Archive for October, 2012

Between sports, washing dishes (a constant if you have hypoglycemia), constant hand-washing, and general wear, my nails get beat up pretty bad. About a year ago, an extended family member (thanks Jess!) suggested I try OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer and I’ve been addicted ever since.

What is it?

OPI Axxium is a gel lacquer system where the gel is actually put on your nails vs. fake nails. The gel is “baked” on your nails using a UV light.

Is it the same as Shellac or OPI’s Gel Color?

No!!!! It’s not. OPI Gel Color lasted on my nails about two days before it peeled badly. I tried it three times and had the same results each time. I’ve only had Shellac once, but it chipped pretty bad. I’ve seen my friends get it and they have had the same results.

Nails showing no chips

These are my nails after 2 weeks of martial arts, rock climbing, washing dishes, etc. Not a single chip! And look how shiny they are!


  • Good luck chipping this stuff! It rarely ever chips! The above photo shows my nails after two weeks of wear including martial arts training, 2 times of rock climbing, etc. Not a single chip on them. I usually go three weeks with it on and rarely have a chip.
  • Unlike regular nail polish, it stays shiny the whole three weeks. Other than the natural growth of your nails at the base, it always looks like you just had it done!
  • My nails grow like crazy with this stuff on because it makes them strong and chip-resistant.
  • An hour at the nail salon every three weeks=three weeks of gorgeous nails. I’d take that trade any day!
  • You can get some of the same colors in OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer and in OPI regular polish. For example, my favorite color is “I’m Not Really a Waitress.” I get it done on my fingers in Axxium, but usually just paint my toes the same color (if I want to be matchy-matchy like that) with regular polish.


  • Nail salons HATE doing OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer, so a lot of them either won’t do it at all or will keep a very limited selection of colors to try to persuade you to go with Shellac instead. They will swear it’s the same thing, but it’s not. I point-blank asked a manicurist why they discourage OPI Axxium and they said it’s because it’s slower for them because they have to use a paint brush vs. just the brush in the bottle.
  • The reason OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer stays so much better on your nails is because they rough them up pretty badly before putting the gel on. So, if you want to go without the gel for a while, your nails look pretty bad after the gel is taken off.
  • Speaking of taking the gel off, you pretty much have to pay a salon to get it off. You have to rough-up the polish, then soak cotton in pure acetone (Note: OPI recommends using acetone-based remover which has emollients to prevent drying out your nails and skin), put the soaked cotton on each finger individually, wrap each finger in aluminum foil for 10 minutes, and then scrape the rest of the gel off.
  • For some reason, light colors don’t work well in OPI Axxium. They turn pretty much clear. The bolder colors, like reds and purples, however, stay pretty dark through the process and for the 3 weeks.

Additional note:

  • If you happen to live near my hometown in Battle Creek, Michigan, I recommend getting OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer done by Denee at Jessica’s Salon and Spa. She’s really good at it!

Changes to original article (October 22, 2012):

At the request of OPI, I got more specific on the name. I originally used just “OPI Axxium,” they requested I use “OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer.” There are two products in the OPI Axxium family, so I needed to be more specific. Also, they requested I add a note saying they do not recommend using pure acetone to take them off.  Happy to oblige OPI! Thanks for reading my blog!


Read Full Post »

Last week, I experimented with my Bible study group by buying and making Pillsbury’s Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie mix. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the hardest foods for me to give up when I found out I was hypoglycemic was brownies, so I was excited to see these.

I prepared the mix according to the directions on the box. The brownies came out well, but were smaller in thickness than I expected (and the photo on the box lead me to believe). But, they were very, very good. They have the consistency of a very moist fudge brownie, which is my favorite type of brownie. And, my Bible study could not tell they were sugar-free!

I should also mention that I’ve also had great success with Pillsbury’s Sugar Free Frosting.

One caution: Sugar-free anything does not necessarily mean “healthy,” “low-carb,” or “low-calorie” so be careful! There were 12 servings in one mix, so I cut the brownies in 12. That was a good portion for me, but it’s hard to resist more than that! There were about 30g of carbs and 150 calories per serving.

Now on to phase three of experimentation….how will my black bean brownie recipe mix with a sugar-free brownie mix. More to come on this!

Read Full Post »

If you are a hypoglycemic, fiber is one of your best friends. Studies have shown that fiber is good for people with diabetes and that usually means it’s good for us too!

Below is a recipe for some high fiber, blueberry bran muffins. I should note upfront that I did not originate this recipe. I got it out of Oxygen magazine (which I no longer read because I think it’s mostly just a public relations campaign for the guy’s wife’s diet book) in May 2009. A reader named Nikki Street submitted it. Over the years, I’ve made some modifications to it (changed some of the process and one of the ingredients). Enjoy!

A pan of high-fiber blueberry bran muffins

Nom nom nom


High fiber, blueberry bran muffins


  • 1 cup high-fiver bran cereal (I use Kellogg’s All Bran)
  • 1 cup wheat bran (usually in the cereal aisle)
  • 1 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I use Greek yogurt to add more protein)
  • 1/2 cup flaxseeds (I buy mine ground already)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar (the original recipe called for maple sugar flakes, but good luck finding those!)
  • 6 individual packages Stevia
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda (Note: Do not get the portions of power and soda mixed up! Trust me on this one!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (sea salt preferred)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries (Two of the 4.4 oz containers is about 2 cups. Can substitute for another fruit)
  • cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • In a bowl, combine the bran cereal, wheat bran, yogurt, and flaxseeds. Let sit for 10 minutes while you do everything else.
  • In another bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, Stevia, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Now that your bran mixture has sat for 10 minutes, add the milk, oil, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in the blueberries. Fold into flour mixture (Note: this is a workout in itself! This stuff gets thick and hard to mix!).
  • Spray a 12-muffin pan with the cooking spray.
  • Spray a bit of cooking spray on an ice cream scoop and use that to scoop over-the top portions into each place. These muffins won’t rise, so don’t worry about too much!
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown on top.


  • These freeze well for a short period of time. I just put 4 or so in a Ziploc freezer bag and thaw them the day before I want to eat them.
  • I heat mine up a few minutes in the microwave and, yes, throw a touch of butter on them. It’s amazing!

Nutritional info. using SparkPeople’s Recipe Calculator:

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  12 Servings 
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 255.9
  Total Fat 12.4 g
  Saturated Fat 1.7 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.9 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 7.2 g
  Cholesterol 0.5 mg
  Sodium 559.8 mg
  Potassium 257.6 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 33.5 g
  Dietary Fiber 9.1 g
  Sugars 9.4 g
  Protein 9.2 g
  Vitamin A 2.6 %
  Vitamin B-12 19.9 %
  Vitamin B-6 23.8 %
  Vitamin C 7.0 %
  Vitamin D 3.0 %
  Vitamin E 3.4 %
  Calcium 17.3 %
  Copper 8.7 %
  Folate 22.6 %
  Iron 10.7 %
  Magnesium 19.0 %
  Manganese 42.6 %
  Niacin 8.4 %
  Pantothenic Acid     4.0 %
  Phosphorus     22.0 %
  Riboflavin 11.7 %
  Selenium 6.7 %
  Thiamin 8.5 %
  Zinc 6.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Read Full Post »

As a hypoglycemic, you should NEVER be drinking real cola, juice, or other sugary drinks. But if you needed MORE reasons not to, check out The Real Bears video below. Although the majority of the attack is on Coca-Cola (hence, the use of the polar bears), it also points out the danger of all sugary drinks.


Read Full Post »

I’ve struggled with this post for almost 2 weeks, but if this is going to be an actual account of my life with hypoglycemia then I need to tell.

A couple of weeks ago, I went in to meet my new general physician.  Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE is in love with this doctor. Not only is he an MD, but he also holds a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and is board certified in sleep medicine. Dang this guy makes even me look lazy! Anyway…

I told him I was a severe hypoglycemic and he asked me my numbers, what happened when I didn’t eat, etc. He then dropped a bomb on me: He told me I needed to start looking for signs, such as my feet going numb, of diabetes. He said I was so bad that his prediction was that I wouldn’t make it more than 2 more years before becoming a full-blown diabetic.

I was shocked. He actually said a lot more than what is above, but I can’t remember anything else. I knew I wouldn’t ever get over my hypoglycemia, but I thought, only in extreme cases, that I would become worse. I got in my car afterwards and cried all the way back to work.

I know that people just fine with diabetes. Heck, Halle Berry does just fine, but I was still very scared.

After that, I noticed that my feet do get numb a lot. I’ve always rationalized that it’s because I have long legs and poor circulation in them, but after my conversation with the doctor, this only added to my fear.

A couple of days ago, my work had free blood sugar screenings, so I waited 2 hours after I ate and headed down. My blood sugar was 68, well within the hypoglycemic range. Not healthy, but not diabetes either.

Does that mean I’m in the clear? Nope. But it means I’m OK with the time being.

I really hope Dr. Smartashell is wrong for once in his life!

Read Full Post »