Type 1 Diabetes
It’s important to know that keeping blood glucose in a normal range is important for both long term health and quality of life today. High blood sugar over a long period of time can lead to many complications and cause disease in you kidneys, eyes, and nerves. High blood sugar in the moment doesn’t feel very good, it can cause dehydration, brain fog, tiredness and a change in mood.
There are five important life choice categories that can greatly affect blood sugar. Addressing some or all of these in your life overtime may help you gain more balance in your blood glucose levels.
The amount of sugar and carbohydrates we take in directly affects the amount of sugar in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in our stomachs and absorbed into our bloodstream. Being aware of how much sugar and carbohydrates you take in daily is the first step. Once you know which types and amounts of foods work well for your body, you can modify your choices to create more balanced blood sugars.
For those looking for a more specific eating plan these courses are excellent for food education and include tips for helping to implement a lifestyle change. They both teach about food quality and how to optimize food choice.
- The 21 Day Sugar Detox: https://21daysugardetox.com/
- Whole 30 Plan: https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/
Here are some free apps/websites that can help you learn about your food, if you choose to track what you are eating.
- My fitness Pal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
- Lose It: https://loseit.com/
- Fooducate: http://www.fooducate.com/
- Chronometer: https://cronometer.com/
Movement and exercise helps us use the sugar stored in our cells, it also gives our body a signal to move sugar out of the bloodstream into the cells so they have more available fuel to make energy. Overall, this reduces our blood sugar level. Daily movement is key to a healthy lifestyle.
If your current patterns don’t include much daily movement, walking is a great place to start. Walking after meals can help reduce blood sugar spikes as we digest our food and absorb the sugars from it.
If you already have an exercise plan, consider adding strength training if it’s not already a part of your routine. Strength training helps us grow our lean muscle mass, increase our metabolism and use sugar more effectively.
- In the gym: https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/complete-mf-beginners-training-guide-plan
- At home workouts: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRCgg2aTq5NWPWEjr7sa_4UlAsdAoVCu5
Lack of sleep can cause a lot of stress on our bodies, recovery happens while we sleep and without that time to recover it is difficult to maintain balance in hormones (including insulin). That balance includes regulating our blood sugar. Not enough sleep adds stress to our bodies and can cause higher blood sugar. 6.5-9 hours of sleep a night is optimal for most people’s bodies. Waking up feeling well rested is a sign that you are getting enough sleep for your body in your current time of life.
If you are not waking up feeling well rested, here are some things that can help you get to sleep earlier.
- Setting a bedtime alarm
- Avoiding meals and snacks 2 hours before bed
- Turning off or diming all screens
- Downloading https://justgetflux.com/ software onto your computer will automatically turn down the lighting on your screen when the sunsets in your pre-set area.
- Avoid stimulating media before bed (news, TV, scrolling on your phone)
- Dim the lights in your house when the sun sets
- Sleep in a completely dark room
Stress hormones can increase blood sugar levels. Short term stress (an event that makes you nervous, angry or sad) or long term stress (daily uncomfortable feelings about recurrent life stressors) can cause our bodies to release excess stress hormones. Stress hormones can increase the amount of sugar in our blood and decrease our body’s ability to move sugar out of the blood, thus increasing blood sugar overall. Having a stress management plan can be a useful tool. Being aware of the amount of stress in your life can also help you make choices on what is best for your overall health.
Here are some easy evidence based ways to address stress in your life in as little as 10 minutes a day.
- Gratitude Journal: These gratitude prompts have been studied to show an increase in happiness and overall well being when filled out once a day.
- The #1 free app for meditation & sleep: https://insighttimer.com/
- Learn to meditate in 10 minutes a day for 10 days: https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app
Having a support team as you make lifestyle changes can be really helpful. Talking to your family, friends, coworkers, and roommates about your new choices can help them understand that you’re trying to make change. Often, inviting others to join with you can help with accountability, teamwork and overall success rates. There are many communities already created for people who are interested in optimizing nutrition, movement and mindfulness. Consider looking for programs in your community that do yoga, walking, group fitness, meditation, etc. Making new habits with others can inspire learning and help you understand that you are not alone.
Online Community Resources:
Insulin Assistance Programs: This link has many links to payment assistance programs through multiple avenues. It discusses insulin, supplies, and blood glucose testing option. https://www.ontrackdiabetes.com/live-well/diabetes-management/diabetes-without-health-insurance-resources-help-you-get-what-you-need
Below is a list of excellent blogs and podcasts that I learn from continuously. These resources are ones I’ve been using for enough time to feel confident in recommending to others. They are all key players in my journey to optimizing health and quality of life.
If you would like to expand your health knowledge and perspective, I truly believe these are incredible places to start.
- Mark’s Daily Apple: A daily blog on all things nutrition, movement, and growth. Mark is an inspiration in so many ways, he has hacked aging in an incredible way and shares his story and the stories of others he has helped along the way. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/blog/
- The Bulletproof Blog: Dave Asprey is one of a kind, he aspires towards an optimal quality of life and pushing the boundaries of human longevity. He provides incredibly in-depth information on how he plans to achieve this and what he has learned along the way. His podcast is my favorite resource and every episode has helped me grow in some way. https://blog.bulletproof.com/ (I have a dream to be interviewed on his podcast one day, just putting that out there into the universe).
- Rob Wolf: Rob’s book, The Paleo Solution, saved my health in undergrad when he presented a new perspective on what we know about optimal nutrition. His research results were contradictory to the government nutritional guidelines and allowed me to see the light on how the agricultural industry was steering us in the wrong direction. Rob’s podcast, blog, and basically everything he does
isincredibly helpful and worth learning from. https://robbwolf.com/ If you are interested in implementing a ketogenic diet, he provides the best resource I’ve seen to date here: https://ketomasterclass.com/
- Chris Kresser: This incredible practitioner is an inspiration to me. He provides a large number of free resources on his podcast and blog written for both patients and providers. https://chriskresser.com/articles/
- Tim Ferris: This guy provides an incredible amount of variety of content and it seems like everything he does help the world in a meaningful way. His work has created countless perspective shifts in my life. https://tim.blog/ My current favorite mind-blowing book of his is here, https://fourhourworkweek.com/
- Dr. Rhonda Patrick: Something about a female who loves biochemistry and unapologetically spreads serious knowledge for a living will always impress me. Her continual evaluation of new science-based literature is a great resource to keep up with. https://www.foundmyfitness.com/
- Dr. Peter Attia: A doctor who is being the change he wants to see in the world. https://peterattiamd.com/podcast/ His TED
talkon diabetes I truly feel that every medical professional could benefit from.
- Mimi and Alex Ikonn: For all things mindset and learning to love your world, I have found no better resource. This couple is the epitome of intentional living and a beautiful example of lifestyle design. They have a new podcast and large archives of inspirational youtube videos.https://www.ikonns.com/