Plaid Faux Fur Stocking
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Plush, Plaid Christmas Stockings | DIY Christmas Stockings You’ll Want to Actually Wear

My husband and I bought two Christmas stockings during Target’s after Christmas clearance eons ago…like 10 years. That’s an eon, right? We loved the faux shearling cuff, and kids were so far off, so why buy more than two?

Fast-forward 10 years and the 4 and 2 year old are using our old Christmas stockings. There’s nothing wrong with them, but we wanted a matching set for all of us.

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before, but my husband is a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy. When we do something, we go all the way. So he requested a fully lined stocking with some heft, not the limpy ones that fold in half under their own weight. He would like it to keep its shape while hanging by the fireplace empty.

He also loves plaid, so that was a must when shopping for fabric. We decided on a quilted plaid for the outside of the stockings and a faux fur lining. The faux fur is SO soft, SO plush. It’s lovely. I want to sleep on it!

Let’s sew some stockings!


I look up a few tutorials. I ended up following this one on how to put the stockings together.

I deviated from the plan in the shape of my stocking and attaching the loop to the top for hanging by the fireplace. Ill point out those deviations as I go.

Making the Pattern

Most stocking tutorials use patterns that look a bit too small, either too thin of a stocking or too short. Remember, we want a substantial stocking?

I decided to use the shape of the Target stockings we already had. I simply laid the stocking on the fabric (with the cuff unfolded to account for that extra length) and traced it leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around.

Xmas Stocking Pattern

For the toe and heal, I use my yard stick to measure 1/2 inch from the fabric and put a dot every inch or so. Then I just connected the dots to make the curves.

I used that pattern to cut out the rest of the plaid (outside stocking) and faux fur (stocking lining). Make sure to cut 2 outer fabrics with toes in opposite directions and 2 lining fabrics with toes in opposite directions. You need 4 stocking shapes for each stocking.

Stated another way, when you trace and cut out the additional pieces, cut one with the wrong side up and one with the right side up for both the lining and outer fabric. Turning the pattern over will ensure you get the toes in the right direction.

Christmas-Stocking-Pattern

Christmas-Stocking-Pattern

A note on pattern matching: the stocking will look better if you match the patterns at the seams. I tried, but I didn’t do it right. I cut it out with the plaid lined up exactly. It should’ve been shifted. Don’t be like me, look up how to match patterns correctly before you cut!

Plaid Stocking PatternSewing the Stocking

Again, I followed this tutorial, so my instructions will be very similar.

Place right sides together, toes in the same direction, and sew the lining and the outer fabric together at the top of the stocking. Do this for both side of the stocking.

Stocking InstructionsNow there should be a front and a back to the stocking, like this:

Front Back Xmas StockingHere is where I deviated from the other tutorial. I sewed my strap into the lining side of the stocking in the next step. I cut a piece of the outer fabric in a 1″x8″ long strip, over edge stitch along the sides, folded it in half, and placed it 4″ down from the top edge of the stocking.

Xmas Stocking Loop

The loop should go on the lining side (faux fur in my stocking) and on the heal side of the stocking. That way when it is hung by the fireplace, the toe hangs down. Don’t put it on the toe side because you will have to seam ripping through faux fur to move it, and that is not a walk in the park. Ask me how I know…

Before you sew the front and back of the stocking together, this is how the pieces should look.

Xmas Stocking LoopPlace front and back of stocking together with right sides together. Begin by lining up the middle seam between the lining (faux fur) and outer fabric (plaid), then work your way down each side to the toe.

Stocking Front BackPin the sides together. I put pins closer together at each curve (toe and heel) especially on the lining side (faux fur). The fur shifted very easily, and since, I’m a beginner sewer, I tend to think more is better in the pinning department.

Stocking Pin PlacementLining Side:

Stocking Pin SeqBefore beginning to sew, mark a space on the lining side of the stocking to leave an opening so the stocking can be turned right side out. The opening will be hand sewn closed later.

Then start sewing at the green dot and work your way all the way around the stocking, clockwise, ending at the other set of double pins.

Stocking Sew SeqI cut my pattern based on a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but at the recommendation of this tutorial, I sewed the lining side at 5/8 inch and the outer side closer to 1/4 inch. I say “closer” because my sewing is not that precise! Doing this will allow the lining to be slightly smaller than the outer fabric which should make it lay nicer once finished. These stockings definitely needed the extra help to lay flat. If your outer and lining fabric are closer to the same thickness, you might not need this adjustment.

My lining is thick. I mean THICK. Take a look…

Thick Stocking Lining

So I also made my stitch length longer when I sewed the lining side. This seemed to allow the fabric to move easier through my machine. See, it was kind of eating my pressure foot. ūüôā

Sew Stocking LiningFinished stocking – finished with the machine sewing at least…

Xmas Stocking SewnBefore turning it right side out, trim close to the seam on the lining side and notch the curves on the outer (plaid) side.

Stocking notched

Turn the stocking right side out, carefully pulling it out of the opening left on the lining side. Voila!

Stocking Right SideHand sew the opening shut using a blind stitch. This was very difficult to do precisely on the faux fur. It was so plush, I couldn’t tell if each stitch went all the way through! The great thing about putting the opening here is no one will see it! It will be inside the stocking so none will be wiser if your hand sewing isn’t up to par, like mine!

Stocking Hand StitchCarefully work the lining into the outer fabric side. You will likely need to work the lining into the heel and toe.

Plaid Christmas StockingTurn that cuff over, and you are done!

Plaid Faux Fur StockingRevel in your handiworkXmas Stocking Finished

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Fireplace with Stockings

Stocking LoopTake a look at that fur! It goes all the way to the toes! Just stick your arm down these stockings, and you’ll see why I want to wear them. They are SO plush and warm!

Faux Fur LiningOne more look…


I am so happy with how these stockings turned out. Our fireplace is now symmetrical and complete for our family, and Dan approves wholeheartedly! They are the thickest stockings I’ve ever seen. Much more substantial that anything found in the store.

The total cost of this project was $35 for 4 stockings: $8.75 per stocking. Not bad at all! I bought 1.5 yards of both the plaid fabric and the faux fur for the lining. It was just the right amount too. I have very little waste.

This really turned out to be a simple sewing project, so if you are a beginner, like me, you can handle it!

Christmas Stocking Tutorial


Are you making any Christmas decor this year? Stockings? Tree skirt? Garland? Wreath? Do share success or failure!

Thanksgiving Menu Review: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy Free

Thanksgiving at my house was full and lovely! I spent all day in the kitchen, but I enjoy doing so. I did have a little fear in my mind that I would not be rewarded with delicious food after all that effort.

Thank goodness, that did not happen. The food was delicious!

I thought it might be helpful to review each of the recipes we ended up making, and I also included my variations and tips/tricks. Many of these dishes are great any day of the year, so don’t think this menu is only for Thanksgiving. Make it for Christmas, New Year, Easter, or a birthday! You can find my inspiration board here.

I planned for the big meal to be at 5:30pm. This was for various reasons (1) it gave me more time to prepare, (2) it gave family more time to get into town, and (3) allowed for time to fix anything that went wrong in the cooking process. Appetizers were served at 4:00pm, and the family was barely hungry by 5:30. Looking back, I think I should have served the appetizers earlier or had dinner later (or both). Dessert was served to coincide with our boys bedtime snack routine: 7:30pm.

Thanksgiving Meal TimelineOverall, everything I made was delicious, but I did tweak the recipes a bit.

Appetizers

Bacon Wrapped Dates

  • Review | So Delicious! These were loved by young and old alike!
  • Tweaks¬†| I left out the additional sugar on top. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I try to avoid unnecessary sugar. There were superb without it!¬† I did not have a cooling rack to bake these on so I used my cast iron grill pan (similar), and it worked great.

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Dip

  • Review | Very tasty! I paired this dip with apples and Korean pears. I went great with those an truly anything you would dip in it. I dipped the Maple Bacon Pecans in it too. Yum!
  • Tweaks¬†| I did not make any changes to this recipes. One thing to note, it does start to separate in a warm house (i.e. one filled with people and an oven that’s been running for 12+ hours). Set it out right before you serve and put away immediately when finished.

Salted Maple Bacon Pecans

  • Review | Good! These were enjoyed by all, and my mother-in-law even asked for the recipe. Win!
  • Tweaks¬†| I did not make any changes to this recipe, but I should have sprinkled more salt. My sea salt is a bit course so I went easy on the sprinkle. It could have used more.
Dinner

Turkey and Gravy

  • Review | Excellent, moist turkey! All adults raved about the most, tender meat. Light and dark meat alike were so juice and delicious. Our gravy was good, but not as good as previous years. Because…
  • Tweaks¬†| I am dairy-free so we couldn’t use butter, and I think this was a huge factor in our gravy not being quite as good. It was still great gravy, but it is out-of-this-world as written in the recipe. We also didn’t use butter on the skin of the turkey. We used oil, and that worked just as well, in my opinion.

**Note: Dan took complete care of the turkey and gravy. It was awesome, and that’s all due to his insane grilling skills!**

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

  • Review | A-MAZE-ING. Seriously, this rivaled the Alton Brown green bean casserole I’ve made in the past. It was not lacking in any way from being dairy free. I may even prefer this version. The cashew cream sauce is excellent!
  • Tweaks¬†| I did not use gluten-free bread crumbs on the onions because I guessed they would have grain (I didn’t actually look for any though!). I used almond flour for both the bread crumb and flour coating on the onions. The almond flour did not stick overly well so the baked onions weren’t as crispy and beautiful, but they still tasted good. I also used chicken stock to think the sauce rather than white wine.

Slow-cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Review | Very good! It was easy and reminded me of the sweet potato souffle my mom made growing up. I made the potatoes the day before as suggested. About an hour and a half before dinner, I turned the slow cooker on low, sprinkled the pecan on, and let it cook. It turned out so good!
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† I did cut the maple syrup in half when I made the potatoes. I don’t use a lot of sugar in my cooking, so even at half, I thought these were overly sweet. I’ll cut down the sugar a bit more when I make it next time.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Review | This is one of my favorite dishes in the fall. I’ve made this recipe many times, and it does not disappoint. It was tart and delicious! I even used it in the cranberry bar recipe below.
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† I cut the amount of honey in half in this recipe. It makes the sauce tarter but still A-ok! Again, as a Type 1 diabetic, I need to watch my carbohydrate intake, so I try to cut back where I can, especially for special meals like this with lots of rich dishes.

Coconut Flour Honey Biscuits

  • Review | The taste of this biscuit was good, but the presentation was lacking. I just looked more closely at the post, and I think she only made 7 biscuits from her recipe (The yield is not stated clearly in the recipe). I did not notice this when I made them so I stretched my batter way too far. The muffin cups were not filled enough so the biscuits barely rose. User error! The taste was good, so I will make again, but I will double (maybe triple??) the recipe to make 12 muffins. I may reduce the oven temp too, my biscuits were a bit brown on the sides for my liking.
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† I used coconut oil and followed the rest of the recipe exactly.

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • Review | I LOVE stuffing, and this recipe made me LOVE paleo stuffing. It was SO GOOD! Everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it wasn’t made from cornbread.
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† I made the recommended paleo corn bread, but I under-cooked it. So drying it out before making the stuffing took quite a bit more time. I added a heaping teaspoon of sage to the vegetable mixture. To me, sage and stuffing belong together. It was the right thing to do, I think. ūüôā
Dessert

Paleo Cookie Crumb Cranberry Bars

  • Review | Tasty, tasty, tasty! I used the Alton Brown cranberry sauce recipe mentioned above, and I think this dessert was on point!
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar (shame, shame!). Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good my grocery list is, I miss things! Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.

Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

  • Review | De-Li-Cious. This was great as dessert, but possibly even better the next morning for breakfast with coffee. So. Good.
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† Again, ahem, I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar. It still turned out great and delicious.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

  • Review | I love pumpkin pie, and this one did not disappoint! It was loved by the whole family!
  • Tweaks¬†|¬† Guys! This is a gluten-free, grain-free pastry crust, and it worked! What?!? I followed the recipe exactly, but my pie ended up a bit underdone. The crust was a bit gummy and the pumpkin barely held together. This is user error, I’m sure. I just didn’t cook it long enough!

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • I ended up making up my own recipe because I didn’t want any more additional carbohydrates from sugar in this meal. I used 2 cans of coconut cream (leave the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight then scoop the cream off the top) and whipped it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of stevia, to taste.

Thanksgiving Menu Review


The meal was a hit. I was so relieved. Everyone was more than happy to go along with my dietary restrictions, but I wanted to cook a delicious meal. My hubby pulled me aside later and said everything was delicious. He didn’t feel like his Thanksgiving meal was lacking at all. Yay! That made my heart happy! I love to cook, but really, I love to cook for the people I love to enjoy it. Mission accomplished!

How did your Turkey Day meal turn out? Any disasters? Anything even more delicious that you thought it would be? Try anything new?

 

Aside

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is almost here! Holidays with dietary restrictions can be tricky, but with a little bit of research and preparation, you can enjoy the holiday meal just as much as the next guy.

I did some searching on Pinterest, and there are recipes a PLENTY for modified traditional Thanksgiving recipes. You can check out my Thanksgiving board here. Quick reminder, due to my Type 1 Diabetes (an autoimmune disease that is aggravated by some foods) we are currently eating grain-free (which also means gluten-free, just more strict) and dairy free.

Don’t worry, folks. There is still so much to enjoy even with these restrictions! Shall we begin?

Appetizers

Multiple courses makes any meal feel like a party, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pull out all the stops! There is a very practical need for appetizers too: my kids get hangry. We will be having our traditional Thanksgiving meal at dinner time which means my kids will be eating their legs around 4pm. Or my legs…

I’m planning bacon wrapped dates, maple bacon pecans, and a fruit tray with a pumpkin spice dip. I think that will hold them over until the main event, which just might be late…you never know!

Main Course

Turkey

Dan and I went to college with a local turkey farmer, so we’ll be picking up our bird from Otto’s Turkey Farm in Middleville, MI. The turkey is Dan’s territory so I know he’ll be smoking it on his grill (we’ve got a Big Green Egg), but beyond that, I don’t know his method. Likely he’ll create a spice rub and cover the bird in that along with oil. Spices are gluten-free (as long as plain spices are used, not pre-blended ones), and butter will be avoided. We do have ghee though (clarified butter) so maybe he’ll use that instead of oil…we shall see!

Gravy

Also Dan’s department. He’s made some rockin’ gravy in the past so I’m quite excited about this. He goes a traditional route that includes the drippings, gibblets, and veggies. I will post a how-to or a link to the recipe if he’s following one. This gravy is to die for. It is so much richer and hardier than other types.

Bread

I will be making these coconut flour biscuits. I hope to get a trial run in before the big day, but I’m not sure I’ll get it in. I’m very curious how the texture and flavor will be.

In general, I don’t miss bread, but I want my family and extended family to have a bread at the meal. I think this one looks tasty.

Potatoes

White potatoes are not a part of my diet right now, so I’ll be making a sweet potato casserole instead¬†(or maybe this one). There are so many delicious looking/sounding sweet potato recipes out there these days. This dish will be delicious, I know!

Cranberry Sauce

Alton Brown never lets me down! I’ve been making his recipes for years, and they are delicious and foolproof! I will be making his cranberry sauce, as I have in the past, it is gluten/dairy-free as is!

Dressing

I love love love dressing or stuffing, not sure what the difference is. I’m slightly concerned that this dish will bite me as not quite as delicious without gluten. I won’t be making it ahead of time, so it’s going to be great or a great disappointment!

I do love the flavor of celery, sage, and butter in my dressing, so I think I’ll alter the recipe a bit and add sage. I’m sure it won’t hurt!

Green Bean Casserole

I found a couple recipes, and I think this one looks the best. Read the ingredient list carefully! There are items with gluten, make sure to make a substitution.

  • whole grain bread crumbs –> GF bread crumbs or maybe almond flour
  • all purpose flour –> I think coconut flour or arrowroot powder would work
  • soy sauce –> tamari or coconut aminos
  • white wine –> most are fine as long as not barrel aged, chardonnay is NOT ok, use something else

Dessert

This category is the most likely to change. SO many good options! I’ll list some I’m considering:

  1. Pumpkin Cheesecake – I’m so curious how this will be without dairy! This has a more “normal” list of ingredients. I did come across one that had cauliflower and cashews as primary ingredients…Dan vetoed that one.
  2. Pumpkin Pie – I’m intrigued by the pie crust. I haven’t tried a grain-free pastry crust yet. I do love almond crusts though (like a graham cracker-style crust but with crushed almonds).
  3. Pecan Pie Bars – I think a spin on traditional pecan pie would be great!
  4. Cranberry Crumb Bars – Yes, please. I just love anything with cranberries!
  5. Coconut Whipped Cream – to lather liberally on ALL desserts!

So there you have it! Way too much food for 6 people, but Thanksgiving is all about leftovers, right? I hope this encourages and inspires you. With a little research, every meal, even holidays, can be delicious with diet restrictions.

What are you having for Turkey day??

A Thanksgiving Tip: An Airpot for Hot Beverages

In our house, we love our coffee, and when we love something, we go all out.

We grind our own beans (coarseness of 26 on our grinder), heat water to an exact temperature (I like 194¬į, but Dan likes 185¬į.), we pour in a specific pattern, and we weigh the beans and water (50g of beans to 900g of water). A touch obsessive you might say, but it makes AWESOME coffee ever time. I like awesome coffee every time, not burnt one day and weak the next.

The biggest drawback of this method is serving coffee to guests. Our coffee pot is only big enough for the amount of coffee Dan and I drink in the morning. Keeping extra pots hot is an issue, we don’t have a warmer, and when we have guests, we spend a lot of time brewing coffee that we’d rather spend chatting around the table.

Our solution: the airpot!

This little beauty is not a big investment at all. I think we spent $35 on Amazon. It holds 101 ounces (3 liters) of a hot or cold beverage. For us, that translates into 3 pots from our Chemex.

While it does take some prep, warming the pot then brewing 3 pots of coffee to fill it. It is so nice to have your guests wander into the kitchen in the morning to hot, fresh coffee which they can refill without having to ask to brew another pot! Life changing, I tell ya!

With Thanksgiving next week, we will be using this everyday, likely a couple times a day! Fully caffeinated brew in the morning and decaf with dessert in the evening, It will be getting a workout for sure!

Any other tips to share for making the holidays easier and more enjoyable?

A1C 6.1

It’s already been 3 months since my last endocrinologist visit! Time is just flying at our house. I’m still on a roller coaster of sorts over here.

Let me catch you up:

  1. Accident gluten intake through our homemade barbecue sauce. Homemade! Not even eating out, there’s no one to blame but ourselves. This took 3-ish weeks to resolve and get back to normal (i.e. eczema on my right hand takes 2-3 weeks to go away after a gluten ingestion.).
  2. Then late August/early September my blood glucose (BG) started to be higher, not astronomical, but higher than desired. I was hitting 150 or even 170 in the morning a couple days a week.
  3. I read a new book,¬†The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. A friend with similar medical history as me (atypical gestational diabetes) had read it and recommended it. She had not tried the author’s “solution” though. I decided to go all in and do the elimination diet. What did I have to lose?

I had my regular, quarterly check-up with my endocrinologist 1.5 weeks into the elimination diet. I was already feeling great and seeing good results which was encouraging going into the appointment.

I was a bit nervous though to see my A1C results though due to items 1 and 2 above. How much did those issues derail my three month blood glucose average?

Bottom line? They didn’t.

My A1C was 6.1.

6.1!

This was even lower than my last A1C of 6.6 in July! I totally didn’t expect this. I’m elated! I’ve found a way to stop the progression of my Type 1 diabetes, and I’m still able to eat tasty foods!

So for now grain-free (which by definition means gluten-free too!) and dairy-free is the life for me!

Elimination Diet

Around the end of August or early September, my blood glucose numbers started to rise. I was occasionally at 150 or even 170 in the morning, and at lunch, I would be 130-150 after a very low carb breakfast and a physically active morning. Odd.

Usually if I ate a low carb breakfast, sausage and eggs or similar, combined with house cleaning during the morning, I’d easily be below 100 come lunch time. Often I was in the 90’s, and if I was late for lunch, even by 30 minutes, I’d be shaking (a sign of low blood glucose) and in the 70’s or 80’s.

This wasn’t happening anymore. Hmmm, what is going on?

At first I tried to eat even lower carb meals, eggs/sausage/brie/pickles became a favorite breakfast combination. I tried to snack on carb-free/low-carb things throughout the day. My go-to snacks were cheese, cottage cheese, and veggies with dill dip.

After a couple weeks, I was getting really frustrated. I had just come off another accidental gluten ingestion that messed up my blood glucose readings, and I was feeling very defeated.

Is this what my life is going to look like? Going from one accidental¬†gluten ingestion to another? Constantly searching that that “wrong thing” I ate? Am I going to be living in anxiousness about when I should go back on insulin?

I know. I tend to have catastrophic and snowballing thoughts: one thing leads to the next worse thing which leads to the next…The next thing you know, I’ve convinced myself I’m dying of cancer. (kidding. sort of.)

I let this trend go for about 4 weeks. By the end of that time, I was pretty certain I needed to get back on Toujeo, the long acting insulin I had been on initially after my Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I hated the thought of this. I felt like a failure.

Was I just not trying hard enough? Was I eating too many carbs? Did I unknowingly eat gluten (again!) and kill my pancreas more? Am I just overtaxing my pancreas with too many carbs? Was it just a time bomb and my pancreas would die off anyway? Was all that I read about gluten true? Have I worked so hard for nothing????

So many questions! So many questions with complicated answers! There were too many variables, and I felt overwhelmed and not sure where to even begin to look for the answer.

Sometime back in the summer, a friend had suggested a book to me, The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases by Dr. Amy Meyer. Intriguing title, no? Type 1 diabetes in an autoimmune disease, so I thought I should check it out. What could it hurt?

I checked the book out of the library, and I began to devour it immediately. Everything Dr. Meyer explained about how autoimmune diseases worked was up to snuff with the other information I’d read (Gut by Giulia Enders,¬†Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers¬†by David Perlmutter, MD, and many other articles, medical studies, and blog posts).

I was hooked. I knew she was on to something as I’d already made many of the changes she suggested. The primary one being giving up gluten.

Her solution to basically all autoimmune disease?

Change your diet. Move your body some. Get enough sleep.

These are all the same things I read in¬†Grain Brain and on Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve seen it over and over and over again in regards to a huge variety of physical ailments.

There is a caveat: most of my sources aren’t talking about Type 1 diabetes. I wonder why? Maybe everyone’s pancreas is long dead before they think to try diet changes? I’m really not sure, but the principles work. I’m a walking, talking, real-life experiment, and it is working.

Back to the book, I’m all in until I get to the 30 day reset diet (or elimination diet). It is strict. It is extreme. It is expensive. The diet eliminates everything that causes inflammation in the body. Once the inflammation is under control, some of the items can be added back in after the 30 days.

I figure I’ve got nothing to lose, and I might as well give this a try before going back on insulin. What could it hurt?

Dan is all in, as always. He is the utmost supportive in all of my health issues and endeavors, and we decide the whole family will go on the diet. It simply isn’t fair for me to be deprived certain foods with my family eating them in front of me, and it also isn’t fair to make two different meals at mealtime (Which I quickly found out was impossible. These meals took so much time and effort to make!).

Let me describe diet to you:

Positive spin: You may eat meat, fruit, and vegetables (except nightshades).

Negative spin: No gluten, no grains (no corn, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, spelt, etc), no legumes, no nuts, no nightshades (tomatoes and peppers), no eggs, no dairy, no coffee (will the world end?!?!)

Oh. my. goodness. What do I eat? I was on regular rotation of oatmeal and eggs/sausage for breakfast. I was left with only sausage. Ah! What do I eat for breakfast?!

Because of this conundrum, it did reinforce that I needed to follow her meal plan exactly, and I did. i bought every ingredient and followed every recipe. Some  were good, others were not. We ate it anyway. We drank bone broth with our breakfasts and ate more vegetables than I thought were possible.

Guess what happened? You already know, don’t you?

It worked.

Immediately, my blood glucose numbers returned to normal (my Type 1 diabetic normal, <130 before meals and in the morning).

What. In. The. World.

::Step on soap box::

If I wasn’t a crazy crunchy momma before, I sure am now. Our diets are literally killing us, and we are so happy to not change it just for the gratification of a sugary donut or bowl of pasta or heaping ice cream cone.

::Step off soap box::

Full disclosure though: I only stuck with the meal plan for two weeks. It simply wasn’t tasty enough, and the price tag was killing our budget. So I took the principles, and I made my own meal plan. I did start to slowly reintroduce foods after two weeks too (too soon according to Dr. Meyer!) because my children needed nuts to snack on! Our snacking options were extremely limited!

So far I have reintroduced nuts, eggs, nightshades, and coffee. All is well in blood-glucose land with these additions. It’s been 5 or 6 weeks since I started the diet, and I’m doing so good. I’ve been having the occasional alcoholic beverage (wine or hard cider), and that is doing fine too. Right now my (our) diet is grain free (this eliminates all gluten too, gluten is really the primary key to autoimmune issues) and dairy free.

I am planning to try some dairy to see if I can handle that. I’d LOVE to be able to eat dairy again, but it is highly inflammatory. I suspect it is the cause of my elevated blood glucose in August and September. As I tried to eat lower and lower carb meals and snacks, I ate more and more dairy: cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, brie, goat cheese, etc. etc. I am not hopeful that it will work for me to eat it again.

And now with the holidays looming, I have big research to do! How to make a paleo thanksgiving meal?!

P.S. A grain-free, dairy-free diet is called paleo. It’s everywhere, thank goodness! I have no shortage of recipes and sources for tasty food!

So Gluten…

About 2 weeks ago, a friend at church asked me how it was going. She was referring to the diabetes, diet and lifestyle changes, etc.

“It’s going great! I think I’ve really hit my stride. I know what my blood glucose levels are going to be at the four times I check during the day. I know what throws them off (refined sugar/too many carbs). My A1C is good. I think I’ve really figured this out.”

Oh does pride go before a fall, my friends.

Literally that next week things were off. My BG weren’t astronomical, but I was getting 150’s in the morning and during the day at times. For the last 2 months, this rarely, rarely happened.

Hmmm…

I had taken a week off working out and getting up on time (shame, shame!), so I thought that must be it.

I worked hard the following week to get my activity and sleep back on schedule, but the BG didn’t right themselves. Still high-ish in the morning, not consistently below 150. Also I’d have these tremor episodes in the middle of the night. If I got up and had a snack, then they’d subside and I could go back to sleep. This was killing me though (1) interrupted sleep and (2) eating during the night were both raising my BG in the morning.

So after a week of being good with my diet, sleep, and exercise, I was pretty much convinced my pancreas must be just dying some more. Why else would my BG be higher all the sudden?

Then two nights ago, Dan came to me, “Honey! That BBQ sauce we just made (right about 2 weeks ago) has whiskey in it!”

“Yes, I know…” – me

“Whiskey has gluten in it!” – Dan

Grrr!

We really liked the new variety of sauce Dan made this time, so we’ve kind of been eating it on everything. I’ve probably had a couple tablespoons 2-3 times a week for the last 2 weeks.

That night, I noticed the eczema is back on my right hand. RATS!

It all makes sense to me now: my tremor episodes? Gluten withdrawal that usually hits 3 days after going gluten-free. I was having gluten often enough that I’d only have the tremors for one night or two before we’d have the sauce again. High BG numbers? It took my body about 4 weeks to have consistent, in range, BG numbers after going gluten-free. So I think I’m going to have higher numbers for a few more weeks. So frustrating!

It’s all one great experiment! We’ll see how this pans out!

C-peptide Results

I finally got my C-peptide test results on 8/8/17, and it only took me 4 tries from 3 different labs and 7 pokes to get it! Ha!

I let much time laps between tries to get this test done, and I now wish I had persisted more.

In my very basic understanding, C-peptide test measures the amount of c-peptide in the bloodstream which is at a 1:1 ratio of insulin in the bloodstream. Testing the level of insulin is unreliable, but the testing of c-peptide gives a much more accurate representation of how much insulin the body is producing.

When I had my fourth and final try to get this test done, I had been gluten-free, eating tons of veggies, and getting enough sleep for a couple months. Guess what the result was? Normal. No. Way. My level was 2.2 and the normal range is .8-3.9. Pretty darn close to right in the middle, eh?

My doctor was SUPER quick to assure me that she still thinks I have Type 1 diabetes so keep checking blood 3-4 times a day. They seem to have no idea why I don’t need additional insulin.

I know I have Type 1 diabetes. I see it in my blood glucose levels. I see it in how my body has reacted to eliminating gluten (an inflammatory and highly associated with autoimmune diseases). I find their response and ignorance highly frustrating.

Anyway…

Again, I really wish I knew what my c-peptide was at diagnosis, but I will be interested to see how it changes over time.

I just began to do research on this test today, so I don’t know very much yet. Here’s what I know:

  1. C-peptide will eventually cease in a Type 1 diabetic, usually within 5 years (sooner in children).
  2. C-peptide is not present in injected insulin so when the pancreas kicks the bucket completely there is no reason to continue to check the c-peptide levels.
  3. C-peptide is believed to be beneficial in preventing some of the long-term bad effects of diabetes.
  4. Prolonging the honeymoon period is advantageous.

That is what I’m trying to do, folks. Prolong this honeymoon period as long as possible. I think it’s working too. I’ve had some recent bumps in the road. I’ll hopefully write about those soon…

Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.

This is Michael Pollan’s summary of how to eat mentioned in his documentary, In Defense of Food. It’s on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

Those statements have been rolling around in my head. This is really how I’ve come to manage my diabetes without insulin:

  1. Eat Food. Real food. Pollan goes into more detail in his book and documentary but basically if your food can rot, you should eat it. If it doesn’t rot (hello, processes/shelf stable items!), don’t eat it. For me, this also means no gluten. This is specifically because gluten is causing my body to create antibodies that kill my pancreas.
  2. Not too much. I am still a Type 1 diabetic. My pancreas is still 80%-ish dead. I cannot go carb crazy and eat all the cake I like (even if it is gluten free). I eat moderate meals and snack, and I do not have trouble with my blood sugar.
  3. Mostly Plants. This is the biggest change for me. I’ve never eaten enough vegetables. It’s something we all know but rarely do: eat more veggies. Now I do. I try to cover more than half my plate each meal in vegetables. Guess what happens when I do? I am full. I return to normal body weight (bye bye excess baby weight!). I have stable blood sugar (below 130 before a meal).

Here is my latest addition that has allowed me to stop taking the 1 unit of Toujeo and have a “normal” (again, for a Type 1 diabetic) fasting blood glucose (BG).

Go to bed on time and wake up on time.

Every. Single. Day.

This was hard for me, folks. I had been struggling with the 1 unit of insulin I was taking because it would send me low at lunch and dinner if I was even a little bit late for that meal. It really felt like my body didn’t need it if I could just figure out how to lower my BG overnight. I found the answer in two different places (so it is likely out there in more places!).

The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Regulate Insulin That Have Nothing to Do with Food

I have been going to bed at 10pm (9:45 when possible!) and getting up at 6am every day for almost 3 weeks, and my fasting BG has been in the 120’s since the first morning I started going to bed/getting up on time.

A.MAZ.ING.

I’ve been completely off additional insulin for 3 weeks now, and I think I’m off it for good. If I can keep my pancreas from dying more, I’m done with injecting insulin, and I’m a Type 1 diabetic.

Type 1 diabetes can be manages by diet and lifestyle changes, if caught right away before the pancreas dies completely.

What in the world? This goes totally against everything I knew growing up in a family with a Type 1 diabetic (a family that now has 4 Type 1 diabetics!).

I meet with my endocrinologist next Wednesday for a quarterly check-up. I am excited to show them my findings, and also to get an A1C (a blood test that gives a 3 month average of past BG levels). I’m curious to see if my average is still good. It should be, but I only check 4 times a day without testing how quickly my BG returns to normal after a meal.

So here’s my modified mantra:

Eat real, gluten-free food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Go to bed/get up on time.

 

Gluten Free Daily Menu #4

Today’s menu utilizes leftovers. Don’t let them rot in your fridge! Leftover veggies go great with eggs for breakfast or a quick lunch when you are pressed for time!

Breakfast –¬† Scrambled Eggs, Pan-Fried Sweet Potatoes (leftovers from dinner the night before!), water and coffee

Notes:

  • The key to fluffy, delicious scrambled eggs is cooking over low heat and stirring frequently (constantly, if possible). We whisk our eggs then sprinkle with salt and pepper either in the bowl or in the pan before we cook them. Grease the pan with oil or butter and turn heat on low. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as they cook. Stop cooking when they are still moist. Serve immediately.
  • The sweet potatoes were peeled and chopped then cooked in a lightly oiled frying pan and seasoned salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.

Lunch –¬† “Snack-y” lunch: cheese and gluten free crackers, apple, carrot sticks, bell pepper sticks, dill dip, and garlic/dill pickles from our garden

Notes:

  • Nothing earth shattering here, folks. My goal is to have veggies, fruit, and some protein on my plate, and to have half or more of the plate covered with vegetables.
  • You will be full! I promise!

Dinner –¬†Skillet Rice and Beans with Corn and Tomatoes

Notes:

  • Another fantastic recipe from this cookbook.
  • I left out the corn because while it is gluten free, it is very high in carbs. It always sneaks up on my in recipes, so I avoid it when it’s paired with other high carb food: rice and beans.
  • The tomato salsa on top is the killer part: quarter grape or cherry tomatoes toss with chopped green onions 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. It’s to die for. Make any kind of rice and beans and throw this on top. You won’t be disappointed!