Recipe Roundup: 5 Easy and Healthy Soups

Adding vegetables to your soup is one of the great ways to achieve your daily vegetable requirement of 1 to 3 cups. It just doesn’t give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs; it also makes the soup tastier for your palate. Here are some easy recipes from nutritionists and low-carb bloggers that will encourage you to sip (or slurp) more soup from your bowl:

Vegan Keto Tofu Noodle Soup

Photo credit: Liz MacDowell

Vegan Keto Tofu Noodle Soup

Just put all the ingredients of this recipe in a pressure cooker for five minutes, and you have a soup that’s both delicious and filling. It is so quick and simple to prepare that Liz MacDowell at Meat Free Keto considers this as her go-to food when she’s under the weather. It is also adaptable, so you can substitute the vegetables with anything you have in your fridge. It contains only 5.6 g net carbs, a good number to number to deal with, especially when you’re sick, and you’re doubling your effort to manage your blood sugar.

Lentil and Spinach soup

Photo credit: Catherine Saxelby

Lentil and Spinach Soup

Lentils are rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients — and quite affordable, too! Now, if you add the superfood spinach to any lentil dish, like this soup, you’re giving your body a grand treat. While you need about 40 minutes to prepare this recipe from Catherine Saxelby of Food Watch, it includes 20 minutes of simmering time. Use that time to make other dishes for your meal, do some kitchen chores, or check your diabetes supplies.

Asian Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup

Photo credit: Andrea Holwegner

Asian Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup

Got some leftover grilled chicken? Use it for this vegetable soup along with mushroom, broccoli, colorful bell pepper, and other seasonings. This meal-in-one recipe has everything you need to get through to the next meal, but if the carbs are causing a sugar spike, we recommend replacing the wheat-flour noodles with shirataki noodles or with more vegetables. Andrea Holwegner at Health Stand says this is super easy to prepare and even provides a make-ahead method for people on the go.

Pork Belly Ramen with Veggie Noodles

Source: Jen Fisch | Photographer: Leslie Grow | Food Styling: Ashley Nevarez | Prop Styling: Kate Parisian

Pork Belly Ramen with Veggie Noodles

If you’re looking for another veggie-packed soup, here’s another one from Jen Fisch at Keto in the City. Instead of traditional noodles, she uses zucchini or summer squash noodles for this recipe. The soft-cooked egg, along with your toppings of choice, adds more flavor to the soup. Make it Pho-tasting with chopped fresh mint, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime. Craving for a traditional ramen taste? Add bean sprouts, dried seaweed strips, and corn.

Photo credit: Cristina Maria Curp

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Blend roasted broccoli and garlic with warm broth, coconut milk, and seasonings, and you’re up for some delicious soup. At 7.9 g net carbs, this recipe’s roasty flavor makes your meal more appealing, and preparing it in a blender means you can customize the texture (blend longer to make it smoother for the picky eaters). Cristina Maria Curp at The Castaway Kitchen recommends garnishing it with roasted pine nuts and/or any preferred herbs or microgreens for an additional health boost.

What soup recipes do you love to prepare for the entire family? Share them in the comments.

5 Easy and Healthy Soups

Source: diabetesdaily.com

COVID-19: Apps to Stay Active at Home

Within just a few days, the world as we know it has changed. We are all now understanding the reality of this disease, COVID-19,  and are being forced to social distance and stay home whenever possible. Some of us have taken work to our living rooms, homeschooling our children, making 3 meals a day for an entire family, all while trying not to panic that either you or your loved one falls under the high-risk category.

We mustn’t forget about self-care. It is important for us to be in a good place mentally, emotionally and physically for ourselves and anyone else who may need us. It is also proven that staying active boosts our immune system, which we all need more than ever.

With so many workouts available online, there is no shortage of things to do from your own home or yard. Depending on what you like, here is a variety of ways to stay active while being stuck at home.

Back to the Basics

Calisthenics is probably the most underrated form of exercise. And it is great to do at home since no equipment is required. Also, anything cardio-related will strengthen your heart and your immune system! Try to do a routine of a certain amount of rounds and repetitions of moves like burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, squats. One of my favorite free apps for calisthenics is Madbarz. This will be sure to get your heart pumping and leave you feeling energized!

Take It Online

It is really wonderful how people are coming together during this time. Many gyms, fitness companies, and coaches are providing their clients and the public with free workouts. Here are a few to check out and this is a great time to try something new!

  • BeachBody – They are offering a two-week trial to new members.
  • Nike Training Club – This app is offering free workouts designed by trainers. It is available on both iOS and Android.
  • Tone It Up – This fitness program for women is offering a free month for new users.
  • Skyting – This yoga television is allowing new members one week free. Perfect time to try a different form of exercise, yes I’m talking to you powerlifters!
  • Barre3 – This full-body workout will help you work on your cardio, build strength and leave you feeling refreshed and empowered. They are offering two weeks free.
  • Comptrain – If you love CrossFit like me, this website is for you! They offer free workouts daily that are challenging and sure to humble us all!

Get Moving

Oftentimes, people think exercise has to be at a gym or running in a park but that is not the case! Doing a good thorough cleaning of your house (which we could all use right now), doing loads of laundry or cleaning out your closet is sure to burn some calories! Track your steps and calories burned on a device like Fitbit.

Dance Party

If you have children who enjoy Tik Tok, Just Dance, and other interactive dance games and apps, this is the time to get onboard! You can bond with your children while getting in a sweat.

No matter what you do to stay active, it is vital for both our bodies and minds. Getting fresh air, vitamin D and keeping our bodies moving is key not only for our physical but our mental health as well. The fact that it boosts our immune systems, too, is a great perk!

What will you do to stay active during these uncertain times? Share and comment below,  let’s all help each other!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms of COVID-19?

As the global viral outbreak continues, you may be wondering what special considerations there are for people with diabetes to keep in mind. In particular, what should you do if you begin to experience symptoms consistent with the infection? This article reviews the most common COVID-19 symptoms, discusses potential issues specific to people with diabetes, and provides a guideline of how to respond if you become sick.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Be on the lookout for the following most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Coughing (especially dry)
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms may include fatigue, body aches, and sore throat, among others.

Special Considerations for People with Diabetes

You may have heard that people with certain medical conditions, including those with diabetes, are considered to be in the high-risk group for developing more serious symptoms of the disease, and have been reported to have a significantly higher mortality rate than those without underlying conditions. While these statistics are both relevant and can be scary, it is also important to keep in mind that your individual risk will vary widely depending on your specific health status, regardless of your diabetes diagnosis. Your age, other related and unrelated health conditions, and blood glucose management profile, all play a role in determining your overall risk. So, while as a whole population, people with diabetes are at higher risk for complications, your individual risk could be much lower than that.

For instance, as per the JDRF, those who have type 1 diabetes are  “not necessarily at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease. Those at greatest risk are those who have another, or second chronic disease (such as a compromised immune system, heart disease or renal failure).

Talk to your healthcare provider to better understand your individual risk level and recommendations.

Have a Plan of Action If Symptoms Arise

Being adequately prepared ahead of time can help you feel calmer and more empowered if you do get sick. Consider taking the following steps today, if you haven’t already:

  • Take preventative measures. Stay home. Practice social distancing (note: if you already have symptoms, self-isolate!)
  • Wash your hands. Avoid touching your face. Disinfect “high-touch” surfaces regularly.
  • Make sure that your medication refills are up-to-date so that you have the supply you need if you will stay in your home for a long period of time (e.g., at least several weeks). Make sure that you consider supplies used for diabetes management as well as any other medications that you use.
  • Check that you have medications on hand that you would typically use to treat a viral infection, such as a fever-reducing agent, like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Consult with your healthcare provider for advice about their specific recommendations.
  • Have enough food and water in your home in case you stay home for a prolonged period of time (e.g., several weeks).
  • Review the “Sick Day Rules” for people with diabetes. COVID-19 causes mild symptoms in most of the people who are infected. This means most likely, you will be treating your symptoms at home. However, any illness can make blood glucose levels more challenging to manage. It is important to be aware of how illness can affect your management plan and make adjustments as needed, with the help of your healthcare provider, to keep yourself safe during the illness. You can find the standard “Sick Day Rules” as described by the Joslin Diabetes Center here, but discuss your specific recommendations with your healthcare provider.

So, what should you actually do (and not do) if you develop symptoms of COVID-19?

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Self-isolate. Don’t go to urgent care or the emergency room, unless instructed to do so or you experience serious symptoms (see below). Stay home.
  3. Call your doctor and follow their advice closely.
  4. Keep a close eye on blood sugar levels. Work with your healthcare provider to make adjustments to medications, if needed, to help stay in the target glycemic range as much as possible. Keeping blood glucose levels in check as much as possible can go a long way to helping you avoid complications during any illness.
  5. Manage your specific symptoms (e.g., fever). Ask your healthcare provider for specific at-home treatment advice.
  6. Stay hydrated. This can help you keep your blood sugar levels in the target range and avoid complications.
  7. Be on the lookout for serious symptoms, including those of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), as well as the following “COVID-19 emergency warning signs”:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion or difficulty waking
  • Blue tint to the skin (on the lips or face, in particular)

If you experience these any of these symptoms, promptly seek medical care. Wear a mask if out in public.

  1. Continue to wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly.
  2. Continue to avoid contact with others (humans and pets).
  3. Do not discontinue isolation until you get the “all clear” from your healthcare provider.

***

For even more detailed information on what to do if you are ill, read these guidelines from the CDC:

What to Do if You’re Sick

Guidelines for At-Risk Populations

Also, learn even more about COVID-19 illness with diabetes from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) here.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Navigating Menopause and Perimenopause with Diabetes

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Cheryl Alkon

Menopause causes many hormonal changes in women, which can make managing blood glucose levels even more complicated

Maybe you’ve noticed your blood glucose levels fluctuate when your period is coming, or that you crave chocolate or other carb-heavy foods when it’s that time of the month. But what happens when your menstrual cycle seems to be going haywire, with a heavier, lighter, or more irregular flow, and you’re approaching midlife?

You could be experiencing perimenopause, the time when a woman’s body decreases hormone production and when egg production slows down. Perimenopause is the body’s transition to menopause, when the reproductive process permanently ends. During this shift, diabetes and menopause can complicate one another.

What are perimenopause and menopause?

Menopause happens when a woman has missed a period for 12 months in a row; perimenopause is the transition into menopause, but it’s not always a straight path. Some women can be in perimenopause for years, experiencing periods here and there, with changes in flow or frequency.

Perimenopause can last for eight to ten years before menopause. It typically occurs for women between the ages of 45 and 55, though some women begin experiencing perimenopause in their 30s.

The symptoms of perimenopause can include sore breasts, sex issues (such as vaginal dryness or little to no interest in intercourse), peeing problems (such as frequent urination or urinating while coughing or sneezing), disrupted sleep, moodiness, and hot flashes. Hot flashes can cause you, in an instant, to go from feeling serene and comfortable to scorching and sweaty.

How does menopause affect diabetes?

Weight gain is common with menopause, but what is more common and worrisome is an increase in abdominal (belly) fat, says Ekta Kapoor, an endocrinologist, menopause specialist, and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Additional abdominal fat makes the body more insulin resistant. Women may find they need additional insulin or medications to keep their blood glucose levels in range.

  • Tip: If your blood glucose levels are changing in ways you haven’t experienced since before perimenopause or menopause, talk to your healthcare professional about whether you need to adjust or change your diabetes medications, particularly if you’ve gained weight or aren’t as active as you were previously.

The hormone changes during menopause can cause hot flashes and sweating that may be disruptive to sleep. Sleeplessness is very common during menopause, and can negatively affect many critical aspects of diabetes and overall health. To learn more about sleep and how to improve your sleep, check out this article from Adam Brown.

Menopause also brings higher risks of increased blood pressure and heart disease, Kapoor adds — two health complications that women with diabetes are already more likely to develop. Speak with your healthcare professional about what you can do to keep your heart and arteries healthy.

Be aware of vaginal or urinary infections, especially yeast or urinary tract infections. Both diabetes and hormone changes during menopause can increase the risk of these infections.

Remember to check your blood glucose levels if you’re feeling sweaty or moody. Something that you think is related to high or low blood sugars may be related to menopause instead (and may not require a dose of insulin or some glucose tabs to treat).

How to manage menopause with diabetes:

  • Measure blood glucose levels frequently
  • Talk with your healthcare professional about adjusting insulin or medication dosing
  • Exercise daily, eat a balanced diet, and don’t smoke
  • Measure blood pressure regularly
  • Monitor changes in weight

Does diabetes affect menopause?

It’s unclear how diabetes may affect the timing of perimenopause and menopause. A 2001 study found that women with type 1 diabetes undergo menopause earlier than women without diabetes, but research in 2014 did not support that conclusion. However, the 2001 research was done at a time when current diabetes technologies (such as continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and even fast-acting insulin) were either less common, less sophisticated, or not yet invented. With these tools, it’s now possible for people with diabetes to have blood sugar readings closer to those of people without diabetes. This may explain why diabetes doesn’t always play a role in when perimenopause and menopause occur.

What is the role of hormone therapy?

Perimenopause symptoms can last several years beyond menopause, though some people sail through the transition without much discomfort. Others are so bothered by the side effects that they seek medical attention and take hormone therapy (HT) – such as supplemental estrogen with or without a progesterone-like hormone – to reduce symptoms.

There is no specific recommendation on HT for women with diabetes. According to a 2012 review of medical research, “there is a lack of evidence around the use of HT in women with type 1 diabetes,” calling for more research in the area.

Women with type 2 diabetes “are more vulnerable to having the disease worsen after menopause due to weight gain and increase in belly fat. This risk can be reduced somewhat by using HT,” Kapoor said. A 2001 study of more than 15,000 women with type 2 diabetes found that women in their 60s who were taking HT had average A1C levels that were lower than women who were not on HT.

Advice on navigating menopause, with or without diabetes

“Just as I advise all my patients going through menopause, pay attention to lifestyle,” said Kapoor. “Especially in their 40s and 50s, women should pay an even greater attention to what they eat and how much they exercise. Women who enter menopause already overweight face an uphill task to try to keep their weight at a healthy level.”

Kapoor suggests getting at least 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week, and to keep a close eye on food intake. Because of the metabolic and hormonal changes that come with menopause, eating the same way in midlife as you did as a younger person will very likely bring on weight gain.

“Oftentimes, women will say, ‘I haven’t changed anything; I’m eating the same way I used to in my 20s or 30s,’ and that is exactly why,” said Kapoor, “People need to cut back on calories as they get older.” The type of food on our plate can determine the daily caloric intake; eating a diet with more carbohydrates tends to be calorie-dense. Kapoor advises lower carb eating to manage weight or to lessen weight gain before and during menopause.

“My biggest advice for weight management for women going through menopause is related to lifestyle: healthy eating habits and a regular exercise program,” Kapoor concluded.

About Cheryl

Cheryl Alkon is a seasoned writer and the author of the book Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. The book has been called “Hands down, the best book on type 1 diabetes and pregnancy, covering all the major issues that women with type 1 face. It provides excellent tips and secrets for achieving the best management” by Gary Scheiner, the author of Thinking Like A Pancreas. Since 2010, the book has helped countless women around the world conceive, grow and deliver healthy babies while also dealing with diabetes.

Cheryl covers diabetes and other health and medical topics for various print and online clients. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and holds an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and a graduate degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

She has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than four decades, since being diagnosed in 1977 at age seven.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Isn’t “One Size Fits All”

I love the diabetes online community for everything that it offers: advice in times of need, hope in times of despair, helpful anecdotes and inspiring stories, and friendships formed across time zones and many miles.

One of the things that the diabetes online community sometimes does, though, is to try and prescribe how everyone with diabetes should live. One day, it’s the Dr. Bernstein diet, the next, it’s high-carb, low-fat. The Mastering Diabetes (mostly) fruit diet is so popular now that their book has even made the NYTimes Bestsellers list. People are jumping on diet and exercise bandwagons before they figure out what they truly need (and want!) in terms of their diabetes management, and what it should look like, day-to-day.

Parents are often left feeling guilty if they can’t “hack” their child’s insulin pump, and individuals with diabetes feel bad when they don’t (or can’t?) do CrossFit or maintain a super low-carb lifestyle. A once seemingly supportive community now raises an eyebrow if they spot you eyeing over a cookie during a meet-up group, or (god forbid) a sugar-sweetened beverage. But I’m here to say one thing: diabetes isn’t a “one size fits all” disease.

You are not a “bad diabetic” if you don’t have a DIY looping system, or if you don’t want to sit down and try to figure it out. You’re fine just the way you are if MDI or insulin pens work better for you, if you dislike skin adhesives, or feel claustrophobic always having something attached to you.

It’s okay if you spike every morning, without fail, due to dawn phenomenon, and if you don’t ever post your CGM graphs to social media. It’s okay if you don’t have a CGM (really, it’s fine). Or if you don’t take an SGLT2-inhibitor off-label. Or even want to try. There’s no perfect low snack. There’s no perfect meal.

Figure out what your body needs, and honor that. It’s okay if you don’t want to eat low-carb, high-carb, or in-between. Or if you’ve lived with type 1 for 15 years, enjoy your weekly ice cream treat, and don’t want to give it up. Figure out what you need and want, and do that. 

It’s okay if you don’t own a Myabetic bag, or can’t afford one, or think they’re ugly. It’s alright if you’ve never been to diabetes camp or don’t want to go. It’s alright if you don’t want to jump all into advocacy and chant, and rally, and cheer. It’s okay if self-care for you is sitting in a quiet room, and coming to a place of acceptance.

It’s okay if you don’t join any Facebook diabetes support groups, or seek out diabuddies in real life. It’s okay if diabetes is only a very small part of your life. It’s okay if it’s your whole life.

It’s okay if you don’t like going to the endocrinologist, or have to force yourself to see your eye doctor. It’s okay if you don’t like talking about your diabetes with others. Diabetes is not one size fits all.

It’s okay if sometimes you’re feeling overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and need to turn inwards, for yourself and rest sometimes.

There is no perfect way to (micro)manage, eat, exercise, handle stress, socialize (or not!), dose, count, or bolus. There is only the way that will work for you and your body. Find what works for you, and embrace that. 

Have you ever been pressured to manage your diabetes a certain way? Eat a certain diet? Exercise in a specific way? How did you deal with the pressure? Share this post and comment below; we would love to hear your stories!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes: India



Dr. Jody Stanislaw has had type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 40 years this June and is on an inspiring mission to inspire T1Ds everywhere that living a healthy and adventurous life with T1D is 100% possible. She’s been traveling the world for the past 6 months and this month she’s in India.

Check out this video and learn her dosing recommendations for when eating high carb, due to all the rice served in India.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Recipe Roundup: Simple Spring Starters and Spreads

Spring is almost here, which means a lot of occasions are soon to be had. Between holidays, wedding showers and graduations, spring is a time for gatherings. Appetizers can go a long way when hosting a lot of people and these simple low-carb recipes will keep your guests happy, your wallet full and your blood sugars stable.

All of these recipes are easy to make and won’t go bad right away. Your guests will feel good about the health-conscious offerings and you can rest assured your blood sugars won’t come in the way of having a good time.

Egg Tuna Salad

Photo credit: Lee Hersh

Tuna Egg Salad

This protein-packed dish by Fit Foodie Finds can be used as a spread, served over salad or wrapped up in lettuce (or a low-carb wrap) and cut into single servings. A healthy finger food choice is much appreciated by your health-conscious guests! This dish also happens to be flavorful, easy to make and affordable and will last up to 5 days so rest assured, none will go to waste!

Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip

Photo credit: Ginger Hultin

Kalamata Olives and Basil Tapenade Dip

Champagne Nutrition’s heart-healthy dip combines Mediterranean flavors with the salty flavor of kalamata olives, and what only takes minutes to make, tastes like a culinary masterpiece. Roast some peppers in a boat shape and serve the tapenade in them or put a dollop over slices of cucumbers. Both low-carb dishes have a fantastic presentation and are full of flavor.

Image provided by Queen Keto

Easy Keto Hummus

Believe it or not, this hummus is not made from chickpeas. The main ingredient is lupin “beans”, which are actually seeds and fall into the legume family. This is a high protein food with great nutritional value and it won’t spike your blood sugars! Coming in at under 1 g net carb, this is a great spread to put out with crudites, skewers of chicken or you can make some low carb crackers to go with it.

Photo credit: Jacque Nyenhuis

Mushrooms, Asparagus and Micro Greens with an Egg Foam

This dish from Cooking with Jacque looks like it’s straight out of a food magazine but actually is quite easy to make. The truffles and mushrooms combine together to create a very rich and aromatic flavor that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Serve in small ramekins and this dish can go a long way.

Photo credit: Ruled.me

Cheddar and Green Onion Keto Biscuits

This recipe contains only a few simple ingredients, is a breeze to make, and only contains 4.5 g net carbs. You can easily prepare this and freeze ahead of time, making this dish a great grab and go alternative! Get creative and switch up the type of cheese and seasoning.

This time of year is one to focus on happy occasions and healthy living. These easy to make starters will make you look like a great host and feel like a rockstar!

Do you have any simple low-carb appetizers that you always go back to? Comment and share below!

Simple Spring Starters and Spreads
Simple Spring Starters and Spreads

Source: diabetesdaily.com

COVID-19 Preparedness: Tips for Obtaining Extra Diabetes Supplies

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to grow, with many alarming reports in the news, the CDC has recently advised for at-risk populations (including those with diabetes) to prepare and to stay home as much as possible. For someone with a medical condition that often requires constant care and a supply of medicine, preparing for potential quarantine may also mean stocking up on extra medical supplies. Of course, this also means an additional financial expense, placing an additional burden on this patient population.

Here are some basic tips to consider for anyone with diabetes who is preparing get started on obtaining some extra supplies without incurring very high costs:

  • Contact your healthcare provider and ask them for samples of the medication(s) that you need.
  • Reach out to your health insurance company to determine if they will authorize a payment for an extra supply (sometimes called a “vacation” supply) of the medication(s) you need.
  • If needed, discuss with your healthcare provider any alternative medication(s) that may be cheaper than the ones you currently use, in case you decide to pay out-of-pocket for an extra supply. There are insulin preparations that can be purchased over-the-counter at a very reasonable price, but be sure to discuss the ins and outs of using these preparations with your provider, as they have different activity profiles than prescription insulin formulations.
  • See if you qualify for insulin savings through the manufacturer. Reach out to the company that makes your specific insulin(s) and/or visit their website(s) to determine which program(s) they offer and what you may be eligible for.
  • Consider purchasing the ReliOn brand of blood glucose testing supplies from Walmart, which tend to be much more affordable than if you were to pay out-of-pocket for an extra supply by another brand.
  • Look into using a service like DiaThrive or Livongo, which can allow you to obtain unlimited blood glucose testing supplies at a fixed price.
  • Consider using a mail-order pharmacy, so that you can minimize leaving your residence to obtain medical supplies.

Also, have a look at this checklist form the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition to keep you on track as far as being prepared with diabetes essentials during an emergency situation.

Do you have any advice for people with diabetes who are trying to make sure they are prepared with enough medical supplies for an extended amount of time? Please share this article and your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Mommy Beeps: Parenting as a Type 1

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Kim Baillieul

A few years ago, I sat at a park while my then two-year-old son played on the playground. A wave of dizziness fell over me right as I felt my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) start beeping. One, two, three – three beeps, confirming the low blood sugar I suspected.

Instinctively, I reached into my purse and grabbed the juice box floating among the loose change and used test strips. Of course, my son’s innate ability to sense whenever I have a sweet treat also kicked in, and the next thing I saw were his big, blue eyes fixated on my hand.

“Mommy, can I have your juice box?”

Sure, my sugar had dropped in front of my son before, but this was the first time I had no distraction for him – no alternative snack, no books to read. Most importantly, it was the first time he asked me to share. I shook my head and told him no, but he persisted.

“Mommy, pretty please, can I have your juice box?”

My mind went blank.

How do you explain to a toddler that your juice box is literally keeping you alive?

What I Was Told

For years – even when I was still a child myself – I was cautioned about pregnancy. At 16 years old, my endocrinologist painted daunting pictures of a hypothetical future high-risk pregnancy: weekly doctor’s visits, insanely tight control, constant monitoring. A massive list of things that could go wrong. All of this became my reality over a decade later when I became pregnant with my son.

My high-risk pregnancy with him had overall, gone well, partially thanks to the hard work I put in to maintain a 5.1% average A1C, and partially thanks to luck. I was prepared for the extra scans. I was prepared for the drastic insulin changes. I was prepared for the constant vigilance. I was prepared for what could go wrong.

However, nothing prepared me for how to explain my type 1 diabetes (T1D) to my child. Or why suddenly, at this moment, I couldn’t share a simple juice box. Frankly, I was so dizzy, I couldn’t even get up off the bench.

“I’m sorry sweetheart, I can’t share. This juice box is mommy’s medicine.”

Later, after my sugars were stable, I thought about how to talk to my child about my chronic illness and the scope of what he needed to know. I wanted to achieve a balance – somewhere between knowing enough to be empowered but not so much that he’d become anxious; enough for him to understand what I was doing, but not enough for him to feel responsible for it himself.

All my life I had worked to overcome and ‘beat’ my diabetes, to not let it stop me, you know, upholding the usual mantras of strength. However, as I pondered how to talk to my kids about my type 1, I had to set that all aside. Pride had no place here.

The conversation remained informal, but honest.

Understand that mama’s body doesn’t work the way most other people’s do… I’m not sick, but it can make me feel sick sometimes… This is my insulin pump… This lancet is sharp, please don’t ever touch it.

He had a lot of questions.

Yes, Mommy beeps!… No, you won’t get it when I cough… Yes, even if I forget to cover my mouth… Yes, I can eat most anything as long as I’m careful… Yes, even ketchup… Yes, even ice cream… Yes, even ketchup ice cream – wait, that’s gross!

We both erupted in giggles.

A Universal Struggle

One of the beautiful things about the type 1 community is knowing you’re not alone. As I reflected on this intentional conversation, one of the first ‘growing up’ discussions I had with my son, I realized I’m not likely alone in facing this. Turns out, I wasn’t – the Parents with type 1 community was peppered with struggling T1D parents facing the same hurdle. When I looked for resources, I didn’t find anything quite suitable for a type 1 parent.

Throughout my son’s toddlerhood, I captured my efforts in a children’s book I wrote called “Mommy Beeps: A book for children who love a type 1 diabetic.” It was a passion project of mine to provide a resource that didn’t otherwise exist, and hopefully help another family lessen the mental gymnastics of explaining type 1 diabetes to a child who doesn’t have it themselves. Every page is personal – down to the angry T1D on the phone dealing with a denied insurance claim. Because that is reality. Diabetes isn’t just about the finger pricks and injections – the medical and insurance logistics can be just as heavy. Extra doctor’s appointments, tracking of supplies, prescription refills – it all took time away from playing with blocks, giggling on the floor, or reading “Goodnight Moon” for the third time on a given evening.

As for my son, he took to my carefully crafted conversation well – and all of the impromptu ones that followed. Once, after a particularly harrowing high sugar, we planned a library visit to check out some books about the body, so he could find the “piece of Mama that doesn’t work.” We never made it to that page, though, because he was too fascinated by more amusing parts of the body (the toilet humor sure does start young).

A few years later, I braved the high-risk pregnancy world again and came out with a second little boy. The first time my type 1 diabetes interrupted our playing with trains, I talked to him, too. He shrugged it off and kept the train on its way to the station.

Later that night, he leaned into me. Pointing to my stomach, he exclaimed, “Mama’s Dexcom! I kiss it.” Clearly, something stuck in our conversation earlier that day. And I will take any win I can get.

They won’t know any other way, this will be their normal. And really, that’s a beautiful thing, because the T1D community is now just a little bigger.

Find out more about “Mommy Beeps” here.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

If Your Blood Sugar Could Talk

The diabetes online community (DOC) is great for finding information, asking for advice but also for a much-needed laugh. Over the past few weeks, Levi Davenport’s video that humanizes his blood sugar has gone viral within our community and many are finding this two-part video series not only hilarious but therapeutic as well.

I caught up with Levi to ask him a few questions about his own type 1 diabetes (T1D), the way he copes and his intentions of this well thought out video. Please make sure to watch the two-part video at the end!

When were you diagnosed? How did you handle the diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was 15 years old, in 2004. I was playing high school baseball, and looking forward to getting my driver’s license. The last thing I was interested in dealing with was diabetes.

Photo credit: Levi Davenport

Did you have a good support system from family, friends, and doctors?

Absolutely, I was surrounded by fantastic people – family, friends, and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I had no family history. I caught a very bad stomach bug (think – very bad). Afterwards, over the next 10 days, I lost 14 lbs. and had what I later came to know were the symptoms of high blood glucose. A doctor visit later, I was told I was the proud new owner of a dead pancreas. That was it. I had a two-week hospital stay and then my parents drove me back and forth to Vanderbilt to go through the T1D ‘crash course.’ None of us knew anything about type 1 and to date, I am the only diabetic in our family.

Being a kid is hard enough. Did you feel different and isolated due to your new normal?

Internally yes, and angry. Externally no, but only because I chose to hide it from everyone — friends, teammates, girlfriends, teachers. I only told people about it when I absolutely had to. I did not handle the adjustment well.

Did your diagnosis affect any of your life decisions (what you wanted to be when you grew up, going away to college, etc.)? 

Not at all. I don’t let T1D stand between me and something I have my mind set on doing. You are only limited in life by what you are willing to do.

Did anything in your life have to change in order for you to optimally manage this disease?

Oh yes, I had several dark years. I lost an incredible amount of weight. I am 6’5 and went from fit to emaciated in a matter of 2 years. I dropped from 240 lbs to 186 lbs. The catalyst for me was my children. I was in bed one night and felt my shins and thighs tingling. I realized that it was the beginning of neuropathy. I gave thought to how many years I was shaving off my life by ignoring my health, and within 2 months I had an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and a watch that showed my blood glucose.

Photo credit: Levi Davenport

Did you turn to your family and friends for support?

Not really, I am a pretty private person when it comes to feelings and emotions (working on that).  After years of shutting everyone down, I could definitely see that they were happy to see what was happening though. Especially my wife. Living with a 24-hour grump took great patience. Since starting on the pump/CGM I have regained the 50 lbs and I felt so much better that I no longer cared about who knew I was a T1D.

Once I found the DOC, the face of this disease changed for me. Not only the information I got from others living with type 1 but I made real friendships that helped me feel less alone. Did you go online for support and information? Have you made any online connections that have helped lessen the burden of this disease?

I turned to the DOC when I started learning about resources like Spike and Xdrip. Shortly after, I discovered the social media groups and pages. I couldn’t believe it. If you aren’t a member of a T1D page or group, you need to check them out. There is a wealth of knowledge to be had, as well as encouragement and community. Seeing all of the people participating, commenting, sharing experiences and advice was very motivating. It also was when I realized I needed to find a way to contribute to the cause.

You clearly have a great sense of humor, do you find humor to be therapeutic?

I definitely find it therapeutic. It is a great pressure relief valve. I spend most of my day focused, serious, and perhaps not smiling enough. People in my professional life were somewhat shocked to see me be silly in that video.

Speaking of humor, what do you think of all the diabetes jokes out there?

If it is funny, I can laugh at it. Diabetes wins if you let it get in your head.

Your video has gone viral within the DOC. Did you expect such a positive reaction from our community?

I’m completely blown away. My channel ‘Between Two Lines’ is very new. I remember talking to my wife about making a funny video and being very nervous. Wondering if anyone would even think it was funny? Would anyone relate to it? You are really putting yourself out there to be ridiculed when trying to take something serious and use humor to encourage and inform. The T1D community is awesome. I’m glad people enjoyed the video and will certainly be making more of them.

What do you think makes it so relatable? What is one of your favorite moments? I know I laughed the whole time and have had the same thoughts and feelings as “Mr. Blood Sugar.”

I’m not sure I even know. Perhaps it is that many others feel the same way I do. Diabetes is stupid. I hate it. I hate everything about it. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. But you know what? It isn’t going anywhere and I’m not going to let it steal the happiness from my life. So, I tried to find some humor in it.

My favorite moment was when “Blood Sugar” pulled his hoodie tight over his head to ignore me joking about muscles. Reminded me of my sister and how she responds to my younger brother and me bragging about fitness and working out.

What made you think of the idea in the first place?

There are a million funny videos out there that we all watch every day. I just thought I would take a stab at making one about being diabetic. It was important to me though for it to be funny, but not making fun of the fact that I had diabetes.

At the end of the day, what was your main objective of this video and what would you like people to take away from it?

The main objective of the video was actually to inform. Humor is a great tool for educating. I wanted people with diabetes to laugh, relate, and feel relief that they aren’t the only ones dealing with that garbage. I wanted non-diabetics to be able to watch the video and laugh – but learn about some of the things their diabetic friends, family, or coworkers deal with.

Thanks again for giving us all a laugh. I was away and having a tough time with my blood sugar and laughter was certainly the best medicine!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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