have discovered the joys of swede fries, or coconut flour pancakes, or homemade no-sugar jam, or cauliflower pizza crust. i adore food, creating recipes and cooking in general. and all of this has come from a deeper understanding of the importance of good, nutritional eating to help manage my diabetes better.

i'm also totally grateful to have my puppy dog Bruno - who was purchased on the recommendation of my doctor, who was convinced it would help my exercise more and get better control - which was true! so, diabetes has given me a puppy...sort of. and he's such good company, especially as i work from home (oh, i shall miss him so much when i go to australia next month!)


oh, and thank you diabetes also for teaching me about patience, and self control

and of course, blogging - this was my first ever blog way back in 2006, and it has been such an amazing thing to be able to share on and be a part of the DOC

and last but not least, gardening and growing vegetables and fruit. i never would've realised how much i love weeding and nurturing plants and watching things grow. my passion for eating healthily and organically coupled with a low budget has meant that i've been forced to do something i actually REALLY love ♥

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 things i dislike about my diabetes

well, even though yesterday's post was more scary than funny, today's DBlogWeek entry is about to get serious and angry - a whole new range of emotions to this blog!

without further ado, here are 10 things i dislike about my diabetes:

  1. broken infusion sets
  2. unexplainable high levels
  3. unexplainably high levels that won't come down
  4. all the little dots on my fingertips from all my BG tests
  5. having to lug around so much extra stuff with me, like injectors, testors, snacks and set changes (for once i'd like to leave the house with nothing in my hands!)
  6. the fear of my retinopathy getting worse
  7. the 'wall' i hit with a high BG, that renders me completely useless for a few hours
  8. not being able to jump straight in a lake if i choose to because Patrick would drown
  9. not being able to wear short tight dresses because there's nowhere to put Patrick
  10. my pancreas - just like Michael said, i dislike my pancreas the most because it's broken, and it's brokenness causes me so much discomfort.
i could probably go on, but these are the first things that came to mind this morning... so they're probably the most important things to me.

i'd much rather talk about all the things diabetes has given me, or that being on an insulin pump has made possible. because generally i'm much more of a positive person - but sometimes it helps to get a little frustration down in writing... 

plus i think it's important for all you D-Mom's and D-Dad's to know what's really the most annoying things about living with D, and the things we're most concerned about 

diabetes bloopers...

so, after a very emotional day yesterday, today we have a lighthearted DBlogWeek post in which i will tell you 2 of my most memorable and funny moments with diabetes - karen is right, for all the trials and difficulties, sometimes diabetes can actually be hilarious!

funny D moment numero 1:  laughing at ducks
you know, when you're low, sometimes the world doesn't look the same. your perspective shifts, and suddenly things that would never be hilarious otherwise, become so with the funny goggles of a hypoglycaemic mind (lol). when i was about 16, i was walking along the riverside path into town with a few friends in order to catch the bus. it's a very pretty little amble in our very picturesque town, and there are always ducks and swans and chicks paddling down the water.

but on this particular occasion, as i was walking and admiring said beauty i couldn't help but stare at the ducks legs. i found myself giggling at the way they waddled on top of stones, and swam awkwardly in the river. soon enough, i'm full-on cracking up, almost hyperventilating with laughter at the way these ducks were swimming. they became THE funniest thing ever. and  i actually ended up sitting down on a park bench to watch them, all the while laughing loudly with tears starting to roll down my cheeks.

funnily enough, my friends figured out that although i'm generally a happy person and find things funny most of the time, i was finding this extraordinarily funny, i mean ducks, really? they politely asked if i was in fact low, which of course i was, and i continued to sit there giggling for another 5 minutes until i came back into the realms of normality. never will i ever find ducks so amusing ever again.

odd D moment numero 2: snorting sugar
about a year after my diagnosis, i was sat in history class listening to a teacher talking about world war 2 and the trenches, when i suddenly realise i'm going low. i'm getting a little clammy, and my hands can't seem to hold my pen properly.

i politely (though, not sensibly) wait a few extra minutes until group work and the teacher has stopped talking to rummage in my bag to find some dextro tablets to suck on and a snack bar.

now, it's important to note that in school, any opportunity for group work is an opportunity for a chat, gossip and giggle. so, of course, one of my friends makes a joke whilst we're sat talking (which we're not supposed to) and i find it so funny i go to laugh but have to hold it in so i don't make as much noise. so in that short moment whilst i'm sucking on a glucose tab, i inhale really deeply through my nose to try to stifle my laugh so the teacher doesn't here.

and that's when it happened.

a painful shot goes up through my nose, and i realise i've inhaled my sugar tab up my nose, but backwards... how is that even possible?!

it was actually pretty distressing at the time, and sort of painful. i got really confused (even more so, because i was in a low daze), and started tearing up. the teacher had noticed by this point that something was wrong and sent me to the nurse's office with a friend. on the way, my wonderful friend Charlotte starts calling my diabetic nurse to ask if this is a normal thing, and what we should do. meawhile i'm getting more low, more jittery and feeling very dizzy from a backwards inhalation of sugar...

as we're walking across the school yard, we hear a loud angry 'GIRLS! What are you doing?' - the headteacher and deputy are standing on patrol. oh dear! how does one person explain whilst their being connected to the nurse's office at the hospital, and how could i explain anything to the scary headteacher (we were 12) whilst i was low? it wouldn't make any sense. and then we'd be in detention for being 'drunk' and on the phone during class...

thankfully, the deputy came to the rescue and told the head that i was diabetic (thanks to my lovely mum for making sure there were pictures of me all over the teacher's lounge) and we were allowed to continue on to the nurse's office. where i promptly drank lots of water and blew my nose (bad idea, because the sugar has basically burnt my nose, so i get another painful shot) and then chilled out by talking to my nurse and my mum.

we still laugh about both of these moments to this day... i'm happy to be a hilarious, 'drunk' low person ♥

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

to my mum

dear mum,

when i was asked to write a letter for today's blog week challenge, there was only one person i wanted to write to - you! my wonderful marmee.

there's no actual way i can ever express my gratitude for all you've done in helping me with my diabetes. it's so vast, and extremely immeasurable.

you've been the one person who understands most what i go through every single day, and you are always so gracious towards me when i'm feeling bad or in the hyper blues.

you battled hard to get me an insulin pump when no-one else had one, because you knew it would be the best answer towards getting better control. you've taken me to uncountable doctor's appointments in far away cities, and you've shouldered so much worry and concern about my health.

i feel so bad that it's taken me so long to realise how much you've done for me - because you've always been so modest about it. perhaps you've seen it as your parental responsibility...but not all parents out there would look after their diabetics in the way you have me. you've checked my level in the middle of the night about a thousand times, and been patient with me when i've been angry, you've eaten the same food as me, you go for walks with me to help me get more exercise. you even bought a dog so that i would have to go for walks more often ;)

you taught me how to look after myself, and how to stay positive. you sorted out supplies and teacher information on school trips, and left work to come sort out broken infusion sets. you make sure i've BG tested, bolused and injected, because you know how forgetful i can be. and you encourage me every day to keep trying. you are so utterly selfless, it amazes me.

do you remember that time i came back from tutoring and i was actually in tears with flowers in my hand? well, it's because it wasn't enough. there's no way i can say how appreciative i am of what you do for me.

ok, well, marmee, i may have cried my whole way through writing this letter to you, because i always get overwhelmed with how marvellous you are, and just HOW much you do for me! but i suppose like mother, like daughter, heh?

you know we've been talking about the proverbs 31 woman... well now is my time to rise up and call you blessed - 'many women do noble things, but you surpass them all' 

i couldn't have got through so far so well without you. and i am so, so thankful.

with love,
bidshine, your daughter xxx

Monday, May 09, 2011

admiring our differences

so, it's the beginning of diabetes blog week! how exciting is that? ♥

today we kick off by sharing what things we admire about other bloggers, and how the DOC has helped us learn new things and gain a new perspective on diabetes...

well, where do i begin?

in the 5 years i've had this blog, i've learnt SO much about living with diabetes. through your kind comments i've discovered other bloggers, helpful books, ways of managing my diabetes, been encouraged to start a diabetes YouTube channel, and found so much encouragement and inspiration to keep trying hard.

it's tricky to pinpoint just a handful of other bloggers who inspire me, because the DOC is such a diverse place, and everyone handles life with D in their own way, so there's always a fresh perspective to find!

i've been particularly appreciative of the tudiabetes community (now up to almost 20,000 members!!!), who are willing to answer any random question i have, whether that's about high blood sugar symptoms or going to the beach with an insulin pump.

and, in the last few months i'm particularly thankful to have discovered andariego and three2treat. they both inspire me so much...and i'm very thankful for their no-nonsense guy's approach to living with type 1 diabetes.

andariego has done so much travelling, and is committed to staying well through exercise and eating right. the food posts are epic and so tasty! and nothing seems to phase him - several months in the Bolivian outback looking after big cats? no problem! he inspires me to dream big and not let diabetes get in the way of my life.

and three2treat amazes me with his attitude with dealing with his own and his childrens' diabetes. looking after 2 diabetics can't be easy... but he does it with such a positive attitude, and he is constant in his effort to do better. he also has a lot of scientific info that he shares - the importance of vitamin D, a look at lipohypertrophy, is caffeine good or bad?

i think more than anything, the thing i love most about these blogs, and other diabetic blogs written by men (generally speaking) is how frank they are. i have a tendency to get really caught up and frustrated with the little things - but to them it's just another bump in the road, and they attack it head on.

so, apart from guy blogger's who else can i put on the inspiration list... well, US diabetics. that sounds super general, because there's more diabetic bloggers across the pond than there are on my tiny little island. but seriously, i have learnt so much from you!!

in the UK our free healthcare system means that most UK diabetics i know don't take their health totally seriously. perhaps because they don't get specialist care, or just because they know that if something goes wrong or they develop a complication the NHS will be there to pick them up and give them treatment.

but in the US, you have to fight so hard to get proper care, and having an insulin pump can be a constant battle with insurance companies. you take diabetes seriously. and i've learnt to do that through you. for a long time i lived with diabetes in a haphazard way, trying so hard to stay 'normal' - but i didn't realise how much better i could feel if i actually started eating right and exercising and learning more about my diabetes, rather than relying on my doctor.

and last but not least D-Mom's and D-Dad's - you have my total respect! living with a diabetic isn't easy... and your confidence, support and diabetic advocacy is such an important thing. you fight for a cure and look for answers more than any other group, because you want the BEST for your little ones. and your love and encouragement is very uplifting and positive.

we are all different, and that's what makes the DOC such an amazing platform to learn from and be encouraged by!

so my thanks go out to every single one of you ♥

Thursday, May 05, 2011

keeping blood sugar logs & records

i've recently discovered something super duper helpful in my journey to improve my diabetes management, lower my hbA1c and generally just feel better... blood sugar journals!


well, yes, it may be a very time-consuming practice, and for many years i just 'couldn't be bothered' but, it really does make a difference! and there's so much you can work out from this tiny little book, which happens to be so wonderfully tiny and portable, and contain a row for everything you would want to write down like ketones, set change, basal rate, correction bolus, exercise, illness, food, etc...

find out more from my latest video on my youtube channel, notjustapples:




please comment below to let everyone know how you log your blood sugar levels throughout the day...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

tips on going low carb

ok, so i've already talked a little bit about eating a low carb diet to help manage my diabetes better, and the amazing change i've experienced since then (as well as some of the dangers commonly associated with it).

but how does it actually work out in practice? and what tips can i give any of you thinking about switching over to low carb?

well firstly i would say - do it! you know it's the wisest thing to do for your health... and really at the end of the day is a slice of pizza or a bite of a donut really worth the increased risk of complications in the future? i think not.

after reading the diabetes solution i pretty much jumped in at the deep end - i went dramatically low carb (like almost 6, 12, 12) overnight. i was convinced that eating substantially fewer carbs was going to be the answer for helping control my levels. and i was right. since the change i've had more predictable levels, more even levels, and ultimately lower levels.

i did go low a lot though that first month - like a LOT. which was ok, because i was always prepared, and i treated it properly each time so i didn't put myself back into rollercoaster mode. and after realising just how low i'd been all the time, i wondered if i should lower my basal rates (it took me a while to catch on - so this is a warning!!). so, i tried and tested over a few days, and literally cut my basals in half - from 0.6 per hour to 0.3.

it's odd how all of a sudden my body was becoming so much more sensitive to insulin. like really weird. my routine hadn't changed so much...just a little extra walking. but obviously the less insulin you use, the less you need. the law of small numbers i suppose.

the other thing is that then my body has become a lot more sensitive to my highs and lows too - i feel highs at 12 instead of 18. and i'll feel them as it's going up, or my set is malfunctioning - it's almost like i can tell when the insulin isn't being effective or is wearing out. and my highs now are way more nasty than they use to be (which i'm grateful for, but highs now render me useless really)

anyway, enough of the serious diabetes stuff, and onto more of the practical fun stuff like, how do i eat?

well, at first i was eating about 30-50g carbs a day. that was, until i noticed i was producing ketones, and was running low on normal energy. i scoured the books and forums for advice, and eventually decided i needed to up my carb intake, reduce my fat intake and increase my protein.

so, now a typical day involves 75-100g carbs. which is still very low by most standards, but is enough to satisfy me and keep me going properly.

i start most days with porridge (1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water with a little apple puree or St Dalfour jam - about 25g carbs). why? because it tastes awesome, and is the perfect energy i need for the beginning few hours of the day. i tried bacon and eggs, but i found that i just didn't have enough available energy for my mornings.

then at lunch and dinner i'll have mostly salad and vegetables with a good fistful of protein and a little bit of carbs - like roasted swede or carrot fries, or some sweet potato, or brown rice, or beans, or a slice of toasted wholegrain sourdough. i'll follow these with some dessert sometimes if i've done enough exercise that day, and i haven't eaten too much at lunch - dark chocolate, fruit (anything with less than 15g carbs, so 1/2 a banana or a tiny slice of melon is ok) and homemade yogurt are my favorite things to have!

and then of course, throughout the day, i snack! i love prunes, hummus and crispbread, tinned smoked mackerel, dark chocolate, defrosted berries, eggs, avocado, olives, peanut butter, tinned mandarins, etc. there's so many good things out there to enjoy in abundance with no/low carbs in!

but, don't i miss eating lots of carbs? nope. not really. honestly. truly.

there's nothing to miss when you are faced with such delicious foods - seriously check out my food blog not just apples lately, and see what i mean! i'd so much rather eat an amazing chicken and goats cheese salad than a boring tuna sandwich, or snack on cinnamon roasted almonds instead of a big bag of salt and vinegar crisps.   the way i currently eat is the way the italians, french, spanish, greeks, etc have been eating for hundreds and thousands of years - it's good, wholesome and tasty non-'diet' food that anyone would be happy and proud to eat.

there's nothing i don't allow myself a small bite of if i really want it. and that's the key - i think restrictive deprivation 'diets' are nasty, and not so helpful (to anyone). but i have to actually want it for the right reasons! i don't eat to satisfy emotional needs, or to fill a bored moment. if i'm going to have a treat, i make sure it's a good one - like a freshly cooked hot cinnamon donut after a long morning of market shopping, or a cold ice cream on holiday in italy. it has to be really, really worth it!

another thing is that you'll want to check how your body reacts to certain foods - because there's an awful lot of no's on dr bernstein's low carb list which my body can quite happily process without spiking my blood sugar... i've gently put these back into my diet after a few weeks, and measured my reactions. some things are really surprising...

and of course, not keeping high carb things around the house helps a lot! in fact, stock up with low carb snacks and foods keeps you feeling empowered and positive - instead of being faced with things you can't have, you'll be overwhelmed with the amazing foods you get to eat.

and then, last but not least, if you're going to do this, i recommend you sit down with a good carb counting book and look at all the different lists. then measure some of your regular food to see just how much your regular portions actually weigh, and therefore how many carbs are in them - i was so surprised when i did this! there's as many carbs in one small apple as there is in half a tin of mixed beans?

i hope this has been helpful, and i pray that you are all keeping well ♥

if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask... that's what i'm here for!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the ever presence of diabetes

i just want to start by thanking you all for your support for my new diabetic youtube channel - i have been overwhelmed with your kindness and comments - and i'm so glad you all liked the new dark chocolate mousse recipe 

now onto today's topic: the ever presence of diabetes.

jasmine of wonderful diabetes blog silver lined recently wrote a post about how many times in one day she thinks about diabetes. she documented it for a day, just to see how frequently she had to think about something related to D. and the post is LONG. like seriously, very long. 

and i figured i couldn't help but agree - i probably think about it a similar amount of time. i can't help but be aware of it...each time my body twinges, or i get thirsty or tired, or am about to drive or do exercise, i think about my sugar levels. 

but i am SO glad that i do! i can't tell you how many other diabetics i've come across who pretend that they are non-diabetic and can do and eat whatever they like, but then end up in hospital or with a sky high hbA1c or with horrible complications at a young age. 

i tell you, i'd rather be aware of all that's going on, because when i am, i feel empowered, i feel strong... i think that it might be possible to have kids one day, and that i might live free of complications in the future.

and that's what all the work is for... it's investment into a healthy future.

so, no matter if i check my bg level every two hours, and i make sure i drink enough and spend time preparing meals so i know how much and what type of carbohydrate is in something. so what if i'm the person that orders oddly at the restaurant, or the guest who brings a salad to a host's dinner party, or the woman who has to go out for a walk when everyone else is sat relaxing.

there's a lot of people in the DOC and even doctor's that will tell you that you don't have to live a different life when you have diabetes. but my own experience tells me that this isn't true - the more i tried to be 'normal' the less healthy i became, and the more frustrated and depressed i was. 

it was only through accepting my diabetes, and managing it properly - to a point when it's actually a joy to check your level because you know it will be a good number not bad - that i have come to feel better, look better and not be afraid of what the future holds for me.

and yes, it can be annoying to live with it everyday - especially as it's pretty invisible to others - but i think all the effort you put in is totally worth it. so give yourself a pat on the back and feel truly blessed to be alive and thriving! and be grateful that you can walk, talk, eat, smile and enjoy life!

Monday, April 18, 2011

divine dark chocolate mousse recipe

hi everyone! today i have a very wonderful and low carb recipe for you all - it's been such a brilliant recipe to have in my own arsenal, and it's one that i love to use when other people come round for dinner, because everyone enjoys it!

it's rich and creamy, has about 10g of carbs a serving, 5g protein and 20g fat (that's me approximating...and it'll vary depending on what quantities and brands you use) and there's only 3 ingredients: dark chocolate, cream and eggs. you can add a little butter if you choose, and other flavourings or toppings to jazz it up a little.

the other thing i like about this recipe is just how easy it is to make! so so simple - you just need an electric whisk and a few bowls. and it's quick too - about 15 minutes, and then you can just keep it in your fridge until you need to serve it - how convenient?

anyways, without further ado, here is the recipe video on my diabetic youtube channel, notjustapples:



please leave me a comment and let me know what you think...

Friday, April 15, 2011

a diabetes camp for adults

so, i was wondering today about diabetes retreat centres and camps for adults. i never went to any diabetes camps as a child, but i always kind of wish i had - and i think of what an encouraging place it would be...

there's this post on tudiabetes about adult camps, and i just think that there's so many people looking for it, that it basically kinda warrants someone to come up with a solution...

during the past few months it's been wonderful to have the support of fellow type 1's on this blog and on tudiabetes, and i've learnt so much! and i guess i just wish i could meet other diabetics in real life to talk things through with even more. and a place where i could learn new recipes, or be encouraged to exercise more.

i've always liked the idea of a holiday where all my needs are taken care of, and i could eat EVERYTHING on the menu (how awesome would that be?). or like a cooking holiday in france which incorporated gentle bike rides to the local market to pick up fresh produce.

the only thing is that i'm not a dietician, or a diabetic nurse, or a landowner. at the moment anyway. so, even though i love the idea, it's not exactly within my power to begin it - as much as my entrepreneurial spirit might want to!

so, before i get carried away, and start searching for appropriate land space in france, please chime in and tell me your opinion... is there one in europe that i've just never heard of? or is there a great one elsewhere in the world that i should really visit?

and just for fun, in your dreams, what would you want the perfect adult diabetes camp to be like?

health and happiness 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

weekly menu plan # 1

so, i thought i'd start a new series sharing with you the things that i've eaten throughout my week, linking you to tasty recipes and displaying photos for you to see what it looks like...

i was inspired by primal kitchen - i think it's really interesting to see how other people balance out their menus, and what they make with their produce... not that i'm saying i've got healthy eating 'sorted', i'm very much in the experimentation stage with how much carbs/protein/fat i feel best eating - but it's fun to figure it out. and i LOVE food... so what better post series to start?

i've also let you know how many total carbs i've eaten each day, what exercise i did, and what my control was like that day (and why)...

♥ day 1:
b - porridge (1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water) with a dsp homemade apple sauce with cinnamon
s - banana
l - chopped salad (tomatoes, cucumber, radish, spring onion, herbs) hummus, broccoli and oven baked sardines with thyme butter sauce. followed by two slices of tinned peach
d - homemade vegetable soup with 1 slice of homemade bread
s - homemade granola with greek yogurt, peanut butter and half a pear

total carb intake: 95g
exercise: dog walking 45 mins, shopping 30 mins, baking 90mins.
bg control: excellent! no levels over 10mmol/dl


♥ day 2:
b - 1/2 banana, 2 eggs, 2 rashers bacon and a mug of green tea with lemon
s - apple and a slice of homemade bread
l - tinned chilli pilchards with yogurt on top, and courgette + leeks with herbes de provence, and leftover salad from the previous day
d - sausage, broccoli + petits pois, sweet potato fries. 2 squares of dark chocolate.
s - pear sauce, peanut butter and homemade granola

total carb intake: 80g
exercise: dog walking 45 mins
bg control: went high in the afternoon due to set bruising

♥ day 3:
b - porridge (as before) with linseeds and a dsp homemade pear sauce
s - olives with anchovies and half a cheddar & watercress scone
l - sausage, sweet potato mash and mixed veg. yoghurt and 1tsp granola
d - 1/2 slice toast topped with scrambled egg, ham and mushrooms
s - yoghurt, granola and raspberries

total carb intake: 85g 
exercise: 2.5 hrs shopping, 1hr dog walk ( we also spent the day with a 18month old child, which took loads of energy!)
bg control: excellent! no levels over 10mmol



♥ day 4:
b - coconut flour banana waffles, cream and pear sauce
l - roast chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes and gravy. chocolate mousse.
s - leftover dark chocolate mousse
d - avocado salad with rocket, spinach, tomatoes, radish + bell peppers. olives, yoghurt and dill dip and dill pickled herring.
s - granola and peanut butter

total carb intake: 100g
exercise: 30mins singing, 15 mins dog walk
bg control: went up to 11.1 in afternoon (lack of exercise?!)

♥ day 5:
b - 1 slice homemade bread toasted with low sugar jam
>s - banana
l - mushroom and avocado salad at Pizza Express (the Bosco)
d - chicken stir fry with veggies
s - granola, yoghurt and banana

total carb intake: 60g
exercise: 45 min dog walk
bg control: horrific! went up to 19.9, due to a new set change that decided to fail on me, and a funeral in the afternoon that had me distracted.

♥ day 6:
b - 1 egg, 2 rashers of bacon
l - aubergine and courgette lasagna. yoghurt, granola and pear sauce.
s - cheese + hummus
d - chicken salad with sauerkraut, crispbread and hummus
s - homemade low carb chocolate brownies (these weren't great, but we still ate them the next few days!)

total carb intake: 50 
exercise: dog walking 30mins, baking 1hr 
bg control: slight rollercoaster due to previous day's disaster, which meant that i was so dozy i didn't have enough energy to do much and i forgot to bolus for dinner. 



♥ day 7: 
b - mushroom scramble with 1 egg, 1 rasher bacon, cheese and dill.
s - olives and cheese
l - lamb vegetable curry. yogurt and chocolate brownies (as before)
s - ham + hummus
d - mint, ham, avocado, mozzarella salad with sauerkraut. brownie
s - cheese, olives + hummus

total carb intake: 50g
exercise: dog walking 1.5 hrs
bg control: mostly good, though went up to 13.2mmol/dl before i changed my set in the afternoon.

so there you have it, a week in the life of me - hopefully that'll make you all feel more normal! and hopefully you'll see an improvement over the coming months...

Monday, April 11, 2011

dr bernstein's diabetes solution review

after having recently heard about the amazing Dr. Richard Bernstein (not to be mistaken with Stanley, as i did, oops) via the tudiabetes forums, we bought a copy of his book, the Diabetes Solution.

well, for starters, here's my full review on my new yt channel - read on for a written review:


there are a mixed variety of opinions on the great Dr B - but i undeniably believe that this book will be of help to all diabetics, no matter what type or what age, there is something to be learnt in there.

it's really helped me to straighten out my sugar levels. and even though i don't follow the strictness of his diet or exercise, i have found that reducing my carb intake (which is one of the key factors in his book) has been amazing for creating almost 'non-diabetic' type days.

in my research before reading the book, all the diabetics seemed to give exceptionally positive reviews, claiming lower hbA1c's, more energy and better levels. most of the negative criticism came from medical professional's, who criticised the book for being hard to stick to and unbalanced - i guess you need the motivation of bad levels and emerging symptoms of complications to get you to try something slightly out of the ordinary. but it is working for me - albeit in a slightly more higher carb way (he advocates 30, i eat about 50-100g a day, depending on my level of exercise)

he's got some great things to say about the chinese restaurant effect (or the sunday roast dinner effect, as i have nicknamed it), the law of small numbers and how to cope with exercise.

after reading his book, i felt slightly convicted at my overeating when i go low, and have changed my approach to this. which has been marvellously helpful - i sit, eat a dextrose sweet, then ascertain what sort of snack i need to raise my bg up just enough to bring it in range - a half apple? a crispbread with low sugar jam? a few raspberry liqorice? so, instead of eating everything in sight and then going high, which used to be the case, i now have a much more sensible approach.

i do take all 'health' books i read with a pinch of salt. i know it's not sensible to stuff my body with artificial sweeteners, or processed foods, or lots of meat - all of which he advocates. and i think it's still important to make sure i get enough calories (i can't afford to lose weight really!), although now it's more about good olive oil, fish, nuts, yogurt, butter, avocado, lentils, oats and eggs.

and thanks to all of you who have subscribed to my diabetic youtube channel already, and asked me questions, requested videos or commented, i hope this will turn into an awesome resource for other diabetics and their families, so you are all 's.

Friday, April 08, 2011

a happy doctor

i recently went for a visit at my local hospital to see my specialist. i've only seen him twice before, as i was previously at an extra-specialist centre a lot further away from my home.

i had my doubts about moving back to my local hospital - i had a few unpleasant experiences there as a teenager, and i was concerned that they wouldn't understand insulin pumps (or type 1 diabetes for that matter, if i'm honest) but, so far so good, my fears have not been realised!

the nurses weighed me (lost 3 pounds, uh oh) and took my blood pressure (it was perfect!) and inspected my chart results from previous tests (kidneys = fine, cholesterol = fine, etc, etc = all fine!)

then to see the specialist. i must admit that i have been so excited lately about how low carb has been going, that i was worried that i wouldn't make any coherent sense to the doctor, and that he would tell me off for reducing carbs, losing weight and having ketones once in a while. i got all my facts prepared, readied a speech for the moment when he furrowed his brow in confusion, and... it wasn't necessary.

the doctor was just generally happy with what i was doing - as long as i'm not going low too frequently, and i'm treating them properly when i am, he seems happy. i think i just must appear to be trying hard (which i am, but that's not the point) and i must seem to know what i'm doing (which is flattering, but still, that's not the point).

what about all those other people who appear to be doing well but actually aren't? i have some insight, because for basically a decade i was eating 'normally' and exercising very infrequently, and my doctor's would always be happy that:
a) i turned up to the appointment
b) i had my glucose logs filled in
c) i didn't have any major complications
d) i sounded like i cared

hey well, i suppose that as long as you are trying then there's nothing more they can do. i mean, they can't exactly follow you around your house doing your tests and measurements for you, right? nope, that has to come from you - doctor's can only help so far.

and so i conclude to like my doctor very much. his positivity gives me hope.

his thoroughness was good too. he answered all my questions simply, accurately and tried his hardest.

i only wish he'd recommend some books. and i also wish that when i mentioned Dr. Bernstein he hadn't have looked so puzzled and asked 'who?' (yes, seriously, just like Kev! - he had no idea about the Dr or the Diabetes Solution, hmm).

and bonus... i received a new bright pink OneTouch Ultra Easy ♥

ta-da!

i've recently uploaded a few pages on the top tab - check them out for more detailed info about my diabetes care. and especially have a look at the hbA1c graph which will hopefully give you an idea of my level of control... it's a work in progress.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

breakfast scramble recipe

the perfect breakfast to start any day - a delicious vegetable and bacon egg scramble with dill and a little cheese. i've been having these fairly frequently at breakfast, but also at lunch and dinner - they are a perfect combination of flavours, and you can adjust them to whatever vegetables, herbs or spices you like - you can even add different meats, cheeses, or fish to the recipe too! all you really need are the eggs 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

low carb diet & forcing ketosis

hi all!

today i wanted to talk about something really controversial - forcing a ketotic state through living a very low carb lifestyle.

i received a comment on my recent NJA post about the primal diet. it was an anonymous comment, but it was so good a question i felt it needed answering! here it is:

i am also a type 1 diabetic. were you advised to follow a low carb diet, or was it a personal choice?  diabetes today shouldn't hinder your ability to eat nearly anything! the advice is to eat as you would regularly and match your insulin to that.

i know for myself i rely on carbohydrates, be they low GI, and do not forbid myself from having a few squares of chocolate or a apple crumble made with sugar or some icecream, etc.

i just wonder whether low carb is really good for anyone? ESPECIALLY a diabetic?


this comment left me annoyed that i hadn't fully explained where i stand on low carb, and what the phrase 'low carb' really means to me in a practical way. so here is my best attempt at an answer...

it has been a personal choice for me to go low carb. when i've seen a nutrionist throughout my years of diabetes care i've only ever been advised to follow a 'balanced' diet, with a good proportion of everything, including wholegrain carbs. i've generally been praised for looking after myself well, all the while maintaining a high hbA1c of 7.6 + (normal is less than 5.5%).

i used to think that i could eat anything, and i didn't let my diabetes stop me from eating whatever i liked, although it was always within reason (minus a few Ben & Jerry's sessions at uni when i ate a whole tub). i was frequently eating about 40-60g carbs at a meal, and then more if i was out, at someone else's house or celebrating a special occasion.

i reached a cracking point this february 2011 - i had a severe hypoglycaemic attack in the night, i had my retinal screening test when they found more burst capillaries, i was taking several days a month off from work from high sugar levels, i had some very expensive dental work done (and i'm only 23!) and i became an auntie for the first time!

i went on the tudiabetes forums for answers - and i found lots of people talking about how going 'low carb' was helping them manage their diabetes better and acheive better hbA1c's. my mum bought me the diabetes solution by dr bernstein, which i promptly read, and was very impressed with (review to come soon). so i thought i'd give it a go, it wasn't a drastic difference to my eating habits then - so it wasn't going to be too difficult, and if after two weeks i noticed a positive difference to my blood glucose control, then i told myself i would stick with it....

and of course, after two weeks i noticed a massive improvement in my control and sensitivity to insulin. so, there has been no turning back since then ♥

so how low carb is 'low carb'?
i guess that the thing with a low-carb diet is just how low carb you go... do you go as low carb as bernstein suggests (the 6, 12, 12 principle?) or do you just reduce the carbs you eat to way below the average, to something your own body can handle and use efficiently?

i think the danger with low carb, and the reason we don't associate that phrase with anything healthy, has to do with forced ketosis. there's a theory that people like Atkin's have concluded, celebrated and advocated through a low carb lifestyle - that by going on this diet you'll force your body into ketosis, where it burns fat for energy, instead of carbs.

atkins seems to think that going into a ketotic state is a good thing, because it shows that you are losing weight. but if you don't need to lose weight then what then? and aren't ketones really bad for your system?

i asked myself this after my second week on the diet when i was feeling a bit groggy. i decided to use a ketostix to measure where is was at, and found i had ketones in my system. then followed a frantic search for answers all over the net: to which i concluded that i'd eaten too much fat and not enough carbs in proportion to the amount of exercise i was having. and that although there were ketones, this was a sign of non-PWD's ketosis rather than a PWD's ketoacidosis (i had had perfect sugar levels that day, all under 7mmol's, so i was very confused). anyhow, with a little adjusting, i have not had one more positive ketone test, and i now check each evening - and will do until i am settled on this new lifestyle.

so, i would never recommend a ketogenic diet, because i don't think it's a positive thing to do to your body, and can give you permanent damage to your kidney/liver/gallbladder. something worth keeping in mind, especially when a PWD's body is more at risk of these things anyway.

i eat about 50-100gr carbs a day, and those are mostly at breakfast time and as snacks before and after exercise. i hardly eat any carbs at dinner, it's usually a big salad, and i eat a small amount at lunch with by large protein portion for the day. i found this post at marks daily apple very helpful in understanding how many carbs i ought to be eating. but i also think that it's different every day, and that you also need to listen to your own body's demands, and account for the amount of exercise your getting with your carb intake.

the other thing to mention is that, with my insulin pump, and having managed my diabetes for 12 years, i was able to take charge of lowering my basal insulin rates, and adjust for fewer carbs with my meal boluses. if you want to go lower carb, but aren't sure how then speak to your local GP or endocrinologist about it - my local practice have been very supportive of my change in diet, because they know i won't do anything TOO crazy, and they know it WILL help improve my health.

anyway, that's all for now. and in the meantime, tell me your experience with reducing your carb intake, or your thoughts on ketosis?