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I tried restricted eating as a means of controlling my blood glucose (BG) soon after I was diagnosed with diabetes, and after some initial success my BG started to rise to the point where I decided that it was not for me. Since that time I have learned many lessons on my diabetes control journey. In my case, as a TOFI diabetic I found that it was difficult to get control of my BG, and my diabetic nurse had warned me of this, saying that I would not see the response that obese diabetics see when they lose weight. Nevertheless I started experimenting with my diet and found that I did pretty well on low carb, moderate protein, moderate to high fat and high green food and my HbA1c fell from 108 to 64 at my next appointment. I also found that my BG shot up when I exercised, but I had the confidence to carry on, as I had read the Fighting Insulin Resistance with Strength Training book. Over time, my muscles built up and started to take the strain when my BG went up due to strong emotional responses and then my BG began to stay normal when I exercised. This levelling out of my BG by these two means of control meant that I had an HbA1c of 45 at my last visit. My diabetes nurse was so pleased with these consistent falls in BG levels, but I said that I felt that I was unlikely to get much lower as I was on a very low carb diet and was doing a lot of exercise every day.
After some thought, I decided that I would give intermittent fasting another go. I read the Diabetes Code, and instead of a restricted eating pattern, I bit the bullet and tried a 36-40 hour fast twice a week -and boy did that work! My fasting BG in the morning is now never more than 5.5 and I've been doing two 36-40 fasst a week for six weeks with no changes in BG stability. For me it seems that the sequence of control; diet and then exercise and then fasting was the key to normalising my BG levels. The diet seems to have enabled me to cope with the fast and the muscle development seesm to have helped with the stress when I go through a "hungry" patch. My BG levels stay in the normal zone throughout the fast and beyond, when I start eating again. I am really hoping that I have found the means of controlling my diabetes and that now I have a routine I can push it into the background of my life.
I hope that my experience has shown that it is worth trying different things until you hit upon the control formula that works for you.
I bought myself an ice cream maker as a Christmas toy. I also sent for some natural flavourings of vanilla, strawberry, cherry, almond and raspberry. The ice cream maker is only small as I don't have very much space in my kitchen. Consequently it is a model that needs the bowl to be kept in the freezer overnight before making the ice cream. I blended 350 ml of single cream with 350ml of double cream and heated it in a saucepan until it was nearly boiling. Meanwhile, I separated three eggs and whisked up the yolks. Once the cream mixture was hot I added 2 tablespoons of erythritol and gave it a good stir and left it for ten minutes to cool. I poured the cream mixture onto the whipped egg yolks and stirrred it to mix. Then I strained the mixture through a sieve into a clean saucepan and heated it carefully unttil it thickened enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. I added a teaspoon of vanilla and gave it a good stir and then poured it into a glass bowl. I covered the bowl and left it to cool, stirring it occasionally to prevent a skin forming. Once the mixture was cold I added it to the ice cream maker. Hey presto! 25 minutes later I had a thickened creamy mass that hardened rapidly in the freezer.
I have tasted it, and I am really pleased with it. As well as plain ice cream, I now have the possibility of desserts such as trifles, with almond cake, sugar free jelly and ice cream. I have a lot of new flavours to try as well, which I am looking forward to.
After my dentist said that I needed to do more to keep my dental plaque under control, I had a think about what I could try to help the problem. As I clean my teeth after every meal and use floss (albeit carefully around my crowns) at night, I felt at a bit of a loss. A bit of research unearthed information on using a water pick. This sprays a jet of water which is directed at the gum line, and removes plaque and debris. I was pleased to learn that it does not loosen crowns. So I ordered one, which arrived last night. After charging it up, I filled it with water and turned it on. Instantly a jet of water as straight and tight as a laser beam shot past my ear. Frantically trying to turn it off, I turned it to pulse mode and then to an even fiercer jet, before finally switching it off. OK, so only turn it on when it is actually in your mouth. I started with the moderate jet and after nearly abrading my gums a few times, I started to use it properly. It was surprisingly good; I tried using floss afterwards and there was nothing left for it to remove. So it looks like the regime will be electric toothbrush, interdental brushes and water pick.
I had to visit the dentist yesterday afternoon as I had broken a tooth. Not only did I get told that this tooth would have to be taken out in hospital - it was a wisdom tooth and will need to be surgically removed- but I then get a lecture that began "I know you look after your teeth, but as a diabetic..." I listened to her patiently but I was thinking "I clean my teeth after every meal and floss and use a plaque removing mouthwash every night, all of which takes me a long time. Do you know how much time I spend looking after this disease? The meal planning /getting, the exercise, looking after my feet, taking my blood pressure, doing blood tests?" I do get fed up sometimes.
So I'm using a variety of exercises for my fitness regime now. I always start with isometrics, as these are good for blood pressure reduction. At one time these were considered bad for diabetics as it was thought that they put a lot of strain on the vascular system. However, although this is true and it is wise to seek medial advice on heart health before trying them, the pressure on the blood vessels makes them expand more effeciciently and this flexibility can actually reduce blood pressure (Isometric Exercise Training for Blood Pressure Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Debra J. Carlson, Gudrun Dieberg, Nicole C. Hess, Philip J. Millar, and Neil A. Smart Mayo Clinic Proceedings March 2014 Vol. 89 issue 3 pages 327- 334: Website https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(13)01006-9/abstract334). I have watched my blood pressure go from high normal to ideal normal.
Mixing things up with the mini trampoline, mini multigym, dumbbells and callisthenics stops boredom and targets different bits of me. So now as I approach my sixth decade, I've gone completely potty and decided to LEARN TO SWIM. The voice in my head saying "you must be mad woman" is getting stronger, but I've had a telephone call saying that my local swimming pool is willing to prise my petrified hands off the side of the pool and can I come in on Saturday? So there we are, I just hope that I can go through with it now I've committed myself.
The Winter Eating and Exercise Plan (WEEP) seems to be paying off. I do something every day, alternating between resistance, isometric and rebounder exercises and also change which “bit” of me I work on (broadly upper body, abdominals and legs). Over the last seven weeks, I have:
Gained muscle in my arms, abdomen and back
Got rid of the nagging ache in my left bicep
Got rid of the pain in my right shoulder that I felt when I put my arm behind my back to wash / scratch it.
Reduced my resting heart rate by over 20 beats a minute
Got rid of the numbness in my left foot earlier in the year and substituted burning pain
Got rid of the burning pain in my left foot and substituted normal feeling
In addition, I can run flat out on my rebounder for 1 minute without feeling I’m about to die and I can also do all sorts of horrid exercises on my mini multi-gym without feeling I’m about to die.
I’m going to carry on with it now for as long as I can, even though I have nagging little voice that says it’s ridiculous to be doing this at my age.
A big experiment that I performed at work has worked and this made me very happy (yes, yes I know very well I am an anorak. Proud of it too and do the anorak sign when I meet a fellow anorak). I was not so happy when I tested my BG before breakfast as usual. 9.2! Up from 6.7 at 6.30 this morning. It seems there is a reaction to any emotion rather than just stress / unhappy.
I was jumping about my living room last night when I opened my eye examination letter to find that my eyes are now normal. No early stage retinopathy detected. The neuropathy in my left foot has gone as well, the numbness turning to pain and then to normal feeling. It’s taken me a long time, and I did wonder in the early days if in some cases the “irreversible and progressive” prognosis was true. Now I know it isn’t and that it’s worth the fight to master yourself and your carb cravings.
Don't give up, no matter how many times you fall along the way. Be kind to yourself and just keep trying until you finally get on top of diabetes. So many people here have shown what can be done.
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I had an HbA1c of 108. I was warned by my diabetes nurse that as I didn't have much leeway in the weight adjustment option, I would not be likely to see much improvement via weight control. I was given the usual literature and sent on my way.
Reading all the stuff about wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, fruit, lentils etc. I felt the first stirrings of unease that this was not the way to manage this disease. I took to my kindle and arrived at A for Atkins and B for Bernstein. I clung to Dr Bernstein's teachings like a lifeline and used the Atkins diet to get between me and the crazy hunger that consumed me. Over the last three years I have tried various low carb approaches (and slipped up often!) and have settled on very low carb, moderate fat, moderate protein and high green food eating plan. This suits me because I am older and I can get away with a lot less calories.
I have now received a text from my doctors surgery to tell me I should attend the organised diabetes "management" classes. I looked at the website and there was the eat well plate...
No thanks, my HbA1C is now 49 and I have hopes of getting it a bit lower. My supportive diabetes nurse is thrilled and next time I see her I am going to see if I can subvert her to the low carb cause.
It won’t be long before activities in the garden start to become more limited, although there will be a few opportunities for some heavy digging towards the end of the season. Hicks Farm Wood has areas that need scything and there is endless bramble- crown grubbing up to be done, but all too soon the dark will be closing in and I’ll be back on the mini trampoline and the implement of torture known as the mini multi-gym. No doubt both activities will delight my two new budgies who will be witnessing the attempted exercises, the sweating and the cursing.
I woke up in the early hours of Saturday morning, and realised that I was going to be very, very, very, very sick. After about 12 hours of everything leaving my body at the speed of light, I finally got over what I suspect was Norovirus. The trouble is, I'm having difficulty finding things I want to eat. Before diabetes I would have eaten light, starchy things until my gut lining got back into shape. I've eaten scrambled egg and had some baked white fish, but I just can't face the veggies, poultry, meat and fish that I would normally eat. I'm not worried, as I could do with losing a few pounds to get to my optimum weight (I had lost 7 lbs when I weighed myself, but of course this was water loss), but fasting raises my BG. Any suggestions gratefully received.
Sucrose, fructose, galactose, dextrose, glucose…
So I’ve managed to stop eating sugary, carby foods (at last I’m on the straight and narrow!), but I have to spend a lot of time making meals from scratch as it’s the only way to avoid eating hidden sugar that I know would set me off eating all the wrong things again. Things that I would have thought would be fine shocked me when I read the labels. Barbecue / stir-fry sauces are all full of sugar. Prepared meats, (never mind honey –glazed ham that at least tells you what you are buying) are often made juicier by injection with peptone / dextrose mixtures. Ready meals and take-aways, low fat yoghurt and “natural” fruit juices also contain high levels of sugar. You cannot get away from the stuff.
So I prepare meals, sauces and breads to suit my new lifestyle and I am getting pretty good at it, but I must admit, it would be nice to occasionally wander into a supermarket and pick up a ready meal without intensive scrutiny that ends with me putting it back on the shelf.
I've had a big baking session making low carb loaf, almond loaf, frittata and roasted nuts.
The low carb is my "proper " bread, whilst the almond loaf is used as a low carb snack. It is cake like and I'm thinking of putting the batter into paper cases to make fairy cakes. The ham frittata contains asparagus, spinach and sprouting broccoli, as well as ham, eggs and cheese. It freezes well and is much better than it sounds for breakfast.
My biggest challenge has always been not falling back on sweet "comfort foods" when things are going badly and I feel stressed. I have found a useful spin-off since giving up artificial sweeteners. My main drink now is water, with one cup of coffee made with hemp milk in the morning. However, when things get bad, I "allow" myself Pepsi Max as an acknowledgement of my stressed state. So now I don't eat sweets but turn to this unholy beverage instead until my self control returns. Of course it would be better if I didn't eat lettuce routinely and made that my comfort food, but somehow I don't think that will work...
We've hired a rotovator a couple of times over the last few weeks to break up some of the rough grass areas in our conservation area. This lets meadow flower seeds germinate and also makes it easier for grasshoppers and crickets to lay their eggs underground later in the year. The thing that baffles us is that the rotovator has a label stating that it is "not for use indoors". I have racked my brains o try to think of a situation where someone might consider rotovating in the house, but I can't really think of anything. I suppose that if the living room carpet developed bobbles you might be able to use the rotovator to shave them off, but it would be a bit hit and miss.