Aside

Post-Thanksgiving Diabetes Update | How My Diabetes Management Fared with Dietary Restrictions

I did a lot of planning for our Thanksgiving menu. I wanted a delicious meal that would be enjoyed by everyone, even those used to eating gluten and dairy. I succeeded on that front! The day was so fun and everyone, including me, enjoyed themselves.

I did not share how my diabetes fared though. It’s all well and good to go to great lengths to exclude gluten, grains, and dairy from the menu, but if my blood glucose (BG, blood sugar level) is sky high at the end of the night, was it really worth the effort?

I am happy to report, my body managed the extra carbs superbly. I decided going into the evening meal that I wasn’t going to hold back. I wanted to see how my body would respond with a rich, indulgent meal.

**Note: For anyone not familiar with my story, I am a Type 1 diabetic (as of April 2017) who went on insulin after initial diagnosis. Upon finding the research of gluten’s effect on the gut and subsequent autoimmune triggers, I went gluten-free in April 2017. I have since refined my diet to be paleo (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) for continued blood sugar control. Here’s the kicker: I am not taking any additional insulin. My pancreas is still working and with diet and lifestyle control, it can keep up with the carbs I eat.**

Appetizers (4:30pm)
  • I ate 3 bacon wrapped dates. I guess I did hold back on these because truthfully I could’ve eaten the whole batch! I knew the dates are very high in carbs so I only had 3, which was wonderful and delicious.
  • I had a large scoop of the pumpkin dip with a handful of apples and maple-bacon pecans.
  • I didn’t weigh or measure anything.
  • I had one glass of wine.
Dinner (5:30pm)
  • I filled my plate with a little bit of everything.
  • Again, I did not hold back, measure, or weigh anything.
  • My plate was full, and I only went back for seconds of turkey and gravy because I really was full already (but those were SO good!).
  • I had one glass of wine.
Dessert (7:30pm)

Diabetes Glucose Meter

I tested my BG level before bed at 10:00pm: 118. Normal is around 100, and as a Type 1 diabetic, I am aiming for between 100 and 150 before bed. 118 is rocking amazing after Thanksgiving!

A.Maze.Ing.

The next morning I was a touch high for a fasting blood glucose reading: 169. This usually happens for me when (1) I don’t get enough sleep and (2) drink alcohol the night before.

Just for records sake, I ate Thanksgiving leftovers all day Friday, and my lunch BG was 117 and dinner was 106. I was high before bed (200), but I’d just had a slice of pie. 🙂

Main Point: Eating a large holiday meal did not derail my blood glucose numbers.

Holidays are not an event to dread if you have Type 1 Diabetes, any autoimmune disease, allergy, or really any ailment. You can plan a holiday meal that you and your family can enjoy without getting off track on your health management.

I wish I had a scale. Ours broke a few months ago so I don’t have proof of this, but here’s my hunch: I didn’t gain a pound over Thanksgiving. I ate mostly healthy food. Yes, we had more sugar in the form of maple syrup and honey, but everything was made from scratch: zero store-bought processed food, a little home-processed food, all in all: mostly whole foods. These homemade foods are things your body can process more efficiently, and since my body is being fed completely, without missing macros or nutrition, my body is not holding onto excess fat for a rainy day.

This can mean the same thing for you too. You can enjoy the holiday food within your diet restrictions. You CAN make it through a holiday season without gaining weight! You can flourish with the life and health you have.  

If you are suffering from an autoimmune condition. Start researching. Change your diet. You can change your life. If you have Type 1 Diabetes, get rid of gluten completely and you will greatly reduce your insulin need (potentially be able to completely stop bolusing for meals!) and have more stable blood sugar. Can you imagine the freedom?!?


Are you inspired??? I get so on fire about food nowadays. It used to be hard for me to believe that food affects your health. “You are what you eat” is TOTALLY true! The food we eat is so important. It can allow us to live healthy lives or slowly kill us. Crazy, right?! 

What changes do you think you should make? Have questions? Contact me!

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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??