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°, but Dan likes 185°.), 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.


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.


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


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.


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…

A1C: 6.6

Super stoked after my endocrinologist appointment today! My A1C was 6.6!

An A1C gives a three month average of blood glucose level. The goal for a Type 1 diabetic is 7 or less which means an average blood glucose level less than 150 (around 100 is normal for a non-diabetic).

I was diagnosed with an A1C of 9.7. So this is good improvement. I still need a blood test that will tell me how much insulin I’m producing. For now, the doctors just think its because of the honeymoon period, not the changes I’ve made. I don’t of course, but time will tell.

Super excited tonight!

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.


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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!

Gluten Free Daily Menu #3

Today’s menu is some dishes that are becoming staples around here: steel-cut oatmeal and “snack-y” lunch.

I had a weekend where I felt really tired and empty. I had a couple periods where my lips were chalk white. My google-doctor told me it might be low iron. A lot of the foods I eat contain iron (oatmeal and raisins for one!), and I also to most of my cooking in a cast iron pan. Food cooked on cast iron absorbs some iron from the pan. So I was confused how I could have low iron. When I get blood work, my iron levels are usually great.

I did a little digging, and it looks like you need vitamin C to actually absorb the iron in my food. I eat oranges on the regular through the winter but hadn’t had citrus in a while. I’ve been taking Vitamin C pills the last week or so and I’v never felt better! Crazy, huh?

Breakfast Steel-cut Oatmeal (base recipe), Raisins, Cashews, and Banana; Green Smoothie


  • I’ve found that toppings or garnish, if you will, make all the difference in a plate a food. Garnish takes any dish to the next level in both flavor and aesthetics. Take the extra minutes to gather something from the pantry to throw on top of your oatmeal. Grab those herbs and cook that bacon to toss on top of your soup, it will make it so much better!
  • Green Smoothie – 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 apple, 1 cup pineapple chunks, a whole bunch of Swiss chard

Lunch – “Snack-y” lunch, grape tomatoes, dill dip, marble cheddar cheese, crackers, sweet potatoes and Swiss chard


  • This lunch is a quick, clean-out-the-fridge kind of lunch. I regularly do a lunch like this: cheese and crackers then load up the rest of the plate with veggies (raw or some leftovers like the sweet potatoes above).
  • I use these lunches to make sure we are finishing random jars of pickles, olives, etc. too. I found I like pickles, and my kids LOVE them. So I usually toss one pickle on everyone’s plate for lunch.

Dinner – Tortilla Soup


  • I am ridiculously proud of this dinner. It wasn’t too difficult, and I was able to pack in a ton of greens into this soup.
  • The broth and chicken came from my favorite Mexican cookbook. I did find the recipe online, but I don’t think you can view it without a subscription. Here’s a blogger’s take which is similar to mine (the broth and chicken prep is exactly the same as in the cookbook).
  • I took my idea from the rice bowl I had at a new restaurant in town, Core Eatery. It is the only completely gluten-free restaurant around. It makes me so sad it’s a chain, but it did have the freshest, realest food I’ve ever had at a restaurant. I was pleased when i went there. Could I make it better? Sure, but for eating out, I loved leaving a restaurant feeling satisfied and not sick-to-my-stomach full. 🙂
  • Basic idea: make a yummy broth then fill your bowl with chopped greens (mine is kale), black beans, chopped chicken, rice, and other veggies (We did avocado, green pepper, and jalapeno.) and pour the broth over everything. Top with queso fresco and sour cream.
  • It was so good. Dan thought possibly the best dish I’ve ever made. Woot! Try it!


Gluten Free Daily Menu #2

Here’s another example of what we eat at our house. I’m still not finding the diet super restrictive. I love to cook, and I think almost everything we already made was gluten free. The biggest change for us is lunch. No more sandwiches. 🙁

We did just purchase ingredients to make gluten free flour. We are going to try converting our sour dough starter to gluten free. I’ll let you know how it goes!

BreakfastSteel Cut Oatmeal (stovetop method, base recipe), Cinnamon Apples, Toasted Cashews, Coffee & Water (of course!)


  • The boys (and I!) love cinnamon apples. I peel and slice the apples thin, put in small sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of water and cinnamon, and cook until soft. Add cinnamon until your liking. These are deliciously sweet without any additional sugar. When we’re running low on fresh fruit near the end of the grocery cycle, this is our go-to breakfast.
  • The cinnamon apples also pair very well with sausage.
  • The cashews are black spotted because I’m lazy and didn’t wipe out my cast iron pan before toasting. Just trying to keep it real, folks. 😉

Lunch – Egg Salad with lettuce and crackers, carrots and dill dip, and a green smoothie


  • This is my go-to lunch if I’m craving a sandwich. I make the typical filling for the sandwich, egg salad in this case, then eat it by scooping it up with lettuce or crackers. I honestly love it this way. I just don’t tell myself it’s a sandwich because it so isn’t.
  • Green Smoothie: 1 cup water, 1 whole apple, 2 kiwi, 1ish cup of pineapple, and a whole bunch of kale (I fill my pitcher to the top. I’ll take a picture one of these days). Blend until smooth. I add more pineapple if it’s tasting too “green.”

Dinner – Smoked Bratwurst, Roasted Broccoli, Wilted Leaf Lettuce Salad


  • The smoked brats are complements of my wonderful husband. He is king on the grill/smoker. I don’t know how he made them, but we agreed, these were the best ever. They are Kirkland brand brats (Costco store brand) smoked over apple wood.
  • Roasted Broccoli (my new favorite way to eat it!) – Toss broccoli in olive oil, salt and light pepper then roast at 425 for 15-20 minutes (until desired doneness) then sprinkle with lemon juice. The lemon juice is key! It turns this veggie into delight to eat! I did substitute lime juice in a pinch one night, and that worked just fine too!
  • Wilted Lettuce Salad – Folks, this is the way to eat salad – covered in bacon grease! Recipe complements of Zach Gembis.
    • a large amount of leaf lettuce, torn/chopped
    • 3-4 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled, reserve grease
    • a large amount of green onions, chopped (4-5 store bought, 2-3 homegrown)
    • 1-2T brown sugar
    • 3T cider vinegar
    • 1.5T water
    • Cook green onions in bacon grease until starting to wilt, stir in sugar until melted, stir in vinegar & water until all combined. Pour over lettuce and bacon crumbles, stir to wilt, then serve immediately, warm.
    • Delish! We added queso fresco and cashews this time because it sounded good. You need to try this salad! You can eat a TON of greens because they are partly wilted. I never knew a warm, wilted salad could be so good!