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.


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1.  DISCLAIMER

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Post-meal blood sugar spikes

Contrary to the popular belief, a spike in blood sugar after eating also known as postprandial hyperglycemia is not uncommon and typically not dangerous. Unless advised otherwise, most folks with diabetes don’t even have to check their blood sugar after meals. Postprandial numbers are different from the fasting ones. The normal postprandial number is under 180 mg/dL within 1 or 2 hours after eating. And yes, we  can consume carbs. According to my dietitian, the plan is to consume up to 2 carbs per snack and 3-4 carbs per meal. One carb is 15g. Once you start counting carbs, after a while you do this pretty effortlessly.

I almost never check my postprandial BG.  Did check it once when my fasting number was 116, but that must have been due to a bad strip. After having a bowl of oatmeal and checking it again 2 hours later, my number was 101. Otherwise my fasting numbers are normal, around 100 give or take. A few times it was even under 100 which is super normal. I am not on insulin or any diabetes medication, and am hoping this will last forever.

Diabetes is not a one-size-fits-all. Hence some of us will react differently to certain foods. There probably aren’t too many foods that we can never eat again. The keyword is how much. If for example you want some cheesecake, a bite or two would be enough.

Should you want to eat out, keep in mind that the portions nowadays grew up compared to what they used to be some good 20 years ago. This website provides some information about today’s phenomenon of a portion distortion along with a few solutions to such.  For example, a cup of coffee.  Does this look familiar?

Portion Distortion 2

 

Happy eating!

 

Source: Everyday Health

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My Morning Fasting Blood Sugar

It was a whopping 116. I couldn’t believe my eyes as this hasn’t happened in a long time. Lately my fasting numbers were fairly close to a 100, sometimes even 99 that was super normal for me. And now this.

I immediately jumped by the computer and went on googling. Guess what, a number of websites state that for those who are blessed with diabetes (type 2), fasting numbers should be under 130 mg/dl, while for those without it, 70-99. So my number was normal after all.  Or maybe it was a bad strip.
11. Nov 8. BG chart

So I went on about my usual morning business, having breakfast and drinking lots of water. 2 hours later my postprandial number is 102. Woo hoo!
102 postprandial

A few words about my breakfast.  I had cream of wheat that I thought was an innocent low carb food.  However, after having taken a close look at the Nutrition Panel, I found out that it in fact, contains 24g of carbs for a serving size of 3 tablespoons.   Here now, see for yourself.
1a cream of wheat

Hmm.  I never count how many spoons I eat, usually pretty much eyeball it.  So I might have overdone a bit with that.  Nevertheless, my postprandial number speaks for itself.  Yay.

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Who Discovered Insulin

It was back in the day in 1921 that Frederick Banting and Charles H Best discovered insulin. Banting and Best injected the hormone into a diabetic dog and found that it effectively lowered high blood glucose levels to normal. So you can say that the dog received insulin by proxy.

I know this sounds like an excuse but I believe it or not, I was really going to write about this and then decided to peek at the Daily Prompts anyway.  Hence this post and the quote below.   Had to post a screenshot of the image as an embedded variation turned out too wide.

Frederick Banting

 

The Daily Prompt: Proxy

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The Daily Prompt – Loyal

Oct 16 - LOYAL quote from goodreads - HEMINGWAY

Source: goodreads

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

Of course, this was way before personal computers and eReaders

Oct 16 - LOYAL by iz quotes - DOGS

“I love dogs.  They live in the moment and don’t care about anything except affection and food.  They’re loyal and happy.  Humans are just damn complicated.”
~David Duchovny

I concur with that

Loyal

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Waiting awaits you

1

Waiting at the red light

2

The waiting is over, at least for a moment

3

Waiting again…

Waiting

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Let’s talk bananas

Do you think bananas grow on the trees? You’re not alone. Most folks think so and even sing songs about it. But the fact remains, banana plants are technically herbs since they contain no woody tissue. These plants are made of densely packed leaves which makes them perennial herbs like a lily or an orchid. In fact, they are the world’s largest herbs, capable of growing as high as 30 feet. Therefore bananas are either fruits or berries of said plants.

9.1 Banana tree Pinterest

You can’t mistake a banana tree… oops, a plant, for anything else. Its enormous leaves are over 6 feet long.

9.2 Banana leaf Pinterest

Once a banana plant is fully grown, it blooms. Its flowers are on the top of the plant, and they are edible, too.  Aren’t they beautiful?

9.3 Banana flowers PIXABAY

Did you know? Bananas can make a houseplant, especially a dwarf variety. They need lots of sunlight and a large enough pot to accommodate their roots. The indoor banana plants like hot and humid conditions and require frequent feeding. But don’t expect to harvest any bananas at home.

9.4 Banana houseplant from thespruce

Nutritionally speaking, bananas are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and various antioxidants. Their Glycemic Index or GI for short, ranges from 40s to 50s, depending on their ripeness. This shows how quickly the carbs from a banana enter the bloodstream. Relatively low GI of bananas is due to the high content of fiber which in turn mitigates the blood sugar rise after a meal (postprandial). Fiber also keeps you full which is an added benefit.

Overall, bananas can help keeping your blood sugar levels stable. From the morning oatmeal or any other hot or cold cereal to mashed banana toast topping to smoothies, bananas are easy to include in one’s diet. When eaten with a toast, the low GI of a banana counteracts the high GI of the bread, hence a more balanced result. Freezing bananas is my next project. I freeze most everything which makes lots of sense when living in a studio. This way the frozen fruits last much longer than in a fresh form. Off to the freezer they go in their little containers. Then out one at a time which is perfect for my compact studio refrigerator, as well as for not indulging. These bananas in a basket are ready just for that.

9.5.1 - My bananas

Banana peels are edible, too. I did try blending them and mixing with everything else. The peels added on some woody taste that I didn’t really enjoy. However, I am thinking, it might go away if I cook banana peels. This remains on my list of the next projects.

Some sites quote a bunch of so-called side effects of eating bananas. Gee, and I thought that side effects only happen with the meds. Side effects of bananas reportedly include weight gain, migraine, drowsiness, constipation, and even nerve damage, to name a few. This however happens if you eat lots and lots of bananas. Like participating in a bananas eating competition. I don’t know about you, but I am not thriving on bananas alone. I am usually trying to eat a variety of fruits, a little of everything, in moderation for most of the time.

Go bananas!  Pun intended.

 

 

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The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Structures of my neighborhood

In response to this Weekly Photo Challenge, I will present a few structures of my neighborhood.  To begin with, here comes a bench right in front of the entry door to my building.  Most of the time it’s empty yet it still stands tall.
bench

The structure below is temporarily out of business.
Elevator

This picture was taken on a whim sometimes this past summer. I thought that I might just use it in one of the Photo Challenges.
Stop 1

An empty park. There’s something eerie and intriguing about it.  While driving past it in the last winter, I just couldn’t help myself but to capture the scene.  Here goes:
Road 1

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