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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

no more poking my finger

I’m tired again today. Kind of strange for me. Probably because I woke up last night about 2:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep until something after 5:00, after Notah had gone to work anyway.

I’ve decided I’m going to stop testing my blood glucose several times every day. My doctor was concerned because my reading was 134 when she did my blood tests. She put me on the starchy carb free diet that I’ve already talked about. I’ve known several people who monitored their own blood sugar readings and I thought it might be a good idea for me to do the same. You can buy glucosometers without a prescription. Each one comes with a lancet tool and requires test strips to obtain the number reading. The lancet is inserted into a little trigger device that makes it easy to poke yourself. Then a test strip is inserted into a slot in the meter and a tiny drop of blood from the lancet prick is picked up on the tip. The system tests this tiny sample and gives a readout number for the amount of glucose in your blood. That’s a very simplistic explanation and I didn’t bother with the technical medical details, but you get the idea.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that morning ‘fasting’ numbers should not exceed 126 (with ‘normal’ being 70 to 99) My doctor said below 140 was acceptable, but my 134 was high. Since I’ve been following her eating plan my fasting numbers have been between 84 and 125, usually about 110. That’s pretty good, I think.

The recommended testing schedule is before breakfast, then 2 hours after breakfast, again just before lunch and two hours afterward, finally again before supper and again 2 hours later. Then you are supposed to go at least 8 hours before eating again and test your ‘fasting’ level. It is all kind of a bother. But for those people who have sugar diabetes it is sometimes vital.

My friend, Dixie, has a serious diabetes problem and she carries her test kit everywhere with her. I’ve seen her have to leave church service to go and test her blood sugar. I’m not sure but I believe she carries insulin and emergency food items with her to control sudden spikes and lows. It is that important to control her blood sugar levels. For her it is serious business.

I started it on my own just to get an idea of how my eating plan was affecting my blood glucose. Now I know, so I’m not going to mess with it quite so often. The Diabetes Association says that the normal person's 2 hours after eating numbers can be between 70 and 145, but for diabetics you are recommended to stay below 200. I’ve been consistently at between 110 and 136. I think I've had two spikes at 164, once follwing pizza and again after a steak dinner with baked potato, texas toast and coleslaw. That’s twice in two months. So I’ll live with it.

Now I know. Avoiding starchy carbs and tablesugar-y items results in excellent numbers. (Lots of people who are on this eating plan cheat by eating breads etc "because they have lots of fiber." I make special efforts to get fiber from veggies and fruits. This is absolutely necesssary to avoid the starch that accompanies grain products.) Allowing ONE serving of starchy carbohydrate each day will still give me good numbers. I don’t do any more than that except on the very rare occasion that a steak dinner is in the picture. Even then if we’re eating at home, I might have a salad and a serving of broccoli or cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. Rachael started out accompanying me to provide moral support. She's dropped two dress sizes and has become a believer! LOL AND she's comverted several people at her job!

Anyway, now that I know how different foods affect my blood glucose, I’m going to drop back to testing in the early morning before my coffee. No sense buying those expensive test strips if I don’t have to. The good news is that the controlled carbohydrate eating regimen does definitely control my blood sugar levels. It has already had a positive effect on my weight and Rachael’s. And it does not leave me feeling ‘deprived’ the way lots of ‘diets’ do.

This has all the veggies I want, all the fruit I want (except I avoid bananas, they have lots of carbohydrate/sugars and have a negative impact on blood sugar if I eat a whole one plain) but veggies, fruit and proteins- meat, cheese, nuts, beans- they are very satisfying.

At first you wonder how you will ever get ‘full’ on just that. I come from a farm and working man background. The high carbohydrate starches were needed to fuel long days of hard physical labor amd of course they taste good as well. No meal at my mom or grandma's house was complete without bread or potatoes and gravy. But I like veggies and fruit to start with and once I started this eating pattern, eliminating the starchy carbs, I found that it didn’t really take that much meat and veggies to make me satisfied. It actually required less food bulk than when I was eating potatoes and spaghetti with garlic bread. I don’t even fuss much over fats or butter. Of course I don’t eat either by the spoonful either…

This has had great results all around for me and also Rachael. I don'tsay it will be perfect for you, but still it won't hurt and it certainly is healthier than frenchfries, big macs and Pizza Hut!

Try it. You might like it.

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