Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the "low-down" on LEVEL Life!!

I've been meaning to get around to this topic for a while now.  

A few weeks back, I received an email from Ethan Lewis, founder of Level Foods.  I know that some of you already know Ethan, but for those that don't, 
he is a Type 1 Diabetic who has developed a delicious, easy way to treat those nasty lows that we all encounter from time to time.  

Ethan was diagnosed with Type 1 at 12 years of age and struggled (like all of us) with balancing blood sugars.  The scariest and toughest part of Diabetes for Ethan, was the nasty lows.

His company has developed  the new 15g LEVEL Life glucose gel.  He offered
to send me a sample pack, and promised that they would "work quickly" and taste "amazing!".

As I waited for my sample pack to arrive, I began to think about the ways that I have treated lows over the years.  

Way back when, my mom gave me orange juice to drink whenever I was low.

Lifesavers were a constant companion when I was at school or out playing with  my friends.

As the years passed, and I moved away from home, my methods for treating lows changed.  As newlyweds, my husband and I had not really discussed this part of my diabetes, mainly because my lows always seemed to happen in the early morning and so he was rarely around when one happened.  Keeping the sugar bowl beside the bed became the norm around our house.  Not always the easiest way to treat a low, especially when the person experiencing the low can barely comprehend what is being asked of them.  Sugar is reaalllly messy!!  There were quite a few nights when there were sugar crystals covering the sheets and pillows after a morning struggle with low blood sugar.
 Then there were the horrible glucose tabs.  You remember the ugly, tastless white ones?  They were hard as a rock,  took forever to dissolve and you had to eat like 4 of them before they did anything.  YUCK!

Juice boxes worked better for the middle of the night/early morning lows. Especially if you poked the straw through before you went to bed!  Less mess (unless you squeezed the box in your hurry to slurp through that straw!)

These days, I have been using a few different methods for treating my lows.  For quite a while i was munching on SweeTarts.  They are yummy but you have to eat 15 of them to get 15gr of carbs.  That can take some time.  Then I found giant Rockets!  There was a time when they were my favourite Halloween candy!  But again, you have to eat 5 of them to equal that magic number 15!

Dex4 is great for me when I remember they're in my purse!  The taste is not bad (my favourite is either grape or watermelon!), but they are a little chalky and still it takes me a while to get 4 of them into me!

So along comes LEVEL Life fast acting glucose gel.  Let me just say that these are by far, the best tasting treatment I've ever had!  They come in four flavours.  Strawberry Banana, Mandarin Orange, Vanilla and Caramel.  The pouch is a funky looking little thing.  It looks flimsy, but again, let me tell you I carry this sucker around in my purse and it has not broken or leaked or been punctured by pens or anything!!  It is fairly easy to open when low-brain is at work.  Like a juice box, just be careful not to squeeze too hard though!!

The flavours are bang on!  Even the Strawberry Banana, which I wasn't sure I'd like, was good.  They are easy going down, and they really do work fast.

They are packaged in three's and priced  the same as 1 of the "other" gels.  The only problem is that they aren't available in Canada  =(
That makes me sad, because I really enjoyed using them.  Not that I enjoyed having the lows that enable me to try them, but.....I would definitely recommend them!   

all of my handy low treatments!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

a work in progress

so last week i wrote about my endeavor to eat low carb.

i purchased the book "Wheat Belly" and the "Wheat Belly Cookbook".  

quite interesting.  

i want to say that i have no medical need to try the wheat free diet.  i am not allergic to wheat, nor am i 

i am diabetic however.  and i have been trying to keep my A1c below 7.  i feel very good about getting it down there, and i've been a little more conscious about what i put in my mouth.  i began to notice that whenever i eat breads, potatoes, rice, crackers and pasta's my BG's tend to rise quickly and stay up there.

i know i sound like a newby at this diabetic thing, but really, for myself it just has more to do with my age and my desire to lose a few pounds (i weigh the most i've ever weighed, even during 3 pregnancies!!) and feel better in my clothes.

i quit smoking almost 9 years ago.  i have gained a lot of weight since then.  i'm sure not all of it has to do with quitting.  being lazy and stuffing my face with not so good food choices has had quite a bit to do with it.

so now i am trying to change my habits.  habits that i have had for years and years.  bread, whether it be white, whole wheat, bagels, or english muffins, was an almost daily breakfast for me.  ocassionally i would toss in some cereal, or pancakes.  

lunch usually was a sandwich of some sort.  again on bread or buns.  kaisers are a favourite of mine.

supper was meat and potatoes.  mashed, boiled, baked, scalloped.  i love them all.  pasta was another thing 
that was eaten on a weekly basis.  spaghetti, ricatoni, lasagna.  whatever.  they are all delicious!

and then there is the bed time snack.  used to be, years ago, melba toast with peanut butter spread on it was the snack of choice.  along with a glass of milk, this was what i ate almost every night after diagnosis.  that is until i left the comfort of my parents home, and headed into the world of adulthood.

then i could make my own food choices.  i chose potato chips, popcorn, tostitos.  and for years i ate whole meals after work.  now keep in mind i worked evenings when my children were small.  i worked 7pm - midnight.  i ate dinner before going to work and then i ate when i got home at midnight.  macaroni and cheese, mr. noodles.  comfort foods.

well not any more.  for the last week i've been eating low carb and loving it!

no bread, no pasta.  lots of salads, eggs, fruits, vegetable.  i'm trying to keep my daily carb intake below 40gr.  i would normally eat about 30 for breakfast, 40 at lunch and 50-60 at supper, so this is a huge reduction!!

i've been trying out some recipes from the book and online.  yesterday i made an herbed foccacia "bread".  made with almond flour/meal, and lots of other things, it only has 7grs of carbs per serving.  it was delicious with chicken salad.  

today i tried to make some bagels.  the first batch looked awesome.

they were made from a recipe i found online called "Garlic Coconut Flour Bagels". i found them to be a little too sweet  and the combination of garlic and coconut was a little off.  i will try them again, but instead of garlic, i will add cinnamon and raisins. these ones only have 5gr of carbs.

the second batch, made from a different online recipe, turned out better.  they were made with almond flour, flax seed meal, and only a touch of coconut flour.
they taste more like everything bagels should.  the texture is not quite like bagels, but spread with some cream cheese and with a carb count of only 3.5gr per serving, i'll take them!!

i made these in a donut pan that i bought online from 
there are lots of low carb recipes out there that i am sure i'll be trying in my eforts to eat low carb, but still enjoy something that resembles food made with wheat.  

i guess i'm kind of like a vegetarian who enjoys a veggie burger or a tofurkey sandwich every now and then!

my next goal will be to start walking on my treadmill every morning.  i hope that between the low carb eating and the increase in exercise, by the time summer arrives, i will feel a little more comfortable in my own body, and will embrace summer clothes, and my backyard pool!!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

here's hoping!

i'm excited!!  i've decided to really, seriously, stick to it this time.

stick to what? you may be asking.

well low carb and mostly wheat free eating!

i started last night.  dinner was a low carb shepard's pie.  it was easy peasy and tasted great!  even my husband commented that he really liked it and would definitely eat it again! (there was none left when i got home from work so that speaks for itself!)

basically it was onions, ground beef, peas and carrots with a gravy made from sodium free beef broth and almond flour as thickener.  the topping was cauliflower cooked in a little sodium free chicken broth, mashed with 1/2 and 1/2, some plain greek yogurt and grated cheddar.  put together and baked for about 20 minutes.  YUMMY!!

BG before dinner 5.7.  bolused for 17g of carbs.  BG 2 hours after dinner 4.8.

i didn't snack on my break at work, but i did have a Caesar salad when i got home.  BG was still 4.8 so no bedtime bolus.

my usual night time snack consists of all things "bad" for me.  chips, popcorn, guacamole with tostitos.  even cheese and crackers on occasion.  

fasting BG was 8.0  a little high perhaps.  some basal tweaking may be in order, but we'll wait and see how things go.

for breakfast i had a wheatless breakfast biscuit (recipe comes from the Wheat Belly Cookbook), with a fried egg, slice of ham and cheddar cheese.
the recipes says 9gr of carb with 6gr of fiber.  i bolused for the 9gr of carbs with a BG of 7.8

BG 2 hours afterward 4.3  thinking i should subtract the fiber and bolus for the 3gr of carbs.  will try this again tomorrow morning and see what happens.

i am thinking i'm off to a stellar start!  not sure if the results will remain the same.  i realize it's only been 2 meals.

well i'm off to determine what to make for dinner tonight!  i'll keep you posted on the results of this meal.  

here's hoping these steady #'s keep up!!  

oh and i had my 6mth appt with my opthamologist this morning.  my eyes are doing great.  no changes in vision and no treatments (laser) needed!
thank heavens for small blessings! 


Friday, April 05, 2013

fruit flies and pantyhose

Monday I noticed a few dots hanging about in my left eye.  What appeared to be little fruit flies flying around in front of me.  Problem was, when I swatted at them, they didn't go away.  Then it got a little worse.  It was like looking through  a pair of pantyhose.  Like a fine mesh over my eye.  Kind of hard to see through.
sort of like this only finer

This is not the first time this has happened.   A couple of years ago the same type of thing appeared in my right eye.  It made it hard to drive, read, watch TV.  Work on the computer was nearly impossible.

I tried keeping that eye closed while doing those things.  Then I made myself an eye patch.  Oh it was something to be seen!  I made it out of blue card stock and stuck it under my glasses. My family laughed at me!  I looked ridiculous of course!  

It took quite some time for that bleed to finally clear up.  This one has pretty much disappeared already.
For that I am thankful.    

I go to my Opthamologist every 6 months.  That is unless something weird happens.  Lucky for me I go next Wednesday.  I will tell him about this latest group of "floaters".  He may decide to do some laser surgery.  But then again, perhaps not.  Since it has cleared rather quickly, I am hoping not. It is not a comfortable procedure.  

Have you ever had laser eye surgery?  Your pupil is enlarged and your eye is "frozen" with drops. A lens is placed over the eye.  This helps to keep your eye open, and allows access for the laser to do it's job.  The laser is like a million, gazillion needles poking in your eye at a rapid fire pace! Approximately 2500 to 3000 tiny burns. You try to blink but you can't.  Tears are running down your face, but your head is clamped (sort of) in a device that will not allow you access to your streaming eye.  The other eye is also tearing up (in sympathy).  

not only are you clamped but they hold you there too!! just kidding!
The whole procedure doesn't take very long, but I sure do get a headache afterwards.  And inside my eye is a rainbow of colours.  I must remember to bring my sunglasses and someone to drive me home.  Light is painful for a few hours.  Driving is impossible.  

I have had this done many times over the years, but it has been several years since the last time.  

I sure hope I can avoid it this time.