Friday, October 28, 2011



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


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 (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:

Hope everyone is well!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The 25 Lowest Carb Veggies

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


# 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?


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!


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 blogged on June 21st (My Diabetes Travel To-DO)  and June 22 (Traveling with Diabetes- The Morning Of...) 

Cara from 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!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

DLife: How to Prepare for Summer Vacation


 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!!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Long Time No-See!

Hey Friends!

Have yall missed me? I have been radio-silent for some time.... but I am pleased to say that I have graduated Vanderbilt University and am now well on my way into my summer semester for my masters program. No rest for the weary!

Keep checking in because I am planning on blogging all summer long!!

XO Eileen

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NFocus presents: Shimmer and Shine!

Hey Everyone!

The social magazine in Nashville, NFocus, has an annual event every year called Model Behavior which honors women from nonprofit organizations in Nashville. Each organization picks one woman to represent them (usually a board member or administrator...) in a featured article in the magazine (photo shoot!!) and at a big party in the spring. The party, called "Shimmer and Shine," is on March 4 and will honor all of the women and the philanthropies. There is going to be a jewelry and shoe fashion show and a drawing for an additional $3,000 gift made to the winning philanthropy. This year JDRF was chosen as one of the organizations!!! AND I WAS THEIR CHOSEN WOMAN! The photo shoot was so fun and I met some very interesting and inspiring women from the Nashville community. Be on the lookout for the March issue of NFocus... and come to the Shimmer and Shine party!

XOXO Eileen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quinoa Salad

obsessed with this! YUMMY!

Quinoa Salad
- 7 servings
- serving: 1/2 cup
- preparation time: 10 minutes
- cooking time: 20 minutes

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. minced parsley

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package. Add the veggies and parsley and allow to cool. Thats seriously all you have to do.

Calories per serving: 120
Total Fat: 5g
Total Carb: 13g
Protein: 3 g

happy super bowl sunday!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gestational Diabetes

Another article from Diabetes Forecast!  Read this especially if you are a WOMAN.

Sugar Baby:
"Drinking too many sugar-sweetened sodas has been linked to developing type 2 diabetes by several recent studies but it hasn't been clear if the association holds for gestational diabetes. Now, a study has found that women who drink 5 or more colas a week before conception are 22% more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy than future moms who consume these beverages less than once a month. Yet, for reasons not entirely understood, the correlation wasn't observed for other sugary drinks. Gestational diabetes raises a mother's risk for eventually developing type 2 and can cause health problems for her baby."

Yet another reason to drink COFFEE instead of COKE.

Why Diabetes Matters to Economists


Like the diabetes nerd that I am, I read Diabetes Forecast magazine religiously every month.  And actually, I think more people without diabetes should read it. The magazine's critics often argue that it should be re-titled Type 2 Diabetes Forecast, but hey... here I am as a Type 1 reader. I'll keep it in business.

This is something I took out of the January issue...

Fast Fact: Only 1 in 4 Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 gets preventive screenings and immunizations

Prediction: Diabetes Costs to Soar
" Over the next 25 years, the cost of treating diabetes in the United States is expected to triple to $336 billion per year, including $171 billion in Medicare spending alone. That's the forecast of researchers who projected the size and costs of a future diabetes population- one expected to double to 44.1 million people by 2034. According to the study (which accounted for inflation and put costs in 2007 dollars), the increase will be partially driven by an again baby boom population. The study didn't take into account an expected rise in obesity rates, which could nudge the numbers even higher."

Holy smokes!

As everyone knows (I really hope everyone knows this!) only 2% of diabetics have Type 1 diabetes. The majority have Type 2, and when this article references a boom in the diabetes population, they are referring to the Type 2 population. Take your baby boomer parents, neighbors, friends etc to get preventive screenings asap!

To all of you business minded people out there... find a cure while you are out there making billions!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yummy Smoothie!

Hello Again!

Did everyone see this recipe posted in the comments section of my post entitled "A Little Taste of My Diabetes" ?? If not, read the recipe and try it out! I made it for one of my roommates and myself and we both loved it. I made it without tofu and with truvia instead of equal (I didn't have any tofu but I have added it to my grocery list! And truvia is an all natural alternative to equal, however it does have a few carbs per package so make sure to count accordingly!) 

MLS's Blueberry Smoothies!
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 cup Soft Silken Tofu
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 cup fresh Blueberries (I'm sure frozen would be fine too)
4 packets of equal
10 ice cubes
Blend and drink! Recipe makes 2.5 servings. 1 serving is 130 calories and 17g carbs. 

Here is what Mary Lynn had to say about the recipe:
"I'd never used that silken tofu before, but it's completely flavorless, so it just helps thicken it up. And the almond milk is a new discovery, which I really like - it has way fewer carbs than regular milk."

SPRING BREAK IS A MONTH AWAY! I think I am going to be making myself smoothies like this every day until then.... 


An Update on Coffee

From Self Magazine! Perhaps not the best source for an update on medical research but I'll take it! VICTORY!


Raise your mug to higher metabolism! The caffeine in coffee can raise your resting metabolic rate by about 15 percent, and the effect can last up to four hours—that adds up to 30 to 50 calories burned per day. Plus, people who sip 3 to 4 cups of regular or decaf coffee per day are 30 percent less prone to type 2 diabetes. Chlorogenic acid, found in coffee, may help prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to obesity and diabetes
Go to this page for reference and to find more healthy food!
I am clearly a little over excited about this.....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Food Poisoning!

Hey All!

Well... again, I have failed to adhere to any schedule I make. Clearly I have NO BALANCE at all, much less a sweet one. Last Friday I was going to post some of those yummy college-friendly diabetic recipes you all have been sending me but while I was at my nursing school clinical rotation (at the Psych Hospital no less!) I got very sick at lunch. It turns out I had food poisoning (but I have no idea what I got it from....) and had to head on over to the ER for some fluids and Zofran

I resisted the hospital at first... I like to take care of other people but I really hate being a patient.My blood sugars were never over 120 between 12-3 and I had no ketones which I checked for twice. I knew I wasn't in DKA, so what was the danger? The danger of food poisoning for all people is serious dehydration. My kidneys started hurting so the time came for a little ER visit. It turned out being an 8 hour stint but I did not have to be admitted.

I guess I was nervous or something when I got to the ER because my blood sugar spiked to 150 and my blood pressure was 138/79. It all came down very quickly though with the fluid. I left the hospital at 102 and a blood pressure of 99/55. Yay!

Food poisoning wears you out. I slept 5 hours on Saturday in the day and then 12 hours on Saturday night.... I also pulled a muscle in my back.

I'm all better now though! And those recipes will be up tomorrow!

Thanks guys, love to you all!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Little Taste of My Diabetes


I received an email from a reader a few days ago who called me out on never telling the story of my personal experience of being diagnosed with diabetes and living with it. She pointed out that I talk a lot around diabetes but don't say much about it. I guess I can understand where she is coming from, but I also don't want to bore any of you readers who do not have diabetes. Anyways, reflection is a great thing to do at the beginning of a new year and I found this little survey to help me do some. Thank you so much for your emails with questions and comments! They are all an inspiration to me to keep blogging and your praise and criticism is helping me grow as a diabetic and as a writer.  

Here's a little taste of my diabetes for you...

What type of diabetes do you have: Type 1

When were you diagnosed: July 4th, 2006

What's your current blood sugar: 109!! yay!

What kind of meter do you use: One Touch Ultra 2

How many times a day do you test your blood sugar: Not enough... maybe 3? But I wear a continuous glucose monitor in addition to pricking my finger so I have an idea of what my blood sugar is at all times.

What's a "high" number for you: Anything over 200.

What's do you consider "low": Anything under 70.

What's your favorite low blood sugar reaction treater: I really really love juice and I can only drink it when I am low.... With a low blood sugar in the 40s-50s, I will grab some fresh OJ! If its 60s-70s, I usually grab glucose tablets, fruit, or some candy

Describe your dream endo: I have my dream endo! Her name is Dr. Jagasia and she is the most nurturing and kind woman you can dream of! Aside from being brilliantly smart and knowledgeable, she is approachable and never makes me feel bad for slip-ups. I always leave feeling empowered to have better control and management.

What's your biggest diabetes achievement: Giving a speech on my experiences with diabetes at the JDRF Promise Gala in 2010 to help raise over $600,000 for JDRF of Middle Tennessee (we set a record!). Also, I am proud of myself for effectively managing a chronic illness in college. 

What's your biggest diabetes-related fear: Amputation, blindness, heart disease, kidney disease, death... I am pretty scared of all of it. Even though good management prevents these problems, sometimes I forget that and freak out.

Who's on your support team: My boyfriend, my parents, my doctor, my friends (especially those who have diabetes)

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime: I hope so. I can't really imagine my life without diabetes anymore though. I don't really ever let myself think about a cure because I don't want to take my focus off of good control right now

What is a "cure" to you: No injections, no pump, no testing...A stomach without bruises and scars from the pump... A healthy body without any danger of complications from diabetes.

The most annoying thing people say to you about your diabetes is: So, did you get diabetes because you ate too much sugar?

What is the most common misconception about diabetes: That diabetes is easy to manage because we have insulin to inject. I think people forget that insulin keeps us alive but doesn't cure our disease. Also, I hate it when people confuse Type 1 and Type 2. 

If you could say one thing to your pancreas, what would it be: Why did you kill my islets?

Keep those recipes coming!! I am going to post a bunch of them on Friday!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Last Day of Break

Hello All!
Today is my last day of winter break... tomorrow is the start of Rush week and Monday is the start of nursing school. How am I spending this glorious snowwy day in Nashville? I am already studying.

This afternoon I have my HESI exam which is a cumulative exam covering all of my classes from the fall semester. It is sort of similar to the PSAT in the sense that it is a preliminary test that indicates your preparedness for the nursing boards. There is no grade for it, but if you don't do well you have to remediate. I am not expecting to do poorly but I have to admit that I feel as though a lot of my knowledge has flown out the window over the winter break.

Last night after a day of horrendous blood sugars, I chugged 3 glasses of water and went to bed early. This morning I woke up with a blood sugar of 103. Hooray!!

To keep my numbers normal after the day I had yesterday, I had a simple breakfast of scrambled egg whites with chopped onion and a piece of wheat toast.... ALWAYS a good breakfast for diabetics, but rarely do I have time to cook those eggies.

I should add "make healthy breakfasts" to my already long list of new year's resolutions. It really makes diabetes soooooo much easier to start the day off right rather than try to chase those blood sugars all day long. Anybody have any ideas on things for me (or other diabetics) to eat for breakfast that can be prepared in around 8 minutes?? I will post your answers!!

Maybe 8 minutes is a little tight.... If your recipes are really good, I might wake up earlier to make them  :)


Friday, January 7, 2011

Side Tracked... Already! And it's only January 7th

Today I had TERRIBLE diabetes day. Our family hosted the visitation for my great grandmother who was buried today (RIP, 105 years of an amazing life!) and somehow I ended up having a low blood sugar of 52 upon returning from the cemetery and a high blood sugar of 325 after correcting for it and eating dinner prepared by the caterer. ROLLERCOASTER. It has just been one of those days.

So instead of diabetes, I am writing about something entirely different today : ) As you all know, I am obsessed with reading design blogs (check out my blog reel to see which ones I read most often) but the problem is that I have no apartment to decorate... I still live in a DORM (don't fret... it's pretty normal at Vanderbilt for students to live on campus all four years).  I've done the best I can with cinder block walls, but Simply Shabby Chic from Target only lasts for so long. The photographs are by Paul Moore.

Life as I know it is about to change. In May I will be graduating from Vanderbilt and moving into a new apartment  : ) HOORAYY!!  I am already wasting time looking at bedding. Comments on any of these??

All of this bedding is from Pottery Barn... I like the colors!

Sorry for the digressions! More about diabetes tomorrow when I can FOCUS! xoxo Eileen

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Let the resolutions begin....

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a happy and peaceful holiday season (and for all of you diabetics... one filled without too many elevated blood sugars!!) and that everyone is beginning the new year off on the right foot.

I spent Christmas with my family in Nashville and then jetted out to Seattle to visit Chris and his family for the new year. Isn't Seattle beautiful?? This photo is from the top of the Space Needle... such a clear day!

I have A MILLION new years resolutions... the first and most important one being a lower A1C. It seems like I will never break 7.5......Is this going to be my goal forever???

Like the rest of America, I would also like to exercise more, travel more, hang out with friends and loved ones more, cook more, read more.... and lest I forget to mention, BLOG MORE!! 

Additionally, I hope to graduate from Vanderbilt in May and pass the NCLEX in October.

It is a beautiful day in Nashville today and I am off to run in the park... I need to work on restoring myself to a sweet balance as I am preparing to move back to Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Blessings for a Happy New Year!!!