Life Beyond Diabetes Blog

Diabetes Tantrum

Jun 11, 2020

When's the last time you had a good tantrum? You know. A knock-down, drag-out hissy fit. Something that could give the most petulant two-year-old a run for his money. 

"Never. I'm an adult. We don't throw tantrums."

Ok. Maybe it's not socially acceptable to throw yourself dramatically to the floor and kick and cry and scream that LIFE'S NOT FAIR. But when's the last time you got so mad that you wished you could embrace your inner toddler and just scream at the world?

For me, it's happened a few times over the past week. For some reason, I'm having a hard time regulating my blood sugar, causing some severe lows that interfere with normal life. And it makes me so mad!! It's just not fair that I have this stupid disease and I can be doing everything right and things can go so sideways. 

Or I decide that I want to live like everyone else for a day and the resulting blood sugars numbers are terrible. I'm reminded that I don't get to live like everyone else because...

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Life During a Pandemic Is Hard!

Apr 30, 2020

Is anyone else watching Pluto, the wise Schnauzer from Canada? Or Some Good News with John Krasinski? (BTW, I’m so unhip that, until a few weeks ago, I only knew John Krasinski as the husband of the woman who played the new Mary Poppins.)

Why am I asking about silliness that some might call a Distracting Time Suck?

Because This Shit Is HARD. People are trying to work from home at jobs that never before supported telecommuting, while also homeschooling children who should be getting ready for end of year assessment tests at SCHOOLS that are now closed. None of us signed up for any of this!  And in addition to being cooped up inside the same walls with the same people day after day, we’re starting to realize that when we finally start to emerge from our isolation, the world as we knew it will never exist again.

Woah. I just went from Pluto the talking Schnauzer to existential crisis. What is going on here? Why so dark, as if we weren’t already sad enough?


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Chili for Dinner tonight!

Nov 04, 2019

A cold November night calls for chili for dinner! I'm celebrating Diabetes Awareness Month by sharing a favorite recipe every week. The recipe is at the bottom of the page.

My husband is making an Instant Pot version of the chili found in my family-friendly low carb meal plan. (It's pretty much exactly the same as the recipe in the meal plan, just less simmering time. Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like details on how to convert the recipe for cooking in your Instant Pot.)

When the weather turns cold, I turn to a cooking frenzy. It used to be all about bread. Now that I've significantly reduced the carbs in my life, I get excited about soup and roasting things. Roasted cauliflower is another of my fall favorites that will be showing up in my kitchen pretty soon! (also on the meal plan)

I'm always on the lookout for new low-carb recipes. What do you make that will get my mouth watering for fall cooking? Head over to the Facebook page and post a link to your...

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Real Self Care for Type 2 Diabetes

Sep 03, 2019

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Self Care as “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.”

We talk a lot about “Self Care” these days. A Google search of the phrase “Self Care” brings up more than 65 million results. I perused the first few pages of results and found that, while the dictionary definition of self care is related to managing one’s own health, most of the articles give just a cursory mention to maintaining physical health and instead focus on mental health and things to do to make yourself happy and relaxed in the moment.

I don’t want to make an argument that mental health isn’t important and that many of the suggestions, such as meditating, spending time with friends, and enjoying the company of pets aren’t an important part of health. But I DO think that the focus on the pampering aspects of self-care can get in the way of doing what we need to do to REALLY take...

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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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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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