Monthly Archives: March 2011

Nutrition Counters: Review of Calorie Count and Everyday Health My Calorie Counter

I know this isn’t a scheduled post but I was thinking about the article review I did earlier and realized as part of my “Get Healthy” game plan I should probably be watching what I eat.

Well I should probably be doing that ANYWAYS as a diabetic but I meant actual calorie counts.

So, I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you try out that website you mentioned in your article review?”

Review of Calorie Count:

And then I did. Now maybe it was because I was haphazardly trying to remember and add all the foods I’d eaten and exercise I’d done while at WORK, but this website seemed to have even more ADD than a goldfish.Diabetiquette Cal Count

I added myself to their program and was fairly pleased with the ease of signing up. But then it was sort of all downhill from there… The setup of the site appears clear and simple but it isn’t.

Theoretically you should just be able to add foods to your food log under the right meal and have the website SAVE that information. This somehow is not the case. I added an entire day’s worth of food and exercise to my food log and NOTHING saved. The only thing I was able to save was from the next day when I added a donut. Of course it saves the donut.

It DOES have almost every food you could imagine (and by Brand Name too) but the ease of use is L-O-W.

If most people are as busy as I am, probably busier, they aren’t going to have 30 minutes each day to try to get the site to save all their information in the right place. Gag. I did like the grading feature although I was surprised to find out just how poorly it graded foods I considered healthy. For example a boneless skinless chicken breast was graded a B-

That was as  far as I got before just giving up entirely.

Review of Everyday Health: My Calorie Counter:

Now I’m trying this.

It seems worlds better already. Easy to use, easy to read, basic information.

I will keep you posted!

What calorie counts have you used? Any other recommendations?

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Parents: 4 Things to Own for Your TOD

1. A glucose meter.

     There are 5 million on the market. Choose the one that’s most convenient for you. I use the OneTouch Ultra Mini

Diabetiquette One Touch Ultra Mini

 because it’s cute and small and comes in a variety of colors. It’s also speedy and accurate. All meters do different things. This one is very basic so if you’re looking for features (like longterm memory, backlight, whatever), go another way like the BD or AccuChek.

This is a semi-helpful site that gives glucose monitor reviews.

P.S. If you don’t have one of these for your newly diagnosed kid, you’re sunk. I’m sure you know this.

2. A notebook.

     Sounds simple. You need to think of a way for kids to record their blood sugars so you as the adult can see patterns. If you buy them a tiny Batman notebook, or a three-ring-binder, or a Blackberry they’ll most likely use it. Really, they’ll use anything that looks interesting that they’ll enjoy carrying around. I’m not seriously suggesting that you buy your 5-year-old an iPhone to keep track of their ‘betes but the more creative you are, the more they’ll like using the tools. As I’ve aged I’ve tried many things. The most fun and horribly embarrassing was my “Blood Sugar Board”. I bought a Dry Erase Calendar Diabetiquette Dry Erase Board and hung it up on my bedroom door. Each day I recorded my blood sugar on it for my whole family to see… It was embarrassing but it made me remember to check, it also encouraged me to control my sugars better, as everyone could see them.

3. Medication.

     This is a no-brainer and no doctor will let you take your fresh TOD home without some insulin and test strips but if your kid is new it’s easy to forget. Mark it on your calendar, watch out for weekends and evenings when some pharmacies aren’t open, more is ALWAYS better, make sure you’re timing it right so insurance covers. Honestly, sit down once and get all of those things hashed out. Set an alarm on your phone so you remember. Once it’s a habit, no worries, but right away you’re going to add extra stress to your already stressed-out self. Just set the alarm.

4. Wholesome Food.

     My mom did a really good job of this. Kids are such a pain in the butt to feed because they only they’re afraid to try new things. Who cares? You’re the parent. Be authoritative. I think you’re supposed to make your child try a food something like 27 times before you “give up” on it. Just keep pushing and they’ll get the nutrients they need. Diabetes makes you low on energy and having proper nutrition can add that energy back.

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5 Things Not to do About TOD

1. Pretend you DON’T have Type One Diabetes.

 Type Two’s can get away with forgetting about it for a while (not recommended!) but us TODs will just get sick and eventually end up in the hospital or with a kidney or two that’s stopped functioning.

2. Blame someone else for having TOD.

Although this is very tempting and everyone goes through a phase or two or fifty like this it’s not productive. I  know this is easier said than done, I thought I had all my TOD anger worked out but just last week I cried myself to sleep in the middle of the day over the “unfairness of it all”. We have to work through our feelings a such a way that we aren’t constantly victimizing ourselves.

3. Depend on someone else for care.

It is very easy when you’re young to just let mom or dad do everything for you. I will tell you right now, if you don’t take charge of your own care you will just “forget” you have it. Been there, didn’t end well. I’m not saying don’t ask for help, but you need to primarily count on yourself.

Diabetiquette Mountain Dew4. Drink Regular Soda.

Ok, it’s not a great idea. People do it and if you use insulin responsibly that’s ok but your body does not need that much sugar at any time. I know it’s fun when you’re younger to get all hyper with your friends and act like a total moron (also done it) but sugar soda is one of the easier things in life to just say no to. So try it.

5. Get Low.

Sing it with me! No I’m just kidding. You cannot always prevent lows but what I’m talking about here is getting low and driving. You will hurt yourself or someone else. Try to always have juice or glucose tablets or something in your car. You’re getting to the age where thinking about being responsible BLOWS and totally cramps your style. But accidentally killing someone else in a car accident because you were too lazy to pack a juice will cramp your style for a lot longer. Just FYI.

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On a related note:

Just so everyone knows what’s up, these are the posts I have coming:

Abbi’s Song: Part Three

-needs no explanation

5 Things NOT to do about TOD

-5 ways not to respond to diabetes

Stuff I Like: Clorox Wipes

-Just like it sounds. So begins my sidebar journey of “stuff I like”

The Answers to Life’s Other Big Questions

-What AM I going to do with my life

My Experimental Life

-My Plan!

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Abby and Abbi

This post comes to us from Kerri Sparling’s Six Until Me.

Abby BayerAbby writes about CGM which I spoke a little bit about before.

In this post Abby talks about a struggle with nighttime blood sugars and the twists and turns they can take, seemingly for no reason.

Kerri calls low blood sugars Larry Bird (just FYI for future readings).

Abby describes a struggle I think all TODs (type one diabetics) go through in their lifetime. How to properly adjust for a high blood sugar when you can feel yourself dropping.

Kerri and Abby are right, low blood sugars are terrifying and when you aren’t sure if your body will wake you up when you have one, they can be downright fatal.

Abby later goes on to mention her struggle with CGM. She says she’d have less trouble WITH one, then quickly mentions that she does have one but hates it.

This reiterates my previous post. The old technology is BAD BAD LEROY BROWN. Abby mentions that with her old CGM she can’t get within “20 points of my finger stick”. These old CGMs are more trouble and expense then they’re worth. My unprofessional recommendation is that if you don’t need one, don’t get one.

She later complains about insurance companies. Insurance companies will be something American’s fight with until we conquer universal health care. Kerri talks a little about this towards the end of the post.

Insurance companies are also the reason diabetics find it hard to do any long-term travel or travel to a remote part of the world. What insurance company in their right mind would allow you to purchase enough insulin for your trip ahead of time (with only one co-pay)? They’d never make any money!

Ah the travesty. I know it sucks but insurance is a money making business. We cannot fight the company because we need the supplies to live (actually literally to live) and if we fight then we won’t be able to afford basic diabetic supplies much less cool new technology like CGM.

It’s a viscous cycle.

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Six Until Me. and Diabetiquette

I’ve been searching around the internet, checking out other Diabetic blogs.

Kerri SparlingOne blog I really appreciate reading is Six Until Me. This blog is written by Kerri Sparling and offers a really nice range of information on diabetes, online support, and funny stories. Who DOESN’T need a little diabetic-pick-me-up during the day???Six Until Me.

I don’t want to copy Kerri, but I would like to someday reach her level of blog-iness. She’s so solid and has accomplished what I’m terrified of someday doing: living a real adult life.

I noticed right away that Kerri recently had a child. Pregnancy and diabetes can be a tricky combo and I’m glad I can look back on Kerri’s posts to see how she handled it. I’m a little too young to be looking at kids, but as a diabetic I need to plan 3-5 years in the future. (That any my control is not tip-top right now, which it needs to be for pregnancy. More on this later…)

Moral of the story is that Kerri is a fantastic blogger. I plan to become a fantastic blogger. We have similar thoughts but I’m coming at life a little differently. Kerri has good control, a family, and as far as I know isn’t in college anymore.

I’m just getting started. This blog is for college kids and younger. We need someone to show us their mistakes, how not to make the same ones, and that even though life takes itself seriously enough we still need to be on top of it, diabetes that is.

So Kerri, I applaud you. I aspire to be like you someday (happy, healthy, with a family) and this blog will be my journey getting to that point. I’d still love more input from you diabetics so we can make this blog more of a support system, but we’ll start slow.

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Cool Tools Article Review

First the highlights:

It’s important to take care of your diabetes.

It is burdensome to do so.

Continuous Glucose Monitors

Calorie Count

Texting

Next the review:

The article begins by alerting you to the fact that attention to detail is critical for managing diabetes. This is true of almost any chronic illness and to me strengthens the “nurture” argument. Many, myself included, diabetics have or develop Type A personalities and/or OCD. I highly doubt having a Type A personality makes you MORE likely to get diabetes. I believe needing to be so attentive can lead to other issues later in life. (Not trying to be a downer, just calling it like I see it)

The quote by Dr. Fruge is helpful, “They can certainly reach all of their life’s goals,” she should have just stopped there. That is what this blog is all about. Reminding you that you can reach all of your goals.

But she continues, “because they have a condition [that effects] the functioning of their brain and how they feel, it’s important that they take charge.” I don’t know if she’s talking about the affects of high and low blood sugars or what, but I do NOT think that just having diabetes affects your mental status. It shouldn’t. It will affect how you feel physically and when you have physical highs and lows you’re more prone to emotional highs and lows.

Guys, if you have diabetes, don’t let it become an excuse. Everyone knows someone who’s just a total jerk one week of the month and claims it’s PMS even though you know it’s the wrong week. You are allowed to feel things, you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself, and yes sometimes diabetes can cause you mental distress but do not rely on that as your excuse to hate everyone.

The article moves into glucose monitoring and calls it burdensome. Understatement of my life. It is no secret amongst my family that I call diabetes the “most annoying disease in the world” and I know many of you feel the same. This (blood sugar checks) is the part that goes most easily by the wayside.

Supposedly a way to make checking your blood sugar less burdensome is to use a CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitor. I call BS. The article itself reminds you later that you STILL have to check yourself 4 times a day to calibrate the thing. For those of us who already use insulin pumps, the CGM is just another thing to implant in your body, cause you scar tissue, and worry about falling out. Not worth it. It creates more cost instead of eliminating it. It does help give a clearer picture of blood sugar levels and how good your control really is, but if you think getting a sensor pump or CGM is going to save you from remembering to check your blood sugar, you are dead wrong. 

A little later the article talks about showing graphs with “up and down arrows”. I find that a little insulting. I think most people could figure out an upward trend without an arrow.

Next is proper nutrition. This is important in any case, not just with illness. The article talks about Calorie Count, an online database that allows you to add in the foods you eat and calculates the nutritional content. There are a lot of programs that do this, but this one is free. I think things like this are cool to use for a week or two but then the drive usually runs out. Like the CGM what this database lets you do is see patterns. What are your healthiest and unhealthiest patterns. I think putting these two ideas together would be more beneficial. When are you forgetting to bolus for meals? What meals do you eat and typically under-bolus for?

The article talks about the Calorie Count being an open forum for young calorie counters. That’s great. More online support groups, I’m all for those!

Moving to texting. It’s a great concept (having your endocrinologist text reminders to you about eating and checking and such) but I think it would be more valuable to text your endocrinologist. It holds you more accountable. Kids and teens can pretty much ignore anything, and texting is no exception. It’s easy to become dulled to the texts and continue not helping yourself. I had an endocrinologist once who had me call her with my blood sugars at the end of the week. Those were the weeks where I never missed a check. I knew I had to face her and be held responsible for my own actions. I miss that.

Finally the article quotes Dr. Jennifer Dyer talking about how you cannot reason with teenagers by telling them about the consequences of their actions now, for when they’re 30. That is true. Even at 23, 30 seems light-years away and feels like there will no impact for not keeping your blood sugars in check. Don’t fall into this trap. I had a diabetic friend when I worked as an optician who had a heart attack when she was 25. It’s not hard to do.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you enjoyed the review, let me know why you did or didn’t! Happy Spring!

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Abbi’s Song: Part Two

Part Two following Abbi’s journey

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Abbi’s Song: Part One

The beginning of the epic tale of how I got diabetes.

 

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Check this out

Today’s Dietitian has an article in their February issue that talks about “cool new technology” for helping kids manage their TOD (or Type One Diabetes if you’re new to my vocabulary).

The article can be found online HERE under Digital Edition to the top right hand side of the page. Click through to page 8 and you’ve got your article!

It talks about Sensor Pumps, texting your nutritionist, and other online options for care.

An article review is coming down the pipes!

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