Well, Isn’t That Sweet…?

Blood sugar testing is one of the most rudimentary steps towards preventing complications when dealing with Type 1 Diabetes. Unless you’re on some sort of continuous glucose monitoring, most health practitioners would recommend testing at least five to ten times a day to ensure that you stay as consistent as possible.

I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1982 (I know, I know… no need to point out how I’m aging myself…) and at that time, the belief was simply “don’t eat sugar.” Although that’s pretty accurate in some respects, there is far more to controlling Diabetes than JUST sugar.

As a child, I did everything I could to avoid sugary foods (with my parents’ support, of course). Staying away from desserts, juices and sugared products was all I assumed was needed. My parents knew no better either. If I were hungry, bread, crackers, milk… These were acceptable foods that weren’t “sugary” and were therefore safe for me to eat.

From the age 4 until about the age of 10, I suffered through a number of Diabetic comas resulting from extreme blood sugar levels. The worst of these comas lasted for a number of days. I can’t begin to explain how disorienting it is to go to sleep on one day, only to wake up several days later in a hospital bed. I often thank my lucky stars for having shared a bedroom with my older brother, as he was the one who ran to get my parents when he’d wake to find me frothing at the mouth. Without his intervention, I’m quite certain I wouldn’t be here today…

My point is, my family and I didn’t really have a firm understanding many of my Diabetic symptoms throughout my childhood. And the terminology of the time, “avoid sugar”, didn’t help. It wouldn’t be until twenty five years later that I would learn about carbohydrates and how they relate to Diabetes.

An example of a typical Nutrition Label found on most commercially sold food items.

Carb counting is not an OLD concept, per se… But it’s one I didn’t learn about until I started on my insulin pump in 2015. When I started consulting with my pump educators and dieticians, they began asking me about how I was carb counting. I was at a loss. I had become one of those people who focused so much on avoiding sugar and exercising, that I had never really bothered to learn anything new. That meant I had no idea what they were talking about.

Blood glucose levels are affected based on the consumption of carbohydrates. This includes sugar of course, but encompasses so much more. If you look at the nutritional label I included above, you’ll notice the portion I’ve encircled.

The Total Carbohydrate line includes all carbs, sugars and fibers included in the food. That being said, dietary fiber does not affect blood sugar. So if we look at the numbers on this label, you would need to subtract 4 grams of fiber from 37 grams of total carbs. This means you would need to take an insulin dose for 33 grams of carbs, not 37.

A 4 gram difference isn’t extreme, the difference over time can result in serious blood sugar fluctuations and all the symptoms and side effects that follow.

Although the medical definition of Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t change, treatment and proper care is a constantly evolving creature. It becomes important to continue learning and studying, and don’t be afraid to do some research of your own.

I know that doctors absolutely hate knowing we check Google and WebMD, but no information is bad information. Don’t be afraid to do whatever is necessary to ensure your proper health. And keep checking those blood sugar levels… ☯

Sometimes, Laziness Is A Good Thing…

You know, it’s been a long week. I painted and renovated our upstairs bathroom, laid flooring in the downstairs bathroom, eliminated a bunch of stuff we were no longer using and loads of weeds pulled in the yard and laundry.

I usually have a great deal of difficulty sitting still, and any of my coworkers and my family would concur with that. Between my annoying need to keep moving and always be doing SOMETHING and my compulsive need to clean, a day where I simply sit back and relax is usually quite rare.

I had just such a day today. Today is a civic holiday in Saskatchewan, meaning that most people had the day off. I started my day the way I usually do; with a healthy dose of caffeine to supplement the fact that my son woke me up far earlier than I planned on getting up.

A light breakfast and a few dishes later, I found myself sitting in a comfortable rocker watching some television. No chores, no errands… Then, the whole family partook of a short nap. After a short respite, we decided to take our son Nathan to a splash park to get some fun in the sun and play in the water.

We spent the better part of almost two hours playing in the sun. It was quite warm out today, and Nathan had an absolute blast until he managed to hurt himself and decided he wanted to go home.

Once we got home and were shielded from the sun, we all cooled down and had another bite to eat. This was followed by another nap. Now that we’re all fed and refreshed, I’m currently typing and my son is playing with a Uno deck on the floor. Although “playing” may be a very loose term; he’s mostly scattering the cards all over the floor.

Not exactly an exciting day, right? Was this a lazy day? A wasted day? What do you think? Realistically, in today’s busy world of non-stop hustle and bustle, a lazy day where one does nothing is often needed in order to reset your clock and get proper rest. This is almost as important as getting a full night’s sleep or meditating regularly. ☯

Let’s Lighten The Mood, Shall We?

Think back to a time when you’ve dealt with someone exhibiting a bad mood or a temper. How did you deal with what person? How did their mood affect your interaction with them? Did you do the typical thing and tell them to calm down?

That’s usually the worst thing you can do. Never, in the history of humanity has that ever worked. If anything, telling a person to calm down usually just fuels the fire and makes things worse.

Anger, frustration and rage are symptoms that are all too common to someone suffering from type 1 Diabetes. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause sudden and violent mood swings, which can often be misunderstood by those around you.

I can remember times when I was a teenager, that I was a real a$$hole. Those who know me personally who are reading this may wonder, What’s changed? Don’t get me started…

But seriously, there were times in my youth where my anger outweighed my ability to control it. And this is one of the lesser knowns symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes.

Depending on what source you look into, low and/or high blood sugar will affect different people in different ways. For example, most medical sources will say that low blood sugar will lead to aggression and irritability. For me, high blood sugar has always led to my bad tempers. In fact, I’ve damaged and even ended relationships in my youth because of my temper. In hindsight, I wish I had been aware of these symptoms back then.

According to an article posted by HealthyPlace.com, severe drops or spikes in blood sugar levels can cause several emotional responses including but not limited to, increased doses of cortisol within the brain, which affects the level of adrenaline in the body as well as a number of systems in the brain that affect things like fight-or-flight and self-control.

This is an effect known as “Diabetic Rage“. As most people would agree, feeling anxious, depressed or angry are normal human responses. Things get a little dicey when that anger intensifies and starts being projected on others. Here’s the article, if you wish to peruse: https://www.healthyplace.com/diabetes/mental-health/diabetic-rage-can-diabetes-cause-aggressive-behavior

The first and most obvious step in preventing such mood swings is the proper and frequent checking of your blood glucose levels. Preventing severe highs and lows will help to stem the symptoms. The deeper issue is learning the difference between what’s caused by Diabetes and what’s caused by normal mood and emotion.

Needless to say, it may be difficult to control oneself in the face of these mood swings but if you feel a sudden fit of rage, it may be in your best interest to test your blood glucose and adjusting your levels as needed. Barring Diabetic symptoms, deep breathing exercises and meditation often works for me although having someone tell me to calm down usually sets me off… ☯

Channel Your Inner Vila…

I remember sitting through many an episode of “This Old House” when I was a kid. My father loved the show, despite having never lifted a tool in his life. I guess it’s a bit like watching wrestling or boxing and never being in a fight.

I absolutely despised home improvement shows at that age, as any kid would. If I’m being honest, I was way more partial to Star Trek, Star Wars or Lost In Space.

I’m a little behind on getting some writing done. Yesterday morning started like any other day. I went into work, then came home to take my son outside to get him out of his mother’s hair. Usually that only includes keeping him busy until lunchtime so she can work, but yesterday I decided to take a drive to Home Depot.

Home Depot is an evil place, because they’re really good at making you believe that you can fix or build ANYTHING. I went in to buy some caulking for my upstairs bathtub, and ended up leaving with flooring, caulking, paint and tools.

What started as a quick shopping visit ended with redoing the bathroom floors and painting all the walls and floorboards. I worked diligently from about ten in the morning yesterday and finished just shortly after lunch this morning. Needless to say, I’m exhausted and I could never do home improvement for a living.

In order to turn my bragging about my renovating prowess into something that qualifies as content for this blog, I should mention my blood sugar levels. I spent almost 36 hours running low.

The idea is that many hours of consistent work tends to make my blood sugar levels drop. It’s not like anything I was doing was intensely rigorous, but even light work stretched over long hours without stopping will have an adverse effect.

I passed out hard last night, after eating reasonable amounts of glucose. When I got back at it this morning, I watched my levels a bit more carefully. It didn’t help that I painted the baseboards outside, with the summer heated quickly rounding the corner on 30 degrees, causing some mild dehydration and blood sugar drops.

This is just another example of how just about EVERYTHING affects you when you have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s important to take this into consideration when doing any sort of activity, especially in the high heat of summer. Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated, and test your blood often. ☯

Supplement Yo’self! 💊

Many people say that food isn’t quite what it use to be. Although I think this is true in some respects, as long as you eat a properly balanced diet on a daily basis, you should NORMALLY get everything your body requires. I’m going to point out that “NORMALLY” doesn’t always apply to most diets in today’s society.

As someone with Diabetes, one needs to be cognizant of the potential for a lack of certain nutrients, supplements and vitamins in one’s diet. In some circumstances, the only way to ensure you get everything you need can be through the form of supplementation. Obviously, I feel compelled to point out that no one should include supplements of any kind in one’s diet without first consulting a nutritionist, dietitian or medical practitioner.

There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are ideal for someone with Diabetes. I will endeavour to cover off some of the most important ones.

Chromium: This one is a staple of Diabetes health. I’ve often heard a lot about it, through my youth and it serves a number of purposes. Taken in the correct doses, it can help increase your tolerance to blood glucose, lower fasting blood glucose and help reduce insulin levels. Some studies have shown that intensive exercise helps to increase the concentration of tissue chromium.

Magnesium: This is one that’s been a problem for me, as levels tend to drop to a dangerously low level in people with Diabetic Retinopathy, a condition I’ve actually suffered from. Low Magnesium can lead to increased insulin-resistance, which is a prominent problem for someone with type 1 Diabetes and can often be a cause for Type 2.

Potassium: Believe it or not, this one can be an issue BECAUSE of Diabetes. Insulin treatment can often cause a deficiency in potassium. Potassium is important to counteract the effects of sodium and for the proper function of key areas in the body.

Taurine: Well, this one is good news for me. People with Type 1 Diabetes often suffer form low Taurine levels, which can cause certain heart problems and affect the thickness of your blood. The good news is that Taurine can be found in protein-rich foods. Or in my case, they supplement most energy drinks with Taurine.

Vitamins: Diabetics can, in most cases, have decreased levels in key vitamins including but not limited to B vitamins, Vitamin C, D, E and Zinc. I’ve covered off the use of most of these vitamins in an earlier post (What Did You Think You Were Eating For?), but you can get most of these in their proper amounts by taking a simple daily multi-vitamin.

There are a number of other vitamins and supplements as well, but these are the primary ones that I’ve found in my travels. Obviously, you want to talk to your doctor before starting any of these, with the exception of a generic multi-vitamin.

It IS possible to over-supplement, so it’s important to get the right information before starting to take them. It’s also possible to become paranoid and to start taking supplements simply to ensure you’re getting enough, even though in most cases you don’t need them.

Although some supplements offer the promise of lowered insulin levels and better blood glucose control, most of them need to be tailored and dosed in accordance with each person, specifically. So eat a healthy, balanced diet, test your blood sugars often and keep in touch with your medical practitioner. Those practices on their own, will help to curb some of the issues described above. ☯

Raise A Glass… To Your Vices.

Look, I enjoy my occasional cold beer on a hot summer day like anyone else does. I would be lying if I said I Didn’t occasionally enjoy a nice black spiced rum when I write. But how do we know if our enjoyment stems from craving or addiction?

I have written previous posts on the effects of alcohol on the Diabetic system, so I won’t go into great detail about it again. I’ll simply point out that alcohol can have some negative effects, such as lowering or increasing blood sugar.

Alcohol is processed by the liver, the organ generally responsibly for the release of glucose when signalled by the body. But if the liver is busy processing all the alcohol from the keg you just tapped, it may not be able to respond accordingly and your blood sugar could drop.

The flip side is that depending on the type of alcohol you consume, there can be an increased amount of carbohydrate. For example, the average can of beer contains between 12 to 15 grams of beer, depending on the brand and type. So if you consume 3 or 4 cans, you’re taking in 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and it becomes important to take insulin accordingly. Certain “pure” alcohols however, contain no carbohydrates until you mix them with something. These include spirits such as whiskey and rum. Most of them lose their carbohydrate content during the distilling process.

Now that I’ve covered off the Diabetic aspect of it all, let’s discuss booze in general. I know a lot of people who consume alcohol recreationally. In fact, humanity has been consuming alcohol as early as 5000 years ago, with the introduction of drinks like Sura and Mead. Some studies have revealed we may have started even earlier than that, but as usual, I digress…

My goal today is to share the story of my first drink. I was 23 years old and in Okinawa. No, that’s not a typo. I genuinely never had alcohol until almost my mid-twenties. I often tell folks I was 21, but since I was born in 1978 and went to Japan in 2001, well… you do the math!

Given that I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 4, I imposed quite a number of restrictions on myself from a young age. Alcohol was one of them. Even throughout my teen years, I never really partook. Part of the reason was because I was generally a designated driver for friends. Another reason is because I had the opportunity to see the foolishness that ensued from said friends after drinking. I figured I wanted no part of that.

By the time that 2001 had crept around the corner, I had still never experienced the hooch. And in all honesty, I never felt I had missed out on much. But in October of that year, my karate instructor and myself along with a couple of other students travelled to Japan and onward to Okinawa.

The trip was long and complicated. We switched flights a number of times through Canada and the United States before finally crossing over the Pacific. After making a number of smaller bunny hop flights, we started the final flight that would take us from New York to Narita, Japan. It was a long, overnight flight that lasted the better part of 14 hours.

During this leg of the trip, Sensei came over and sat next to me to discuss some of the finer points of custom and tradition that I would be dealing with. Part of these customs included the fact that toasting and consuming alcohol, such as Sake and beer, would need to be observed.

When Sensei saw the look on my face, he explained that he understood that I had never drank before and that if all I did was have a sip during toasts and such, that would be adequate. He did go on to explain that custom dictated that refusing an offered drink would be construed as an insult to the host’s hospitality and that at my age, there should be no issue with accepting.

And no, before any of my readers start reading into this as a form of peer pressure, it was far from anything close to that. Had there been a genuine medical or religious reason behind my aversion to alcohol, he would have totally respected that. But I figured it would be fine.

During our initial few days in Tokyo, we visited a Japanese dignitary that Sensei was acquainted with. True to Sensei’s word, the man’s wife served us all beer. Oddly enough, it came in a plastic bottle. I had never seen that before It was Asahi or Orion beer. I can’t recall which one, as I had enjoyed them both while overseas.

Anyway, I don’t have any illusions of being a genius. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I feel I’m intelligent and level-headed enough to approach most situations rationally and with a touch of common sense. Once the bottle was placed in front of me, I held it up under my nose and took and experimental sniff. I glanced at Sensei, who glared at me and shifted his eyes to the bottle as if to say, “Quit f%&kin’ around and take a sip…”

So I did. Hey! It wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it had a touch of carbonation similar to soda. What was the big deal? So I started to drink it. I drank it as though it were soda. That’s where I went wrong. So very, very wrong…

I had that beer finished within fifteen minutes. Bearing in mind that this was the first beer I EVER drank, this wasn’t so smart. Remember that common sense I mentioned earlier? Gone.

In an effort to be a dutiful wife to the host, as soon as I had taken my last sip and the bottle touched the table, it was taken away and a fresh one was placed in front of me. I glanced at Sensei once again, who gave me a look akin to a disgruntled father. I took this to mean that refusing the second would be as insulting as refusing the first. And even though that assumption was correct, there was a catch. But I’ll get to that.

So, I kept drinking. The process repeated itself a few times until I had consumed 4 bottles of beer in roughly a 1 hour period. Uh oh… Houston, we have a problem! I started to feel a touch of disorientation and almost felt as though I was moving even if I wasn’t. My “no big deal” attitude was quickly replaced by an “oh, shit” attitude when I came to the realization that I was drunk. For the first time. In Japan. In a dignitary’s house, no less.

All of a sudden Sensei slaps his thighs and gets up, announcing that it was time to go. I sat there, flexing the muscles of my legs experimentally. One of the other students sitting next to me happened to be a guy I graduated with from high school. He had a drunken look on his face but was likely accustomed to the effect and was dealing with it, no problem.

He glanced at me and asked what was wrong. i told him I thought I was drunk. Bear in mind that I wasn’t demonstrating any signs of being drunk. My speech wasn’t slurred, I wasn’t swaying in my seat… Everything was based on the feelings and sensation happening inside.

He said, “You don’t look drunk.” I replied that I knew that. He also said, “You don’t sound drunk, either.” I took a deep breath and responded, “I’m aware of all that, but I’m quite sure that if I try to stand right now my legs may not support me.” He was good enough to help me to my feet and guide me out the door.

The dignitary, his wife and sons were lined up at the door to see us of. We made quite the pair, each with an arm around the other, stumbling out the door. Way to make a first impression in Japan…

I felt reasonably like crap for the next few hours, and Sensei got a great laugh out of it. When he came over to talk to me about it and ask how I felt, he also asked me why I decided to drink quite so much. I explained that I felt I couldn’t refuse any of the drinks. He agreed that this would have been an insult. The detail he failed to mention BEFORE the outing is that I could have nursed that one beer for the entire hour that we were there and it would have been fine. In fact, having a bit of beer left in the bottle would have been better, as it tells your host that you’ve had enough and they’ve satisfied their guest. this would have been a great detail to know prior to going out.

Looking back on it 18 years later, it’s great for a laugh. And I’ve often used it as a good story for people in relation to drinking and its effects. But at the time, I remember having a bit of a feeling of invincibility since I never really experienced a hangover. That’s when I reached the point back in Canada, where i overdid it. I no longer have that benefit.

Everything in moderation, folks. Although some people view alcohol as a poison on the body (and by some definitions, it is), there’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink with friends. It becomes a problem if you start needing that drink to help you go to sleep, combat certain pain or anxiety or if you’re drinking at radically inappropriate times (at work, first thing in the morning, meeting your future in-laws, etc…)

Be sure to reach out to the appropriate resources, should you feel that you fall under that category. Sometimes life slips away on us, and we don’t necessarily realize we have a problem until it’s pointed out to us. There are tons of easily accessible resources online that be searched within seconds and your medical practitioner would also be able to help. ☯

When Your Dogs Are Barking…

One of the important things that is often discussed in terms of Diabetes complications are the feet. Because Type 1 Diabetics tend to have poor circulation in the extremities, we often tend to have issues with our feet. It wouldn’t be a Diabetes post unless I listed a complication, right?

But seriously, we tend to have some seriously poor circulation and carry a lot of issues in our eyes and our feet. But why is that? As a general rule, Type 1 Diabetes tends to cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, ingrown toenails and dry skin. Not least of these is the fact that we tend to take WAY longer to heal any cuts or wounds in our feet as compared to a non-Diabetic person.

Most importantly, Diabetes tends to cause specific nerve damage and circulatory issues that can lead to severe foot issues. This is one of the reasons I recently posted about why Diabetics shouldn’t run around bare-footed.

According to WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/foot-problems#1), one of the serious problems you could face is sensory Diabetic neuropathy. This is when you have nerve damage in your feet as a result of poor blood circulation. The resulting lack of feeling not only causes wounds to heal slower, but also makes it so that you don’t feel heat or pain in your extremities. This causes a score of other issues in your feet as well.

The second issue is poor blood flow, or peripheral vascular disease. This is specifically what causes the poor circulation within your feet and all the problems attached. This can eventually lead to gangrene or other conditions that will lead to eventual amputation of the foot if you don’t take proper care of it.

Obviously, all of the issues I listed in the second paragraph are worth noting, as well. But here are a few things you can do to prevent these issues.

Dry your feet. As much as that sounds like a basic step, first and foremost, you can ensure the prevention of some foot problems by properly drying between each of your toes after each shower.

Exercise regularly. You’re probably sick to death of hearing me say that, but exercising seriously deals with a whole whack of issues and is ultimately good for you, overall.

Don’t ignore foot injuries. It’s easy to overlook small cuts and scrapes, and it may be okay to do so. But paying closer attention to them to prevent infection and other issues can be just as easy and prevent long-term issues.

Your feet are kind of important. I don’t now about you, but I need them for a whole bunch of things like walking, running, kicking, etc… But maintaining good blood sugar levels, exercising regularly and checking your feet can all be easy ways to prevent deeper and more severe issues down the road.

Take a step towards preventing issues with your feet (see what i did there?) ☯

Hurts So Good…

What does it mean to be in pain? Well, from a strictly medical perspective, pain is when our sensory receptors send a signal through our nerve fibres , all the way up to our brains. Then the brain interprets the signal as pain. The human body uses this signal as an avoidance reflex, meaning it’s telling you that whatever you’re doing is harming your body and should be stopped. (Although not everyone is quick enough to stop hurting themselves, sometimes)

From a Diabetes standpoint, we experience a wide variety of pain. Neuropathy, open wounds that are extremely slow to heal and pain prior to numbness from lack of circulation are simply a few. And certainly not the worst.

It’s not always bad. From a fitness standpoint, pain can be a positive thing. SOME pain is necessary in order to help the body sculpt and grow. The idea here is to know when enough is enough and to stop before serious damage can occur.

But there’s one form of pain that is largely ignored in most circumstances. I’m talking about emotional pain. When something affects us in a negative way, we feel a sort of pain that is often very hard to describe. For some, it’s an increased feeling of fatigue. For others, it can manifest itself in any number of nasty ways including but not limited to, becoming ill, nausea, depression, problems with the digestive tract and even alcoholism or substance abuse. The expression “this breaks my heart” stems from the fact that one usually feels some discomfort in the pit of their abdomen during emotional distress.

The important thing to remember is that what hurts in your heart can also affect your body. Although that sounds a bit cheesy, it’s quite accurate. Sometimes we need to look at the big picture and acknowledge that the pain is going to happen, and take steps to help deal with it as opposed to ignoring it.

Ultimately, pain helps us grow. In any way, shape or form, it allows us to learn an develop. After all, imagine if as an infant you put your hands on a hot stove and it didn’t hurt… You’d likely leave your hand there and keep playing and critically damage your tissues. But by feeling the pain, you learn that “Oops! It hurts to touch the stove. Better stay away!” Most forms of pain will teach you something.

So ask yourself, what is my emotional pain teaching me? Am I doing something wrong, or something I disagree with? Or is it simply a case of doing the right thing? That can also be painful sometimes. Just remember that in grand scheme of things, nothing lasts forever; not even pain. ☯

Meat My Friends, Veggies…

There’s nothing like a nice, thick, juicy t-bone steak, cooked to perfection on a grill. Nothing marks the beginning of summer quite like it! In fact, we had amazing steaks for my wife’s birthday. And if I do say so myself, they were delicious!

But it’s amazing how in the past couple of decades, an unspoken war against meat has taken place (or maybe it isn’t THAT unspoken if you follow social media). With the advent of all the new fitness and nutritional trends that have hit our societies in recent years, there’s been a push in favour of vegetarians and vegans.

Before I get too far into the fray, we should start by examining what the differences are between vegan and vegetarian.

A Vegetarian is defined as someone who does not eat meat, sometimes for moral or religious reasons, but most often for health reasons.

A Vegan is defined as someone who does not use or consume ANY animal product. This means that things like milk and cheese are off the menu as well. For the sake of this post, I’ll mostly stick to the term vegetarian.

So what are humans MEANT to eat? The reality is that most medical professionals agree that the human body is designed to be omnivorous. This means that we are designed to consume meat AND vegetables. Sorry to break it to you, vegetarians… Humans can and should eat meat.

According to an article published in Medical News Today, part of what allowed humans to gain an evolutionary advantage in prehistoric times may have been their consumption of meat. The increased amount of protein and energy may have been what contributed to the evolution of our complex brains and our overall evolution. And it is important to note that evolution takes place over hundreds of thousands of years. So we can’t turn back the clock on our bodies simply by cutting out meat.

A vegetarian diet can lend a certain number of health benefits. There have been studies linking a vegetarian diet to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. A vegetarian diet also contains higher levels of fibre and less fat.

Vegans are a bit more on the controversial side, as some studies have shown that being a vegan can actually be LESS healthy than a diet including meat. Although a vegan diet can also involve reducing certain cardiovascular risks and may contribute to a certain level of weight loss, a vegan diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin B12, which is usually found in eggs, fish and meat and is required for proper cell health.

According to an article posted by Independent, “A study conducted by the Medical University in Graz in Austria found that the vegetarian diet, as characterized by a low consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, due to a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grain products, appeared to carry elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.” Definite food for thought (see what I did there?) Here’s that article: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/vegetarians-are-less-healthy-and-have-a-lower-quality-of-life-than-meateaters-scientists-say-9236340.html

Before I close up, let’s examine this from a Diabetes perspective. Some studies have shown that a vegetarian diet can help better manage Type 1 Diabetes and in some cases, can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Since being vegetarian can help control weight and blood sugar levels as well as increase the body’s insulin response, it can certainly be helpful (as much as it breaks my heart to says so).

Any change in diet should definitely be done in consultation with your health practitioner and a qualified dietitian. As cute and trendy as being vegetarian or vegan sounds, there are a number of supplements and lifestyle changes you’ll have to make to allow this diet to work for you.

Bottom line is that the average person should be consuming small amounts of meat in combination with plenty of healthy vegetables and some carbohydrates. Also, meats such as poultry or fish are much better for you than red meat.

And last but not least, all of this is a lifestyle choice. Although some people are forced to be vegetarian due to health concerns, the vast majority CHOOSE to do so. And respecting someone’s choice is important. There are demonstrated benefits to both diets, so do everyone a solid and follow the simple idiom, You do you, and let me do me… Meaning that no one needs to hear that they’re murderers simply for consuming meat. ☯

Cleaning? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That…

There’s been a long standing debate over the past two decades about hand cleanliness. At the forefront of this debate is the use of hand sanitizer and its effectiveness.

For Type 1 Diabetics, hand cleanliness is very important. It’s important in order to obtain proper blood sugar results when testing (having residual glucose on your fingers WILL affect your readings) and it also helps to prevent infection and other issues from constantly pricking your fingers.

In recent years, you’d be hard pressed to walk into a public access building or government building without seeing bottles of hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE! So, does using hand sanitizer as an alternative work? Yes and No. And here’s why.

According to Kelly Reynolds, Associate Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Arizona, “you’ll want a hand sanitizer that’s at least 62-70% ethyl alcohol.” Reynolds goes on to explain that you want a hand sanitizer that reduces about 99.99% of the germs on your hands as this is the level required to prevent illness.

You’ll notice I keep saying hand “sanitizer” as opposed to hand “gel”. There are a lot of different formats: gel, foams and otherwise. And the takeaway is that hand sanitizer doesn’t kill everything. Some bacteria and viruses don’t get broken down by hand sanitizer.

Ultimately, washing your hands with hot, soapy water is still the best option. Especially since hand sanitizer won’t help if your hands are physically dirty. All you’re doing is caking sanitizer on top of the grime; the hand sanitizer won’t eliminate the grime.

But even when washing your hands, there are steps to follow. Make sure to get your hands all wet and lather up properly. The temperature of the water really doesn’t matter, as the soap is what removes dirt. Once you’ve scrubbed all over the hands for at least 20 seconds, rinse them under clean water then dry them properly.

People often forget that drying the hands is an important part of cleanliness. If your hands stay wet, you’ll likely pick up plenty of bacteria. And if you air dry, for the love of all that’s good and holy, don’t use a hot-air dryer in a public restroom. Studies have shown that those devices tend to blow more bacteria on your hands than anything else. After all, if you can smell “odours” in a public restroom, it means there are particles floating around and that air dryer will blow all over your hands.

Hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative IF you don’t have soap and water available. If you have the choice between the two, take the time to wash your hands. There’s this thing about hand sanitizer killing the good bacteria on your hands. Although studies have shown that this is true, there is no evidence to support that this affects your overall health. But actual hand washing is the better alternative.

Maintaining proper hand cleanliness is quite important, as persons with Type 1 Diabetes are more susceptible to a weakened immune system defences. Wash your hands often, and not only when testing your blood glucose. Not only will it help to maintain your own health, but it will help to prevent the propagation of germs to others as well. ☯