The Skinny on Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks its own pancreas affecting its ability to produce insulin; this usually happens at a young age.  In this case scenario, insulin has to come into your body from outside a good example of which is an insulin pump.  FYI not all autoimmune disorders happen at a young age.

Type 2 diabetes is a different ball game.  Contrary to the popular belief, increased sugar consumption doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes.

Just because type 2 diabetes is linked to high levels of blood sugar, it may seem logical to assume that eating too much sugar is the cause of diabetes.  However, it’s not that simple.  High-sugar diet can increase the risk of developing diabetes but doesn’t directly cause it.  There is no proven link between the two.   By analogy, driving on the road can increase your risk for an accident but a mere fact of driving doesn’t cause it.

What happens with type 2 is that people develop insulin resistance.  Here’s how it works.  When you consume sugar, it attaches to hemoglobin that delivers it to your body cells to be used for energy.  Think about insulin as a key to open the door (of a cell) to let glucose in.  In case of insulin resistance the door won’t open and glucose can’t get in.  As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed by the cells.

It is believed that excess weight and physical inactivity largely contribute to the insulin resistance.  Genetics play a role, as well.

How type 2 diabetes is diagnosed:  A1C test   A1C test kit

A1C is a widely used test to diagnose type 2 diabetes. It is also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test.  Hemoglobin is a substance found in the red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body.  When blood sugar level is elevated, sugar combines with hemoglobin making it “glycated” in which case scenario A1C test shows an elevated number.  This test is being used to show how well your diabetes is being controlled.  Since red blood cells live up to 3 months, this test should be at this interval.   This very test was used to diagnose my type 2 diabetes.

For people without diabetes, the normal range for the A1C test is between 4% and 5.6%.  A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes.  The goal for people with diabetes is a A1C level less than 7%.  The higher the A1C number is, the higher the risks of developing diabetes-related complications.



Posted in A1C, About diabetes, blood sugar, diabetes, diet, Health, insulin resistance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Today’s Prompt: Millions. Remember the days before the internet?

It seems like close to a million years ago, yet somehow we were able to exist without the internet. Today we came as close to this as possible. Half the internet is down; I’m glad that I still can blog but can’t tweet or use a bunch of sites that were alive only yesterday. Argh

Back in the day, there were no GPS so if you had to get from point A to the point B, you whip out your good old map. No cell phones but only landline. Remember party lines? This was a shared landline phone service. So if you picked up your phone when someone else on your party line was talking, you could overhear the conversation or jump right in but wouldn’t be able to make or receive a call.

Remember the busy phone signal? Today’s equivalent is having a bunch of websites down.


This looks familiar, at least to some of us?

Since online shopping was unheard of, it had to be done in the brick-and-mortar stores only. And should you decide to ship a parcel from Atlantic to Pacific, you had to make a trip to the Post Office and stand in line that oftentimes was endless. And buy a book of stamps that had to be licked in order to be affixed.  Most addresses on the envelopes were written by hand, remember?

Looks like we’re headed back there if the internet won’t get fixed any time soon.

Inspired by the current events and the Daily Prompt: Millions

Posted in blogging, Daily Prompt, The Daily Post, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Versatile Blogger Award



for the longest time, I’ve been leading an award-free life on this blog, up until today, when I heard The Breaking News: I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.

BIG THANKS TO DOLLY of koolkosherkitchen for the nomination.

I’m so thrilled to be nominated with a group of wonderful bloggers. Wowster!

To read more about Dolly, please visit her blog

Here now, 7+ facts about me, not necessarily in this sequence:

  1. Although being a city gal for the most of my life, I enjoy taking long drives into the countryside
  2. I like being organized yet sometimes have a high tolerance for clutter
  3. I love driving my Bug (VW Beetle)
  4. I enjoy taking hot showers, they’re very relaxing and take your mind off things in an instant
  5. I like mix-and-match color combinations
  6. I love curling up with a good mystery book or watching a horror movie
  7. I love treasure hunting and then sell my finds online
  8. I love my studio
  9. I like doing things on the spur of the moment, and as luck would have it, some of the WordPress prompts tend to strike at that very moment

Now on to nominating 15 remarkable WordPress bloggers: (drum roll…)

  1. A cooking pot and twisted tales by Jackie
  2. The Syllabub Sea by Marie
  3. Being Lydia by Lydia
  4. Mick’s blog by Mick
  5. Cowpasture chronicles by Sheila
  6. It’s good to be crazy sometimes by Trina
  7. Flying through water by Nikki
  8. The showers of blessing by Miriam
  9. Postcards from Kerry by Kerry
  10. Watching the daisies by Brigid
  11. 200 Saturdays until Paris
  12. Kewrites
  13. Diabetic on the move
  14. Friendly Fairy Tales by Brenda
  15. A mile in my shoes by Beth

We all love the RULES😉 so here they are:

  • show the award on your blog
  • thank the person who has nominated you
  • share 7 different facts about yourself
  • nominate 15 blogs of your choice
  • link your nominees & let them know about your nomination

Congratulations to all my nominees and thanks for your hard work. Your participation is totally voluntary; should you chose not to participate, I will totally understand. I however will be honored if you chose to go ahead and accept the nomination. I view this as being proactive by promoting each other’s work and spreading the word.

Thank you and best wishes,

Posted in awards, Recognition, Uncategorized, versatile blogger award | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Election Signs and Cruelty

I am pro-life, however I believe that women should have the right to choose an abortion in certain circumstances. Furthermore, I agree that said sign is insulting to all women, and that is wrong.


Okay, first let me begin by saying that I’m not really pro-choice. I don’t like the idea of abortion AT ALL and quite frankly, I don’t see myself ever being able to take away a baby’s life (even if it’s not technically a life yet – I know there’s a lot of debate about that). However, I do understand how hard it must be for women who become pregnant (especially due to rape) to have to choose between taking care of a child that they’re not ready for or having to choose abortion. It’s a horrible choice to have to make. Period.

Yesterday while out, my brother pointed out an election sign. The sign was for Trump. As many of you know, I don’t like him and I DO NOT support him. That has nothing to do though with why I’m writing this post though. The reason for this post…

View original post 406 more words

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Enticing Food Labels, part 2

In part 1, I have discussed the use of ‘healthy’ and ‘all natural’ statements on the food labels.  Now I will talk about the labels that claim low or no fat or sugar.

3.  No Sugar Added.

This sounds rather confusing, because it prompts you to think that the product contains no sugar at all.  If you have diabetes, you might want to buy it for this very reason.  Now wait a minute.

No sugar added” doesn’t mean that the product is carb-free or calorie-free.  It is sometimes being confused with sugar-free;  in fact, there’s a bunch of websites that do just that.  The problem is that some foods have sugar in them naturally, such as for example, milk or fruit, so anything containing these two can’t be sugar-free.  Besides, no sugar added products can still contain additives with high glycemic index such as Maltodextrin.

oct-16-maltodextrinMaltodextrin is made of corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat;  it’s a common food additive used for expanding the volume of processed food and for increasing its shelf life.

It has 4 calories per gram which is the same as table sugar. However, maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, almost twice as much as table sugar does. GI of maltodextrin is 110, compared to 65 of table sugar. This means that it can raise the blood sugar levels very quickly. Per FDA, Maltodextrin has to be listed in the nutrition panel as what it is, a carbohydrate.

4.  Sugar-free

This doesn’t automatically mean fewer calories; in fact, sugar-free products still have some sugar in them.  By FDA definition, sugar-free foods can have less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.  They however still have calories and carbs from other sources.  One of such sources are sugar alcohols that taste just as sweet as sugar while having half the calories.

Most sugar alcohols have no effect on blood sugar.   Some of them however are actually carbohydrates that are well absorbed by the body and can cause blood sugar spikes such as Maltitol.   Sugar alcohols can also act as a laxative so keep that in mind when indulging.

Sugar-free products can also have artificial sweeteners that don’t affect blood sugar directly but can affect insulin sensitivity nevertheless.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I started buying sugar-free products thinking that I was doing the right thing.  One of the first such products was sugar-free pancake syrup that tasted as sweet as its sugar-containing counterpart.  For a brief while I was proud of myself for being able to find a product that is sugar-free and just as sweet.  This however was short lived when I had a seemingly unexplained blood sugar spike after eating hot cereal with ‘sugar-free’ syrup.  I then took a close look at the Nutrition Panel and low and behold, it listed a few carbs including Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol; corn syrup and molasses.  All of the above are carbs.

After having contacted my nutritionist, I was advised to stay away from everything that ends with ‘ol’ (sugar alcohols).  From now on, I will never take the statement ‘sugar-free’ for granted but will read the labels first and then decide.  A lesson learned.


Here now, a bottle of pancake syrup; didn’t the label say “sugar-free”?  Yes, it did but the Nutrition Facts panel states Sugars – Yes, and the amount of 8 grams.  This is per serving size that mind you, is a quarter of a cup.

Most if not all of us consume a few times over this in one sitting.  No, really.  A quarter of a cup is a little bitty thing.  Most folks will use at least a cupful of it.  Then all the seemingly ‘healthy’ content goes out the window.

Ever seen a commercial with a pile of pancakes buried under a huge mound of syrup?  There goes your serving size.

5.  Low-fat or fat-free

Many of us associate zero trans fat or fat-free claims with healthy, which is exactly the outcome the food manufacturers are trying to achieve.  And the truth is, while some foods are naturally low in fat, such as fruits and vegetables, processed food is another story. Fat-free versions of food replace fat with sugar which is no better and eventually gets stored in your body as fat anyway.  The keywords to look for are corn syrup and fructose.

Fat-free products are loaded with sugar, and sugar-free are loaded with fat.  Here you have it, a no-win situation.

Nutritionpedia website has posted these two labels side-by-side, one is regular, the other, fat-free.


As you can see, the fat-free product contains about three-fold more sugar than the regular version of the same product.  Not only would one serving size of the fat-free food have more calories than the full-fat version but you may be tempted to eat two servings because it comes across as healthy.

By FDA standards, low fat means less than 3 grams of fat per serving size and fat-free, less than 0.5 grams.  How much is the serving size?  This is what the food manufacturers are playing with.  One vs two cookies as a serving size or slices of bread likewise, can make all the difference.  And who is eating only one cookie?  When you or your kids eat more than one, all that low fat content per serving size goes out the window.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  sugar-free products are loaded with fat, and fat-free, with sugar.  To make sure that you are in fact eating healthy food, you need to do your homework.  Check the label of a fat-free or sugar-free product and compare it with the full-fat or full-sugar version.  This of course will take some time.


I just finished writing this post when it dawned on me, WordPress wants us to write about trust; the timing is perfect.  Here now, we can’t trust food labels.  Have to take them with a grain of salt.

Posted in Daily Prompt, diabetes management, food, meal planning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Enticing Food Labels, part 1.

I have taken a small break from blogging due to some unforeseen events that I had to take care of first.  Now I am back and decided to write about a subject that I’ve been thinking about for what seems to be the longest time.  Food labels.

It appears that food manufacturers tend to make food labels claims that need to be taken with a grain of salt.  In other words, plain misleading.  I will go over a few of these.

1. ‘Healthy’ Food.

What exactly is ‘healthy’?  Raise your hands if you know the answer. Food and Drug Administration is baffled about this and is looking for the public input.

Most of the claims about general categories of foods, such as fruit and vegetables to maintain good health are actually dietary guidance rather than health claims, hence not subject to authorization by FDA.  Therefore, food manufacturers can state whatever they please in order to promote their products and this is largely unregulated.

Sounds confusing?  You are not alone.

FDA is currently in the process of redefining nutritional claims on food labeling, and is working on an updated definition of ‘healthy’.

I’ve always been big on checking Nutrition Facts Panels when buying just about anything.  The first thing I’m looking for is carbs.  The next is fat content, and after that, an expiration date.  Haven’t noticed too many folks do the same, though.  Most of them just grab a gallon of milk and out on their merry way.  I on the other hand, want to make sure that the milk won’t go bad on me in a few days.  It may be just me.

By the way, fat content in milk is to be discussed later.

In fact, you can’t rely on what some if not all food labels claim.   Statements such as ‘healthy’, ‘low fat’ or ‘good source’ of this substance or the other can turn out to be a sales gimmick that is intended to nothing more than to sell a product.  I’ve always had a nagging feeling that all that the food labels are trying to accomplish is to sell me something.  Such as for example, ‘vitamin water’ sounds like a pure sales pitch.  Or ‘smart chicken’ as was recently advertised in a local grocery store flyer, priced at mere $5 for a pound and two ounces.   Or ‘premium’ anything.

Of course, all of these have a price tag attached accordingly.

Does celery ever come in a variety that is not crisp?  Farmer’s Market — come on now, it’s just a name of a company.  Seedless cucumbers — what is the point?  I understand seedless watermelon but cukes, of all things?  Give me a break.


Seedless cucumbers.  Giant Eagle


Iceberg Lettuce.  Giant Eagle



Dietitian Pick — now this is creative.  A real dietitian came along and picked this head of iceberg lettuce.  I know that is right.



2.  All Natural.

I don’t know who coined this term but FDA doesn’t define it.  This means that food makers can do as they please and won’t get in trouble.  It leaves lots of room for interpretation every which way.  For example, if a food is labeled natural, it can still contain high fructose syrup — high carbs — while the food makers claim that since it comes from corn, it’s ‘healthy’.


Getty Images

Natural chicken can be actually injected with sodium or saltwater in a process called plumping.  This is done in order to enhance flavor and, you guessed it, to increase weight of the meat before it’s sold.  If this is done, the label will state “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or “up to 15% chicken broth.”

In fact, it is very rare that a package of meat or chicken comes with a Nutrition Label printed on it; most of the time there’s none.   I checked a package of chicken thighs that I had bought earlier today; it does have a Nutrition Label on the bottom but you need to flip it over in order to see it.  Once the label is not in the plain view, I take it most folks won’t bother to look for it.  Mine happened to have it and it doesn’t state anything about added solution or broth.  Now that I know, I can’t help but wonder about meat purchased at the deli counter — it doesn’t even come with a nutrition label.  This is something that had never occurred to me up until now.

Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and other problems, especially for those who were told to cut down on salt intake.   Buy plumped chicken and you’d be looking for trouble, albeit inadvertently.

How I wish that I had my own chicken farm.

More is coming.  Stay tuned.

To be continued…

Posted in food, meal planning, Nutrition Facts Panel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Agree to disagree is a rare occurrence in this pre-election season

In the current pre-election times, saying that some folks disagree about a certain candidate is an understatement of the year.  The emotions fly, the friendships are ruined, and it seems that the best way to handle it is to avoid the issue altogether.

I have ended up losing a couple of email buddies because it irritated the heck out of me that they relied on the internet hoax rather than facts. Some things were taken out of context from the old articles published as far as 20 years ago, while the others were Photoshop enhanced and taken for granted.  I couldn’t help myself and pointed this out so we ended up parting ways.  My last words were good riddance.  I reiterate “last words” because some folks just can’t stop preaching.

In the real life, I plain refuse to discuss the issue.  And will not have bumper stickers either way.

This is really something.  I can’t recall this happening in any other of the previous elections.



All the above played right into the Today’s Prompt:  DISAGREE and couldn’t be any other way

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Today’s Prompt: Unfinished. How I Lost Weight on Vegetarian Diet

About a month ago I blogged about Diet-to-Go that I tried for one week. I have lost a pound and a half that wasn’t bad yet nothing remarkable. I went from 152 pounds down to 150.5, and that’s all. A small consolation was that at least I didn’t gain any weight. Oh well.

Now I decided to try something else, completely on my own. It was a vegetarian diet that some of my friends swear by. There’s nothing new about it but I’ve never had it before so thought I’d give it a try.

For about a week, I didn’t eat any meat but only fruits and vegetables, some dairy and plenty of water. I didn’t formally exercise but was physically active.


And here go the results:  145 pounds on my bathroom scale last night.  5 pounds down from 150, and I did this on my own terms.  Love it!

My BMI is 23.4 that falls into the lovely normal range.  My morning fasting blood sugar was consistently in the 90s.

Woo hoo!!


However not being vegetarian by nature, last night I gave in to craving and had a pork chop; it tasted like heaven. My weight is still 145 lbs.

Besides, my way of losing weight played rather nicely into my budget.  Diet-to-Go would cost at least $100 a week, while mine — a small fraction of that.

And this is only the beginning. Hence unfinished as per Daily Prompt


Inspired by Daily Prompt: UNFINISHED and my own experience.

Posted in Daily Prompt, diabetes management, meal planning, Uncategorized, weight loss | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments