Hi, there and welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am an insulin-free, Type 1 Diabetic. Crazy, right? You can catch up on some of my research here, and be sure to subscribe to get all the latest info and encouragement on living a healthy life! (Just enter your email address at the top of the screen!) Today I’d like to walk you through an in-depth look at egg sensitivity for a Type 1 Diabetic. Check out this post to learn about food sensitivities in general. Let’s dive in to what happens when I accidentally come in contact with one of my food sensitivities.
At this point in my journey, I am very aware of my food sensitivities and do a fairly good job avoiding them. My source of egg cross-contamination came from the most unlikely of sources: my own cast iron pans!
My husband and I took a weekend trip a few weekends back, and I thought it would be so nice to my egg-loving children to leave some eggs for them to enjoy while we were gone. And boy did they ever enjoy them…I think my sitter said they ate them almost every meal!
What I didn’t think about was the only pans I have left to cook eggs on are cast iron pans. Are you familiar with the care of cast iron pans? Well, you don’t really clean them. Just a good scrape with hot water then dry it and apply a new layer of oil. Using soap on a cast iron pan is the biggest no-no!
My sitter very specifically told me which pans she used to cook the eggs, and I thought nothing of it. I washed them as usual then used them to cook our dinner that night. My pre-bed blood sugar was 167 (with a day average of 148).
Hm, that’s a bit high but not TOO bad. My pre-bed goal is less than 150.
The next day my readings were
- Fasting – 170
- Pre-Lunch – 154
- Pre-Dinner – 175
- Pre-Bed – 175
- Day Average – 170
Yikes! The biggest problem with this cross-contamination is I didn’t identify the source on this day. So the following day, I used the egg pan again to cook dinner. My pre-bed test was 212. Whoa! What is going on? That evening, I dug into my food journal and thought through my recent meals eventually landing on the cast iron pan as the most likely source.
With two exposures to eggs two days apart, my blood sugar soared above 200 for the next four days then slowly made it’s way back down. Take a look at the chart below showing my average blood sugar from the first egg exposure (Day 1) to finally leveling out at normal levels (Day 19).
Notes from Chart:
- On Day 1, dinner is cooked on the same pan as the eggs the weekend prior.
- On Day 3, dinner is cooked again on the tainted pan, and it wasn’t until that evening that I discovered the source of the rising blood sugar.
- Day 14 – First normal pre-dinner reading of 126.
- Day 15 – First normal pre-bed reading of 149.
- Day 18 – First normal pre-lunch reading of 124.
- Day 19 – First normal fasting (morning) reading of 148. Also note jump up in the average blood sugar overall on Day 19. I got sick before lunch and my numbers jumped up a bit for the rest of the day.
I have mentioned before in this post that food sensitivities have a long tail. This exposure to eggs is a perfect example of that long tail. The first sign that I’ve been exposed to something that irritates my gut is a blood sugar reading 4-12 hours after ingestion. Blood sugar levels remained elevated (although slowly returning to normal) for 19 day. 19 days!
If you are going through the Autoimmune Protocol or some other elimination diet to cure or manage an autoimmune disease, here is my advice from my own experience:
Healing the gut takes time. It took 19 days for me to return to normal blood sugar levels! During that time, I kept my nutrition in line with the Autoimmune Protocol and kept my carbs low, less than 50 per day. My goal was to feed my body so it had energy to heal but not overtax my pancreas.
Another note on patience, other things often interrupt gut healing and tracking results. For example, I got sick on Day 19 which jumped my numbers up a bit. Continue to stay the course. Sickness messes things up, but the body will heal and return to normal eventually.
Put a halt to any new reintroductions. Keep all the food that has already been reintroduced successfully. For me, it really wouldn’t make sense to do a reintroduction when my blood sugar is elevated. There would be no way for me to tell if the food irritated my gut because it was already quite irritated! Blood sugar level is my identifier for food sensitivity so I must let it return to normal before continuing the reintroductions.
Keep a Food Journal.
A food journal was absolutely necessary to track this exposure, identify the source, and keep my spirits up while I waited for my gut to heal. I cannot stress enough the importance of writing everything down if you are working to heal your body through food. Our daily lives and diets are too complex (even on an Autoimmune Protocol diet!) to remember in your head. Download your free copy here or just use a cheap spiral-bound notebook!
The world is not going to end just because your blood sugar is up or your autoimmune disease symptoms have flared. Try to keep things in perspective. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Two or three off weeks will not derail your overall health. Look for things that are going well. Find joy in the little victories as your body heals.
If you were skeptical about egg sensitivities for a Type 1 Diabetic, I hope this clears up some of your answers. Isn’t it crazy that a low-carb food can raise blood sugar?! It all has to do with how to gut responds to the food, and clearly, my gut does not like eggs, even trace amounts! You too can figure out exactly what your body likes and doesn’t like. You too can map out a flare-up just like me. Begin taking control of your health today!
If you have an autoimmune disease, have you tried tracking your flare-ups? Have you linked the flare-ups to specific foods? What are your top tips to help your body heal during an exposure?
You estimate that a glycemia upper 150 is normal ? And therefore you don’t need insulin ? It’s strange for me: I’m also type 1 diabetic, under 150 but with a minimum of insulin (levemir+humalog), if I follow your approch, I can skip insulin (I’m alwars under 150) but for me it’s “not logic”… I’m following a keto carnivore diet, it works fine for me, with no eggs but with diary 🙂
Hi Giancarlo! No, I do not consider 150 normal in terms of a non-diabetic. That is clearly in diabetic range. I use the 150 mark as a guide for determining of food is causing inflammation in the gut. As you can see if this post, eggs cause my blood sugar to soar into the 200’s for a couple weeks. Clearly something more than the carbohydrate count of eggs (nearly nothing!) is going on here. If you are under 150 with insulin, it is unlikely you will continue to be under 150 without it. I stopped taking insulin at the beginning of my diabetes journey because changing my diet healed my gut and my damaged pancreas could keep up with my normal food intake. If I took insulin during that time period, even 1 unit of long-acting insulin would send me low, clearly my body did not need additional insulin at that time. I’m not a doctor, so I cannot give you medical advice, just words of experience and caution. I highly recommend diet change for managing diabetes, AIP especially, but you must watch your glucose numbers carefully and adjust your insulin dosage accordingly. Best of luck!