Burned out of low carb


#1

In recent months I’ve been feeling quite burned out with eating low-carb in addition to having multiple food allergies. There were some extremely stressful things going on in my life and my schedule was just overbooked in general. Then, several weeks ago I went on a trip to the US where, due to customs restrictions, I couldn’t bring any meat or fresh produce across the border. I was attending a workshop where I had unknown access to a grocery store and unknown kitchen facilities.

Between the two, I totally abandoned low-carb eating. And I’ve enjoyed eating so much more since doing that. I really like being able to eat cereal, bread, and granola bars, things I have not figured out how to make in low-carb versions (and cannot purchase) with my food allergies.

However, my blood sugar is a disaster. I’ve been spending very little time within target range, and when I downloaded my Diasend results just now, it confirmed my suspicion. I’ve never been able to keep the kind of super tight control some on this site manage, even when eating really low-carb. But an average of 8.5 mmol/L (153 mg/dl), standard deviation of 4.2 mmol/L (76 mg/dl), and only 44% of readings in range is reminiscent of my pre-CGM control.

I know that the best way to deal with this is to return to a lower-carb way of eating, but…I just don’t want to. It is just SO MUCH WORK to manage both multiple food allergies AND eat a low-carb diet. I look at the low-carb communities where people have so much convenience food available to them and I think that I would have no problem at all following a low-carb diet if I could do that. If I could eat out sometimes, or pick up pre-made bread or pre-made pizza, or even just snack on eggs and cheese. It would all be so easy. But that’s not my reality.

So, I’m not sure what the point of this post is, but I need to get back on track with my control. This morning I was hit really hard by a severe low that left me with visual distortions and a numb mouth and face for a good half an hour. A couple days ago I spent hours without my Dexcom being able to read my blood sugar. Even though I dread the thought, I really can’t continue with my blood sugar on this crazy rollercoaster.

I think part of what frustrates me is that before my thyroid went out of whack several years ago, I could maintain good control while eating carbs. But that just hasn’t been the case ever since. Something in the way my body works has changed to make my blood sugar far more volatile, and the only solution I’ve found for it is to restrict carbs. And it really irritates me, becuase I wish so badly that I could at least have some flexibility to enjoy food rather than sticking to an ultra, ultra strict diet.


#2

Why don’t you try figuring out just one thing at a time that you love? For me that is potatoes and most low carb alternatives just do not live up to that taste and texture so I give myself a little bit of leeway to eat moderate amounts (not everyday), and I pretty much know how it will affect me and how much insulin to take and when.


#3

@Jen I’m sending you lots of hugs!

I know it isn’t easy to manage all of the allergies and then to compound it with maintaining good blood glucose levels.

I’m suggesting something old school really and something you might already be doing/have done. Check your basal. Do a basal test and make sure your basal profile is where it needs to be.

Once your basal is where it should be, then begin to modify your insulin to carb ratio according to the time of day and the food you’re consuming. Even though I have an insulin to carb ratio established for four different times throughout the day/night, I adjust that further if I’m eating a food that just doesn’t agree with me, blood glucose wise. I start with the insulin to carb ratio, and then add more insulin to offset the known rise I get from what I’m consuming. For me and I’ll bet for many others, all foods are not created equal, blood glucose wise, so even though I have great insulin to carb ratios that work most of the time, there are those times when I need to modify my dose, to stay in target range.

Then, there are times I can pair one food with another and have it help offset the quick rise, such as eating an apple with peanut butter. Perhaps you can find something you like and are able to eat, that you can pair with foods to help offset the quick rise? By the way, I miss apples, big time. We’ve gone to a keto diet and it’s working out very well, but I’m not that good with it yet to know if something like an apple will ruin my efforts, so I’ll keep avoiding them, for now.

I’ll keep good thoughts and prayers going your way!


#4

That has to be hard. Diabetes is hard enough without adding additional thing that make it even more difficult. Best of luck.


#5

I think this is key, but I think I’m tired of having alredy done this several times over. Plus, with me it’s not just finding a low-carb alternative (pretty easy these days), it’s finding low-carb and dairy, egg, and so on free alternative that I can eat. So finding recipes is hard, mch less finding recipes that I actually like and that aren’t fails.

My big one right now is bread that’s easy to make. I used to have a great recipe that was just wisking together some ingredients and dumping them in a bread pan. Super easy. But it was heavily reliant on eggs, and all the egg-free bread recipes I can find require a ton of work or come out tasting gummy.


#6

Thanks. All good suggestions. I’m basal testing right now, although that in itself is challenging since my basal rates change all the time from hormones. At the moment I am getting flatlines overnight, it’s just the daytime that is chaos. Other times overnight have been chaos. I think travelling for a week and a half was contributing to my craziness.

Part of my problem is that since eating low-carb for so long, I now don’t like seeign spikes after meals. But those are impossible to avoid without low-carb, or at least I haven’t figured out yet how to stay flatlined after eating. I either go way too high or way too low, or else I go moderately high and stay there for a few hours before coming back down.

It’s weird becasue I can see all the benefits of low-carb, and yet I’m just feeling too burned out to do it.


#7

The visualization of a customs/agricultural border inspector taking away your carefully prepared food just breaks my heart! I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I know you’re smart enough to figure out a path forward. I hope that taking a break will be respite enough to take some steps to help regain control.

I think finding some alternative convenience food could go a long way towards helping you, but I can’t suggest anything. Don’t give up! Wildly swinging blood glucose is no way to live and it’s not safe. My thoughts are with you.


#8

I’m thinking about getting a small chest freezer that would allow me to pre-cook and freeze meals, snacks, and staple foods ahead of time. One of the big problems for me is that most of the recipes I was using no longer work without eggs. I think eventually I will find new ones that work (and that I like), but in the meantime I just get so burned out with food sometimes. Diabetes is so hard even on its own, and food allergies are so hard even on their own. The two combined just get overwhelming sometimes. And of course never, ever getting a break or vacation (which is what I need right now!) doesn’t help.


#9

Luckily I always read the restrictions online before heading across the border, so I’ve never had a problem getting through customs with my food. But thinking of low-carb things to bring was very challenging, even for me who is used to travelling across Canada with my own food. And it’s also challenging to quickly pick up food at a grocery store—it took us 15 minutes of looking at cans of tuna fish to find one without “vegetable broth”, which is an ingredient I’ve never seen in tuna fish here. And panut butter of the same brand had totally different ingredients, so we had to spend several minutes looking at all the peanut butter, and never was able to find one without allergens or added sugar, so just bought that. Deli meat, lunch meat, routissori chicken, and other pre-cooked meats were all out due to allergens.


#10

I don’t remember if you’ve already addressed this question, but how do you get along with chia pudding? I make mine with chia seeds, water, cinnamon, vanilla extract, butter, walnuts and blueberries. I eat it five or six times each week. Adam Brown at diaTribe often totes this along with him to conferences.


#11

I tried chia pudding but have never been a huge fan of the texture (it tastes okay, though). I have the same problem with a lot of the egg-free breads I’ve found that use a lot of chia seeds. Just slimy, weird texture that I can force myself to eat but can’t say I enjoy. I tried making my own version of oatmeal with coconut, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and almonds and that’s an okay substitute, although when crossing the border I wasn’t sure if things like coconut and hemp hearts were allowed.


#12

Also, during this time I was becoming more and more burned out, I had an allergist ask me if I had allergy symptoms after eating apples or peaches. I replied that I ate a low-carb diet so didn’t eat apples or peaches very often. His response was, “Well, you’re at high risk of developing allergies. So if you can eat them without symptoms, I think you should be grateful and eat them.” Some part of me wonders if he’s right. And yet another part of me thinks that I don’t want to live on the blood sugar rollercoaster or develop complications down the road. I think if I hadn’t already been on the path to burnout, that comment wouldn’t have affected me so much.

Even just having posted this thread is helping me think through the actual causes of my burnout and consider possible solutions. I think now that I’m home I’ll be better able to tackle a new meal plan. And I also think that maybe I’ll go with a more moderate low-carb approach of perhaps 80 grams per day.


#13

Have you thought of chickpea flatbread:
http://brokeassgourmet.com/articles/chickpea-flour-flatbread
You do need to add flavourings as it can be a bit (lot) bland without any, but can adjust to suit your diet. Toppings can be as required, and I have frozen this flatbread successfully.


#14

I can relate to this a lot, especially as I’m starting to struggle with more food sensitivities (likely mast-cell related) that seem to mostly directly contraindicate the majority of low carb options I’ve found that I like. I think that it’s ok if you need a period of less stringent control to not feel as burned out—it’s not like you’re describing being wildly out of control even if you know your diabetes control could be tighter. We are more than just our diabetes, and diabetes control has to be in balance with all the other factors that go into wellbeing, and sometimes that might mean not prioritizing the diabetes control 100%. What if you give yourself a little more time “off” to enjoy that, because it sounds like you need it, and then try a short, time-limited period on low carb (a few weeks?) again to evaluate? and then plan the next chunk of time at that point? Or maybe since I know you track cycles, doing it cycle by cycle? Maybe not ideal from a diabetes perspective, but maybe the best compromise with reality that still gives you periods of tight control and also periods when you feel like you can relax more?


#15

Just a short reply- have you tried siete grain and gluten free tortilla & tortilla chips? I’m not sure if you can eat these, but they are fantastic, like a bread substitute. I can only eat 5-6 chips at a time. I haven’t tried the tortillas yet. https://sietefoods.com/

Stretch usland fruit bars are great too, or just small amounts of fresh fruit. Another thing I’ve found is. Grain free, gluten free granola, but it has nuts: Purely Elizabeth Granola- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Purely-Elizabeth-Grain-Free-Granola-Banana-Nut-Butter-8-oz-227-g/75449

I hope you figure something else out that helps you. I can’t remember what your allergies are. This disease is awful really such a deprivation which turns eating and everything else for me any way into a misery. Thyroid problems make it 50 mil x worse.

I think moderate low carb is better for you, it is for me but I still have numerous issues with wacko bg. And I still feel like I’m starving most of the time.


#16

Thanks for the suggestions @Pastelpainter, @cardamom, and @meee. My allergies are potato (life-threatening), wheat, dairy, egg, soy, tomato, banana, avocado, and possibly others.

Finding high-carb foods that I can eat is generally not a problem. For example, there’s a local bakery here that makes a delicious wheat/gluten, dairy, egg, and potato free bread that I can eat. Torilla chips here are generally just corn, oil, and sea salt. I have chickpea flour but have not experimented with it yet. It’s the low-carb foods that are difficult or impossible to find.

For now, I think I’m going to stick with eating whatever I want. I’ve been eating pretty high carb the past few days and my control has been reasonable. I’m going to keep it up and re-consider probably at the end of the summer. I think if I get a chest freezer it would make things much easier, but it would also be sitting in my living room, which would just make it seem like my life revolves more around food, so not sure that would be the best move at the moment.


#17

There are people with mast cell issues in some of the allergy groups I’m in, and it sounds like it can be really rough.

Before I developed thyroid problems I never would have thought that (treated) thyroid issues could have such a big impact. I’ve never felt as good since diagnosis as I did prior to diagnosis. I’ve thought about doing the radioactive iodine (my endocrinologist offers it to me each visit), but I just dread the thought of my thyroid levels going out of whack for a year before stabilizing and am nervous of still feeling bad afterwards.


#18

Do you have a good blender? I didn’t like the whole chia seed pudding either. I haven’t tried blending it but the pictures I’ve seen look much more appetizing.


#19

My grandfather had graves years ago and he did that. Then he was on levo for life. If you do try to take t4 & t3. T3 works better for me. My bg is much better with it. But my dose isn’t right yet. I was taking 50,000 iu vit d2 and had severe reflux so I’m stopping it. So I wont know if that is contributing to my fatigue etc.


#20

Yeah, fatigue is one of my big problems, as well as heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, and so on. Basically many of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism but my thyroid is in range (though my TSH levels bounce up and down far more than they used to). I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day and even with that my levels are low normal. My doctor suggested taking iron as my iron is low normal, and I’m getting re-tested for sleep apnea, though I’m not holding my breath for that (no pun intended) because I continually come back as “too mild” for treatment (even though I do meet diagnostic criteria).

My endocrinologist says that if I did the radioactive iodine I’d be on thyroid replacement for life. But he says that’s easier to manage than hyperthyroidism and that the medications don’t have the same risks of severe side effects. I’m just nervous as if I go ahead with it, it would be for life nad I’d never be able to go back.