Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bouncing Back

Warning: Health matters. Boring. But I'll post some pics of my flowers to relieve the monotony.

In February, my diabetes had gotten out of control, and I felt lousy. My A1C was 10, which meant my average blood glucose level was around 250 to 275, depending on which chart you consult. I had low energy, and I didn't walk well. Last fall, I'd gone off glyburide because it wasn't helping, and my BGs were always above 200—sometimes 300. I cut my carb consumption a bit, but apparently not enough.

I signed myself up for a diabetes class, which was a major waste of time and filled with misinformation. I eventually dropped out, but I read a few books that maybe saved my life. At least they improved it. Those books, which I've mentioned upstream in this blog, are Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD, and two books by Gary Taubes—Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat.

Since making some changes in medication and what I eat (or don't eat), I've gotten better. A lot better. I started taking Prandin, which didn't cause me the problems that other diabetes drugs had in the past. (Years ago, Metformin caused bad muscle aches; Januvia put me in the hospital with breathing problems plus high blood pressure, Glyburide didn't seem to help and occasionally made me shaky.) I cut my carb intake severely and eliminated certain foods that might be a problem.

My A1C dropped to 7.3. That means an average BG level of 163-183 (depending on which chart, etc.).  I've dropped 20 pounds. My energy level is higher. My cholesterol levels have improved slightly. HDL has gone up; LDL has gone down.

I can walk faster and for longer periods of time. My balance is better. My leg pains are mostly gone. I still have trouble sitting for more than a half hour, so long car rides are out of the question for a while. I've noticed that I can almost make it to Roanoke before numbness and tingling start in my hands and feet. If I can stop and walk around a bit every 40 miles or so, I'm OK.

What I try not to eat?

Wheat: This meant giving up bread, pasta, etc. I'd already cut way back, so this wasn't much of a problem. Once in a while, I allow myself a cookie,  but it has to be a really good cookie. Problem: wheat is in so many things, so I can't eliminate it entirely. But eliminating most wheat also eliminated my acid reflux and occasional bloating.

Potatoes and rice: I gave these up long ago. Potatoes—besides spiking my BGs—gave me bad muscle cramps. Sweet potatoes didn't give me muscle cramps, but my BGs shot upward when I ate them, so they had to go. Rice has always spiked my BGs.

High fructose corn syrup: This stuff is in so many things, though, that I still ingest some. But not as much as I used to.

Most processed/prepackaged foods: I've given up the convenience of microwave foods that have all sorts of additives. I'm trying to eliminate additives—especially high fructose corn syrup.

Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame gives me bad back-of-the head headaches, so I eliminated that long ago. Others, such as Splenda, raise my BGs substantially—just like sugar does.

Most fruit: Fruit is sugar, and it raises my BGs considerably. I occasionally eat blueberries or strawberries, but not very often. When the apples on my tree are ripe, I'll eat an apple while I am walking around.

"Fake" food: Margarine is something I avoid. Ditto many oils (What the heck is a canola anyhow?).

Soy: Thanks to Monsanto, the soybeans planted in the USA are Round-Up resistant. I don't care to eat Pesticides. Like wheat, though, soy seems to be in a lot of things.

Soda—either regular (sugar/HRCS laden) or diet (artificial sweeteners). I eliminated soda from my diet years ago. I don't miss it.

What do I eat?

Low-carb vegetables: I love broccoli and cauliflower. Ditto the kale and mustard greens I grow in my little garden. I also eat cabbage, eggplant, brussel sprouts, yellow squash, zucchini, spinach, green beans, and a few other low-carb veggies. Kale chips are my favorite snack.

Eggs: A minimum of three a day.

Meat: Especially steak or other red meat, which is loaded with nutrients. And bacon. Every morning begins with a bacon and eggs breakfast. I occasionally eat chicken but rarely more than once a week.

Butter, olive oil, and coconut oil.

Coffee: Black. Three to four cups a day. Maybe more. Sometimes tea.

Sparkling water: Satisfies my taste for something fizzy. I like LaCroix and Perrier.

A little ice cream: Preferably natural flavor with a high fat content and few additives.

Almonds: But just a few a day.

Basically, I eat few carbs and more fat and protein. I don't count calories, just carbs. I always have a full plate at each meal and eat until I'm satisfied. Because I eat high fat, I rarely get hungry between meals. (I do not follow the American Diabetes Association's advice to eat according to the food pyramid.)

Do I exercise?

I don't go to the Y or a gym. I consider activity—such as housework, gardening, yardwork, and horse/dog walking—as my exercise. 

I've bounced back considerably in less than four months, but I still have a way to go yet.



Blogger Kimberly said...

Becky, I didn't find this boring at all. I do not have diabetes, but my blood sugar teeters just around 100-103. I am very much overweight and really need to lose weight. What really caught my attention was when you mentioned leg pain and trouble walking. My legs hurt all of the time, partially because I am on my feet for 9 hours/day. When I do sit down, then get up to walk, it hurts. but after I walk awhile, I fine. (Some of my pain is because I am probably gong to need surgery on my ankle.)

I have given up just about all processed foods too with the exception of dressing and condiments, which I do not use much of it. I either eat fresh meat, eggs, bacon or veggies and fruits. The only type of grain that I eat is oatmeal or oatmeal muffins (no flour) that I make myself. I try to avoid wheat, just like you mentioned. Overall, I can tell that I feel much better. My biggest weakness in the world would be potatoes. I have never met a potato that I did not like. Perhaps I need to start weaning myself off of them too.

Becky, thank you for sharing all of this great info!

6:49 PM  
Blogger R.M. said...

Thanks for sharing this - I will send this to my D.H., too. thank you!

2:25 PM  

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