Mini holiday in Adelaide

My family lives in Adelaide, and last week I hopped on a plane for a two-day mini holiday there. It was fun! Two night might not seem like much, but it’s amazing how much (mostly food-related) stuff you can cram in in the short period of time.

foodland adelaide

This was one of the highlights from the trip  – Foodland, a supermarket of your dreams! I’m such a food geek. But live piano music? Beautifully displayed organic produce? Seriously, they just make my day.

foodland adelaide

Anyway, short holidays are great, because it means I can still manage my diabetes pretty well. Here’s what worked for me:

(1) Packing my own food: On the way to and from Adelaide, I packed my own meals, so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat carb-rich (and expensive) food when on the move. Extra “fun” stuff to treat yourself always helps – like avocado, salty cheese, falafels, extra mayo on the salad…

(2) Having a supportive family. Once in Adelaide, my family was extra supportive of my very limited diet.  My mother had stocked her house with organic vegetables, tofu, and plant milk. A food lover herself, she probably has more spices and exotic plant-based ingredients than  I do. It was easy for me to cook and eat the kind of food I normally eat at home.

mulberries

And check out my mother’s gorgeous mulberry tree. I enjoyed these as a snack all through my stay there. A nice break from my usual snack of nuts, more nuts, and coffee.

My brother’s family was awesome as well. Even though they are omni people, they invited us for a fully vegetarian, low-carb dinner from this book and this. I felt so spoiled. The dishes were all delicious, particularly the mushroom pâté and quinoa salad!

vegan eats food

(2) Exercise-wise, I did manage fine. I walked everywhere I could – up and down airport terminals, taking the stairs instead of elevators, roaming the platforms while waiting for my train. I also went on solo walks at night. Because really, every step counts (as anyone with a pedometer knows).

(3) Shopping temptations? Adelaide is food heaven. I toured not one but two Foodland supermarkets, the Central Market, and a Sunday farmer’s market. Oh, and I also did a Haigh’s chocolate factory tour (how can I resist?)

Strangely though, I wasn’t even tempted to buy and eat lots of unhealthy stuff – as I normally might have been. Maybe it was my altered taste buds now naturally craving more savory, plant-based food. Maybe it was the fear of spiralling back to bad health again.

Maybe a bit of both… But it sure did feel wonderful to have your blood sugar level under control throughout my trip.

strawberry mulberry tart strawberry mulberry tartLR_1

See, I made a vegan mulberry and strawberry tart, and I didn’t even want to eat it myself. Very strange!

 

 

 

 

10 Big Changes Since Insulin

It’s been just over three months since I started on insulin (and a new-to-me diagnosis that I have Type 1 diabetes rather than Type 2). These three months have been amazing – I feel like I got my life back. Here are the ten major changes that occurred since insulin came into my life:

One: My blood sugar is now under control. This might sound obvious (insulin, duh) but trust me, it wasn’t easy. It has taken me 3 months to strike the elusive balance between (1) insulin dosage, (2) exercise, and (3) carb intake. I often felt like a losing boxer being knocked around this three-poled ring. Truly exacerbating… I still have a lot to learn, but these days, I feel more like a graceful tightrope walker with a smile on her face.

What helped to find this balance? Learning to count carbs (quite a challenge since I’m horrible at maths), writing a food diary, and then having a kind endocrinologist figure out the carb/insulin ratio for my body. She also got me this blood glucose meter that automatically calculates insulin units needed for each meal – I love this devise.

Two: I gained back most of my natural body weight in the first two months – I’m talking about nearly 8 kilograms in two months. Given that I was literally skin and bones before, this is a healthy weight gain. It feels particularly good to have proper functioning muscles again.

Three: I am full of energy every day, nearly all day long. I wake up in the morning and want to dig up dirt to expand my veggie patch. Or move my furniture around the house. Or run outside in the sunshine – before my first coffee. I know, I can’t believe it myself.

Four: My hair stopped falling out like crazy. This was going on for months before insulin – to the point I thought I was going completely bald. At one point I grabbed a pair of scissors and chopped off my hair short in front of a bathroom mirror, because I was sick of looking at long strands of hair everywhere, especially in food I cooked. Yikes!

Five: My old bruises started to heal. I had these ugly, dark bruised-up toes for nearly a year. I have no idea how it happened initially, but it never went away. Then one day recently, I noticed that they were almost gone! Woohoo.

Six: My brain fog has cleared (well, as much as it can clear after two children!). Before insulin, it was so sad having to struggle with the simplest mental tasks, such as making a shopping list. My naturally short attention spun got even shorter, to the point of surpassing my daughter’s – who has ADHD. What was my excuse? Early onset Alzheimers? But no (I hope), it was just my brain not getting any food.

Seven: I can see better, literally. Before insulin, I often had blurry visions. I blamed my optometrist for not prescribing the right contact lenses. But it wasn’t his fault after all. Now that my blood sugar is under control, I see my old contact lenses work just fine.

EightI sleep much better now. Before insulin, I used to wake up 3-4 times a night to go to the bathroom. What a pain! Now I wake up just one time, max.

Nine: I’m back to mostly plant-based diet – and it feels wonderful. I initially chose this diet for health reasons two years ago, persuaded by all the evidence provided in books written by Joel Fuhrman, Neil Barnard and Michael Gregor. Unfortunately, two years ago was when my diabetes took a turn for the worse. Instead of getting better, I got thinner, weaker, and sicker. Everyone – including myself – felt like the diet was failing me.

So I strayed a bit, following advice of GPs, naturopaths, and well-meaning friends and family members who kept advising me to eat more animal protein.

In the end, eating animal protein didn’t help, either. It was insulin that did. Now back on my near-vegan diet, I feel healthier than ever. My omni kids often succumb to germs they catch at school, but I almost never do. Dr. Fuhrman was right after all.

TenI am no longer depressed. For nearly a year before insulin, I hardly smiled, laughed, or found much joy in life. I found my kids more annoying than adorable. These days, I catch myself laughing at my kids’ silly jokes, singing silly songs with them (instead of telling them to be quiet), and just enjoying their cuddly bright presence in my life.

And all it took? Was a bit of insulin. See, amazing.