Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coconut oil

Yes, coconut oil is almost 90 percent saturated fat, but not all sat fats are created equal. “The saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly lauric acid, a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that appears to have a more neutral effect on heart health when compared to longer-chain saturated fats found in meats and dairy products,” says Wendy Bazilian, R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet.
 Some research even suggests that coconut oil can paradoxically improve cholesterol numbers by revving up enzymes in the body that breakdown fats.
 Bazilian adds that medium-chain fats are metabolized more easily into energy in the liver, meaning they may be less likely to be stored as extra padding on your thighs if you keep your overall calories in check. “Up to 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day, depending on individual calorie needs, can be a healthy and tasty addition to your diet when replacing other less-healthy calories,” Bazilian says. “But don’t believe the hype that simply adding coconut oil to your diet can help you shed a bunch of body fat.”
 More proof that coconut oil is a worthwhile addition to your pantry: Lauric acid appears to have antibacterial properties, and studies show that the tropical oil (particularly the virgin varieties) contains a bounty of antioxidants that may help knock out those pesky cell-damaging free radicals that are thought to accelerate aging and disease. Topically, coconut oil is also a great skin moisturizer.

With all that in mind, I'll just say that I like using coconut oil.  Dr Agnes suggested to me yesterday that I start to replace my Coffeemate with a tsp of coconut oil and a dollop of whole milk.  The first gulp was shocking.. a very mild coconut flavor, but not a bad thing.  Half way through the cup, I decided I could do this every morning for a while, but my 2nd cup would be with my favorite creamer.  We shall see how that goes.  I'm going to try it in my tea later.
If that's what it takes to warn off alzheimers, I'm for it.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Let's talk counting calories...

Let's face it.. counting calories is not what I want to be doing to help me lose weight and adjust my blood sugars into normal.  Think about it.. I could eat 10 bananas and have most of my calories in for the day.  The problem is, they don't have the nutrients that are in vegetables and other fruits.  A good rule of thumb is the more color, the more nutrients.  
Dr Agnes reminded me that I could eat a lot of calories in some really densely packed nutritionally sound foods and not gain weight or mess with my blood sugars.  The body handles these foods well if it is operating smoothly.  I'm not suggesting that you go out and eat a quart of strawberries or pig out on any one food.  I'm saying that eating those more dense foods are good for your body and you should eat them often in small amounts.
Take peanut butter, for example.. it carries a walloping 200 calories in a 2 tablespoon measure.  If you eat bread, that's 140 calories for 2 slices- and a very poor choice since there are 13Gm of carb in one slice and only 2 Gm protein.. So a simple PB sandwich could cost you 340 calories plus that glass of milk at another 150 calories for just one cup.   The peanut butter is a wonderful choice as it is a "good" fat and nourishing to the body.. so eat it with something other than bread.. the whole milk is wonderful too- a healthy choice.  I eat a small banana for breakfast- about 90 calories and add 1 tbsp PB for a great total of 190 calories... I don't measure precisely, but just estimate.  It's good to be aware of the calories in foods, but just knowing that some foods are promoting good nutrition and others don't is good for planning meals.
I do like the CalorieCount site and make no excuses for that.  As I go through my day, I add my  water intake and love to see how many nutrients my body is getting for the day.  But do not become overly obsessive and lose sight of the fact that you may be eating 500 more calories than you think you should, but you are gaining nutrients to heal your body and support your weight loss.  Generally speaking it's a good site to visit and participate.. but my first line of nutritional defense is my nutritionist who discourages counting the calories.. and just eating normal food in moderation with the support of vitamin/mineral supplements to assure you aren't lacking anywhere.
For diabetics, it is so critical to make sure you don't miss meals or snacks.  That keeps the glucose level all day long.
Test the blood sugar in the morning and spot check during the day to see how far off or on target you are.  2 hours after a meal is good timing for that.  For me, anything under 100 but not lower than 84 is good.. I get shaky at 84 and feel very hungry- 2 symptoms of hypoglycemia. 
Empty calories are a thing of the past for me.  I know if I eat sugar or wheat, I'm going to feel pain or sick.  It's like my intolerance of beef and turkey.. 3 days to recuperate from one tiny tiny bite of either of these .. just not worth the trouble.
I was amazed at how quickly I got over any cravings for sugar or wheat.. as a carboholic, chocoholic, and more.. I am shocked that I feel no need for cookies, cakes, breads, donuts, etc.. I don't even crave ice cream!  I have repented.. turned around and am back on the right track again, but not particularly by counting any calories, but by eating the foods I like in a reasonable amount.. colorful foods that have many nutrients.  Granted, I am fairly knowledgeable in nutrition, so I just am aware of food values.  You may have to educate yourself about certain foods.
Remember, you may fall back, but don't kick yourself.. next time make a better choice.

Here we go again- now down 20#

March 24, 2014.. my regular appointment with my PCP for an annual physical. 
Nervously, I got on the scales..ugh!  I hadn't been faithful to eating habits and the scales didn't lie.
When I finally got to see my doctor, she said "Marilyn- you have gained 20# in 12 months, your A1c is 7.3- and your fasting blood sugar was 147!  Your diabetes is out of control obviously. "  Feeling depressed over all this news, she  finished the physical with an EKG.  It was abnormal with a right bundle branch block- I'd have to have the dreaded cardiolite stress test.  Couldn't be much worse.
I went home feeling like a ton of bricks had fallen on me.  I decided that I'd really have to do some work to get on track again.
I sat down when I got home,  and clicked on the tv to drown some of my misery.  Dr Oz was talking about his 2 week weight loss program.. I took notes.  I had never watched his program before- it was providence that led me there. What I decided that day would be life changing.
1. Eliminate white sugar
2. Eliminate wheat
3. Eliminate processed foods
4. Eliminate all "diet" foods, artificial sweeteners
Good choices.
That Wednesday I was picking up my sister's supplements at the chiropractor's office when I ran into Dr Agnes and when she asked how I was, I unloaded my burden onto her shoulders and asked if there was anything she could do to help me..  Dr Agnes is a nutritionist- and a very good one at that.
She gave me an appointment for the end of the week and I kept it.
She identified several main problems using contact reflex analysis (CRA).. and then suggested supplements to support my lymphatic system and my pancreas as well as another problem I'd been having.
She gave me a food log to keep every day- an in depth one- and I was on my way.
Protein to rebuild tissues that have been abused for so long was the order of the day.  Eating low glycemic veggies and fruits along with the protein would get me going in a right direction.
I have my coffee- two cups- every morning with coffeemate- not a problem.
Taking vitamin supplements that are power packed would assure that even if I didn't get the diet right, I would be supported.
I found that giving up the sugar, wheat, and processed foods, diet foods and sweeteners wasn't a problem.  BUT.. those first 2 weeks, I was eating 2-3c of cabbage with my meats and though I was losing pounds slowly, I was struggling with the 3 snacks /day that would keep my blood sugars stable.
5.The answer is 6 small "meals" and not to obsess over them.
6. Do not eliminate fats from the diet plan
Fats are essential to weight loss.. not just any fats.. there are good and bad ones.
Following the BACON rule, I now eat the right fats and don't worry about them causing me to gain.
B- Butter- REAL butter, no margarines
A- Avocado- I am ambivalent over these .. I don't not like them, but can't say I'd buy them again
C- Cream and Coconut oil- WalMart has this for $10- organic- around 16 oz
O- Olives and olive oil
N- Nuts - lots of them- all kinds
7. Once I got started, I started losing the excessive baggage I've been carrying around for years.  One night I had a problem sleeping because of itching feet, arms, hands, chest.. just about everywhere.  Dr Agnes informed me that this was likely my body getting rid of toxins- they have to come out somewhere.  So the next order of the day was to assure that I was getting plenty of fluids.. at LEAST 8 glasses of water per day.  I am a notoriously poor water drinker.. so I added some grapefruit juice doctored with ACV and honey to my water those first few weeks and was able to keep up.  Later, I decided to try water with fresh lemon and a packet of Stevia.  It worked!  I now drink 10-11 glasses of water/day easily.  Getting enough water to flush the system and keep the bowels regular is critical.
*The grapefruit was a suggestion of Dr Oz- 8oz juice with 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 tsp honey.  One was to drink 1c before every meal.  Wendell's endocrinologist approved the idea, but suggested using 1/2c and water to make a cup.  Good.
I need it.. lots of it.  I've damaged my body over the years, and now need to build it back to health.  At first I ate larger portions- 5-6oz of chicken.  I LOVE chicken.  Dr Agnes suggested cutting back half of the portions and making up for it in the snacks.  Yes.  This would be easier.
My main sources of protein are chicken, tuna, and eggs.
I bake the chicken, weigh it - about 2oz- not obsessive here- it it's 2.6oz.. I'll eat it anyway.. some days it weighs 1.6oz.. that's okay too.  I do add Italian dressing before I bake it- yes, I know it is a processed food, but it is in a very tiny amount. Several times a week I eat tuna salad.  I make it myself with real mayo- again, a very small amount of a bad fat.. and I add lots of vidalia onions and a couple cups of chopped celery to this.   Eggs are valuable too.  I eat LOTS of eggs!  Sometimes 3 whites and 1 yolk for breakfast.  I don't care for the yolk much.. so this works well for me.  I snack on egg whites through the day- on salads or just by themselves.  Low calorie and pure protein.  Lest someone think I avoid the yolks because of cholesterol- you'd be mistaken.  Eggs are very good for you and you NEED cholesterol.
I'm intolerant of lactose in dairy, beef and turkey.. just not worth eating for the 3 days of cramping an diarrhea that comes with these foods.
I bought 3 planks of fish from Long John Silver.. removed all the visible breading possible, and ate the fish underneath.  I didn't know they made a baked fish without breading.  Silly me.  The 3 planks made 4 oz of fish- I weighed it- and about 2 full cups of breading- WOW!
My tendency is to eat low glycemic veggies and fruits.  I really love cabbage and salads- organic spring mix from WalMart..  inexpensive.. and so delicious.  I use a serving bowl to make and eat my salads... Lettuce, tomato- a whole roma- , cucumber slices - half a cuke, colorful peppers, vidalia onion- 3 good sized slices,sliced fresh mushrooms, and then some protein like 3 egg whites or an ounce or two of ham or chicken.  I do use regular Italian dressing in a limited fashion.  I also have added cabbage slices , grated carrot, and other veggies as they are available.  Very filling.  COLORFUL makes for many nutrients!
Low glycemic veggies are the ones I like most anyway- green/yellow beans (home canned especially), the salad stuff, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, pickles, oriental stir fry veggies..
The higher glycemic veggies I eat a few times a week in moderation- potatoes, carrots,peas, beets..
I don't eat corn practically ever except when we have a party next door and have it on the cob.. can't turn that down.  Gotta remember to limit or avoid that in the future.  There are good and bad carb foods.. I like certain ones, so those I like, I eat.
A sample of my diet for the day would be:
Breakfast:7am 1 small (6" or less) banana with 1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter.  Crazy, eh?  But it is majorly power packed and gives my body the energy to get my day going and keep going.  The usual serving of PB is 2 Tbsp, but I found that rather overwhelming, so I cut back to 1.
Mid morning snack:9am  1/4c cottage cheese, a whole roma tomato, 3 collosal ripe olives
Lunch:12 noon  Salad of my liking with LOTS of veggies-
Mid afternoon snack:3pm  2 egg whites, 1/2c frozen fruit (peaches, pineapple,mango,strawberry)
Supper:6pm  2 oz baked chicken, 1c boiled cabbage or any other veggie that meets my eye that day.
PM snack:9pm  Greek yogurt and 4 fresh strawberries
Peanuts are great to add to salads too.. an extra bonus.
8. Always be prepared.
One of the problems with eating often to stabilize blood sugars is making sure I don't miss fluid intake, meals or snacks.. timely intake.  I found it a problem at first when I left for church at 10am and didn't get home till 1pm and had to make a meal for lunch so late.. Shopping did the same thing.  I felt like I couldn't catch up.. led to stress and frustration.  Dr Agnes put me on track  "Always be prepared".. get that little lunch bag out and put things in it that  could qualify as a 'meal/snack'.. Carry a drink in that bag- I use a pint mason jar with a lid filled with my lemon water- that's 2c of fluids.  I also carry a small container of nuts with me and eat them one at a time while I'm out.  Knowing I'd be out longer, I'd also take some egg whites in a small container or baggie in my insulated bag.  I've also carried a half cup of frozen fruit.  I must add that finger foods are easier, but not a necessity.   I'm now ready for whatever.
9. Don't obsess over scales.
Your weight goes up and down on a daily basis.. It's better to NOT be checking every day.. it makes for disappointment if you haven't lost something daily.  Better to weigh in with Dr Agnes to see the progress officially.. once a week for now.  Then weekly is the better choice.  
Sometimes you will lose inches and not pounds.
10. Dairy
As time goes on, I'm becoming less intolerant of dairy.. I'm careful not to get too much at any one time, but the ability to digest these proteins with lactose is becoming easier.. without digestive complaint.
I read an article about what it takes to make 2% milk and skim milk.. I was horrified.  From that point on, I haven't bought anything but regular whole milk.  We actually need the fats in the milk.  We simply need to limit the amounts.   So, I cautiously started out with some Greek yogurt.  The first stuff I bought was the WalMart brand.  It was so bad, we decided to never buy it again.  But then, with some encouragement from family members, we tried the name brands.. traditional style (fruits mixed in), and decided we wanted more of this stuff.  It is super good for you- up to 14Gm protein in each little cup.. and about 140-160 calories each.  Not bad.  I use it pretty much nightly for a snack.  No GI upsets.  The next dairy item I tried was cottage cheese.  Not the limited fat kind.. the 4% fat kind.  If I'm going to eat this stuff, I want the real deal.  I am using about 1/4c a day without repercussions.  YAY!  This is an indication that my GI tract is on the mend.  This past week I decided to try milk.. I have a Metabo-shake that Dr Agnes suggested for times when I'm just not hungry- which tends to be at least once a day.  The first was Almond milk- no lactose, and just made the shake funky tasting.  So I added another cup of vanilla Silk.. and didn't care for it either.  I bought Lactaid milk.. but discovered it was fat free milk when I opened it.. rats!  .. Yesterday I made a shake at lunch time with 1c ff milk and 1c whole milk.. no GI problems at all!  And the taste was much better.
Looks like my system is adjusting to dairy much better.
The Greek yogurt is very tolerable as well.
* The metabo-shake is for either meal replacement or just adding nutrients to the diet - a great snack item.  It is pricy.. but worth it for convenience.  I won't be buying it again for a while.. just the price, not the product.
11. Keeping up the momentum
I need to share information about what I am doing to correct my diabetes and lose weight.  Wendell and I are both diabetics, so in the morning we have a friendly competition over who has the better blood sugar.  This morning he had a winner.. I was 99 and he was 82.  We have a winner on both counts though, as his N insulin is doing what it is supposed to do in the morning, and my metformen and diet are doing the same for me.  Other than comparing the BS each day, there is little that he wants to discuss.. like foods .. but he does like the metabo-shake, and one a day would be helpful to him.
The other person I love to share with is my sister.  We share similar weight issues and she is helpful in making suggestions to help me along.  Usually I don't want to try some of the things she suggests, but I end up doing just that and she is right normally.  One of my concerns is that while I am losing pounds, I don't overwhelm her with what might seem like 'bragging'.. but is really just overflowing joy at being able to regain good health and lose weight while I'm at it. 
I am using this blog because it helps me to put things in perspective, and who knows?  someone else might gain insight to how to eat healthily.. someone may have the same problems as I do.. leaky gut and diabetes with an aging body that is leading a more sedentary life than before.
All these things are helpful to keep moving in a right direction and keep me accountable.  I am accountable to Dr Agnes weekly for now.  She is the most encouraging person.  She looks at things with positivity no matter.  If I would 'mess up' she would say 'you know what to do, now, do it' and say it without making me feel like a failure.  We need more people around us with that attitude.
I also occasionally make an unofficial statement on my facebook page about my progress.. another issue of accountability.  Mostly, I jump on the scales once in a while and am blown away by what I see.. like yesterday morning when I noted I've lost 20# since March 24.  That's just 4 weeks ago!

What's next?
I have an appointment with my PCP to check my weight and A1c before she decides to put me on insulin injections.. in June.  I can't wait to see her face when she sees what has happened to me in the 3 months I had to correct these issues.
I will be so happy to give her my medication list that says I no longer need Zantac for GI upsets and heartburn.  I gave that up 3 weeks ago when I realized I hadn't had any of that for over a week of eating correctly.  Then the Zyrtec for my allergies and asthma.. eliminated with corrections in nutrients and eating correctly.  This past winter the allergies were awful to the point that the asthma attacks came.. I had to use a nebulizer to help me breathe.. and the inhaler that causes thrush.. ugh.  While everyone else is complaining that their allergies are out of control.. I'm breathing just fine without wheezing at all.
I did make an appointment with a new cardiologist for the end of May.  I had the cardiolite stress test- walking the treadmill at a clip while hooked to a monitor- heart rate a steady 140 and then the isotope and 6 minutes at this pace..  The test was successful and within normal limits.  I still have the RBBB, but there is no pathology causing it.  Maybe it might just disappear?  Who knows? 
My weight and spinal issue causes me to not walk far or for long periods.  I'm seeing the chiropractor who uses a gentle tool rather than a drop table to adjust all but the affected vertebra.  Less back pain and more mobility- what a combo! 
I found that the more I tried to use my exercise bike, the worse my back got. I gave the bike away.   Even the chiro said that the bikes aren't for everyone and perhaps there is a better exercise for me..like swimming.  Can hardly wait for the pool to be opened.  Last year I did well just walking several times a week for 20-30 min or more. 
Walking is getting a little easier- and my distance is improving.  I'm referring to walking to the mailbox up our driveway.. it's a longer one and has a grade to it.  Not good yet, but improving.
Grocery day was always a horror as well.  The walking, carrying heavy bags, and then loading and unloading at home wore me totally out.. The last time I went, all was well.. no pain, no feeling worn.  I was tired and took a nap in the afternoon, but was back to normal when I got up.
I had been feeling very weary throughout the day.  Lately I notice that I'm feeling sleepy and wanting to lay down after lunch.  So I do.  There is nothing wrong with napping during the day as long as it doesn't become 2-3 hours which will ruin good sleep at night.  Napping is healing for the body.. the fact that you feel like you need to lay down is listening to your body.. I set my sonic screamer for no more than 30 minutes and usually doze off for the last 10 minutes.  Love it.
I changed my bedtime.  I used to wait until I felt tired to go to bed.  One of Dr Oz suggestions was to be fasting for 12 hours.  This is not good for a diabetic.  So now I go to bed around 8-9pm, fall asleep 30 min later usually and then sleep soundly until the screamer says it's time to awaken.. 7-9 hours later.
I eat within 1 hour of awakening.. and get the day underway.  I have energy and keep moving.