Monday 30 July 2012

Paleo Eating & Diabetes

As a parent of a type 1 child, I am acutely aware of what foods my son puts in his body. Every food contains its own nutritional value and, as a parent and caregiver, I try to maximize Dylan's nutritional intake to ensure that he is as healthy as possible.

So a few months ago, when I heard about the Paleo diet in a CWD (Children with Diabetes) discussion group, my interest was piqued. It appeared that type 1 kids who ate predominantly paleo were reducing their insulin requirements by 50% or even more! The skeptic in me immediately doubted the validity of these claims. However, as I started researching, I found more and more scientific evidence to support this way of eating, not just for type 1's, but for everyone. Then I learned that a number of my coworkers (and some of the healthiest and fittest people I know) have been eating Paleo for years.

For those who may not have heard of Paleo before, it is a dietary plan based on the eating patterns of man during the Paleolithic Era. Basically, only foods available during that hunter/gatherer time are permitted. Commonly consumed items are fish, grass-fed meats, vegetables, fungi, nuts, seeds, and fruit. Excluded foods are grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Still not sure I understood completely, my next step was to read "Quantum Paleo" by Dr. Doug Willen and really get my head around what the diet actually entailed; what foods were "in," and which were "out."

After careful consideration, I've decided to try it out. Willen suggests a 21 day trial period, which is what I intend to do, starting today. During the 21 days, I will eat entirely paleo, but expose my family, including Dylan, to a variety of paleo meals and see how it goes. If I like it, I'll stick with it permanently; if Dylan likes it, I will start him on a complete paleo diet as well.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Saturday Shake-Up ~ July 28th

"GO"berry Banana Smoothie

A combination of the Vi Shape nutritional shake mix and the ViSalus "GO" energy drink provides a double-dose of nutrients, energy, and wellness.

1/2 cup of frozen (unsweetened) blueberries
1/2 fresh banana
1 (2 fl. oz) bottle ViSalus GO
1/2 cup water
2 scoops Vi Shape shake mix

This smoothie is sure to wake you up and get you ready to tackle your day!

Nutritional Information 212 Cal, 1.7g fat, 36.9g carbs, 8.9g fiber, 13g protein.
Bonus: Vitamin E 50%, Thiamin 100%, Niacin 100%, Vitamin B6 100% (Based on a 2000 Calorie diet)

Thursday 26 July 2012

Diabetic Ice Cream Social Is Back!

August 4th marks the second annual world-wide Diabetic Ice Cream Social!! Celebrating life, independence, creativity, and, of course, diabetes, the 2nd annual social has a very clear purpose: to show the world that people with diabetes can and will eat ice cream (or anything else they want, for that matter). The event is to happen August 4th, anytime, anywhere.

Too many times I have been told that my son cannot, or should not, eat this or that because it contains too much sugar. After six and a half years with type 1 diabetes, even people in our extended family will still ask me, "Can he eat this?" before serving him a piece of birthday cake at a family celebration. His standard response, "As long as I tell my pump," does not always resonate with them, no matter how many times he says it. Nor do my more detailed explanations of how with diabetes he must count carbohydrates, not sugar, and that he can essentially eat anything he wants, whenever he wants, as long as we bolus for the appropriate amount of insulin. Will we be eating ice cream on the 4th? You can count on it!!

For more info, there is a Facebook page created specifically for this event, and it can be found here. I have taken this event description directly from the Facebook site: 

"This event is meant to showcase that we can LIVE, and THRIVE as Diabetics, and enjoy ourselves... That we do not have limits on life, and that we can live within our boundaries of moderation, education, and common sense. CELEBRATE your life every day... And laugh in the face of ignorance. 

It doesn't matter how you eat your ice cream... Have one scoop or two, if you please, have it sugar free if you must, you can certainly have it low carb, or lactose free, or made with almond milk, you can have it be made of fruit, or a sorbet... Heck, you can even have a different treat, altogether, if you don't even like ice cream! :) (But try to have something that you typically would enjoy, and people would wrongly 'police' you and tell you that you can't eat it.) The point is... WE DIABETICS ARE CREATIVE, SAVVY, AND WE HAVE OPTIONS... AND WE KNOW OUR BODIES. 

And NO ONE should tell us what we can, or cannot eat. We CHOOSE what we want to eat, and what we can handle... And we have glucose meters, and a vast array of glucose control tools to help us make our decisions!"

Thanks to Lizmari, Katrina, Debbie, Michelle, Lara, and Britt for organizing this terrific event!

And feel free to "friend" me on Facebook (Jen Leslie Aragon) so I can add you to the invite list!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Taking Responsibility

July is almost at a close already...where did the month go?

I feel completely out of touch with the blogging world lately, and with my DOC family. I have been so absent this month; I've barely posted at all, I've missed every DSMA this month (though I will be participating tonight!), and haven't even been keeping up with reading my fave blogs.

Why? I'm not totally sure why. I've actually been far less busy than usual. There has been a colossal amount of stress in our household over the past 2 months and it's affecting my ability to manage my time wisely. Everything seems to take longer than it should and require more effort than it should. I guess I've been depressed. Regardless, it hasn't been good and I've had enough.

Thankfully, this is something that is within my power to change. So here it is: my public declaration to get my life back on track; to pick myself up, dust myself off, and become present in my own life again. Starting today I will:
  • blog regularly again (at least 5 days a week)
  • participate in DSMA every week
  • stay up-to-date with my blog reading 
  • continue to build meaningful connections with my DOC family
  • keep track of how I am managing my time, by recording the activities I'm doing and for how long
  • get back into a regular exercise routine
  • limit what I put into my body (no alcohol, no grains, no processed foods, no sugar except that in fruit)
I'm excited to see the changes take effect!!

Thursday 19 July 2012

Local Diabetes Day Camp Just Announced!

The DEC clinic at Lions Gate Hospital (operating out of the West Vancouver Community Center) is offering a week long day camp August 20-24. The camp is fully supervised by LGH staff and will include some diabetes education, with a focus on having fun. Participants will go different exciting adventures everyday - including going up Grouse Mountain for a day, and pitch & putt golfing at Ambleside Park! Cost for the week is only $50. For more information, call 604-984-5752.

Friday 13 July 2012

Miami Bound

In writing this post aboard a flight from Dallas to Miami, the 2nd flight in today's journey across North America, from the Pacific Northwest to the Caribbean waters of Florida. I'll be spending the next four days in Miami for a National Event hosted by ViSalus.

Tomorrow night over 20,000 Visalians will converge on the American Airlines Arena for an event featuring non-stop excitement. We will cheer, learn, congratulate, and party our way through the weekend.

For the next four days diabetes goes on hold for me. A strange and foreign idea, but Dylan is still at d-camp, and I am traveling alone (well, as alone as you can get with 20,000+ coworkers) for the first time in ten years. No spouse, no kids, no diabetes. Just me and a weekend of learning how to further share the world's largest and most successful health platform.

To say the feeling is odd wouldn't do it justice. No D? It's a foreign concept. Alien even.

Monday 9 July 2012

D-Camp is here

Ahh the joy of diabetes camp. It is the highlight of Dylan's summer and one of my favorite times of year. While I miss him terribly every year while he's at camp, I can honestly say that it's the only time I don't worry about his diabetes. He left yesterday for a week of outdoor fun, new friendships, and exciting adventures.

This is year four of diabetes camp and each year seems better and better. Dyl always comes back having learned so much, both from the staff and his fellow campers. One year he returned home excited to show me how he could do his infusion set change entirely his own. And last year he came home having mastered the dual wave bolus.

But it's so more than just that. It's the only place where diabetes is so common that it almost doesn't exist. It doesn't stand out, or set him apart from other kids, because everyone has diabetes. So when he needs to test his bg, no one cares, or even looks up. Why? Because they're all testing their bg too. Feeling low? Look to anyone, juice is never more than a stones throw away. It's like a special club with exclusive membership; a club where diabetes is the norm.

I also love d-camp because he is so well taken care of by staff. In fact, when we upload his pump data from camp week, it's usually better than when he's at home. I know he's safe there, and while that may not seem like much, to the parent of a child with diabetes, safety is one the most elusive things we know. We hope and pray for it, but we know that until a cure is found, safety is an illusion. We can never let our guard down. Knowing that Dylan is safe at camp is the most incredible feeling ever for this d-mama.

The only questions left is what do I do with myself all week?

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Just Keep Swimming

Diabetes and exercise don't always mix well. While yes, exercise does wonders for the body and can provide significant help in managing blood sugar levels, the unpredictability when the two are mixed is enough to drive anyone crazy. 

Just this morning, Dylan started a week of intensive swimming lessons. 45 minutes of near non-stop lengths, practicing all strokes. The only breaks to the lengths are to tread water. I literally has no idea how his blood sugar was going to react but I (perhaps stupidly) tried to base my estimate of previous experience. Ya - anyone with type 1 diabetes or who cares for someone with type 1 knows very well that what works one day does NOT necessarily work the next. But you have to start somewhere, right?

A year and a half when we took Dylan to Mexico for 10 days, we balanced exercise (swimming) with insulin pretty well. Awesomely well, in fact. Turns out with Dyl at that time, that the glucose he was using, via energy he was exerting in the pool, almost perfectly balanced the increase in his blood sugar levels while being disconnected from his pump. Basically, this means he went pumpless for most of the day, every day, and the effects on his blood sugar were minimal. He'd wake up in the morning, test, bolus and eat breakfast, and remove his pump. He'd swim from 9:00 to about noon, test, put the pump back on to bolus for lunch, remove it again, and swim from 12:30 to 4:30 or so. Then he'd resume wearing his pump until the next morning. Seems crazy, yes, but it worked for him because he was so active in the water.

So fast forward 20 months, and add about 25 pounds in body weight. Pre-pool test revealed a bg of 8.1 mmol/l (145.8mg/dl). He wore his pump right up until the climbed into the pool. We didn't run any temp basal rates in the hour or two prior to the lessons, and he didn't have any extra carbs. Did I expect the same results as in Mexico? No. I expected a low, and I was worried because Dylan's telltale warning sign of a low is what he has termed "weak-knees," meaning that his legs feel like they're going to give out at the knees. Of course, in the water he wouldn't feel that because he wasn't standing. I stayed in the viewing area the whole time, armed with dex tabs in the off chance he started to feel low. 

Post-swimming test result? 12.9 mmol/l (232.2 mg/dl). Go figure...