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Posts Tagged ‘hypoglycemic’

Photo of two legs, one with a large post-knee surgery brace on it. The other leg has a colorful sock on it that goes up to the knee

Welcome to life after knee surgery. Luckily, the way we handled my hypoglycemia during the surgery made low blood sugar a non-issue while I was recovering. The sock is a compression sock from a friend, a nice gift and very helpful!

 

Last Friday I had to have knee surgery (I’m doing well), which meant “going under” with general anesthesia.

Obviously, anesthesia and hypoglycemia together present some unique challenges, since you can’t eat for a long period prior to your surgery, which impacts your blood sugar.

Here’s how we managed to make it work:

Pre-surgery

  • My surgeon and I discussed my hypoglycemia and we scheduled my surgery as the first surgery of the day to minimize impact.
  • When I went in for my pre-op appointment with the nurses and and anesthesiologist, I discussed my hypoglycemia at length and problem-solved a plan.
  • I had to stop eating at 9 pm the day before my surgery.  At 8:50 pm, I ate a high-protein meal, consisting of one serving of this chili mac (I’m not sure why, but it really keeps my sugar even), 1 serving of oyster crackers in the chili mac, and 100 calorie bowl of Greek yogurt. So yeah, huge protein intake and low sugar intake.
  • From 9 pm until when we left our house the morning of the surgery (5:00 am ish), I was allowed to drink water and the regular versions of Gatorade/Powerade, which helped boost my blood sugar, especially in the morning.
  • Admittedly, when we got to the hospital, I was hungry and had to distract myself with the TV. I wished I’d eaten more at 8:50 the night before, but I’m not sure I should have, as they recommend you eat light.
  • I told EVERY single nurse, assistant, etc. that I interacted with the day of the surgery that “I’m severely hypoglycemic” so there was no misunderstandings of someone not knowing.
  • My fiance carried a snack bag with him, which included protein powder, Gatorade, and some Kind bars. Admittedly, I didn’t touch these, but I still think it’s always good to have some sort of plan.

During surgery

  • While I haven’t confirmed this, the surgeon had told me prior to the surgery that he was going to put a sugar IV on me to keep my blood sugar from crashing.

Post-surgery

  • Oh man was I nauseous coming out of surgery! This obviously presented a huge problem.
  • I was able to drink 1/2 a can of Coke and eat 2 graham crackers after surgery.
  • On the way home, we stopped for a protein shake, which I figured I could stomach. I picked one I really love, this Protein Velvet Ice from PJ’s Coffee (vanilla in case you ever go on a coffee run for me). Normally I only allow myself a small, but I needed as much calories/protein as possible, so we went for a large. I sucked it all down.  Be careful with protein shakes, dear readers, check the sugar, most aren’t as healthy as they look!
  • Now here’s where I messed up: I should have made myself continually take small bites of food all day (high protein, low fat, low carb foods). But I didn’t, and I paid for it. Instead, I waited til dinner and then tried to eat. I almost threw up. So, I had to eat very, very slowly; it took me about 2 hours to eat 500 calories of food. Not good. Again, learn from my mistake; make yourself eat just a few bites every 15 minutes or so throughout the day.
  • Because I had so much trouble eating, I did continue to sip on Gatorade until I could eat more regularly. Again, I think eating more regularly would have been healthier though.
  • After I was back to eating normally (about a day), I had worked-out a plan with my dietician ahead of time where I cut back each meal 100 calories (unless I was hungry) to help me not gain weight during recovery.

And there you have it! Not a pleasant experience, but a way to go through general anesthesia as a hypoglycemic and survive with minimal blood sugar issues!

 

 

 

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Even though I’ve heard over and over again how amazing Trader Joe’s is, and even shopped there a few times, I’ve never been a convert (until now).

Why? Because it’s hard to switch to Trader Joe’s. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours examining products at grocery stores, learning which products match my hypoglycemic diet and which ones don’t. Very few of the brands and products I know and love are at Trader Joe’s, meaning for almost every product I want to buy, I have to re-learn what I can eat. This means, as we did yesterday, spending a lot of extra time re-assessing all of the bread in the bread aisle and deciding what would be the best option. Then move to the cheese and do the same thing.

It took a lot of time and mental energy. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity to re-examine our habits and what we were eating. It gets so easy to just grab products and “forget” to think about whether they are good for you or not. While I’m most certainly not saying that everything at Trader Joes is good for you, I’m saying it’s a good moment to take a look at everything anew, and, if you can’t find something in Trader Joe’s, it’s a good time to ask why (usually they are really bad products I can’t find, but not always).

And THEY ARE CHEAPER! Ok, I don’t know about where you live, but in New Orleans? Food is ridiculously priced for no legit reason I can find.

Examples:

  • Applegate Natural Turkey at Rouses (New Orleans chain): $5.99 per pack. At Trader Joe’s: $3.99 per pack. We go through about 2-3 of these per week, so $4-$6 savings per week!
  • Green/Red peppers at Rouses: $1/1.99 each (and many look awful). At Trader Joe’s: $.79 and $1 each (and all look very fresh). We go through 4-6 of these a week, so about $2-$4 in savings.
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I was just a little excited to find some Weisswurst at Trader Joe’s, can you tell by this text?

Does Trader Joe’s totally eliminate my trip to the “regular” grocery store? Nope, there are some things we need, like Fairlife Milk, Beanitos, and quick oats, that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry, but I can go a lot less often.

So if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, spend the time and give it a try. It’s worth it.

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1 large pancake, about 6 inches diameter, along with all of the ingredients used to make it: Justin's Peanut Butter, Kodiak Power Cakes pancake mix, organic cinnamon, Mariani sliced almonds, Cary's sugar-free syrup

Pancake batter: 1/2 cup Kodiak Power Cakes, 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp almonds, dash of cinnamon. On top: 1 tsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar free syrup

I have a weakness for anything breakfast, and especially anything in the french toast or doughy pancake realm. So I was intrigued to find Kodiak Power Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack & Waffle Mix at Costco and decided to give it a try.

I’ve tried other protein pancake mixes, such as MET-Rx High Protein Pancake Mix and haven’t been impressed. But I lived in hope.

And thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. These pancakes are great!

And while they don’t keep me as full as my usual breakfast of fruit, oatmeal, and almonds, they are a great not-so-unhealthy “treat” once in a while for breakfast.

Hints:

  • I like really doughy pancakes, so I use a small omelet pan and make one big pancake (see photo) vs. small ones. I also found just using water vs. the other suggestions of eggs or milk makes the pancake center more like dough.
  • Adding cinnamon to the mix gives a great flavor punch without adding calories or carbohydrates.

Pancake batter

1/2 cup Kodiak Power Cakes

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp almonds

dash of cinnamon

On top

1 tsp peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar free syrup

 

 

Enjoy!

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I’m a heavy magazine reader (mostly nerdy stuff). This week, I polished-off a Women’s Health and a National Geographic:

  • The Women’s Health* May issue (page 112) has an article titled “Can you build a better sugar?” which basically concludes that sugar substitutes have their issues (they may actually cause blood sugar spikes) and that it might be best to just stick to the more natural sugar.
  • National Geographic included an excerpt of the book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong and highlighted how margarine and Crisco basically introduced trans fats to the American diet and cause up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. We’d be better off sticking with the more natural butter.

So, both concluded that we’d be better off sticking to a food closer to it’s original form than one created through a highly lab-intensive process. SHOCKED, shocked I tell you! (sarcasm)

I’m definitely guilty of some processed foods, but whenever possible, we should try to avoid them, especially as hypoglycemics, as there can be serious blood sugar consequences.

Am I saying go to town and eat as much sugar and butter as you want? Nope. Moderation is the key, a combination of portion control and cutting-back on how much sugar, butter, salt, etc. we add to things. For example, our sweets in the U.S. are ridiculously sweet compared to sweets in other countries and they are HUGE. We could easily fix both.

 

 

*I’m in no way advocating that Women’s Health is a good source of actual health advice. Some of their articles are great and well-researched, but many are not, and contradict each other. Read with caution.

 

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The White House has announced a change to nutrition labels that is a very welcome change for everyone, but especially hypoglycemics and diabetics. Within the next two years, the labels will have a separate line showing the amount of sugar added (vs naturally occurring, such as milk sugar in yogurt).

While sugar is sugar, added sugar can really impact blood sugar levels and we should strive to eat as little added sugar as possible.

Cheers to the Gov!

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One of my idiosyncrasies when it comes to food is that I never learned to like cooked fish, only raw fish. I know, I’m strange. Anyway, this means I’m a big fan of sushi. But sushi usually has a ton of white rice in it, which is not low-carb diet and/or hypoglycemic-friendly.

So I did some research (which was a great excuse for a trip to my favorite sushi spot in Houston, Soma Sushi) and you can eat sushi on a low-carb diet or a hypoglycemia diet, but you have to be careful.

Here’s the tips for enjoying sushi on a low-carb and/or hypoglycemic diet:

  • The white rice is the main culprit of blood sugar issues, although be wary of sauces and other sources of carbs.
  • Opt for non-rice rolls or low-rice rolls, such as the Summer Spring Roll and the Mermaid Roll in the photo above (note, one is fried, so it’s not completely innocent, but still low rice and DELICIOUS)
  • Opt for sashimi (no rice)
  • Research and ask about the amount of rice and carbs in each roll and choose wisely. For example, according to Diabetes Daily, a Shrimp Tempura Roll has 75 grams of carbs where a Philadelphia Roll only has 30 grams of carbohydrates.
  • If you aren’t sure about a particular roll’s amount of rice, take a look at online review sites for photos of the rolls.
  • If you’re like me, and your limit is 30-45 grams of carbs per meal, opt for one roll in that range and then fill-in the rest of the meal with no-carb options (such as sashimi, low-carb spring rolls, edamame, etc.)
  • Skip the alcohol as that adds carbs
  • Skip the group sharing experience. I always opt-out of this partially because I’m so picky (I don’t eat shellfish either) and because it’s too easy to lose-track of what you eat.
  • Ask for brown rice: This one I’m not 100% convinced of. While it helps, it doesn’t really fully solve the carbohydrate issue. And, I’m worried that some traditional sushi places will be offended if you ask for this. After not being able to find a good answer online, I contacted several sushi places to ask this question and only one responded (Soma Sushi again!) and said that it’s not offensive to ask, but they don’t  have brown rice.

 

Helpful links:

  • Diabetes Daily.  This article has wonderful suggestions as well as nutrition information (including carbohydrate counts) for many common rolls.
  • The Diabetes Experience. This article has great suggestions, especially related to portion control if you are eating with a group.
  • Just Hungry. This is a guide to chopstick etiquette. It’s really easy to offend accidentally using your chopsticks, so please read this.
  • Sushi FAQ. How to eat sushi etiquette. Very helpful tips on how to eat sushi in general and the etiquette of eating sushi.

 

 

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to brunch with a friend. We met around 10 am and I had a couple of breakfast tacos and some amazing french press coffee. I didn’t overeat, but was full.

I was meeting my boyfriend at his house for dinner and he eats early (5:30 ish).  I wasn’t feeling hungry that afternoon, so all I at was a 100 calorie Greek yogurt.

At around 4:30 pm it hit me, a full-blown low blood sugar hypoglycemic attack. I didn’t know what was going at first until I realized I was getting very irritated with him on the phone for no reason, was light-headed and talking very fast.

So I ate something. But, since we were eating soon, I didn’t want to eat much. The problem was, I’d hit that point where I needed to eat and I had that “bottomless pit” hunger that I sometimes get when I get low. So I kept going back for more food, then more, instead of just eating something substantial the first time.

It took me a while to come out of it and I couldn’t drive to my boyfriend’s house for quite some time (since it’s basically the equivalent of driving drunk).

Mistakes (and lessons to learn):

  • Not eating a decent lunch, especially after having such massive doses of caffeine
  • When I did eat, not eating something substantial
  • Worrying more about staying skinny/being able to eat with my boyfriend vs. taking care of my health (which actually resulted in me downing probably 700 calories)

Consequences:

  • It was pretty scary. I felt horrible and felt a complete loss of control. I never want to feel like that again.
  • I felt terrible, like I’d been very sick
  • Didn’t get to spend as much time with my boyfriend
  • Gained 3 lbs from serious overeating

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