When Your Pillow Is Stronger Than Your Will…

One of the big things that makes dealing with the winter months harder is the fact that it’s always dark when I start my day. This basically forces my body to say, “Nah, bro! Lay your head back down and relax, it isn’t light out yet…” As much as I would like to succumb to that little voice, duty and responsibility are usually the prevailing factors. This morning was no exception. I woke to my alarm, which is a pretty rare occurrence for me. I usually toss and turn and wake well before my alarm goes off.

I got out of bed and started on what is the first day of my family’s complete routine when it isn’t the holidays, which includes making a school lunch for my oldest. Today is his first day back to school and he couldn’t have been more thrilled. Kidding. Totally fucking kidding. He was like a bag of smashed ass when he woke up. In fact, lately he’s always carried a look as though he needs a cup of coffee to start his day. This is well in keeping with the fact that he’s developed a significant teenage-like attitude despite only being 8-years old. No idea where he gets it from…

Begrudgingly walking to school

I’m usually gone to work by the time he gets up for school but this morning was apparently the day he chose to view the world as I did, staring out his window and seeing that it was still dark. This led him to believe that his place was in his bed as opposed to braving the elements to head to school. It took a bit of convincing from my wife to make him understand that it was still dark because the nights are longer right now but that yes, he needed to get up for school.

He eventually made his way towards getting dressed, grabbing his things and heading out the door, albeit begrudgingly. According not my wife, he never said a single word from the time he woke up to the moment he stepped out the door. This is the basis for his first day back to school. Poor kid. I don’t think I’ve ever related to my son as much as I have this morning. It’s rough, heading back in after having been on break for a while.

I was extremely close to just saying screw it and staying in bed, this morning. Such is the effect that winter has on an aging body. So deep was my sense of fatigue that I actually caved and purchased an energy drink on the way to work; my first can of 2023, not that this is something I’m bragging about. But this morning has certainly made me appreciate the down time I’ve had over the holidays and the ability to simply sleep without an alarm (until my boys woke up). ☯️

Croaking In A Winter Wonderland…

Wow, I can’t remember the last time I posted something this late in the day. Probably not since my first year of blogging. Sometimes, it gets a little difficult to figure out topics to write about and as my wife occasionally reminds me, I don’t HAVE to post something every day. Most bloggers don’t, in fact. But for me, it’s kind of a “me against me” kind of thing, you know? Anyway, some of my posts have been pretty self-pitying lately so I thought I’d switch gears and move on to something that’s actually productive. And since it’s cold as all fucking hell in Saskatchewan right now, I can’t think of any better subject than, well… the cold!

The cold weather of winter can have some pretty negative effects on the human body. At its least, the body will fight harder to keep your core temperature warm when exposed to cold temperatures. This will cause to body to burn through its energy reserves, leading to the body getting colder, which can lead to difficulty focusing and thinking clearly in extreme weather. Eventual issues can include the aggravation of existing pulmonary issues, such as asthma. The human body is a wonderful machine that works hard to try and keep you warm in colder weather but there’s no denying that the modern homo sapien isn’t biologically designed for extreme colds, which makes me wonder why we live in Saskatchewan. But I digress…

Despite any other health conditions or the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, dealing with Type-1 Diabetes in cold weather can be a challenge, as well. Considering extreme cold aggravates most pre-existing conditions, Diabetes is no exception. Although every person is different, being out in the cold weather usually tends to cause my blood sugars to drop. This is likely a result of my body working so hard to maintain its temperature. In fact, half an hour of being outside in the Prairie winter clearing a bit of snow from the walkway will usually cause a bigger drop in blood sugars than a full hour of weightlifting or cardio.

This is why it’s so important to keep a solid eye on one’s blood sugars when venturing out in the arctic wonderland. Being on a continuous glucose monitor helps, since it allows me to venture out and have a continuous view of how my blood sugars are reacting. It’s not so bad when I’m at home, since I have immediate access to snacks and fast-acting carbohydrates in the event I drop. Things get a bit tougher if I happen to venture out to go sledding or running. Although I have to confess that running in the snowy weather is not my cup of tea. Another important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. People forget that dehydration can happen almost as easily in the cold as it does in the heat.

Last point I’ll bring up is to be mindful when shovelling snow. I’ve attended a lot of incidents during my policing career of people who suffered cardiac arrest while shovelling. The forcing of the muscles and pressure it places on the chest, mixed with the effects of the cold can make shovelling extremely dangerous under the right circumstances. Take frequent breaks, lift with the legs not your back and if you feel faint or dizzy, be sure to stop and take breaks. The snow ain’t goin’ anywhere. Unfortunately… ☯️

Back In The Tilted Saddle…

It’s been something of a rough six months for me. Although I recognize that some may have some significant issues they’re dealing with in their own lives, one must acknowledge that our individual obstacles in life are specific to us, so I make no apologies for disliking anything I may be dealing with. My journey is my own. Moving on. Last fall, I faced a strange shift in what was otherwise one of the few remaining stable points in my life. I travelled home on vacation for what should have been a very special trip. My parents would meet my mother-in-law for the first time as well as seeing their second grandson in person for the first time. it should have been fantastic but it turned out to be anything but.

Besides the lacklustre outcome of the trip, which included a massive amount of spending to get us there, I was taken aback at how few people made themselves available to us while we were there. While I recognize the selfishness of that statement, it’s usually what happens when I go home. family and friends make time so that we can catch up. This didn’t happen, this time around. In fact, even Sensei somehow managed to skirt seeing me during the time I was there. I left New Brunswick with a feeling of emptiness that I had never experienced before. Although I was disappointed at the time, I think it had an effect on me that’s been lingering over the past months.

For quite a while now, I’ve had no energy or motivation to focus on my fitness or health. Sure, I’ve continued to take my medications, I monitor my blood sugars and keep a close eye on certain things. But I dropped out of karate within two classes of starting back in September. The pressures of work and life seem to have held me down more in recent months than it ever has, before. Losing that consistency and stability back home made me realize that “back home” isn’t back home, anymore. I took a rare opportunity to have some time off over the holidays. Since Christmas and Boxing Day took place over a weekend, I had a four-day weekend starting on December 23rd and I took the remainder of the following week as vacation time.

Since New Year’s Day was also on a weekend, I had yesterday as a day off. All in, I was away on vacation from December 23rd to this morning. That’s almost two weeks that should have allowed me to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, certain elements beyond my control managed to keep some pressure on, despite being on vacation. This morning is my first day back. I have obstacles and issues to deal with that manifested during a time when I shouldn’t have been thinking of work. But at least I got a few mornings of sleeping in. Let’s see how well THIS is going to go… ☯️

Thermogenic Supplements

I’m a big fan of supplementation. Start a conversation about vitamins and shit in any group and I can promise that it will be divided conversation, almost ALWAYS equally divided. For some, they believe there’s no point to supplementation as it just ends up being something you swallow to crap out the other end with no measurable results. The big problem is that one needs to take supplements for a significant period of time before any measurable results can/would be seen. Plus, since all people are different, supplements may not work as well for one as they would work for another. The other half are the ones that at least take a daily multivitamin or supplement in order to help themselves along in whatever they’re trying to accomplish.

For example, you can take supplements for low iron, lack of B-vitamins or if you spend all your time indoors and never get the opportunity to spend time outside, supplementing your Vitamin D can be a good idea. Actually, I wrote a really good post about certain vitamins, minerals and supplements that explain what individual supplements do and how they benefit one’s body. I’ve reposted it several times and for your convenience, you can read that post here. Despite promising myself that I wouldn’t conform to societal norms and make a New Year’s resolution, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have plans to increase my fitness in the coming year and a part of that is a new form of supplementation.

I recently did some research on some called “thermogenics.” Simply put, thermogenic supplements are intended to increase the body’s core temp, specifically in the fatty tissues, which is supposed to cause the body’s metabolism to burn fat through this increased body temperature. Since I’m not a scientist or medical practitioner, I’m sure there’s more to it than that. But it’s an interesting concept and one can’t deny that something that aids in fat burning sounds far more plausible than a supplement that’s supposed to just make you lose weight. After all, one’s fitness must always include one’s own efforts as well.

According to an article posted by HealthLine.com, “the word “thermogenic” literally means heat-producing.” The article covers different types of supplements that have a thermogenic effect on the body but outlines how the effectiveness of this is hotly debated and there’s no significant evidence that it holds any significant effectiveness. One thermogenic supplement they mention is caffeine, which is ironic. If caffeine was effective as a thermogenic supplement, I’d be a skinny bitch by now, considering how much caffeine I suck down in the course of a day. Of course , all of that will need to change since I have decided to find out for myself and have started taking a thermogenic supplement prior to working out.

It’s only been a few days, of course. But if it works, great. If it doesn’t, no harm, no foul. Seeing the effects of any supplement takes a significant amount of time, usually a few months at least. In the meantime, the same rules of life continue to apply. Stay hydrated, monitor blood sugars and check one’s blood pressure regularly. If I begin to notice anything out of the ordinary, I can drop the whole thing without issue. I’ll keep everyone posted, if and when I see any results. ☯️

Here Comes 2023!

Happy New Year, you bunch of fuckers! If you made it past the midnight line, you’ve made it this far. Hopefully , you have a bunch of ideas and goals for the coming year that will fulfill you and make you feel complete. As far as I go, I’ve decided to try something a bit different this year and will be avoiding the whole resolution thing. I think that this year, I’ll just be me. That almost sounds like a rougher go than trying to change but it’ll be different than anything I’ve tried to do in recent years, so why not? may as well as have a go at just letting the world experience all that is me without resolving to do anything different. Right?

Sigh… Happy New Year, everyone. Hopefully 2023 treats you better than 2022 treated us all! ☯️

The End Of One Chapter…

Here we are, folks! This is the last day of 2022. I would be lying if I said the past couple of years have been easy. If anything, life after early 2019 has been chaotic and upsetting for me on many different levels. My life has changed and altered in ways that I would not have imagined a decade ago. As many of you know, I live my life without regret, acknowledging that even the worst of things that have happened to me have brought me to the here and now, where I’m married to a wonderful woman, have two sons and have settled down in a life where I n o longer have to rush out of my home in the wee hours of the night. All things considered, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

Many people haven’t fared so well. And with the coming of the New Year, many people may choose tonight as an excuse to drink in excess, make poor decisions and put themselves in some level of peril as they transition into the next year. I would love to assume that my fellow people would be smart enough to make responsible choices. And I hope I’m right. But given everything that’s happened to EVERYONE in the past few years, the pandemic, the snowflake generation, the state of the world including wars, divisive societies and the continued debate over healthcare, vaccinations and the wearing of masks when necessary, you’ll forgive me if prayer and hope is a bit stronger in me this year than I would usually care to admit.

As we move from 2022 into 2023, let’s all take moment to remember how fortunate and lucky we are to live in a modern world where we get to enjoy modern medicine, resources and a way of life that many across the world don’t have the pleasure of enjoying, despite how far our race has advanced. Being grateful doesn’t make you weak. it simply shows that you’re a venerable human being. And that’s all one can hope to be. Some food for thought as we move into a new year that carries all our hopes, dreams and ambitions. ☯️

A Very Merry Christmas…

People talk about the fact that the holidays are a stressful time. This is mostly because people tend to travel, stay outside of their homes, deal with family and outside influences and basically take themselves out of their comfort zones. But there’s no denying that when gifts are exchanged, there’s that moment of glee and child-like wonder, even if you find yourself as an adult. What’s even more exciting is when you receive something from a family member that has some thought and appeals to your interests. this was exactly the case for me, this holiday season.

This year, I got a lovely sky blue sweater from my wife. She also gave me a lovely light-grey suit for work, which I had been eyeballing for quite some time. I got chocolates and a few assorted little items and tokens but I also got three very important little gems from my kids, which I was quite pleased to get. I apologize for the look on my face in the photo below. I was giving my son Nathan instructions on how to take a photo of me, holding my prized Christmas presents. He snapped the photo while I was explaining, hence the serious face. I would have had him retake it, and I did. This was the best one he took…

One could swear from the look on my face that I’m unimpressed but I swear I’m happy with what I got. What you’re looking at are special editions of the Art of War by Sun Tzu, the Art of the Samurai by Yamamoto Hagakure and Tao Te Ching by Laozi. I’ve owned all three books in some iteration or another, at some point in my life. In fact, I think I still have an older copy of the Art of War somewhere in all my stuff. But these special editions have not only made an excellent gift that’s right up my alley, it’s reignited my interest in all three books and will occupy what little bit of reading time I have, over the months to come. ☯️

Have Yourself A Carb-Filled Little Christmas…

One of the biggest problems one can face over the holiday season is properly calculating one’s carbohydrate intake. And this stands to reason, considering one tends to consume homemade meals and baked goods, alcohol and desserts. This can make it a bit more of a guessing game when it comes to determining how much insulin to take and trying to avoid the unfortunate ups and downs that can accompany a miscalculation. And once you’re on that unfortunate roller coaster, it can take quite a while before you can get off…

When you buy something at the store, you get the benefit of the nutrition label on the back of the packaging that tells you how many grams of carbs that are “expected” to be in a piece of whatever you’re eating. I say “expected” and put it in quotations because it’s always a bit of a crapshoot, even when they list it. For example, I have a very nice frozen pastry I buy that’s spinach and feta-filled. But if I bolus for the amount of carbs it says for the amount I eat, I bottom out faster than you can say hypoglycaemia. With homemade foods like stuffing, mashed potatoes, pies and desserts, the guessing game can quickly become a game of Diabetic Russian roulette.

The difference between the holidays and the average meal is that the average meal is, well… one meal. once it’s said and done, even if you fucked with your blood sugar levels a bit, you get to adjust and correct and you’re likely fine over the short term. During the holidays, we’re usually talking several meals over a few days, mixed with alcohol and sugary products that one might not partake of during an “average” meal. So if you don’t bolus enough or have carbs in your system that act faster than your insulin, you may be compelled to correct sooner than you should to bring yourself back to normal, which is followed by the insulin you ACTUALLY bolused for the meal kicking in and causing you to bottom out.

Perhaps you wolf down more jelly beans than you should, because it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you just want to go back to sleep, which causes you to slingshot too high again. Wash, rinse and repeat… I’m speaking from experience here, folks. Recent experience, in fact. I spent a good portion of the Christmas holiday playing yo-yo with my blood sugars and the result was a level of exhaustion that made it so that it was anything but a holiday for me. of course, I could have stemmed a lot of that by avoiding the beer and homemade desserts I consumed. But what’s the point of modern medicine and wearing an insulin pump if I can’t eat at least SOMEWHAT like a normal person once in a while?

The important thing to remember is to keep yourself hydrated, both because of the potential alcohol and all the food and blood sugar fluctuations. Don’t be afraid to check your blood sugars often but also be mindful that some foods will require some time to catch up and your insulin may require some time, as well. Your endocrinologist can discuss these aspects with you to prevent your repeat visits on the blood sugar roller coaster. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and you should be able to enjoy them along with anyone else in the family. It may require a few added steps on your part but doing so will ensure that you don’t find yourself in a compromised position during your celebrations. Enjoy! ☯️

Too Much Of A Good Thing…

We’ve all been there… Our week is a bit long, we’ve pushed ourselves a bit too hard and we suddenly find ourselves with a night where we get back home and all one wants to do is crash and hit the pillow. I had just such a night recently. I got home from work and was utterly exhausted. I muddled my way through supper and did my usual dishes and chores before flopping down on the couch and wishing for death. not literally, mind you. But the thought of just closing my eyes and drifting off seemed pretty blissful in that moment. Luckily, we were able to get the boys down for bed relatively early and I ended up crashing myself. I slept for roughly twelve hours, despite repeated alerts from my pump and my reservoir hitting zero units.

I woke up the next morning to a quiet house and made a move towards the first caffeine of the day. I couldn’t help but notice that I still felt utterly exhausted, which may be an issue in and of itself. That might be something that I need to look into, at some point but considering I slept several HOURS beyond what I usually would, it got me to thinking about all the times I chose to nap on the weekends and how it always made me feel more tired than when I first fell asleep. It raises an important question; can one sleep TOO much? The easy answer would obviously be yes, but how far does that answer go?

According to an online article posted by the Sleep Foundation, “Oversleeping, or long sleeping, is defined as sleeping more than nine hours in a 24-hour period.” By that definition, what I did last week certainly falls under this definition as I slept for three hours beyond that threshold. The article goes on to explain that even though there are valid reasons one might oversleep, such as fighting off an illness, but sleeping more than seven to nine hours in any given night can have some negative effects on one’s health, as well.

According to WebMD, oversleeping can lead to a number of conditions including but not limited to obesity, headaches, back pain, depression and heart disease. The article also suggests that oversleeping can leave one open to the risk of developing Diabetes. Although I assume they’re referring to Type-2, it’s kind of nice to read an article where something may cause Diabetes instead of Diabetes BEING the cause. The article also suggests that people who consistently oversleep have a higher death rate than those who do not.

Ultimately, if you find yourself consistently oversleeping, you may want to consider talking to a doctor about it. There may be outlying conditions that cause you to oversleep. Obviously, there are inherent problems with oversleeping if you have Type-1 Diabetes. You may miss a meal, forget to test your blood sugar or like me, have your pump run on empty while you’re still slumbering, causing an increased spike in your blood sugars. Like everything else, it’s important keep a tight control on one’s Diabetes, even during the hours you sleep. ☯️

A Little Slice Of Spice…

Alright, so it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of spicy foods. It’s one of those things where I was denied spicy foods throughout my entire childhood by virtue of my father’s bad stomach and my brother’s dietary restrictions so I’ve kind of gone off the rails as an adult. At the least of times, I keep bottles of hot sauce and buffalo sauce on tap. At the most of times, I’ll easily sit and eat a dozen jalapeño poppers as an actual meal.

Although not exactly the best thing for your digestion, certain hot spices do have documented benefits for blood flow and cardiac health but I’ll let y’all look up that shit on your own as that isn’t the point of today’s post. During the holidays, it’s natural for people to make certain recipes and enjoy certain foods. With that in mind, I wanted to share a simple buffalo chicken dip recipe I found a few years ago that I make often. I guess I must be craving buffalo today…

I may have shared this recipe before but if I’m being honest, I’m rounding the corner on 2,000 total posts and I can’t remember what I’ve written about and what I haven’t worth a shit, so here it is! The beauty of this recipe is that it’s super fast and simple, requiring only about ten minutes of prep then your slow cooker does all the work. We carry all of these ingredients in our home in general, so whenever I get a craving for something spicy, it’s pretty easy and convenient for me to toss five ingredients into the slow cooker, let it simmer and melt together for an hour and then you’re good to go.

What’s nice is that this is reasonably crab-free, so as long as you ensure you bolus enough insulin for whatever you have with it (bread, nachos, etc), it won’t affect your overall blood sugars very much and can be consumed as an actual meal or as a movie-time snack once the kids are out of your way. My wife even enjoys partaking of this dip and she usually doesn’t do very spicy foods. Provided there’s a slow cooker available, this is an easy way to impress friends and family over the holidays. It would make a great treat to snack on during New Year’s Eve, actually. ☯️