Happy Frappie!

Well, to celebrate a happy appointment today, I decided to be BAD! I wanted to indulge a little…. Chocolate, coffee, coconut….. You know what I’m talking about… Velvety deliciousness. Am I saying these things out loud on a diabetes blog??

…. Or did I?

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My delicious Treat was inspired by the Trim Healthy Mama book that I have mentioned before. It was only 7 carbs and completely delicious! Keifer, Whey protein powder, Hershey’s Dark Chocolate powder, ice, coconut milk, cold brewed coffee and Stevia to sweeten…. Plus a little secret ingredient called Glucomannan. When it mixes with Whey PP in my magical Ninja, it creates a frothy, fluffy deliciousness! In Trim Healthy Mama, it is suggested as a no carb thickener that can be used to make puddings, gravy, etc.. I love the addition. Best part…. Look what it did to my BG…

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Yay! I can have my chocolate and eat it too!! :).

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The Invisible Doctor

I have an appointment this morning.. Soon! The last time I was at this doctor, I bawled my eyes out. It’s kinda this tradition I have with the doctor’s office. Eeeeek. I hope that becomes a less visited tradition in the future. Recently, I have found that in all my spare moments–when my mind drifts at work, while I lie in bed, as I fold laundry–I have had many, many conversations with an invisible doctor. Defending myself, mostly. Telling him why I don’t need to eat 45 carbs at every meal, why I don’t write down records and fax them in weekly, why I make changes to my pump (little ones) without consulting them. I explain my personality and why this new approach is best. I talk about my life and how what I am doing fits better. I talk about all the small victories and lifestyle changes I have made! I do not want a “great” Dr. appointment because i turned my life upside down for three months, wrote everything down, and became a crazy diabetes nazi. My motivation has been a new and completely different lifestyle. I want a sustainable change. In my journey, it has not been writing everything down. It has been arming myself with knowledge and actually making changes. Finding things that work for my body and life and embracing them! I LOVE the pace I have taken. I LOVE the changes I have made. I also LOVE the results.

Today, I will be respectful. I will be composed. But I will not apologize for finally taking my health into my own hands and owning it! This is my everyday journey and I am really enjoying it! My health is not in his hands… It is in mine.

Okay, be strong Briana! You are doing things differently, but you are doing them best for YOU!

…..thanks for letting me get that out. I just needed to talk through it out loud one more time.

Little Steps in my Journey!

I am a list person!  For me, they are energizing, profitable, and heck… just lots of fun!  This list, is not one that will be crossed off, but rather laminated and used for wallpaper in my house!

Ben and I were driving this weekend,  and he helped me come up with a list of things I have been doing lately.  I am sure I will need help to remember them!  I also hope that they will be a to other diabetics out there longing for a lower a1c reading.  Mine went from 8.7 to 6.7 in 6 months!  Big news for this “most-of-my-life-in-the-double-digits” girl!

I made lots of changes in these areas…

My Pump

  • I changed it every 3 days instead of waiting until day 4 or 5.  This means I used more supplies, but the absorption is much better this way.
  • I used new areas for my pump instead of the same stomach locations; again, this also allows for better absorption.
  • I made use of both the “dual” and “square” bolus options.
  • I made adjustments to my evening basal rate.  I did not need a doctor to tell me what I was seeing was a pattern.  I trusted myself and did it!

My CGM

  • I faithfully wore my Continuous Glucose Monitor!  In the past, I would take it off and plan to put it back on in a day or two.  I NEED the constant feedback.  I would only take it off if I had time to changes sites RIGHT THEN.  If not, I did not take it off!
  • I changed the “low” and “high” settings on my CGM so I am notified the minute things start moving in the wrong direction.

My Highs & Lows!

  • I only correct with Skittles, and occasionally a spoon of peanut butter.   Before, I would use a “low” as an excuse to eat anything I had been eyeing up in the kitchen.. now, I only allow myself to use Skittles because I can predict how my body will respond to them.
  • My body has slowly become more used to the 70-90 range.  Before, I would correct if it were headed into the 70s.   I now feel pretty comfortable there, and feel no reason to correct, especially if a meal is right around the corner.

My Diet

  • I have read about health and diet recently.  Literally, thousands of pages… the most helpful have been a book called “Trim Healthy Mama” by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett and also the “500 Low Carb Recipes” cookbook by Dana Carpender.  I also read a few doosies concerning low-carb living, but I won’t mention those!
  • I had a total epiphany about the correlation between blood sugar and diet.  It’s so simple, I don’t know why I never realized it before: if I don’t eat high carbs, my blood sugar can’t go high.   (Take a moment to laugh if you’re diabetic… because you know that there really is not way to say “can’t” about high blood sugar.)  I can’t prevent it, but I can at least have the science on my side!
  • Armed with this knowledge, I decided to eat generally low-carb, including little low carb switches.  The list merits its own post… so come back for that!
  • I try to limit myself to 30 carbs a day.  Generally spaced out evenly: 10, 10, 10 at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • I do not snack on carbs.  Only at meals.
  • I do not eat carbs after 8.  For me, I have learned that if I eat any carbs late at night, I WILL have high blood sugar at night, regardless of how much insulin I take.
  • No food vacation days.  Before, I would say I probably took a little diabetes diet hiatus about once a week.. it just is not worth feeling sick!
  • I started weighing and measuring my dinner as I make my lunch.
  • I round up with I count carbs.
  • I am also trying to take insulin early if I know that I will be enjoying something higher in carbs than I usually have.
  • I keep almonds or walnuts in my purse for snacking
  • There is more to say on this, but I will stop here for now… :)

My Holiday

  • Celebrations being so prevalent in the past months, I had to rethink how I celebrate.
  • I had my first cookie exchange without eating a single cookie.  Whew.. that was rough!  I almost stayed home.  Glad I didn’t!
  • I can remember the two Christmas cookies I allowed myself to enjoy: a  Scottish Shortbread Cookie and a round little powdered sugar shortbread morsel.  Can you tell I love shortbread.  Please don’t ever bring Sandies to my house.  I will not be able to contain myself.
  • I tried to tell people ahead of time if I thought that I would need something different to eat or if I would not be eating at a gathering.  Sometimes this is appropriate, and sometimes it is unnecessary.
  • I tried to not think of the holidays in terms of food.  I actually went to my Grandma Drendel’s house without eating her thumbprint cookies.  It was hard!  So hard, but I knew that ONE would not be enough.  But you know what?  I still had a wonderful time with my Grandma Drendel & family.  I don’t need special food to celebrate!  I need special people! :)

My Team

  • One word: BEN!  He has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this whole process!  He literally said to me as I was trying to make wise eating choices, “Bri, if we spend all of our savings on groceries so you can figure this out, then that’s what we’re gonna do.  Get what you need!”  He has trusted me and supported me, and he is one of God’s most supreme gifts to me.
  • I have joined many diabetic Facebook pages.  They are SO helpful.  I wish I had found these about… oh, ten years ago.
  • My only true strength is Christ.  Anything right I ever want to do is from Him.  I am elated when I consider Him, grounded when I look to Him, and strengthened when fall before Him.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness. Ps 115:1

This list is long and fractured, but it is some of the things that have been helpful for me recently.  I really needed to write some of them down.  The more I write, the more solidified it becomes in my heart.  I hope to continue to chronicle the journey.  I have been learning so much!  I can’t wait to share it with you!

Little Less Conversation…

… a little more action!

That’s right.  In the past 3 months, this blog has seen very little attention from me.  In the case that I have been silent on this blog, one of two fundamentally opposed things are taking place.  Option 1: I have fallen off the wagon into an abyss.  In this abyss, there is lots of cake.  And with my mouth so full of cake, I just can’t find my diabetic voice.  Option 2: I am grabbing that feisty diabetic bull by the horns and can’t be bothered to write about it.

Headed into the “holiday months,” I must confess, I was extremely nervous.  Last year, I was doing well up until those pesky pilgrims came out to share their cornucopias and pie, I fell into more of a rut.  That followed through Christmas and into January.  In February, I was bitterly assaulted by a sinus infection that left me on the couch for weeks.  (The plus side of this: watching the entire first season of Once Upon a Time.)  In March, I had my blood work done, and it was horrible.  I was very discouraged, because I knew that my heart had changed so much regarding diabetes, but it was not showing up in the labs.

THIS YEAR MUST BE DIFFERENT.

I must stop Post-Christmas Blood work from coming!  …But how?

Knowing the tendency to “relax” around the holidays, I determined to make the same choices over Christmas as I had been implementing already.

The bloodwork:  in. 

The results: Fantastic!  

My a1c is finally, for the first time in my whole diabetic existence, in a “normal” range.  For those familiar with the test, my number is 6.7.  I had not even dared to hope that it would be below the 7’s, but God’s gracious gift to me was much better than I anticipated.

Thank you, Jesus!

Sci-Fynally a Delish Low-Carb Pizza!

Cauliflower Pizza!

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Classy Classic: Pizza & Redbox…

Tonight, it’s a double-feature: Star Trek, and Star Trek: Into the Darkness.   We had a plan: we were going to get a Redbox movie and a shrimp ring.  We love shrimp rings… its an occasional indulgence that isn’t too “carby.”  Not to mention delish!  Tonight, it ended up being super-de-duper expensive!  We walked from the seafood section down from the frozen section to pick up an old standby, Digiorno.  We were so close to just buying it because we just wanted SOMETHING…  reason and wallet protested, and we came home empty handed.

I remembered a pin that I had about making cauliflower pizza crust, and I decided to try it…

Here’s the link, if you’d like to give it a try: http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2011/06/basil-cauliflower-pizza/

Basically, I followed the directions exactly for the recipe.  Which is very unlike me, but I would not cook the pizza in the initial baking for as long as I did.  I would suggest maybe 12 minutes.  I also LOVED the basil ricotta!

Here’s Ben with his “slice”

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Seriously people, we didn’t miss our Digiorno for a second!

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Original {Horrible} Idea:  

Whole Digiorino Pizza –  240 carbs

Whole Cauliflower Pizza – 24 carbs

(that’s counting even the carbs in the veggies & sauce on the pizza!)

To make the comparison even more mind-boggling, and waist-whittling…

The entire cauliflower pizza, which almost filled my sheet pan, has less carbs than a slice of Digiorno.

I think the very best part is that I feel great!  And so does my blood sugar!

Gobble, gobble!

Yes, I sure did pose with a frozen bird...You bet I did!

I am here, in a candid shot with my new prisoner,  Senior Gobble.  Ben and I had a successful shopping trip today to Wegmans, and we picked this little guy up for .49 /lb!  Yes please!

This year, Ben and I have decided to have our first Holiday together with JUST us.  We have spent many cherished holidays with family and friends–and loved it, but this year we are going to have Turkey for 2.  

Here’s a little suspense — check in at More Than a Number over the next few weeks to see how I take a traditional thanksgiving dinner and make it delicious and diabetic friendly!

I’m also interested in any ideas or recipes you would like to share to help my holiday menu come together…

Bran Muffin Makeover

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One of my “roadblocks” on the journey with diabetes is breakfast.

I usually am not hungry in the morning.  That, coupled with the fact that I tend to run around like a crazy person on the way out the door, I tend to forget to eat it… or I just don’t want to!

Instead of planning elaborate morning meals that I would not follow through on, nor would I enjoy, I’ve landed at the conclusion that something non-fussy and fast is the way to go for me!  A friend suggested muffins.  At first, I thought that muffins would be too much carbs, therefore, not a good choice, but with a few modifications, muffins can be a great choice!

(If only those double-chocolate numbers from Whole Foods were a good choice….)

First, I made the traditional “Oven Ready Bran Muffins” from the back of the Hodgeson Mills Wheat Bran box.

With a few modifications….

  • I cut the called for 1 c. brown sugar down to 1/2 c.
  •  I used half Greek Yogurt and Half Ricotta Cheese instead of milk  (I ran out of greek yogi, so I used what  low-carb option I had on hand, ricotta)

After that, I saved 5 out for breakfasts now, and froze the rest to pull out some other lazy, crazy morning!

Tip: As you add ingredients to the bowl, write down their carbohydrate values; once you know how many muffins the recipe yields, you can divide by the total carb count and know the individual carb content of each muffin.

Then, write it on the box of wheat bran so you don’t have to do the calculations again!

 (Along with any changes you made to the recipe!) 

Eliminating half the brown sugar left the muffins needed a little something.  At first, I added honey, which completely defeated the purpose of reducing the brown sugar, plus, it’s very hard to be precise while measuring something so sticky.  Hard to account for the sweet nectar you lick off your fingers… :)

This morning, I knew that I did not want to use honey has I had previously, so I grabbed three fresh raspberries placed them on top of my muffin halves.   No other adornment, and the muffin was delicious.

Original Wheat Bran Muffin with 1T. raspberry preserves: 34 carbohydrates.

Makeover Muffin with Fresh Raspberries: 18 carbohydrates.

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With the addition of some plain chai white tea, this reluctant breakfast eater was satisfied, fueled for the day, and reduced carbohydrate intake by almost 50%!

Rules are Rules…

…I don’t make them, I just enforce them.  

How many of us have heard this, thought this, or actually said it?  

In this case, I am both the maker and enforcer of “The Rules.”  After realizing sometime last Thursday that I needed to be in the driver’s seat here, I also knew that I needed a more concrete plan of how that was actually going to look.  I also know, as I discussed in a previous post, that when I am “on” baby, watch out, because I’m on fire… and when I’m “off,” well, you might as well not bother putting that brownie on a plate, just hand me the 9×13 and a folk.  

I needed a way to stabilize my peaks and valleys, if possible.  I already know my tendencies; I wanted to find a way to work with myself.  The idea was not original to me, nor is anything new under the sun, but a friend suggested a few weeks ago (thanks, Amanda!) that I make some guidelines for myself to add some structure to my decisions.  

Generally what happens is that I do really well during the week with food choices and planning, but then the weekend comes, or Ben and I go out, or we come in contact with any sort of frozen yogurt, and I fall off the wagon.  Oh, it doesn’t stop there, the wagon continues until it’s not visible on the horizon.. and then I run in the opposite direction.  This lasts 3 days, and I jump on the wagon again.. repeat.  I find that weekends are far harder than the weeks for obvious reasons.  So what happens is that I am either counting all the carbs, checking my blood sugar before meals / 2 hours after, and being mindful of diabetes {Perfect Country!}, or I am eating whatever and just “guesstimating” on insulin.  Checking my blood sugar occasionally {Fun Country!}.  

Here’s what I came up with. 

The Rules

Monday!  (Girl’s Night!)

  • MUST pre-measure anything and everything!
    • Maybe leave some snacks at Nahries?
    • Carbohydrate limit for the evening?  40 total. 
      • I need to think about this a little more.  This is a good place to start. 
      • No eating after 10 p.m. 

Tues – Friday

  • ONLY No-Carb/low carb (under 5g.)  snacks after work  / between meals
    • No Carb Ideas: Tuna, string cheese, NSA pudding, pickles, veggies, hard-boiled eggs, lunch meat, tomatoes
    • Low Carb Ideas: Hummus w/ veg, little pumpernickel squares, Adkins shakes
    • Eat all three meals a day!
      • 25-45 carbs each meal
      • This will take PLANNING when I want to go out somewhere..  BE THAT PERSON that brings a lunchbox…
      • No eating after 10 p.m.

Weekends

  • Saturdays
    • Eat breakfast by 10
    • Sweets / eating late allowed — as long as I know exactly how many carbs
    • Sundays
      • Eat breakfast! :) 
      • Only take an ABF snack occasionally.  
        • (Once every 6 weeks! Mark it in calendar.)

Eating Out

  • Try to look up nutritional information before going out & make a plan.  

 

I love this plan.  I’m sure it will morph over time, but for this snapshot of my life, it is helpful.  Previously, it’s like I had a switch in my brain.. Diabetes ON, Diabetes OFF.  This is destructive on many levels.  Emotionally, it makes me feel like a failure.  Physically, it really puts my body through the wringer–headaches, sleeplessness, and aches from too high BG.  Spiritually, it keeps me from glorifying God in my decisions and in my body.  Switching ON and OFF no longer being an option, I needed to know what ON looked like.

I have for over two years now enjoyed a Girl’s Night with close friends every Monday night.  Girl’s night is rarely cancelled, and a wonderful highlight of my week.  On Monday nights, I usually just flipped the switch, took lots of insulin, and ate the stress of the week away, one goldfish at a time.  (One goldfish swimming in chocolate, of course!)  I love Monday nights.  I love being with my girls & relaxing.  I love not feeling inhibited at all about what I eat.  Ah.  Love it.  But… the wee hours of Tues. morning most regularly find me awake, sick, and frustrated.  Frustrated that I’m sick, I caused it, and even more frustrated that I don’t ever want to stop having girl’s night the way that it has always been. 

But, you know what?  

I can’t just sit back and pretend that taking a huge dose of insulin and goring myself on Ghirardelli squares is okay.  Yes, my BG eventually comes down, and I’m in normal ranges the next day, but the lack of restraint is the problem.  Being annoyed by boundaries, that is the problem.  I am a rebel.  My rebelliousness must be checked.  While I cling to the believe that “you’re not the boss of me!  I’m an adult now and I can make choices without input from others” reigns in my heart, I will not live a life with diabetes that brings glory to God.  A life that praises Him and His good choice, no, His BEST choice to give me diabetes.  Not while I reserve the right to decide when I will or will not be controlled.

It was just a corner of my life, really, these Monday night divergences from diabetes.  I walked up narrow hallway to Nahrie’s house and left diabetes at the door.  It was just one night.  I still took insulin.  It’s not like I left my insulin pump in the car!  I was still diabetic.. I just wasn’t going to think about that for about 4 hours.  Ah.. what blissful hours I spend as a rebel.  It feels good.  I’m in charge. whew.

It only takes a minute of this kind of thinking to send myself into a tailspin of horrible decisions, depression, and hopelessness.  Really, it starts with the first whisper of defiance that says, “I will not be controlled.  I will not be restrained.”  I am realizing even as I type that I was allowing my Girl’s Night to become territory I was unwilling to surrender to God.  I place and time in my life where I would have no boundaries.  (Because everyone needs that little corner of the world that they call “mine,” right?) 

So, the answer is drink water and carrots at Girl’s Night.  THAT must be most pleasing to God. 

ABSOLUTELY NOT!  

See what I did with my “Rules” for Monday night?  I gave myself a carb limit that is high enough to enjoy a few squares of chocolate or a bag of the snack that smiles back.  I don’t need complete autonomy to enjoy myself. 

I’m thankful that God has given things for our enjoyment.  I can even enjoy Him in the gifts that He has given–but as I enjoy things apart from Him, in a heart of rebellion, that is when sin creeps in.  

I have been feeling a little bit like sin for me is different than a non-diabetic.  Probably every time I eat something delicious it is sin because God has given me diabetes. Oh, how wrong that perspective is.  Rebellion is sin; the need to control is sin; running from restraint–that is sin.  

Chocolate is not sin.  It is a gift from God.

(Isn’t that the news you’ve been waiting to hear???  Don’t forget, you heard it here first!!)