Wheels yield to heels

Hey everyone. Today we are going for a bike ride. Now we aren’t just going around the block a few times, we are going for a 20 mile bike ride. Don’t worry, there aren’t many hills so it will be quite enjoyable. Are you ready?

So what will we need? We probably should get everything together. Let’s start with our attire.

I’m thinking bike shirt with some workout pants. But what about the pump? Where should it go?

I can:

A. Wear a pair of shorts/pants with pockets and hope it doesn’t fall out
B. Find some pants with a zippered pocket
C. Clip it to my pants
D. Leave the pump at home. I’ll be exercising, it will be fine.

Well, since I don’t really have many shorts with pockets, I’m going to go with option C. That way I won’t have to worry about it falling out of a pocket either. And since the ride may take a couple hours, I’m not comfortable being disconnected from my pump for that long.

They match!

Great, now that we know what we are wearing, what will we take with us? Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Some kind of liquid. Should I bring water or gatorade? I don’t really like to drink gatorade, but it will keep me from going low. 
  • A granola bar. In case I need something more substantial to eat.
  • Something to treat a low. Probably some fruit snacks. But how many packets? Maybe 4. If I go really low, I might need 2 packets, but I need to have enough in case I go low twice. Is 4 even enough? Maybe 5.
  • My phone. Obviously.
  • License, insurance card, money/credit card. You know in case something happens or I feel like buying something along the way.
  • My glucose meter. Or my CGM? Or both? My CGM is usually pretty good, but it isn’t always accurate so maybe I should have my meter too.
  • My helmet. Safety first.
  • Bike gloves. Don’t want any blisters. 
  • Sunglasses. I have to be able to see.
  • Sunscreen. That I don’t have to take with me at least, but I will put that on before I leave.
Hmm yea that should cover it. Kind of a lot of stuff. Luckily it all fits in the pouch on the bike. So we’re off!
Okay we’re 8 miles in and you start to feel low. What do you do?
A. Keep riding for now, we can stop when it starts to feel worse.
B. Pull over! Treat that low! 
C. Low shmo. No pain, no gain baby!
D. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have diabetes.
I’m going to go with B! I did get low on this bike ride and so I pulled over to the side of the path, got out a pack of fruit snacks, and sat and waited until I felt better. The last thing I want to do is fall off of my bike because I’m shaky and disoriented from a low. As much as I hate disrupting a workout (or bike ride), I know that I’d also be putting other walkers, runners, and bikers at risk if I’m riding with a low blood sugar. 
After feeling better, it’s back to the bike ride. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone for any kind of bike ride, let alone one for this long. 12 miles later we make it back, phew! We did it! What a ride! It really was a great summer activity.

Sure I may have had a few extra items stuffed into my bike pouch, but I didn’t let my diabetes slow me down! Can’t wait until our next ride!

And because it’s Wisdom Wednesday…
Found on Pinterest

The Shift

This week, four seemingly disconnected events aligned to cause a shift in consciousness. You may be thinking, “Reva, what the heck are you talking about?!” Well, allow me to elaborate.

Event 1: The Conversation

This past weekend, I had a conversation that clearly had a more profound effect on me than I initially realized. We were conversing about a raw food diet and all the benefits of adopting such a diet. While you will never be able to convince me that a raw foods diet is a cure for type 1 diabetes (no matter what some documentary says), I absolutely see the benefits of that lifestyle. It is very true that a raw foods diet would require much less insulin and would drastically reduce spikes in blood sugar. Not eating breads and processed foods that immediately get turned into sugar in the body is very beneficial for controlling blood sugars. When the conversation ended, I was left with the thought that perhaps I could benefit from a less carbohydrate heavy diet, although I still don’t think a raw food diet is quite for me. While I tend to eat pretty healthy, I still use a lot of insulin for the food I eat or to chase high blood sugars. Maybe it is time to see what happens when I cut down on the carbs.

Event 2: The Documentary

My mom and I sat on the couch, surfing through movies to watch. We found ourselves in the documentary section and settled on a movie called Hungry for Change. The documentary “exposes secrets that diet, weight loss and food industries don’t want consumers to know about: deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more.”

While I think some of the claims in the movie are overstated and a bit sensationalized, the general idea of the documentary is quite compelling. Essentially, we are “overfed yet undernourished”. We are getting plenty of calories from the foods we eat, but the calories are empty and leave our body unfulfilled and still craving nutrients. But the thing that struck me the most in the documentary was the talk about the “low-fat”, “fat-free”and “sugar-free” foods. Basically that these foods may have zero fat, but they are full of sugar and as soon as you eat them, they turn into sugar in your body that later gets stored as fat. They also are full of artificial sweeteners that are not easily processed by your body and can leave you craving for more. The thing is, I thought that I was being healthier by buying the low-fat version of foods and being diabetic, sugar-free seemed like a good option. If you were to open my fridge you would find: low fat sour cream and cottage cheese, light laughing cow cheese, light greek yogurt, light dressings, sugar free jello and puddings, 100 calorie english muffins and 35 calorie light wheat bread, light lemonade, fat-free half and half, and even low fat wheat thins and granola. Basically my fridge and pantry are filled with the low-fat, sugar-free options! When the documentary was over, I walked to the fridge and pulled out some of these foods and began reading off the ingredients. Half of them I have no idea what they are. It was then that I decided that perhaps eaten in moderation, it may be worth the extra calories to not be putting all the artificial ingredients into my body. Ingredients that my body was not made to be able to process, ingredients that are probably doing more harm than good, and ingredients that are essentially making me more unhealthy when that is the complete opposite of my goal.

Event 3: The Scale

I consider myself a healthy person. I am a healthy weight, I eat well, and I exercise often (5-6 days a week). However like most people, I have a few extra pounds that I would love to lose. In an effort to achieve this, I upped the intensity of my workouts and began tracking my foods and making a conscious effort to eat healthier and cut down on the extra calories. However, in the last 3 weeks, I’ve watched as my weight increased, rather than decreased. It’s true that this may be attributed to gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat, but it seemed like something else. Over the past year, even though I am a consistent exerciser, my weight has remained relatively constant. I realized that if I really wanted to see a change, I would need to change my diet.

Event 4: The Holiday

In the back of my head, these events were telling me “eat less carbohydrate heavy and processed foods, eat more vegetables and naturally low fat and low sugar foods”. What better time to cut down on carbohydrate than the week of Passover?? It was perfect timing. This week, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, Jews refrain from eating unleavened foods, this includes wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt. This means no breads, pasta, cereals, cookies/cakes, rice, oatmeal, basically all the foods high in carbohydrates. Bread is replaced with matzah and matzah meal can be used to cook various foods, but honestly, I’m not a huge fan of matzah anyway. Here is the perfect opportunity to see how my body feels when I’m not eating those high carb foods.

The Shift in Consciousness

I’m not about to completely change my diet. I’m not only going to eat raw foods, I’m not cutting out all carbohydrates, and I’m not switching to all full fat, full sugar foods. I’m also not going on a “diet”. I’m not restricting the foods that I’m eating. But here is what I am doing. Instead of taking away foods or restricting them, I’m adding foods to my diet. However, I’m adding healthy, natural, nutrient-rich foods. I’m adding more green vegetables, more fruits, more nuts, and more foods with natural fats like avocados. As I add these healthy foods that my body craves, I’m hoping that I will become less hungry for processed, artificial, and high calorie/fat foods. I’m drinking more water and making vegetable juices and drinking less diet pop and artificially sweetened juices. While I’m not replacing all my low-fat or fat-free foods, I’m making sure that the yogurts and cheeses and breads that I do buy are not filled with artificial ingredients and sweeteners. I’m giving my body the foods that it needs to function properly in a way that it can easily digest and use. And I’m working to lower the amount of insulin that I need in hopes that I can help to further stabilize my blood sugars.

None of this health information is new to me, I’ve been hearing it for years in my classes, in the news, from studies and even from other people. However it was the coming together of these 4 events that was the tipping point to motivate another healthy change in my life. I know it won’t be easy, and I know I’ll still have that piece of pizza or ice cream from time to time, but I also know that I am on a path to a healthier me.

Join me?

New Additions

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to four new additions to my diabetes arsenal of supplies. It’s not too often that I add to it, so I figured they deserved an introduction.

1. Dexcom G4 Platinum!!! This one is a pretty big deal. I upgraded from the Dexcom Seven Plus about a month ago and I must say I’m pretty pleased. The new CGM is much sleeker, lighter, smaller and honestly prettier (it’s pink!) than the old one. I love that it has a color screen that has three different colors for when you are high, in range, and low. It also has new tones, although I keep mine set to vibrate. The vibrate mode is also much stronger, so I can definitely feel it go off in my purse or on my night stand, which is overall a good thing, but also occasionally keeps me up at night. I don’t like that the actual sensor is much bulkier, but I’m finding that the insertion is generally less painful since it is a smaller needle. Also, it has a 20 foot range instead of the 5 feet of the Seven Plus. I’m often surprised to see it still graphing even when it is on a different floor of my house than I am!

2. Gatorade G2- While obviously not a “medical supply”, this is how I’m viewing it since if it wasn’t for my diabetes, I would not be drinking it. With my current workout regimen, I have been dropping low during or after every workout. While I hate to be drinking sugar water, I decided that having the extra 12 grams of carbs during my workout might help prevent me from experiencing these drastic lows. Since its low calorie (45 per bottle) and only 12 carbs, I don’t feel that guilty, but I still prefer water. So far it’s worked for the most part, although I may still need to do some temp basal adjustments.

3. Level Life Glucose Gel– I’ll have more to say about these in a future post, but I have begun to use these gel packets for night time lows and really drastic lows. I was sent some free samples of the product and decided to give it a try since I usually just use my fruit snacks. What I like about the gel is that it is so fast and easy to eat. You just rip the packet open and squeeze it in your mouth. Since it’s a gel, there’s really no chewing involved and it works very fast to raise blood sugars. I’ve found them to be perfect for lows in the middle of the night, since I don’t have to sit there and chew my fruit snacks (and have some stay on my teeth overnight) and wait for my blood sugar to rise.

4. Bayer’s Contour next link meter- I’ve accumulated a lot of meters over the years, but I really like this one because first of all, look how small it is! Second, it has a back-lit color screen!! One of my biggest frustrations with my old meters is that you couldn’t see to test in the dark so this is a huge improvement! It also shows some trends since with every test you say if it’s before or after a meal, or no mark. Oh and it links with my pump.

Lots of additions the past few months. As long as it helps to make my life easier and keep me healthy, I’ll keep adding to my arsenal.

Apple Snob

Today I realized that I am an apple snob. Not an Apple snob, although honestly I might be that too, but the kind of apple that you find in the grocery store. I’ve known for some time that I am very particular when it comes to apples, but today it was confirmed. If it’s not a Honeycrisp apple, then pretty much forget about it.

I had just finished my workout and was experiencing another low blood sugar, 49 (ughhh!). One of the symptoms of a low can be hunger. However, I wasn’t experiencing normal hunger, it was this insatiable appetite that made me want to go into the kitchen and just binge on crackers or chips or whatever else I could find. I had already treated the low with my fruit snacks, but the hunger remained, like a bottomless pit in my stomach. When this kind of hunger from a low strikes, the best solution is an apple. Apples are healthy, filling, and satisfy that urge to just crunch on something. Luckily, I had one apple in the fridge with my name on it.

I took a bite. Woah, this is NOT a Honeycrisp. It was missing that perfect combination of sweetness, firmness and tartness. This apple was definitely not crisp and was not living up to the high apple expectations that a true Honeycrisp apple had set.

So how do I know that I am an apple snob? Because I couldn’t even get myself to finish the apple! Let me remind you that my motivation for eating the apple in the first place was not for taste or enjoyment, it was to satisfy the symptoms of my low blood sugar, but yet I still was refusing this perfectly average apple.

While I am quite aware that it is past Honeycrisp Apple season, I either need to track them down or find a suitable replacement because whatever imposter was in my fridge today is just not cutting it.

Time out!

Blogging while I am really low is probably not one of my brightest ideas, but I feel like writing in the moment. I have lots of thoughts swirling in my head and I’m not sure if they are going to come out coherent or not. I’m just going to go with it so bear with me.

So there I am, in the middle of today’s workout. I decided to do one of the workouts that I haven’t done probably in a few months. It is definitely a difficult workout, but is more about strength and not as intense and cardio focused as the others. I was a little over halfway through and started wondering why this workout seemed so much harder than I remembered. I kept needing to take breaks, I was starting to feel a little light headed, and my muscles were feeling extra fatigued. Have I really regressed that much since I last did this workout?

I paused the workout and stood up. Whew! The blood rushed to my head and everything went white and blurry for a moment. Maybe I better check my blood sugar. I walked upstairs and tested my finger. 49. Eek! No wonder I was feeling so weak.

Sometimes testing my blood sugar reminds me of when kids hurt themselves. At first they seem fine, but then when they see blood or the physical evidence of the injury, all of the sudden the tears start flowing and then it starts to hurt. Once my suspicions were confirmed with that low number, all the symptoms of the low blood sugar seemed to hit me at once.

I walked back downstairs, got some fruit snacks, laid down on the couch, and grabbed my laptop. So here I am, sharing this experience with you while I wait for my blood sugar to return to normal so that I can finish my workout. How do I feel right now? Besides the symptoms of the low, I’m actually pretty pissed off! I hate having to disrupt the flow of a workout to treat a low. My heart rate has returned to normal, which would be fine if I was actually finished. More than that, I hate having to consume more calories after I just worked so hard to burn them off. I know I’m still building muscle and getting stronger, but sometimes it feels like the workout was a waste when I have to treat a low in the middle or right after. It’s even more frustrating because this is the second day in a row that this has happened, when it hasn’t happened in months.

Alright, I think my blood sugar is back to normal now. Time to finish what I started. My diabetes is disruptive, frustrating, and annoying to deal with at times, but I don’t let it stop me from doing the things I want to do. And right now, that’s finishing this workout!