Fine Tuning Type II Diabetes Without the Meds / Side-Effects : Cannabis Rising

A further note about cannabis:  And a further note about blood sugar:

 (There are many posts here that I wrote beginning with a diabetes diagnosis about 2 1/2 years ago; as well as a few posts relating to Medical Marijuana and my adventures navigating that strangly il/legal landscape.  This is the latest on both fronts as of 4/17 — a few unusual effects which may or may not be related.  Because of my severe asthma and chronic migraines, I manage my diabetes without the prescription diabetes drugs or insulin.)

In the last 2  weeks, I made a couple of slight changes to my diabetes control diet, and to my medical marijuana consumption, and my average blood sugar numbers are down by about 15%. (So far)


1. I cut my total breakfast numbers by half. Half the total protein, carbs, fat, calories etc. the only number I kept about the same is fiber grams.  This was fairly easy, since breakfast has long been my main/largest meal of the day.  Cutting it in half means 1c coffee, 2 eggs instead of 3, 2 sausage links or bacon strips instead of 4, and a small 6″ hi-fiber/low carb tortilla filled with refried beans, pepper jack cheese, onions, and salsa — instead of a medium 8″ tortilla.)

2. I stopped taking “canna-free” days. I’d been taking 1 day a week off from the routine.

3. I switched from my usual —

  • Bloody Mary-Jane (made w/ 3/4 c mixer + 1oz olives) or 
  • Canna-Joe (made w/ 1c strong dark roast or 2 shots espresso, 2T cocoa powder, vanilla, cream, & sweetener) –> to a a tall 
  • Ginger Joint (made w/ 12oz Bai no-sugar Ginger soda, 1oz lime juice, 1/2t lemon bitters.)

The resulting iced ginger drink fills a glass that holds 22oz — and unlike the hot coffee (9oz, including milk), or the short bloody mary-like canna cocktails (10oz including ice and olives), the Ginger potion takes me several hours to drink, and the ice melts into it over time — diluting it further.

[all 3 drinks are made w/ exactly the same 1/2t measure of cannabis tincture.]

The results of these changes have been very positive, including much lower levels of cannabis in my system, but more consistently; lower averages in blood sugar numbers and more consistency; and about 15% less food in my system, which takes some of the burden off my metabolism.  –all with no loss to the anti-migraine, anti-neusea, anti-anxiety, and pain management effects of the Medical Marijuana.

Not sure what this means in the long run. I have already been very pleased that the cannabis seems to be keeping the migraines and the various anxiety problems at bay.  But I’d been hearing and reading about some of the terpenes and cannabinoids possibly having a positive effect on insulin resistance — I just hadn’t dared hope it would impact the diabetes, too.

(Check out HBO’s “Vice” archives for their discussion about the Congolese Landrace that may have clues to the diabetes/cannabis connection.)

And it may turn out that the lower blood sugar numbers are completely unrelated to the cannabis.  –however, that would be a very big coincedence.

We’ll see.  

At least I hope we will.  

Who knows what this Republican Administration will do w/ regards to cannabis.  Or anything else.

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Canna-Joe: a New Favorite Cup of Cannabis Coffee

I can’t smoke my medical marijuana because I have killer asthma – literally.  I can’t do magic brownie (at least not easily) because I’m diabetic.  So…  most of the time I use cannabis tincture, which I brew myself like some kind of Snape’s Potion Class homework.

But the truth is, I really dislike the taste of marijuana.  

So I am on an endless quest to find the most inoffensive ways to use the tincture I make.

The basics, for those wh have not been on this magical mystery tour of cullinary experimentation with me, seem to be this:

  1. Start low and go slow.  In other words, you want to use the least quantity of cannabis possible to get the symptom relief you are after.  Mostly because even when legal, pot is still expensive.  So waste not = want not.  …Also because using too much tends to give me nightmares, or even panic attacks.  Be conservative when you first experiment with dosage… you can always have more later if needed; but if you use too much at first, you just have to wait it out as it metabolizes through your system.
  2. Masking the flavor — especially of some of the really dank flavored strains is v e r y difficult.  Through experimentation, I have learned that bitter flavors tend to hide the danks better than just about anything else.  A little sour, salty, spicy-hot,  and a little sweet can also help, but the bitterness  is really the key.
  3. Bartenders’ bitters (those expensive little bottles that are measured into mixed drinks by the drop) are availabe in a wide variety of formulas, from Graprfruit Bitters, to Teapot Bitters, to Mexican Mole Bitters, and Chinese Herbal, Dandelion, and Charred Pineapple or Chamomile!
  4. Naturally bitter foods also work: coffee, black or green tea, cocoa, olives, citrus peel, ginger, herbs like dandelion, burdock, and grape leaf….

In the past, I have given recipes here on my blog that use tastebud approved and tested ways to consume magic bartendable drinks like my Bloody Mary Jane, Salty Dawg, Magic Matcha Chai, and my Ginger Ale Joint.  So here is my latest, and possibly greatest potent pot-potable: Canna-Joe.

  • 8oz very strong, dark roast coffee or 4oz espresso.  I prefer an Italian roast because it is bold and bitter without tasting burnt.  I prefer either Illy espresso, Barista Prima Italian Roast, Barista Prima Dark Hazelnut, or in a pinch — one of the Starbucks dark roasts.  Decaf works just fine if it’s late….
  • 2 T (rounded) unsweetened cocoa powder.  I use Dagoba’s chili pepper spiced, or an organic dutched cocoa.  Note that the cocoa powder also adds several grams of fiber to the cup.
  • 2 t suger, or the equivalent in the sweetener of your choice.  I use a diabetes friendly sweetener called Just Like Sugar, because it also adds 5g of fiber per T.  Whatever sweet you use, adjust the amount to match your taste.
  • 1/4t vanilla extract
  • 1 dose (for me, this is about 1/2t of my high-proof alcohol tincture) cannabis
  • 1 1/2 oz light cream

Honestly, in this mix, I can’t taste the marijuana at all!  Which is excellent news.  It also adds about 12-13g of fiber to my daily diabetes numbers.

And it’s just as good over ice.

🙂

Pictures to come….

Sweet Potato – Pecan Cheesecake! — Diabetic Friendly!

Try this on for size — this may be the best sugar-free, high fiber, gluten free, high protein, reasonably carb’d recipe I’ve ever made. And it is sooooo yummy…. Holy crap. There will be variations on this theme but here’s the basic recipe:
—–IMG_2959

2 tsp(s), cinnamon, ground
0.50 tsp(s), Salt
2 tsp, Vanilla Extract
0.75 cup, Chopped pecans

80 grams, “Just Like Sugar for Baking” sugar substitute
1.25 cup, Farmers Market Sweet Potato Puree
2 containers (8 oz ea.), Cream Cheese (Light)
2 Eggs

Let the cream cheese and eggs come to room temp so they will mix well. combine eggs, sweet potato puree (or pumpkin), vanilla, Just Like Sugar, salt, cinnamon and mix until smooth. Gradually add cream cheese and mix until smooth and well blended.

Grease a pyrex baking pan (about 7″x9″) and spread pecans on the bottom of the pan.

Pour cream cheese mixture into the greased pan (or muffin cups) over the pecans, and bake in a hot oven/ with a water-bath at 400 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm. (time will depend on the size of the dish — a smaller pan will take longer.)

Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate (or scoop out into single serving dishes to chill.)
IMG_2957.
8 x 1/2c portions: 235 calories each
17g fat
328mg sodium
20g total carbs
11g fiber carbs
7g sugar carbs
7g protein
(and half a day’s Vitamin A because of the sweet potato)

Loaded BLT Dip & Baked Potato Topping

Oh my, potato pie!  Let me count the ways…

To use this dip.special-k-sour-cream-and-onion-cracker-chips-detail-prod-dyp300x247

  1. Dip for veggies, chips, french fries, crackers, taquitos, flautas, garlic bread, mozerella sticks…
  2. Topping for your baked potato
  3. Mixed with hard-boiled egg yolks to devil your eggs
  4. Mix with potatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs, onions, and celery for potato salad
  5. Mix 2T with 1/2c tuna for tuna salad
  6. Spread on hearty sandwich bread for a killer mayo substitute
  7. As a dollop added to a bowl of fresh split pea soup (or chili… or tomato soup… or potato soup… or tortilla soup….)
  8. toss a little with fresh pasta and parm
  9. fold into a rice pilaf
  10. serve on your chicken enchiladas, or for Taco Night!
  11. probably more I haven’t thought of yet
  12. or just lick it off your fingers to get the last bit out of the bowl

178090139_XSIt’s not nearly as fat-dense as just sour cream, because of all the other goodness folded in — and no added salt or sugar removes two of the other major tripwires.

You can substitute low-fat (not fat free — significant flavor will be lost) sour cream for some portion of the regular sour cream, and knock out more the fat and calories.  Experiment to get a balance that suits you and yours.

If you like extra heat, use hot rather than mild Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilis).

If you’re a garlic hound, add more Sriracha.

If you like things cheesy, add 1/2 c shredded parm, or 1 c shredded sharp cheddar… or whatever cheese you’re into.

Love avocado? Trying to cut some of the saturated fat? Try substituting 1/2 c mashed avocado for 1/2 c of the sour cream. (that’s about 1 small avocado)441390

Think bacon is the pot of gold at the end of the pig?  Double (or triple) the bacon!

Basically — add, subtract, multiply and alter to suit your own buds!

This recipe makes 4 cups of dip.
(16 x 1/4 c servings)
[1/4 cup is just about right to dress a med baked potato or to make 4 deviled eggs]

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilis, drained
  • 6 slices thick high-quality bacon — cooked, drained on paper towels, & crumbled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 T Sriracha sauce
  • 2 T dehydrated minced onion
  • 2 T dried, or 1/2 c  fresh chopped basil
  • 1 T dried, or 1/4 c fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 T dried, or 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley or cilantro (I like parsley better)
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t mustard powder
  • 3 T Chia seeds (like Bob’s Red Mill)

Mix ingredients together and chill for at least 1/2-hr before serving.

(I like to divide it up into 4-oz cups with lids so people can have their own little dip cup, and so leftovers are already portioned into smaller servings.)

Roughly, if you make this dip as written out here with regular sour cream, you get these

nutrients in 1/4 c:

  • 100 calories
  • 7g fat (4 Sat)
  • 4 carbs
  • of which 1.5g are fiber
  • and of which 1.5g are sugar
  • 3g protein

 

MisteR SF: Grown-Up Lit in the 21st Century

469192821Okay artists, writers, readers, fanboys, tweeter, tweens and creative types…
Here’s the presupposition: (from Arthur C. Clarke)
Any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.
 
If Science Fiction is about science (magic) that we can’t do YET (or as with Star Wars — can’t do now, but could long ago) — expecting that time will pass and a lot of it will become science documentary….
and Fantasy is about magic which is really just a different science not available to our world (location) —
and they are both just fiction spinning around in a world that’s either not here, or not now (or both)…
then — what’s behind the trend in the fiction/ art/ narrative itself that just adds dashes and dollops of magic (science that is not here and/or not now), but doesn’t make it the center piece of the story? As in an otherwise historical novel, or romance, mystery or movie — where there is a smattering of magic here and there for color, for laughs, or for diversity — but not the main interest of the story?
 
Magical Realism (literary) is otherwise ordinary mainstream literature — where one (usually very small but essential) aspect of the story features a magical event, or magical item or character — but the rest of the story ticks along and hums a normal everyday song. Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature would be a story about the magic (or magic item, ability, person, race, event) itself, and the whole world of the story spins around that magic.
 
Contrast:
Fantasy
1. Game of Thrones — an action, adventure, historical-feeling saga with just a few zombies and 3 hatchling dragons and their mother. Everything else in the story could be an alternate British history (or any other geography dropped into that 11th or 12th century time period.) and,
2. Harry Potter 1-7 — which is great story telling, but couldn’t exist if you pulled the magical creatures, spells, wands, potions, and people out of it.
or
Sci-Fi
1. Hunger Games — which again is a virtual political drama and adventure / coming of age story with a bit of technology that separates it from here and now, and
2. Star Wars which depends on the technology and science (as well as the tech / tech-enhanced characters) to function in every aspect of the narrative.
 
Is there a “growing up” of the SF literature everyone in the 20th Century grew up with — bringing Science Fiction and Science Fantasy into a slightly more mature 21st Century Magical Realist mainstream?
That’s really my question.
Is this really a trend? Will it last? Will literature for children be the landing pad for more magic-y SF in the future? And the Magical Realist SF stuff be the grown-geek fiction? And will that Magical Realist SF (MR-SF) move to take over the position of mainstream literature? Are we headed for MRSF as the norm for art and story telling?
–As in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” (that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001) or “The Man in the High Tower” (HUGO award winner in 1963, where we got one of our earliest tastes of alternative history — true history with one event that has magically changed — and all the ripples that single change creates.) Alternative Reality art/lit features a single magical change that is meta to the literature itself — the author/artist is the magician, rather than one of the characters (as in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.)
 
So is this the future of SF lit? Of mainstream lit and art? Are we the adults that want even our political thrillers and historical romances sprinkled with a few potions and fire-breathing lions?

Mixed Messages, Diabetes, Food, and Pharmaceuticals

Seven months after being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, my A1C blood test number has gone from 8.6 to 6.8.  gty_sugar_jtm_130918_16x9_608

Thanks you.  Thank you very much.

And yes, this is a lot of improvement in a very short time — especially since it’s only diet and exercise that have changed to achieve this difference. I wanted so badly to NOT take diabetes medication (almost all of them have dangerous potential side-effects, and most have complications to respiratory systems — and I’ve already got enough problems with life-long asthma.)

I made a choice from the moment the doctor told me I had serious Type 2-D that I needed to fix this with diet and exercise if at all possible, or else resign myself to oxygen tanks and a life lived while wheezing and coughing and passing out from lack of oxygen.

From the beginning, I have read everything possible on diabetes and controlling it — I started with the Mayo Clinic’s excellent foundation book.  I read online.  I read blogs, discussion groups, Facebook pages and leaflets at my local doctor’s office.  I read cookbooks published by and with the approval of the American Diabetes Association.  I signed up for regular emails full of “tips and tricks.”

And I resisted loudly and frequently my physician’s urging to start using diabetes meds.  From the beginning, this was the “treatment of choice” as far as she was concerned.  Resisting drugs that could potentially save my life from the damage associated with high blood sugar was not something she was willing to let me do — at least not for very long.  And for most people, this is probably something completely necessary.  And this is in large part how I ended up with this person looking after my health.  I’m stubborn, and I believe I’m smart enough to handle almost anything that can be handled by brains and will — and she is willing to both listen, and argue me down if necessary when more than brains are required.

I convinced her to let me go for 3 months (the amount of time between one A1C test and the next).  She agreed to this, but only if I emailed her 4 daily blood sugar test numbers.

And after 3 months, my 8.6 had dropped to 8.0 — .6 is not a trivial lowering of this number.  The goal (and the numbers typical of those without any diabetes or pre-diabetes) is between 4 and 6.  Most people (according to several online discussion groups) lower their A1C between  .1 and .3 in a 3 month period — so my .6 looked good enough that I evaded the drugs for another 3 months.  Lowering from 8 to 6.8 is almost unheard of.  My doctor, her nurse, my dentist, and my dental hygenist all practically cheered and danced in the street.

😀

It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve lost over 35lbs, and lowered my blood pressure so much that I’ve cut my hypertension meds in half.

But I was seriously motivated.  I don’t want to live my life with any more medications or medical aparati apparatusses  — stuff — than I absolutely have to.  Thanks, but no thanks.

But aside from carefully pointing out the potential dangers of walking around with excessive sugar in my blood — and there are many — and giving me the time to change my evil ways, the only other thing the doctor did was refer me to a nutritionist.

And while I’m sure there are a lot of very qualified, helpful folks doing the works of trying to save people from their own terrible eating habits — I made most of the changes I chose based on reading and talking with my best friend who was a nurse for many years.

The doctor (who, thank heavens, listened and agreed to let me try/experiment on my own) — and the nutritionist (who didn’t know me or anything about my other health issues) — both saw the road ahead paved with pills, capsules, and injections.

And they said so.

Medication is the first and chosen point of attack.  Evidently.

Yes, diet and exercise can be effective means to controlling Type-2 Diabetes.  It’s just not expected to work most of the time.

Which leads me to my biggest question about all this tangle of information and treatments.

If someone who is gluten intolerant is expected to dodge gluten at every spoonful….  If someone who is lactose intolerant is expected to avoid dairy/lactose like it is a flaming bullet….  If someone with a peanut allergy can sue an airline if they so much as offer a 3.4oz packet of peanuts….

Why is it that half the emails I get with “tips & tricks” for controlling Type-2 Diabetes contain recipes full of sugars, fruit, flour, rice, and pasta?

They usually start out talking about “25 Best 100 Calorie Snacks” or “Quick Diabetic Dinners” or “Your Slow-Cooker is Your Best Friend” headlines.  But they quickly degenerate into “Nearly-Cajun Red Beans & Rice” “Almost Enchiladas”, or “Faux Mac & Cheese.”

Right.  Yum.

So if it’s true that T-2-D can be thought of as an acute sensitivity or resistance to sugar-carbs (there are 3 types of cabs — fiber-carbs, sugar-carbs, and all other carbs) — then why isn’t every effort made by the medical community to steer diabetics away from all sugar carbs?

I know the “resistance” and “extreme sensitivity” or “intolerance” phrases are an over-simplification of a complex physical problem, but for the purpose of this question, it’s close enough.  It behaves like an intolerance.

For reference purposes,

  • a 20oz bottle of regular Coke contains 53 grams of sugar-carbs,
  • A medium Roma apple has 5g of fiber-carbs, and 17g of sugar-carbs.
  • 4 oz of Treetop apple juice has 36 total grams of carbs — 33 of them are sugar-carbs, and 0g of fiber-carbs.

When I finally got through all the reading and sorting and experimenting with my diet — my maximum sugar-carb number is 40/day, my maximum total carb number is 190 grams, and I eat between 90 and 110 grams of fiber every day (mixed between soluble and insoluble fiber, but mostly soluble — more on that later.)

It’s almost impossible to eat real food and not get a few grams of sugar-carbs.  That doesn’t mean I’m adding sugar to my coffee — it just means that tomatoes and carrots and onions and corn have a lot of natural sugar in them.  Milk products have lactose — which is a sugar-carb.  ALL my sugar-carbs are coming from whole foods that are naturally sweet.

And the fiber is not there to promote regularity.  (though it pretty much takes care of any potential problem as a side-affect.)  The purpose of the fiber is to SLOW DOWN the digestion process that converts food into useable energy (sugar).  Soluble fiber (like the middle of a green pea) keeps dietary sugars from hitting your bloodstream too fast.  And insoluble fiber (like the outside “skin” of the green pea) speeds the digestive track so that foods are flushed out of  your system before that slowed conversion can effect your blood sugar.

I didn’t hit that high fiber number overnight.  Every 2 weeks for 3 months I increased my daily number by 10 grams.

DO NOT MAKE A CHANGE OF MORE THAN 10G/DAY.

I promise you will regret it.

I also added a daily dose of probiotic to my diet.  Because it is unanimously seen as a good idea.

But again, don’t add too much at a time.

You’ll regret that, too.

I speak from experience.

———-

But as far as I can tell — nobody out there is saying all this to people who have been diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes.  At least nobody said it to me.

And they should have.

Not everybody diagnosed with T-2D is as motivated as I was to avoid medication.

But they should be.   Doctors should be.  The ADA should be.  The FDA should be.  Homeland Security should be.

There’s a whole encyclopedia of reasons why everybody, diabetic or not, should cut down the number of sugar-carbs they’re eating/drinking.  Sugar is a natural inflammatory — sugar, fuel, burning — see the pattern?  So everything connected to inflammation from heart disease to migraine headaches is chemically tied to the amount of sugars we consume and the way we process them.  That’s the reason athletes load up on carbs (not fiber-carbs) before an event or contest.  There’s a reason kids need carbs to function and grow.  There’s a reason northern peoples stock up on carbs to forestall hunger through the lean winter months.

And there’s a reason to exercise if you’re Type-2 Diabetic — the exercise burns the sugar out of your system because it uses it as fuel.

But I didn’t hear that from my doctor or from the nutritionist I was referred to.

THIS IS COMPLICATED AND INFORMATION-HEAVY STUFF.  I know that.

And I know that Average Joe and Average Jane probably don’t read as much as I do.

So when Average Joe & Jane turn up with T-2 D, they’re not going to know this stuff.   And they’re not going to be told (evidently) by their doctor or their nutritionist.  And they’re not going to read it for themselves.

SO WHY THE HELL NOT?