Friday, May 20, 2016
5/20 - Wildcard: My Day in Food
Some people track every bite they eat, some might not remember at lunch time what they had for breakfast or if they even had breakfast. For one day, document everything you or your loved one with diabetes eats and drinks. The good, the bad, the ugly, the proud, the ashamed, the...whatever. We promise not to judge!!
Breakfast: During the week - it's a variation of the same thing... Because I have a long commute and eat in the car - at 6 am. Typically, it's a 2 egg + cheese breakfast sandwich on either a low-carb wrap or pita (10-15 g carbs tops), or more recently it's actually been a bagel thin (~20g carbs). Also, sometimes I make low-carb waffles (http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2011/11/almond-flour-yogurt-waffles-low-carb-and-gluten-free.html) - and I totally don't follow the instructions, I just mix everything together at once, and I never have xanthan gum, and it still works out!
These are even lower-carb - about 7-8g depending on the size you make them, so I usually like to also add a teaspoon of jam in there and usually 1 fried egg with cheese... And there is always a cup of coffee with heavy cream - YUM! I pre-bolus religiously for breakfast, and these ones are almost guaranteed to produce a straight line :)
Snack: Around 9 am or even earlier, I like to have a Kind Bar. I like the Nuts+Spice ones, because they are lower carb - about 10g net carbs only, and they are very BG-friendly for me. Recently, I learned they have a bunch of new flavors and the one pictured below is my favorite right now - you can really taste the mocha!
Lunch: Most of the time lunch is salad + protein (~12-15g carbs). If it's not loaded with carbier veggies like tomato and carrot, I might throw in some croutons... On the left is one with steak, and on the right in one with chicken. I like my salads to be "Greeky" which means feta cheese and olives. I make my own dressing and I am obsessed with it (1:1 EVOO: red wine vinegar + S+P, oregano, and garlic power to taste). Alternately, I bring my dinner leftovers. Pictured below are Brussels sprouts, spinach, and kielbasa. Sometimes, there might be some french fries too or something, but not too many (bringing up the carb-count closer to 20g in that case)...
Snack: By the time I am back from work around 2:30-3PM I am ready for a snack. Lately, I have been eating ice cream. I bought those small Breyer's vanilla and chocolate cups (11g carb each) and I like to have 2 of them with almonds or berries (totaling about 25g carbs). Alternately, I have plain yogurt with berries and nuts (~20-25 g carbs) - it's huge - I will do like 1 cup yogurt + 1 cup berries lol. Sometimes, I mix it up - for instance yesterday, I had a piece of toast with kielbasa, mustard and pickles and then 1 Breyer's ice cream cup (altogether working out to 25g of carbs).
Dinner : 6 pm(ish) and I am ready for dinner. This is most variable. Sometimes, I like to have breakfast food - e.g. toast, scrambled eggs. Other times it's a standard protein + veggie + starch (usually 1/2 serving of starch for me though) - on average I would say 25g of carbs here. Yesterday (for today), I made Crockpot chili with turkey and black beans. It has been forever since I have had chili, and I estimate about 130g of carbs total in the pot, and I *think the pot is about 8 cups so when I try it later tonight I will try bolusing for ~15g of carbs per cup and see how that goes. I will probably add sour cream or shredded cheese to it and have it with a small piece of toast (maybe garlic toast) - OK Kelley - you have made me crave chili and garlic bread!!! I am hoping this will work out to be about 25-30g carbs...
Snack? (I eat a lot don't I? lol): Most of the time I don't have this snack, it really depends on when I had dinner and if I feel hungry. Last night, I had about 12g of SmartFood white cheddar popcorn. I also was running a bit low so ended up having a couple of squares of white chocolate to keep my bg stable overnight.
And there you have it - a day in the life!
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Healthcare Experience – 5/19
Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!
My two biggest frustrations are:
1. The need for prescriptions when it comes to things like fast-acting insulin. Seriously, why must I have a prescription? If I am able to buy Humulin R and N OTC, I feel like there is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t be able to purchase my Humalog and Levemir. I feel that way about many drugs that require a prescription, as well as supplies, such as CGMs, pumps, etc. Maybe it’s the libertarian in me: ”Stop babysitting me and let me do what I want! I can think for myself and it’s my life - Waaa!” Then again, without a prescription, my drugs couldn’t be billed to insurance. And this brings me to my biggest woe.
2. Mandated health insurance. Many don’t realize this, but mandating health insurance coverage allows drug companies to set whatever prices they want, because insurance will have to pay. (In turn the resulting high prices drive insurance limitations of what they will and will not cover, ensuring continued patient dissatisfaction.) If prices were set by the free market, they couldn’t possibly be as high as they are when health insurance is mandated, because individual consumers simply cannot afford to pay that (really, it’s simple supply and demand economics)! Case in point: when I lived in Spain in 2009 – 2010, I paid much less from my supplies without health insurance than I did in the U.S. with what was considered very good health insurance – about $20 for a vial of insulin in fact. That, and Lantus did not require a prescription. Recently, I met someone who travels to Canada to buy their Humalog for - you guessed it - $20 a vial! Again, maybe it’s my libertarian leanings, but I advocate for freedom of choice (to have or not to have insurance, and by extension more choice in what you can use, and hopefully affordability, driven by the free market).
So less mandates, please – whether it’s about health insurance coverage or what does and what does not require a prescription. And that’s my two cents.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
5/18 – Language and Diabetes
There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.
So I fall into that category of people that doesn’t pay very much attention to language when it comes to diabetes. I personally could not care less if someone calls me a “person with diabetes” or a “diabetic”, whether it’s “checking” vs. “testing” (honestly, I never even considered why anyone would have anything against the word “testing” but some people are more sensitive to these things and I respect that.) I do tend to specify “I have type 1 diabetes”, I don’t normally say “I am a diabetic” or “I am a type 1 diabetic”, but it honestly doesn’t bother me in the least if someone says that about me, because: 1. It’s true; 2. I don’t think they are trying to offend me; 3. I am just not one of those people that gets all caught up in semantics.
I have seen many people addressing the fact that when it comes to diabetes, it seems that there are a lot of jokes (often uninformed ones) that revolve around it. To be honest, it used to bother me, but not so much anymore. No, it’s probably not very educated to say something like “Eating all that cake will give you diabetes”, and I certainly do address comments like that, but I just don’t get all worked up about it. I guess I am just one of those people that doesn’t take myself or life too seriously, because if I did I think I might go crazy J The thing is if someone is intentionally trying to be hurtful, of course it bothers me, but when it comes to diabetes jokes, I honestly don’t believe most people even realize that their comments could be considered offensive. Because type 2 diabetes, so much more prevalent than type 1, is closely associated with diet, metabolism, and weight, and that is what is portrayed in the media, I don’t think I can hold any kind of grudge against people who are misinformed about diabetes as a result... I mean, I don’t claim to know much about asthma or epilepsy, so why would I get all worked up if someone doesn’t know about diabetes? (By the way, I mention asthma and epilepsy because these are two conditions that I know of where patients are sometimes referred to as “asthmatic” or “epileptic”, and there are probably some others that I am not thinking of right now…)
Anyway, I don’t think that not caring too much about language that revolves around diabetes is that big of a deal. If someone is saying misinformed stuff, I will usually correct them. If someone appears to be intentionally hurtful, I will give them a piece of my mind. However, in most cases, I have not found anything anyone has said about diabetes or having diabetes as offensive, just maybe misinformed.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Message Monday - Monday 5/16
Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?
I started my blog in December 2012, about a week after binge-reading Kerri Sparling’s blog (sixuntilme.com). In short, reading about the life of others living with type 1 diabetes made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this relatively rare condition, and helped me feel more optimistic about my future, as well as more committed to caring about my diabetes instead of having it always be on the back-burner. Starting the blog in many ways was and continues to be my therapy, but over the years I also came to realize that my voice is important, because like everyone else’s, it’s unique, and has the potential to possibly help someone else. I don’t have a particular message to give, besides perhaps – you are not alone, and that the diabetes online community (#doc) is vast and helpful. And that’s why I am here!
The Other Half of Diabetes - Tuesday 5/17
We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)
Most of the time I am pretty upbeat in general, and that includes my feelings about diabetes. I am constantly saying how lucky I am to be alive today, and not 100 years ago, and to have always-improving technology to help me achieve the best control possible – in particular a meter and a continuous glucose monitor that provide quick data. I do my best not to dwell on transient highs and lows, as that is part of life with diabetes, and part of life in general. When I feel down however, is when I feel that diabetes has just made some kind of major interruption or caused a shift in my life. When I see in writing that people with diabetes will not be allowed to participate in the scuba diving, when I feel fearful that I may need medical attention when I have a stomach bug and no matter what I do I can’t seem to bring my blood sugar up, when I have to stop what I am doing and sit and eat. In the long run, these moments are greatly outnumbered by the better moments of “I can do this, I am doing this, watch me.” I would be lying however if I said that the low moments don’t take their toll – they do. Sometimes, I feel jealous of people who can eat and exercise without considering... anything. Sometimes, it feels unfair. I try to remind myself that I have not walked in their shoes so to speak, and that everyone has their challenges, but I cannot help but feel like living with diabetes is a pretty massive challenge, simply because it’s all the time, never-ending, life-threatening, and can be very scary to deal with. Again, most days, it’s just like brushing my teeth, a minor annoyance, and not very time-consuming. But not all days are like that. “This too shall pass” is a phrase I know applies to everything, diabetes included. But perhaps the very best way I deal with emotions surrounding diabetes (and life in general) revolves around my mother’s favorite phrase: “Life is like a sine graph.” A few months ago, I wrote a guest-post on diabetesdailygrind.com about this and I invite you to visit it here: http://www.diabetesdailygrind.com/finding-my-flow-through-one-trigonometry-function/’