A Preview of Winter

How is the weather in your part of the world? Winter decided to give us a preview of what to expect in a few weeks. We went from temperatures in the 80’s F to temperatures in the 60’s almost overnight. Our night time temperatures went from the high 60’s to the 40’s, with one evening down to 38 F.

Today it has warmed up a little after two full days of rain. I think they’re predicting temperatures in the lower 70’s.

What all this adds up to is sniffles and colds all around the area. With all the autumn grasses and flowers trying to bloom, the ragweed and all the other allergy aggravating pollen, adding this seesaw weather only increases the possibility of sinus issues.

And then there are the dry skin issues…

I have found a line of products I love during this time of year. They’re great year around, but they’re particularly wonderful with these changing weather conditions.

So if you’re looking for something to try, go over and look at this product line. They even have some scent-free products, which is great for my husband. When his allergies start acting up, scent is a big problem for him.

Hope you’re enjoying your autumn weather.

Don’t forget, it is still Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Get the girls checked out!

Ready for Autumn?

I do believe I am. This summer has been very hot and wet where we live. Of course, autumn will probably be dry, leaving my hair and skin flaky and itchy.

After chemotherapy and radiation therapy, my skin can’t take what it once could. Being diabetic can leave my hands dry and sore. But I have defences against both of them.

The L’Bri company has a fantastic line of skincare products that are much less drying for me than most other brands. They have replaced the water and alcohol in their lotions with aloe vera, which helps sooth as well as soften your skin.

Another thing I like is that they last a long time. It only takes a little bit to do the trick. The first time I tried the lotion on my hands, I had about enough to do most of my body!

I don’t endorse many products, but this is one line I really love. I use their lotion, body butter, and facial combos all the time. I also love the aloe vera gel I can buy separately.

They have recently added a line of fragrance free products as well, if you don’t like things with scent.

So check out the September Sale, browse the site, and give some of their products a try.

Let’s Go Out For Lunch

 

As you might guess, if you’re eating an all natural diet, it can be tricky to eat out, but we have a couple places here in town that work well for me. One of those is a place called the Peking Palace.

This is a small family run Chinese place near where we do our shopping. It’s not much to look at, but the food is tasty, and they have a couple things in their vegetarian menu I can eat with no problem. One of those is pictured below–a vegetable delight platter. It comes with rice, but since I can’t eat the rice, I usually just ask them to leave it  out. It also comes with carrots, which don’t agree with me at the moment, so they leave those off for me as well.

They also have steamed vegetables, which is roughly the same thing, only with no sauce at all. Depending on the day, I order one or the other.

The last item I have eaten there since this change began is their sauteed green beans. Whole green beans seasoned with onions and garlic, it is a welcome change to the broccoli and other vegetables.

We also go to Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar. They have a good variety of toppings I can eat, as well as vinegar and oil, so I can grab the vinegar and have a little something on my salad.

And if we’re in the mood for Mexican, La Hacienda has a good taco salad, and they will substitute beans or grilled vegetables for the meat for me. Or they have grilled vegetables, or a grilled vegetable fajita mix. I just eat the veggies and leave the tortillas alone.

Yes, it is tricky, but it can be done. I can eat any of the items above and still have my blood sugar down where it belongs.

Is it worth the hassle?

I think so, if it keeps me healthy. But it is a shift in lifestyle and it did take a little getting used to.

Hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. See you next time!

Adjusting to Changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been in this new phase of life for nine months now, and while it is occasionally aggravating and frustrating, it is working.

The new diet I’m on is all natural, nothing processed, no meat, dairy, eggs, added salt or sugar, no added oils. they prefer it if one of your meals is all raw vegetables as well. While it sounds restrictive, I am getting much better at fixing vegetables with a variety of tastes and textures.

Growing up on a farm, we always had plenty of fresh vegetables on the table, but we had meat also. In thinking back, while meat may have been on the table, it wasn’t the main attraction. There was enough for everyone to have one serving, but plenty of fruits and vegetables to fill up on. Of course, we also had home made bread, which is off my menu.

So, what do I eat?

Breakfast is my difficult meal of the day. I like something hot in the morning, but so far cereal grains are not friendly. I’m beginning to be able to eat buckwheat, but I do better with it later in the day with a lot more in the way of leafy greens than as the star of the show for breakfast. So I usually have a mix of raw nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, and a few dried goji berries or dried mulberries for a tiny burst of flavor. I’ve found I don’t really need a lot in the morning, so it works for me.

Lunch is when I usually go raw, with a big bowl of salad. I have romaine lettuce and some sort of greens mix, like baby greens, spring mix, or herb mix as a base. Then I add everything but the kitchen sink. I’ll put on tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, cucumbers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and anything else I might have in the fridge. As a dressing, I sometimes use just plain old vinegar. Other times, I mix up vinegar with tahini or natural peanut butter and some fresh ginger.

Note to self. Go easy on the ginger…

Dinner time is fun. When I first began this journey, it was kind of a one vegetable at a time things. Green beans with tomatoes and onions. Steamed broccoli. That sort of thing. But now I take a variety of vegetables, cut them into like-sized chunks, and add them to my wok to steam quickly. Some of my favorites are broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash, with onions and garlic, and maybe some snow peas. Other times, it might be lentils with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, garlic, herbs of some kind, and kale.

I love kale. I can toss it in at the last minute and let it wilt to add texture and color to an otherwise blah looking meal. I don’t like it cooked to mush, so I stir it in, turn off the heat, and replace the lid for about three minutes. Ready to eat! I do the same thing with spinach, only it doesn’t take as long to wilt as the kale.

Lately, I’ve been able to add a little grain to this regime. With about a quarter of a cup of millet or buckwheat, I can have something similar to rice without making a huge impact on my blood sugar levels.

I’ve found I can eat dried beans if I cook them myself and check the label for the carb to fiber ration. Taking the carbohydrate figure, I subtract the amount of fiber from it and compare the result to the amount of protein in the beans. If the protein is the same or higher than this number, I probably won’t have a problem with it.

Some of my favorite beans are fava beans. Most people peel them after they’re cooked, but if I do that, I lose most of the fiber. As the skins can be a little tough, I pop them into the food processor and give them a whirl. Then I can top them with fresh tomatoes, onions, and green peppers for a dish similar to ful medames.

Frustrations? Going out to eat and family barbecues.

Going out to eat can be tricky. I need go to someplace with a good salad bar, or a Chinese place with steamed vegetables. Of course, watching everyone else eat things I used to be able to eat can be a little depressing, but it isn’t like can actually eat them anyway. My system as come to the conclusion that meat is not a happening thing. One tiny taste sends my stomach into fits.

Our first family barbecue after the change in diet left me depressed. Everyone else had burgers, hot dogs, or chicken breast. I had several skewers of vegetables. Not that they weren’t tasty–I nearly had to fight one of the family off to keep them to myself–but they weren’t really barbecue material.

Don’t get me wrong. I love vegetables. I just miss being able to eat other things.

So what has been the result of all this?

When I first went in to the doctor, my A1c–which tells the blood sugar story of the last three months–was at 11.5, which is really high.

My first check up three months later, my A1c was down to 5.5 and my doctor was amazed.

The next three month check up it was down to 5.4.

Last week, after another three months, I had been off all medication for at least three months and my A1c was down again, to 5.3. If my blood sugar is still under control unmedicated at my next visit, I will only be going in every six months.

I love my doctor. He is very supportive and actually listens when I talk. He also likes to follow a natural route as much as possible, so he was delighted that I’d been able to stop taking my medications and still have blood sugars down in the normal range.

I have also lost over 30 pounds in the process and I’m slowly creeping down a little more. My goal is to be below 160.

CAUTION

If you are diabetic and wanting to try this approach, please talk to your doctor first, especially if you are on medication to control your blood sugar. Yes, the diet works if you stick to it. But you have to be dedicated and in it for the long haul. It works well enough that if you are on medication and try to go it on your own, you could wind up with hypoglycemic incidents, which are very dangerous.

Do I recommend this approach?

Very much. But under supervision if you have a blood sugar problem.

Interested? Go and get a copy of one of Dr. Fuhrman’s books on Eating to Live. Then talk to your doctor. Change doctors if necessary. But do think carefully before you make the choice. This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix and then back to your old way of eating.

Now, what can I fix for dinner tonight?

Life Changes

Silver sweater.cropped

Is there something in your family’s medical history that scares you? For me, that was Type 2 diabetes.

My mother, her two sisters, and their father had all had Type 2. I believe it is what killed my sister as well. So the family history made it a very real, very dire, diagnosis for me.

Back when my grandfather and my Aunt Edith were diagnosed. the only treatment was to watch your diet and take insulin before each meal. There was no way to check your blood sugar before or after eating, or even check it at home. We went in to the doctor once every four to six weeks to have blood work drawn. As my grandfather wasn’t what you could call compliant by any stretch of the imagination, it was always a stressful day.

He couldn’t get his mind around the fact that just because something was a healthy food generally, that it wasn’t necessarily a healthy food for him to eat whenever he wanted. He loved apples and oranges and would sneak them into his room. And when his blood sugar results came in, he would have a fit. Somehow it was someone else’s fault.

I grew up watching my mother give her father insulin shots three times a day, fussing at him abut his diet, and eating meals on a strict schedule to accommodate for his illness. Breakfast was at seven, lunch at noon, and dinner at five. This never varied.

My Aunt Edith, was extremely strict about her diet. Not only did she know what she could eat, she carried measuring cups and spoons with her to measure everything that went on her plate. When we sat down for breakfast, she and my mother went over the meal plan for the day so she could figure out her bread  substitutes for each meal. And she took three daily injections as well.

Aunt Betty was able to control her diabetes with diet alone. She was the sister with a completely different metabolism from her sisters. Mom and Aunt Edith could gain weight just thinking about chocolate cake. Aunt Betty could eat the whole thing a lose a pound or two. She had never had the diet struggle her sisters had, so the transition wasn’t as difficult.

My mother was fine with diet at first, but after the first year or so, had to go on an oral medication, which was later involved in a class action suit. She died from complications to her diabetes, partly due to the medication. I am now older than she was at her death.

Even in my mother’s time, there was no way to do home blood sugar tests, so you were more or less left to flounder around on your own and hope everything was fine when you went to the lab.

When I was a child I had major ear infections and was in the clinic once a month it seemed, so I had grown tired of injections at an early age. The idea of having to take three injections each and every day for the rest of my life was worse than a death sentence. It got to the point where I couldn’t even watch anyone getting an injection. I still can’t.

As a breast cancer survivor, you might think diabetes would be a walk in the park by comparison, but not for me. Cancer was something you could eliminate with surgery and drugs. Diabetes, as far as I knew, was forever. Once diagnosed, it would be a lifelong enemy. I knew there had been advancement in medication, but it still scared me spitless.

Our daughter is a nurse, and she recommended the doctor I went to see. She assured me he knew what he was talking about. But when he initially insisted I should take a once a week insulin shot, I was dismayed, though he insisted diabetes could be reversed.

The diet I’ve been following was a bit of a challenge at the beginning. Eating nothing but unprocessed foods can be tricky. Eating unprocessed foods, with no oil or salt added is trickier. Eating most of it raw or lightly steamed is hard to get used to.

And it seems there is sugar in everything on the shelf. I had some cans of beans in the pantry–kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzos. Though he’d told me to avoid canned foods, I didn’t want to waste them. Some of the black beans and the garbanzos were all right, as far as sugar.

But kidney beans? I have yet to find a brand of kidney beans which does not contain sugar. After the beans in my pantry were gone, I hadn’t planned on buying more anyway. But I was curious. Some of the other beans have sugar, but not usually every brand. Kidney beans, though, are always sweetened.

And stewed tomatoes. You can buy just about any other sort of canned tomato and be fine. But if they’re stewed, they have sugar in them.

Seasoning blends usually have sugar in them. Some of the Mrs. Dash seasonings I’ve found without sugar, but I’m not particularly fond of them. So I’ve become more skilled at making my own seasonings–without salt or sugar involved.

Salad dressings and most sauces have sugar, not to mention salt. And I really can’t deal with the artificial sweeteners or fat free things. It’s much easier to flavor some vinegar ahead of time for salads.

But after eight months of working with this new diet plan, I’ve found a way to have variety in my meals, have plenty to eat without feeling too full, and not feel overly restricted. Eating out can be a challenge, but there are several places around where I can browse the salad bar or order a large salad. One of the Chinese restaurants will steam me a large platter of mixed vegetables.

There are still times when I miss being able to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. But as my system won’t accept some foods yet, that makes it easier. I’m beginning to be able to add more beans and grains to my diet, a little at a time, which helps. But I found the family BBQ upsetting, even though I had skewers of grilled veggies–which were marvelous.

I have another appointment with my doctor coming up later this month. I’ll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, stay happy, stay healthy, and live life to the full.

Are you interested in the story of my breast cancer?

Cancer and the Warrior’s Way is available at Amazon!

Also available for Kindle!

I Know. It Has Been a While…

But you know how things are. Life has a way of becoming hectic at times, and we’ve been through one of those periods lately. But to kind of catch  you up to speed, I thought I’d make a short post today.

My mother’s side of the family has always had a problem with Type 2 diabetes. I had hoped to give it a miss, since several people in my father’s family had the exact opposite problem–hypoglycemia.

But in November, 2018, our daughter insisted we go to the Urgent Care to have them look at one of my toes. When she looked at it, she found a small piece of metal embedded in the wound, which was healing far too slowly. Once the doctor there looked at the blood test results, I thought they were going to forget the toe altogether.

With a blood sugar of 417, they immediately sent me over to the ER. After several hours of sitting around and waiting for test results, they treated the toe and put me on metformin until i could see a persona physician. Several years ago, our insurance changed, and several of my doctors were out of network. Due to the whole new patient process to find a new doctor, I’d kept postponing it.

Our daughter is an LPN and she recommended a doctor to me. She had worked with him before and thought I would appreciate his approach to health care. Instead of waiting for me to make an appointment, she came over the next day and made the appointment for me, as well as one with a podiatrist I had seen previously.

My first visit was frantic. Although my blood sugar was down a bit–into the 300’s–Dr. Fogarty wanted to get my blood sugar down as quickly as possible. I hadn’t wanted to use insulin, but agreed to a once a week injection along with twice daily Metformin. The surprise was the diet he had me adopt.

I had been expecting a high protein low carb approach, but no. He asked me what the body ran on. Well, glucose. And then he asked what sort of diet I thought I should be on. Well, since my body’s glucose levels were high, I assumed low carb, which should lower my glucose levels.

Wrong! He told me he intended to flood my system with more sugars, with a different kind of diet. No meat of any kind, nothing processed. No flour of any kind. No added oils or salts. And obviously, no sugar. To keep the glucose levels level, I was to be careful with any starchy vegetables, fruits, and grains, but not eliminate them entirely.

Proteins would come from grains, nuts, and seeds. He suggested quinoa and chia seeds added either to grains or salads.

I thought the man was crazy, but it turns out he knew what he was doing. Score one for the doctor.

I started with an A1c of 11.5. Three months later, in February, my blood sugar was mostly down around 100 in the morning. My A1c was 5.5. Three months after that, my A1c was 5.4 and most of by blood sugars were below 120 after eating.

I’ve also lost 30 pounds in the process.

But with all the meal prep and figuring out what I can and can’t eat, and checking my blood 4 times a day, I have felt like I’m always playing catch up. My novel writing has taken a back seat as well. But since things are about to level out, I think I’ll have some time to get things going again.

I have been un-medicated since about halfway through March, and my blood sugars are still down in the normal range.

Anyway, I’ll write more about adjusting to this lifestyle change in my next blog. I hope to keep a sort of diary of my progress here and share it with you.

For now, have a wonderful summer. Eat plenty of nice fresh veg from your local vendors, and get out and enjoy the sunshine.

And if you like to read, I write fantasy romance, with a paranormal twist. And all my books are on sale at Smashwords this month. I hope to have another book out this summer, and I will be adding my book on cancer and a book on my experience with diabetes and Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritionist diet.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/meleigh53

A piu tardi…