Blood Glucose Levels & Medication

I think I need to start cutting back on my insulin, especially during the day.

Currently, I take 46 units of Levimer twice a day and 20 units plus a sliding scale of Novolog 2-3 times per day. Most of the time that runs around 18-22 units at the most.

I am going to cut the Levimer back to 40 units per day and take the Novolog down to 15 units plus the sliding scale and see what that does for a couple of days. If my numbers begin to get high again, I will go back to what the doc prescribed.

I am noticing though that my BGL is higher in the morning before I eat, between 125 and 150. Someone said I was probably making cortisol during the night, which I don’t want as it will add to fat. So I may start eating some protein before bedtime.

Currently, I am still only eating two meals a day… around 6-8 am for breakfast and then around 4-5 pm for dinner. My BGL seem to be okay during the day, never going higher than 165, but have been as low as 75.

I’d love to know what my BGLs would be if I didn’t take any insulin during the day, but I am a bit scared to try that. I just wish I would normal out.

Neuropathy — You Evil Beast!

I know that neuropathy has nothing to do with LCHF eating. However, I am diabetic and I DO have neuropathy, so I will be discussing this insanely aggravating, painful dis~ease.

There are a number of ways that neuropathy becomes a problem:

  1. Consistent high glucose levels over a period of time
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. injuries
  4. surgeries

There are probably others, but these are the ones I have learned about through my research. Basically, those little nerve endings no longer do their jobs, misfire, or are just dead (usually results in amputation). My research has shown that once they are gone, they do not grow back. Those of us with neuropathy will only continue to have more pain. However, I have been doing some research that shows that R-Alpha Lipoic Acid can improve those nerve endings that are still there, but just misfiring. I’ve just begun taking it, so I will have to let you know later on if it works.

I have noticed that since I gave up “bad” carbs, the pain in my feet (where most of my neuropathy is) has lessened. I still have some sharp needle-like jabs now and again, but not the constant aching as before. I am hoping that as I continue with this WOE, the pain will lessen even more.

Here are some things I have found that helps with the pain when I do have it:

  1. compression hose – since I also get swelling in my feet and ankles, these have greatly decreased both the swelling and the pain.
  2. Magnesium – I take 1000 mgs at night and it keeps the jumping, racing feeling in both my feet and legs (I have RLS too) from occurring. I take it about 30 mins before bedtime and it does help.
  3.  Topicals – A good general topical that I have found that works (when feet are just achy but not cold or burning) is Amish Origins Deep Penetrating Pain Relief Ointment. It is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. If my feet are freezing and painful, I use Capzasin-HP. Again, it is also a little pricey, but it heats up my feet and keeps the pain down for a little while so I can sleep. And finally, when I get that burning feeling in my feet, I use Aloe Sunburn Relief gel. It is very cheap and can be found at Walmart and some Dollar Stores. It soothes my feet and calms down the burning feeling.

I know I will always have this dis~ease, but I am grateful that I have found some products to reduce the pain and maybe help maintain the few nerve endings I have left. If anyone knows of any other products to help with this painful dis~ease, please let me know in comments.

Sugar: Addictions and Substitutions

I’ve read some articles that suggest sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Here are a few:

Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit.

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease: Researchers

Sugar Is a “Drug” and Here’s How We’re Hooked

There are an equal number of articles that attempt to discount that sugar is addictive. They argue that anything can be addictive if we are predisposed for addictions, i.e. have an addictive personality. Okay, I will give them that. I have a bit of an addictive personality and I know this about myself. This is why I don’t gamble or drink to excess.

My argument is this… What if we are given no choice in how addicted we have become to sugar? I ask this because if you look at labels, at things that shouldn’t have sugar in them but do, and we consume them, are we responsible for that addiction? Sure, we could just not consume it. Easy enough if you can afford foods at say Trader Joes or Whole Foods where the alternatives are widely available. However, if you live in a small rural area like I do and you only have basic food stores like Kroger, Walmart, and Food Lion and those alternatives are NOT widely available, then you have no choice but to eat what you can afford and find. Face it, the sugar industry has many of us by the tail.

The most widely forms of sugar that I have found in commercial foods are HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), sugar (sucrose), dextrose, and maltodextrin.  Here is a list of just some of the hidden names for sugars (there are many more!):

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Beet Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cane Crystals (or, even better, “cane juice crystals”)
  • Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Palm Sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum or sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose

A trick I was taught is if it has “-ose” at the end, it is a sugar. I have read labels where up to 6 of those sugars has been included! And we wonder why we are addicted to sugar!

So what is a person to do who wants to go the LCHF route and eliminate sugar from their diet?

  1. Be cautious of how much dairy you consume because it has the natural sugar Lactose in it. Consume only high fat, full fat dairy products.
  2. Read labels!
  3. Make your own homemade condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce.
  4. If you can tolerate them, there are sugar-free products on the market that contain aspartame and sucralose. And there is always saccharine, although there are very few products with that in it these days. I prefer stevia as I have allergies to both aspartame and sucralose, but there are fewer stevia products on the market and even fewer offered in my rural area (I purchase some stevia products on Amazon). Some people sing the praises of Xylitol also. I’ve never tried it.
  5. If you are just beginning the LCHF diet (like me!), then eliminate the known things first: bread, starchy vegetables, pasta, rice, cookies, cakes, candies, etc. Worry about the unknowns later as you progress with this WOE, but again, do read labels!
  6. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, it is very important to get off of sugar, in all of its forms and switch to a suitable SS for your tolerance.

One more note about sugar substitutes: Some on the LCHF diet have noted that SS like aspartame and sucralose stall weight loss over time. There have been no reports that I know of on the use of stevia stalling weight loss.

Note: I do not include honey as an addictive sugar or as a substitute. It is not approved as a sweetener for the LCHF diet. However, there are many health benefits for consuming honey (in small amounts) and I will not vilify it on my blog.

LCHF Week One: Health Observations (August 27 — September 2, 2015)

Here is a list of observations I have made on my health since beginning the LCHF WOE on Aug. 27th:

  1. My glucose levels have come down drastically. Morning fasting numbers range from 80-115. Before each meals, my numbers have not been above 135 and are usually around 115. Two hours after meals, my numbers have been as low as 98, but never higher than 135. Before bedtime, no higher than 130 and often as low as 80. Before this, my numbers ranged from 175 at the lowest to as high as in the 300s.
  2. I have been averaging about 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) with maybe a snack before bedtime, if needed. I stay full for up to 6+ hours now.
  3. I have had no cravings for sweets or breads (my main weakness).
  4. Before this WOE, I had episodes of severe constipation. Eliminations came about 2-3 times a WEEK. Now I have eliminations on average of 2 times per DAY.
  5. Allergies have reduced. Less frequent sneezing fits, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches.
  6. I now sleep on average of 6 hours per day and usually in 3 hour implements. Three hours between the hours of (10/11 pm to 1/2 am and 11 am/12 pm to 2/3 pm). I have more energy.
  7. My mood is elevated (suffer from depression and anxiety), I am less fatigued during the day, very little brain fog, and clearer focus.
  8. My night vision has greatly improved and my overall eyesight is sharper.
  9. Very little acid reflux unless I eat too many acidic foods like tomato sauce.
  10. My hair is shinier, my skin is smoother, my nails are growing better and not brittle, my joints are looser, very little swelling in my ankles and feet, and the pain is minimal from the neuropathy in my feet.

How This Journey Began — My Story

When I was 35 (back 14 yrs ago), I weighed 307 lbs and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Here is me at 307 lbs.

at307lbs

All the doctor told me was to take these pills (metformin and glipizide) and cut out sugar and processed sugary foods. I struggled over a period of 6 years to lose 60 lbs on various diets — Vegetarian, Lower Carb/Low Fat, Weight Watchers, and a few I made up myself. The results was a slow weight loss and increasingly high blood glucose levels. In 2005, I was put on two insulins, Levimer (slow acting) and Novalog (fast acting). Even being on metformin and these insulins, I struggled to keep my blood glucose levels down and kept gaining weight from the increases in insulin. My overall cholesterol was high and I was gradually feeling the effects of neuropathy in both of my feet. Needless to say, I was a mess.

Before I get to how I came around to the LCHF diet, let me tell you about my own experiences with dietitians and nutritionists. The current  ADA standard guidelines are 45 gm of carbs per meal for women and 60 gm for men. It is suggested that you eat 3 meals per day plus up to two snacks per day (15 gm for women, up to 25 for men). I was told to eat low fat and lean proteins. I could chose from whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fruits in moderation, low fat dairy, and of course lean mean meats like chicken and fish, to go easy on beef and pork, not to eat too many eggs, and use oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and margarine, definitely no butter and as little animal fat as possible. Saturated fats was a no-no. Mono and Poly fats were the way to go.

The effects of this diet were devastating! Not only did my blood glucose levels stay high (175-300 on average), but my cholesterol continued to climb, my hair became brittle and began falling out, my skin was ultra dry, I began having severe joint pain and the pain in my feet from neuropathy was excruciating!

Just a note: I did not overindulge in cakes, cookies, candy, pies, white breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. I ate a few of those, according to the guidelines, in moderation. I was told that if I wanted a sweet, to save my carbs for such things. If I wanted rice, switch to brown —  I did so. If I wanted pasta, switch to whole wheat — I did so. If I wanted potatoes, eat sweet potatoes — I did so. If I wanted bread, switch to whole grains — I did so. As long as I stuck to the 45 for meals and the 15 for snacks, I would be okay. I was NOT okay! And I have NOT been okay for the last 14 years eating this way.

On August the 27th of this year, I decided to make a drastic lifestyle change in hopes of saving what’s left a good life for myself. I began doing some extensive research into Low Carb eating. I’ve known for a while that eating fewer carbs helped my blood glucose levels. I’d already begun to cut back on carbs, eating on average of 50-75 gms per day, as opposed to the 150-165 gms as recommended by the dietitians and nutritionists. I was still doing the low fat and lean meats. I stayed hungry all the time and craved carbs like crazy! This led me to further research and lo and behold I came up with the solution: High Fats! But not just any kinds of fats — coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocados, and animal fats (I will discuss fats further in another post). I also learned that when you lower your carbs, you must add fat! My carbs are now 20 gm per DAY or lower. I’ve continued to eat the leaner meats, in moderation.

The results have been amazing! My blood glucose is in the “normal” ranges now (80-140) at any time during the day and as of today (9/2/15), I’ve only been on this WOE for 7 days! I will be making a post later about my observations from the first 7 days of this diet, so stay tuned for that. I have no idea how this is affecting my cholesterol, my A1c or if I have lost any weight. I will be seeing my PCP on Oct. 1st and will post my lab results then.

I do recognize that the LCHF WOE is NOT a fad diet. I will have to eat this way for the remainder of my life if I want to maintain healthy weight and glucose levels. I am in this for the long haul.

Note of Caution: It is not recommended that Type 1 diabetics eat a LCHF diet due to possible low blood sugar readings.