Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal
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Autoimmune Protocol | Reintroduction Phase

If you’re new here, my journey through the Autoimmune Protocol began on February 19, 2018. The elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol lasts 30 days or until symptoms subside. My autoimmune disease is Type 1 Diabetes. I have never heard of a diabetic using the Autoimmune Protocol to manage Type 1 Diabetes. Since I’m forging my own trial (as far as I know!), I am documenting my results and journey here to help other Type 1 Diabetics who might be looking for alternative blood sugar management solutions. (Check out the first 5 weeks here (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).) Today I will outline my plan for the Reintroduction Phase, and my 3 keys for a success!


The elimination period was not smooth sailing for me as weeks 3 and 4 were filled with sickness and a diet-busting meal at the beginning of week 3. Due to my sleep and routine being so thrown off, in addition to the sickness, I really couldn’t flesh out what was causing my higher blood sugar those weeks. At the time, I blamed my routine and sleep being thrown off, but now I am thinking the dinner out was as much the culprit. It could have been any one of those factor or all of them combined.

Thankfully, my blood sugar returned to normal range in weeks 5 and 6. Since I was past the 30 day mark, and I thought my blood sugar was leveled out. I decided to start the reintroduction phase.

Reintroduction Phase

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Once the symptoms of the autoimmune disease have stopped, you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the elimination phase. There is a best way to do this, and I wish I’d known this back when I first did an elimination diet in October 2017. Foods need to be introduced one at a time and symptoms monitored for 3 days to a week after eating before introducing another food. In my first attempt, I introduced the foods I missed the most first and only waited 2-3 days between introductions. I definitely rushed things.

Choosing which food to introduce first matters too. In the graphic above, the Reintroduction Phase is broken up into four stages. The food in stage 1 is the most likely to be accepted by an autoimmune impaired body, and stage 4 is the least likely to be accepted. Within each stage, it does not matter which food you try first, just pick one and keep the results as clean as possible.

How to Reintroduce a Food

I gathered most of my information on reintroducing foods from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. I highly recommend that book if you are looking for answers to an autoimmune disease!

After selecting a food to reintroduce, eat only a small bite at first and wait 15 minutes for a severe reaction. At this point, you are checking for severe allergic reactions. If you’ve gone gluten-free before, you know your body can change its mind as to what foods it likes or doesn’t like!

If the first bite goes fine, then have a normal-sized bite then monitor symptoms for 2-3 hours. Again, this step is looking for severe adverse reactions. As long as those two bites go well, have a full serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3 days to a week.

Keys to Success

Reintroducing foods and monitoring symptoms can add up to a lot of data/details, so carefully documentation and maintenance of diet and lifestyle are key. Here are 3 key tips to successfully reintroducing foods as a Type 1 Diabetic on the Autoimmune Protocol.

Food Journal

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal

First of all, a food journal is essential. You will be documenting SO many things. It is impossible to keep each day straight let alone look for patterns over days, weeks, or months.
A food journal does not have to be anything fancy. Mine is a $.25 spiral bound notebook that goes on sale just before school starts each year. Dedicate an entire notebook to the journal; it will get filled up quicker than you think! Don’t rely on scrap pieces of paper, use full size paper so you have plenty of room to write everything out!

The food journal is the main reason I’ve been able to stick with the diet for so long and to figure out which foods are not agreeing with me. I tend to over-exaggerate my blood sugar levels over days/weeks. If things are not going well, I tend to negatively think I’ve been off for a week or more, when in reality it has only been a few days. It has been so important to have a written record so I can go back and see a clear picture of what really happened.
Make note of anything of consequence along with the major measures for your autoimmune disease. You won’t regret more detail when you go back to review the results. I have Type 1 Diabetes, so I monitor the following things:

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose
  2. Sleep notes
  3. Supplements taken
  4. Breakfast Food
  5. Snack
  6. Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose
  7. Lunch Food
  8. Snack
  9. Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose
  10. Dinner Food
  11. Supplements
  12. Snack
  13. Pre-Bed Blood Glucose

Jotting down these things throughout each day was a game changer! There are SO many moving parts in one’s diet, and many lifestyle routines, habits, and choices make a difference in blood sugar level too. I’m so glad I went through the effort to keep this journal. It is helping me tremendously analyze my results.

Healthy Habits

Healthy habits like consistent sleep (8-9 hours), consistent bed and wake time, and exercise are vital for a healthy body. Keep these routines consistent throughout the reintroduction phase. You want as few variables as possible when trying new foods, so don’t let your lifestyle habits prevent a clear reading on how the food is affecting you.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, these are the healthy lifestyle habits I stick to every day:

  1. Wake up at 5:45am every day – even on the weekends!
  2. Time in God’s Word and prayer – beyond communicating with my Lord and keeping that relationship growing, I need His peace as I go through each day. This diet stresses me sometimes.
  3. Exercise – I do a Fitness Blender workout Monday through Saturday.
  4. Consistent mealtime – Breakfast at 8am, Lunch at 12:30pm, and Dinner at 5:30
  5. Bed time at 10:00pm every day – even on the weekends!

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, blood glucose or blood sugar is my primary indicator if a food is agreeing with my body or not. I test four times a day: fasting or first thing in the morning, before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. My goals for each of those times are as follows:

  • Fasting – less than 130
  • Pre-lunch – less than 130
  • Pre-dinner – less than 130
  • Bed time – between 100 and 150

For my non-diabetic readers, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar level is around 100.

Measurement of Results

The plan for the near future is to reintroduce one item from phase 1 then watch my blood sugar for 3-7 days and make note of any spikes. My criteria for a successful reintroduction as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose less than 150 – This is the biggest indicator that a food has irritated my gut. If I wake up in the morning with a blood sugar higher than 150, that’s when I know my body is off track. I wish I was consistently under 130, but it doesn’t look like that will happen (dawn phenomenon? Not sure…).
  • Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose less than 120 – My normal pre-lunch blood glucose is usually around 100-120, so if it is above that (even if still less than the accepted 130) I know my body is not tolerating that food well.
  • Body tremors – I have doubts that any food besides gluten will do this, but if I’ve ingested gluten, I get the shakes three days later. It feels like the organs inside my rib cage are shaking. I do not do anything to treat this symptom. Although it feels bad, it goes away in a day, and it has happened enough times that I know it is only a sign of gluten exposure.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My plan for the Reintroduction Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol is to choose one food at a time, wait 3-7 days between new foods, document my results in my food journal, and keep my health lifestyle going every day. I am hopeful with careful analysis and cooking to be able to reintroduce foods that I’ve been without these past weeks! Egg yolks is first up on my list, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!


Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

diabetes testing supplies
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Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes | How I Became Dairy-Free

This is the story of how I can manage my Type 1 Diabetes without insulin. We left off my Gluten-Free, Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetic journey in the late summer of 2017. I was managing my diabetes completely without artificial insulin through a gluten-free diet that was high in vegetables.  However, in August and September, my fasting blood sugar was getting higher and higher. I was about to discover that other foods can inflame the gut and raise blood sugar. Dairy-free and grain-free were about to be added to my diet description.

Why an Elimination Diet?

In my effort to bring my blood sugar down, I started eating more and more dairy and meat. Zero carbohydrate foods, right? They can’t raise my blood sugar, right? Wrong. They can. I will try to explain what I know…diary is inflammatory. If the gut is inflamed, the villi do not form a tight wall. It becomes very permeable, allowing partially digested food into the blood stream. This can trigger an autoimmune response and raise the blood sugar level.

Jumping back to August/September 2017, I couldn’t figure out how to lower my blood sugar, so I checked out a book from the library that was recommended by a friend, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. This was sort of a last ditch effort. My thought was that my blood sugar levels were getting to the point that I’d need to go on insulin again, but if this book claims it can fix my autoimmune disease, what do I have to lose?

As I jumped into the book, it resonated with me. Yes, this is what I was going through, and I was willing to try anything at this point before going back on insulin. While I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my “use-food-to-heal-my-body” theories,  I had just enough gumption to try it.

Blood Glucose and the Elimination Diet

diabetes testing supplies

The book has a 30 day elimination diet that is nicely laid out with exactly what to eat each meal along with recipes and shopping list. I followed it to a T. I bought every item and made every meal. Everything that wasn’t allowed (coffee, alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, nuts, nightshades etc.) I stopped eating.

My blood sugar improved dramatically and immediately. As in the first official day of the diet, my fasting blood sugar was 126. (I had stopped coffee a couple days before and basically began eating according to the diet the day prior to officially starting.) That first day’s fasting blood sugar was perfectly in range (less than 130). The next day it was 111, the next 135, 124, 110, 104, 132…my blood sugar was between 100 and 140 every morning.

What in the world? This is the power of eating food that nourishes your body!

I attributed the dramatic blood sugar change primarily to the elimination of dairy. Cottage cheese and brick cheese were my go-to snacks prior to the elimination diet, and I was probably having upwards of 8 servings of dairy every day. Possibly overdosing on dairy. 🙂 Looks like dairy-free is the life for me going forward!

Me and the Elimination Diet

Paleo AIP Food Prep

The Meyers Way threw me into the kitchen like I had never been before. I like to cook and enjoy being in the kitchen, but this diet was a whole new level of cooking:

  • Zero processed or convenience food
  • 100% fresh vegetables, no frozen or canned
  • TONS and tons of vegetables at every meal = lots of chopping!
  • No easy sides or bases to the meal, i.e. corn tortillas, rice, beans, potatoes

I’d love to tell you I thrived and found joy and purpose in making fresh meals that clearly were healing and nourishing my body. However, that would just not be true. I found the extra hours in the kitchen a huge burden and the results of my effort were lacking in the flavor department. The amazing blood glucose results were the only reason I could hold on for two weeks of this diet.

Yes, I’m sad to report, I only stayed on the diet for two weeks! After two weeks, I was happy with my blood glucose numbers, but I was very unhappy with the tastiness of my meals and time in the kitchen. I started the re-introduction of foods after two weeks, and I now know, this was likely too soon. However, I continued to have good, in-range fasting blood sugar results for six weeks post elimination period.

The book did not mention a reintroduction schedule, so I began withe the food I missed the most. First, I introduced eggs, whole eggs. I did not separate the yolk from the white. I just ate the whole thing. These had no effect on my blood sugar so I continued on with nuts, followed by coffee and chocolate. Last, I introduced alcohol. All of those were fine. My morning blood sugar was still in the 100-140 range, and it stayed that way for six weeks after the diet.

After the Elimination Diet

After my short stint in the Meyers Way diet, I began a strict Paleo diet. Now that I wasn’t eating dairy or grains, the name for my diet was/is Paleo. Now that I had a name for the way I was eating, I could find tons of recipes via Pinterest or blogs I already knew about, Against All Grain for one.

Want a funny story? Dan has been wanting to eat Paleo for years. I always poo-pooed it because of the amount of pressure on me in the kitchen. After our first son was born, we were eating Paleo and using Danielle Walker’s cookbook, Against All Grain, as our primary recipe source. When I finally stopped eating Paleo, I sold the cookbook because I hate keeping things I’m not using. Now, in November 2017, I’m back on the Paleo bandwagon for good, for life, and I needed a cookbook. What’s the first one I buy? Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple, and I’m planning to buy Against All Grain again soon. Ha. Isn’t life ironic?

Even though the Meyers Way diet only lasted for two weeks, I saw dramatic effects on my blood sugar. I also figured out I have an sensitivity to all grains and dairy. Eliminating these from my diet allowed my gut to heal so it wouldn’t leak foreign objects into my bloodstream. With my bloodstream clean, my beat-up pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep my blood sugar within normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic. The taglines for my diet now include gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free; this diet is commonly called Paleo.


Insulin-free, Type 1 Diabetic series:

  1. Gluten-free Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Eat More Vegetables

Dairy-Free Grain-Free Diabetes

AIP Blood Sugar Results
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Autoimmune Protocol | Review for Type 1 Diabetic

For the last six weeks, I’ve been going through the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the strictest time period of the Autoimmune Protocol. Many foods are eliminated to reduce inflammation in the body, allow the gut to heal, and halt the progression of an autoimmune disease. I am a Type 1 Diabetic, and I went on the Autoimmune Protocol to bring my fasting blood sugar back into Type 1 Diabetic normal range (less than 130 when I wake up).

Due to some chocolate candy I ate over the holidays in late 2017, my fasting blood sugar was high, over 160, every morning when I woke up. Even if I didn’t eat carbohydrates after dinner, my fasting blood sugar was high come morning. Once I discovered the source of the problem (dairy in candy), I eliminated it from my diet along with coffee and alcohol which I suspected might be aggravating the problem. I did not see significant improvement, so on February 19, 2018, I began the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and return my fasting blood sugar to normal.


I’m happy to report the Autoimmune Protocol has been successful in bringing blood glucose back into normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic without the use of artificial insulin. It has decreased my A1c and solidified the need for healthy routines to manage Type 1 Diabetes.

Just in case there was any doubt, I am a diagnosed Type 1 diabetic. In April 2017, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My stats at diagnosis: A1c 9.6, blood glucose of 512, and GAD65 200+, higher than the test result could show. No question about it, I am a Type 1 Diabetic!

Let’s jump into how the Autoimmune Protocol enabled me to have even more control on my diabetes than I did previously with just a Paleo diet.

A1c Results

An A1c test gives an average blood sugar level from the previous 2-3 months. I had taken an A1c home test before beginning the Autoimmune Protocol. The result was 6.3. This is still good for a Type 1 Diabetic, as the goal is less than 7. The chart below translates the A1c (middle number, 4-14) result to blood sugar level.

A1c Chart

As you can see an A1c of 7 means the average blood sugar level was less than 154mg/dl. This is the goal for all Type 1 Diabetics. My result of 6.3 translates to an average blood sugar level of less than 134mg/dl. While this is technically still in range, my fasting blood sugar was too high, 160+ on the regular.

After eating strictly on the Autoimmune Protocol for 6 weeks, my A1c result was 5.8. This means my average blood sugar for the last 2-3 months was 120mg/dl. According to The Diabetes Council, this is a normal blood sugar level. A1c results of 5.9 and above are considered pre-diabetic.

A1c after AIP

This is the power of the Autoimmune Protocol! My average blood sugar levels are in normal, non-diabetic range!

I am not saying I’m cured; I am still a Type 1 Diabetic. Here is what I believe is going on in my body:

  1. The autoimmune response, i.e. the attack on the beta cells of my pancreas, has stopped. Largely due to eliminating gluten but gut health is further improved through the Autoimmune Protocol.
  2. With my gut wall healed, not leaking foreign substances into the blood stream, low carbohydrate foods, like dairy no longer raise my blood sugar.
  3. Since my pancreas is functioning, around 20% I think, my body is able to handle small doses of carbohydrates and return my blood sugar to normal range after eating.
  4. The Autoimmune Protocol allowed my gut to heal from the recent dairy exposure allowing my fasting blood sugar to come down almost to normal Type 1 Diabetic range and allowed for lower blood sugar results throughout the day with less variability.

Speaking of variability, let’s take a look at my daily blood glucose results.

Blood Glucose Results

As I analyze my blood glucose numbers from the last six weeks, it is difficult to measure how blood glucose improves when it bounces around each day. I am going to focus on averages, max, min, and range of my blood glucose throughout the six weeks of the Autoimmune Protocol.

AIP Blood Sugar Results

 

Let’s discuss each of the measures in the chart above.

Average

I calculated the average of my four blood sugar tests from each day for the week before I started the Autoimmune Protocol (Control Week) and the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Blood sugar levels are not a uniform distribution, so a straight average is not a perfect representation of average blood sugar level, but it is the best I have with the tools available to me.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol lowered my average blood sugar level from 142 to 122. Success!

Maximum

I calculated the maximum reading from the control week and from the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Prior to beginning the Autoimmune Protocol, I was having spikes over 200, but once on the protocol, the spikes were much lower, 162.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made lower blood sugar spikes.

Minimum

This is simply the lowest reading of the week. There is very little change from the control week (79) to the final week of AIP (81). I still think this is a win. I’m not looking for blood glucose levels lower than 80. Since my pancreas is still functioning, it will keep me from going very low as it won’t give me too much insulin like an injection could.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has stabilized my blood sugar on the low end too. There are no cases of going too low and needing additional glucose.

Range

This is my best result, I think. The range is the difference between the max and the min (Maximum – Minimum = Range). To describe it, the range is showing the swing or variation in my blood sugar. A non-diabetic would have very little variation in blood sugar levels because the pancreas is keeping everything in check, constantly monitoring blood sugar and insulin levels. The blood sugar range of a Type 1 Diabetic could be all over the place if the insulin input does not match the carbohydrate load ingested. I have to be extra careful because I am not taking additional insulin, and I do not know exactly what carbohydrate load my pancreas can handle (my guess is around 20g carbs per meal).

The range of my blood sugar readings has decreased from 149 prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol to 81 after six weeks of AIP. This means less variability in my blood sugar. This is a major win in my book. Less dramatic swings in blood sugar must mean good things for my internal organs and overall management of diabetes.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made my blood sugar more stable. There is less variability between my highest and lowest readings throughout the day.

 

Routine

Routine is so important. During Weeks 3 and 4, my morning routine, evening routine, and sleep patterns were all thrown off as illness ran through my entire family. I stuck to the AIP diet throughout these weeks yet the results were not the same. Take a look…

AIP Results through Sickness

While the average blood sugar was a little lower than the control week, the range was higher. My blood sugar was not as controlled even though my diet was right on. When healthy routines are not in place, it has a major impact on my blood sugar levels.

Here are the major routines that were thrown off during Weeks 3 and 4 resulting in less blood sugar  control:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night
  • Waking up at the same time every morning
  • Exercise every day
  • Drinking water

Once my family’s health returned, and my routines were back in place, my blood sugar levels returned to Type 1 Diabetic normal. That is the power of good, healthy routines!

Conclusion

The Autoimmune Protocol works! If you’ve been looking for hope to manage or even cure your autoimmune disease, this is it. It is working to manage my Type 1 Diabetes better than conventional medicine can with artificial insulin. The Autoimmune Protocol is addressing the cause of the disease: the foods that trigger an autoimmune response. By removing those foods, your body can heal and return to normal functioning. There is hope for autoimmunity, and there is healing. The Autoimmune Protocol is a good place to start.


If you want more information, check out my beginning post, weekly reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), or contact me!

AIP for Type 1 Diabetic

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Autoimmune Protocol Week 5 | Return to Routine

Welcome! I am going through the Elimination Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. Why? I am a type 1, insulin-free, diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, my blood sugar levels were higher than desired. On February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control. 

Check out how Week 1Week 2Week 3, and Week 4 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!


Week 5 of the autoimmune protocol raised my spirits as my family’s health improved, and I returned to a normal sleep schedule: going to bed at 10pm and waking at 5:45am, along with regular exercise in the morning. With just two nights of sleeping through the night and waking up on time, my morning blood sugars were below 160. I had one great morning waking up in the 130’s, but for the most part, I’ve been in the 150’s in the morning. My goal for my blood sugar first thing in the morning is less than 130. I’m not there yet, but not waking up in the 160’s and 170’s is progress!

Beside blood sugar, returning to my morning routine has given me peace and energy. I love my quiet mornings by myself before the family wakes up. The darkness of the morning, the warmth of my mug of tea, and reading my Bible are the highlight of my day. Time to work out without my kiddos crawling all over me and showering in peace and quiet are great perks too! That is happiness for me. Waking up early is worth every minute.

I used to think my mom was crazy for getting up at 5:30am. She always said she needed her quiet time to start her day. Funny, I need mine too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?

If you are struggling with energy, getting it all done, or finding time to be alone, might I recommend a structured going to bed and waking up routine? They go together because you can’t get up early for quality alone time if you were up until 2am. You need sleep. Your mind, body, health, everything about you needs sleep. Try it for two weeks. Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each day. Plan what you will do in the morning time. By the end of two weeks, you will find yourself loving it.

All that to say: routine matters in managing blood sugar levels. I’m so glad that returning to my normal is helping my fasting blood sugar to return to normal.

Food

Breakfast

In past weeks, I’ve managed to make my leftover breakfasts seem a little different when serveD the second time. Not this week! The pictures are so similar even though each picture is taken on the day I ate it. I don’t mind though. The ease of only cooking breakfast every other day is worth it!

Autoimmune Protocol Breakfast Week 5

Day 26 – Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

Day 27 – Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

Day 28 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage Links, and Half an Avocado

Day 29 – Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage Links, and Half an Avocado

Day 30 – Autumn Breakfast Skillet

Day 31 – Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Bacon

Lunch

Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers! I love leftovers because they make a quick, nutritious lunch! The only meal made fresh was Day 28, as that fell on a Sunday and Dan helped me cook a super yummy lunch. Learn to use your leftovers to improve your lunchtime nutrition and ease your cooking responsibilities.

Autoimmune Protocol Lunch Week 5

Day 26 – Leftover Turkey Hash, Dairy-free Tuna Salad (I used the sauce from this recipe), Roasted Asparagus, Apples

Day 27 – Leftover Salmon Chowder and Roasted Broccoli

Day 28 – Grilled Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips

Day 29 – Leftover Salmon Chowder and Brussel Sprouts with Apples

Day 30 – Chicken Salad, Broiled Chicken Skin, Sliced Cucumbers and Carrots

Day 31 – Leftover Chicken with Italian Wedding Soup Broth and Vegetables on Top

Dinner

Seafood finally made it to the table with Day 26’s Salmon Chowder. It has taken me years to appreciate fish, and now that I finally do, I realize how budget-breaking it is! Seafood will likely be a feast or famine occurrence at our house. When Dan goes fishing in the summer and fall, we will eat a lot of fish. During the winter and spring, it will rarely grace our table. I think this is a healthy balance though. A paleo diet is based on what our ancestors used to eat, and they did not live in an agrarian culture like we do. They had fish when they caught it, that’s it. So I’m accepting of the fact that we will only eat fish for about half the year, maybe only 1 or 2 months of the year.

Autoimmune Protocol Dinner Week 5

Day 26 – Salmon Chowder and Roasted Broccoli

Day 27 – Grilled Pork Chops, Roasted Asparagus, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips

Day 28 – Leftover Salmon Chowder

Day 29 – Lemon Herb Chicken, Carrot Fries, and Steamed Broccoli

Day 30 – Dinner Out: Naked Burger with Lettuce and Onion and Steamed Broccoli

Day 31 – Rosemary Chicken, Kale Chips, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Top Recipes of the Week
  1. Kale Chips – How have I been eating a Paleo diet for almost a year and never tried kale chips?? In desperation to just shake things up a bit, I made kale chips for dinner. They were awesome: crispy, salty, melt in your mouth. Yum. The kids loved them too!
  2. Salmon Chowder – This one was a shocker. I don’t know why, but I thought this recipe might not be a winner (yet I chose to make it anyway?! I don’t understand myself sometimes.). I was trying to incorporate seafood into my diet, so I was willing to ignore my tasting instincts. I’m so glad I did! This soup was bright and lemony, not a bit fishy. It was so good, enjoyed by the whole family.
  3. Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage – If I may toot my own horn, this hash is awesome. I love mushrooms and onions which take this hash up a notch from regular veggies and meat. Try it. You won’t regret it!

Blood Sugar

As mentioned above, overall my blood sugar levels returned to normal range. As a Type 1 Diabetic, my blood sugar goals are less than 130 first thing in the morning and before meals and less than 150 before bed. Take a look at the chart below. Even though the lines go up and down throughout the day, the yellow line is lower overall from the red (Week 3) and blue (Week 4). Returning to a normal sleep and exercise routine is doing wonders for my blood sugar!

Autoimmune Protocol Blood Sugar

How I Feel

Before I took on a full Paleo diet, I thought I had plenty of energy. Sure, I had a crash in the afternoon, but I thought wanting an afternoon nap or cup of coffee was normal. At least, that’s what all the memes on Facebook would lead me to believe!

A Paleo diet and even this more strict Autoimmune Protocol have given me boundless energy. I never have a crash during the day. From the moment I get out of bed in the morning to when I’m getting ready for bed at 10pm, I have tons of energy.

Being a stay-at-home mom can lend itself to feelings of overwhelm, at least it does for me. It can seem on the outside looking in that a stay-at-home mom has boundless amounts of time. She should be able to get it all done. The truth is juggling all the responsibilities of family and home can leave me chasing my tail, feeling like I’m not getting anything done.

Since starting radical diet changes, my emotional stability has strengthened dramatically. Yes, I have implemented good lifestyle habits:

  • Make a prioritized to-do list at the beginning of each day
  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Exercise 5 times a week
  • Reading my Bible and spending time in prayer

These habits are partly to thank for my improved emotional stability, but so is the diet. They all work together to create a body that can function well all day (energy, focus, stamina) and all night (uninterrupted, deep sleep).

Goals for The Future

I was hoping to be reporting on completely in range fasting blood sugar levels and laying out my reintroduction schedule for foods I’ve been avoiding while on the Autoimmune Protocol. Sadly, that is not the case. My fasting blood sugar, while better than when my family was sick, is still not in Type 1 Diabetic normal range. For that reason, I am continuing on with the Autoimmune Protocol.

I have been following other people on the Autoimmune Protocol, and it seems to be fairly common to stick with the elimination phase longer than 30 days. Really, the idea is to stay on the elimination phase until all symptoms of the autoimmune disease stop.

It’s at this point that I don’t know the best step forward. Will my symptoms ever stop completely? What if I stayed on the Autoimmune Protocol for a year? Would the beta cells in my pancreas regenerate? Should I try a fasting regime on top of the Autoimmune Protocol? I have a lot of questions without any answers, but I think I’m on the right track.


Routine and healthy daily habits are crucial to maintaining blood sugar for a Type 1 Diabetic. Not only do these have a positive impact on blood glucose, but healthy habits do wonders for emotional stability and sleep patterns. Take your health one step further, if you are already eating healthy foods, now create healthy habits. Go to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time every day. Just start there, add other habits after you master those.

What does your morning routine look like? Do you go to bed at the same time every night? What habits have you implemented that are life-changing for you?

Click to check out the Week 1Week 2Week 3, and Week 4 reviews. Follow me on Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Autoimmune Protocol Week 5

 

Gluten-free Type 1 Diabetes
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Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes Management | Why I Became Gluten-Free

I am a Type 1 Diabetic who is living insulin-free. You read that right! I do not take artificial insulin injections! This post is the beginning of a series of posts that outline how and why I can manage my Type 1 Diabetes through diet and lifestyle. The first step is key: go gluten-free. It is not widely spread information, but it IS out there. The effect of gluten on the gut and the resulting autoimmune diseases (Remember, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease!) is published in medical journals. I will provide links to what I’ve read and watched. Take the time to read the links provided. I believe they will change your life and health dramatically, even if you don’t have Type 1 Diabetes.

Not all of the principles I’ve discovered come from Type 1 Diabetes research. Many of the principles I’ve learned come from Type 2 Diabetes research, Celiacs, or just autoimmune diseases in general. I believe in reading all the information you can, synthesizing it (make it all make sense together…really understand what you read), and applying it to your health situation. It reminds me of a Dr. Seuss quote from one of my favorite books of my kids’:

The more that you read

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn

The more places you’ll go.

~Dr. Suess, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!


I want to offer hope to other adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetics (T1D). A T1D diagnosis is not a death sentence. It is a manageable disease, and I have found that it is even more manageable than you will hear from your doctor’s office. You can thrive in better health than you ever were prior to your Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis.

Want to know how? I’m so glad you asked.

Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes

Let me give you a little history on my family, and my person health journey.

  1. My brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a 9 year old, around 1990. From a young age, I was familiar with blood sugar (glucose) monitoring, insulin injections, and sugar awareness.
  2. When my brother graduated from college and began to see an endocrinologist for his diabetes management, he (and through him, me) learned the new system of diabetes care: carb counting and using two types of insulin to manage blood sugar level: long acting and fast acting insulin.
  3. My brother’s oldest daughter is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a young girl, around 4 or 5 years old.
  4. My father was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic in his 50’s, around 2010. His diagnosis was long and drawn-out as adult-onset diabetes was not as common then. He has elevated amounts of the antibody GAD65 present in his system which is the key to a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis (versus Type 2).
  5. At 29 years old, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy in 2013. I was able to control my blood glucose levels with diet and exercise. Upon giving birth, I was declared diabetes-free, so I resumed my usual lifestyle and eating habits (home-cooked meals BUT included wheat, dairy, and not enough vegetables).
  6. At 31 years old, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes again during my second pregnancy in 2015. This time, I knew the symptoms, and I knew the weekend my pancreas could no longer keep up with my carbohydrate intake. I gave birth in June 2015 and was declared diabetes-free at my 6 week check-up.
  7. For the next two years, I ate what I thought was a healthy diet (homemade, whole wheat sourdough bread, whole foods, home-cooked meals, moderate amounts of fruit and vegetables). In April 2017, I felt the symptoms hit again: severe thirst (drinking a gallon of water or more a day), frequent urination, and blurred vision). I knew I had diabetes. Sure enough, within one week’s time, I had a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis (GAD65 levels were off the chart, A1c of 9.6, and diagnosis blood glucose level of 512).
  8. I was diagnoses with Type 1 Diabetes at 33 years old after 2 cases of gestational diabetes.

Based on my history and my family’s history, I thought I knew all there was to know about Type 1 Diabetes. Initially, I did not look for alternative methods to manage my diabetes. I thought carbohydrate counting and matching my insulin intake to the carbohydrates I consumed was all I needed to know.

A week or so into my insulin-managed diabetes, I was forwarded this blog by a friend. Mark’s Daily Apple promotes a primal diet and how it can completely change your life and health. That night, I dug in to the Diabetes category. I dug in deep; I followed citation after citation: blog articles, medical journals, newspaper clippings, book prefaces, tons of them.

My husband was busy that night. He came home to a dark house and me glued to my computer screen, reading like my life depended on it.

“Honey, what are you doing??” he asks as he clicks on the lights.

“I think I need to go gluten-free” I say, “I think gluten could be causing Type 1 Diabetes.”

“Ok” he responds. We head off to bed discussing how I would do it. I don’t think it will take too much since we already didn’t eat processed food which has wheat hidden everywhere! I just need to not eat our delicious homemade bread, no big deal.

That day was the last day I intentionally ate gluten. I’ve ingested accidentally now and then, but I quit cold turkey that night.

I immediately was able to stop bolusing at meal time, and over the course of 4 days, I weaned myself off my long acting insulin.

Did you catch that? I stopped taking my fast-acting insulin the day I went gluten-free! I was completely artificial insulin-free 4 days later! 

**A little tidbit I just read in Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD.

The concept that diabetes should be regarded as a disease of carbohydrate intolerance is beginning to gain ground in the medical community. Diabetes as a by-product of carbohydrate intolerance is actively being advocated by Dr. Erin Westman of Duke University; Dr. Mary Vernon, former medical director of the University of Kansas Weight Control program…Drs. Westman and Vernon report, for instance, that they typically need to reduce the insulin dose by 50% the first day a patient engages in reducing carbohydrates to avoid excessively low blood sugars.

 The quote above is only regarding carbohydrates, not wheat specifically, but it is comforting that others are seeing what I am seeing, even if only in part!**

The gluten withdrawal symptoms were real and hard. I made my husband take me to the emergency room I was so convinced I was dying. Visible shakes, tremors in my chest, and feeling faint and dizzy are all symptoms I was experiencing. I couldn’t sit upright because I would start to pass out. It was an intense afternoon/evening! It took 6 days for me to start to feel normal again, and once I did, my blood glucose numbers stabilized to (almost) normal range, for a Type 1 Diabetic.


That is how I found out about gluten’s link to Type 1 Diabetes. Below are some facts and findings with the supporting articles that I read that convinced me to get rid of gluten in my life. These are the tip of the iceberg! There is SO much information out there! Read these articles, follow the citations to find more information. Read! Take back control of your health!

Type 1 Diabetes Remission

This was one of my first Google searches when I was still hopeful that my diagnosis was a fluke. Unfortunately for my hope, it does happen! It’s not common, but it has occurred.

Remission of an adult woman

Remission of a 6 Year Old Boy by Gluten-Free Diet – If you read nothing else, READ THIS ARTICLE! This was it. This convinced me to give gluten-free a try. At this point, I had nothing to loose. As I’ve done more and more research since, it has supported the findings in this first article.

It is important to note that to preserve maximum pancreatic function, the gluten-free diet needs to be implemented as soon as possible after diagnosis. The pancreas does not grow new beta cells (at least not that we know of); so to preserve insulin production, gluten needs to be eliminated right away. Not to say that other long-term diabetics couldn’t benefit from a gluten-free diet. They will experience more stable blood sugars, elimination of other autoimmune ailments, and less insulin need. Win, win, win, right?

Gluten’s Link to Type 1 Diabetes

Once I decided to go gluten-free, I needed to understand why gluten could cause or be linked to Type 1 Diabetes. I didn’t understand autoimmune diseases at the time, so the connection really made no sense to me.

Here’s the boiled-down, Emily version: gluten causes the walls of the gut to become inflamed allowed partially digested food particles into the body. The body’s immune system sees the foreign substances and attacks the intruders (an autoimmune response). However, sometimes, the attack goes awry and the immune system begins attacking cells other than the intruder/gluten cells.

In the case of Type 1 Diabetes, the immune system begins attacking the beta cells in the pancreas. The immune system can attack other things which lead to different autoimmune diseases: thyroid, skin,  joints, etc. resulting in hypo/hyper-thyroidism, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. In fact, if the gluten issue is not addressed, other autoimmune diseases can develop. Below is a quote from the previous article:

Prolonged exposure to gluten in CD (patient’s with Celiacs) may promote the development of other autoimmune diseases.

Even though this quote is in regards to Celiac patients, it holds true for all autoimmune diseases. The presence of an autoimmune response in the body sets the stage for the immune system to attack other areas of the body resulting in another autoimmune disease. In order to stop the body from these autoimmune responses, the irritant must be removed from the body (wheat) so that the autoimmune response will stop. When wheat is removed from the body, the inflammation manifested in skin, joints, organs, etc. will stop. It will go down and the body returns to normal.

Bottom line: Heal your gut. A permeable gut lining is the source of autoimmune diseases or maybe eating wheat which causes inflammation in the gut and causes the body to release zonulin which increases gut permeability is the source of autoimmune diseases. It’s complicated, but it all centers around the gut. Heal it. Take care of it. You whole body will thank you.

Read this article for a thorough review of Type 1 Diabetes and other potential causes (dairy being one in addition to gluten! I’ll touch on this in another post.)

This post from Mark’s Daily Apple also has many great ideas on how to manage Type 1 Diabetes with tons of good sources to read.


In summary, I gave up gluten because it was inflaming my gut and causing my body to attack my pancreas. I believe by going gluten-free, I have stopped my body from attacking my pancreas. I will be honest; I do not know this as fact yet.

There is a “honeymoon” period after a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis where the pancreas can spontaneously start working better again. I do not believe I am in the honeymoon period because my pancreas did not spontaneously start producing more insulin. I would still be on artificial insulin if I had not changed my diet. My blood glucose returned to T1D “normal” only after I began a gluten-free diet, and even then, I was taking artificial insulin for a few days afterward until it was very clear that I did not need it anymore.

Thankfully, my C-peptide results are normal which is a great sign of insulin production working as it should. However, my blood sugar levels are definitely not normal so I know my pancreas is not working at full capacity. I believe I can preserve the currently level of insulin production by continuing my gluten-free diet. My hope is I can prolong it indefinitely. Time will tell, and I will be sure to let you know.

Thoughts? What have you read? Please share any and all resources and questions!

 

Gluten-free type 1 diabetes

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!

Delicate Balance

I thought I had my diet and blood glucose (BG) levels all figured out, and then, I got lazy. Two meals this weekend I eyeballed my portion and carb load and definitely missed the mark, by a lot.

Oops.

The first meal was meatloaf, rice, and corn. I knew I had about 20 carbs in a half cup of rice, and I guessed the meatloaf was very low in carbs, say less than 5. I didn’t give the corn much thought. Big mistake.

It’s a vegetable, right? The diabetes educator said I could basically eat as many vegetables as I wanted because it requires so much energy to digest them that the carb load is negated.

Well, I forgot her caveat about starchy vegetables.

I tested 4 hours after dinner on Saturday night, and wouldn’t you know, 284 BG. WHAT?!?

I thought my hands were dirty so I washed then tested again…283 BG. Hmmm…

I immediately thought it was the meatloaf…it did have a sauce…oh, ketsup has like 4 carbs. So it’s not the meatloaf.

Then I thought I had forgotten how many carbs are in rice…nope, about 20 for a half a cup is right.

I guess, maybe, it’s the corn. (Still in doubt, still believing it’s a regular vegetable.)

Google: “Carbs in corn”

123g in 1 cup

Holy moley. That’s the problem. Unknowingly, I had eaten close to 90 carbs for dinner. Lesson learned, not all vegetables were created equal!

Although, the lesson was not learned completely because I did a similar mistake the next day.

Lunch on Sunday was red beans and rice. My portion was probably a touch large, but should’ve only been 40 or so carbs. What I forgot to account for was dessert…creme brulee…my favorite!

So that meal, I ate 70 or so carbs and was pushing 300 BG three hours later.

So here’s where I’m at now: keep each meal less than 50 carbs (including dessert!) and eat lower glycemic vegetables.

My BG have been super good since introducing exercise again last Thursday. I think I may be able to control my diabetes without insulin! When eating gluten-free and 50 or less carbs per meal (with a 20 or so carb snack in between), I’m able to be below 130 BG before each meal and before bed. Woot!

Now to see if the doctor’s agree…

Diabetes Check-up – 1 Week Gluten-Free

I met with my endocrinologist office this week to review my numbers and make sure I’m on track. 

The office had never heard of treating T1 diabetes with a gluten-free diet. This is a little concerning to me; however, new research is coming out all the time, so it is probably hard to keep up. 

The doctor I spoke with was supportive of the diet, of course still checking blood glucose (BG) regularly to make sure my BG stays in line. I was a little disappointed that she thought my BG were still a little high. I just had <150 stuck in my head. So I thought levels of 130-140 were perfect. The pre-meal BG needs to be <130, and the 2 hour post-meal BG <150. I should be <130 in the morning too, after the overnight fast.

Oh rats, maybe the diet change isn’t good enough. I’m regularly 130-145 pre-meal or fasting in the morning. 

I want to give the diet more time, especially since I JUST started feeling better/normal again. I’m checking in with the office next week, and we’ll go from there. 

Here’s my latest thought or thing to research: is the goal of insulin and diabetes management to make sure my BG returns to normal level after eating or is it to make sure my BG doesn’t spoke to high while eating? Somewhere in between? Both?

Gluten Withdrawal

Folks, it is still working. Eating gluten-free is allowing my blood sugars to be very stable (for a Type 1 Diabetic, not a non-diabetic) while still eating 30-50 carbs at a meal. I find this amazing.

I tried to document my first couple days in my last post, but it is confusing. There are so many numbers!

I have not been limiting my carbs other than not going crazy. At each meal, I eat what I want and the portions I want. I just make sure they are gluten-free. I have not taken my fast acting insulin since Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Not a drop. My body is able to cover the carb load at every meal.

Since Tuesday, I had been taking my long acting insulin. I thought I might still need it, but on Wednesday evening (4/26/17) I started to go low in between meals. So on Thursday, I lowered my long acting insulin dose from 7 units to 5 units. I had low episodes that afternoon and evening. In fact, I found myself at 86 BG right before bed. Rats. I might go lower through the night! This incurred a late night call to my lovely sister-in-law who is holding my hand through this whole ordeal. I fixed that level through juice but did set an alarm to check my BG in the middle of the night.

On Friday, I lowered my Toujeo dose again to 4 units. Here’s where I get super frustrated. I was low at 10am, 11am, and 12:45pm. By lunch I’m feeling like I need a juice IV! In the middle of those lows, I was at Costco. I know I’m not supposed to drive if my BG is below 100. So me and my two children are just sitting in the van, do-dee-do, waiting for my BG to go up. So frustrating!

Saturday, April 29, 2017, I decide to not take any insulin. Repeated low episodes are so annoying and potentially dangerous. Here is where it all falls apart…

Saturday was not a normal day, Dan was brewing with a friend, and my friend and I were going shopping while the hubby’s watched the kids. I rushed my breakfast and lunch, not eating the carb or calorie load I normally would. While I’m out shopping in the afternoon, I’m feeling progressively “off.” I repeatedly check my BG, but it’s not low. I began around 1:30 with a BG of 148, and I proceeded to check is every 45 minutes or so as I grew shakier and shakier (the lowest reading I had this entire ordeal is 96…not low at all). I also had shortness of breath and the feeling I was about to vomit.

As we are driving home, I start to pass out. I start shouting, “I don’t feel good. I don’t feel good!”

My sweet friend calmly pulls over (bless her heart!). She gets juice ready (the feelings are like a low even though my BG says otherwise). I quickly take 2 units of Toujeo (It seemed like the right thing to do. My BG wasn’t low, but I thought maybe it would stabilize me somehow) and recline my chair.

I start to feel better so we continue on. We decide to pick me up a protein bar at a grocery store, and by the time we are back at the car, I’m feeling like I’ll pass out again.

We try to decide if we should go to the hospital, go home, or call an ambulance.

The feeling hits again a few minutes later so we pull over and call an ambulance. While waiting for it to arrive, I start to feel better again, but I think it’s too weird to not seek medical help.

The ambulance arrives and checks me out. I’m fine. Blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate (so odd to me, I felt like my heart was racing!) everything looks fine.

Weird.

We talk my symptoms over with the EMTs. They scold me for changing my dose of insulin on my own, and we leave the ambulance.

We were stopped at a meat market. We decide to go in to get ice cream for dessert. I don’t even make it to the front door, and I start to feel faint again.

Dan and I decide to go to the hospital.

I feel so bad walking in to the ER that I just lay down on the ground while Dan checks me in. Ha!

The ER runs all kinds of tests: EKG, chest x-rays, blood work, urine tests, blood pressure in different positions, etc. I’m fine. 100% clean bill of health. Absolutely nothing wrong with me.

Right. As I lay on the bed visibly shaking. Of course there’s nothing wrong with me.

I’m super scared at this point. They are discharging me, and I can’t calm down. They say I can just come back if I feel bad again. AGAIN??? I STILL feel bad. I’m still shaking!!!

I really feel like I’m going to die, and the hospital has no idea why. Looking back maybe I should’ve taken comfort in this. The Lord knows my time and there’s nothing a hospital or team of doctors can do to change that.

I’m really just scared stiff to leave. The last doctor asks me about my anxiety level. I begin to wonder if it’s a panic attack. I decline any medication and decide to head home.

As I’m talking to the last doctor, I ask Dan to start researching what happens when people stop eating gluten.

We get back to our friend’s house. I still fee rotten. They serve me up dinner quickly, and I start to feel better very quickly. The shaking is still present but the faint/ill feeling subsides. Yay!

I spend the next hour trying to get a hold of my endocrinologist just to run everything by them. Could not using insulin cause this? I really thought the fault lied with me not taking the Toujeo that day.

We get home, get the kids in bed, I get off the phone with the endo, and Dan says, “So it looks like gluten withdrawal is a real thing.” What?

We read several articles that night that tell personal stories of gluten withdrawal being very similar to drug withdrawal. We couldn’t find any medical articles, but there are PLENTY of personal stories floating around the internet.

I’m now one of them. I think I exacerbated my symptoms by not eating enough, but gluten withdrawal is a real thing. I’m a believer. It felt awful, like I was dying.

I’m now 2 days from the episode. The shaking is nearly gone but gets worse if I wait too long to eat. I’m eating every 2-3 hours and feeling fairly normal now. I have not taken any insulin (fast or quick acting) since Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 3:45pm. My endocrinologist agreed with my assessment of my BG and subsequent reduction in insulin. She is completely on board with 0 insulin unless my BG spikes. I have only had 2 readings higher than 150 since I started my GF diet.

  1. One was because I loaded my system on juice before arriving at the hospital (215 BG…not THAT high really).
  2. The second was last night. I was 197 before bed. I had a snack mix that evening. I’m wondering if there was gluten in it. Not sure what happened there.

Another example, for lunch today I was 90 BG pre-meal. I ate a lower carb (for me) lunch at 20-25 carbs (all gluten free) and was 126 BG 2 hours post-meal.

Amazing. Everything I’ve read about gluten prohibiting the carbs from absorbing correctly in my gut (instead heading straight for the bloodstream) appear to be correct. Another note, I think the reason this is working too is that my pancreas is not 100% dead yet. I am still producing some insulin and not having gluten in my diet is allowing my body to use that small amount of insulin better.

Cuh-razy. Right?

Aside

Processing an Adult Onset Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis | Being a Mom

The recent diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes has rocked my world. I am working daily to adjust to my new health needs, and it is truly overwhelming at times. Writing my feelings, thoughts, and struggles helps me process. I hope this is an encouragement to you too, no matter the trials you are facing. The most recent hurdle is how to handle my diabetes while still caring for my children. Being a mom gets interrupted frequently by my blood sugar needs.


I think the hardest part to manage with my diabetes diagnosis is the juggling of my needs with my children. My kids are not always needy, but wouldn’t you know, they NEED something the minute my blood sugar is dropping and I need to care for myself.

I’m all about kids learning patience, waiting their turn, and compassion/empathy for others. But folks, I’m in the thick of it. This is what I’m working on with my kids every day. I was working on this every day before the diagnosis. The diagnosis has exacerbated the need, but also make the lesson that much more difficult for me to teach. I might be feeling fine OR low/shaky, high/irritable, screaming headache…all really difficult times for me to quietly explain how we should react/how we should act like Jesus to others.

One night, I was getting the boys ready for bed. We were in the final 10 minutes. You know that time: heading up the stairs to brush teeth, potty/change diaper, pajamas on, pray, and go to sleep. This is the last push of parenting for the day. It is a critical time for me to remain calm, show Jesus’ love and compassion to their crazy energetic bodies and get them those final steps into bed. Then…my chest starts to tremor. (I feel the shakes in my core first, like the organs inside my rib cage are shaking.) Then my legs and arms (as I’m climbing the stairs with my wild monkeys). As we are brushing our teeth I realize I probably shouldn’t push through. I probably need to stop and take care of myself because I don’t know for sure how long bedtime will take (one monkey likes to take 20 minute poops sometimes!) and I don’t know how quickly my blood sugar will drop.

Therein lies my dilemma, I’m almost to the finish line for the day. Just a couple more minutes and the kiddos are in bed. BUT, I need to stop, test my glucose level, drink juice, set a timer (I WILL forget to test again!), then return to bedtime.

If I stop bedtime, you know what my kids will do, right? Yep, wild, crazy monkeys. They will inevitable be naked in the basement in no time at all, and I will have to start all over again.

Responsibility to care for myself and teach my kids to be patient wins, I go downstairs to care for my blood sugar then return to bedtime.

It didn’t even turn out that bad. My oldest waited patiently on the potty, and my youngest was only a touch crazy, running around half naked.

Bedtime continued. They were in bed only a few minutes late.

This whole diagnosis has been challenging not only my kid’s patience as they sit at the lunch table staring at their food but waiting for mommy to eat, but to my patience as I need to pause regular activities to care for myself. I’m not sure which is harder. Both are challenging. God is giving me more ways to grow to be more like Jesus. Right now, that looks like more patience in mommy and more patience in the wild, crazy monkeys. Truthfully, who couldn’t use a little more patience?

How has your health journey affected your primary roles in life? Any tips for being a mom with diabetes?