For any of you who have never checked your glucose, maybe it’s worth a try. It is truly the only way to know how food directly impacts glucose.
Use a glucometer to check and monitor your glucose level. They can be purchased over the counter. For inexpensive ones, ask your local pharmacy about the least expensive to use over time. I believe Walmart has one that is fairly inexpensive; it’s the Relion meter.
I recommend testing first thing in the morning, and then after meals to determine how food impacted your glucose. Standard post-meal testing is at 2 hours. Some people, however are not textbook. I usually recommend testing after several different meals over a few different days every 30 minutes after eating to determine your personal peak… once you determine this time frame, you’ll only need to test before and after once. No need to test every single meal at first if you’re worried about costs of testing OR running out of fingers. 😉
But pick a few meals at different times of day. If costs are a factor in buying strips, it’s really important to test before and after different meals — example: test before and after breakfast on Mon, Wed, & Saturday for 2 weeks, before & after lunch on Tue, Thurs, & Fri for 1 week, and supper on Sunday, Tues, Thurs, Sun, for the 2nd week.
Once you’ve determined your personal glucose peak, you can then limit testing to before meals and around your peak.
To determine the impact of certain food on glucose level, test before and after at your personalized peak. Ideally, the readings should not be very different, but readings are allowed to be about 10 numbers diff.
Example: pre-meal is 97; post-meal highest should be about 107 for optimal glucose control.
Even non-diabetics can use meters and learn for themselves how food impacts glucose.
This is where we get the phrase, “eat to your meter.”
This photo COURTESY of the Facebook group, Type 2 Diabetes Straight Talk.
Testing glucose is the absolute best method for determining how foods impact your glucose. Knowing how food will affect glucose levels is very important for people on a low carb diet, especially those who take medicines to lower glucose directly. If glucose goes up more than 10 points, it’s probably not a good idea to continue eating that food.
If you’d like help learning to eat to your meter or learning how to eat low carb high fat to reduce the impact of disease on the body, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This is the story of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. His words. His experiences. And they are amazing!
“I joined this group (a FB group) to help my mother who is 69 years old, has had type 2 diabetes for about twenty years now and has developed many complications although none of them are quite life threatening YET. She also has Alzheimer’s which makes it very difficult. She had followed the ADA guidelines yet she got progressively worse and now needs insulin. With her Alzheimer’s the doctor put her on a pump. Either one of my sisters, myself, or a visiting nurse checks on her twice a day to make sure she is under control. Recently one of my sisters or myself have been staying with her. She will go to the kitchen and eat huge bowls of cereal with skim milk or anything sweet or carby that is in the refrigerator so her levels have sky rocketed. My sisters have said its okay.
About a year ago I noticed a woman at my gym who I see periodically and has been losing a lot of weight. Then a few months ago I overheard her talking to some other people about her keto diet. I finally talked to her and she told me about her diabetes, she told me about this group, and she suggested ways to get my mother on it but my sisters did not agree at all and it has created a lot of fighting with them. I will admit that they do much more of her monitoring then I do but about three weeks ago I convinced them to take a break and I have been living with her 24/7. I know this woman Karen at the gym is not a health care professional but I hired her to come to the house to help get rid of the foods that are not on the diet and to stock the refrigerator with good foods. I was very afraid that my mother would start complaining about what I fed her especially because she was always complaining that we were trying to starve her even though she’s over a hundred pounds overweight and was eating three or four meals a day plus snacks. I should add that she has neuropathy and because of her Alzheimer’s she forgets to use her walker and so she also falls.
Karen went way beyond the time I paid her for and cooked some meals and visited with my mother. We never told her that we were changing her diet. After a few days she stopped complaining about being hungry even though she was already eating a lot less. Her blood sugar used to be from 60 to 350 and sometimes over 400. Now it has never gone above 172 and is usually under 140.
I cannot believe it in three weeks. She has also lost 18 pounds and is not falling. The biggest surprise to me is that she is not as confused and her memory is so much better that I can not believe it.
My sisters had been out of town but they came back and saw my mother one yesterday and the other two days ago. I showed them her insulin use which is less than half what it has been and her blood sugar levels. But they both cried when my mother started asking them questions about their trips and acted like a completely different person. She remembered their names and when my one sister said she was visiting her son my mother asked what college he was in. Well, she used to ask when he was going to graduate from high school. When my mother told her it was Lehigh she apologized and said oh yes, I’m sorry I forgot what is he studying? She said engineering and my mother was happy and said oh, just like his grandfather he would have been so proud.
We both cried again because my mother used to ask where he was and why he hasn’t come home yet. The other sister has a house down the shore and my mother asked her if that is where she was on her vacation. She never once yelled at them for not visiting her which she used to do even when they would come every day. And she is remembering to use her walker every single time now so she is not falling.
My sisters are now onboard. I have invited one to the group and the other promises to follow whatever I say. We have not seen her doctor yet but she has an appointment in a few weeks.
I have also been eating this way because that is what I have been feeding her and even though I don’t have diabetes I feel a hole lot better.
I want to thank everyone in this group. I have not said anything before because I’m not like that but I had to speak up now and thank every one. I also have to thank Karen V. for introducing me to this. She never asked for money but I had to pay her for some of her time. I’m sure she would have come out for free because she is so into this diet and promotes it at the gym all the time. I honestly thought at first that she must be selling something but I was surprised that no one here is selling anything accept getting healthy.
And one more thing. My mother has stopped asking for more of her Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal or hot chocolate and now asks for more of the yummy bullet proof coffee which I sometimes make with tea instead.”
I am VERY honored to introduce y’all to a very special friend of mine. I have known Teresa since our children were in kindergarten together, about 25 years ago. She recently reached out to KetoNurses, looking for something different. Here is her story in her words.
My name is Teresa, and I live in rural Mississippi. I am a wife, a mother of four boys, and a grandmother to four. Over the years, I have worked and taken care of my family, but I really did not pay attention to my health. My weight slowly continued to creep up on me; after the birth of my children, I never really did go back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I accepted the “fluffiness” as my new norm. I worked, I came home, and the cycle repeated itself daily for years, leaving little time for exercise.
I have worked as a legal assistant for almost 17 years, during which time most of my work surrounded workers’ compensation claims and social security disability claims. Little did I know, that I would also be injured on the job. On February 20th, 2015, I underwent a multi-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Recovery was slow and painful; in addition, I suffered another injury just weeks after my ACDF surgery – this time to my sternoclavicular (shoulder) joint and collarbone. The doctor felt that the best course of action would be to undergo steroid injections along with trigger point injections. Over the course of the next two years, I underwent many of these injections with little to no relief.
In July, 2016, I noticed that I was losing weight without trying; my hair was thinning and falling out in clumps; my face was red and splotchy; my vision was rapidly blurring, and I just all-around did not feel good at all. I assumed that I was having an issue with my thyroid as thyroid problems do run in my family. So, in August, 2016, I decided to see a doctor about my concerns. He ordered the usual rounds of blood work and said he’d get back to me within a few days with the results. Two days passed, and I received a call from the doctor’s office and said I needed to come in immediately to discuss the results. I just knew it was my thyroid but at least I had an answer.
I went in to the appointment the next morning, and he asked me if anyone had ever talked to me about the big “D”. I must have looked confused so he patted me on the knee and said that it was diabetes. We discussed my family history of diabetes (grandmother was diabetic; mother was hypoglycemic). We discussed my personal history, my eating habits, my lack of exercise, my weight (200 pounds) and my recent surgery and ongoing injections. He was concerned that my workers’ compensation doctor had not disclosed to me the dangers of rising blood glucose levels while on the injections, and I had been getting them for two years. He told me that my A1C was 12.8. He explained to me that my blood was telling him the average blood glucose over the last three months was around 375; he also told me that those numbers were not good at all. He immediately started me on Metformin ER, 500 mg twice a day but also wanted to test my kidney function before beginning. The results came in… kidneys were okay. So, he started me out on a long acting one called Tresiba. I started out at 10 units. My numbers remained high. The next week, he added 2 units. My numbers continued to climb. My fasting blood glucose levels remained above 200. My afternoon glucose levels barely dropped. Insulin dosage increased. So, after months of trying to stabilize my blood glucose levels, he added Novolog at mealtime. This addition of mealtime insulin helped my afternoon blood glucose numbers come down a bit, but not where they needed to be. So, he increased my Metformin to 2000 mg a day.
I attended every class that this small town offered to help me learn to manage my diabetes. I followed the ADA guidelines to the letter. My numbers continued to rise even though I was eating the way a diabetic is instructed to do. I just did not understand why I could not get a grasp on my health, and this diabetes was trying to take over my life. I meticulously kept a log of what I would eat on a daily basis, making sure that I had the proper amounts of protein, carbs and vegetables per the ADA recommendations. My numbers continued to rise. Yes, I managed to lose a few pounds in the process but was still grossly overweight at 188 pounds.
So, in frustration and heartache, I reached out to a friend of mine here at KetoNurses for advice on lowering my numbers. She sent me links to articles on the blog, and she added me to a Facebook group whose main goal is to educate people on methods to use nutrition to help lower glucose and reverse diabetes. I mean, what did I have to lose besides 2000 mg of Metformin, 30 units of Tresiba, and 16 units of Novolog (per meal) three times a day. I was ready to get my life back in order, take control of my health, and come off of the medication I was on.
So, in April 2017, my keto food list in hand, I made my way to the grocery store to start my new way of eating. I loaded my cart with items from the meat department, and produce department. I did not shop down the center aisles for anything. There were no foods in packages, boxes or bags. There were no cereals, pastas, rice or potatoes. There were no fruits, candies, cakes or cookies. The only thing in my cart was good, wholesome and keto approved foods I was ready to tackle this way of eating.
On day 1, I took a full length photo of myself. I weighed in at 188 pounds. And, I ate. And, I ate. I cooked using bacon grease. I added fat to my vegetables. I made a cinnamon apple butter tea. I tracked everything that I did. I measured all of my food so that my logs were precise. Day 2 was more of the same. On or about the 4th or 5th day, keto flu kicked in. My friend advised me to drink salted broth. I did and I muddled through the aches and tiredness. Weeks went by, and I continued to count, to log, to experiment with my foods and my fats. I got the hang of it. However, it was not until my first doctor’s appointment after I started this way of eating that the realization kicked in.
My doctor made note of my weight. He made note of my leaner appearance. But what really got his attention was my blood glucose numbers; they rapidly fell and stabilized. So, he had me decrease my insulin dosages and instructed me how to decrease it on my own so that I could do it by myself. This visit was the first positive appointment I had with him since my diagnosis in 2016. I was impressed. So, I continued this way of eating. I began to notice that my pants were looser, my acne was disappearing, my face was losing its puffiness, my energy levels were increasing, and I just felt better. I discontinued my Novolog (3 injections a day) and my numbers did not go back up. I was consistently getting blood glucose readings in the 80’s and 90’s which were a far cry from the 250-300 I was used to seeing. So, I cut back on my Tresiba. My dose was 30 units and I am down to 14 units per day. I also saw my doctor this past week, and he said that he was proud of me. He said that with the way I am going, that I should be off of my medications (blood pressure meds included) within the next 6 months.
My most recent A1C was done last week and the results are in….. Last year it was 12.8… Last week, it was 5.2. What a tremendous drop! My cholesterol was a little high at 205 but all other numbers were fantastic. I enjoyed a great checkup, a great prognosis, a resounding “I’m proud of you” and a “keep up the great work” from my doctor. He said to keep doing what I am doing, it obviously works. So, I will keto on and continue this way of eating. It has saved my life, one buttery delicious morsel at a time. As nurses, we recognize that diabetes has always been considered a progressive condition that always worsens, but we are here to offer another perspective and a totally different outcome for Type 2 Diabetes. While diabetes may remain on your medical chart as a permanent diagnosis, it IS possible to reverse the condition to a point where complications are minimized or completely eliminated.
Bulletproof coffee is gaining popularity among dieters and those seeking to improve energy levels, metabolism and brain function. About 5 or 6 years ago, a visit to Tibet resulted in the development of the new recipe for coffee; Dave Asprey created the coffee with “upgraded” coffee beans with lower amounts of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic fungi that easily colonize crops and can contribute to disease or sickness. Regular coffee often contains mycotoxins, these organisms may be related to some people’s stomach upset or sensitivities when they drink coffee. While some recent studies have suggested that up to 4 cups of regular coffee can help postpone symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the “upgraded” bulletproof coffee (BPC) may turn out to be even more helpful.
It is referred to as “bulletproof” because drinking the “upgraded” coffee with lower mycotoxins and higher fat content seems to make people feel better with higher energy levels, improved brain function, and thus feel “bulletproof” – like nothing can stop them.
Adding fats to the coffee has become quite a trend; it’s a hot topic on many blogs and even made it to “The Today Show” a couple of years ago. More recently, BPC made its debut on “The Queen Latifah Show.”
What fats? Most people that drink bulletproof coffee start with coconut oil or MCT oil. MCT oil is a medium-chain-triglyceride, shown in some studies to aid weight loss and possibly increase metabolism. Medium-chain triglycerides are different from short-chain triglycerides and long-chain triglycerides, in that MCTs do not require bile salts or energy for absorption and digestion. MCT oil is currently being studied as possible benefits for a variety of conditions including Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s.
In addition to coconut or MCT oil, many recipes include grass-fed butter or ghee; ghee is clarified butter where the butter is heated and solids are separated out. In the Hindu and Indian cultures, ghee is considered a special part of many religious ceremonies, because it comes from “holy” cows and is “separated” or pure. It is believed that ghee is much healthier than regular butter because of the separation of ghee from solids, which are thought to be impurities.
Athletes and bloggers began using this bulletproof coffee and claimed to have better test scores, memory function, energy, and moods. As more people tried it and noticed results, news of this miracle wonder hit the internet on a variety of blogs and social media. As word spread, BPC no longer was only made with the “upgraded” beans, but with all sorts and brands of coffees.
Many recipes abound today; using coconut oil, MCT oil, butter, ghee, and flavors just like fancy baristas use to prepare gourmet coffee blends are widely published on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. While there may not be a lot of research to support the use of BPC, it is quite a drink! Bloggers and Tweeters have shared hundreds of BPC recipes, and people are concocting their own personal twists to flavors.
Benefits of BPC do appear to include keeping people from feeling hungry; other advantages include feeling more energetic and more alert, with less forgetfulness. Many people drink BP in place of some meals, while other use the BPC with or following meals to help improve satiety and prevent “the munchies” or frequent snacking. Making BPC is quite simple, and recipes abound. Just perform a Google or Bing search for “bulletproof coffee recipes.” Choose a recipe with flavors you like; use a blender for a few seconds to thoroughly mix; remember fats and water don’t stir to mix well. Drink while it’s warm; trust me, congealing fats don’t go down well! LOL
It took me about 2 weeks of tweaking the recipe to get it right for me. So, if you don’t get it right the first time, keep trying. Here is my recipe:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter
1/4 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp sugar free Torani vanilla flavor – like they use in the fancy coffee shops
Approx. 10 ounces of coffee
Blend for 5-8 seconds, and enjoy. Can be reheated without problems.
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter
1/4 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp sugar free Torani vanilla flavor – like they use in the fancy coffee shops
Approx. 10 ounces of coffee
Blend for 5-8 seconds, and enjoy. Can be reheated without problems.
One last tip… some people have a little tummy response to sudden high intake of fats and end up with a bit of urgent need for the restroom. So, if you are JUST beginning to increase fats, use smaller amounts of fats in your BPC for the first week or two. Allow your body a little time to adjust to higher fat content.
As nurses, one of our best attributes is helping people learn; we love to teach people how to take better care of themselves. Hospital nurses spend hours providing discharge education; home health nurses thrive on sharing that one little secret tip that gives homebound patients a brighter day. Clinic nurses have reams and reams of printed materials they distribute and review with patients on a daily basis.
As nurse practitioners, Barbara and I want to give each of you the real, down-to-earth tidbits to get you started on the best and healthiest journey of your life!!
First, take stock of where you are in your health. What symptoms or illnesses or health conditions do you have? What would you MOST like to get rid of? It is important to start right where you are, or you really won’t know where you are heading. I always suggest a diary or journal for starters. A written record not only records where you are RIGHT NOW, but as time goes forth, it will be a boost to your ego and a record of just how far you’ve come. In your journal, include some of your disease markers: your blood pressure, your weight, your waist circumference, your thigh & upper arm circumferences, your hemoglobin A1c, your cholesterol and LDL/HDL numbers, and even your BUN/creatinine or your liver enzymes. It depends on your health care provider’s policies if they will provide you with an actual copy of your results; many clinics now offer online patient portal access. If you haven’t signed up previously, now might be a good time to do so. Record the names of any medications AND the doses you take. As your LCHF journey progresses, you will find that your health care provider will be reducing your doses AND medications. Write down how you feel about your conditions and medications; your feelings and thought processes are important. Take photos if possible and add them to your journal; even a selfie in the bathroom mirror will provide enough evidence once the inches fall away. Once you have your current health status recorded, you are truly READY to begin a whole new journey to improved health with FEWER risk factors than ever before thought possible.
Now that you have prepared your history, it is time to plot your agenda. Rather than focus on the foods you can’t have, I propose that you start by ADDING fats to your current way of eating (WOE). Healthy fats include fats closest to natural states; bacon or side meat grease is a great seasoning that we all relinquished when the heart experts said it was so bad for us. But, guess what??! It’s not bad! Start saving your bacon grease and use it to season vegetables or add to hamburger meat dishes. We make a bacon-cheeseburger meatloaf sometimes, and we add bacon grease to increase the bacon flavor. Add good, healthy butter to veggies and meats. When you have that potato (for now – you can have it; we are just getting started, remember?), LOAD that puppy up with cheese, butter, FULL-FAT sour cream, and bacon chips… real chips… from bacon YOU actually cooked. Eat more avocadoes, guacamole, coconut oil, and olive oils. I use a LITE olive oil more often than the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Lite olive oil tastes less strong and less like olives. EVOO has a much stronger olive flavor than I like.
Find a bulletproof coffee (BPC) recipe you like; bulletfproof coffee began as a real brand of coffee, but we low-carbers, have adapted it to mean a coffee loaded with fats – that keeps you “bulletproof” for the day. Bulletproof just means that you won’t be starving all day; your body won’t feel hungry and you won’t feel like you are starving yourself or depriving yourself of anything. I usually have 1 slice of bacon, 1-2 eggs, and BPC for breakfast every day. I usually don’t get hungry until 2-3pm most days – and it’s ALL because of the high fat content in my meal & BPC. I use a BPC recipe that uses coconut oil, Kerrygold butter, unsweet almond milk, and sugar-free coffee flavorings like the fancy baristas use in the fancy coffee shops. I will say that it took me a while to find the right recipe for me; first, I don’t even LIKE coffee… no, I really don’t! My hubby started bringing me a cup many years ago, on very cool mornings to help me “warm up.” So now, it’s just a habit. And I do LIKE my BPC for more than just the flavor! It keeps me satisfied and prevents me from getting the “munchies”. Therefore, I eat less!
Back to finding the right recipe… I like coconut, but I didn’t like it in my coffee; I had to keep tweaking amounts to find the right balance of coconut oil, butter, and milk. And you will need to be patient too. It probably took me about 2 weeks of trial and error to be quite happy with my recipe. There are hundreds of recipes out there, and you can make it many different ways; the key is to be sure it contains plenty of fats; no matter what I tweak, I always use at least 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Many of the BPC recipes I found early on contained cinnamon; I just couldn’t get used to that flavor. Finding a BPC or bulletproof tea you like will make a TON of difference in the amount of hunger you experience and the perceived need for snacking. Homework assignment number 1 from the KetoNurses: find a BPC or BPT and start drinking!
The next step in learning to eat low carb, high fat is to start reading labels… and I mean REALLY reading labels. I had a patient tell me just a few days ago that Cheerios had 0 carbohydrates. Bless his heart! I pulled up a pic online of the label; he finally realized he was reading the wrong line! It had 0 FATS!! We both enjoyed a good laugh over his mistake, but he learned a LOT that visit. Pay close attention to serving sizes. Try measuring out a few things, just to see what the serving size recommended really is. Then pour out your regular serving size and measure YOUR serving. Many cereal labels recommend as little as a ¼ cup for 1 serving. Did you realize that ¼ cup is actually ONLY 2 ounces? Other labels claim that ½ cup is a serving; that’s only 4 ounces. And all the nutrition information listed is PER SERVING. So, let’s take the Cheerios label I pulled up for the patient the other day; that label said 1 cup – 8 ounces of cereal is 1 serving. That one serving contains 20 grams of carbohydrates. And then you add low-fat milk, which is the HIGHEST carbohydrate content of all milks, you have downed your entire day’s carbohydrate content in one little and very UNSATISFYING meal!
See what we are talking about? For the past 60+ years, we have been told by “experts” that we should eat LOW fat foods; but eating low fat means that companies began producing all kinds of high-sugar foods that were touted as “healthy” or “heart-healthy”. Think about the rates of heart disease and diabetes back in the 1920s; it was almost non-existent. Why? People didn’t eat all the processed and refined carbs and sugars we have available today; they also WORKED much harder and burned off the carbs they DID consume. Those people ate TONS of higher fat foods; they used lard all the time. Most of the deaths back then were actually due to infections for which we had no antibiotics and cancers that had no treatments developed. Think about all the native cultures; go back and do some research into the Inuit of the Artic North or the Maasai people of Kenya, Africa. These native populations ate very HIGH fat diets for thousands of years and never had incidence of heart disease. They only consumed fresh vegetables and fruits they found “in season” and rarely farmed or raised plants for foods. Researchers report these native groups actually consumed approximately 80 – 90% of their daily intake from fats and fatty proteins.
In summary, today’s entry is intended to help you embark on a new, healthier, thinner YOU! Start where you are. Record vital information. Start drinking BPC or BPT daily. Increase natural fats in all your meals.
Feel free to share some of your stories and photos on our Facebook page, KetoNurses. We would LOVE to help you become a BETTER you!!!!!