Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 | Blood Sugar When Sick

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 2, and Week 3 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Blood sugar control when sick is a valid area of concern for a type 1 diabetic. The diabetic educator at my endocrinologist’s office spent a good bit of our first meeting discussing what to do when I get sick. The balance of activity and food intake is thrown off, so how should a type 1 diabetic handle sick days?

Since I am not taking insulin (my Paleo diet and exercise is enough to keep my blood sugar in range), the way I manage my blood sugar when sick is different. I continue to eat as I am hungry, and I eat the same fresh, AIP-friendly food I did when not sick. My pancreas is controlling my blood sugar levels so I will not go low, even with low food consumption. I have found my daytime blood sugar will stay in range, even when I sit on the couch all day!

The hard part of managing my blood sugar when sick is the morning or fasting blood sugar reading. This week a light has begun to dawn on me. I think the reason my fasting blood sugar has been higher is a combination of three things:

  1. Not sleeping through the night
  2. Not waking up on time
  3. Not getting exercise

In many ways, Week 4 felt like a repeat of Week 3. My family was still sick, and I succumbed to the sickness for about a day and a half. I only got a headache and sore throat for 36 hours which I attribute the short length and severity to my healthy diet. The major change came at the end of Week 4: my kids started sleeping through the night again! I am now seeing some improvement in my fasting blood sugar reading. My hunch as the reason? I started sleeping through the night, waking up at normal time, and getting a work-out in. Time will tell if the readings will continue to improve, but I am encouraged so far!

Let’s dig into the food I ate!


I continued my goal of making breakfast easier from Week 3 into Week 4. Prepping my veggies the night before and cooking two meals at once is the way to go! Breakfast comes together so much easier!


Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 Breakfast

Day 20 – Turkey Apple Hash

Day 21 – Ham, Broccoli, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Berries

Day 22 – Ham and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Day 23 – Sausage, Zucchini, and Sweet Potato Hash with Apples

Day 24 – Leftover Turkey Apple Hash

Day 25 – Turkey Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash


Leftovers is the name of the game for lunch. I plan to make enough at dinner to eat the same meal again the next day. I try to make it a little bit different by adding fresh vegetables or fruit, but sometimes it is the exact same meal. This is a sanity-saver for me. I need one of my meals each day to be easy, meaning on the table in less than 5 minutes. Leftovers is how I do it!

Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 Lunch

Day 20 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana, Roasted Veggies, and Fruit

Day 21 – Leftover Korean Chicken Soup (similar), Carrot Sticks, Chicharrones

Day 22 – Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash with Vegetable Beef Soup, Apples and Grapes

Day 23 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup with Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash, Chicharrones, and Frozen Fruit

Day 24 – Chopped Ham Topped with Leftover Vegetables and Broth, Avocado Mayo and Sweet Potato Fries, Apple

Day 25 – Leftover Turkey Sausage Hash, Tuna Salad, Fresh Veggies, and Blueberries


Dinner is where the real bulk of my cooking takes place. I love variety and cooking, so most of my effort goes to this meal.

Week 5 started out with my birthday! I made an AIP-friendly tapioca pudding, pictured below, and it was so pretty, I had to include it in the dinner round-up. Also Day 21 and 22 had the exact same thing for dinner, no need to see the same meal twice!

Autoimmune Protocol Dinners


Day 20 – Grilled Elk Steak, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash & Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Day 21 – Italian Wedding Soup and Grapes

Day 22 – Italian Wedding Soup with dollup of Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash

Day 23 – Adobo Chicken Burger topped with Avocado Mayo and Sweet Potato Fries

Day 24 – Hamburger Topped with Onion and Avocado Mayo, Roasted Beets, Turnips, and Carrots

Day 25 – Leftover Turkey Sausage Hash, Tuna Salad, and Roasted Asparagus

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Korean Chicken Soup (similar) – This is my husband’s absolute favorite chicken soup. It is the same one his mom made for him when he was sick as a child. I did alter this recipe to make it AIP/Paleo friendly. The Autoimmune Protocol is grain-free, so I left out the rice completely. I stuffed the chicken cavity with only garlic, dates, and ginger, plus salt and pepper. It is such a simple soup and so delicious! To serve the soup, top with sesame seeds (Paleo only) and chopped green onions. I forgot to buy onions this time, much to my husband’s disappointment.
  2. Adobo Chicken Burger – A recipe so good, I’ve made it twice in this Autoimmune Protocol journey! The burgers come together quickly, and they are delicious. I do follow the AIP-friendly spice blend, not the store-bought one recommended in the recipe. Top these burgers with the Avocado Mayo and a side of roasted vegetables, and you’ve got one delicious meal!

Blood Sugar

AIP Blood Sugar Chart

Yet another week of interrupted sleep and no morning routine, and just to spice it up, throw in a Daylight Savings Time in there! Ha! I didn’t need another thing messing up my sleep!

Life is not always perfect. I roll with the punches just like you do. As noted above, I am encouraged by my sleep routine returning to normal that my morning blood sugar will follow suit. Normal for me, a type 1 diabetic, would be less than 130 when I wake up. Currently, I’m in the 160’s and low 170’s when I wake up.

One odd thing happened this week. On Day 23, I was very high at bed time, 248 ( My goal is less than 150 when I go to bed.). I still haven’t figured out what happened. I took the usual precautions after a high reading. (A mis-read due to dirty hands is usually the culprit.) So I washed my hands, dried them well, then got a new test strip and tried again. The second reading was 251. Hmm. So I guess my blood sugar is really high.

I changed a couple things at dinner that night that I thought might be a problem: a new priobiotic and skin on the sweet potato fries. Due to my son being on antibiotics, I bought childrens priobiotics to help repopulate his gut bacteria after wiping it out. I thought this was a good a time as any for the whole family to take a probiotic, so I purchased some for the rest of us. Day 23 was the first day I took the priobiotic with dinner.

Skin on white potatoes digests differently than the flesh of the potato. The skin itself can be inflammatory; some potatoes, like Yukon Gold, can be tolerated if the skin is removed. I don’t know if this is true of sweet potatoes though. Those are the only things I ate differently that night versus other nights.

I don’t have an answer for why this reading was so high. I’ve continued to take the probiotic since Day 23 with no adverse blood sugar effects. I’ve also eaten the leftover sweet potato fries without a dramatic increase is blood glucose. I don’t have an answer. A fluke? Seems unlikely, but I’m moving on. No need to cry over spilt milk!

How I Feel

I continue to have great energy, even when battling sickness myself. I’ve been sick twice in the last few months, and both times the sickness only lasted 36 hours. That’s crazy! It’s a huge testament to the strength of my immune system to fight off infection and my healthy diet.

Shameless Paleo plug: You could be sick less too! Stop eating wheat and processed foods! You will be so much healthier, less sick, and have more energy!

Goals for Week 5

I’ve been posting these updates by weeks as opposed to days. It looks like I’m at the end of the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol, but in reality, I’m only at Day 25 (as you can see in the food pictures above). For now, I’m continuing on with the elimination period. I’ve encountered two other individuals who’ve gone through the Autoimmune Protocol, and both were in the elimination period longer than 30 days (one for 3 months, one for 1 year).

I’ve grocery shopped for 2 more weeks of Autoimmune Protocol diet, and I’ll evaluate at the end of the period to see if I will start to reintroduce foods. As far as food goals, I was able to incorporate some salmon and lamb into my diet in the next week. So excited to eat some different meat!

Mark’s Daily Apple is a great source of health information. This article about the Autoimmune Protocol is very interesting. My biggest takeaway is that I’ve been eating dates and chocolate! Doh! Both in small amounts, but I have been breaking the diet in that respect. I’m getting back on the AIP elimination phase completely. I’m hoping that returning to a normal sleep schedule, morning routine with exercise, and removing these two things from my diet will do wonders on my blood sugar. I’ll keep you posted!

A type 1 diabetic can maintain in range blood sugar when sick! Press on! Figure out what is throwing you off and course correct if you can. If you can’t, wait it out. Life will return to normal eventually. Two weeks of sickness and lack of sleep really took it’s toll on my fasting blood sugar. I’m trusting the food I eat and my lifestyle habits will course correct this next week. My plan is eat real food, sleep 8 hours every night, wake-up at the same time every morning, and get back to exercising.

What’s your plan to live a healthy lifestyle? What is important to you? Sleep? Food? Organic food? No processed food? What are you passionate about?

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

Autoimmune Protocol Review


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 | Success through Sickness

Welcome! Here’s a little background information to catch you up: 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 due to dairy in the candy I was eating. Eliminating the candy from my diet (and coffee and alcohol, the other two suspects) didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.

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

Week 3 threw me some curveballs: diet-breaking eating out, family illness, a broken appliance, and raging hormones. I had no trouble cooking and eating my Autoimmune Protocol-friendly meals (even while sick!), but my blood sugar levels were not quite where I’d like them to be. At the end of the week, even with higher than desired blood sugar, I was still in the healthy range for a Type 1 Diabetic. You too can conquer your autoimmune disease through this diet, while battling sickness.

Let me explain a bit to set the stage for my week:

1. Dining out at the end of Week 2

At the end of Week 2, I went out to eat at a restaurant that is very careful with food sensitivities and allergies. I’ve had no issues eating there before, but I also was not on the Autoimmune Protocol when I went there last. I broke the diet in, at least, two ways: a duck egg and dessert. The duck egg is obvious, eggs are out during the elimination phase. The dessert is more unclear because I don’t know exactly what was in it. It was a flourless Meyer lemon cake topped with powdered sugar and a scoop of grapefruit sorbet on the the side. The waiter assured me it was gluten-free and dairy-free. I believe it was, but I’ll bet it was not AIP compliant. It had lots of sugar and likely nut flour of some kind. The powdered sugar on top could have had corn starch or something similar in it too. So all that to say, I don’t know exactly what was in it. It could have been the source of my higher blood sugar levels in the following days.

2. Sickness

The flu hit my family hard this week. Some days I was very busy cleaning and caring for my family, and other days were very sedentary as I sat on the couch for most of the day holding sick, miserable babies. My night’s sleep was always interrupted as well. By the end of the week, I succumbed to the plague too.

3. Broken washing machine

I know this might sound trivial, but the fact that I couldn’t wash sheets or clothes while my family was sick was very hard. One day I just had to do some laundry. Thankfully, a friend let me pop over to their house throughout the day to run laundry. Six trips and four loads later, we were set to make it until the part arrived for our washer.

The good news is the new part is now installed, and the washer is up and running again! Yay!

4. Hormones

The last issue may by TMI, but I think it is important to point out. Men, feel free to skip to the Food section if you don’t want to hear about “womanly” issues! I have to take a journey back a few years to fully explain this, so bear with me.

The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, and when all the hormones are in balance, regular menstrual cycles ensue through childbearing years. My menstrual cycle has never been regular, ever, and I struggled with infertility when trying to start our family. After many blood tests and ultrasounds, the fertility doctor told me it wasn’t that my body wasn’t working properly, as in the organs were functional, but my hormone levels were all out of whack. When the hormones are not in the right ratio to each other, functions, like menstruation, don’t start when they should.

To solve the infertility problem, I took some hormone regulating pills and voila, got pregnant.

Fast forward to summer 2017, when I am vigorously working on my diet to regulate my blood sugar and manage my type 1 diabetes. Guess what I did in the process? I regulated the hormones in my body, including the ones that control menstruation. Wheat can disrupt your hormones, did you know that??

After a few months on a gluten-free diet, I began have a regular, predictable menstrual cycle for the first time in my life. In my life. No joke. I have never been able to track my menstrual cycles, and now I can. Food is huge folks. I’m not kidding.

That was a lot of back story all to say, I think my average blood glucose level rises right before my menstrual cycle begins. Research goes both ways (blood sugar raises or lowers as a result of menstruation), basically it depends on the individual. For me, I think it raises a couple days before my cycle begins.

Ok, done with the “womanly” issues, on to the rest of the results of Week 3 of the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet!


My one change for this week of the Autoimmune Protocol: make breakfast easier. Included in my meal plan for the week was cooking breakfast only every other day. To accomplish this, I prepped the vegetables the night before, and I doubled every recipe so I cooked enough food for two meals. The prepping the vegetables took some discipline. “Cooking” once my kids are down for bed is not my favorite, but the result of putting breakfast on the table faster (and for 2 days!) was worth it.


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Breakfast

Day 14 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, and Sausage Links

Day 15 – Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Avocado Mayo, Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash, and Sausage Links

Day 16 – Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs)

Day 17 – Leftover Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs) and Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash

Day 18 – Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash

Day 19 – Leftover Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Lunch

Day 14 – Leftover Ranch Cauliflower Mash topped with Sliced Elk Steak and Fresh Blackberries and Strawberries

Day 15 – Leftover Nightshade-Free Vegetable Beef Soup and Pears

Day 16 – Leftover Faux Broccoli Cheese Soup, Fresh Veggies and Cilantro Avocado Mayo (with Tuna stirred in to increase protein intake)

Day 17 – Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Avocado, Pears, and Broiled Chicken Skin

Day 18 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana

Day 19 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana, Leftover Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts, Frozen Fruit


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Dinners

Day 14 – Chicken PoppersCilantro Avocado Mayo, Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash, Fresh Strawberries

Day 15 – Leftover Chicken Poppers, Faux Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Cilantro Avocado Mayo

Day 16 – Baked Lemon Herb Chicken Thighs (leave out cumin and cayenne pepper for AIP compliance); Roasted Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts; and Pears

Day 17 – Zuppa Toscana and Roasted Broccoli

Day 18 – Korean Chicken Soup

Day 19 – Leftover Korean Chicken Soup and Apples

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Cilantro Avocado Mayo – This dip was so good. I put more horseradish in than the recipe called for. I love the zing of horseradish! We dipped all sorts of things in it this week: roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers, and Chicken Poppers.
  2. Chicken Poppers – While called “poppers,” these chicken bites resemble chicken nuggets more. They were a hit with the whole family: super flavorful, juicy, (When eaten fresh, they were a tad dry reheated.) and fun to eat. I was hesitant to put raw bacon in my blender, and it did get wrapped around the blade a bit, but it all worked out. I worked in small batches, and it wasn’t too difficult to get everything blended in the end.
  3. Zuppa Toscana – Wow! This soup was so flavorful! It uses zucchini instead of potatoes, but it was still flat out delicious. I did up the zucchini amount by about half, and I think I might add another vegetable next time. This soup is heavy on the broth, and I like my soups to be a little more chunky and hearty. It was very good, and it will become a regular on our table, I’m sure.

Blood Sugar

This week was rough. I was dealing with hormones fluctuating, sick family, lack of sleep, and general life pressures. I am not complaining just explaining. No one can have a perfect, stress-free life, and I want to paint a real picture of my life during the Autoimmune Protocol so you can have confidence to succeed as well.

My blood sugar was less stable this week, and I’m afraid there are too many variables for me to flesh out exactly what was the cause of my higher evening and morning blood sugar. My average blood sugar (straight average, no weighting) was 130. For reference, the straight average for Week 1 was 123 and Week 2 was 124. So while my blood glucose levels are still plenty low enough for a type 1 diabetic, this week was higher than my first two weeks on the Autoimmune Protocol. I am going to chalk this week up as an anomaly. Next week is bound to be better!

Autoimmune Protocol Blood Sugar Chart

How I Feel

I spoke about my boundless energy in the summary of Week 2. If I didn’t have so much energy, I don’t know how I would have gotten through this week with (1) sick husband, (2) sick kids, (3) broken washer, (4) doing laundry at a friend’s house 2 miles away, and (5) still providing Autoimmune Protocol compliant meals, three times a day for me and my family. I had energy to do all of that and not collapse part way through the day or even at the end of the day.

This is what real food can do for you! It will nourish your body and provide you with all the energy you need to complete your work for the day, whatever that might be.

Goals for Week 4

I am hoping and striving to return to in-range morning blood sugar levels in this next week. Week 2 was so promising, but life hit me hard in Week 3. I press on with a positive outlook. I’m confident the Autoimmune Protocol will work!

With the setbacks at the end of Week 2 (Diet broken eating out) and Week 3 (sickness, hormones, lack of sleep, broken washer), I am beginning to wonder if I’ll need to extend the elimination phase longer than 30 days. My gut may need more time to heal. It’s just a thought right now. We’ll see how the remainder of the elimination phases goes.

When life hits you hard, it does not need to derail your health progress. The Autoimmune Protocol is completely doable while dealing with real life pressures and sickness. Healthy meals, in-range blood sugar, and feeling good (relative to the sickness of course!) are all still possible. For me, Week 3 was still on track overall, even with all of these less than advantageous factors.


What setbacks are you struggling with right now? Are you able to shake them off and press-on? What is your strategy for letting life’s stresses roll off your back?

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

Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Review



Autoimmune Protocol – Week 2 Review

To catch you all up, I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, I was exposed to dairy for about 8 weeks. “Exposed” sounds accidental. It was, but it was my own fault for not vetting my candy choices more carefully! This resulted in higher blood sugar levels overall, but especially in my fasting blood sugar which is taken first thing in the morning. Eliminating the candy from my diet didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) again to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.

Check out how Week 1 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Week 2 of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) was even easier than Week 1, and MILES easier than when I attempted the AIP diet in October 2017.

I began to see more blood sugar control this week. Except the night the family went out for sorbet, I was high that night, but my blood sugar recovered nicely on it’s own without the help of artificial insulin. At the end of the week, I even saw another fasting blood sugar level less than 130! Woot! I’ve had 3 fasting blood sugar reading under 130 since beginning the diet, and I haven’t seen levels that low since November 2017. Yikes, I let this problem go on for far too long!

As with the review of Week 1, I will review the food I ate, how my blood sugar fared, how I felt this past week, and my goals for the next week. First up, Food!


The variety of breakfast food this week was extremely satisfying to me: from delicious fresh fruit salad on Day 9 to roasted broccoli AND sweet potatoes on Day 11 to savory cauliflower mash on Day 12. I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables and flavors this week.

I made two different types of hash this week. One simple with sweet potatoes, onion, and kale, and the other more involved with roasted butternut squash, sauteed mushrooms, breakfast sausage, and spinach. Both stood alone just fine and were filling and satisfying, but there was a little part of me wishing for a yoke-y egg on top. Sigh. Soon.


Week of AIP Breakfasts

Day 8 – Sweet Potato, Kale, and Onion Hash; Bacon; and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Fruit Salad

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Pears

Day 11 – Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 12 – Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl

Day 13 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Sauteed Mushrooms, Sausage, and Spinach Hash


Week of AIP Lunches

Day 8 – Leftover Braised Pork with Carrot Sticks and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Leftover Braised Pork, Leftover Ham Breakfast Hash, and Apple

Day 10 – Leftover Braised Pork and Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Apples

Day 11 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup with Fresh Berries

Day 12 – Leftover Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 13 – Leftover Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup


Week of AIP Dinners

Day 8 – Hamburgers Topped with Guacamole, Sauteed Summer Squash and Onions with Wilted Spinach, and Fresh Strawberries

Day 9 – Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup and Frozen Blueberries

Day 11 – Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup

Day 12 – Dinner out at Bistro Bella Vita – Duck (Grilled, Pulled, and Egg) on Roasted Winter Vegetables with Flourless Lemon Cake and Grapefruit Sorbet

Day 13 – Dinner at Friend’s House – Elk Steak, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower-Parsnip Mash , and Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding (similar)

Dinner out on Day 12 did not follow the Autoimmune Protocol. I had egg and refined sugar in the dessert. The dinner qualifies as Paleo but not with the extra restrictions of the Autoimmune Protocol. I did end the night of Day 12 with great blood sugar (126!), but my blood sugar was elevated all day on Day 13. While this is not the end of the world, I am trying to keep note so I will know exactly how food affects my body (This is one of my goals for 2018!).

It was my goal at the end of Week 1 to include fish and organ meat, but I accomplished neither. Oops. I opted out in favor of staying on budget. Seafood in Michigan is not cheap (is it cheap anywhere???), and I didn’t hunt too hard to find organ meat. I still need to work on putting on my big-girl pants for that one.

Overall though, the week was filled with delicious food. Look at the color variety in those pictures! It was a tasty week!

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup – This was hands-down my favorite recipe this week. The color was stunning, and it even fooled my husband! His first comment when peeking in the pot before dinner, “I thought tomatoes were out of our diet right now?!” It was super tasty and filling. All four of us went back for seconds. The only caveats I would add are (1) it was time-consuming to make (2 hours) and (2) it made at least 12 servings (The recipe says 6-8. No way, we might even get 15!). I totally don’t mind either of these conditions. It was delicious; therefore, well worth my time. Also, we love leftovers!
  2.  Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup – This soup has a wonderful complexity to it due to roasting the vegetables first then pureeing half and adding the puree to the broth. This was in our regular rotation prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol. I was thrilled to read through the recipe to see that it was still AIP compliant! Super delicious soup. Try it!
  3. Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl – I was looking for different breakfast options other than hash, and I stumbled upon this cauliflower mash. It was delightful. It kind of reminded me of oatmeal in that it was hot and mushy, but the savory flavors were out of this world! I absolutely love sauteed mushrooms and bacon. They are a perfect combination! The only note I need to make is follow the seasoning ratios. I tend to pour spices in my palm to measure, and I overdid it a bit. The cauliflower mash was not just savory. It was SAVORY. I’ll scale back a bit next time!

Blood Sugar

Improving my overall blood sugar level AND reducing my morning (fasting) blood sugar are the primary reasons I am doing the Autoimmune Protocol. That is what diabetes is all about: blood sugar management. I made improvement in my fasting blood sugar this week. I had 3 mornings with readings less than 130! That is a major win for me!

You’ll notice a spike in the blue, squiggly line. That is the night my husband and I took the family out for sorbet. My blood sugar was high at bedtime (199!), but it recovered just fine by morning (144).

If you ignore the sorbet spike, week 2 looks just about the same as week 1, a little lower at times and a little higher at times. The pattern looks the same though. I’m also counting this as a win and calling it blood sugar control. My blood sugar is following a predictable pattern each day and throughout the day.

Below is a graph showing week 1 (red) as compared to week 2 (blue). Interesting, isn’t it? (It’s ok to say no, this isn’t interesting, Emily! I’m not hurt if you don’t love my numbers and charts!)

AIP Type 1 Diabetes Chart


For reference, the squiggly lines show the fluctuation of my blood glucose readings throughout the day, and the straight line of the same color is showing the trend of my blood sugar levels that week. Red is week 1, and blue is week 2. 

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol diet is creating more stable blood sugars. Other than outlier of sorbet, my blood sugar is following a predictable, stable pattern for a Type 1 Diabetic.

I am so thrilled by more on-goal fasting blood sugars. I’m hoping to see those more consistently in the coming weeks.

How I Feel

I’ve noticed this week on the days I wake with a blood sugar level of less than or around 130, I have vastly more energy to work out. I’m usually still asleep a bit and a tad not-wanting-to-workout when I begin my morning workout. The mornings my blood sugar was 136, 132, and 120, I was raring to go the entire work-out. That was odd to me, yet invigorating!

My husband has asked before if I feel different when I’m around 100 as opposed to 150 or 170. I’ve always told him no, I feel the same if I’m below 300. There’s no difference. After this week, I think there might be a difference in my level of energy! I will have to keep tracking this to be sure.

Do you want endless energy??? I think you should give this diet  a try! (Or even just the less strict Paleo diet if you don’t have leaky gut. Actually, start with just not eating wheat!) You will be a whole new person!

Goals for Week 3

For Week 3, my diet will not see any major changes. The focus will continue to be on eating a good quantity and variety of vegetables that are Autoimmune Protocol approved. Seafood and organ meat were not in Week 2, and due to budget constraints, I have to make the same decision in Week 3.

The huge win for the week was fasting blood sugars of 130 or less in the second half of Week 2, so I’m hoping that means my gut is healing. I’m hoping to continue to see blood sugar level improvement for the morning readings.

I am so pleased with these results. I’m eating well and enjoying my food. I am not stressed by the diet, and I’m seeing results. What more could a girl ask for?!

That wraps up my second week on the Autoimmune Protocol 30 Day Elimination Diet! Check out Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

For a review of Week 1, click here.

Do I have any diabetic readers out there who’d care to share what your typical fasting blood sugar levels look like? What strategies have you tried to maintain control of these levels? Is this the most difficult reading of the day to manage?

For my non-diabetic readers, what you working to change in your diet to make your diet move in the healthier direction? More veggies? Cleaner ingredients? Grass-fed meat? What successes have you had lately?? Any suggestions for meats/veggies I should try?


AIP Meals for a week


Autoimmune Protocol – Week 1 Review

I’ve made it through the first week of the Autoimmune Protocol elimination diet! I must say this round of AIP has been much easier than when I attempted in in October.

The difference this time is I’ve found many more resoures for tasty AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) recipes. I know this might sound snobbish, but I just can’t tolerate bland food. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and it is deflating for me to put so much time and effort into a meal only to have it tatse boring and lackluster.

I have shared all the meals I made this week along with the stand-outs below. Some recipes I tried were absolutely fantastic. I will be making them again soon! Here are a couple blogs that have helped me get through this week with ease.

In this review each week, I will review the food I ate, how my blood sugar fared, how I felt this past week, and my goals for the next week. With that being said, let’s dive into the food. It’s all about the food, isn’t it?


Breakfast was the meal I was least confident in my ability to provide nutritious, delicious meals that my whole family would enjoy. My main concern? Not eating eggs. Eggs are out for the 30 day elimination period of the autoimmune protocol. My youngest still shouts out every morning as he comes down the stairs, “Mommy, are you making EGGS?!?” Emphasis is real, he loves his eggs. He is surviving without his eggs though, as are the rest of us.

To be honest, I am not just surviving. I’m thriving. I know that’s cliche to say, but it’s true. These breakfasts fill me up, give me energy to hop up from the table and attack my day, and keep me full until lunch. There’s no mid-morning crash, no cravings around 11am, and no bloat. I am fueled, energized, and ready for the day after eating this diet.

I listed out the recipes below the picture on the day I made them (If you’d like more ideas, check out my AIP board on Pinterest). You will see I planned for leftovers, and I believe this is necessary for success in this diet. The time in the kitchen is quite a bit more than the typical American is used to. In order to maximize that time and minimize the time in the kitchen other days, plan and use leftovers.

BreakfastAIP Breakfasts

Day 1 – Chicken, Apple, Bacon, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet

Day 2 – Breakfast Hash Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cilantro – I took liberties with this one. I cubed the squash instead of shredding it, and I added cubed ham at the end, just putting it in the pan long enough to warm it up.

Day 3 – Leftover Butternut Squash, Cilantro, and Ham Hash with fresh pears

Day 4 – Skillet Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, and Bacon

Day 5 – Leftover Roasted Broccoli, Leftover Hash (I mixed the sweet potatoes from Day 4 with the remaining leftovers from Day 2…delicious!), and Bacon

Day 6 – Skillet Sweet Potatoes and Kale (My own recipe. When I’ve perfected it, I’ll share.), Avocado, and Sausage


AIP Week 2 Lunches

Day 1 – Leftover Braised Pork with Carrots and Egg Roll in a Bowl

Day 2 – Leftover Sampler: Egg Roll in a Bowl, Braised Pork, and Veggies Nuggets with Guacamole

Day 3 – Leftover Sampler: Egg Roll in a Bowl and Veggies Nuggets

Day 4 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup and Peach, Pineapple, Banana Smoothie

Day 5 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup and Fresh Pears

Day 6 – Leftover Shepherd’s Pie and Tapioca Pudding


Autoimmune Protocol Dinners

Day 1 – Chicken Burgers with Guacamole and Veggie Nuggets

Day 2 – Faux Chicken Pho

Day 3 – Italian Wedding Soup and Pears

Day 4 – Roasted Chicken with Pears and Rosemary, Baked Sweet Potato, and Cucumbers

Day 5 – AIP Shepherd’s Pie

Day 6 – Hamburgers with Guacamole and Caramelized Onions, Carrot Fries, and Frozen Berries

As you can see, I ate well! Both my husband and I were more satisfied after each meal than we were the first time we tried the elimination diet. I don’t know the exact reason for this possibly more fat or just flavors we enjoy. From further reading, I know we were lacking fish and organ meat in our diet. I will try to include that next week. The organ meat will be a first for me!

Top Recipes of the Week
  1. Roasted Chicken with Pears and Rosemary – absolutely delicious! I will make this again even when finished with the elimination diet.
  2. Tapioca Pudding – This was a winner for me, but I love pudding and pudding texture more than my family. It did raise my blood sugar quite a bit too, so I won’t be having it often!
  3. Chicken, Apple, Bacon, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet – I made this with ground turkey because I couldn’t find ground chicken, but it was still so flavorful and filling! I’ll be making it again!

Blood Sugar

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen my blood glucose readings every day. They have been really good for a type 1 diabetic, especially one not using insulin! My blood sugar is definitely lower overall and far less volatile.

Being the numbers nerd that I am (I was an actuarial analyst in my past life!), I wanted to put a graph to the numbers.

Blood Glucose Chart

The squiggly lines show the fluctuation of my blood glucose readings throughout the day. The red line is the week before I started the AIP diet, i.e. the Control Week (although I had already cut out coffee and alcohol during this week). The blue squiggly line is my blood glucose readings after I started the AIP diet. Notice that the red line has higher peaks. The blue line doesn’t go above 150 (that’s a major win!).

Now data with that much variation is hard to draw conclusions from, so I drew a trend line (exponential, for those interested, I don’t expect you do be!) so I could see the general direction of the data.

The light red, straight line is the trend line for the control week, and the light blue, straight line is the trend line for AIP Week 1. The blue line is lower overall from the red line, and it is headed down whereas the light red line is trending up.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol diet is not only lowering my average blood sugar level, it is causing each reading to be going lower and lower (towards normal = 100) over time.

Major win. I’m excited to see what the following weeks have in store!

How I Feel

If any of you out there are skeptical of the impact that changing your diet could have on your long-term health, daily productivity, and general feeling of well being in your body, you are not alone. I was there once too. I was a total skeptic of the role of gluten in our bodies (the negative role, mind you, in everyone’s body.) For example, I thought it was totally ridiculous that my church started only serving Cherrios as snack in the children’s classes to eliminate allergens from the classroom (And now, one year later, I don’t even want my kids to eat Cherrios at all!).

What I thought was true has been totally turned on its head. Diet is infinitely important, and you can heal your body through food!

Beyond the role of food, I was also skeptical that I would feel different when eating a Paleo/AIP diet.

Wrong again, folks.

I thought I had plenty of energy to complete my day, but now, I have endless energy. I don’t have a problem completing household chores in the afternoon or evening. Prior to my first elimination diet, if I didn’t get my cleaning, laundry, projects done before noon, they weren’t getting done at all. I just didn’t have the energy or desire to keep working after lunch.

All that has changed. I have energy to clean the bathrooms during nap time. I have energy to prep vegetables for breakfast the next day after the kids go to bed. I have so. much. energy. My desire to keep going throughout the day has changed too. While I don’t always jump for joy to wash the dishes, I can talk myself into it easily. I have the energy, it really is quick, why not?

So how did I feel during Week 1?

I felt great, but I did get sick days 4 and 5. I had a sore throat, and actually, it was the shortest-lived sore throat I’ve ever had: 36 hours! That might be a testament to how healthy and strong my body is! Just a guess…

I’ve had energy to not only cook more fresh meals with more vegetables, but I’ve kept up on my other responsibilities. If this had happened a year ago, the laundry would be undone, house filthy, and I might have skipped commitments to try to catch-up.

It’s been a great week!

Goals for Week 2

For Week 2, I plan to eat some fish and organ meat. I have learned to like fish as an adult, but I have never bought, prepared, or eaten organ meat. This will be a learning experience for me!

Otherwise, Week 2 is planned to be much of the same as Week 1. I hope not to get sick this week so that my sleep schedule stays on track, but really, I only slept in on Day 5. I was still on routine the rest of the days.

That wraps up my first week on the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet! Check out Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Anyone else doing hard things out there? Is your interest piqued to heal your body with food? Do you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover? Comment below or send me a note!

Autoimmune Protocol Review of Week 1


Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes Management | Eat More Vegetables

This series is to document my journey as an adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetic who is insulin-free and managing diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle changes. The first post in the series, explains how I was able to stop taking insulin by removing gluten from my diet, Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes Management | Why I Am Gluten Free.

Eat More Vegetables

My first weeks of being gluten-free were so encouraging. My blood glucose readings were coming down into satisfactory range for a type 1 diabetic. I was on cloud 9 that I had found the loophole. I had beat the system!

Not so fast, Emily! At my next endocrinologist appointment, I found my A1c was back down to 6.6 (from 9.7 at diagnosis), which is on target for a type 1 diabetic, but my daily readings weren’t quite good enough.

For some reason, when I met with the diabetes educator, I just thought my blood sugar readings should be below 150 at each testing point throughout the day. I was wrong. In the fire hose of information I was absorbing, I had forgotten the little chart my endocrinologist had given me regarding target blood sugars throughout the day.

Fasting Goal: <130

Pre-Meal Goal: <130

Pre-Bed Goal: 100-150

Oh. Right. The only time my goal blood sugar reading is less than 150 is right before bed. Hmm.

I leave that appointment deflated and not sure I’m on the right track or if I can manage type 1 diabetes through diet (This is the beginning of a recurring theme. It feels like I am forging my own path. It is isolating and deflating at times. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing. I don’t know how long this experiment will work. I don’t always know the right path to take when my blood sugars rise. I’m figuring it out as I go along. When I find something that works, it’s exhilarating. When I fail, it’s the lowest of valleys.)

Back to the drawing board. Where do I go from here? I honestly didn’t know.

Dan and I love watching documentaries, and the one we were working through at that time was In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen. (Go quick to PBS! It’s free to watch right now!) My biggest take-away from that documentary was we need to eat more vegetables.

I was already making our food from scratch at home. We didn’t eat out much, so I thought we were doing great in the healthy food department. However, our breakfast options consisted of oatmeal or eggs and sausage. No veggies at that meal. Lunch options were leftovers or egg salad/tuna on crackers. Maybe there was a veggie at that meal, but likely not an entire serving. Dinner usually had a vegetable as we were grilling often (it was summer), but if we weren’t grilling, the vegetables were minimal.

In fact, I distinctly remember counting up how many servings of vegetables I’d had in a day, and I was actually contemplating if the onion and garlic I had used in a recipe could count as a serving of vegetables. Ha! I was really grasping for any tiny bit of vegetables to count because really my vegetable intake was low.

One Vegetable at Every Meal

I knew we needed to up our vegetable intake. I decided to challenge myself: one serving of vegetables at every meal. Can I just be honest with you? It was really hard at first. We ate a lot of smoothies with our breakfasts because I didn’t know how else to get a vegetable in us other than blending it up with sugary fruits!

acorn squash

A couple weeks into this challenge, the difficulty eased up. We could eat scrambled eggs, sausage and a sweet potato hash. Delicious. For lunch, we found we really like the crisp crunch of fresh, raw vegetables. Our garden was in full swing at that time, so we had plenty of fresh cucumbers, carrots, and snap peas to keep us full at lunch. For dinner, I leaned on frozen veggies (if short on time), grilled vegetables, or tried to put even more vegetables in a soup or side dish than the recipe called for.

Two Vegetables at Every Meal

I soon realized, I could do more. The kids were used to seeing vegetables at every meal, and they were eating them without fuss! So I challenged myself again: two servings of vegetables at every meal.


The second challenge was not as difficult as the first because the foundation had already been laid. The groundwork was there for vegetable intake, I just had to add more. Breakfast hash with sweet potatoes AND kale or smoothies with cucumber AND spinach. Lunch plates now had two raw vegetables in large piles on each plate: egg salad with sliced bell peppers AND carrot sticks or tuna patties with cucumber slices AND avocado.  Dinner on the grill now had hamburgers with grilled zucchini AND summer squash.

Results of More Vegetables

My blood glucose numbers went down a bit, but the vegetable intake didn’t have the dramatic effect that removing gluten from my diet did. What it did change was my snacking and satisfaction at meals. I found if I ate more vegetables at each meal (1) I could eat more, as much as I wanted, with minimal blood glucose affect, and (2) since I was more full from my meals, I wasn’t looking for snacks as much between meals.

The change in my snacking habits/cravings was huge from a lifestyle perspective. I was much more content with my diet since I wasn’t craving high carbohydrate snacks all the time. At mealtime, I could fill my plate twice and still have my blood sugar in line. Freedom to eat as much as I want?! If you’ve ever been on a restrictive diet, you know the feeling I’m describing!

Besides the habits in my eating, I knew it was the right thing for our bodies and our health to be eating more vegetables. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to survive. Everyone can agree we should eat more, right?

These two challenges took a month or more for me to conquer. It is now late summer, late August/early September 2017. For the most part things are trucking along just fine. My morning blood sugars aren’t always in line, but the rest of the day looks so good, I ignore the morning reading a bit. I am feeling on top of the world again with this diet, even if my fasting blood sugar isn’t quite right, the rest of the day is in range so adding artificial insulin would send me low. So that is not an option right now.

We all know we should eat more vegetables. The problem is how. Follow my example, start small with just one vegetable at each meal. Once you find your rhythm, up it to two vegetables per meal. Then eat more than one serving of each of those vegetables, and you will likely be eating the recommended daily amount. Vegetable intake plus removing gluten from your diet will leave you full, snacking less, and likely shedding more than a few pounds, without even trying!


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

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. It is not widely spread information, but it IS out there. It’s published in medical journals, and 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.

Many of the principles I’ve learned come from Type 2 Diabetes research, Celiacs, or just autoimmune diseases in general. 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. I read blog articles, medical journals, 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. I was visibly shaking, had a tremor in my chest, and feeling faint and dizzy. 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 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.

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 doing this, I have stopped my body from attacking my pancreas. 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 removed gluten from my 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!

Manage Diabetes by Paleo Diet


Gluten’s Effect on My Body | A Real Life Example

For the sake of anyone searching out there, I thought I’d explain in detail how gluten affects me when I have it, even a tiny bit. I’ve recently come across articles claiming there is nothing harmful in gluten, that it is all hype.

I get it. I was on that bandwagon before my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis.

However, I am a living, breathing experimenter here, and I can attest it is a real thing. In an effort to hopefully help someone else experiencing gluten withdrawal, here is my story.

side effect of no gluten

New Year’s Eve was our final Christmas gathering. We headed to Dan’s brother’s house since they have a new baby, and we offered to cook dinner. On the one hand, to give the new parents a break, and on the other so we don’t impose our crazy diet stress on other people. We feel so bad whenever we have to tell anyone what to prepare for us because it sounds like we don’t eat anything.

Anyway, I had a cutting board out and chopped the potatoes. I tossed them in the oven then rejoined the family call while they cooked.

The call took place over dinner time for us (Family is in multiple time zones so it will happen to at least one family!). The new mama needed to eat, so she made a PB&J sandwich on the cutting board I left out.

Not thinking of bread crumbs being on the board, I then chopped bacon on the same board (thinking at the time the board had only seen raw potatoes) to add to the green beans, then washed the board.

We finish up the family call; eat a lovely steak, potatoes, and green beans with bacon dinner; and head home.

I feel great having eat whole, clean food. I have zero digestive issues with the meal and go to bed with a normal blood sugar reading of 137.

The next morning, January 1, I wake up to a fast blood sugar of 161. What?

By lunchtime, my blood sugar is down a bit but still quite high for me, 152. I had an active morning cleaning the house, so this number baffled me. What is going on??

My pre-dinner reading is a little better, 117, but still quite high for the active day I had. For me, normal is 90-120 before lunch and dinner. So 117 is still in that range, but I had been a cleaning machine that afternoon which made this number high in my opinion.

By bedtime, I was down to 108. Huh, I’m not sure what is going on. I like to think days like this are a fluke, but they usually aren’t. My body’s blood sugar doesn’t go up for no good reason.

The next day, January 2, my numbers are still elevated but better:

Fasting: 144

Lunch: 123

Dinner: 121

Bedtime: 148

The end caps seem ok, but lunch and dinner is still troubling me. I am not usually that high during the day, especially during active housekeeping days which these two days were.

Wednesday, January 3, the physical symptoms of gluten hit:

  • Tremors in my chest
  • Inability to sleep due to the internal shaking
  • General feeling of unwellness
  • Weakness
  • Insatiable hunger.

These are all signs of gluten withdrawal, very similar to withdrawal from a street drug (although less intense, I imagine). The body gets addicted to gluten fast and wants more. I’ve had accidental gluten ingestion before, and these same symptoms hit three days later. The only thing to do is grin and bear it. I keep eating normally, not giving in to the cravings, and eventually the symptoms subside.

Fasting: 150

Lunch: 124

Dinner: 119

Bedtime: 148

Dan and I brainstorm what is going on, and we trace our steps back one meal at a time. We go back and back until we land on that sandwich made on the same cutting board I was using to prepare dinner on New Year’s Eve. That was a TINY amount of gluten! This is why we are 100% gluten-free, not 80%/20% or even 90%/10% as many diets go. It’s all or nothing. If you want significant health improvements, you’ve got to cut it all out.

The next day, January 4, I’m back to normal. Whew!

Fasting: 140

Lunch: 96

Dinner: 95

Bedtime: 135

I give you this play-by-play to encourage anyone else out there trying to manage Type 1 diabetes or any autoimmune condition by diet. Mistakes will happen, and it is helpful to know what other people do to course correct.

What lessons (health or otherwise) have you learned from other people’s walk through the same situation? Have you sought out medical advice on the internet? Have you made changes to your life based on other people’s recommendations? What was the outcome?


Post-Holiday A1c Update and New Diabetes Management Plan

As I mentioned in this post, I had a hard time keeping my fasting blood sugar in range over the holidays. I eventually discovered that I had been eating dairy unknowingly. I was snacking on York Peppermint Patties and chocolate covered acai berries (in small amounts so the carbohydrate amount wouldn’t affect my blood glucose too much). In my effort to be like my Grandma, having candy dishes all over during the holidays, I accidentally sabotaged my gut. Oops.

There’s no need to cry over spilt milk. Now that I know where those higher than usual numbers are coming from, I’m back on the dairy-free wagon! I am still working to keep my lifestyle and diet in line so I can keep my pancreas alive and live a full, healthy life.

I was curious/concerned how these higher than normal blood glucose levels would affect my A1c. I was eating those dairy candies for about 8 weeks before I discovered the issue. The A1c tests 2-3 months prior to the test. So I messed up pretty much the entire time frame!

My quarterly check-up with the endocrinologist was Monday, January 29. The office tests my A1c levels every 3 months and uses that along with daily blood glucose checks to make sure my type 1 diabetes stays in check. Since my diabetes management plan is so different than most, I wanted to test the accuracy of the home A1c test and come up with a new diabetes management plan.

Home A1c Test Experiment

I decided to try one of the home A1c kits from Walgreens before this visit. I wanted to test the accuracy of the home kit against the doctor’s office. In my revised diabetes management plan, I’m hoping to stretch out my office visits, and in order to do that I need an accurate way to check my A1c.

A1c home kit

After reading many reviews on many brands of home A1c test kits, I was not very confident in this product. Each kit comes with supplies to run 2 tests. However, the failure rate (getting an error message or no reading at all) seemed to be right about 50%. It seems very easy to mess the test up, even when the instructions are followed to a T!

So you can imagine my nervousness in trying this test! I decided it was worth $42 just to try, even if I’m not successful.

Each kit comes with the following: a meter, 2-#1 bags that contain the blood collection supplies (lancer, siphon, and shaker), 2-#2 bags that contain a cartridge that inserts the blood sample into the meter, and of course, instructions. Read the instructions carefully, my friend, if you try to do this!

A1c home kit parts

The #1 bag is opened first. Wash your hand thorough and dry them. Use the provided lancer to prick the side of your finger. Work a good sized drop onto your finger then gently touch the sample collection device to the drop of blood. Continue to touch the blood drop until sample is full. Squeeze out more blood as necessary.

I had to set the collection device down, squeeze more blood out, then continue to fill it, and the test still ran just fine.

Blood Collector A1c

Insert sample collection device into the shaker tube. Twist and push until full inserted. You will hear a “click.”  Then shake for 5 seconds. Set the tube upright on its cap and get meter ready.

Open the #2 package, remove the cartridge, and insert into the meter. Make sure the codes on the left hand side are both on the left and that they match! My code was “Y5.”

Wait for the meter to say ready. Remove the end cap of the shaker tube and press onto circle of the cartridge. Remove quickly when the meter says “run.”

Wait 5 minutes for your result. The meter will count down the 5 minutes, and the result will be shown on the screen for 60 minutes after the test is complete.

A1c result


Not bad for messing up my diet over the holidays, huh?

Now I didn’t take this result with full confidence because some of the reviews said the test was way off.

I was going into my endocrinologist that morning, so I knew I’d get an official A1c test there, and I’d have a good idea of the accuracy.

The endocrinologist’s A1c result was 6.5. Nice! Very close! I haven’t researched the margin of error on these machines, but that seems good to me. My endocrinologist thought the result was close enough too.

Now that I have an accurate way to test my A1c at home, let’s chat about revising my diabetes management plan.

Type 1 Diabetes Management Plan

I am planning to stretch out my check-ups to once every 6 months (with my doctor’s approval). Disclaimer: I’m not recommending you do the same unless you are very disciplined, your diabetes in very much under control, and you’ve discussed your plan with your endocrinologist.

My methods for managing my diabetes are so different from the norm with type 1 diabetes that I don’t think I need to be in the endocrinologist’s office ever 3 months. If you’re curious, here are my reasons for stretching out my visits:

  1. Health Care Expense – Each office visit costs between $70 and $150, depending on if I see a doctor or physician’s assistant. This does not include any labs outside the office visit. I have a high deductible health plan, and since I’m not on expensive medication (insulin!) or testing supplies (I have an annual subscription to One Drop.), I do not hit my deductible each year. I like to keep my out of pocket expenses as low as possible.
  2. A1c Home Test – I can test my A1c levels at home much cheaper than the ones administered by the endocrinologist’s office. This is similar to #1, but it is important that I stay on top of my diabetes, not letting my blood glucose levels creep up over time. If I couldn’t perform this test at home, I would still be going in to the office every three months.
  3. Diabetes Education – I am educating myself by reading journal articles, books, and blogs. I know why I am managing my diabetes the way I am, and it is working. I am an intelligent, educated individual, and I believe I can understand and apply scientific studies and journal articles to my own life. My endocrinologist’s office, while supportive, has not read the research I have. Any help I get from them in the way of education is usually not in line with what I’ve read and am practicing.
  4. Diabetes Products – Each time I visit the endocrinologist’s office, they are pushing a new diabetes management tool. Each visit a new and improve or cheaper version is recommended. Although I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, it does feel like the pharmaceutical companies are influencing the “standard of care.” I have been able to find diabetes management tools on my own that are not only accurate but fit my budget (One Drop, Home A1c Test Kits).
  5. Tracking Physical Symptoms – At each visit, the endocrinologist tests my feet looking for loss of sensation, nerve damage, development of callouses, wounds not healing, etc. I know how and do track these at home. If I miss something, I believe a visit every six months will catch what I miss.

I’ve read and re-read, carefully worded and re-worded what I’ve typed above. Please know I am in no way against doctors. I believe in doctors and modern medicine. They have literally saved my life. I do think our healthcare system is flawed and overworked. The best solution is to take control of your own health. That is what I am doing: take control.

I do my own research. I do my own tests. I make my own conclusions.

I do fill in my doctors, and they are supportive (some more cautiously than others!). At the end of the day, I take responsibility for my own health. I do not think it is my doctor’s responsibility to make my life as full as it can be. That is on me, and I aim to live the fullest, healthiest life I can.

Won’t you join me?

Are you a buck the trends kind of person? I haven’t always been, but this health journey with diabetes is changing me! What have you learned lately that has challenged what you always thought to be right?



Type 1 Diabetes Management | The Dawn Phenomenon

type 1 diabetes

In my effort to fix my morning blood sugar numbers, I did an experiment testing my blood sugar in the middle of the night, 2:30am to be exact. I wanted to see if my blood sugar decreases from my pre-bed reading which usually involves a recent snack. My hope was that my blood sugar goes down overnight then sometime before I wake up, it rises. Stated another way, I hope my blood sugar level does not stay elevated all night. If it does, that’s a problem.

There is a physiological situation called the dawn phenomenon. This is something everyone’s body does. It’s a hormone dump into your system to prepare your body to wake up and go for the day (VERY summarized, read up on it!). A non-diabetic’s pancreas will adjust the insulin need in the body to correct for this additional sugar in the bloodstream, resulting in no or little change to the body’s blood sugar level. An insulin-dependent diabetic may not have anything to cover this surge, or as in my case, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to manage the surge.

For an insulin-dependent type 1 diabetic, adjustments to quantity and timing of insulin doses needs to occur or when carbohydrates are eaten. For me, well, I’m going to try to figure this out without starting to take insulin because that is how I roll!

The way to know if you are experiencing a dawn phenomenon is to test your blood glucose in the middle of the night (2am-3am) a couple nights in a row. If those readings are normal, then you can assume the reason for high blood glucose in the morning is the dawn effect which is short-lived and likely harmless.

Remember to hold everything else constant while trying these tests! Bedtime, diet, rise-time, alcohol consumption, etc. everything needs to stay the same.

Since I have been struggling with my morning blood glucose numbers, I did a 4 night test to see if I have the dawn phenomenon.

Day 1

Pre-Bed BG (10pm): 147

Mid-Sleep BG (2:30am): 136

Fasting BG (6am): 166

Day 2

Pre-Bed BG (10pm): 110 (Alcohol before bed. I broke my own rule!)

Mid-Sleep BG (2:30am): 128

Fasting BG (6am): 152

Day 3

Pre-Bed BG (10pm): 151

Mid-Sleep BG (2:30am): 128

Fasting BG (6am): 147

Day 4

Pre-Bed BG (10pm): 149

Mid-Sleep BG (2:30am): 132

Fasting BG (6am): 145

My 2:30am reading is pretty steady at 128-135. That makes me feel pretty good! I’ve never tested myself in the middle of the night since being off insulin, so I’m so happy that my pancreas is doing its job even when I’m sleeping.

I’ll be consulting with my endocrinologist soon, but to my eyes, the dawn phenomenon seems to be happening. My blood sugar goes down initially, but sometime after 2:30am it starts to rise. I will still be striving to make good food and lifestyle choices, but it looks to me that I can’t do anything about that morning number.

That sounds so defeatist as I type that! I’ve learned there usually IS something that can be done. When I learn more and fix it, I’ll update!

**Update: In between the time I wrote this post and actually publishing it, I DID figure something else out! As you may know, I am sensitive to dairy, so I have cut that completely out of my diet. When shopping for Thanksgiving, I picked up some chocolate covered fruit. I like to have filled candy dishes on my fireplace when guests are around. Don’t we all need sweets on holidays???

You know I bought them at Costco, so the bag was huge. We loved them. Who wouldn’t? So I bought another bag for our guests, I mean us, at Christmas.

Then a friend gave us a bunch of my most favorite candy: York peppermint patties. I only had 1 per day. Totally justified, right??

Both of those items have dairy in them. Sigh.

I stopped eating them, and in 3 days, my morning blood sugar was back in the 130’s in the morning. I’m still not below 130 first thing, but in the 130’s is so much better than 140-170!

Now I’m not sure I have the dawn phenomenon going on, or at least it is somewhat managed by my almost-dead pancreas. I decided to go ahead and publish this information just in case it helps other diabetics out there! Feel free to comment with any questions or shoot me an email!**

Any other health struggles you are experiencing that you have to use your body as a test lab? Does it defeat you or do you strive to defeat it? I bet you know which camp I’m in! The more I experiment with my body, the more I am amazed by the intricate, complex body God has made. Isn’t it amazing how it works or doesn’t work and what can fix it?


Type 1 Diabetes Management | High Morning Blood Sugar

My morning blood sugar level is the hardest one for me to control. This one leaves me scratching my head the most often, what happened? Why is this number out of range? What did I eat? What did I drink? etc.

I hope to give you some ideas of what to do or areas to check into if your morning blood sugar is out of range. These are strategies that I actually use. I’m not telling you the hard things to do without having done them myself!

To level set, I am a Type 1 diabetic. I am not using artificial insulin. I am keeping my pancreas alive and blood glucose in range with a Paleo diet [I am not eating grains (gluten or not: oats, corn, wheat, etc.), dairy,  legumes, or white-fleshed potatoes.] and good lifestyle habits (which you’ll see below!).

I am still a Type 1 diabetic even though my C-peptide levels are normal. My pancreas is functioning, although at a lower level, and the antibody GAD 65 is still present in my body (the antibody used to diagnosis Type 1 diabetes) at higher than normal levels (at least I believe it is, my one year check-up in a few months I think will re-check this.).

I check my blood glucose levels four times a day: fasting when I first get up, prior to lunch, prior to dinner, and prior to bed. My blood glucose goals are as follows:

Pre-Meal Goal: <130

I have virtually no issue keeping the lunch and dinner levels below 130. I am a stay-at-home mom so I am active most of the day caring for my house and children.

Pre-Bed Goal: 100-150

I sometimes have an issue being below 150 if my snack is too high in carbohydrates or too close to bedtime. Having a snack later in the evening is not an issue per se, I just need to realize how long ago I ate when I check my blood sugar to know if I’m in range or not.

Fasting Goal: <130

This is my problem child. Since the holidays, I’ve had a hard time waking up less than 150 let alone 130. Lately, my blood glucose is mid-150’s in the morning.

Since I’ve struggled with this problem, I’m assuming other diabetics have as well. Below are my strategies for lowering my morning blood sugar. These are things I do to make sure my life and diet are on track when my blood glucose is not where it should be.

6 Strategies to Lower BG

6 Strategies to Keep Morning Blood Sugar in Check

Early to bed, early to rise… – Am I going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day? Am I binge watching a Netflix show?  Are my kids sick making it hard to get up on time in the morning? OR is my sleep so disrupted that perhaps lack of rest is making me high in the morning?

Solution: Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time ever morning. I know this is SO hard, but this is the single biggest factor second only to my diet to manage my morning blood sugar. I actually have a meeting scheduled on my personal calendar with an alarm to remind me to go to bed. It goes off bzz-bzz-bzz every night at 9:45pm. (Want to know how weird I am? My event reminder buzz is three buzzes in a row. When I hear this ever night it sound like “Go-To-Bed” to me. Ha!)

Diet – Did my diet change? Did I just introduce a taboo item to try it out (goat cheese for example!)? Did I accidentally eat gluten? This is usually the cause of BG over 160 in the morning, for me. Am I still riding out a gluten experience? It takes me at least a week to have my morning blood glucose return to normal after being exposed to gluten.

Solution: Stop consuming all food and drinks that you think may have caused the spike. Wait a week or two to see if your blood glucose returns to normal ranges. Then carefully, one at a time, introduce those foods/drinks back into your diet to test them out.

Carbohydrates – Am I eating too many in general? Am I eating too many before bed? Quality matters. Did I have sugar, candy, refined sugar before bed or did I just have some nuts?

Solution: Take a good look at my diet. Redirect carbohydrate intake to vegetables and fruit. Reduce processed foods (eliminate completely, ideally!).

Alcohol – Am I drinking too much or too frequently? Alcohol is not processed by the body in the same way food is. It gets filtered through the liver first which takes care of the alcohol then releases the sugar into the blood stream. Therefore, sugar/carbohydrates have a delayed effect on blood glucose when they come from alcohol. I’ve noticed that a glass of wine or cider (gluten-free!) gives me a stellar pre-bed blood glucose (usually 100-120), but it will often give me a high morning reading (150-170).

Solution: Less alcohol, less frequent (as in once or twice a week), or drop alcohol all together. It can irritate the gut leading to a host of issues other than raising blood sugar.

Exercise  – Am I consistently active? Have I fallen off the exercise wagon? Daily exercise is a must for me. I work-out 5 days a week with a light stretching or Pilates/yoga routine on Saturdays. I only take Sunday off. If I slack off and stop working out, my morning sugar slowly rises. It takes a week or so of consistency to start to see my numbers go back down.

Solution: Find a exercise routine that works for you. I’m not suggesting you do cross-fit every day. I don’t! We all need to be active, find a time and activity that is fun for you! I do a Fitness Blender routine in my basement first thing in the morning, Monday through Saturday. Maybe you like to take walks, ski, swim, take a fitness class, or run on a treadmill. What ever it is, get up and get moving consistently!

Water – Did I drink water today? Did I only drink coffee today (haha, guilty sometimes!)? One thing I take inventory of when my blood glucose is too high is how much water am I drinking. Everyone needs to drink water. We all know this, but I know I struggle to remember to drink it most days.  Perhaps I only had 1 or 2 glasses, which is clearly not enough. Once I course correct on this one, I see immediate improvement in all of my numbers throughout the day.

Solution: Use a water bottle so you can measure how much water you are drinking. I have a 20 ounce water bottle, and I try to drink 3 of them each day. Another motivator is using MyFitnessPal  to track water intake (This is also a great tool for food, exercise, and weight tracking!).

What if all of these are in line (and you’ve consistently followed these for a week or more) and your blood sugar is still higher than desired in the morning? That could be the dawn phenomenon. I suspect I am experiencing this so I conducted an experiment on myself. I’ll share more on this tomorrow!

Those are my strategies for keeping my morning blood sugar in check. Do you have any other tips to add? Do you struggle with your blood glucose readings at a particular time of day over another? Have you identified the source of the higher numbers?

A lifestyle like this takes, work, believe me, I know! How can I encourage you to say the course?