Are you determined to take control of your or your child’s blood sugar in 2018? Had enough of the blood sugar roller coaster?
Low-carb foods can be a huge help in making this resolution a reality. Going low-carb is a very personal decision though. For me it came out of a need for a mental and physical break. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Sept. 3, 1986. My son was diagnosed March 23, 2015. After a year of trying to manage both of our diabetes, I was done! I will never forget the many times I had to change his Pod or make major medical decisions for him when my hands were shaking from a low or I couldn't think straight because I was riding the blood sugar roller coaster myself. I remember thinking, 'If only I could just get rid of mine so I could manage his!' That’s when I found the low-carb high fat/protein diet. Eating this way has gotten me as close to “getting rid of mine” as I can come for now.
I have found that reducing the number of carbohydrates in my diet has made a huge difference, but making the change in diet is HARD! Below are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
How I Keep a Low-Carb Diet and Take Control of My Blood Sugar
1: Take Notes: Writing down the date I started, how much total insulin I was using, my basal rates/insulin-to-carb ratio/correction factor, my last A1C, and my weight was very helpful because I could then look for progress in these numbers. Over time, I saw a reduction in my insulin requirements (yay both medically & financially), my A1C and I lost weight (added bonus!). I kept the other information in case I made changes to something and needed to revert back.
2: Find alternatives for your favorites: Pinterest is my friend! Many people have already given recipes low-carb makeovers & Pinterest is full of them. There is a low-carb version of pretty much everything. I save low-carb breakfasts, lunches, dinners and everything in between. Here are a few of my favorites from my low-carb entrees board: You'll Never Miss the Noodles Lasagna, Low Carb Chili Dog Bake, and Low Carb Skillet Chicken Parmesan
3: Start with Dinner for More Sleep: Diabetes has stolen more than its fair share of sleep from those of us living with it or caring for our children with diabetes. My family eats a low-carb dinner so that we aren’t going to bed with a ton of carbs to digest, or more importantly, a ton of insulin on board. This usually means an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
4: Plan ahead: Rather than leave mealtime decisions until the last minute, and grabbing what's convenient, I plan my snacks and low-carb meals as far ahead as I can. Because we all know that what is convenient may not play nicely with blood sugars or waistlines.
5: Forget the bun: As much as I try to plan ahead, life happens, and sometimes I just have to hit the drive-through in between the millions of things I’m trying to do. Ordering burgers without buns is a low-carb option, and is a lot more common than you think. In fact, at Burger King it actually comes up on the register as "low-carb." And, most of the time there is a more healthy side substitution. I have found that this is a great time to go low-carb. Restaurants care about their images and we can all benefit.
6: Find alternatives to treat lows: I used to use juice, but now use fruit snacks. Generally, 2-3 are enough to bring my blood sugar back up because I don't have a ton of insulin on board. It’s very odd to say this, since I need insulin to live, but I have found that carbs aren't the enemy, insulin is! When eating more carbs, I use a ton of it to cover the food I am eating, then my blood sugar drops too low, and then I have to over treat with more carbs to feel better ̶ and thus starts the blood sugar roller coaster.
7: Accept Imperfection: OK, I kinda suck at this one, but I'm working on it! Sometimes I screw up (especially in the beginning) or hormones or stress cause my or my son’s blood sugars to do crazy things. It's OK! I try to remember that I’m not looking for perfection – I’m looking for improvement!