Nutritional Ketosis: My Journey Begins

This week my goal is to get my body in nutritional ketosis (a state in which my body utilizes fat before sugar).  I half experimented with this after my diagnosis not knowing it was called nutritional ketosis.  All I knew was that if sugar is a problem for me then I should try and make my body run off of fat.  Now that I am a little more informed and after several months of falling off the wagon, I’m making some changes.  At the beginning of my diabetic journey I weighed in at 103 and my goal was actually to gain a few pounds.  However, after these recent months of rollercoaster blood sugars and less than quality food choices, I notice that I have put on weight rather quickly.  Now everyone around me will look at me and say that I haven’t.  You can’t tell by looking but my clothes are much tighter than they were previously.   
 
Also, now that I feel a little more in control of my blood sugars and feel more comfortable about my diet and digestion, I plan to incorporate more exercise to stay toned and maintain an ideal bodyweight.  Thus, I will be attempting nutritional ketosis starting this week and I will be tracking it here on my blog.  I have been very inspired by another who is Type 1 diabetic who is doing this as well as this guy Jimmy Moore.  http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/jimmy-moores-n1-experiments-nutritional-ketosis-day-1-30/14409 
 
So far it has been 24 hours. My blood sugar has averaged 98, although I would ideally like that to be slightly lower.  I also bought the strips to test ketones in your urine.  I would like to have one that checks them via your blood but those are pricey.  I am going to ask about getting a prescription for them at my next appointment but until then these simple urine test strips will have to do.  Hopefully I will see an increase in my ketones as the days go by.  It will definitely be a bit of a struggle to do this since I have two little kids and a husband to take care of, but ultimately extending my years as a Type 1 diabetic is top on my priority list.  I am ready for this next challenge.  Wish me luck!

Bubbles In My Line

Aside

Bubbles. Yep.  My kids love em.  But I don’t.  At least when they’re in the line that connects my pump to my body.  Obviously if there is a bubble then I am not recieving insulin and consequently my sugar goes up.  I have tried to be so careful when drawing the insulin into the vial but I still get bubbles in my line all the time!  The nurses say to use a pen and tap on the vial to get them out.  I swear I get them out and somehow they still form.  Every time. 

I saw one this morning and it was sort of close to my pump site.  It was good size too, not little champagne bubbles.  I was rushing around getting myself and the two kids ready so I told myself to remember to get it out a little later, however when I got to work I realized it was too late.  Checked my sugar. 185.  Totally bummed.  Did not start my Monday off right.  Hoping that this day ends better than it started, at least in terms of my blood sugar.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Once you are diagnosed diabetic, Type 1 or Type 2, there is no longer just a yearly checkup with your primary physician.  Instead, you must now add to that a visit to your endocrinologist about every 3 months for an A1c, as well as see a dietitian to ensure that you are managing your diabetes well. 

I am very fortunate to have insurance that allows me to see doctors within the Cedars Sinai group here in Los Angeles.  I saw doctors in this group before I was diabetic and I also gave birth to both of my children at Cedars Sinai Hospital.  They have always provided excellent service. 

I like my endocrinologist, who, lucky for me is also my primary physician.  I don’t think that is common.  I also like my dietitian.  Every time I see them for an appointment they are at a loss for words at how well I am managing my diabetes (I am guessing there is a vast majority that does not???).  I can see the shock on their faces.  I pretty much run my appointments.  My main purpose for seeing them is to make sure I get my prescriptions. 

I remember my appointment with my dietitian to discuss applying for the pump.  As usual she asked me a bunch of questions and how I was doing.  But when I got to the part where I told her I  don’t eat grains she promptly chimed in to say “Well you can have grains.  It is good to include whole grains as part of a healthy diet.”  Whoa.  I could have schooled her right there but I decided to save her dignity as a health professional.  Afterall, my goal was to see her so that I could get an insulin pump. 

My next visit with her was after I had received my pump and been using it for a couple weeks.  It is standard for you to come in to see how you are doing and to possibly make basal rate and/or carb ratio changes if necessary.  Because the pump was new to me I had a lot of questions for her.  My last question, however, was a complete curve ball.  I asked her what she thought of paleo.  (Most who are close to me know that I follow a primal way of eating and that I truly believe it has helped me immensely in dealing with my auto immune disease, Type 1 diabetes.)  Man did I have her stumped with my question.  She stumbled over her words saying “Well I haven’t really heard anything about that.  I’ll have to look into that.”

As much as I like her, I thought to myself how the heck can you be a “practicing” dietitian who is not keeping up with current health news and reports?  I must amdit thought I half expected this answer from her because she is older and I imagine has been doing this for more than a couple decades.  So I left and left it at that.

About a week ago, I recieved a letter in the mail from her.  It was announcing that she had made the decision to retire and would no longer be my dietitian.  This was a standard letter sent to all her clients.  She was very instrumental in getting me on my insulin pump in a quickly manner and I am very grateful for that, yet there is part of me that thinks this is a good thing.  This tells me that the generation is changing and with that the current health and diet paradigms too.  We need new health professionals that realize and put into practice a new way of thinking about diet and health.  Health professionals that know you DON’T need whole grains and starchy carbohydrates for proper bodily funtcion.  Not only that but health professionals who know what “paleo” is, ones who will take a more whole body approach to diagnosis and treatment and ones that don’t look at me wide-eyed in amazement at how well I am managing my diabetes because that should be the goal.  I am very excited to see how this change takes place and you can bet that I will have my own part in this upcoming health revolution.

Get Back On Track!

I admit it. I’ve been bad the past couple months. Bad with food that is. I kept making excuses for why it was ok to eat the chocolate chunk cookie every morning and the pound cake and other goodies they keep bringing into the work lunchroom. They tasted so good but that is so short-lived. Then the guilt sets in. And the rollercoaster of blood sugar levels doesn’t make me feel any better. So I feel down and then I eat some more. Talk about spiraling downward day after day. Living with diabetes I have found is a daily battle. It’s not just about maintaining my blood sugar. It’s also about maintaining my sanity in the process.

After all of this sugar debauchery, I put my foot down. I mean I have got to pull myself together! After my diagnosis I hardly put anything with sugar in my mouth and my A1c went from 8.3 down to 5.5! My last check up was not as good at 6.3. Where did I lose my way? So last week I made a change. For the last several days in a row I have eaten without needing to bolus. I havent had one single crash and my blood sugar hasn’t gone beyond 130! That, my friends, is the power of high-fat, low-carb eating. I am no scientist but the proof is right there. Sure there is always going to be that day when everything is totally wrong, including your blood sugar. Those just can’t be avoided sometimes, but I definitely want to be strong enough after having a bad day that I can wake up the next morning and get right back on track! How about you?

A Mother’s Day Post

I have been trying to write more often but haven’t been for the last few days.  I just had my braces adjusted the other day and I have been in extreme pain.  Because I avoid taking something like Advil unless absolutely necessary, I haven’t been able to concentrate on much except pain.  

The pain has significantly subsided luckily in time for Mother’s Day.  What mom wants to be grumpy on Mother’s Day?! So here I sit at a cafe while my darling husband is out with the kids having fun.  Funny thing is, as much as I enjoy my “me” time, I am ready to get back to my family after a couple of hours.  I suppose that is the mother in me.

Those who knew me growing up will tell you I never ever thought I would be a mom.  I swore over and over again I was never going to get married and certainly never have children!  I was going to travel the world and be a career woman just like my Great Aunt Donna.  Sadly for her, I now realize it is probably because she never met the right person because when I met my husband I felt something totally different.  I call my children “love children” because they are both a complete manifestation of our love.  As cheesy as that sounds it’s true.  When I look into their eyes I get this overwhelming and intense feeling.  How could two people create one person?  How can this child before me be both me and my husband? And then our second child a different but second version of that?  It’s magic I tell you!  

I found out I was Type 1 diabetic about one year after my second child was born.  Aside from being angry that I had to make so many dietary changes, I felt like it was such an unfortunate time to find this out.  My children are 14 months apart.  Therefore I had a 2 1/2 year old boy and a 1 year old little girl at the time.  I thought to myself why now?  It is already exhausting having two tiny children but now I have to completely overhaul my lifestyle?  Yes, it was a slow process but it can be done.  And rather than give up and wallow in my exhaustion and sadness I looked into the faces of my children.  Who am I to give up in front of them?  Who am I to leave them without a mother at a young age if I don’t take care of myself?  And most importantly, what kind of example am I to them if I do not take control and own my condition?

Sure I can preach to them as I raise them but somehow I know that my actions and what I stand for will have a greater impact on their character.  Instead of feeling sad and sorry for myself that I can’t live a “normal” life, I would rather show them the power of staying proactive and positive.  As hard as it is being a mother, I imagine that it might have been harder dealing with my diabetes had I no children at all.  And so it is that everyday I wake up with them, I am so happy I am a mom.  A Type 1 diabetic mom.  They are my constant reason for fighting, loving, and living.  This one is for all of the Type 1 moms out there who feel this same way.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Interview of Coca Cola Executive

Yesterday I came across an interview of Coca Cola president Katie Bayne.  You can read it here:

 http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-06-07/coke-q-and-a-coca-cola-mayor-bloomberg/55453016/1 

I find this interview appalling on two levels.  One as a mom, the other as a diabetic.  I notice she uses the word “need” a lot.  What consumers might “need” or when she “needs” a pick-me-up.  I am no rocket scientist but last time I checked man has been living without soda just fine since the beginning of time.  Soda is not a necessary part of your diet.

She kills me when she says, “There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular beverages.”  But the icing on the cake is when she then states, “When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-me-up with calories and great taste.”  I don’t know about you but either she is lying, she knows nothing about proper nutrition and is a complete idiot, or…she is lying.  I don’t think there is any mother out there who deep down in her heart thinks that soda is a great source of energy.  And what kid needs a pick-me-up? That’s absurd.  Silent indoctrination such as this, that soda serves as a kid form of coffee is pretty unconscionable if you ask me. I imagine if she had a diabetic child this interview would not even exist.  

So she is then asked about empty calories. To which she replied: “We don’t believe in empty calories. We believe in hydration.”  L .O .L.  I have never found soda to be hydrating, actually the opposite.  Furthermore, just because they don’t believe in empty calories doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Sorry Ms. Bayne but I’m not dumb enough to fall for that one.  

She goes on to talk about how obesity is not linked to soda consumption and that actually when sugar content in soda decreased, obesity still rose.  There is more than just sugar at work here.  So you lower the sugar content by creating a diet soda with good old aspartame.  I don’t believe aspartame is good for you or your metabolism.  Not to mention it’s cancer causing.  She sure doesn’t say whether cancer has increased or not.

When asked how much Coke kids should drink a day she compares the calories of a 12-ounce can to a bag of pretzels.  Both aren’t good for your kids and both would send a diabetic’s blood sugar sky high.  

Her daily routine consists of multiple Diet Cokes (again can’t get around the aspartame) and she would rather have that than a cookie or a candy bar.  No difference if you ask me.  Has she taken a look at the nutritional labels of any of these because I’m pretty sure she hasn’t.  And again she uses the word “pick-me-up.”  You simply don’t need “pick-me-ups” to get you through a day.  It’s called real food…well and bacon (for those of you who know my love of bacon).

Lastly she is asked about sugar being an addictive substance.  I love how all she can say is “There is no scientific evidence.”  There’s plenty of evidence and it’s right under all of our noses we just choose to ignore it because just like someone who is addicted to something the first step is to overcome denial.

This interview really struck a nerve with me.  She must get paid an exorbitant amount of money to be able to answer interview questions like this.  I personally wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.  There is almost part of me that hopes her son grows up to be some amazing  health guru that completely smashes all of her ridiculous attempts at convincing the people soda is good for you.  But hoping won’t do anything.  Those of us who know it is unhealthy and wrong have to make sure that we say something otherwise we’ll end up looking just as ridiculous as she does and in poor health.

It Is Not Just “My” New Diabetic Life

When someone is newly diagnosed with a chronic illness it is often overlooked how immediate family members and close friends are affected.  I, for example, was very proactive about making the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes required to maintain my diabetes.  This was no easy task but especially harder because I was married with two very young children.  My life was turned upside down and in turn theirs was too.  Of course, there have been bumps along the way.  I suddenly went through the kitchen and tossed everything grain in the trash.  Yes that includes cereal, cookies and the most beloved staple in a Korean home, white rice.  I would watch my husband who is not diabetic walk into the kitchen scouring the fridge and the cupboards only to come out with a sad, defeated look on his face.  I mean I had to give the guy credit.  He was making the same changes I was making too but without the same reason.

It bothered me to think that I might become some sort of food nazi so I would watch him eat a hamburger on a lovely golden brown bun and eat all of the delicious panchan with soft sticky rice, while I on the other hand would eat my hamburger wrapped in iceberg lettuce and skip the rice completely.  I knew that when he went to work he would eat as he liked at lunchtime and of course whenever we would meet friends outside of the house it would certainly contain a fair amount of carbs.

All the while, I have tried to stay communicative with him.  Let him know what it feels like when I have a low or conversely when I am high.  I keep him informed when I research something and learn something new.  Sometimes I think to myself, “this is going in one ear and straight out the other.”  Surprisingly, I see changes.  There has been more than one occasion where he has skipped the rice not only on my behalf but because he now understands why it is not good for you.  We have a better kitchen routine down too.

So now the reason for this post.  I was going through the fridge today, as I usually do on the weekend.  Sometimes when I am feeling uninspired I will cheat and buy some of those low carb yogurt cups from the grocery store.  I know, I know, they are not ideal but I admit I cheat here and there.  Last time I picked some up I mistakenly chose a couple of the regular non low-carb version (35 grams of carbs!!!!).  I told my husband they were all his.  But to my surprise when I looked in the fridge today there is one of the two left.  It made it a whole week without being touched.  I’ve even suggested for him to eat it when he goes looking for a snack but no go.

Sure I guess it could be that he just hasn’t been in the mood for it but I’d like to think that my husband has really been there with me on this health journey.  And that maybe some things were not just going in one ear and out the other.  It is a silent sign and one that is encouraging and reminds me that I am not going through this alone.  Thank you honey for doing your best to understand and learn with me.  Thank you for not eating the yogurt cup in the fridge.

For those of you who are newly diagnosed remember that it is a big change for you and also for those close to you.  Just as it will take you some time to change your routine and sort things out it will be that way for others too because we are all in this together.