This is the third post reviewing one of the spokes (or clusters of help) in the Diabetes Wellness Wheel. Below is the wheel with my criteria, assessment of 2022, and adjustments for 2023 for Nutrition.
Diabetes Wellness Wheel
Nutrition is the foundation for living well with Type 1. Get it right; we have the right fuel to promote stable blood sugars. Get it wrong; we end up on an exhausting blood sugar roller coaster. Most food influences our blood sugars, body weight, blood profiles, and moods.
That’s a lot of motivation to get nutrition right. But the choices in food – some of them fast and easy – can make it overwhelming.
Goodness, we have choices … Omg, do we have choices in our nutrition.
My Methods & Criteria include the following:
- is predictable on blood sugars, especially after meals
- raises blood sugar, when low, to standard ranges (not above)
- promotes blood profiles that are in defined ranges
- matches the timing and duration of my insulin
- works with blood sugars during and after exercise
- enables desired body weight
Understanding how alcohol influences food digestion and blood sugars.
Narrative & Assessment (Score: 5 of 5; 5 = high)
For over two decades, my nutrition has been a 40-30-30 balanced diet (40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from healthy fats). Its’ effect on my blood sugars is predictable. My fast-acting insulin, Novolog, works well with these meals.
Here is the carbohydrate breakdown for my daily food intake:
- Mornings include coffee with soy milk (15 grams) and a Crunch fitness bar or peanut butter toast (15 grams).
- Lunch is a half sandwich (loaded with protein) and half an apple (30-40 grams).
- An afternoon snack is 15 grams of carbs
- Dinner is 45-60 grams of carbohydrates.
- With exercise (3-5x/week), I eat carbs before, during, and afterward. The amount depends on the exercise type (aerobic/anaerobic) and duration (long cycling rides demand many carbs).
- I strive to have blood sugars in a tight range. That frequently results in lows, and I eat between 15-30 carbs daily to manage them.
Getting to this point of nutrition nirvana took lots of exploration and trial and error. Until I found nutrition that works well, I was on a blood sugar roller coaster. I was not living well with diabetes.
Because of the importance of our nutrition, I recommend working with a nutritionist that can help determine food and fuel that works for you. I first did this in the 1980s, and it opened my mind to the nutritional makeup of nutrition and how they influence blood sugars.
Once I understood nutrition, eating became easier. I got off the blood sugar rollercoaster. My insulin requirements lowered by 30%. I started living well with diabetes.
2023 Adjustments & Narrative
- I have a diet that works for me. Reducing carbs (and insulin) was one of my best moves two decades ago. However, I am making one adjustment regarding alcohol …
- During this year’s dry January, I learned how alcohol influences my blood sugars. Although I enjoy alcohol, I’m reducing my alcohol intake to five drinks per week (down from 10 to 14).