Nourishing Zen

Nourishing YOU. Adventures to Healthy, Happy, and a Fulfilling Life! Food is our medicine.


Leave a comment

A Diabetic’s Dilemma – Weight Loss vs. Insulin


Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight in their life can tell you that it’s not easy.  Anyone who’s diabetic can also tell you that weight loss is a constant struggle.

Taking insulin is a major component of what prevents us diabetics from losing weight.  For type 1 diabetics such as myself, we are provided with a sliding scale that best suits us.  However, little does anyone tell you, that your sliding scale varies not only day by day, but hour by hour.  What does this mean?  For example, if you’re a person who exercises once a day for an hour each day, five days a week, and eats the same foods each meal, then sure – your sliding scale may be the same.  But who does that?  No one that I know.  So what exactly are the variables that create such differences in our sliding scale?

  1. Foods Consumed – The obvious one.  Fattier foods such as beef, butter, donuts, cheeses etc. will create a major increase in our blood glucose (BG) levels over a long period of time.  This can range anywhere from 8 hours to 24 hours later depending on how fast it is digested.  This is also where the glycemic index of foods come in handy.  Of course, the amount is also a factor here.  Not eating enough could lead to low levels/hypoglycemia.

glycemic-index-chart

2.  Exercise – the amount of time you exercise as well as the type of exercise.  Cardiovascular exercise will decrease your blood sugar more rapidly than strength training.  Strength training will immediately increase your blood glucose due to your muscles needing energy for the work they are doing, but then decrease over a longer period of time.  Normally if I do any strength training, I will follow this up with 15-20 minutes of cardio to help bring the blood glucose down.

3.  Stress – Yes, we all know stress always seems to work against us mentally and physically!  When stressed, my blood sugar is 10-15 points higher overall!  This makes a huge difference!

4.  Hydration – Drinking enough water is so important!  If I’m dehydrated, my blood sugar spikes more often, and for longer periods of time.  I literally have to set my phone to remind me to drink water sometimes, but it is a must!

5.  That ‘Female’ Thing – But of course this wouldn’t help a diabetic’s blood glucose!  Hormones never seem to work in our favor.  Not only is my body temperature higher, but my blood glucose is at least 10 points higher during this time.

6.  Sickness – When sick, my blood sugar can stay high for longer periods of time, especially when I have a fever.  It is actually very, very scary when you do everything you can to keep your levels down but don’t see any results.

So as you can see, all of these vary on a daily basis.  This would mean that a person could have many different sliding scales in a given day.  Often times, if we keep the same sliding scale over a large period of time, and with life factors that are constantly changing, we could very well be taking more or less insulin than needed.  By taking more, your body stores this as fat.  And fat is not my friend.

It is true, that I may never have a perfect sliding scale to accommodate my lifestyle.  However, I have heard of studies about a fake pancreas which would be amazing.  Other than that, us diabetics are kind of screwed.  There is never such thing as perfect sliding scale, and therefore, we are constantly battling weight loss in some way, shape or form!


Leave a comment

Insulin Pump Update!


I haven’t had the Tandem T-Slim insulin pump for very long, but I must say that the results have been incredible. Why?

Convenience. 

Lower cost for supplies than insulin pens. 

Amount of insulin given is to the tenth. 

Tracking. 

Flexibility in customizing the details and profiles for every situation. 

My a1c went from 7.4 to 6.0. 

The average Blood Glucose I’ve had in the past month (30 days) is 112. 

It’s getting me where I need to be with my Diabetes. 

Check out this recent report 

  


Leave a comment

What does a Low Blood Sugar level feel like?


I had my first real low the other night – the first time in a very long time.  You feel a bit woozy – like the way you feel after having a couple drinks and things just start to feel so light and in a way, silly.  You notice your fingers start to shake a little, like when you’ve had a little too much coffee.  Mouth becomes numb, almost tingling.  Visually focusing is difficult too and everything is kind of blurring together.  On the brink of a cold sweat, your entire body starts tingling.  All the while, you feel like stuffing your face to curb the random cravings you’re having.  Yes, this was definitely a low.  I checked my blood sugar, and the glucometer read: 52.

First thought – OH shizz.  This is bad.  Must. Eat. Something.

Lows are no good and can be quite scary!  Worst case scenario is loss of consciousness.  Let’s not think about that possibility.  Us diabetics work so hard at guaging our bodies, and being on top of our health. A combination of exercise, foods we choose to eat, checking BG levels, and insulin dosages can be just right, yet fatal at times.  Take care of yourselves and hopefully no lows will happen to you like it did to me this past week!


2 Comments

NEW Progress with THIS blog. Discoveries. Thoughts. NEW news.


This article will take approximately 3-5 minutes to read.

After my workout this morning, I sit in the sauna to think, meditate, and well… just sweat it out.  It feels good!  If you haven’t tried it, and you have access to one – do it!  Anyway, I started thinking a lot about the evolution of this blog.

I started this blog with the intention of getting the word out about our Diabetes and Colitis management through food.  We almost always cook with modifications and finds ways to better suit both of our needs.  I mean, after all, we love food.  Then, the more I thought about my posts, my thoughts, and what I wanted to really write about, was not JUST about food and recipes, but about the mental, physical, and life changes that need to happen in order to make ourselves healthy according to OUR personal molds.  It is not only specific to food or diets, but specifics about exercise (types of exercise, how it affects our health according to each individual, what exercises work the best for our goals, what our intentions are with exercising, what is realistic, etc.), food (choices, capabilities, modifications, portion size, balance of proteins, carbs, veggies/fruits, etc.), and a healthy mind (how we deal with stresses, loss, guilt, motivation, determination, support or lack thereof, love, relationships etc.).  I found that I didn’t want to write as much because I felt constricted to our primary topic of food and recipes.

What am I going to do about it?

Change it up!  My intentions for this blog are selfish and self-less.  I get to be selfish sometimes and in this case, it is an outlet for me.  I want to put my experiences, my thoughts, and ideas out there NOT for gratification, but to take the change in knowing that someone else might relate to me in a large or small way.  I want to be self-less in the sense that I would like to be able to help anyone that could be in the same boat as me, or have interests in the same topics.  I know that diabetes management, colitis management, weight loss, motivation and making changes to your habits and daily life can be extremely challenging.  My main topic is still, of course health.

So here I go…

A recent situation has led me to truly change me for the best.  People call it a ‘blessing in disguise’.  Over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and dig deep about myself and my purpose.  The topic that comes to mind constantly is my health – diabetes, weight management, mental state of being, and my overall comfort level in my own skin.  Like most people, their jobs and families consume a large part of one’s life.  I know that for me, when times at work become extremely stressful, my level of motivation to work out decreases prrrrretty quickly.  So, with work and wedding planning I had hardly any drive to work out.  What did that do?  That increased my blood sugar levels which increased my hemoglobin A1C level, body fat percentage increased due to lack of exercise which then decreased my energy levels as well.  As you can see, it is quite the domino effect!  With diabetes, people are more susceptible to pretty much everything!   My work situation was the start of an ongoing decrease in health and I can’t tell you how incredibly relieved I am.  It feels pretty gosh darn awesome to be healthy again.

So here’s what I’m currently doing.  Now, I take spin class or run three days a week, pilates three days a week, and weight/strength training three days a week.  I am currently checking my blood sugar levels four times a day to ensure tight control of my levels – which then affects the A1C.   My A1C lab test result was provided as of this week and it is 6.8.  This is a little high compared to last time.  In two and a half months, my goal is 6.0.  With the exercise, tight control and motivation, I know I can do it!  With the combination of different types of exercise and checking my levels 4-5 times a day, there is no excuse to not reach my goals.  Not to mention the increase in exercise has increased my energy levels and I truly feel good in my own skin.  I look at the scale and see no fluctuation in numbers, but I know my body is changing and I can feel it.

I know it’s only been a few weeks.  I know this is not a total life change.  But it’s a step in the right direction!  All my life I’ve been in flux.  My workout schedule, my eating habits, my comfort level with my weight/body.  We all have our moments, but for me, it has been a huge struggle.  I’m not entirely sure why to be honest with you.  I know it is dependent upon my stress levels which are connected to my energy levels.  I also know I love food too much.  I’m such a sucker for good food!  Otherwise, I’m not sure.  Maybe I get bored?  Maybe it’s based on my emotions?  All good stuff for me to think about!  But as of now, I am so happy with where I’m at, how I feel, and the path that I’m on.  Now the real challenge is – is to stick with it!

That being said… I am changing the name of the blog.  Haven’t found one that I love just yet, but stay tuned… I will be writing more about life experiences in conjunction with my/our health.

What do you think?


Leave a comment

Fitness/Diabetes motivated


Gotta stay motivated. My recent A1C was 6.8 which is a little high for me. My goal is 5.8-6.0 in two and a half months. Checking my blood glucose 4+ times a day and making sure my levels are lower than 140 (specifically 2hrs after eating). Getting a pump and must stay on track. Spin, weights, plyometrics, running, plyometrics and pilates… Working out 5x per week, with 3 double days.

Good health = hard work!!

IMG_2440-0.JPG


Leave a comment

Diabetes – Check-in, Gympact App, Diet, Exercise, A1C Result


Well hello! I know I haven’t been posting many recipes lately, and I do apologize for that. I have been changing my diet, exercise schedule and attitude about everything. Not to mention, getting the lab tests done for my Diabetes!

As you know, I was a bit worried about the last a1c reading I had which was a little above 7. I decided I needed to change to improve this number. The doctors also told me that in order to have kids in the future, my a1c needs to be below 6. I’m not going to lie, this freaked me out a bit. So I switched things up for the better and saw a huge difference!

Fruits & Veggies - All Day!

Diet – Veggie Up!

I have been cutting down a lot of foods I eat and sticking to tons of veggies and a small amount of protein. I’ve also been on a huge seafood kick lately – for some reason, I feel better eating seafood than I do when I eat chicken, pork, or beef. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, my gut just feels better when I don’t!

We have also been extremely busy in preparation for the wedding… and oddly enough, I have lost some of my appetite due to stress. Fear not, of course, I am still definitely eating! Making more veggie/fruit smoothies for morning – not juicing – but smoothies, to make sure I get all the fiber, vitamins and minerals from the meat of them. I attempted the all smoothie diet for a couple days and that didn’t go over so well. All in all, I’ve made it a point to eat tons more veggies – specifically via smoothies and simple soups.

Gympact

Exercise – 30-Minute-Minimum – Gympact

I’ve also increased exercise. I downloaded this app called Gympact. This is an interesting app. Basically you set a goal whether it is to work out 2-7 days a week (minimum 30 min workout, double days do not count), or eat more veggies. Every time you reach your goal, you MAKE MONEY. Granted, it’s not a lot, it may be $1 or $2, but hey it’s better than nothing! IF you MISS a day after week’s end (Monday through Sunday range), you will be CHARGED MONEY. This value can be changed such as $5, $10, $50 etc. You have the option to take a break if you’d like as well. So, if you’re sick, on vacation, injured etc., you can pause your regime on the app. So far, my goal is 4 days a week at the gym.

My personal goal is do at least 30 minutes of cardio at the gym, and then 30 minutes of weight lifting. I am seeing a HUGE difference with the combo. Cardio immediately decreases the blood sugar, whereas lifting weights is more of a prolonged decrease over time (2-4 hours). Not only have my blood sugars been so much better, but my energy is much better throughout the day!

A1C
RESULT?

Lab tests were done on Monday, July 21st. The results came back Tuesday. What was my a1c? 6.2!! My average blood sugar has been 131. It is so relieving to know that the hard work pays off. Lab results don’t lie (usually). I’ve got to remember to keep this up and to strive for the next goal… I would like to see my average lower, so this is what I’m striving for – 5.8 a1c.

I’m excited about the progress I’ve achieved thus far and am ready for the next goal! Let’s do this!


3 Comments

Diabetes Lab Results Update


True statement.

True statement.

So I am getting more and more blood test results back. I worry because of the fact that I was doing so well previously, and now, am slightly more at risk. Isn’t it crazy how fast these things can change? It still surprises me every morning. I think about this every day now. It is on my mind, and I am worried. As of now, it seems as if all other tests are coming back normal. Some of these tests include:

Serum Potassium
Serum Sodium
Hemoglobin A1C
HDL
LDL
Microalbumin, Urine
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
Prolactin

These are routine and should be done once every 6 months. Though I am worried, I am appreciative of the fact that I can have these tests done.

From my doctor:

“After reviewing our past visits, I see that one of the main reasons you did not need insulin with meals was that you were working out so much. At the time I saw you, I noted you were exercising (average) 2-3 hours daily.
Diabetes is a very individualized condition and requires individualized treatment plans. In your case, your body was making a normal amount of insulin last time we checked, (August 2013), and the problem was insulin resistance, meaning the insulin was not working well.
Exercise is the best medicine for this condition, and exercise coupled with metformin usually works very well to decrease insulin resistance.”

I am determined to not have to take more medicine if I can help it. There is no other option. I need to stay motivated.


Leave a comment

Determined


I recently had blood tests done and found that my diabetes has gotten slightly worse due to not being able to exercise as much. I worked as a tennis pro full time until December when I accepted work in the Billing & Accounts department. I am now more in operations and teaching less which means less time to exercise. These are all great moves for my career. But this means a difference in my daily activity level. So now, it has proven that I need to make more time to be active. Three days a week running with the wolfpack and one to two days doing spin, three to four days doing weights at home – this is what I am committed to. My doctor writes, every person and each treatment is specialized based on the individual. For me, and many others, exercise is key to insulin absorption, and burning off the carbohydrates/sugars that I consume. If I do not exercise more, my medications will need to be adjusted accordingly. So, I am determined to make my health right and consistently above par.

20140415-201731.jpg


Leave a comment

Flour Substitutions


Good morning! Happy Monday!

Following the previous post of coconut oil cooking spray, I decided to post what we use to substitute white or wheat flour. For the most part, I really try and stick with recipes with the least amount of flour. When I do use flour, I mainly use coconut flour and almond flour. However, using all of one kind, there is a texture difference. If you’re a texture person, try and mix these in, in parts. Always, if combining different types of flours, combine gently and beware of texture.

The coconut flour has a slight coconut flake, grainy texture. It isn’t as smooth as white or wheat flour. Almond flour also has a very nutty flavor that can be overpowering depending on your recipe. Almond flour also does not rise as well either.

Here is what we currently have at home:

20140414-075619.jpg

20140414-075949.jpg

There are also a number of other flours I would like to use. I’m interested because they have a lower amount of carbohydrates, more protein, and more fiber than the average flour. These being:

20140414-080032.jpg

20140414-080039.jpg

20140414-080723.jpg
(Also called Garfava flour – silly name, isn’t it?)

Use these in baking, thickening up sauces, and coating/baking your protein. Choose your flour substitute wisely based on your needs and tastes. For instance, I will commonly mix 1/3 equal parts of wheat, almond and coconut flour in my carrot spice bread.

Don’t forget, these flours are also great for treats for your pets! Check out this link for more information.

Diabetic Living: Flour Substitutions!


Leave a comment

An awesome reminder…


20140328-064534.jpg

I have always been very weight-conscious my entire life. For the past 12 years I was misdiagnosed as Type 1 instead of a Type 2, and provided with the incorrect dosages and medications. This caused a huge weight problem due to excess insulin in my body. The extra insulin I was taking (Novolog in particular) was stored as fat which caused me to be unable to lose weight. I was exercising 3-4hrs a day, and eating Paleo style 90% of the time. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I felt fat, confused, frustrated and helpless. Through a change in the way I was eating, as well as seeing the right doctors, this has subsided. To this day I still feel very conscientious of my weight, but at least now I have control of my body – not diabetes! 🙂

This photo, to me, reminds us that our society puts too much pressure on appearance, and doesn’t see the truth behind an image. There is always so much more than what meets the eye.


Leave a comment

Good Morning! A simple and delicious breakfast of champs!


20140328-071450.jpg

Coffee with Almond/Coconut milk (of course).

Steel cut oats (1/2 cup) with a sliced banana, blueberries and strawberries. Drizzle a tiny bit of honey if you have a sweet tooth!

Note: I use bananas that are not as ripe because very ripe bananas have a higher sugar content as well as a higher glycemic index!