Patterns That Are Working: Post #8 My New Diabetic Life

Hedgehog_pond_1809293cI’m beginning to figure out what a hedgehog eats… This link will take you back in time to 9 weeks ago when I was first diagnosed.

During the first 9 weeks of my new life with Type 2 Diabetes, I’ve begun to find clues, patterns, and macros for making diet, exercise, and attitude work for me (rather than against me.)  These changes are falling conveniently into groups:

Goals – These fall into global and specific; long-term and short-term.
Choices – Daily and Weekly.  What I eat, what I do, what I think, where I go, who I talk to, what I watch on TV/movies, what I listen to, when and how I work/play/create/sleep etc.



I have some new (and some old) goals for my life.  These include

  1. Improve my health by reducing my A1C blood number (tested every 3 months and producing an “average” for that 3-month period — 6.0 and lower indicates no diabetes;) and in the shorter term, reducing my daily Blood Sugar reading numbers.  On 8/1/14, A1C was a dangerously high 8.6, and fasting Blood Sugar was equally dangerous at 310.  As of this writing (10/6/14) fasting blood sugar is ranging from 160-190, and a reading 2 hrs after lunch ranges from 130-160.  Both of those blood sugar numbers need to be at 140 or below to avoid medication.
  2. I need to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.  More would be better.  Right now I average 7 hrs.
  3. I need to reduce my weight significantly.  During these first 9 weeks I have lost almost 25 pounds.  If I could maintain that rate of loss, that would mean loosing another 85 lbs by 8/1/15, (2.5lb  loss per week) and could have a significant positive effect both on my blood sugar numbers and my A1C.  And probably other things as well, like blood pressure and energy level.  I think a more reasonable expectation would be to lose an average of 1 – 1.5 lbs / week — which would be a total of about 70lb  for this year.  And 70lb is nothing to sneeze at.  I’ll be very happy if I can hit that number.
  4. I want to increase my daily exercise average from 25-30 minutes to 45-50 minutes, and my treadmill walking speed from 1.1 mph to 1.5mph.  Not sure how long this will take.  I’ll set a new speed goal once that time/speed goal is reached and maintained for a month or two.
  5. My 8/1/14 total cholesterol was 211.  I want to reduce that number to 175 or lower within a year.  All my other cholesterol numbers are reasonable, but could stand a little improvement.

More Specific & Short-Term Goals

  1.  Now that I’m beginning to see positive results from changing my diet/exercise; I need to get back in the habit of drawing and painting every day.  Until this weeks, I simply have not had the time or energy to reboot painting habits.  This is the most important thing I have set aside to focus on the diabetes — and I need to start thinking like a painter and artist again.
  2. I need to be asleep before 11:30 pm every night if possible.  Evidently, rest and stress reduction are very important to keeping blood sugar levels in line — so sleep is a high priority.
  3. I need to get back in the habit of wearing socks all the time, and shoes most of the time to protect my feet (which are evidently much more vulnerable, thanks to the diabetes) Not a difficult goal to cross off the list.  🙂
  4. I need to drink more just-plain-water


Nutritional choices are foremost in my mind right now and I am only beginning to see patterns emerge from my experimentation and reading on how to reduce both overall blood sugar, as well has preventing spikes/dips in blood sugar.

Guidelines I have begun putting into words so far include:

1.  a daily schedule (follow at least 6 days of every week)

  • take fasting blood sugar every day before eating/drinking
  • caffeine for breakfast/lunch
  • optional treadmill walk between breakfast and lunch (10-25 minutes)
  • sugar-free electrolyte replacing drink before, during, and after treadmill walk(s)
  • treadmill between lunch and mid-afternoon snack (at least 15 minutes, no more than 1hr)
  • 3 meals each day
  • 2 snacks each day
  • no caffeine after 4pm
  • no food (only clear liquids w/no calories, or 1c of decaf coffee) after supper

2.  Daily Macro-Nutrient minimum/maximums:

  • no more than 40% of total calories from carbohydrates
  • no less than 25% total calories from protein, or more than 35%
  • no less than 25% total calories from fats, or more than 35%
  • max of 60g carbohydrates at any meal, and max of 30g carbs at any snack
  • no more than 50g of sugar-carbs/day
  • no less than 75g of fiber-carbs/day

3.  Daily micro-nutrient minimums/maximums:

  • minimum of 200% DV of calcium (2g)
  • minimum of 1000mg D3
  • minimum of 1 serving of electrolyte-replenishing drink enhanced with 1g of vitamin C + B vitamins
  • glucosimin/condroitin daily
  • baby aspirin daily
  • CoQ10 daily

4.  Weekly foods:

  • green salad based meal 2-4 times/week
  • bean/legume based meal, or side dish at least 2 times/week
  • breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or grits based meal 1-3 times/week (1/2c serving)
  •  max of 8 eggs/week
  • at least 1 serving of hull-less barley/week
  • max of 1 white/refined carb food/week (potatoes w/skin, white or brown rice, pasta, 1/2 burger or dog bun, corn bread, 1 pancake or waffle, wheat or bran muffin etc…)

5.  Daily foods:

  • 7-10 x 8oz glasses/cups of clear liquids/day (water, tea, coffee, SF lemonade, SF electrolyte replacement drinks, flavored water, club soda etc.)
  • max of 1x 1 – 1 1/2 oz serving of nuts/day (almond, walnut, pecan, peanut, pistachio, pepitas, sunflower seeds, macadamia, or some combination, or 2T nut butter)
  • 1-2 servings of dairy/day (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, SF pudding made with milk, SF Instant Breakfast in milk)
  • 1x 1-2T serving of condiment dairy/day (sour cream, butter, parm cheese, half-and-half or cream for coffee/oatmeal, marscapone, clotted cream, crème fraîche etc….)
  • at least 1 soup-based meal/day
  • at least 1 Quest bar/day
  • max of 1 other high-protein or high-fiber bar/day
  • max of 1 Double Fiber English muffin, or 2 slices double fiber bread/day; or, 1/2 whole-grain english muffin or bagel, or 1 slice  of whole grain bread
  • max of 1 serving high sugar-carb veg or fruit/day (corn (2/3c), tomatoes (2/3c), carrots (1/2c), sweet onions (2/3c), sweet potatoes/yams (3/4c), applesauce (1/2c), apple, juice (2/3c veg, or 1/2c fruit), grapes (2/3c), grapefruit, clementines (2), apricots (2), plums (2), kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, or cherries (1/2c), raspberries or blackberries (1/3c), cantaloupe (1/4 melon), banana etc….)
  • max of 1 lollipop or piece of xylitol or other sugar alcohol candy/day
  • max 2oz olives/day
  • I have discovered that though I still cannot tolerate aspartame chemical sweetener, I can eat a single serving of sucralose/Splenda on a day when I am having no migraine symptoms without causing a headache.  But the limit is 1 serving.  And I try to avoid even that 1 serving….

6.  Stash Foods

Whether you call them convenience foods, fast foods, emergency snacks, lunchbox treats, or just on-hand pantry items, these are the portion-controlled and packaged items I keep to help balance my daily menu.  Some are pure protein; some are low or zero-carb foods; some are almost no calorie freebie veggies that can be eaten any time without disrupting calories or blood sugar at all.  Others are just condiments to eat by the t. or T. to dress up meals or snacks.

  • 100 calorie tuna pouches (2.25oz)
  • single serving Lite Spam pouches (3oz)
  • protein condiments: parm and romano cheese, real bacon bits, cheddar cheese powder
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • MSG, nitrate/nitrite-free organic jerky
  • microwaveable pork rinds (Lowrey’s Bacon Curls)
  • SF Fiber One pudding mix; SF Carnation Instant Breakfast; Just Like Sugar instant cocoa; Atkins or other prepared shake/smoothie
  • Sugar replacements: Vivente packets, Stevia packets, Xyla packets, Erythritol packets, stevia drops, liquid agave, Just Like Sugar, etc.  Occasional honey, maple syrup, or blackstrap molasses for a specific flavor — but in small amounts.
  • SF cough drops, lollipops, and hard candies to way-lay any cough due to allergies and asthma
  • SF lemonades, Emergen-C packets, and electrolyte replacement beverage mix packets; crystalized lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit; water enhancer drops.
  • tea and coffee single serve
  • dill pickle relish
  • pickled veggies (carrots, pepperoncini, jalapenos, sweet peppers, onions, asparagus, green beans, snap peas, gardineria, capers, pickles etc….)
  • salsa
  • low-fat mayonnaise
  • mustard and vinegars
  • 1/2 c fruit and applesauce cups
  • 5.5oz cans of V-8 Hot & Spicy Vegetable juice and Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mixer
  • Xyla ketchup, BBQ sauce, Teriyaki sauce, and Wing Sauce
  • Newman’s Own light salad dressings; other light and low sugar dressings
  • sugar alcohol sweetened pancake syrup, chocolate syrup, and jam; Vivente sweetened jam
  • canned asparagus, green beans, sauerkraut, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, Rotel tomatoes & green chilis, chopped green chili peppers, spinach
  • instant soup packets
  • broth
  • high fiber bars
  • 1/2 c pre-measured servings of favorite high-fiber cereals (Grape Nuts, All Bran, Raisin Bran, Quaker Oat Squares, Cheerios, Fiber One etc)
  • Instant oatmeal packets; instant grits packets
  • rice noodle packets with broth mix
  • and LOTs of Progresso, Marie Callendar, and Wolfgang Puck canned soup….

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