Saturday, March 12, 2016

So I had a good week getting the sugar back to I'd say close to normal, and had a good workout each morning (I was surprised at how rapidly my lungs conditioned, and I was able to run my entire 5k on Friday without slowing to a walk), but the one thing I had left to revive was the art of not overeating. I think I was rusty and sloppy on that count more than on being out of shape, and didn't really get the old hang of it back until today. I realized again that stopping a meal at the right time is really the core difference between after-meal spikes of 180 or less, and after-meal spikes of 250 or a lot more. I had gotten over-confident about my robustness and careless about the importance of this principle.

In fact, regardless of what my sugar level reads after a meal, if I have put too much in, I am uncomfortable with both an overloaded stomach and with all kinds of heat and fatigue going on throughout my body. I have observed over time, that even if in such a moment the sugar reads say 112, it's planning on climbing high once the insulin peak passes, or whatever else may be presently helping to maintain the level. So it boils down to this: If I feel like my sugar is or ought to be high, it essentially may as well be, regardless of what the meter says right now.

Keeping it short and dropping the old traditions of lingering, grazing and dessert is fundamental.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Raw vs. Fresh

The government, against popular demand (as we sometimes observe to occur), made pasteurized milk the norm some years ago. People wanted the fresh milk to which they were accustomed, but it didn't take long to change the masses' taste, and pasteurized and homogenized milk became the norm.

My mom came from the country and when we would go back to visit her folks, who still kept cows, I always was afraid and refused to taste the "raw milk."

"Raw Milk."

Just the moniker is enough to turn you away.

Well, I never call it that any more. "Fresh apples" means apples off the tree that have not been in storage or cooked, right? So milk straight from the cow that has not been cooked is "fresh milk," and milk that has been processed is - you guessed it - "processed milk."

So whenever you hear me or read me say "fresh milk," or "processed milk," you will know what I mean.

Now for a treatment of the considerations for choosing to consume one or the other:

If you contaminate fresh milk, you had better cook it if you don't want to be sick.

If you contaminate processed milk, you had better cook it again if you do not want to be sick.

I once heard an emotional reference to "raw milk" as the culprit for someone's acquaintance who had gone blind, or some such malady. In fact, it was not "raw milk" that had been the problem; the malady had been caused by bacteria that had been inserted into the milk.

One way or the other, you must ensure that your milk is not contaminated.

But when milk sours, if it contains its natural live enzymes, it will not sour quickly or severely, whereas cooked milk, in which everything has been killed, is a nice environment for fostering bacteria, and it sours rapidly and severely - to the point that you cannot stand to drink it.

A Review of Some Basics

The very first step in addressing or battling Type II diabetes is to increase exercise and love it.

It is more important to eat good food than not to eat bad. But by eating bad, you can disable your appetite and greatly affect eating good; therefore, the importance of not eating bad increases.

Do not overeat.

Do you suffer from asthma, chronic cough, lack of energy, constipation, dandruff, skin conditions, acne, joint pain and problems, inflammation? The list goes on, and often, any and all of these can be cured by the cessation of overeating. Been there myself and done that.

By the way, I cured a long-term chronic cough with carrot juice. Pure, raw, carrot juice. But that's not a basic.

If one eats only whole and wholesome food, especially fresh, one can hone one's appetite to tell one not only how much is too much but what one should eat at any given instant. The appetite tells you what you need - you do not need a chart. But only if your appetite is functioning normally and is not messed up from environmental influence and poor practice.

If you eat plain and natural, i.e., "whole foods," without excessive mixing and recipe, you will eventually discover an enjoyment of food previously unknown. You will relish a grape with far more intensity than you ever had in craving a Snicker bar.

If you eat a certain amount of sugar in your various dishes, that is how much sugar you will need. Cut back for a few days to a lesser amount, and your food will be as sweet as before, and now you need less sugar. Cut it out completely, and you can pretty much get along without it. Salt is the same way, if you want to cut back on it. Fat is also similar. But of course, natural sugars, salt and fat are essential in one's diet.

It is very hard not to be influenced greatly and to the point of defeat by adverse environment, which means living with people around who are eating cake and such. It is extremely easy to eat very well in a home or environment where everyone else is doing it. Seek such a situation, and good luck, but for most people, this is not to be. So you have to do your best to be strong and to remember that you are the one who has it good, you are the one who enjoys your food most.

I was once asked what I meant by the term I kept using, "empty calories." I was at a diabetes orientation. Some new diabetics really had no idea what specific foods were meant when they heard terms like this, and like "real food," or even "junk food." Basically, we mean food less processed, and food that is more by itself instead of part of an elaborate recipe. And the more fresh, the better. For example, my parents were known to set out a dinner that consisted of some boiled potatoes, with nothing on them but a little salt, and some raw carrots and turnips, and perhaps some boiled spinach. Ideally, I do not eat food that comes out of a bag, can, bottle or box.

You can really tell the difference in how you feel.....(perhaps I should reword that): I can really tell the difference in how I feel, whether I eat fresh whole wheat or oats I cooked myself, vs. any commercial cold cereal. Bread, same story. How I feel after a bowl (or extended period) of Wheaties is waaaaaaaaaaay different from how I feel after a bowl of boiled wheat, fresh bananas and fresh cream.

Speaking of bread in general, if you as a diabetic minimize or eliminate bread in your diet, and eat steamed and/or sprouted whole grains instead, you will have a much much easier time satisfying your hunger and controlling your sugar level. This includes any kind of homemade bread, but any store-bought bread, no matter what its ingredients, no matter whether it is whole-grain or white, or whether it contains HFCS or sugar, any store-bought bread will affect your overall sugars adversely and significantly, much worse than any homemade bread.

Still, when I am less diabetic than at other times, I eat the stuff. Everyone loves bread.

The longer you go, eating good (as outlined above), the less diabetic you will become. I have heard and sometimes believed that one can even go long enough to actually recover completely from the disease. I have perhaps come close to that at times, but never really all the way. You see, I live in an environment known as the United States of America.

Never try to get off medication just to become independent from it. Always use what will help you. Take good care of yourself to minimize the amount of meds you need, but the goal is to get what you need, not to "get off the meds."

I love vegetables and eat a lot of them. Raw and cooked. But fresh and plain. I eat raw collard greens. I eat them slow and they taste a lot better. Gross as it may sound to say, I slow-cook them in my mouth. If you ever want to win over the hungries and the munchies, try raw greens. Try vegetable sandwiches with mayo. Don't mess with the silly stuff Subway offers in the way of "vegetarian sandwiches." Make your own - they are so awesome. Subway does not have much of an offering in the way of vegetables and spices you could knock off your socks with. But what I started to say - I am not vegan. I personally have no use at all for vegan this or that, or vegetarian anything. It may be good for some, however. But you will rarely catch me eating any nitrate.

Once Every ....

...year or year and a half, it seems like, my sugar will go very high and not want to come down for a day or two, even with a lot of insulin shots.

I just do my best at what I know how to do, and it gets back to normal, and on we go.

It happened this last week again, and seemed to be triggered by my son's birthday and some loose cake-eating and such. Shot after shot after shot after shot, and it did NOT want to come down. It seems it was worse than ever before, lasting - I don't know - 4 days?

I had not had "insurance" for a while, and had given up getting Humalog from Canada, the price of which had really gone up, and having discovered Novolin R at Walmart, for $24.?? per vial, which although having a different profile of effectiveness vs. time, seemed to work ok for me.

So I was afraid it might have been that the Novolin R was proving to be insufficient and that I must get back to the doctor and back onto Humalog. While I was working on that, I borrowed a couple of Humalog pens from a friend.

The Humalog proved no more effective in the current crisis than the Novolin R.

That's when it dawned on me (this is just a humble theory, folks), these infrequent but severe episodes in which insulin suddenly seems ineffective, whereas it normally is extremely effective, might mean that sometimes my body is slipping into a Type II condition as well as its normal Type I condition.

Or something like that. So I realized that to get my sugar down (this was last Monday, March 7), I didn't need Humalog so much, I just needed to run and quit eating like a pig (I had become somewhat sloppy, to which I already alluded).

Since first being laid off in 2008, I have not been working out. Up to that point, I had always had some kind of regular workout program going on. Up to that point (since 1986), I had been a very prolific bicycle rider. But since my professional world has become topsy turvy (2008-present), I have been less physically active in terms of what one may call an amateur athletic competition training regimen.

And my sugars were doing pretty well, nonetheless. But I had been accustomed to riding a bicycle up any Pittsburgh-area hill without getting off, and without having any exhaustion. Now I was finding myself getting off after being quickly susceptible to chest exhaustion - the kind where you just have to stop and pant in pain, and admit you are totally out of shape. Now I don't mean to discourage anyone who has not been in great shape; you must realize where I am coming from - I have been working out my whole life (up till 2008, that is), having been an avid wrestler and hiker as well as biker. So my "out of shape" might look pretty "in shape" to some. Remember that you do not need to be as in shape as someone else, especially not at first - you may only need to be in better shape than what you are now, which is true for me.

So first thing Monday morning, I set out to run my 5k that I used to do along the river here. I say run, but I was not able to sustain much of a 'run.' I had to keep slowing from a snail's pace to a walk. It had been a long time, so I could not remember how far down and back 5k was. I ended up going about 5 mi. round trip. I spent the rest of the day, pretty much, sluffing off the work I had to do, jogging, walking, riding a bmx bike over some hills, etc. I had been very hungry for fresh beets so I got some of those cooking. Throughout, I continued to plug myself with dual doses of Novolin R and Humalog. After the first run, I was down about 100 points from about 460, and after perhaps an additional equal amount of activity, I was down another 100 or more, and the rest of the day I was just maintaining. I still had the tendency to go up and not be able to come down again without a lot of legwork.

From there, it got better. Tuesday, I was pretty stiff, and I still am, but I just did one regular workout first thing in the morning, and I already seemed to be getting back to normal, sugar-wise. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my chest exhaustion thing had already diminished dramatically, and I was already feeling that old runner's high stuff to which I had been such a stranger these 10 years. Shoot, when I was in my 20s-40s, I remember that to get back in shape for running, I had to stick to it a week or two before it began to feel like it was good, not bad for my health. This time, although I am still just jogging at a snail's pace, and almost throwing up because of it, I feel great already. Since Monday, I have just done one workout, first thing in the morning. I am even stretching out after, and doing better at it than I have done since my college wrestling days. I am feeling that old enthusiasm for vigorous workouts that I have not felt in decades. I used to crave it. I am craving it now, it makes me feel so super. I'm going to keep it up.

My feet and legs, although stiff, have been feeling particularly good. For a diabetic, if your feet come to feel just normal, it is ecstasy, but I am talking about a particular feeling that you feel and it is really good. I should also note that my eyesight has dramatically improved since restarting my daily workouts. I have been having long-lasting flashes of 20/20 vision without my glasses, and generally have been having no trouble reading signs from a distance, again, without the glasses. And right now, I could not see what I am putting up on my computer screen any more clearly, even though it is a good 3 feet away (normally, I would have trouble reading it). I notice these things because I only wear my glasses to drive a motor vehicle.

And my Type I diabetes, if the doctors can agree that that is what I really have, is back to normal. Well, almost - I am still using both types of insulin at the same time, injecting them separately in two different locations on my body, and using a little more than normal, but not near as much as I was earlier in the week. And my sugar levels are down to normal.

I should note that I am being very careful with my hips and knees. The second I get a little warning that a joint has had enough, I slow to a walk the rest of the day. And I do not "run" two days in a row. On alternate days, I ride. Up hills. And down! And I lift weights, which I had been told not to do, because added toned muscle mass can inhibit blood circulation, which is pretty stupid, considering the net benefit. And if I ever find a good pool, I will swim too. And a good wrestling mat.....

Finally, a disclaimer. I am not a doctor, I am a patient. Or not even that. I do not care about nor do I give any real thought to medical or physiological explanations regarding my condition. I do not even know for sure whether I am really supposed to be called 'Type I.' I have never been to an endochrinologist, and the doctors I have seen had no interest in testing me and categorizing me, they just tried medicines to see what worked. Metformin did not work. Insulin did. What I am is a conscientious and experienced diabetic. I have experience and from that I have insight that one cannot gain otherwise. That's all I am. I am a person who started out devastated and messed up from the news that I was diabetic and would have to "starve" the rest of my life, and who finally was able to put my diabetes into its place as a daily part of life but no big deal, no big inconvenience. I know many people who do the very same thing but with a different approach. They trivialize their diabetes by continuing a lifestyle of junk consumption and sedentary activity, and simply having their doctor give them whatever prescriptions are necessary to minimize the sugar effects. My way is better because you feel super through and through. And you enjoy your food more. And your life. And you don't lose body parts so quick, if at all.