Life Beyond Diabetes Blog

Tomato Pesto Tart

Jul 23, 2019

Local tomatoes are starting to make their annual appearance in my part of the world (Seattle, in the northwest United States) so it’s time to share one of my favorite low-carb recipes!

This crowd pleaser is as simple to make as it is delicious and beautiful. Hurry and try this while the tomatoes are still in season!


For Tart Shell:

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1-2 tsp dried basil 

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

1 egg white


Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients together and add to dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork. Press into well-greased tart pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool for about an hour.


For Filling:

Chavrie goat cheese (or other spreadable chevre)

Pesto (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup)   

Heirloom tomatoes



Spread one carton Chavrie Goat Cheese (or your favorite soft chevre spread), followed by a layer of pesto. Top with a...

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The 3 Most Important Things to Know about Diabetes

May 21, 2019

 1. It’s not your fault

There’s a sentiment going around that if someone has diabetes it’s probably because they deserve it. They got this disease because they didn’t lead a virtuous life, free of sugar and full of exercise. No one says that someone with breast cancer has cancer because they didn’t live an exemplary life, even though many of the same lifestyle factors that increase genetic expression of risk of developing diabetes also affect gene expression in breast cancer. Also, many of those people who think diabetes is solely the result of lifestyle choices make the same or similar choices and live an apparently healthy life. It’s so much more complicated than exercise and dessert!

 2. It’s not your fault!

I was recently telling someone my diagnosis story. When I got to the part about stopping for a donut on the way home from the doctor’s office, he interrupted me with laughter. “Wow! That’s exactly...

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Diabetes Definitions

May 14, 2019

When you’re suddenly part of something new—start a job in a new field, try out a new hobby, decide to start kayaking, etc.—you quickly find that people might be speaking English, but they seem to be talking in a whole different language.

Diabetes is no different. Within minutes of finding out that you have a diabetes, before you even start to think about what it might mean for your life, the medical provider is probably throwing out terms you’ve never heard, often with little or no explanation about what the terms mean.

Here are some words and phrases that are tossed around frequently in the world of diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM), T1DM/T2DMDiabetes Mellitus is what most people simply refer to as Diabetes. It is further broken down into Type 1 (T1DM), which is caused by failure of the pancreas to produce insulin and Type 2 (T2DM), which is caused by an inability of the body to properly use insulin (Insulin Resistance).

A1c – Also called ...

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How to take your blood sugar

May 07, 2019

Most people with Type 2 Diabetes are instructed to take their blood sugar once per day. Insurance usually covers strips for testing 1-2 times per day and sometimes up to 4 times per day. I personally think it’s useful to take it 4 or more times per day when you’re newly diagnosed or whenever you make changes to your medication, activity level, and/or eating patterns. When your diabetes is under control and all these things are stable, you can probably drop to taking it one to two times per week, as long as you’re not taking insulin or any other medication that can make your blood sugar drop too low. 

Here's a video demonstrating proper technique for taking your blood sugar:

To recap what was in the video:

Here are the basics. 

  1. Wash your hands.This is the way you’re SUPPOSED to do it. But sometimes that’s just not realistic. Make sure hands are as clean as possible and that you haven’t recently handled sweets. Also, lotion can cause a...
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I Hate Exercise!

Apr 30, 2019

If you’ve read the “About Teresa” page, you know that I hate exercise. As a person with diabetes who also provides healthcare for people with diabetes, I could probably go to diabetes jail for speaking such blasphemy!

But, wait! I didn’t say I hate activity. You see, to me EXERCISE implies something you HAVE to do. Like homework. “Turn to page 52 and complete exercises 1, 2, 7, 12, and 13.” Nope. No thank you! I’m not interested in someone telling me to do something I don’t like to do!

On the other hand, I know (both in my heart and because I’ve read the science) that regular activity is one of the best things I can do for my body, particularly as someone with a disease related to insulin resistance. (Remember insulin resistance? We talked about that here.) One of the most effective ways to improve insulin resistance is to move more. People usually call this exercise. I don’t because exercise is something you have to...

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Meet Jenn Giachetti!

Apr 23, 2019

The first thing you notice when talking to Jenn Giachetti is her smile. She smiles with her whole face, eyes sparkling. Next is her genuine caring attitude that is evident in her manner; when you’re with Jenn, you feel like you’re the only person in the world that matters to her at that moment.

She’s Mom to a 23-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. Jenn is fiercely dedicated to her family, being healthy for them, and providing a great example for what a healthy, happy life can look like. They are her proudest accomplishment! She homeschools her daughter, teaches 9 exercise classes per week, and attends an additional 2-4 classes to keep up her teaching skills. Her motivation for teaching exercise is to lead by example and show people that they can get healthy and have fun doing it.

Here’s what Jenn had to say when we sat down for a chat. (Answers have been edited for clarity.)

Tell me your diabetes story:

I was diagnosed in 2009 with an A1c of about 12....

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Routine Maintenance for People with Diabetes

Apr 16, 2019

As if it weren’t enough to keep up with your daily blood glucose readings, a diagnosis of Diabetes comes with all sorts of additional monitoring to stay on top of your health.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) are the two primary organizations in the US for guidelines for monitoring diabetes and related medical conditions. Your specific recommendations will come from your medical provider but generally include the following:

Hemoglobin A1c (A1c)

The A1c is a blood test that measures an average blood sugar over the past 3 months. Glucose meter readings give a “moment in time” measure of blood sugar but the A1c gives a broader picture of blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. The A1c test often doesn’t need a full blood draw and is done with just a finger stick; results are usually available within minutes.

What do the results mean? For diagnosis the results mean:

  • 6% – Normal
  • ...
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Meal Planning with Online Grocery Shopping

Apr 09, 2019

Healthy eating is one of the first things a medical provider recommends when someone is diagnosed with diabetes. It’s hard to stick to an eating plan when you’re eating a specialized diet and not everyone in the house is onboard for a change. In this situation, planning is key. One of my secret strategies is online grocery shopping.

Online grocery shopping is my best tip for peacefully feeding yourself and the whole family. It cuts down on impulse shopping and can help with realistic meal/menu planning.

(If you're looking for ideas of WHAT to eat, click here to download my free 7-day Family-Friendly Low-Carb Meal Plan)

There’s often a fee associated with online grocery shopping but I actually SAVE money because I’m not impulse buying. This includes impulse buying healthy things like cauliflower and spaghetti squash, which in the moment at the grocery store I have grand plans to cook. I rarely order the stuff that has no business entering my house,...

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Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Apr 02, 2019

Insulin Resistance (IR) is a condition in which the body is unable to properly use insulin.

IR is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and may be an early sign of Type 2 Diabetes.

To understand IR, it’s necessary to know a few things about insulin first.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. (A hormone is a chemical messenger that tells cells what to do.) Insulin sends many messages to various types of muscles. Here are a few of them:

  • Tells muscle and liver cells to allow sugar through cell membrane, where it can be used as energy to fuel the body
  • Tells fat cells to allow sugar through the cell membrane, where it can be stored to be used as energy in the future
  • Tells fat cells NOT to release stored energy

What does this look like in a non-IR body?

  1. Person eats meal with carbohydrates (sugar)
  2. Brain senses rise in sugar level in the blood and signals pancreas to release insulin
  3. Pancreas releases insulin, which...
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The Day I Found Out I Have Diabetes

Mar 26, 2019

Here’s what I remember:

It was nearly 15 years ago: September 2004. I was 34. Just one semester left in nursing school. Mom to a 4-year-old. At my routine annual physical, I mentioned to my doctor that I’d been having some vaginal itching. Yeast infection. My first ever. I left with a prescription and I stopped at the bookstore on the way home and found a book about treating yeast infections with diet.

The next day I received a call from the doctor’s office. My routine blood work had come back with a wonky blood sugar result and I needed to go back and have it repeated. When I returned to the office a couple days later, the medical assistant poked my finger and stepped out of the room. I sat in the room for what felt like an eternity, waiting for the doctor to come in.

She breezed into the room and cheerily said “Well, it looks like you have diabetes!” She was probably trying to put a good face on what was sure to be a devastating diagnosis for me, but...

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