Diabetes Hacks | Charming Diabetes

Archive of ‘Diabetes Hacks’ category

Halloween with Diabetes : Distract and Decorate!

Ok so Halloween (aka the Major Sugar High Holiday) can be kind of frustrating when you have diabetes. It’s hard to play cool and participate in an event like trick or treating, where you have to stock every corner of your house with candy, (because honestly, who wants to be the raisin lady) and then exercise every ounce of willpower to avoid certain death. Ok, yes, I have insulin, but seriously if I didn’t, certain death would not be an exaggeration. At the very least it’s a couple of days of high blood sugars.

When the whole premise of a holiday is based around candy, and you have an autoimmune disease that makes you the Anti-Candy (there’s a costume that needs to be made! Worst superhero ever!), and you’re trying to teach your kids healthy habits, and you also really LOVE Halloween, and you DON’T LOVE certain death, Halloween can be hard, dammit!

So, every year, I try to be prepared…with distractions. I’m a big Dia de Los Muertos fan, so I try to incorporate some of those traditions to take the focus off of candy, and then of course there are costumes, and then it’s decorate, decorate, decorate. I turn my attention to the pumpkins. And of course when all else fails and the snickers are yelling at me to eat them, I try to make sure I stay calm and bolus properly. I also leave my wrappers out, so that I can keep a visual of how many of those little bite size devils I’m taking in!

So back to the distractions…Man I love to carve a pumpkin. My husband and I always carve at least one each, and since we’re not the least bit competitive (ahem. nope, only friendly pumpkin carving here. no sarcasm either), sometimes we end up doing a few.

That said, we live in FL, where we have to time our carving perfectly bc those things will rot in a day or two, so I’m always looking for other things to do with pumpkins earlier in the month since the carving has to be last minute. Since we also have kids, and letting them play with knives is not high on the list of trophy parenting games, and also because you may not love the goopy gloppy all day mess of pumpkin carving like I do, I’m presenting you with a list that has plenty of  no-carve pumpkin inspirations as well!

Enjoy! diy pumpkins charming diabetes

Donut Pumpkins from Studio DIY

succulent pumpkin

succulent pumpkin from Simply Happenstance

black and white pumpkins

black and white paint pen pattern pumpkin from Lovely Indeed

gold foil pumpkins

Gold leaf pumpkin from The Every Girl

pumpkin lanterns

Lantern Pumkins! from Design Love Fest

pumpkin puns

and one more from Studio DIY because these PUN-kins are just the best!

There are a few others I’m coveting over on my pinterest board. So if you need some more inspo, head over and pin with me!

Happy carb counting, candy eating (if you choose to accept that challenge), and pumpkin-ing!

xo

Sara

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Pump Site Supplies to help you site last longer | Charming Diabetes

Keep Your Pump Site Longer In Summer Weather

Summer! I love almost everything about summer. In fact, living in Florida I don’t even have to deal with winter much, and I like it that way. I’m all about humidity, palm trees, and flip flops.

Diabetes in warm weather, however, can add a whole new dimension to the way I think about summer. Between the heat and frequent trips to the pool/beach, it can be tough to keep an insulin pump site dry and in place for as long as I’d like. Let’s face it, I’d like to be able to go more than a day or two without having to change it, especially given my less-than-stellar insurance plan (cue the small violin). And I’d really like to stop living in fear of the swimming pool knowing that the flimsy tape holding in my lifeline could loose it’s stick and fall off at any moment!

Seriously. I HATE the peeling tape. After countless summers full of what would have been sad face emojis 🙁 at every pool party back in the day, here’s what I’ve found most helpful. These are a couple of tips that have worked for me keep my insulin pump site in place through the water-sporting, humid, fry an egg on the sidewalk, dog days of summer. As with everything else on this site, this is not medical advice, this is just what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you too, but talk to your own doc or health care provider about what’s best for you 🙂

Keep your pump longer

1. use alcohol swabs to clean your site before inserting

2.  IV Prep (or if you need hard core stick, Mastisol Liquid Adhesive) –these make the skin a little sticky and provide a barrier to help adhesive irritation. If you use these, an adhesive remover is not a bad idea because if the adhesive skin prep is working properly, the tape will be tough to remove once you’ve used it. If you don’t have an adhesive remover on hand, baby oil can work wonders.

3. Site Placement Is EVERYTHING! I wear a medtronic pump, and typically place sites low on my stomach or around my waistband area. The problem with summer is that these places have a tendency to be closer to clothing and, well, get sweatier. If you’re using a cordless pump like an omnipod, this might not be as big of an issue as you can use a spot like your arm (which honestly may or may not be better? I don’t wear and omnipod so I can’t say for sure).

For summer, I place the pump high on my torso..like, basically my back. I go as far back as I can comfortably reach just under my rib cage. I thought it would be insanely painful, and it took me a while to work up to trying it, but I was running out of real estate and needed some new sites to avoid scar tissue build up from using the same old areas over and over. It’s now one of my fave spots. Not only does it interfere less with my clothing (fewer accidental rip outs with waistband movement), but in general the site stays put much easier, for much longer, without tape issues.

pump site placement | charmingdiabetes.com

yep, just posted my torso on the internet. proof that diabetes causes insanity.

4. Anti-Perspirant. Yep. (Not Deodorant.)  It needs to be an antiperspirant-only spray (cannot be a gel or cream), and you spray it on the skin before inserting your infusion set. The antiperspirant acts to keep your skin dry, thus the site can stick better.

5. Tegaderm on the skin under the infusion set.  This is where the Tegaderm tape goes on the skin first, and you insert the infusion set through the Tegaderm.  This way the site is sticking to Tegaderm, not your skin. Less moisture, less chance for it to come off.  You can even add another layer of tape on top of the site if you’re feeling particularly industrious.

6. On those days where you know you’ll be swimming or in the water, if you’re site is in good shape use extra tape or a waterproof bandaid to cover it. If your site is already peeling, and you attempt to place more tape on top, it could end up pulling your site out all together. If your site is already peeling or loose, I use extra tape to the spot where it’s peeling instead of over the whole site, and then pray for the best. On swim days I always make sure I have a back up infusion set on hand just in case.

Here’s a pin so you can save the list for later!

Pump Site Supplies to help you site last longer | Charming Diabetes

 

Those are my best tips and tricks. What do you do to keep your sites dry and help them last through the summer heat and water sports?!

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xo

Sara

Inside a diabetic's bag // charmingdiabetes.com

INSIDE A DIABETIC’S BAG // surviving motherhood and diabetes with one small bag.

Confession: I’m a bag lady. I LOVE bags, purses, clutches, all of it. I’ve always been this way, but lemme tell ya, diabetes and motherhood have only made it worse. I cannot leave the house without a vast assortment of i don’t even know what. I would make a very good pack mule (Halloween Costume idea, anyone?). Today I’m sharing the guts of my very favorite little bag–the one that holds all my diabetes $hiz when I’m on the go! Which, btw, is always b/c I have TWO (count them, 1, 2) toddlers. Phew!

what's inside a diabetics bag? | CharmingDIabetes.com

Today I thought I’d share how I survive motherhood and diabetes all in one little bag. It’s full of everything I need for a diabetic or motherhood emergency! I can easily toss it inside my larger purse or diaper bag to keep all of my small necessities handy and separate from all the other junk I haul around when I’m on the go.

For me that means a glucose monitor, test strips, lancets, lancing device, a snack of some sort (because when the low blood sugar hits I don’t want to be digging through stuff, wondering where I put the juice), and of course lipgloss (priorities!)…the exact table of contents is always changing, but those are the basics. I call it a “Go Bag” which is silly I know, but when I can’t find it my husband knows we will not be GOING anywhere until i find it. I try to keep the bag stocked (with lancets. strips, etc) and ready to, ahem, GO because if not, well, I’m screwed and my day might fall apart 🙂 .

Inside a diabetic's bag // charmingdiabetes.com

#1,2,3,4: meter, lancing device, lancets, test strips—the bare minimum in any diabetic’s arsenal.

#5: my absolute fave for Low blood sugar on the go. fruit strips (some people call these fruit leather, but that title has always grossed me out a lithe) from my other absolute fave, TARGET!

#6,7 : A pen and paper. Yes. sometimes on the go I like to be able to write down my blood sugars. But also, that little bitty pad of paper can also save the day for my toddlers, who can use it to color if we find ourselves with an unexpected wait somewhere.

#8. lip gloss, obviously.

#9. phone. hello. (and you can grab that wallpaper right here!)

#10. An alcohol swab or two. Confession: I don’t actually use these when checking my blood sugar (It’s true. I’m a finger-licker. That sounds so wrong, but don’t judge). They’re more for the very likely event that we run into something gross and need to clean our hands or get a little scrape.

#11. Sunscreen stick. Such a necessity in Florida.

#12. Band-Aids. Because, toddlers. You’d be surprised how quickly a band-aid can stop a tantrum in it’s tracks.

#13. Crayons. Because, again, TODDLERS.

There ya go! All my must-haves for heading out into the world with DIABETES and TODDLERS!

Most important criteria for The Bag: Cuteness.

Personalization is key for me in tackling diabetes–hauling around all the diabetes gear isn’t the most fun, but at least a few fun accessories makes it a little easier.

I always use a bag that I LOVE–so whatever that means to you. If you can’t handle “cute” bags just sub in whatever adjective makes you smile. It’s all about getting as FAR away as possible from the blah black bags that come with the meter. It’s completely psychological with me–the little black pouch that holds the glucose monitor that comes straight from the manufacturer just doesn’t do it for me. And when I don’t like it, I’m less likely to grab it as I head out the door. So I set up my own little bag, that I love, and it helps me buy into the fact that I do in fact have diabetes and am going to have to suck it up and check my blood sugar in public sometimes. It’s the little things…

what's in my diabetic bag | charming diabetes.com

Here are some other little bags I LOVE that are perfect for your diabetic survival kits, Go Bag, or whatever you wanna call it!

1. Canvas Cosmetic Bag by THURSDAY FRIDAY . I am obsessed with all their bags. I have an older one, but I’m eyeing some of the new ones here and here

2. Stella Gray Vegan Leather Bag // This is a great bag from a designer out of Chicago. Mine is the Crosby Quick Cosmetics Case and I LOVE it!

3. FEED bag (pictured) // mine was a gift but there’s a similar size here

If you really want a bag with little elastic bands to hold everything in place like a traditional meter case, you can find some on Etsy that are a little more embellished that the basic black that comes with the glucose meter.

And here are a couple of others I’m obsessed with:

photo cred: noonday collection

photo cred: noonday collection

Those (above) are from Noonday Collection.

And you can’t go wrong with Ted Baker anything

photo cred: tedbaker.com

photo cred: tedbaker.com

I really feel for younger kids, where fitting in seems to be of utmost importance so a bag with a glucose meter may not be their favorite accessory. If you’re trying to help a younger child with this, my best advice is to let them have some input into choosing a bag they love, and putting together their own “Go Bag”. Personalization can be great at younger ages too (even in High School I remember writing my name in colorful letters on some of the big bulky generic looking insulin bags to feel better about them). Don’t rule out the power of a cute monogram! And remember, what goes in the bag doesn’t have to be strictly diabetes related. A small charm, or toy, or treat, golden monkey, or even a photo or inspirational quote (depending on the child’s age–you wanna be age appropriate here) but any other little token that’s personal and reminds them it’s not all bad in that bag can make it that much better.

And if all else fails, get yourself a silver sharpie and go to town decorating that boring old black meter case!!

Do you use a traditional meter case or some other style of “Go Bag”? If you have a favorite small bag you love using for all your diabetes stuff on the go I’d love to hear about it!! Always in the market for a new bag over here 😉

Follow me on instagram for more tips and general diabetic madness!

xo

Sara

jimmy carter quote | diabetes inspiration

Diabetes Inspo

Here’s what I tell myself on those difficult days…

jimmy carter quote | diabetes inspiration

Those days where I wake up with a blood sugar of 175 for some unknown reason? (can i blame this on a cortisol spike? maybe?!)

what the...

what the…

(that time’s not right, I need a battery, is it obvious that sometimes I practice avoidance behavior with this disease?!)

Those days when I just don’t feel like checking my blood sugar, I just feel like eating without a million calculations.

i don't need a croissant. i don't need a croissant. i don't need a croissant.

i don’t need a croissant. i don’t need a croissant. i don’t need a croissant.

Those days, when Diabetes just is not bringing out the best in me. 

diabetes not bringing out the best in me | Charmingdiabetes.com

not my best. i blame diabetes

but…I can do it. I can do it.

Get more encouragement and some easy tips for getting down with Diabetes here !!

Happy blood sugars! xo

Sara

 

 

Super Simple and Diabetic Friendly Roast Chicken | www.charmingdiabetes.com

Best Chicken Ever | Diabetic Friendly Roast Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potatoes

So having Diabetes is tough, but it can be especially difficult when juggling busy days, and kids, and dinner time.

To make things worse, I’m forgetful! I’m easily caught up in the chaos and before I know it, it’s dinner time and I’m unprepared and haven’t even checked my blood sugar.

Meal planning REALLY helps me with this. If I know what I’m going to cook, or can prepare things ahead of time, it makes everything that much easier. I can’t say enough about how much PLANNING in general is key to success with diabetes. When mealtime rolls around, I want to think about it as LITTLE as possible. This way I’m less likely to skip meals or make unhealthy spur of the moment mealtime decisions. We’ve all had drive-thru days, or “stand-at-the-counter-and-eat-whatever-I-find” meals. As a mom, some days that’s just self-preservation, but as a Diabetic it really is a recipe for disaster..and poor blood sugar control, highs, lows, feeling terrible, no energy, I could go on and on…

I try to make an effort to have a plan for mealtimes, but particularly for dinner. Here are my two secret weapons:

1. NO MORE TO GO — this is a great site that sends you weekly dinner meal plans. You get the shopping list, the recipes, photos, and even vegetarian and vegan substitutes. Every recipe I’ve ever made from no more to go has been simple, tasty, quick, and the kids usually like it too. In fact, some of these recipes have become “go to” recipes that I use at least a couple of times a month. It’s GREAT. I highly recommend you try it out, especially if you struggle to get dinner on the table in the midst of hectic weeks like I sometimes do.

2. ROASTED CHICKEN — this is by far my favorite busy-week recipe. I have two young children, who can be pretty picky eaters, but this satisfies them every time. I know what you’re thinking…a whole chicken? too complicated. too long. I can’t.

But I promise you, YOU CAN! If you haven’t cooked a chicken this way, it will change your life. I haven’t cooked a plain ol’ boneless skinless chicken breast in forever because once you eat this chicken you can’t go back to plain, dry, stovetop chicken breast. Let me break it down for you:

 

 

the anatomy of YUM: a super simple fall meal in one pot. Easy roasted chicken | www.charmingdiabetes.com

The best part about this recipe for me, is that I spend about 3 minutes getting the chicken prepped, and then everything goes into the oven for an hour. I’m HANDS-FREE in the hour before dinner time which is priceless. I can play with the kids, show them how to set the table,  do a couple of loads of laundry, give the girls early baths, check my blood sugar…I mean I can get a lot done in that pre-dinner hour. And it’s so much better than the usual routine of me standing at the stove, making a mess in the kitchen, playing referee for the kids while they roam the living room unsupervised and high on the freedom from said lack of supervision.

super easy roast chicken in an hour, diabetic friendly recipe | charming diabetes.com

look at that! I didn’t even tuck the wings, but guess what–DOESN’T MATTER! This is still the best chicken ever because I exerted virtually no effort to make it.

Here’s what you have to do.

Get a whole chicken ( a much better bargain than just buying individual parts, I might add). And cut out the backbone. Easy, but not the most glamorous part of the recipe. Here’s a video on that if you need a little convincing. I use a knife because I don’t have dedicated chicken shears (gasp) and it works just fine.. Or just channel Martha Stewart, or Jacques Pepin, or Julia Child. Whatever works for you, but get that backbone outta there.

Once that’s done, the rest is cake…er, chicken. I put a mix of butter, herbs, salt, & pepper, under the skin and on top. By “mix” I mean I literally just take half a stick of room temp butter and toss in whatever herbs I feel like that day, and mix it up. You can use other delicious add ins like hot sauce, dijon mustard, white wine, but I’ve got the toddlers so I keep it simple. They always clean their plates so why mess with a good thing?

I throw in two whole heads of garlic with the tops cut off, because I LOVE roasted garlic. I add a lemon (if i have one) and some fresh herbs to the bottom of the pan, then plop the chicken in there and it’s ready to go.

And I do sweet potatoes at the same time. In this picture I went through the trouble of cutting them up and putting them in the pan, but usually I just wrap them in foil whole, and put them in at the same time as the chicken.

That. is. it. After an hour at 425 degrees, Dinner’s done!

Sometimes I add a salad, or green beans (because something green on the plate makes it feel official), and bread to go with the roasted garlic cloves that I like to devour.

This meal is a total win for diabetes. The free-time while it’s in the oven gives me plenty of time to check my blood sugars pre-meal. And the sweet potatoes, even though they’re sweet, are easy on the blood sugar.

So easy!! Plus there are usually leftovers, which makes it a double win because lunch or dinner for the next day is taken care of.

Do yourself a favor–go get yourself a chicken!!!! Your family will ooh and ahh at the fancy factor, and they don’t have to know you didn’t break a sweat.

 

BEST CHICKEN EVER ROAST CHICKEN — hands on time: 5 mins TOTAL time: 1hr, 5mins

Super Simple and Diabetic Friendly Roast Chicken | www.charmingdiabetes.com

ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 heads of garlic (tops chopped off–the whole head, not just a clove)
  • 2-4 small sweet potatoes (depending on how many your family will eat, cook as many or as few as you need. I usually cook 4 and have leftovers)
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs fresh herbs, chopped ( rosemary & thyme are my go to but parsley, sage, or even just dry herbs if you don’t have fresh on hand). Plus extra for aromatics in pan if desired.
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1.  preheat oven to 425
  2.  chop heads off garlic and set aside
  3.  chop herbs and mix into room temp butter, set aside
  4. fork potatoes and wrap them in aluminum foil
  5.  butterfly chicken (remove backbone)
  6.  turn chicken breast-side up, and pat dry. using a spoon or spatula smear half of butter mix under the skin (between the skin and breast meat). Spread the rest of butter mix liberally onto the outside of the chicken** (breast, legs, wings, etc). Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper  **I keep it simple for a kid friendly version, but for an added kick, you could add a few tablespoons of white wine, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, and/or a splash of hot sauce here.
  7.  In an iron skillet or oven safe pan, place any extra dry herbs, half a lemon, and garlic tops if desired. drizzle with olive oil and place chicken on top.
  8.  place garlic heads in alongside the chicken, and drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Put chicken and foil wrapped sweet potatoes in the oven for 1 hr or until potatoes are fork tender and chicken reaches internal temp of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Take all the glory for a stress free, fancy meal.

Enjoy!

xo

Sara

diabetic stocking stuffers that won't kill your pancreas_charming diabetes.com

Stocking Stuffers for the Diabetic in Your Life

I don’t know about you guys, but I spend soooo much of time during the holidays counting carbs and trying to justify indulging in just one more dessert. Food is love, and our family loves to cook (and by that I mean I love to cook) and I love dessert. But by the time Christmas rolls around I’m often feeling slightly guilty (and/or high) over some of my choices.

Stocking stuffers are are real problem for me, because my own go to stocking stuffer is…candy. Chocolate. Nothing says “christmas time” like some delicious chocolate, foil-wrapped treat. But those add up, so this year in an attempt to save myself some blood sugar grief, I’ve made a quick reference guide for anyone wanting to get a last minute gift that won’t offend the pancreas.

stocking stuffers for diabetics that won't offend the pancreas | charming diabetes.com

1. Egyptian magic–a miracle cure for dry diabetic feet, and also just the greatest ever all around moisturizer. love.

2. More Sugar coffee mug, by Ashley Brooke Designs. I may be drinking my coffee black to save carbs, but I cannot resist a super cute sugar reference.

3. Burt’s Bees Sugar scrub— because you can find it at Target and drugstores, so it’s the perfect last minute sugar rush for those of us who shouldn’t actually be eating it.

4. Sugar lip gloss , by Fresh Beauty.  I heart these. Again, I love a sugar reference. My pancreas may not process it, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to coat myself in it.

5. iPhone cover (Diabetes Sucks) from CafePress. I mean, any technology friendly gift is always welcome in the stocking, but this feisty number shows that you feel my pain. A sure way to win favor with your diabetic loved one.

6. RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream — the best stuff ever. great for moisturizing and general happiness. I believe in the power of coconut. I love it so much I try to work it into all the online shopping guides I’ve ever made. #Loyal.

7. Klein Tools Canvas Pouch — this seems random, I know. But I love bags–total bag lady–and I’d argue that most diabetics have to be. There are so many blood sugar test strips, glucose meters, glucose tablets, syringes, log books, etc to keep up with I’m always looking for a cute new pouch to load everything up in and throw in my purse, or use for travel. This one I love because it’s out of the box and different. It’s inexpensive, and since it’s made for tools it’s sure to be durable enough for all the sharps I have floating around. If you’re not into this specific one, I highly recommend checking out other brands/styles because every diabetic needs a good carrying case!

8. Simply Balanced Fruit Strips –I get mine at Target, but apparently you can get a sweet deal on these with amazon prime. I adore these, not only because they’re tasty, but they are so so handy to carry around for low blood sugar. This isn’t just superfluous candy, this is a legit way to raise blood sugar, sure to satisfy the glucose-tablet-hating-diabetic in your life (aka All Diabetics Ever) Plus BONUS! they’re so slim they take up virtually no room in bags/purses/pockets. Should you want to fill the pouch above with diabetic friendly doo-dads, this is a great place to start.

9. Lancets! This might require intimate knowledge of the recipient, as many of us use different lancets or prefer a specific kind–but work it into conversation, or steal one from the bottom of their purse or the floor of the car (where these things always end up), and get a diabetic something they have to have, but absolutely hate to buy. Do you know how lame it is to go to Walgreens and spend your budget on torturous medical supplies?! It’s not fun. Help them get a head start on the stockpile that every diabetic secretly longs for in order to avoid yet another trip to the drugstore (or..sorry..maybe that’s just me).

Hope that helps!

Happy Last Minute Shopping To All….

xo

Sara

Join me on Instagram, where you can see me using virtually all of these things in my real, diabetic life!

Charming Diabetes on Instagram

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Sides to Charm Your Diabetes | charming diabetes.com

Thanksgiving Sides to Charm Your Diabetes

Thanksgiving with Diabetes is for the birds…so sorry. These things just pop into my mind and I can’t resist.

But seriously, Thanksgiving can be particularly hard on the blood sugars, so this year I’m switching it up. I’m on the hunt for recipes that are simple (since I have picky toddlers), easy on the blood sugars, and still comforting and delicious. That’s a tall order, I know.

I’ve spent countless Thanksgivings calculating carbs, choosing which foods I’d have to skip, and overall worrying about blood sugars. My family’s traditional Thanksgivng meals include things like casseroles, stuffings, rolls, and foods that in general are low on health and high on carbohydrates, plus really hard to count carbs for. And then I spend all kinds of energy just working around it, taking more insulin, and doing my usual “I can eat anything” song and dance.

And you know what? I can. I can eat anything. But sometimes just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

I had this lightbulb moment where I decided, you know what, it’s ok for me to adjust the traditions to make it easier on myself. There is no shame in admitting to myself, or to anyone else, that certain casseroles are just hard on me and the blood sugar. Or that sweet potatoes are just fine by themselves and don’t actually need marshmallows on top.  Or that the extra sugar in the cranberry sauce to make it palitable is just not doing me any favors. And dangit, it’s hard to guesstimate how many carbs are in that casserole topped with breadcrumbs…er, wait those aren’t breadcrumbs. What are those? Are those cheez-its?…

Yep, I’m still from Tennessee so these things do happen.

So I’m breaking up with traditions this year and making a Thanksgiving meal that isn’t loaded with breads and unnecessary carbs but is still comforting and delicious.

Here’s my criteria for finding recipes to Charm my Diabetes on Thanksgiving:

  • gluten free (I know, eye roll)
  • little to know added sugar (which, sadly, eliminates cranberries)
  • simple and easy to make (because, toddlers)
  • yummy (because, again, toddlers)

 

Yum Charming Diabetes2

Let me clarify: I am NOT gluten free. But the carbs coming from breads and bread based dishes were just too much. I’m cutting out the gluten so I have room for other carbs I love–like sweet potatoes, roasted apples, and maybe even grits.

And let’s not forget dessert. I love dessert.

I don’t want to confuse anyone–I’m not trying to cut out all carbs, or fat, or be particularly “health” conscious on this holiday dedicated to Giving Thanks and Eating. I’m just re-working some of the Thanksgiving regulars that don’t really work for me with Diabetes. I want to get rid of some of the carbs in my meal so that I can enjoy the others more, and dessert.

It’s like editing. And it’s a trade off. If you hate pumpkin pie but really can’t do without a bread based stuffing, then maybe your trade offs will be different.

Or maybe you do what I’ve done for SO so many years and say to yourself “SELF! I love you, but today I trade nothing”! And then proceed to eat all the carbs you want. I won’t judge you. I just know that this year, for me, I want to make some changes so I’m not stuck glaring at my glucose meter in frustration and disbelief later.

So there will be turkey, and there will be pumpkin pie. But where I really struggle with the carb counting is in the side dishes. I wanted sides that would feel traditional, but without all the guilt that normally accompanies my usual holiday side dishes. These are the ones I’ve found so far that look like they could make me a happy girl this Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving Sides to Charm Your Diabetes | charming diabetes.com

 

Best Green Beans Ever (Ree Drummond)

Green Beans With Lemon & Garlic (Food Network) I’ll have to choose between green bean dishes…

Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Martha Stewart)

Roasted Squash with Red Onion, Oregano, + Mint (Food & Wine Magazine)

Cheesy Grits Casserole (Food & Wine Magazine)

Rosted Brussel Sprouts (Simply Recipes)

Sauteed Apples With Thyme (Martha Stewart)

That’s the short list of recipes I’m considering so far. There will be no rolls. That is CA-RAY-ZAY, I know, but I’m trying to reduce the overall carb numbers and save the gluten for dessert only. That means the rolls had to go. That also means these sides have big, carby, shoes to fill! Wish me luck!!

What about you? Are you going all out on a carb-centric or are you looking for ways to charm your diabetes too? Either way, I hope you find a way to eat all the foods you love this Thanksgiving, and enjoy them!!

what's cooking | charming diabetes.com

xo

Sara

p.s. those recipe cards are from Rifle Paper Co.

CharmingDiabetesHalloween

How To Do Halloween With Type 1 Diabetes

Fall is here, which means Halloween is around the corner. It’s that time of year when everyone with a faulty pancreas is forced to face their demons. Literally, there are demons out, it’s Halloween.

A holiday dedicated to the procurement of candy? Really? And my body doesn’t make insulin? I mean…are there cameras? Is this a joke?

How to Do Halloweeen With Type 1 Diabetes | www.charmingdiabetes.com

Halloween doesn’t have to be torture with Diabetes. This post is really dedicated to the young people with Diabetes, because lord knows I struggled with this day when I was still in school. One year I stressed about avoiding candy for weeks leading up to Halloween– I’d brainstorm how I’d play it cool, ways to say no thanks without mentioning diabetes, why smelling it would be enough. And then one year I decided, screw it. No one’s gonna take my candy. I ate without reservation, pumping myself full of insulin with one hand while tearing into wrappers with the other. That year didn’t go so well, for the record.

My point is that I’ve tried it all, but the bottom line is, I like candy. Turns out that despite my bionic pancreas, the insulin pump, I am in fact human and enjoy sugar. I can’t lie to myself about it. After trying everything under the sun, I’ve learned that there are a few key tricks to Charming your Diabetes during a candy-centered holiday:

1. DISTRACTION:

When I let my mind move past the candy obsession, I learned that there are lots of other Halloween elements that I enjoy much more than the candy.

–PUMPKINS. Love ’em. We paint them, we carve them, we visit them in the patch, I look at them on pinterest, we use them as decorations. Doing all the pumpkin prep work gets my mind off the looming day of candy. Not to mention the house looks fall-friendly!

–CRAFTS. Nothing distracts my candy-lovin mind like some good Halloween crafts. Great for the kids, great to give away. Great way to spend time together as opposed to obsessing over chocolate. Or sweet tarts. Ok I better get crafty.

Charming Diabetes Halloween Crafts | easy DIY spray painted skull

I love a good skull craft. I made this one–all you need is a cheap craft skull and some gold spray paint, which I also obsess over. When Halloween is over this guy guards my desk.

–DAY OF THE DEAD. If you don’t know about this mexican tradition you should look it up. It’s much more meaningful than Halloween and the decorations are even better. I love everything about El Dia de Los Muertos, and at our house this time of year has become more about having a dedicated time of year to remember and celebrate lost loved ones. I’m not singing songs around the cemetery or anything, but Halloween can be a great opportunity to teach kids about other cultures and traditions, and, if you’re not into altar making, talk about lost loved ones’ favorite things.

–FALL BUCKET LIST. For kids, this is so fun. Ours usually includes things like pumpkin painting, leaf collecting, wagon riding, and painting fall pictures (always hilarious with toddlers). It’s just a quick little list of fun fall things to do that DON’T involve candy.

2. REPLACEMENT

Cut the candy out and replace it with something else. Sounds painful, but in the long run you’ll be a lot happier for it. Finger puppets, vampire fangs, plastic bracelets, glow sticks, basically anything from the dollar bin at Target. Use these alternatives to pass out to trick-or-treaters and keep them around your house for fun…without the guilt that can come along with candy.

There is the option to “replace” candy with sugar-free alternatives, but I don’t really recommend it. The chemicals and artificial sweeteners are sometimes worse than the real thing, and the whole idea here is to get past the candy–not just exchange one unhealthy item for another. If you do replace with other food items, I suggest going for homemade treats (where you can control the ingredients–but don’t waste those on the trick-or-treaters because any good parent is going to make their kid throw it out), or real food treats like raisins.

3. HELP YOURSELF: BUY CANDY YOU HATE

If you know that you’ll be giving out good ol’ yummy candy for Halloween, do yourself a favor and pick something that you don’t like. I buy my candy for trick-or-treaters a day or two in advance–there’s no need for that to sit at my house for two weeks before halloween taunting me. And when I do buy it, last minute, I buy the stuff I don’t like. I’m a candy lover, but even I have a few less-than-favorites. I don’t want to call anyone out ahem, twizzlers, but there are some candies that I don’t crave , and therefore am not tempted to eat when they’re on my counter.

4. EAT THE CANDY

Um. ‘Scuse me, what?

Yep. That’s right. Eat it. Don’t do it like me all those year ago, diving headfirst into a bowl of Rolos, but if you know that you (or your child) really love(s) it, then PLAN for it.

–After trick-or-treating, pick 2 treats to eat right then and there. Count the carbs, and bolus for those.

–Go through the remaining candy and choose a few pieces to keep for later in the week–if you have kids this is a great time to get them involved in the decision making process and have them help choose the magic number of pieces to stay. I do this with my kids and they don’t have Diabetes.

If you need help getting that conversation going with your kids, the Switch Witch might be a good way to start. Like a Halloween Santa, she comes to your house to collect the candy on Halloween night and swaps it out for some other toy or prize. I just heard about it and haven’t tried it with my kids, but it seems like a good idea.

–The remaining candy goes away. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, just GET THE CANDY OUT.  Let the Switch Witch take it, give it to friends, donate it, throw it away . Don’t feel too guilty about tossing it out, you’re making a healthy choice for your faulty pancreas. I’ve found that the throw-away-guilt makes me keep it around, and when it’s just lying there I eat it with reckless abandon.

The idea here is that you (or you and your kids) are  CHOOSING to keep a few select pieces that you know you love. You no longer have the giant bag staring at you, begging you to eat it. You are no longer thinking about the giant bag of candy you have stashed somewhere that you shouldn’t be eating. You are freeing yourself. You have made a conscious decision to keep this select amount, and when you eat it you’ll bolus for it, and it will be delicious. None of the guilt, no closet face-shoving of m&m&m&m&m&m&m’s.

You’re free to eat it. Just do it wisely.

And here’s my last tip for Halloween–if you must buy Candy Corns, get the ones that come pre packaged in the small individual baggies, so that you have built in portion control, and you can get the exact number of carbs. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve fallen into the “I’ll just grab a couple of Candy Corns” trap! Those little suckers are dangerous!

Happy Candy Bolus, everyone!

xo

Sara

 

shrine

Make A Shrine | Surviving Diabetes With Toddlers

So I’m the head chef in our house. I cook the meals, I make the snacks, I prep the food, I simmer, stir, and sautee all the time. I LOVE IT. I love to cook. My mom taught me, and since she passed away getting in the kitchen and measuring, mixing, smelling, and taste testing is my favorite way to keep her memory close.

I may be the Chef de Cuisine here at the Charming Diabetes maison (ooh la la), but by no means do I have it all under control. Yes, it’s relatively easy for me to whip up something yummy and cooking is another creative outlet for me. No arrogance in that, it’s just one of my gifts, I’m no Top Chef and I’m terrible at lots of other things.

I’m just relaying this so you understand that despite the fact that cooking food comes easily for me, I am very bad at everything else that goes along with meal time. I’m useless at clean up, awful at setting the table, I usually don’t have everything finished at the same time, and I’m always forgetting the drinks. Martha Stewart I am not.

It seems that between trying to keep the kids from killing each other or tearing the house apart while I cook, I get a little distracted. I never get around to any of the dinnertime set up that needs to happen beforehand so we can eat. So every night, after all kinds of mini interventions and referee calls with the kids, at some point, dinner is ready. And then I herd them all to the table like cats. Kid one, kid two, and husband. Kid one gets down, put her back, kid two cries, get her settled, ok now we’re all at the table. Oh wait, forgot the forks. So then I scramble to get forks and napkins and sippy cup refills because I have an inability to plan ahead.  And of course I’ve gotta GET THE GREEN BEANS away from someone’s APPLESAUCE. Oh and did I mention that part of this chaos stems from the fact that I usually have two versions of dinner (one version is more toddler friendly. I’m not a fan of that, btw, it’s just a self preservation that I’m working on changing).

So THEN I sit down, usually without anything to drink, but who cares because the silence that comes over the table is so seductive….

Ahhh.

The fork comes up to my mouth and….UGH!

UGH! I DIDN’T CHECK MY BLOOD SUGAR.

Every night. Right at dinnertime. Since I didn’t check it, there’s no way I can know if I need to correct it, plus I need insulin to cover the meal and now here I am ready to eat with no insulin on board. Super. So now I’m up searching for my meter and lancets and UGH. I suck at diabetes.

This is how things went for me for a long time until I decided something had to change. I have two toddlers. This season of my life will involve hectic mealtimes, certainly. I can accept that. But I couldn’t afford to completely ignore my blood sugar in the chaos.

So I made a Shrine. Here it is.

making diabetes more fun with a blood sugar testing shrine | www.charmingdiabetes.com

Let me break it down for you. My shrine is basically a cheap plate from target, with a cute bowl to hold my lancets, and that’s where I keep my meter, lancing device, test strips, etc.

I’m visual, so it was important to me to have it look a certain way, hence the cute bowl and the flowers nearby. It helps me feel happier about it. The medical devices themselves are less than inspiring, so the creative in me just has to spruce it up a bit to distract from the “meh” feelings they give off.

I love having it on a plate because I can just pick the whole thing up and move it;  Over to my desk if I’m working, out of the way if we need more space one the counter, beside the couch if I’m having a sick day. I keep one downstairs on the kitchen counter, so that when I’m in the dinnertime trenches it’s close by, and I can check quickly and move on. I have a second one in my bedroom, so I don’t have to go downstairs at bedtime when I’ve inevitably forgotten to check it until I’m in bed.

Plus now that it’s all together, the random lancets and test strips floating around are greatly reduced. Nothing like a toddler finding a used lancet on the floor to make you feel like a good parent. The kids know this is my diabetes plate and not to touch it, and should they have a toddler moment and forget, I can easily grab it and get everything up out of their reach.

Here it is again, after I found some gold spray paint and a lost monkey and decided my shrine would need a mascot. I reeeealllly love gold spray paint.

Charming Diabetes Shrine with a gold monkey because, why not

The shrine (both with and without the monkey) has changed my life. It’s aesthetically appealing to me, which is the biggest deal, because I like how it looks. I’m bought in; I don’t dread searching for my meter, or wander around muttering curses to my faulty pancreas. I have a nice little spot set up and ready to go. I’m checking more often, and I feel less stressed about it. BOOM! Diabetes = Charmed!

All you really need to set up your own is a plate, and a container of some sort for the lancets. If your plate is big enough, you could even have a separate trash bowl on the plate to drop the used lancets and test strips in. The one in my bedroom consists of a bingo plate I liked and wasn’t using for anything else, and a short, clear plastic, party cup for the lancets. Easy. I got the extra meter FREE from the doctor’s office. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t buy a second one until you’ve checked with your doctor–odds are good they can hook you up with a freebie.

 

It works for me…I hope it works for you too! When you get yours set up, let me know!! Send me your pictures to sara@charmingdiabetes.com or share it on instagram and use the hashtag #charmingdiabetes

Happy checking!

Making Diabetes more convenient with diabetes checkpoint near the bed  | www.charmingdiabetes.compretty diabetes set up | www.charmingdiabetes.com

xo

Sara

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