Sep 07

‘Hands Down’ the Paleo Diet is the Best Solution for this Case of Diabetes

Thanks to social media I was able to connect with yet another fellow health advocate, using the paleo diet to control his type one diabetes. The below interview was held with the writer of Intrepid Pioneer, a site about modern homesteading principals.

Perhaps, you as the reader, can connect with this interview and maybe find yourself inspired to optimize your diet. Feedback is welcomed.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

How long have you had diabetes?

I was diagnosed May 2011 during my routine annual physical. At that time my blood sugars were up around 360 and my AC1’s ran around 12.3. At first I was treated as if I was a Type 2 with Metformin. The medicine only helped to control my blood sugars down to around 250 or so. At that time my endocrinologist informed me that I probably have LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, which basically has been coined type 1.5 Meaning I developed adult on-set Type 1. My father has had Type 1 all his life and was diagnosed as a child.

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet?

Paleo, hands down, without a question. It took me some time to get there. I had tried Weight Watchers, and measure portions, etc. but I still just felt that each time I checked my glucose it was a crap shoot. I eventually did the Advocare 10 day cleanse and my blood sugars stabilized. Next I started researching Paleo and ultimately I ended up taking on the Whole 30 challenge. That was it and I’ve been keeping a food/exercise journal since Jan. 2013 and am now able to completely understand how my body metabolism it’s sugars. Sometimes my glucose is a surprise to me and when that happens I can look back through my food journal to see just what I ate or did for that number (good or bad).

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? 

I’ve lost about 15bls and I am exercising on a more regular basis and enjoying it. Whereas I used to say the only time I ran was when I was being chased and now I’ve let a buddy talk me into running a Rock and Roll half-marathon in 2014. Plus, I’ve started doing Crossfit and I love strength training, lifting weights and the intensity that Crossfit brings as well as the community of likeminded no-bullshit real people.

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? 

Yes, not only do I feel better, and have tighter control over my diabetes, I absolutely recommend it to anyone. Here’s the deal too that I like about Paleo – it can be as strict as they want or modify it to fit their lifestyle. For example, I am a home brewer and I love beer AND I love cheese. Those two delicious pieces of goodness I will never give up, so instead I gave up hot, fresh, warm bread and pasta. It’s all about choices.

What does a typical day of food look like to you? 

Easy. Take today for example:

6:30a – BG 82mg/dl
20oz black coffee and 1 banana (it was a rough morning, sometimes I eat eggs or I’ll make a protein shake)

8:30a – 103 mg/dl
another 20oz Black coffee

9:35a
1 apple and 1/3c raw almonds

11:15 – BG post snack 125 mg/dl

12p
1 salad (bib lettuce from my garden), with radishes, scallions, cucumbers and 1/3c raw sunflower seeds, a little goat cheese and rice vinegar dressing. 1 large avocado and a 12oz can of seltzer water.

1:15 BG post lunch – 97 mg/dl

2:45p
1 string cheese and an organic raspberry yogurt.

7:50p 237 Pre dinner (went out to a pub for Guinness and ate happy hour bar food)

9:45p 155 post dinner (took 8u fast acting w/dinner since I was so high from the bar food)

Here’s another example:

6:05a 138 fasting

6:30a 2 eggs over medium + 1 banana

8:45a 160 post breakfast

9a 20 oz black coffee

10 a 1/3c raw almonds and an Asian pear/apple

11:15a Turkey burger with mustard 2 slices whole wheat and cheddar) not paleo I know :) Wanted the carbs for my workout.

11:30 2 servings of my C4 pre-workout drink

12 Crossfit during lunch

1p 2 servings whey protein shake post w/o

3p 127 post shake

7:15p Paleo Chicken in Mushroom coconut sauce over quinoe and garnished w/scallions + 1 glass red wine

9:05p 106 post dinner

Pick any day of the week and or specific day (this year) and I can tell you what I ate and when. I realize today might be the best example of a day.

What is the best thing about the diet? 

If I fall of the wagon for some reason and eat some chips or red vines (my kryptonite) I don’t feel guilty, like I did in the past when I tried Weight Watchers. I still mark it down in my journal, take it as head nod and move forward. You can make what you want of eating Paleo, be strict, or give yourself a cheat day. I love eating real food, that’s not prepackaged crap, I feel healthier and have more energy each day.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? 

Plan. For me that is the most essential thing. I found that when I didn’t plan, I fell off the wagon and I only had me to blame. It’s easy to do, but to stay focused you just have to plan. When you know what your meals are for the week, you can get home from work and then get at it in the kitchen. No excuses.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? 

Since eating the Paleo lifestyle, and I hate it when one calls it a diet because then it feels temporary, I’ve pretty much stop taking my fast acting mealtime insulin. Meaning I only inject fast acting when I know I’m having Pizza for dinner as a treat, or for a thanksgiving meal, etc. My long acting insulin has reduced by over 10 units since starting this diet. All of that said, Paleo is great and it all tastes so good because it’s real food, but I have found that I also need to exercise, eating Paleo combined with exercise has yielded dynamic results. My endocrinologist was blown away by all that I had done, reduced my insulin injections and basically had my A1C’s in check — my last appointment I was 7.3. Still a bit more to go but the last time I was pushing 9 just six months before.

Lastly, some may say that eating Paleo is expensive, I would then ask, which is more expensive paying for real, quality food, or paying a doctor/insurance company for advice and then paying for an prescription? It’s all just choices.

 

Aug 27

Foods I ALWAYS Have in My Freezer

  1. Berries (always organic) – perfect for dessert with some full fat heavy whipping cream, or smoothies, added to a green smoothie.
  2. Seafood (wild, never farmed) – tilapia, salmon, halibut. shrimp
  3. Vegetables (likely broccoli)
  4. Breakfast Meat (sausage, bacon, canadian bacon)
  5. Grassfed Beef/Bison – ideal for burgers, spaghetti (squash) sauce, meatballs, stuffed peppers, tacos, chili, etc.
  6. Frozen Bananas – staple for paleo pancakes, plain with some chocolate chips, smoothies,paleo ice cream and more.
  7. Free-range Chicken – great to have on hand for salads, chicken salad, kebabs, and more.

What items do you always have on hand?

Aug 01

Costco Inspired – Vineyard Chicken Salad

Strolling through Costco I was happy to find a chicken salad that wasn’t loaded with canola oil or soybean oil-filled mayo, and since they were sampling the product, I read the ingredients (looked pretty clean; not perfect) and really liked what I was tasting. This is indeed a great summer entree. I can have it on some lettuce greens, or make a romaine lettuce sandwich out of it. Best of all, my husband can’t seem to get enough. Win-win.

Ingredients:

  • 2 free-range, organic chicken breast, boiled
  • 4-6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 grapes, red
  • 1/3 cup almond slivers
  • 4 T of Greek yogurt
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Boil the chicken for 15 minutes, or until there is no pink in the middle. Strain and allow to cool. Once cool. shred chicken and mix in teh ingredients. Allow to chill in the refrigerator up to 30-45 minutes and enjoy.

Jul 31

Snack Idea – Soaked Chia Seeds

Oh the many ways to enjoy this nutritious food. Have you ever tried them? If so, how?

Lately, I have been soaking 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/3-1/2 cup of almond milk, coconut milk or water (certainly make more if you want this to be your sole snack or meal, as I usually use it as a partial snack or condiment). Combine the seeds and liquid of choice and stir for a minute, 5 minutes later stir again and let soak overnight. Come morning I will then mix in either some cinnamon, maybe some sliced strawberries or banana or both and/or some protein powder.

I have even put soaked chia seeds over my banana pancakes (2 eggs, 1/2 banana, mashed and cooked into 2 pancakes). All so satisfying.

If you can’t be bothered to make soaked chia seeds, they sell Chia Pods at some grocery stores. Give them a whirl.

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Check out these chia seed recipes too. 

Jul 23

Anti-inflammatory Food List

Often when speaking with clients, I find myself applauding folks on eating whole, real food, while suggesting they need to add more anti-inflammatory foods. And as you can imagine, people just look back at me as if I have 3 heads. What do you mean, and what foods does this include?

Overall, an anti-inflammatory diet is important for optimal health. It can combat heart disease, joint pain, enhance performance, among many other things. When people are inflamed, they may not know it. Dr Sears calls inflammation a silent epidemic that triggers chronic diseases over the years. Indeed the Standard American Diet is very pro-inflammatory as is processed food. Yet, even eating a whole food-based diet can still lack phytonutrients to help calm inflammation in the body, and therefore this list calls for attention.

My favorite anti-inflammatory foods, and always remember to fill at least half of your plate with produce:

  • seaweed including kelp (yet go easy on the seaweed snack as they are loaded w/ salt and potential vegetable oil/safflower oil/canola oil)
  • spices including turmeric (don’t buy spices in bulk either. They can easily grow mold in them and lose their nutritional benefits if not used up quickly. I love Costco for many things, yet, spices is not one of them).
  • seafood – wild salmon, sardines, mackerel (farmed fish does not hold a candle to wild, cold water fish. Read labels).
  • mushrooms
  • tea, especially green tea
  • berries
  • walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil – Explore an olive oil store (I love the few in Lincoln Park) or take my word on this online one, it is guaranteed to have no fillers and it tastes awesome.
  • cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Cauliflower can be the perfect comfort food too.
  • sweet potato and pumpkin
  • spinach and Swiss chard
  • avocado
  • grapefruit
  • pineapple
  • macadamia nuts
  • tuna

 

Jul 22

What I’ve Eaten So Far Today – 7/22/13 – 36 wks Pregnant

One thing about logging my food during pregnancy is that I need to plan a bit more on what I am going to eat. Just with the slightest increase in hunger, I find myself more likely to reach and crave foods that I don’t usually snack on, or build in my meals. Indeed, I have added an AM snack on many days since being pregnant. Having a plan of what to eat is one of the things that has helped me gain (thus far!!) a healthy amount of weight. And tracking a food log has helped me to ensure I am getting plenty of variety, color and flavor in my meals.

7:30AM – Breakfast – Blood Sugar 81 mg/dl

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2 over easy eggs, cooked in Kerrygold butter, 1 slice of back bacon and grilled zucchini and onion

Water

Supplements: probiotics, fish oil, catalyn GF, vitamin D (I source these from Standard Process)

Disclaimer: some people may shy away from undercooked eggs when pregnant. This is a choice I knowingly make, having confidence in the high quality eggs used. 

10:30AM – Snack – Blood Sugar 79 mg/dl

1 mini kind bar, 32 ounces of filtered water

By this time, heading into lunch, I had walked about 3 miles.

Lunch – 12:30PM – Blood Sugar 89mg/dl

Romaine (organic) lettuce sandwich

– Columbus brand Herb Roasted Turkey

cheddar cheese and mustard.

Carrots and 1 spoonful of nut butter (not shown)

Soaked chia seeds (overnight in almond milk) with 2 sliced large organic strawberries

Herbal passion tea, chilled

Photo1 (1)3PM – Blood Sugar – 112 mg/dl – corrected to be in the 80s.

3:30PM – SnackGo Raw Chocolate square (raw cacao contains the highest level of anti-oxidants, including magnesium and chromium, of any whole food)

5:30PM – Dinner – 110mg/dl

Homemade Chicken Salad

– organic, free range chicken

– Greek yogurt

– honey

– apple cider vinegar

– almond slivers

– organic raisins

– salt/pepper

1 small orange

Butter lettuce

Extra virgin olive oil

Photo1

Overall, it’s a little hard to eat what I want in the latter part of the day this late in pregnancy. I am very insulin resistant and have to choose my carbs wisely. The resistance is starting to tapper down, and I likely over did it on carbs at dinner. At my 7:30PM check I was 141 mg/dl and I will eat something again before bed.

 

Jul 08

How to Stay Young

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud Laugh until you gasp for breath and your belly hurts.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your place. Do with it what YOU want…
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help from someone who looks healthy and fit.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, and at every opportunity.

… AND ALWAYS REMEMBER

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

**Dotti’s Newsletter

Jul 02

What I’ve Eaten So Far Today

It’s been too long since I have captured what I have eaten on my blog, and when asked by a client today, I thought I’d share with all. Thirty-three weeks pregnant, with few to no cravings, yet, anything too flavorful or sweet upsets my stomach.

8AM – Breakfast – (Blood sugar 86 mg/dl)

Beet Protein Smoothie

- 1 large cooked beet (picked up some from Costco)

– 5 large celery stalks

– 1 tablespoon of soaked chia seeds

– 1/2 tsp of maca powder

– 4 ounces of almond milk

– 4 ounces of water

– 1 scoop raw protein powder

While making smoothie I had a spoonful of almond butter (I was starving)

 

10:30 – AM Snack – (Blood sugar 96 mg/dl)

Kind mini bar

1 oz of Kerrygold grass-fed cheese

 

12:15 – Lunch – (Blood sugar 111 mg/dl)

Romaine lettuce sandwich

- 2 large romaine lettuce leaves

– 3 ounces of Chicken Columbus brand deli meat

– 2 large green garlic stuffed olives, sliced for “sandwich”

– Yellow mustard

5-8 baby carrots w/ tahini dip

1/2 large organic apple

1 square of dark chocolate

 

3:30 – PM Snack – (Blood sugar 81 mg/dl)

Second half of organic large apple

1 hard boiled egg

2 strawberries

 

Overall, I have found that having set meal and snack times is important to control my blood sugar, portions and hunger. Overall, I am eating more carbohydrates during pregnancy, and focusing heavily on eating intuitively. One thing is for sure, I can’t eat spicy food like I used to!

Jul 01

Elimination Diets

Most recently, I was interviewed by a fellow dietitian, Aglaee Jacobs about how I use elimination diets with my clients. Her well-written article captures some great research and suggestions for patients who manage their arthritis, diabetes, IBS, and other chronic conditions with diet.

Have a read by clicking on this Today’s Dietitian link.

 

Jun 17

Using the Paleo Diet to Manage Type 1 Diabetes & Hypothyroid

alexiskimphotoMost recently I have conversed with some lovely individuals about how we use diet to stabilize blood sugars. Today, I have captured a Q & A with Alexis to inspire others to focus on diet to gain health.

How long have you had diabetes? I was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 28.  I had gestational diabetes with my daughter the year before and when I initially found out they insisted I was Type 2 (even though both of my uncles found out they were Type 1 in their 30s).  They wanted me to take medication as a Type 2 but after 3 weeks of having blood sugars in the 200s and 300s I insisted they put me on an insulin regimen. More bloodwork was done and type 1 diabetes was confirmed along with hypothyroid. Haven’t looked back since

What eating regime have you found to be most helpful in managing stable blood sugars and how did you come to find this diet? I was extremely proactive about managing my diabetes after I found out. Sure I was upset at first but at the time I had a 2 ½ year old and a 1 year old and all I could think of was how horrible it would be for me to leave my children with no mom. I discovered paleo early on by doing online research and intentions to keep carbs to a minimum.  My A1c went from 8.3 when diagnosed to 5.5 in just a few months. If that’s not proof I don’t know what is!

What main improvements in your health have you observed, diabetic-related or not? Overall health has improved. I have much better mental clarity.  I feel less moody and irritable. I also notice a difference in my hair, skin and nails. I have tons of baby hair growing and I no longer have strange ridges in my nails. After being diagnosed I also discovered that I am definitely gluten intolerant and cannot eat legumes.  I used to think I had acne in high school but in retrospect it was these things manifesting themselves. My skin is perfectly clear after going paleo. Paleo has also helped me maintain my weight. I weighed 103 when diagnosed and looked very malnourished. I gained some weight back but have been able to maintain it by eating this way. I also have to add that my dental health has improved ten fold. After many years of terrible dental visits I haven’t had one cavity and in fact, the last time I went for a cleaning my dentist said my teeth were so clean he didn’t even need to clean them!

Do you find the diet realistic and something to maintain long term? Would you recommend it to others managing their diabetes? I don’t consider paleo a diet. It is a lifestyle. In my case I had been eating and doing things a certain way for 28 years and then all of a sudden was told that I had to change. I was forced to make a change because of my diabetes and I consider that a blessing but others who want to make a change without being forced to may have difficulty in the beginning. With that said, after small steps, it is definitely realistic and easy to maintain long term. I recommend this way of eating to everyone not just diabetics. It is my opinion that if it is good for a diabetic then it is probably good for you too!

What does a typical day of food look like to you? I am so lucky to be married to a Korean man! I love Korean food, especially authentic Korean food. My mother in law is one of the last generations to ferment her own kimchi (not just cabbage either, this woman knows how to ferment ANYTHING).  She also ferments her own soybean paste which is a lost art even in Korea these days. We eat some sort of soup at least once everyday. My kids really like Korean seaweed soups and bone broth. My favorite dish is Korean style braised pork belly (super easy!). I never take a grocery list to the market. I buy what looks good or is in season and then I work with that. In general as my mother in law has taught me, I try to cook with what I have without having a structured menu. My carbs mainly come from vegetables unless I treat and have some roasted sweet potato.

What is the best thing about the diet? The best thing about eating this way for me is the mental clarity and amazing amount of energy I now have. I feel so much more alive like I am actually living after eating this way. One can take being diagnosed as diabetic as an early death sentence but managing my diabetes this way makes me feel so much more appreciative and satisfied with the life I am living.

Any tips for someone getting started on this type of diet? The first book I read was Mark Sisson’s the Primal Blueprint. I loved that it was written simple enough for everyone to understand. When it is easy for us to understand it is much easier for us to make a change. Also, it is easy to want to feel like you need to dive right in, but really what helped me in the beginning was taking small baby steps. For example, at first, I didn’t eat rice (blasphemous in a Korean house!). I still would have a piece of bread but no rice. Then, no more bread, after that, no oatmeal,. then eliminated grains, then legumes, then I started focusing on the quality of meat I was eating, etc.  If I hadn’t done it that way I am sure I would have felt overwhelmed and deprived.  At some point I decided on what number of carbs I wanted to eat everyday as well. That definitely helped the transition.

Anything in addition you’d like to say? There is a lot of misconceptions about what paleo is. It is more about what it is not.  It is also not one size fits all and others should keep in mind that there is an experimentation period. I believe this is necessary. You have to eat everything and then listen to your body. It may say “I don’t like that but I love this!”  Although the word paleo is often used I personally like to use the word primal. If you look up the word primal in the dictionary it also means important. And that is what my health and well being is to me! I have created this beta website www.modernprimalexchange.com to encourage this health movement to grow!

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