My child deserves good sugars (low carb)
The first step towards change is awareness, and the second is acceptance
Today has been a beautiful and successful day for us. We scored again for diabetes, our life partner. The sugars were fairly in the desired range throughout the night and day (4.0-7.8). Not every day is like that, we have better and worse days, nights are the biggest problem. But the occasional bad days today are far better than those in the first year of battling diabetes.
After spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital setting, in New Year’s Eve 2013, we came out of the hospital armed with bags full of anti-diabetes equipment and overwhelmed with fear of the unknown. The little one was only two years old. Suddenly, everything became unknown, even the most natural activities until then, which were not much thought about – such as going out of the house, sleeping, playing, and eating. The question that was asked again every 2 hours throughout the day was: And what are we going to give her to eat now? More often than not our choice was wrong or the wrong dose of insulin, and the child was constantly showing hunger.
For the first year, we followed, diligently and nerdy, all the official instructions on a healthy, balanced diet for diabetics, dosing food groups, on prohibited and permitted foods. We weighed everything she ate, poked for every meal, poked for corrections every day, every night. With all that effort, we felt unsuccessful and defeated – every day.
By quarterly sugar averages, we were actually successful and average, but the overall impression and experience was failure and defeat. Nothing was predictable except unpredictability. The sugars moved from hyper to hypo and so on in a circle, which was visibly manifested in the mood of the child and the whole family. While the sugar was high, for example, 13 or 14 – the child became quite irritable and unsocial, and at sugars lower than 4, extremely calm, and occasionally aggressive. Then we still measured sugar by pinching our fingers 10-12 times a day according to some standard schedule. It was only later that we realized how deficient these measurements actually were and how misleading they were.
We wondered how anyone could tell us that we would live normally with diabetes because nothing in our life at the time looked like that.
The acquisition of the Libre device was a moment of realization. We were finally able to see the blood sugar curve every minute of the day, instead of 12 times a day as we had been pinching our finger until then. For a month we just watched in amazement all the measured values and wondered how to get it in order. We wondered how daily sugar variations of 2-18 can be normal and how does this affect our young child’s body. As the child was small, even the slightest change in the amount of insulin caused large changes.
From the graphs of sugar movements, it was clear that we had to adjust our diet and we decided to encourage change with the advice of a close friend who had been eating on the Low-Carb principle for some time. We simply decided to use foods with fewer carbohydrates, and that meant dosing less insulin.
We started with breakfast that bothered us the most and where we never managed to achieve optimal sugars. We eliminated “healthy” corn, rye, spelled bread, oatmeal, cow’s milk, oat milk, spelled semolina, low-fat yogurt and replaced them with a meal that combines proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in a different ratio.
Specifically, for breakfast, we started serving eggs, bacon or ham, homemade cow cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers. Instead of bread, I baked buns. I made them in various combinations of seeds, almonds, bran, eggs, and yogurt or cream. The first few days the buns did not go very well. True, they weren’t too tasty either, but I didn’t want to give up, but after a bunch of tried (often thrown in the trash) I found a winning combination. In just a few days the regulation of morning sugars was achieved. As simple as that.
Sometimes breakfast had 10 sometimes 20g of carbs, instead of the previous about 45g of carbs, but it was easy to regulate with insulin, so instead of 2-2.5j NR, we covered breakfast with only 0.5j NR. Even more important than the fact that the sugars were within the set range 2.5 hours after the meal is that they were stable and several hours in a piece, which until then seemed like an impossible mission. Specifically, if pre-meal glycemia was 5 mmol in the next few hours it ranged from 5 to 7 mmol.
Previous meals with a lot of carbohydrates and high GI, we replaced with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates from quality sources. A higher proportion of fat in the meal, intake of enough fiber from vegetables, and enough protein ensures satiety over a longer period of time as well as more stable blood sugar.
As we established our morning diet, we also quickly noticed a positive change in the child’s behavior. The usual mood swings had been missing until then and it was a signal to us that we needed to keep changing.
Our victories have finally started, this was the first and only one in a series of victories over diabetes.
(Editor’s note: Considering that in Croatia, apart from Anita Šupe (who graduated from college in Sweden), there are practically no nutrition experts who are familiar with low carb in detail, as well as with medics; we recommend an excellent book by Dr. Bernstein’s “Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars.” The book can be purchased online on Amazon via the link HERE 🙂
This is the first of a series of texts on this topic. Follow them on the portal.