January 9, 2015

Poor Holiday Gift Ideas for a Person with Diabetes

It is not fun looking for gifts for a person with diabetes. Most gifts are food oriented and while many claim to be sugar free, they say nothing about the number of carbohydrates the food contains. Even a present I received last Christmas loudly proclaimed it was sugar free. According to the label, the container said there were sixteen servings in the container. The nutrition label showed zero for sugar. Then the bomb was the sugar alcohols was 15 grams of sugar alcohol per serving. Then the carbohydrates listed about floored me. There were 55 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Not very appetizing! This was not something I would eat. The combination of sugar alcohol and carbohydrates made this like eating heavy sugar.

Then the ingredients listed wheat, and several other foods that I don't eat. When the person giving me the gift could see that I was not enthused about the gift, and stated that it was sugar free. Fortunately, this was someone that does not understand diabetes and I could overlook the bad gift, until he said it will not affect your diabetes. Then he opened the bag and handed me one insisting that I eat it and it would not affect my diabetes. I could not let this teaching moment pass. I got my meter and asked my wife when I had last had food. She said almost four hours prior.

I tested my blood glucose and it was 106 mg/dl. I said that I would eat the serving and at about 90 to 120 minutes, later the reading would be about 165 mg/dl. He said it should not go up at all. I had my opening and said you will take the gift back if it goes up. After some thought, he finally agreed. Since there were three other support group members present, I could see them give thumbs up.

An hour later, Tim asked me to test. I said okay, got my meter, and tested. I had washed my hands thoroughly earlier. I was still surprised when the meter showed a reading of 158 mg/dl. Allen asked to see and he pointed this out to the fellow. I said the agreement was for 90 minutes or 120 minutes and Allen said okay.

At 90 minutes, I tested again. The reading was 163 mg/dl. Then at 120 minutes, the reading was 168 mg/dl. Since he had been near me the whole time, I said I have not had anything else to eat or drink, so the meter could be off by up to 20 percent, but this still proved that his gift was bad for my diabetes. He agreed and asked how something that was sugar free could affect my blood glucose that much.

Jason asked if he could try to answer the question. I said sure and Jason asked him to look at the nutrition label and asked what the sugar alcohol was listed. He answered 15 grams. Jason said a sugar alcohol is a kind of alcohol prepared from sugar and these organic compounds are a class of polyols. They normally have little effect on blood glucose, but there is some debate. Polyols are used in foods that are claiming to be sugar free.

Next, Jason asked him to read the number of grams of carbohydrates. He read the same 55 grams. Jason said this is what the body converts to glucose and causes the levels to rise. He then had him read the first ingredient. His answer was wheat and Jason said this is what causes those of us with diabetes to have elevated blood glucose. This is what those of us with diabetes do not want and why we have to use oral medications or insulin.

Jason's wife, Tim, and Allen had been working their way closer to us and Jason's wife spoke up, said Jason is right, and she had seen this happen when he tested. She said after Jason's diagnosis, the dietitian had stressed the whole grains very hard, but when this hadn't helped his blood glucose levels, they had tried eliminating different whole grains and most caused spikes in blood glucose levels. Once they stopped the whole grains, she said Jason's blood glucose levels had improved significantly.

The fellow said that by adding some sugar, he would be happy to take back the gift and he had not realized that diabetes involved more than sugar.

January 8, 2015

Why I Do Not Like the ADA

Each year I become more discouraged reading the new (supposedly) guidelines. So few changes are done that it should be only referred to as the (year) ADA Guides. Some areas actually use the term individual or individualized for treatment of diabetes, but when talking about us older adults it seems they have established three one-size-fits-all categories and like certified diabetes educators want to put square pegs in round holes.

I dislike saying this, but the ADA does not understand people. They would put me in the middle category and I would not like having an A1c that high. I will continue to stay below 7.0% and keep working to stay below 6.5%. Yes, this is less than 8.0%, but the diabetes clinic keeps insisting that I let the A1c rise above 7.0% and with this, I am not going back there. Thank goodness, I have the VA to test my A1c twice a year. I have attempted to get another doctor, but when the new doctor wants to convert me to Afrezza and mainly oral medications – no, thank you. I like the regimen that I am currently using and find that I have fewer problems when I concentrate on doing it correctly.

Yes, I am like many other people and I do make mistakes, some are doozies, but I do learn from them. I occasionally repeat the same mistakes, but normally this is when I am attempting to prove something to myself and the results were not what I expected. Do I sometimes wonder if I am having cognitive issues, all the time, but since I am still learning, I have to discount many of the mistakes as being cognitive issues.

As I age, I know my body is changing and I must adjust how I handle my medications and discuss some issues with my doctor. Occasionally we disagree, but after following his directions for a couple of experiments, we were in agreement. Since I have fired a couple of doctors, my primary care doctor, and my VA doctors are in agreement with me more often than not.

The number of hypoglycemic episodes has definitely decreased and for that I am happy, as I have not had one for more than nine months. Yes, some would disagree when I have readings of 67, 68, and 69 mg/dl, but to me these are not as long as I remain above 65 mg/dl. This is a minor excursion and not something that makes me stress. Most of these occur during the afternoon with one in the AM.

When I adjust my Lantus to avoid these, then I end up with readings above 180 mg/dl in the afternoon. Days that I move around more than normal, my blood glucose levels drop into the upper 60s to lower 70s. Then there are fasting blood glucose readings in the 110 to 130 range and are often difficult to understand the reason for this. These things seem to happen for days on end and then I can go for days with excellent readings. I have determined that when I have the above average blood glucose readings, I tend to sleep for longer periods of time and when the blood glucose readings are all below 130 mg/dl, then with eight hours of sleep I am feeling just fine.

January 7, 2015

The Word Diabetic in Cookbook Titles

This is one person that I totally agree with as she has discovered what I have and I wish she would have been around when I went out and bought three, yes, three diabetic cookbooks shortly after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I have blogged about this before, and I have not changed my mind. Do not buy them, repeat; DO NOT buy them if they have the word Diabetic in the title.

Katherine Tomlinson who writes at Type 2 Nation and other places, has type 2 diabetes and I have read her articles (blogs) a few times, but this one really made me sit up and take notice. She says, “Now that I have diabetes, I look at cookbooks with a different perspective. I don’t expect the average cookbook concern itself with carbs and calories and fiber and nutrients—that’s not really the author’s job. But when the cookbook in question is specifically targeted toward “the diabetic,” I tend to get critical.”

And she does get critical when she says, “Unfortunately, a lot of what’s out there that’s specifically targeted to the diabetic cook, is completely useless. Too many of these cookbooks sloppily convert standard recipes into “diabetes-friendly” recipes, even though it’s clear the author hasn’t had to check his or her blood sugar once in their pastry-eating lives.”

To get you to read what she says, here are 5 warning signs that a cookbook is going to be useless for a person with diabetes:

  1. The first recipe calls for a cup of artificial sweetener.
  2. The recipes call for a lot of processed ingredients.
  3. The recipes include a lot of meaningless substitutions.
  4. The recipes are filled with low-fat ingredients.
  5. The cookbook’s author has no credentials.
She has some very convincing explanations with each item above and I must say I had not thought of some of them. But that is why she writes about cookbooks and I don't, except cookbooks with diabetic(s) in the title.

Apparently, some of the authors of cookbooks for diabetics are getting smarter, as I have not looked at these since my first few years with diabetes. Back then, I stated that these cookbooks were written to separate new people with diabetes from their money. Yes, I still believe this, but they are a little more careful about the recipes they use today.

I would still warn people recently diagnosed with diabetes to avoid purchasing “diabetic cookbooks.”

January 4, 2015

Thanks for a Great Year!

This may be one of the more difficult blogs I do for a while. How much do I want to say now and how much to I want to keep for myself. I had set a goal for doing a blog each day in 2014 and I actually did this starting on October 20, 2013. Some were short and a few were longer than they should have been. I am happy that my health stayed fairly stable and allowed me to accomplish the goal.  The first thing I am doing is take two days off and relax.

This is the first year that I have been able to receive the full studies for more of the topics when I asked. I am expanding the people that can help me as sometimes the authors of the studies do not answer emails, but others have helped me and for that, I am thankful.

I have not completed setting my goals for 2015, but I have taken a challenge from this blogger and her point number 4 in this blog. I will try to do more blogs about managing type 2 diabetes. There are a couple of other things that I am thinking about, but have not finalized. I know that our support group has grown during the last quarter of 2014, but a few members are not sure they wish to be written about even using nicknames.

I will not be having a blog each day this year. I enjoyed meeting the challenge in 2014, but I would not like to do this another year. I am exploring the idea of doing a few interviews, but have not completed plans for these. Two individuals have turned me down and one has accepted.

Our support group has had our ups and downs during the last year. We had two very successful interventions and more of our members are prepared to help if needed in the future. This is something we will need to sharpen our recognition skills to be able to help if needed. We are looking forward to our meetings this year as a group and we have several topics already lined up with the idea of helping our members.

Several bloggers that I have been in contact with lately are seeing an uptick in scam emails and more sites are showing up on the internet lately. I am also receiving more emails promoting topics and while I thought one was a good topic, when I did not do it immediately as asked, I have not heard further from the individual. In back checking, I have learned that this was also a scam and other bloggers may be asked to do these blogs. No, I will not give them space on my blog, as I will not promote these scammers.