Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

My Breakfast Enigma

Something amazing happened yesterday.  Take a look:

(For the American folks, that 5.8 mmol/l is a 104 mg/dl.)

Can anyone guess what I had for breakfast?  I’ll tell you at the end of this post…

This is amazing because every every morning I eat a pretty low carb low GI breakfast, and every every morning I spike within the first two hours and then come down hard.  I’m doing everything I can insulin-wise, including an aggressive bolus (a superbolus, in fact) followed by a major decrease in basal to 0.05 u/hr for the next three hours.  Ideally I’d pre-bolus, but with 2 kids to feed and clothe in the mornings, I’m worried about the impact a delayed (or worse – forgotten!) breakfast would have.  Safety first!

When I was pregnant, I ate balkan yogurt (high protein, high fat) with berries and walnuts for virtually every breakfast, and it worked pretty darn well.  But it also made me pretty darn sick of balkan yogurt and walnuts.  (I’ll eat berries any day, any time!)  So that’s off the table, literally.

Low GI dry cereals are a disaster.  Low GI hot cereals are better, but still far from ideal.

It may be that a further reduction in breakfast carbs is necessary to eliminate that spike and reduce my insulin such that it doesn’t cause a crash, but I’ve been nervous to go below 20g of carbs.  This is partially because I’m breastfeeding and less comfortable with messing around with my nutrient profiles while doing so, but also because I haven’t yet wrapped my mind around how to get over that morning liver dump hump (why does that sound so gross?) with less insulin.  (To be fair, my version of an “aggressive” bolus at breakfast is 2-3 units for 20-30g of carbs, otherwise the mid-morning crash is even bigger.)

Maybe I’m missing something, though.  Maybe I just need to try lower carb.  But what does one eat for an uber-low, or even zero-carb breakfast that will stick with you until lunch but does not contain artificial sweeteners or involve eggs every morning.  I like eggs, but if I eat them every morning, I won’t anymore.  Also not interesting to me is “dinner for breakfast”.  No chicken breasts, thank you.

I’ve even tried a few meal replacement options – drinks and bars.  You know, Martinis and chocolate!  (Kidding.)  To be honest, this is where I’ve had the most luck.  They’re also really quick, which is great!  The downside is that I don’t recognize about 80% of the ingredients in either.  I’ve been able to avoid artificial sweeteners, but it’s hard to say for sure what else I’m not avoiding.

So I’m looking for breakfast options, preferably of the low-carb, low-GI variety.  Something really quick (or make-ahead) and healthy (including low-sodium).  I’d also play around with some zero-carb (or almost zero-carb) ideas…  Anyone?  Suggestions (of either food or food-related resources) are welcome!

So what was the breakfast that gave rise to this lack of a rise?  What perfect food was it that made me almost flatline (in a good way)?

This:

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Another Splenda Recipe – Cookies

As promised, I have for you today another Splenda baking experience.

I didn’t include the type of cookies in the title of this post because (a) I don’t like the Splenda website’s title of “Cranchewey Cran-nutty Carrot Cookies” (really, Splenda folks?), and (b) the only other title I could come up with was “Cranberry Carrot Coconut Pineapple Walnut Cookies”, and that was too long.

My past baking experiences from the Splenda website have been delicious and I was so impressed with the recipes that I tried.  Unfortunately this one didn’t exactly follow suit.

I’m not going to re-post the recipe, because you can find it right here.  But I will post this picture of the cookies in progress:

It reminded me a lot of coleslaw.

I found this recipe to be a lot of work.  There was walnut-chopping (mainly because I buy my walnuts halved from Costco and the recipe called for chopped), there was carrot-grating, there was pineapple weighing (I couldn’t find the 8oz can that the recipe called for).  It wasn’t hard work, but it was more labour-intensive than your average batch of cookies.  Or I’m just lazy.  Anyway…

The recipe claimed to make 4 1/2 dozen cookies, but I got quite a few more out of it (about 6 dozen), based on the instruction to use tablespoon-sized scoops.  On one hand this is good because now I have more cookies, each of which is only 6g net carbs (instead of 8g).  On the other hand…my cookies are small.

Also, they really don’t look like I expected them to.

This is the picture from the Splenda website:

These are my cookies:

Mine look a lot less tasty and a lot more healthy.  Frankly, they taste healthy too.  I do enjoy them, but they’re not quite the sweet treat I was hoping for.

The final verdict (by me, who is not an expert, but more along the lines of Average-Betty-Baker):  Not bad, but not really worth the work.

‘Tis the Season…

…to struggle with my bloodsugar.

This weekend was my workplace’s Annual Dinner and Dance.  Not coincidentally, this weekend I hit both the highest high and lowest low of my pregnancy.  I thought I did a pretty good job of tracking carbs during the meal (which lasts a couple of hours and includes a few courses…and is generally extremely delicious), but I clearly erred somewhere prior to dessert.  Prior to the dessert that I thought I could manage.  Prior to the dessert that I (for some reason unbeknownst to my rational self) thought I didn’t need to pre-test for, figuring that a large estimated bolus would suffice.  (There seems to be an eat/drink first, think later trend starting here and I don’t like it.)

Shortly after said dessert, I was a whopping 16.0 mmol/l (288 mg/dl).  Before this experience, my record pregnancy-high (for the current pregnancy) was a 14.9 mmol/l (268 mg/dl).  I “enjoyed” the rest of my evening through a haze of thirst and guilt.  I thought I had everything under control when I went to bed a few hours later.  It was still higher than I wanted it to be, but coming down at a reasonable pace – not too fast, not too slow.

Before long, I was waking up to a wicked nypo of 2.0 mmol/l (36 mg/dl) – the lowest low of this pregnancy.  (In fact, that’s about as low as I ever get.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been below 2.0.)  I managed to avoid eating everything in my kitchen mainly because of my lack of energy to do anything involving moving.  Apparently that worked in my favour because sticking to the dextrose tabs and soda crackers in my bedside table levelled me out to a nice 6.4 mmol/l (115 mg/dl) by the next time I woke up.

If anyone is wondering…no, I wasn’t wearing my CGMS.  Thankfully I woke up to this one on my own.  I’ve felt a real need for a couple of days off-CGMS lately.  For that reason, combined with one coming up in the point below, I did not have my semi-trusty, semi-reliable low-bloodsugar alarm on call last night.  Bad timing.

…to wish I didn’t wear an insulin pump.

This is because insulin pumps and holiday dresses simply do not mix.  While I am that woman who has resigned herself to wearing a pump on my waistband on a daily basis, I’m not that woman who is comfortable clipping her pump to the outside of a cocktail dress.  I’m also not that woman who can figure out how to hide a pump anywhere between or around “the girls” without appearing to have an odd third rectangular boob.  I’m small, so most pump-hiding places on my body result in a strange lump visible through my dress.  I also don’t have a pump remote, so no matter where Pump goes, Pump must make occasional appearances throughout the night.  This means no hiding in bicycle shorts.  And even if I could make “the girls” option above work, I haven’t wrapped my head around fishing in my cleavage at a work function, so that option gets a second “no”.

In the past I’ve resorted to wearing a formal skirt/top instead of a dress.  Then I have a waistband and I’m happy.  But right now I’m pregnant and my options are limited.  This weekend they were limited, in fact, to one dress that was borrowed from a good friend.  It was a great dress, and loose enough for my very unsexy pump thigh holster from Medtronic to sort of work.  But all night I was struggling to access the pump and to keep it from sliding down my leg.  The combination of this distraction and my thirsty guilty haze mentioned above didn’t really put me in a dancing mood.

This is also the other reason that I wasn’t wearing a CGMS.  Not only does the transmitter make for a lump on my belly that isn’t well hidden by clingy formal attire, but any buzzing/beeping/vibrating of my pump caused by my sensor would have required that pump to be hauled out of its hiding place and dealt with.  And since I’d just been on a short CGMS break, I would have had to insert earlier in the day and then would still be trying to calibrate that puppy during my 2-hour long game of carb-guessing and mistake-making.  In general, it just didn’t sound like a very good option.

…to navigate my way around holiday baking.

Usually I do an “okay” job of working a little bit of holiday sweetness into my diet, but this year my pregnancy is making me want to be extra careful.  So I figured I’d do a bit of Splenda baking to provide me with some tasty alternatives.  This weekend I made these cookies.  The experience and result were both a bit disappointing.  More in an upcoming post.

…to start thinking about my D-Anniversary.

This year, at the end of December, is my 30th anniversary of being diagnosed with diabetes.  It’s my D-Anniversary, or Diaversary, or whatever you want to call it.  I know it feels like a weird reason to celebrate, but I’ve tried to start a little tradition of celebrating some of the milestone anniversaries.  For my 25th, I bought myself a silver ring and had it engraved with my diagnosis date, leaving room for a cure date that I hope will someday be added.  I’d like to do something similar for my 30th.  The traditional 30th anniversary gift is the pearl.  I don’t normally wear pearls, so I’m thinking of going with the more modern gift option of a diamond.  I don’t want to get too carried away and spend too much, but I’m thinking a small diamond pendant.  When I get something, I’ll definitely post a picture.  In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for a good gift to get myself, let me know!

“Sugarfree”

I had a real “Oh Shit!” moment this week, which some of you may have already read about on Facebook.  If you didn’t (or if you did and want a refresher), here’s what happened.

I love Starbucks soy lattés.  My “usual” is the grande decaf soy latté with sugarfree caramel.  Decaf because I’m a caffeine wuss (pregnant or not – that much caffeine does not do this body any good), soy because it tastes good and raises my bloodsugar more slowly than milk, and sugarfree caramel because…well..you know, the whole diabetes thing.  This drink has 13g of carbs in it, with the aforementioned slow rise, so it’s generally very manageable from a D-standpoint.

Normally I get my latté after breakfast.  (To be clear, this is about a once-a-week thing – not daily.  I’m not made of money!)  Part of the reason for this timing is that the walk to/from Starbucks, paired with a fresh breakfast bolus (I drop fast with exercise after breakfast), means I often don’t even need to bolus for those 13g of slow-rise carbs.  It’s one of those beautiful diabetes moments. 🙂

But this Wednesday was different.  I ran into a friend on the way in to work, and we decided to go for coffee immediately.  I dropped off my coat/bag/etc. in my office – including my breakfast, which I always eat first thing upon getting settled at my desk – and headed to Starbucks.

At this point I did not have my breakfast bolus hard at work.  In fact, I likely had some stubborn dawn phenomenon still kicking around and pulling my bloodsugar up instead of down.  This is one of the things that should have occurred to me, but didn’t.

When we got to Starbucks, I started to think about how nice it would be to get one of their special holiday drinks, so I asked the barista whether they made any of them in a decaf-soy-sugarfree version.  She said, “Yes, we can do the peppermint mocha for you.”

“Great!”  I thought, and ordered it – no whip or chocolate shavings.

Spoiler alert: As it turns out, “mocha” isn’t sugarfree.  This is the other thing that should have occurred to me, but didn’t.

So I walked away, happily drinking my holiday drink…got back to my desk…ate my breakfast (25g of low-GI carbs)…finished my coffee…and thought, “That sure was sticky for sugarfree.”

As I tossed my empty cup in the garbage, it occurred to me that maybe I should see if I could find the nutritional information for my new drink online – just to see how it compared to my “usual”.  I didn’t find the information I was looking for (re: their holiday drinks) on the Starbucks website, but did manage to rebuild my drink using the Starbucks app for iPhone.  As I built it, it became clear that the peppermint syrup was sugarfree, the soy milk had its usual carbs…and the mocha syrup was not even pretending to be sugarfree (nor decaf, for that matter).

This was the “Oh Shit” moment.

My rebuilt drink had 64g of carbs in it!  (My friend managed to make it add up to 56g, but I’m still not sure how…and either way, it was still way too much!)

With my breakfast, I had ingested 89g of carbs.

My normal morning involves 25g-30g.

My morning is the spikiest time of my day.

Oh, and I’m pregnant…and my endo wants me to try to avoid spikes over 8.0 mmol/l (144 mg/dl).

Knowing that my breakfast was low GI, and that there was a lot of protein in the drink, I didn’t want to just hit myself with a massive bolus all at once in case I bottomed out.  Plus I had no idea how much it was going to take to get me to a normal level, since I never ever have that many carbs in the morning.

I started testing every half hour an bolusing as needed, but quit bolusing as soon as I started to see my levels going back down.

My peak: 9.9 mmol/l (178 mg/dl).

An hour later I was 7.2 mmol/l (130 mg/dl), and by lunch (after a bit more walking as well) I was down to 3.7 mmol/l (67 mg/dl).

I didn’t stay under 8.0, but I’d call this a successful recovery, not to mention a well-protected bun in my oven.

At first I was frustrated with the barista for telling me this drink was “sugarfree” when it wasn’t.  But, in all honesty, I don’t expect everyone who serves me food/drinks to understand the ins and outs of “carbs” vs. “sugar”, or to fully understand the nutritional information of everything they serve.  I don’t expect every Starbucks barista to know what it means for me to experience a mistake in the realm of 50g of carbs – especially when pregnant.  If she just thinks “which holiday drink has sugarfree syrup in it” when I ask for sugarfree, I don’t blame her.

My diabetes is my responsibility.  It’s up to me to do my due diligence in a case like this – whether it means asking more questions (e.g. “So what all is in the drink?”  “Is the mocha sugarfree?”) or checking nutritional information before ingesting delicious holiday treats.  It’s on me to do this.

Lesson learned.

Pregnant Cravings and Baking with Splenda

During my last pregnancy I was fortunate enough to crave healthy food like fruit, salmon and eggs.  During this pregnancy I haven’t been so lucky.  I’ve still craved fruit, so that’s been good at least, but I have been having major cravings for sweets, which has been really challenging.

Also during my last pregnancy I tried to avoid artificial sweeteners for the most part.  Not because it’s recommended (as long as the sweeteners are in low quantities and the safe varieties, I’m told that they’re fine), but just because I felt better eating more natural foods while pregnant.

This time my sweet cravings have overtaken my desire to avoid artificial sweeteners.  I’m still not willing to deal with the bloodsugar spikes that invariably come with eating “real” sweets (for me, anyway), so I finally turned to Splenda and to the recipes on their website.

And I’m so glad I did!  Typically I’ve found Splenda-baking to taste like…well…Splenda.  But these two recipes I recently tried definitely rival their higher carb counterparts.  They’re delicious!

(First off, I apologize that I don’t have higher quality pictures.  I was going for quick practical over fancy and artsy.  If you want to see professional shots of these goodies, click on the Splenda website links below.)

The first one I made was their Classic Cheesecake.  At 9g net carbs per slice, with the high fat and high protein from the cream cheese, this one gave me almost no spike.  The serving sizes (16 pieces) seem small at first, but they’re heavy, so one small piece is plenty.  I will definitely be making this one again.

Next I made their Chocolate Cake Brownies.  These are lower in fat and protein than the cheesecake, and also only 6g net carbs per brownie (1/16th of the recipe).  They’re somewhere in between the crumbly, cakey brownies and the fudgy gooey ones, but probably closer to the cakey type (as the name suggests).  Again – love ’em!

Since I don’t normally eat a lot of sweets (even fake ones) when I’m not pregnant, I”m still trying to keep my junk-food intake under control while I am pregnant, but it’s nice to know that I do have options.  If I find any more tasty low(er) carb recipes for baked goods like these, I’ll be sure to pass them on.  (Maybe even with better pictures next time.)

Some Randoms

I haven’t done a random list of unrelated (or partially related) stuff for a while, so here’s one for you….

1. This was my lunch today.  It was a-maz-ing.  Two slices of Weight Watchers 100% whole wheat bread, a bit of light Miracle Whip, sliced grilled seasoned chicken, grated marble cheddar cheese, and some italian seasoning…..toasted to perfection in my toaster oven.  My husband always makes this delicious sandwich, and today it was my turn.  With my special bread, it was only 15g (net) of carbs (that’s 20g CHO less 5g fibre)…plus maybe 1/2 a gram for the Miracle Whip (I only use a bit).  YES!!!

2. I was recently introduced to almond milk by another woman with diabetes that I know.  (This is a different brand than she recommended, but the only one I could find in unsweetened.)  Cow’s milk tends to spike my bloodsugar a lot, so I tend to avoid it in drinking quantities.  This stuff (unsweetened) has only 3g of CHO and 1g of fibre for 2g net CHO per cup.  And if it’s not sweet enough for ya…add a bit of Splenda!  It’s not bad for a milk substitute.

3. Okay, this isn’t 12 of 12, so no more pictures.  The last time I was pregnant I craved things like salmon and eggs.  I was lucky.  What pregnant woman has healthy cravings like that – let alone one with diabetes?!  This time I haven’t been so lucky.  For a while it was salt, and I was managing okay, but lately it’s been all the worst NSFD (not suitable for diabetes) sweets – lemon meringue pie, chocolate fudge, massive bakery muffins, donuts….aaaaaaahhhh!!!!  I haven’t given in yet because I’m too scared of the impact on my bloodsugar.  So today I’m trying to appease my cravings in two ways: (a) really thin pieces of really dark chocolate (b) these low-carb lemon poppyseed muffins that I’m about to make.  I haven’t made them yet, or you’d have another picture here.  (My dietitian assures me that baking quantities of Splenda are still safe during pregnancy.  Whew!)

4. On to something other than food…. I recently had to have my Contour USB meter replaced because it was acting up on me.  Every now and then, after counting down to zero, it would stall out on me and then give me an error message instead of a bloodsugar reading.  Bayer was great in replacing my meter and also giving me some extra test strips to make up for the wasted ones.  But now, no more than a week after starting the new one…it’s not working either!  When I put the test strip in, there’s a funny click and it doesn’t turn on like it’s supposed to.  Sometimes it still does, but most of the time it doesn’t.  (The battery is fully charged.  It’s not that.)  So it looks like I’ll be replacing this one now too!  Disappointing.

5. This pregnancy is making me more tired than I ever remember being with the last one.  So tired.  I need about 10 hours of sleep per night to be fully functional – and that’s completely impossible during the week.  I don’t have anything else to say about that.

6. This past week I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with a woman who works for the same company as me who is a diabetes veteran and has retinopathy.  I hadn’t actually met her before, so she joked when we met up that we were having a “blind date” (LOL…retinopathy humour).  It’s typically been pretty easy for me to find people with diabetes around me to connect with, but I have to be honest that connecting with someone else with diabetic retinopathy is really something special.  Not to downplay diabetes at all, but to be able to talk to someone who truly understands what it’s like to have that first retinal haemorrhage, and truly understands the fear of more bleeds, more lasers, more proliferation, and more vision loss (temporary or permanent), is sadly comforting.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet other people like this online – through forums and through this blog – but this is the first time I’ve been able to meet one of these people in person.  Hopefully some day I can have some more “blind dates”.  🙂

All for now.  I have an appointment with Dr. Ophtho this week, so I’ll probably have some more on the topic of retinopathy for you before long.

Recommendation: Kozy Shack

I’ve recently discovered Kozy Shack’s no-sugar-added puddings, and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed.

So now I’m recommending them to you!  (Yes, you.)

The only two varieties available at my grocery store are the Chocolate and the Rice Pudding, but both are really tasty!  They’re both low in carbs and fat, and they’re both gluten-free.  They each have only 1g of fat per serving.  The Chocolate has 10g of carbs and 4g of fibre and the Rice Pudding has 11g of carbs and 3g of fibre.  Plus, they have 3g and 4g of protein, respectively.

Their website shows other NSA varieties too (e.g. tapioca, cherries jubilee, black forest, and apple pie a la mode), but so far I haven’t been able to find them in any of my grocery stores.  Maybe some of you folks will have better luck.

Give them a try!  And let me know what you think of them!