Hi blog friends! The last few months have been a crazy whirlwind of transition for me. It was such a relief to finally figure out that we had been fighting the wrong disease…seriously, Type 1 and Type 2 are sooooo different! Type 1 means your immune system has attacked your pancreas and it is no longer producing insulin. Type 2 means you are resistant to the insulin your pancreas is making, and if you don’t change your eating and exercise habits you will eventually wear out your pancreas and it will stop working. A Type 1 diabetic must have insulin to live, whereas a Type 2 in the earlier phases can manage the disease through lifestyle changes. Although my diagnosis was a relief, it was also very hard to switch over to being insulin dependent.
Taking insulin is necessary for a Type 1, but it presents a whole new set of challenges. Insulin’s job in your body is to carry sugar out of your blood stream and into your cells, so it can be used as energy, or converted into a long term energy storage system (fat…yes, too much sugar makes gain fat, so all those low fat diets were developed out of ignorance). My goal when I thought I had Type 2 was to make myself as sensitive to insulin as possible, in order to hopefully reverse the disease. I’ve read of many people who were able to do this. For 3.5 years I lost weight by eating a low carb, healthy diet, and I made sure to exercise consistently, as well. This last fall, as my blood sugar levels became more and more difficult to control, I was working out and eating only around 20-40 grams of carbs per day. Meanwhile I was getting sicker and sicker. Do you know how hard it is to work out when you are not getting enough sugar into your muscle cells, and you feel nauseated, achy, and dizzy all the time? It wasn’t a fun season, let me tell you!
So do you see how starting insulin can be a challenge, especially when you’ve spent over 3 years making yourself as sensitive to it as possible? The most dangerous risk is hypoglycemia, which can cause a person to pass out and possibly die. Your body must have sugar to survive. The combination of my increased sensitivity to insulin, as well as the particular type of diabetes I have (many refer to it as Type 1.5, because it is a slower process than most Type 1’s…as of my last test I was still making some insulin), made the first couple of months on insulin very scary and difficult. My blood sugar levels tended to drop by 3 or more points per minute. That means I could go from 100-55 in only 15 minutes, and sometimes even quicker. I never knew if or when I would have a severe drop like that, which was especially scary if I was home alone.
My doctor thankfully recognized quickly that I needed a pump and constant glucose monitor. Insulin is measured in units, and I had been measuring mine in a tiny syringe. My dose was frequently supposed to be less than a unit, which was very hard to accurately measure. After a tearful appointment, where I was told I had to wait another 6-8 weeks to receive this necessary equipment, my doctor pushed the process through and I received it only a week or two after that visit. The constant monitor is attached to my tummy, and the readings go to my iPhone and Apple Watch. I know when I ‘m dropping quickly. The pump measures my insulin in accurate doses that are usually fractions of units. I now feel much safer and am able to live life in a more normal way. Honestly, it’ll never be totally normal, but at least now I can function and I don’t have to live in constant fear. Insulin and blood sugar levels are a constantly moving target, and it is pointless to try to control this disease. Having a management mindset is the only way to retain sanity. This equipment helps me manage the numbers and maintain a sense of “normal.”
One of my tricks to surviving a very low carb diet in the fall was to start drinking the Arbonne Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are soy free, vegan, and low carb, and I actually like the flavor, unlike most protein shakes. If you make your shake with the ingredients I’m sharing in this recipe your shake will go from decent to downright tasty! This shake is a great option for a meal replacement, snack, or dessert. Now that I’m taking insulin I still benefit from having filling, low carb meal and snack options. It’s ideal to wait to eat more food until blood sugar levels go back down after you eat a meal, but my schedule doesn’t always allow for this patience. I usually drink a shake in the afternoon, to help myself make it from lunch to dinner. One shake is 15-20 grams of carbs, depending on the type of nut butter you use. I almost always give about a third of my shake to Caleb, so I will bolus (that’s what they call the insulin dose you take at meal time) for 12-15 grams of carbs.
You may be wondering what my current diet looks like, now that I have the correct diagnosis. I’ve basically gone back to the diet I ate a few weeks after my original Type 2 diagnosis almost 4 years ago (not the extreme initial diet, the one after that). The recipes on this blog reflect that diet, so search away and have fun preparing and eating low carb, healthy, tasty food! After all the work I’ve done in the last few years, I’d like to stay healthy and fit! I’d also like to avoid some of the long term complications that can occur when blood sugar levels are too high for years on end. There is one big difference between my diet than and my diet now, though, and I can’t say that it’s a bad thing. When you take insulin it is important to keep fast acting carbs around. I’m happy to say that Sweet Tarts are fast acting carbs, and are my go-to candy to keep sugar levels from dropping too low. Sweet Tarts have always been one of my favorites, and I’m so happy to have them back in my life…you know, for medical purposes.
Before we get to the recipe for the Chocolate Protein Shake, I want to invite you to join with others who are making healthy changes. I’d love to walk alongside you in your journey towards wholeness and health! Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!” Freedom from food addictions is part of having a truly full life.