Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Importance of Sleep!

Hey Everyone!

Thank you for so many nice emails over the holidays and the new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season filled with much love and peace!

I spent Christmas in Nashville with my family and then ventured out west to spend New Year's in Seattle with Chris's family. It was so amazing to spend time with his friends and family and I feel wonderful after sleeping so much and eating delicious seafood for lunch and dinner every day.

On the subject of sleeping...I have a few notes to share with all of you. My blood sugars were a whopping 28% better the week after Christmas than they were the week before Christmas. Why? Well... obviously the stress of exams and the holidays has a lot to do with this but additionally, the quality and quantity of my sleeping changed drastically from the first week to the second.

Outsmart Diabetes suggests that you can "Sleep Down Your Sugars." A possible New Year's Resolution?? Here are the highlights:
1. Sleep less than 6 hours on most nights and you're 3 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels. Even one sleepless night can interfere with your body's ability to use insulin (and therefore regulate glucose)
2. The best strategy to improve sleep? Hit the sack and get up at the same time every days- even on weekends. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule keeps your biological clock in sync so you rest better.
3. Skip Starbucks after lunch. The caffeine from your favorite latte can stay in your system for about 8 hours; even if you can fall asleep, you may not be resting soundly. (Alcohol has the same effect). Three nights of disturbed sleep can lead to a 23% increase in blood sugar levels.
4. Exercise Regularly, but not within 4 hours of bedtime. Be sure to finish your workout about 3-4 hours before bedtime; exercising in the late afternoon is best for achieving deeper sleep
5. Lower the temperature. If the temperature in your bedroom rises above 75 degrees or falls below 54 degrees while you are sleeping, you might wake up. Scientists agree that sleeping in a slightly cooler room is better.
6. Unwind before bed. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help your body transition from active and anxious to calm and drowsy. Try taking a warm bath or shower- it'll help relieve muscle tension and temporarily raise body temperature
7. Avoid late night snacking. Finish dinner at least 2-3 hours before you lie down and limit evening snacks to 200 calories or less. Too much food too close to bedtime can make you feel uncomfortable and keep you awake... and too little rest can make you eat more. Studies show that sleep deprivation raises levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates your urge to eat) and lowers leptin (which tells your brain you're full) - a bad combo!
8. Hit the lights. When you are ready to turn in, go for blackout curtains and shut down the laptop, move the charging cell phone into another room, flip the digital clock around... the glow from your electronics is enough to delay the release of sleep promoting melatonin.

Don't skimp on sleep!
XO E


Friday, October 28, 2011

Accountability!

Hello!!

In order to stay accountable to myself, I have started checking my blood sugar 5 times a day... time to quit talking about getting that A1C down further and just go ahead and do it! I have a timer set on my phone (which I have accidentally let go off in class twice....) and am writing down my numbers so that I physically see the trends.  The ipad ap BGluMon is AWESOME for this as well. It will graph/chart/analyze your blood sugars in a variety of ways that I think is super helpful. I know there are tons of apps out there though, so email me any others that you all find helpful and I will spread the word!

Also, whenever I have a high or a low blood sugar, I let somebody know about it. You can't hide from the numbers, but the more often you check your blood sugars, the more you will like them! My blood sugar right now is : 67. Eek! Gotta go take care of that.... XO Eileen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Amazing Race: Dr. Nat Strand

Hello!!

I have always said that if there were ever to be a reality tv show that I would want to go on, it would be The Amazing Race.  I guess its never too late... anyone want to be my partner??!! Haha sort of kidding, but not really...

I am so inspired by Dr. Nat Strand for being on the show while having Type 1 Diabetes!! My friends know that I take some obscene unnecessary amount on OJ with me whenever I go for a mere 45 minute hike in Percy Warner so I cannot imagine the stress of traveling the world to obscure places, handling time changes, not being able to control calories/sugar etc and managing blood sugars! This woman is a rock star! GO read about her on DLife.com (she is one of the new physicians on the team....) or google/youtube her for some real inspiration!

 She is a role model of mine for many reasons... I mean honestly, she keeps her cool and looks pretty doing it even when eating boiled sheep's head (eyeballs, tongue and all!). Read about her in Diabetes Forecast Mag here: http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/features/nat-strands-amazing-race


Hope everyone is well!!
Eileen


Thursday, June 30, 2011

The 25 Lowest Carb Veggies

This list (from DLife.com) will help you when you're planning dinner or ordering at a restaurant.

XOXO
Eileen


# 1-  ARUGALA  -It contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of arugula contains 1g of carbs.


# 2-  CUCUMBERIt contains 1g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced cucumber contains 2g of carbs.


# 3-  BROCCOLI RAABIt contains 1g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked broccoli raab (also spelled "rabe" and also sometimes called "rapini") contains 3g of carbs.


# 4-  ICEBERG LETTUCEIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains 2g of carbs.


# 5- CELERYIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. Two medium stalks of celery contains 2.5g of carbs.


# 6- WHITE MUSHROOMS- They contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of raw sliced white mushrooms contains 2g of carbs.


# 7- RADISHES- They contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced raw radishes contains 2g of carbs.


# 8- TURNIPSThey contain 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked turnips contains 4g of carbs.


# 9- ROMAINE LETTUCEIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of shredded romaine lettuce contains 1.5g of carbs.


# 10- ASPARAGUSIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked asparagus contains 3.5g of carbs


# 11- GREEN PEPPERIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced green peppers contains 2g of carbs.


# 12- OKRAIt contains 2g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked sliced okra contains 3.5g of carbs.


# 13- CAULIFLOWERIt contains 3g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains 5g of carbs.


# 14- YELLOW PEPPERIt contains 3g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced yellow pepper contains 3g of carbs.


# 15- CABBAGEIt contains 3g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup cooked shredded cabbage contains 8.5g of carbs.


# 16- RED BELL PEPPERIt contains 3g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced red pepper contains 3g of carbs.


# 17- BROCCOLI- It contains 4g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One cup of cooked chopped broccoli contains 11g of carbs.

# 18-SPINACHIt contains 4g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked spinach contains 3.5g of carbs.

# 19- BEETSThey contain 4g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of sliced canned beets contain 12.5g of carbs.

# 20- GREEN BEANSThey contain 4g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked green beans contains 5g of carbs.

# 21- CARROTSThey contain 5g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of carrots contains 6g of carbs.


# 22- KALEIt contains 5g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup chopped cooked kale contains 4g of carbs


# 23- SUGAR SNAP PEASThey contain 5g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of whole raw sugar snap peas contains 1g of carbs.


# 24- ONIONSThey contain 7g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One-half cup of cooked onion contains 11g of carbs.


# 25- CORNIt contains 10g of carbs in a 50-gram portion. One medium ear of corn contains 26g of carbs. (Okay, that's not really low carb at all, but that's why it's number-25!)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ready for a Tune-Up?


Hey!

All of you diabetics out there know how hard it can be sometimes to stay motivated to maintain blood sugars. Sometimes taking care of myself just feels overwhelming and I get very anxious (which raises my blood sugars). Its so hard to break the cycle and get back into a rhythm of good blood sugars.

 In nursing school, I have taken care of a bunch of kids over in the Children's Hospital with advanced process Cystic Fibrosis. About once a year (and sometimes more often) these kids come in to the hospital for a 2 week "tune-up" to boost their chronic disease care. During the tune-up, they get IV antibiotics, bolus feeds, extra pancreatic enzymes for digestion, all sorts of respiratory therapies, and a variety of other medical and nursing interventions. Though this sort of hospital stay and "tune-up" isn't really applicable to diabetes, I sort of apply the same idea to my own care when I am feeling really unmotivated and unmanaged. I think the idea of a yearly "tune-up" can actually apply to all different types of chronic illness... and more often in the case of diabetes! 

To really perform a diabetes "tune-up," you need to have 3-5 consecutive days with a relatively empty schedule so you can devote much of your time to your blood sugars. Once you get back in control, management gets a lot easier, but for those first few days I feel like I need a lot of concentration.

 My tune-up involves giving up coffee for a 3-5 days, drinking half my body weight in ounces of water per day (this is about 2-3L of fluid which is the recommended amount of intake for most people), doing 1 hour of cardio exercise every single day, scheduled sleeping (8 hours per night!), eating at specific times (routines are great for blood sugars!)  and trying to eat a reduced number of carbohydrates per day.  I am NOT suggesting a no carb diet.... simply saying that if your blood sugars are high, try reducing the number of carbohydrates you consume by eating whole grains and "slow carbs" rather than sugar and "fast carbs. This hyper-focused approach helps me reign in those high and low blood sugars for a few days and get back to a level of management that is easy and carefree : ) Its also a really good idea to write down each and every blood sugar and everything you eat. This will help you track patterns of highs and lows, and also helps to identify health behaviors that you may not realize (such as snacking before checking your blood sugar!). Personal reflection is timely and sometimes difficult for people to do on a daily basis, so trying it during your "tune-up" is a good way to schedule it in. 

When I try to "tune-up" and really change my approach to my care for the better, I always schedule an appointment with the dietician over at the hospital. Though we all know how to count carbohydrates and feel like we could perhaps be a dietician for somebody else just based on the sheer number of hours we have spent listening to one, it is good to return each year because they can help re-educate and counsel us to make the best decisions for our bodies.


Think you know how to count carbohydrates?? TAKE THE QUIZ! http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/quiz/showQuiz.html?quizId=7


GET BACK IN BALANCE!

XOX Eileen

Monday, June 27, 2011

Other DLife Bloggers Talking about Traveling!

Hey Guys!

I love it when other bloggers have the same thing on their minds as I do! Its a great opportunity to share and learn from one another on subjects that seem simple to some people, but affect our lives as diabetics greatly. See what I wrote about summer traveling with Diabetes (posting titled DLife: How to Prepare for Summer Vacation dated on May 21st) and then click on the links below to see what other bloggers are saying about their experiences with traveling.

Kelly Kunik from http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com blogged on June 21st (My Diabetes Travel To-DO)  and June 22 (Traveling with Diabetes- The Morning Of...) 


Cara from http://countrygirldiabetic.blogspot.com blogged on June 9th (Opting Out) 

 I must say, others seem to feel the frustration related to traveling more emphatically than I, but I am guessing I could learn something from their approach to traveling. Sometimes I am too relaxed when it comes to diabetes management so I am eager to continue the dialogue! If any of you have ideas for me, comment or shoot me an email! I will be able to try out your pointers during my travels over the 4th of July weekend.


Love you guys!

Eileen



Saturday, May 21, 2011

DLife: How to Prepare for Summer Vacation

Hi!

 Diabetes management is hard enough to do when you are in your home-town routined life. Imagine the difficulty of doing this when you are on vacation with friends or family and you cannot control timing of meals or ingredients of food. It gets tough! But what is a girl to do? Rest, relaxation and fun times are important for all of us to have a balanced life so here are some pointers I have for summer traveling. 

1. Don't pack your insulin, test strips, lancets, syringes, alcohol swabs, glucose meters (and extra batteries!) or any other medications you have in your checked suite case. All of these items need to be in your carry on! You will get strip searched through security but its better to be safe than sorry

2. Bring plenty of snacks- crackers, fruit, pretzels, juice.... you will look like the every-ready big eating American, but who knows when you will get low. 

3. If you are crossing several time zones, have someone on your health care team help you figure out the timing of your insulin injections and other medication needs

4. Always carry or wear a medical bracelet or necklace that identifies you as having diabetes, in case of emergency

5. Bring a letter from your physician listing all the diabetes supplies you use, any allergies or food restrictions, and contact information for emergencies

6. Check your blood sugars more frequently when you are traveling to prevent hypoglycemia. Check your blood sugar before you start driving and at regular intervals

7. Remember that some diabetics report an increased blood sugar levels at higher altitudes. You might have  a high level on the airplane, but be careful about correcting for it because upon landing you might get low.


Be Sure to Pack:
- twice the amount of insulin syringes, pens and cartridges you will need
- glucose meter. Put in new batteries before you go and take a spare meter if you have one
- test strips
- extra batteries
- lancing device and lancets
- ketone test strips
- glucagon
- glucose tabs or gel, lifesavers or other hard candies
- medical identification
- prescriptions for all medications
- doctor's letter
- alcohol swabs
- first aid supplies
- sharps container
- anti-nausea meds
- snacks


Have fun!! And email me your travel stories!!

Eileen