There is nothing as powerful as a changed mind.

You can change your insulin, you can increase your basal, you can bolus more for more food – but it you don’t decrease your carbs, the same experience will perpetuate itself over and over again, because while everything outwardly changed, nothing inwardly changed. You still have a pancreas that doesn’t work. You’re still on the roller coaster ride of diabetes.

If you want a long and healthy life free from diabetic complications; if you want to change yourself; if you want to acquire normal blood sugar levels; if you want hypers to be rare if you want hypos to be even rarer, changing your behaviours, changing your eating habits is a must – it’s challenging. It’s hard. It’s almost overwhelming to begin with. But it’s necessary.

Most diabetics go through life never discovering the benefit of a low carbohydrate diet. Most diabetics never achieve normal blood sugar levels. The only thing that’s going to get you a normal, non-diabetic blood sugar level, my friend, in this year, or any other…is to step up. It’s to rise to the challenge. It’s to discover what you’re capable of, and to feel that incredible power of pushing through the carbohydrate addition and release your fat burning ability.

That’s what this game’s all about.
When you can step out of the known and into the unknown. When you can step into your fears and continue to push yourself on. Something happens for you.

When you look at a diabetic who has normal blood sugars, and you think ‘Wow. That’s amazing. I wish I could have that.’ You’ve gotta dig underneath and you’ve gotta remember something: people are rewarded in public for what they’ve practiced for hours, days, weeks, months and years in private.

If you don’t develop the courage, to do that which has been given you to do, and you spend a lot of time going around trying to convince other people that low carb is good, and trying to get their approval, what will happen is… that you will lose your nerve. And other people will convince you that what you’re doing doesn’t have any value, and you’ll give up on your dream.

How much time do you have left?
How much time do you have left?
When you start to think about that, we don’t know!
Most of us don’t use the stuff that we have brought into the universe. Stop wasting valuable time.

If you want normal blood sugars, you have got to be relentless.
You’ve got to learn how to become resourceful.
You’ve got to learn how to become creative.
The power to hold on in spite of everything, the power to endure – this is the winner’s quality: the hunger, the ability to face defeat from diabetes again and again, without giving up!
This is a winner’s quality.
What this power is, I cannot say.
All I know is that it exists, and it becomes available only when a man or woman is in that state of mind in which he or she knows that they want normal, stable, non-diabetic blood sugars. And they are fully determined not to quit until they achieve them.

There is greatness in you.
And you’ve got to learn how to tune out the critics outside and the critic inside.

I’m gonna harness my will.
And I’m not gonna let anything stop me.
I deserve this.
I deserve normal blood sugars.
I deserve to be healthy.

Most people give up on themselves easily.
They eat carbs because it’s all they’ve ever known. They eat carbs because they’re told to, by people who don’t have diabetes, or know the harm that eating them causes.
But you know that the human spirit is powerful?
It’s hard to kill the human spirit.

You are unstoppable. Live your life with passion, with some drive. Most of us go through life with our brakes on, holding back. Decide that you’re going to push yourself. You’ve got to focus on you. And you convince you, as you sell yourself every day, every day, every day. You will begin to see a difference in the things that you’re doing. Selling yourself on the ability to perform a job, to achieve a certain objective. Telling yourself every day ‘Here I go again. And I’ve got what it takes to live a long and healthy life, free from the risk of diabetic complications. This is my life, my day, and nothing out here is going to stop me.’

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My First Run 3 Weeks After Knee Surgery

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 12.00.02I went for a run this morning, which is exciting for three reasons. The first: I had knee surgery 3 weeks ago. The second: Today is my third day being out of hospital after a 5 day stint in there. The third: I did it on an empty stomach, with a starting blood sugar level of 4.6 mmol/L (perfect…if I wasn’t going for a run).

Ben and I ran a gentle 5km – down along the outskirts of Queenstown and around the gardens. After a nervous 10 minutes I tested my BS – 5.2. Excellent. (as long as my BS was going up, not down, I was safe). This filled me with enough confidence to run the rest of the distanScreen Shot 2015-05-23 at 11.59.42ce without testing, and we ended the run running up the steeper road to our house (which is an elevation of 50 metres from the lake). We did it, non-stop. And I didn’t need to consume any  glucose at any stage. Awesome.

Half an hour after my run I was down to 7.3, followed by 6.4 another half hour later. 2 hours after the end of my run I came down to 4.2…just in time for some lunch!

Who says diabetics can’t run without carbs? 

Hospital Care Part 2 – Ostracised for eating Low Carb

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 19.54.41On Sunday I wrote about being force fed glucose in hospital, the day after my admission. I thought that would be the worst of it: being on a glucose drip when my levels were increasing above the healthy range with no intention of stopping; Being offered a sandwich when my levels were steady and in the healthy range: Being offered fruit, toast and cereal, and sugar with every coffee. I thought that would be it. I thought wrong.

On Sunday night my level was still a very stable, very healthy 5.7 mmol/L,  and yet the nurse still wanted me to have a sandwich because I wouldn’t be able to eat in the morning, so she bribed me by offering me a coffee with it. I took it but still bolused, not wanting unhealthily high blood sugars unnecessarily, but was woken at 4am and 7am by nurses testing my blood sugar (5.2 and then 5.2).  By that stage it was too late for them to make me eat because I was ‘nil by mouth’ (no food or drink). I preferred that because the only breakfast option was toast or cereal. So I spent the morning waiting for a CT scan.

An obviously inexperienced nurse then came to take my blood sugar, pricking my finger on the print side and struggling to get blood out (I squeezed it) – 4.8 on their meter (which takes 20 seconds to give a reading! Can you imagine that during a hypo?!) and she said ‘that’s ok’. By this stage apparently I could have breakfast but I obviously declined, and another nurse asked ‘do you not eat carbs for diet or weight?’ and I said ‘No. It’s because I’m a diabetic and carbohydrates spike my blood sugar too much. If I don’t eat them my blood sugar is always within range.’

My coffee was then dropped off with tinned mandarins in juice. So, pure sugar in a pot.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 19.54.59The new nurse tried to help cater for my needs by calling the kitchen and saying I didn’t eat carbs – I said any green veg would be fine. The meal arrived with extra mashed potato. The nurse came back and asked if it was okay. I don’t know if it was hormones or the fact I hadn’t eaten a meal in 3 days, but I just started crying. I apologised. I was a blubbering wreck. She got the meal replaced – saying she’d already taken the potato off it. I lifted it up and it was carrots, parsnips and chunky steak in gravy. I just had the steak which I had to wash down with water because it was so dry, and left the high carb veg on the side.

Later on I managed to get an hours leave as my boyfriend and housemate had driven down to see me – so we went to Lone Star and I got half a chicken with cabbage and bacon, which was so good, but my stomach hurt a lot and I realised hospital was where I needed to be. We went back and my high carb hospital dinner was on the side waiting for me.

In the morning, it seemed I’d made myself an enemy. The lady doing breakfast asked me what I’d like and I politely declined. She said I was a diabetic so I had to have breakfast (wrong). She also said I had to have it because the nurses hunted her down the day before. I said I’m a diabetic so I don’t eat carbs or sugar to control it. She left me to ‘think’ while she went to see other patients. So I just had a black coffee and water.  When she took my mug away, I gave her thanks and she gave me a scowl.

Line in hand2 hours later somebody dropped me off a Low Fat yoghurt (Low Fat means the fat content has been replaced with sugar)..So It contained a lot of sugar. Excellent.

Come lunch time, I was back on ‘nil by mouth’ but the same lady still brought me lunch. I had the pleasure of informing her, and she scowled again, turning with my tray and saying to the lady making the beds; ‘You know that lunch I was telling you about?’ and then nodded at my tray. So rude. When she came back to clear all the dishes, she cleared everyone in the rooms except my coffee mug.

Later on in the afternoon I had an endoscopy, but because I’d taken NovaRapid just before I was ‘nil by mouth’, my blood sugar had been very slowly falling all afternoon. By the time I got into day surgery, I was 3.6. So what followed was another nightmare – a glucose IV drip. Thankfully I had a very kind endoscopist who ensured me I would be okay and only let through 100mls of the drip before turning it off. The problem came after the endoscopy when the drip continued, dBlood Sugarespite my sugars being 8.2. When I made it back up to the ward, I was allowed to eat but dinner had been and gone and there was nothing for me. The nurse said the glucose drip couldn’t be removed until I’d got food and taken my insulin (huh?). I started to cry. Again. I kept asking her to remove it. She wouldn’t. She said she was off to wash another patient and come back to me in 10 minutes. I was starting to panic again. I found the device to stop the IV from going into me and so I stopped it, but it alarmed so I released it again. A very lovely lady from another section of the ward saw my breakdown and was nice enough to go and get me some salad and chicken from the fridge. She even got me diabetic friendly jelly. I apologised for my state and thanked her profusely for bringing me my first hospital meal in 4 days. The nurse at this stage came back and upon seeing my food, asked me if I’d taken my insulin before she removed the drip. She didn’t understand that if she hadn’t kept the drip in in the first place I wouldn’t have needed any insulin! I was furious. And my blood sugar was 10.6.

The same nurse came around at bed time for me to check my blood sugar so I could work out how much Lantus I needed… Yes, you read that right. She thought my night time, long acting, background insulin changed in amounts each time. Nooo.

I managed to get my sugars back down by the time I was awoken at 2am for my usual blood sugar check (I don’t know why they feel the need to test me every night), except I was awoken by two voices discussing the fact I didn’t want my sugars testing. Someone said it was okay because my last reading was 10.6. Fab.

In the morning the dietician came to see me, saying ‘we’re a hospital, not a hotel’, and that ‘all the other diabetics would eat the yoghurt and not need to bolus for it’. (What?! I would have seriously high BS levels after eating that thing. Not to mention all diabetics are different in their sensitivity to carbs and insulin, and I’m very sensitive to both) She said they cater for peoples illnesses, not ‘unusual diets’. So apparently catering to keep my chronic illness under control wasn’t on the agenda. Her advice to me was to ‘eat around the carbs’, which I said ‘okay’ to but knowing it was virtually impossible. I’d given up all hope of being fed anything suitable in the hospital, and figured they would have me on an IV drip if need be.

Next to come and see me was the diabetes nurse, who was equally as unhelpful. She tested my ketones which came up at 1.1 mmol/L and she said any higher than 1.5 mmol/L and she’d want me to be in hospital. She said I was messing up the chemicals in my body – that she wouldn’t want my heart to stop. Nutritional ketosis is safe and ketones run up to at least 3.0 mmol/L, they are only an issue for diabetics when they are coupled with high BS levels and a lack of insulin, causing the blood to become toxic. 

When my next high carb lunch arrived, it also came with jelly. The regular full sugar kind. 

As it happens, that turned out to be my last meal in hospital. 5 days after admission and I was finally discharged, so relieved that I cried when I made it home. I hope to never have similar experiences again, and I hope for no other diabetic to experience what I did either. The sad truth is that they are, now and in the foreseeable future, in countries all around the world. Low carbohydrate consumption to control diabetes is still hugely controversial, despite the glaringly obvious benefits. As a diabetic, life without carbs gives me a new lease of life that I’d hope for all diabetics to experience. It’s going to take a lot more research and educating before the medical boards join us, but I’m confident that it will happen. One day.

Being force fed glucose in hospital as a Type 1 Diabetic.

I haven’t had the best couple of days. Late Friday night, I had fairly bad abdominal pain for the fourth night in a row. By ‘fairly bad’ I mean painkillers didn’t help, I couldn’t sleep, and it really hurt. My breathing had changed to more of a puff like I get when I hypo. So Ben drove me to the local hospital. After a couple of hours and some morphene later, I was examined, had an ultrasound, an overnight stay and blood tests and an X-Ray in the morning. Come 10am, the doctors decided I needed to see a specialist in the nearest surgical hospital, over 2 hours drive away. So there I went strapped in to the back of an ambulance.

When I got there, I was left in A&E for three hours before a doctor got around to me. She said I would need an ultrasound again – (by a ‘professional’ this time – someone who’s full time job is to ultrasound) and so I waited. By this stage I’d gone all day without food. My Lantus had kept me at 5.0 mmol/L from my admission, through to 3pm, which I was impressed with. But after that I dropped slightly to 4.3. I said to the nurse, ‘if I’m not getting the ultrasound soon, I’m going to need just a tiny bit of glucose’. I wanted just a little bit before I had a hypo, but I couldn’t have a jelly bean. She went away and came back with a Glucose drip. Shit. I told her I wouldn’t need much and that I’m really sensitive to Glucose. She either wasn’t listening or didn’t understand. Half an hour later I tested my blood sugar and I’d jumped to 7.9. Panicked, I unhooked the large glucose bag and went to ask her if she could detach me. She went to ask the doctor. When she came back she said that between 4 and 8 is a normal level, so the doctor wants me to keep it on. I said ‘But I’ve just gone up that much in half an hour, it’s just going to keep rising’. The nurse assured me it would level off and that I needed it. 15 minutes later I tested again. 9.4. I started to panic again and said ‘I really think you should take this out’. She said it was fine, that 20 is a normal number and people aren’t harmed at that level. That’s when I burst into tears. I was a Type 1 diabetic being force fed glucose. Because my levels are so good and relatively low for a Type 1, I would enter Diabetic Ketacidosis (DKA) at a lower level than other diabetics…So the glucose in my blood would have kept rising to the point that it would become acidic and put me into a coma, with death as a likelihood. I wasn’t going to sit and let myself be killed by some ineducated nurse. Thankfully, she swapped the Glucose drip for a regular drip, but only because I was upset, ‘not because it’s medically necessary’. I was so angry.

A little later on, they moved me up to a ward where I was met by a nicer nurse. Unfortunately for me, I was still waiting for my ultrasound by 8pm, and my sugars dropped to 3.6, just as we got the call to go down to ultrasound. Dammit. Another Glucose drip went in, but the nurse slowed the dosage. In and out of the ultrasound I went and she stopped the drip when I reached 6.1. By this stage, I was allowed to eat for the first time in over 24 hours but the only available food was a sandwich. I took my insulin and sucked it up, setting my alarm for in 2 hours time for an inevitable correction. I corrected at midnight, setting another alarm for 2am. As it happens, a nurse came to check my blood sugar at 2am just after I’d done it myself because I was being put on ‘nil by mouth’ again (no food or drink) and I was 5.1 mmol/L so she came back with a sandwich. I said I was fine and declined.

Come morning, I was at a nice 4.2 (they didn’t think so) so they put me back on Glucose, but at a lower dosage again. The doctor came around at 9:30am and said I could come off the drip and eat again – but it took 1.5 hours after this for a nurse to come back around and see my notes. She gave me some water but said the lunch cart would be another hour, but offered me yoghurt or toast. I said I don’t really eat carbs. She asked what I’d usually eat and I said ‘bacon and eggs, meat, fat, salad, just not carbs’. She then she offered me fruit. I said I didn’t eat fruit (She’s a nurse, doesn’t she know fruit has high fructose content?!) She said the diabetic food option is probably a bowl of pasta. I said ‘that is not a diabetic option!’ to which she said ‘I know’. So I was on the verge of tears again, telling myself to man the hell up.

A nurse popped by in the mean time and asked if I was diabetic. I said yes. She said ‘insulin required?’ I wanted to say it depended on what the meal would be, but I think what she meant to ask was ‘insulin dependent?’ – either that or I thought I’d end up with a plate and a syringe full of insulin on it.

‘Coffee?’ ‘Yes please.’ ‘Milk or sugar?’ Sigh.

When lunch arrived, I was scared to lift the top off as I saw an orange on the side of the tray. Lifting up I saw liquidy scrambled eggs, one slice of bacon, a tomato and toast. I ate the slice of bacon with my water and sat there for another 3.5 hours before anyone came to see me.

Now the doctor wants to keep me in for a third night. But she said I could leave the hospital for a wee while if I felt up to it. I made a break with it to get food. As soon as I left, my stomach pains increased again, but I had a delicious, decent, meaty, low carb dinner. Because my BS was 5.1 when I left, the nurse told me to be careful and to have carbs. Sigh. I came back with a BS of 5.1. She said ‘you are quite good with your levels aren’t you’. Yes! Yes, I am! Now please have faith in my ability to keep my own blood sugars stable! It’s quite easy to do without carbs! I wish I could’ve said that. Instead, I said ‘yes, they’re always stable. I have the HbA1c of a non-diabetic.’ She said ‘Oh, good’. I don’t know if that meant anything to her. She walked away, leaving my hospital food on the table (Roast beef, gravy, yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, peas and a fruit salad…they couldn’t have fit any more carbs on that plate if they’d tried). 

So here I am, lying in my hospital bed with unexplainable stomach pains, nurses and doctors that don’t have a clue about Type 1 diabetes and an inability to maintain my blood sugar levels without unavoidable carb and glucose intervention. I also just have my phone, which is why my final Diabetes Blog Week post is delayed.

Oh hang on, the nurse is coming around.

‘Hot drink?’…’Coffee please’...’Milk or sugar?’…

24 life lessons from 24 months on the road

I wrote this blog post at the end of 2013, before diabetes, but that doesn’t invalidate it in any way. If anything, it makes it even more valid…

Today celebrates a whole two years on the road. I’m sat in Sydney’s International Departures, an airport which has more airplanes on the runway at one time than the airport I work in in New Zealand has flying in and out in an entire day. I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed, and equally pensive. At some point over the last 24 months, I stopped being on holiday, and I realised that this is my life. I also realised a lot of other things along the way:

#1 Travelling the world is one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself.

‘I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”’ – Bill Bryson

If you love travelling, then I couldn’t have explained any more precisely as to why travelling is such a great gift to love than in this post. Giving yourself the gift of travel is like Alice choosing to chase the rabbit down the rabbit hole. She had a whole lot of fun, and she learned a lot about herself along the way!

#2 Our struggles make us.

‘The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.’ – Nelson Mandela

Shit happens. 2013 has been a bad year back home, to the extent where my family would’ve been less out of pocket if the hospital offered season tickets. But life is like photography – you use the negatives to develop. And the negatives that are just too ruined to develop? You could grieve over them and be bitter that they didn’t turn out well, or you could use the experience to become a better and stronger person.

#3 Live for the little things.

‘It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.’ – Arthur Conan Doyle

The bad jokes, the sunrises and the sunsets, the good coffee, the live music, the howling wind, the gushing rain, the smell of freshly cut grass. These are the things that life is all about. These are the things that remind you what it means to be alive.

#4 Worrying is futile.

‘Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.’ – Keith Caserta

Whatever happens, happens. If a problem is solvable, it’s needless to worry. If a problem isn’t solvable, worrying isn’t going to help. Benefits of worrying are zilch.

Back when I did my first backpacking trip around Europe, my friend and I found ourselves stuck in Rome when there were no spaces left to Milan. Instead of freaking out that a spanner was thrown into our previously unhitched plans, we talked through our options and decided to stay on an extra few days before heading straight to Paris. We had to skip out Milan, but it all worked out and we were probably better off for it by having more time to explore the magical city of Rome. So worry not, because it’s not going to change anything.

#5 Always pack snacks…and toilet roll.

Whether you’re on a 27 hour bus ride across borders in South East Asia, or just in a bar in Australia, toilet roll always comes in handy. Similar goes for snacks – You never know when you’ll face delays and have no way of purchasing food (que delayed flight in Sydney…)

#6 Dream with the dreamers.

‘Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.’ – Shel Silverstein

Stay wildly ambitious and ditch the cynics. People too weak to follow their own dreams will find ways to discourage yours.

#7 Leave behind the remains of who you were.

Sure, life is about creating yourself, not finding yourself. But that’s not all. Think about art – to create a masterpiece, you’ve gotta wipe out the mistakes and improve it. You as a person are basically the same thing: You’ve gotta shred the negativity like a tree loses its leaves and you’ll feel the sunlight easier without them. Quite simply; you’ll blossom.

#8 Let yourself move to the next chapter in your life when the times comes.

‘You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.’ – C. JoyBell C.

Don’t remain stuck on the same page and let your past make you better, not bitter.

#9 Happiness is a state of mind

‘Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.’ – Dalai Lama

It’s a way of life, achievable through a number of steps which pin happiness as a lifelong journey, not staked on something that can be lost.

#10 You are powerful beyond measure.

‘If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.’ –  Masaru Emoto

You are capable of doing so much more than you would ever believe, just by pushing your barriers of comfort.

#11 Material possessions hold you back.

‘It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.’ Bertrand Russel

You need far fewer material things than you’d initially think, and packing light becomes a way of life when airport scales stand between you and your new home.

I’ve bought so much crap on my travels, and have been known to wear most of my clothes on a flight because of luggage being overweight. It wasn’t fun.

#12 Spend all your cash on experiences.

‘What you have learned from experience is worth much more than gold. If you have a house it may burn down. Any kind of possession can be lost, but your experience is yours forever. Keep it and find a way to use it’ Somalay Mam

Fact: we all adapt to commodities. New things are always great at first, right? But after a while we get use to every one of them, and in the end they get discarded. But experiences? Experiences involve anticipation…they provide the basis to valuable memories which will last a lifetime.

#13 Regret nothing.

‘Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘It might have been.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Regardless of whatever you’ve done, you wouldn’t be where you are now had you not done whatever it is that you think you regret.

#14 Embrace fear.

‘I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.’ – Frank Herbert

Here’s more on why you should live despite being scared to death.

#15 You’re in control of your own destiny.

‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’ – C.G.Jung

Your problems are yours to solve, your destiny is yours to make, your life is yours to live, you decide who you want to be.

#16 It’s never too late to change.

‘For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.’  – Eric Roth

#17 Say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’

‘Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.’ – Danny Wallace, Yes Man

Saying ‘no’ to things instantly slams the door in the face of the person who is asking. It holds us back. It closes us off to many potentially great life experiences. We’re effectively fighting against what is happening to us in our lives. We’re resisting so much.

Saying yes, however, can be much more enjoyable.

If not, why not? What’s stopping you? Try anything once. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. Either way, you’ll discover more about yourself.

#18 ‘Someday’ is a myth. 

‘We waste so many days waiting for the weekend. So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.’ – Joshua Glenn Clark

There are seven days of the week and ‘Someday’ isn’t one of them.

So you say you wanna do something? GO DO IT!

#19 Never let other people, or society determine how you should live your life. 

People have asked me when I’m coming home to ‘settle down and get a real job’. My response? Why? Having kids/starting a career/getting married are all good things that people my age and younger are doing, but it doesn’t mean I want to do all that yet. So why should I? You’re only as young as you are today for this day only. You’re only as free as you allow yourself to be. I’m having fun and I’m living my life the way I want.

Basically, only you know what is best for you.

#20 People are generally good. 

I haven’t the time or space to list the amount of times people have helped me out on my travels, but I’ve had a stranger give me a ride to the bus station at 5am in the morning on the border of Thailand, and new friends looking after me in the middle of the night in Laos when I had food poisoning.

#21 Travelling doesn’t get travelling out of your system.

‘Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.’ Judith Thurman

There are so many places to go, and so many things to see in this world. Travelling will only fuel your desire you keep on travelling.

#22 Life is unpredictable.

‘We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.’ – C. JoyBell C.

A lot will change, and so will you. Learn to accept it and go with the flow.

#23 Experience is the best teacher of all.

‘The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned’ – Albert Einstein

It doesn’t matter how many times someone call tell you something, but sometimes you just won’t believe it until you see or do it for yourself. Even then, you may have to make the same mistakes twice before the reality of the experience sinks in.

#24 There is only one thing certain in life.

‘What you have to decide… is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you’d want to have spent it? Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody. So dont be afraid. Be alive.’ ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

And that’s death. So live!

Food Glorious Food

One of my favourite tops - 'WTF (where's the food)'

One of my favourite tops – ‘WTF (where’s the food)’

There’s something no diabetic wants when they’ve got diabetes, and that’s a sweet tooth. I’m part of the one half of the population that would choose sweet over savoury. I’m the person who gets would get excited about Starbuck’s flavoured lattes at Christmas. I’d be the one dipping biscuits into my sugared tea, and finishing every meal with desert. I would sit and devour a giant bar of chocolate washed down with a big glass of milk. And I’d love every minute of it.

Alas, my love affair with all things sugary was rudely interrupted by diabetes after 25 sweet, sweet years and that would mark my End of Part One. With my pancreas well and truly munted, I made the decisions to break up with carbohydrates. The decision itself was an easy one, based not only on my long term health but because of the immediate unpleasant effects of carbohydrates on my body. However, the adjustment to a low carb diet from a high carb one was mother-flipping hard. I’m not gonna sugar coat it (haha). Carbohydrates are addictive and breaking addictions are tough. But I’ve always been up for a challenge, and as far as I’m concerned, this is a fight for my life.

So what do I eat?

Breakfast.

The most important meal of the day. I love breakfast. Lucky for me and my fellow diabetics, bacon is completely carb free.  You can look high and low for the carbohydrates in any of these nine delicious, standard breakfasts and you’ll struggle. As you can see, I eat a lot of bacon and eggs (I substitute milk for avocado oil in the scrambled eggs)

For lunches and dinners, I’ve had to be a bit more inventive than I used to be, but it’s not been impossible. There are many low carb alternatives out there..it’s just finding and creating them. Instead of rice, I put cauliflower in a hand food processor (or grate it) and fry it in salt and pepper. Instead of pasta, I make courgetti (vegetable peeled courgette, lightly boiled or sautéed). Instead of regular noodles, I’ve found a brand of Japanese noodles called Shiritaki (or Yam) noodles, and they only have 3 grams of carbs per 100g serving. Instead of regular pizza, I make it with a cauliflower base. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Bunless Burgers

If I’m working, chances are I’ll get myself a burger without the bun. So instead of a gigantic carb filled bun, I get all the goodness wrapped in fancy lettuce. It’s always super delicious, not to mention the marginal impact on my blood sugar levels. Win-win.

Eating out

Eating out is slightly much more of an issue. There are carbs in almost everything. A salad is the safest option – and sashimi is delicious. One of my favourite places to go for lunch in town is a place that does the best ribs and chips for only $15 – I just substitute the chips for salad and ask for the ribs to be lightly basted. Also on a Tuesday a place does a kilo of chicken wings for $10 which is awesome.

…And that pretty much wraps up what I eat these days. It’s not always plain sailing though. Sometimes I want what other people have, but I deal with that better than eating something and finding out afterwards that it was full of sugar.

Tea and coffee

I’ve always been a big fan of a strong soy flat white coffee (I can’t drink New Zealand Milk, and for those of you in America –  a flat white is kinda like a latte but with next to no foam)… but now I have a long black (hot water topped with a double espresso). When I’m making so much effort to eat low carb, it just seems silly to bolus for something as simple as a coffee. I’ve also tried making ‘bulletproof coffee’ at home (coffee blended with grass fed butter and coconut oil), which is actually pretty yummy and filling. I also used to drink a lot of English Breakfast tea with milk and sugars… so I’ve made the move towards Green and Peppermint tea instead, which doesn’t actually bother me anymore, and I enjoy them.

Alcohol

As a 25 year old living in a ski resort town full of backpackers, I spent my first Winter drinking…a lot. Nobody really goes on a night out without having a few Jager Bombs (a shot of Jaegermeister dropped into Red Bull), but now I have Coconut Tequila instead. Instead of beer or cider, I drink vodka and diet coke, or the occasional wine. I don’t drink half as much as I used to – partly because I don’t enjoy my ‘new’ drinks as much, and partly because I’m scared of the effects of alcohol on my blood sugar (usually they spend an evening slowly declining until I eat before hypo-ing).

Another one of my favourite tops! (Looking very tired after a night waking up every couple of hours correcting my BS levels)

Another one of my favourite tops! (Looking very tired after a night waking up every couple of hours correcting my BS levels)

So there you go! That’s what I eat, and drink, in a day.  Every day. I don’t have the cravings for most carbs anymore, nor do I have any desire to eat them when I see them. Things like bread, pasta and rice are just something to have the tasty stuff with anyway. So why poison myself with food I can find an alternative for? I do often want chocolate still, so I need to cut that out entirely to eliminate cravings (I often buy sugar free), and occasionally I’ll crave a sweet, milky, tea, but I tell myself the same thing every time: it just isn’t worth it. I’m not depriving myself of anything eating this way, I’m giving myself a healthy body and life – my last HbA1c was 5.4%, and I have stable blood sugars with very few hypos and even rarer hypers. That’s why I do this. 

Diabetes Blog Week

I wrote this post for Diabetes Blog Week – an annual blogging event designed to share different perspectives over the same topic, and to make connections and better understand Diabetes. Today’s topic is ‘Foods on Friday’ and aims to document what you eat in a day!

My diabetes is a baby.

My diabetes is a baby. It needs caring for 24/7, with no weekends, holidays, or even time off. The only difference with the arrival of diabetes and the arrival of a baby is that with a baby you at least had several months to prepare yourself.

My diabetes a baby. It wakes me up in the night, crying for food. Sometimes I have to set an alarm to check on it. I have to care for it before I let myself sleep. It’s the first thing I tend to when I wake up in the morning.

My diabetes is a baby. I have to make sure food establishments are suitable for us. I have to make sure my drink is suitable for it, and question the waiter about food content to make sure I’m not harming it.

My diabetes is a baby. I have to make sure I can work around the needs of my diabetes. I need to be able to check my blood sugar when I need to. I need to be able to run to the bathroom when nature calls.

My diabetes is a baby. I don’t choose when diabetes cries, and when it does it has my full attention. I can’t afford to do anything else but tend to it until it has settled. Sometimes this means missing out on things. Sometimes this means I have to wait out the storm on my own.

My diabetes is a baby. It’s one I’ve been forced to adopt, didn’t want, or can give up. It will never grow up, nor will it ever leave me. My diabetes is a baby, it’s my baby…for life.

Diabetes Blog Week

I wrote this post for Diabetes Blog Week – an annual blogging event designed to share different perspectives over the same topic, and to make connections and better understand Diabetes. Today I used a wildcard topic – ‘Diabetes Personified’ and aims to personify your diabetes so people can understand it a little better.