Podder™ Perspective: 7 Ways I Live Well with Diabetes and Fewer Carbs

Are you determined to take control of your or your child’s blood sugar in 2018? Had enough of the blood sugar roller coaster?

Low-carb foods can be a huge help in making this resolution a reality. Going low-carb is a very personal decision though. For me it came out of a need for a mental and physical break. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Sept. 3, 1986. My son was diagnosed March 23, 2015. After a year of trying to manage both of our diabetes, I was done! I will never forget the many times I had to change his Pod or make major medical decisions for him when my hands were shaking from a low or I couldn't think straight because I was riding the blood sugar roller coaster myself. I remember thinking, 'If only I could just get rid of mine so I could manage his!' That’s when I found the low-carb high fat/protein diet. Eating this way has gotten me as close to “getting rid of mine” as I can come for now.

I have found that reducing the number of carbohydrates in my diet has made a huge difference, but making the change in diet is HARD! Below are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

How I Keep a Low-Carb Diet and Take Control of My Blood Sugar

  1. Take Notes: Writing down the date I started, how much total insulin I was using, my basal rates/insulin-to-carb ratio/correction factor, my last A1C, and my weight was very helpful because I could then look for progress in these numbers. Over time, I saw a reduction in my insulin requirements (yay both medically & financially), my A1C and I lost weight (added bonus!). I kept the other information in case I made changes to something and needed to revert back.
  2. Find alternatives for your favorites: Pinterest is my friend! Many people have already given recipes low-carb makeovers & Pinterest is full of them. There is a low-carb version of pretty much everything. I save low-carb breakfasts, lunches, dinners and everything in between. Here are a few of my favorites from my low-carb entrees board: You'll Never Miss the Noodles Lasagna, Low Carb Chili Dog Bake, and Low Carb Skillet Chicken Parmesan
  3. Start with Dinner for More Sleep: Diabetes has stolen more than its fair share of sleep from those of us living with it or caring for our children with diabetes. My family eats a low-carb dinner so that we aren’t going to bed with a ton of carbs to digest, or more importantly, a ton of insulin on board. This usually means an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
  4. Plan ahead: Rather than leave mealtime decisions until the last minute, and grabbing what's convenient, I plan my snacks and low-carb meals as far ahead as I can. Because we all know that what is convenient may not play nicely with blood sugars or waistlines.
  5. Forget the bun: As much as I try to plan ahead, life happens, and sometimes I just have to hit the drive-through in between the millions of things I’m trying to do. Ordering burgers without buns is a low-carb option, and is a lot more common than you think. In fact, at Burger King it actually comes up on the register as "low-carb." And, most of the time there is a more healthy side substitution. I have found that this is a great time to go low-carb. Restaurants care about their images and we can all benefit.
  6. Find alternatives to treat lows: I used to use juice, but now use fruit snacks. Generally, 2-3 are enough to bring my blood sugar back up because I don't have a ton of insulin on board. It’s very odd to say this, since I need insulin to live, but I have found that carbs aren't the enemy, insulin is! When eating more carbs, I use a ton of it to cover the food I am eating, then my blood sugar drops too low, and then I have to over treat with more carbs to feel better  ̶  and thus starts the blood sugar roller coaster.
  7. Accept Imperfection: OK, I kinda suck at this one, but I'm working on it! Sometimes I screw up (especially in the beginning) or hormones or stress cause my or my son’s blood sugars to do crazy things. It's OK! I try to remember that I’m not looking for perfection – I’m looking for improvement!

Written by Jennifer Runyon