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Archive for April, 2008

Temptation and Willpower

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Temptation and Willpower are difficult issues when it comes to food. As a Diabetic I know the problem well. You see my wife and 2 boys are not as concerned about what goes in my mouth as they are with what they eat. Since they can eat anything they want it’s really up to me to take control.

Taking control is a more difficult issue than you might think. It has taken me 13 years being diabetic to finally not allow the guilt of NOT eating what my wife makes for dinner to impact my decision to NOT eat her meal. This issue has been huge for me. It’s also been a critical factor in my ability to see meals appear at the table that more diabetic friendly.

I like to cook and don’t shy away from cooking my own meals. In fact I’ll cook for the whole family periodically. When I cook there is a lack of bread or other starch with our meal. I don’t stop there though, I simply won’t eat the carb dish that my wife prepares when she makes dinner. This used to be a problem but my wife is sympathetic to my problem and through her education she now understands what the impact is to me.

One of the biggest obstacles we overcame was guilt. Have you heard the infamous question from the person that made the meal “aren’t you going to eat my dish?” I’ve learned to say very simply “I can’t. It will make my blood sugar skyrocket and I need to be more careful.” It is hard to avoid my wife’s special carb loaded dishes. She goes to such an effort to make them, but I find that in the last 2 years since I’ve stood up and said no and used my willpower she does not push them in my direction any longer AND she no longer tries to guilt me into trying them.

It’s true that I am often tempted by her cooking (ask anyone we know and they will agree that she is a great cook, no chef). But I’m not the first one with diabetes and a problem overcoming my temptations. I’ve just looked deeper for solutions.

Deserts are another weakness I have. Believe me, I’ve tried so many options but none seem to work for me because they just don’t taste good or are not satisfying. Take jello for example. They make many kinds of sugar free jello. I like jello, but to be satisfied I need to eat at least half the batch and then I’m hungry again in a short while.

My wife and kids will have ice cream or other yummy sugary treats and every time I participate ZING…my sugar goes way over 200. Now that we make Granola Gourmet Bars (/), life has been much easier on me. I attribute this to the fact that everyone in the family loves the bars. We have fewer sugary snacks in the house and we all get to have a low Glycemic treat. The secret is Agave. By replacing the sugar with Agave we eliminated the most caustic ingredient and replaced it with an extremely low Glycemic product that TASTES GREAT!

We now use Agave on other recipes and even as a syrup for pancakes (which I now can have in very small amounts). It’s a way for me to sweeten my foods without getting the sugar rush. I’ve successfully converted my family to be open minded about Agave but it took over a year to do this. Perseverance, that and doing what you need to do in spite of what your friends and family want you to do. After all, they aren’t trying to kill me they want me around. They now realize that having me around includes yielding to my dietary needs. Now they are eating more like I do than they probably thought they would.

Sugar Addicts Rejoice!

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

I read a forum posting that completely supports the reason my wife and I started Granola Gourmet. I did not know about this post until yesterday when out of the blue our website orders went from a few per day to 50 in just one day. This post may look like a shameless plug for our product but there is a point.

The forum I am referring to is Managing Diabetes at Everyday Health. There a Diabetic for 21 years reached out for help and said she was a sugar addict and binges on sugar every so often. Another person reached out telling her about Granola Gourmet and how it helps beat the sugar craving with a limited impact on blood sugar.

Inside of a few days this post became very popular and was highlighted by the editor. While you don’t have to be a Diabetic to enjoy the Granola Gourmet Energy Bars, if you are there are real benefits. The main one is that you will likely see a lower impact on your blood sugar. How will you know this? You will test your sugar fasting, then you will eat a bar and test 4 times in the next 2 hours.

Now, close your eyes for 5 seconds take a deep breath and imagine a delicious snack that does not cause your blood sugar to spike. What did you imagine cake, pudding, jello, celery or maybe the first thing that popped into your head is Granola Bars:)

How do you know your blood sugar won’t spike? You are testing your blood sugar fasting, during and after the digestion period. This is how you really know what a food product is doing inside your body. If you are satisfied that the impact is limited you will work our healthy delicious snack into your diet in moderation. If you are related to a diabetic you will give them Granola Gourmet for Mothers or Fathers day.

Look, I know a shameless plug when I see one so lets just call a spade a spade :) But, how can you not be interested in finding a snack that will not cause your blood sugar to spike especially when almost everyone that tries it including Diabetics and Athletes love it for the taste?

Diabetes Symptoms

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Most people just don’t know what the symptoms of Diabetes are. What is happening to their bodies that is different than usual. When I came down with Diabetes it was quite sudden. Within 2 weeks significant changes occurred in my body and I did not know what was happening.

The following 8 symptoms are common, my body’s reaction was not exactly textbook.

  • Excessive thirst and urination – my thirst was unquenchable, I’d drink 1 to 2 gallons daily.
  • Feeling very hungry frequently – I was always hungry.
  • Feeling very tired – I’d take a nap at 2pm and wake up in the morning.
  • Unintentional weight loss – always hungry and eating, I was happy to be losing weight (20 lbs. in 2 weeks) .
  • Frequent infections, or wounds that don’t heal – I didn’t have this problem in the beginning, but cuts and scrapes take much longer to heal today.
  • Blurred vision – after 3 weeks of uncontrolled blood sugar my vision degraded and was blurry.
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet – I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had this problem in 15 years as a Diabetic.
  • Dry, itchy skin – on rare occasion my foot itches, I can’t explain it. I do know that it is annoying and still haven’t connected it to my Diabetes. Maybe I’m just in denial?

Do you have any of these symptoms, visit your doctor to be tested for diabetes, especially if you are 45 or older. The initial test is simple. In 5 seconds right in front of your eyes your blood will be analyzed by a meter. Many General Practitioners have old or outdated equipment but they should be able to give you a result in 30 seconds.

If you are dealing with someone that is not well educated about diabetes they will tell you that you should have this done while fasting. This is not necessary. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, your numbers fasting may not be much different than your numbers within an hour of eating.

When I was diagnosed 15 years ago, I had been ill for 2 weeks and had fallen asleep while driving home. Thank god for the bumps on the freeway lanes. They did the job of waking me up! I drove to a candy store thinking I was low on sugar and ate a candy bar. The placebo worked and I made a bee line to my Dr.

He said “lets check your blood sugar”. I said “does it matter that I’ve just eaten a candy bar?”. He said yes, go to the lab in the morning before you eat. My result came back 2 days later and my fasting number was 325, that’s 3 times normal. The test in his office may have come in at 350 or 400 and he would should have known immediate action was necessary!

If you go in and have a sugar reading greater than 120 fasting or on a full stomach you need to dig in with your Dr. and get more information. Have an HBA1C test done. This test gives you a look at the average blood sugar reading your body has over 3-4 months. If you go to an Endocrinologist they may do it in the office (it takes 6 minutes for the meter to provide the result), however your GP will need to send it out as they don’t usually carry Diabetic supplies and tests.

The number one recommendation I have is – if you have just been diagnosed with Diabetes…WHATEVER IT TAKES, GO TO AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST ASAP!

Your Diabetes Diagnosis

Friday, April 11th, 2008

You’ve just found out that you have diabetes and don’t really understand it yet. That’s exactly what happened to me 15 years ago, yet today when I meet newly diagnosed diabetics they don’t understand it either. What does it really mean to have diabetes and why should I be afraid enough to change my lifestyle?

Diabetes is a disease that can kill you. It doubles the risk of heart attack and affects every system in your body. This is because elevated blood sugar impacts every organ, muscle and nerve that needs blood. That is why you change your lifestyle! That is why doctors take it seriously when you are diagnosed.

But, if you are not seeing a specialist you are making a HUGE mistake! I know, when I was diagnosed my sugar was 325 that’s 3 times normal. My HMO’s Dr. prescribed a pill that the insurance company declined to fill. At the time I was angry with the HMO, but they were right it was the wrong treatment for me. I asked for a referral to an Endocrinologist and it took 2 weeks but I finally got in. By that time I had blurred vision, and overall was very ill.

Immediately I was given insulin. My sugar was normal within a week. I stayed on insulin for 3 months and was able to manage my diabetes with diet and exercise for the next 4 years. Eventually I switched endocrinologists to Dr. Michael Harris, Director of Diabetes at Cedars Sinai. He is a type 1 Diabetic which I’ve found to be a big plus for me. He gets it and personally knows the impact diabetes has on me.

Our company Granola Gourmet sells products at the Newhall Farmers Market every Thursday. Recently I met a woman that said, “I’ve just been diagnosed with Diabetes, how does your product help with that?” There are a lot of ways the product helps Diabetics, but I asked her to tell me about her situation. She just found out that her blood sugar was 275 and her Dr. had prescribed 500mg of Metformin 2 times per day. She does not know what her sugar reading is today because they did not provide a meter yet, but she is being referred to a nutrition class to learn how to eat.

Something is very wrong with this picture. I asked if she was on a PPO or HMO…”I have an HMO she said.” Ugg, HMO’s haven’t changed in 15 years I thought to myself. I told her that she needed to ask for a referral to a specialist. I’m not a Dr. but my personal experience tells me that she needs a meter to measure her blood sugar immediately! She probably needs an aggressive treatment to bring her sugar under control and then can go on a maintenance program. But since I’m not a Dr. I told her to go back to her HMO and get a referral AND Blood Glucose meter.

I am regularly amazed about how much more I know about my diabetes than my General Practitioner. Having an Endocrinologist for the last 15 years I have found some real benefits. A few of them are:

  • They know more about Diabetes than General Practitioners
  • They will do an HBA1C test while you are in the office (THIS IS HUGE!)
  • They treat Diabetes aggressively & know about the latest advanced in treatment
  • The pharmaceutical reps that call on them, give them samples and supplies the General Practitioners DON’T get
  • They can usually give you a blood glucose meter immediately

Why don’t HMO’s send you to an Endocrinologist? Money, they cost money. It’s not a big expense individually, but since 1 in every 14 people have Diabetes and 1 in 5 people have PreDiabetes they need to control their costs. You need to advocate for yourself and get to an Endocrinologist. In time with the right support you’ll know your body, what it needs and how to manage your blood sugar. For now get the right help.

The Miracle of Zero Trans Fat

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
Marketing is awesome. Find one simple way to improve a product and suddenly you have a new claim. When Trans-Fat was given a bad name and went public, food makers took it out and suddenly we started buying products that claimed they had Zero Trans Fat.
In big bold letters on the package you’ll be attracted to Zero Trans Fat and buy it. Can you tell me what Trans Fat is or does for you? Well I had to look it up! Wikipedia says ( among other things, “Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither essential nor salubrious[1] and, in fact, the consumption of trans fats increases one’s risk of coronary heart disease[2] by raising levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.”
So it is good to buy products that have no TransFat! Now what kind of crap is in products you buy that have Zero Trans Fat?
Recently, my wife and I attended the huge Natural Products Expo in Anaheim. While there we met a manufacturer of an additive that is widely used in baking that claims Zero Trans Fat. That was the big claim Zero Trans Fat. So I looked at the label and there was a large amount of sugar in a serving.