I am using a website called Hakuna Sukari (http://www.hakunasukari.com/) to “compete” against others with my BS levels. Turns out it’s so much fun that I have started to measure myself at least 2-3 times more per day than I used to, and also doing it at times that are not foreseen in my doctor’s chart because the website gives me more options of how to classify readings. Hakuna Sukari means “no sugar” in Swahili, and I love the name because it’s so easy to remember, and because of Hakuna Matata (always remember…) and because the name comes from the global south, and that’s a part of the world I care about… How many of the 11,600-odd members of TuDiabetes are from Africa? How do people in a Nairobi slum deal with diabetes, other than eating “hakuna sukari”? I don’t know, but I’ll try to find out.
So with all this testing, I have had more courage to try out something else: low carb diet. I wanted to try it after reading so much about it on the bloodsugar101.com website, but maybe it was a mistake, given that the website clearly recommends it for T2 but doesn’t say much about T1… Anyway, here is the full story: I started yesterday evening with my first no-carb meal, and was very proud about the 113 (1 hour) and 103 (2 hours) readings. This morning, I woke up with 80 which is about average for me, and then a no-carb breakfast produced just 107 (1 hour) and then 113 (2 hours). That’s because my boss had just called me and I was stressed, and therefore I went up rather than down - I need to pay a lot more attention to my stress levels! My heart was also pounding. I am sure that’s still linked to Saturday’s panic attack.
Before lunch, after two carrots as a snack in mid-morning, I was at a satisfying 90. And then I ran out of test strips… And thought I had done enough testing for one morning, so I didn’t check again in the afternoon, after (nothing but) a huge amount of salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for lunch (and forgetting to take my Metformin). Went for my Yoga class, felt absolutely fine. Got home, checked casually, still feeling fine - WOW! 59!!! Second-lowest I’ve ever been. So I did what my doctor had told me, I drank a fruit juice with exactly 15g of sugar in it. But since I had read all about it yesterday, I knew that that would be too much sugar - here is how to calculate how much you need, and I will definitely get the right dose next time: Treating Mild Hypos without Creating Rebound High Blood Sugar. Because just now, when I checked 1 hour after dinner - I had an egg, loads of nuts, two slices of Wasa wholegrain rye crispbread (yes I know that’s carbs), a green pepper and a lot of goat’s cheese… didn’t taste well but I wanted to get out of my low, and I did - my BS was 163 and I didn’t like that. But according to bloodsugar101, I have raised my BS just by drinking that juice from 59 to 134, so no wonder.
The most important thing, in hindsight, that I read yesterday was What is a Normal Blood Sugar?. Honestly, I had no idea! So my anxiety attacks may have stopped and I may have missed my low earlier because I am just not worried anymore if I have 70, and my body has gotten used to normal levels, which are not 140 but rather 80! My doctor made it seem as if 70 was low BS. And in fact, all these last three months, I have believed that if I don’t go to bed with at least 100 or so, I won’t make it through the night. Now I am reading that 83 is the normal fasting blood sugar for a healthy person, and that that’s what a healthy person’s BS goes back to 2 hours after a meal. And it’s what we should all try to aim for, since healthy people don’t get diabetes-related complications… And that’s also what my food & medicine regime should be doing for me, and if it doesn’t then it needs adjusting.
I thought I had to be over 100 as per normal and that I’d be really low if I had 80 2 hours after meal, and that the meal “hadn’t really worked” because I was supposed to be much higher in order to make it to the next meal. 80 or so, in fact, turns out to be just the right level to be at after a meal (120 is still good, but…), and over the next few hours, that great mechanism of the pancreas in a healthy person would keep that level without having to add anything more. It was so important to read about the mechanism (How Blood Sugar Control Works–And How It Stops Working), and I still haven’t quite understood what first phase and second phase is, but I’ll get it eventually. And the second most important piece of information was “False Hypos” - it was the other bit of information that ended my panic attacks (for now…) since clearly I was experiencing the physical symptoms of my body perceiving a hypo when it wasn’t one, it was just a lower BS than my body, who had gotten used to high levels, was expecting. So all I needed to do is take a deep breath and relax instead of adding sugar to the system needlessly.
I am saying all this from the perspective of the newly diagnosed, honeymooning LADA with only 3 units of Lantus at night and 500mg of Metformin 3x per day. With these low levels of medication, I can still experiment with no-carb and low carb since it is hard to get serious hypos while on Metformin and Lantus, my doctor says. If I can convince her that I don’t need one or the other anymore because I am eating so well, that will be an added bonus. But after the extreme ups and downs today, I think I am still a long way away from that.