Vote for Anders who’s challenging himself – for all of us – on a dogsled!

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Anders is 25 years old and has had T1D since the age of 2. Anders needs your vote to enter a 300 km dogsled race – to prove we can do most anything with diabetes. Go here to vote.

I’m asking you to take 30 seconds and help Anders’ dream come true. I had to after he sent me this email – “I want to show that anything is possible, even with diabetes. To achieve this I’m entering a contest where the winner will do a 300 km dogsled race. I must get the most votes by December 15th. Usually I never ask for these kind of favors, but since this is something I really want, could you maybe share the link where you can vote for me. I understand that I’m asking for a lot, but I just have to try and would understand if you decline.”

How could I say no? So if you can you spare a couple of seconds, why not help Anders’ dream come true too.

Done? Thank you. I also asked Anders to tell me more about himself so this is who this young man is:

“I’m 25 years old and currently taking a masters in civil engineering. My parents have always said to me that nothing is impossible and that I shouldn’t let my diabetes be an obstacle. As long as you are careful about what you consume, think about how your day has been and follow up by enough glucose test, you can do everything. Of course you’ll have some bad periods, but I think that as long as you stick to the basics and figure out what works for you, you will be okay.

I’m a spinning instructor and personal assistant for a friend that needs assistance when she goes alpine skiing with her biski (Please let me know if you know what this is). I’ve also run a marathon and done several bicycle races, cross country skiing and kite boarding. Some of the competitions I participated in, I’ve had either too high or low glucose levels and that can happen. It’s not the end of the world. It just makes it even better when things are going your way.

I love challenging myself and as my last challenge I’m participating in the Fjällräven Polar dogsled race. I hope by doing so I can also teach the other participants a bit more about diabetes. I try my best not to let it limit me.”

There are times in life you have to say “yes” to someone else’s dream – especially when it’s so simple and easy. Thank you for also saying yes and sharing.


Nutrition journalist Gary Taubes on weight gain and loss


Two weeks ago I watched the Fat Summit 2 hosted by Dr. Mark Hyman. While the online conference is over, perhaps if you register you will get notified of future conferences.

I have a true thirst, or perhaps I should say, appetite, for learning how food works in our body. What causes weight gain and loss. Neither of these things is what you expect. The actual break down and metabolism of how our body uses nutrients and stores food may surprise you.

Hyman and his co-host, Carrie Diulus, an orthopedic M.D. who has type 1 diabetes, interviewed about 30 M.D.s, researchers, scientists and functional doctors to stop the demonization of fat and shed light on the fact that it’s simple carbs and sugar that play a larger role in causing damage and disease.

Nutrition journalist, Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, and numerous articles, has researched this field for years. Early next year his new book, ‘The Case Against Sugar,’ will be published. It’s a look at our food industry historically, politically and economically. 

In a nutshell, Taubes says metabolically we gain weight from too much insulin circulating in our blood stream. (Most people with type 2 diabetes who are on insulin can affirm this. If you eat the American diet with lots of carb, you raise your blood sugar. So your body pumps out more insulin or you have to inject lots of insulin. Voila, the pounds roll on.) Insulin causes weight gain. If you remember nothing after reading this complex process I’ve tried to reconstruct from Taubes’ explanation, you can just recall what fellow nutrition journalist, Nina Teicholz, said during the conference, “That bacon you eat isn’t going to turn into fat on your body, but that bagel will!”

How Fat Calories & How Sugar Calories Work in the Body (Gary Taubes)

Because we call certain foods we eat “fats” everyone assumes they’re going to make us fat. It’s the idea that you are what you eat. But the better explanation is – you are what your body does with what you eat. When we consume fat we absorb it into the blood stream. Our body then carries it to our fat tissue. It does get stored in our cells as fat – temporarily. This is what keeps confusing people: because the fat we eat is stored in our cells as fat you assume the more fat you eat the fatter you’re going to get.

The fact is, however, that the fat stored in our cells is regulated by the hormone insulin. When insulin goes up our body moves the fat from our bloodstream into our cells and stores it. When insulin goes down we take the fat out of our cells and burn it for fuel.  Our insulin level is determined by the amount of carbohydrate we eat. High glycemic index carbs and sugar are going to drive up our insulin. Fat, however, is the one macronutrient (out of carbs, protein and fat) that has no effect on insulin.

If you’re going to design a diet that would minimize your fat accumulation (lower your weight), based purely on our biology and physiology, you would minimize your carbohydrate content and maximize your fat content. Protein would be a moderate amount, about 15-20% of your daily calories. Yet this diet we’re told by the researchers, even the American Heart Association, will give you heart disease. But biologically, this is how it works. And haven’t we watched America grow only fatter over the last three decades?

The opposite is also true. If you designed a diet that would make you fatter, you would eat a lot of high Glycemic Index carbs (simple carbs) and drink a lot of sugary beverages. This drives up your blood sugar which drives up your insulin. Insulin deposits the carbs you don’t burn as fuel into the cells where it gets stored as fat. Insulin tells the cells to burn carbs and store the rest as fat. Insulin gives that same signal to your organs as well. So, eat a lot of carbs and you won’t burn fat. Eat few carbs and you will. It’s your body’s go-to for fuel. Also, when your blood sugar drops after a high carb meal you get hungry. You eat again and the cycle repeats. However, a meal higher in healthy fat satiates your appetite. You don’t feel the need to eat again as your blood sugar doesn’t do a spike up and drop down.  

Taubes also acknowledged this knowledge has been in medical text books forever – Elevated blood sugar stimulates insulin secretion which stimulates fat storage in our fat cells and carbohydrate storage in the liver and inhibits mobilization of fat from the fat cells.

I’ve said and written this many times – a few years ago I went on a low-carb/higher healthy fat diet. I began eating more nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, some cheese and meat. I ate less carbs, hardly any simple carbs. I lost 8 pounds in a few months without trying.

Eating this way every day now keeps my weight down. I would never go back to the old way we think we should eat to lose weight – low fat, high carb. It doesn’t work, it’s unhealthy, it keeps you hungry and counting calories all day. Been there, done that for decades. 

I’m thankful every day this information reached me and I trusted it enough to try it out. Your taste buds will change and in short time you won’t miss the garbage you eat now. In fact, it will taste pretty crappy. If you’re trying to lose weight and have only done it the conventional way, give low carb/healthy fat eating a try. And, watch your blood sugars flatten out and if you’re Type 2 very likely your medicines decrease.



Why should we cope when we can flourish with diabetes?


Standing at back of room Barbara Eichorst (in the center) and me 

This past June I met Barbara Eichorst of Healthy Interactions. Barbara is an amazing person – a workhorse for sure traveling the world, and I mean the world. She might be in Pakistan or Poland or Tucson on any given day educating diabetes educators. She is one herself as well as an RD and leading Healthy Interactions’ global training and development.

Barbara and my first real communication, beyond Facebook, was Messengering while she was doing a workshop in Kyoto, Japan and I was coincidentally sitting in a Starbucks in Tokyo, Japan. She was working, I was vacationing. We realized we would both be at the American Association of Diabetes Educators conference in San Diego, so pledged to meet there.

In San Diego I joined her and a dozen of her educators from Hong Kong. We had a great time. She asked me to guest post for Healthy Interactions. Below is Barbara’s intro to the post. Click here for the full post. Enjoy.

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Three wishes for World Diabetes Day

Today I shared an amazing organization’s request. Insulin for Life are seeking unused bottles of insulin and test strips to bring to those in need. For 32 years this non profit has been supplying children, men and women around the world who would die without these. Getting unused supplies where people have no access is a wish we can all contribute to.

Full article on The Huffington Post.

I also caught up with the campaign the American Diabetes Association are running this Diabetes Month – “This Is Diabetes.” It’s our stories of who we are, still are, with diabetes. It says we may have a new story living with diabetes but we’re still here, and many of us are even stronger than before because of diabetes. My wish is that you add your story to the mosaic to inspire others.

Then I reread what I’d written for the ADA’s ‘Stop Diabetes’ campaign some years ago. It still defines me. In fact, it may be more true than ever as today my work is sharing with patients and providers, around the world, a treatment approach and mindset to help us not merely cope with diabetes, but flourish. Yes, This Is Diabetes, for me. So my final wish for you is that you look up today and see how strong you are, and that today a wish of yours comes true.

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Going back to diabetes basics

I haven’t really talked much about Diabetes Month but if you didn’t know, we’re in it. Today I received an infographic from NRS Healthcare, a leading health agency in the U.K. They asked me to share it. Below is the majority of it.

Outside of the 700 people (U.K) who get diagnosed per day stat they quote, everything  is relevant for anyone, anywhere.

This side of the pond, the American Diabetes Association reports 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed every year. Feel free to do the math. Almost 30 million Americans (both type 1 and type 2) currently have diabetes in the U.S. Add the 86 million Americans with pre-diabetes and you can say a third of the population has a blood sugar problem.

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A tribute to the tired and weary remarkable diabetes advocates everywhere…

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…and there are hundreds (thousands?) more than I could possibly represent here. Here’s a sincere tribute to all the incredible people who do this work tirelessly.

I’ve been seeing on my Facebook page a lot of discussion about burn out this month. Not burn out from managing diabetes but from advocating for diabetes.

Many of the remarkable people doing this remarkable work, who use their voice, their money, their time and talent, to raise fellow patients everywhere are burning out – as this month, Diabetes Month, gets into gear. I’m glad to see people actually say it.

It’s the proof that we too are only human. That although we bring our passion, talents and energy to lift others – through peer-mentoring, representing the diabetes community to the FDA for better products and regulations, working for diabetes device and app companies, creating amazing social media sharing sites, giving presentations at conferences, working the exhibition hall, blogging, running summits…  we too are only fallible, ordinary people also living with diabetes 24/7 like everyone else. And for many this is a second job. I just want to say hurrah, recognize how outstanding you are and give yourself the same self-care you advocate for others.

There is an irony that we privately share amongst ourselves. When at industry meetings, conferences and events, when with those who should realize blood sugar is within our influence, but not our control, when we’re seated there as patient representatives for our hard won knowledge and experience, if we’re having a low, we are shy to let it be seen.

I’m sure this is deeply psychological. Even when we all know diabetes is fluctuating blood sugars and unpredictability, we feel somehow as role models we have to do this all perfectly.

I just returned from Chicago last night. It was my second trip there in a month. I gave the A1C Champion peer-mentor program I’ve been delivering across the country for the past 10 years. Last night I spoke to 45 people in Glenview, IL. Many were members of a group called the T1D Lounge. A group that fellow advocate and PWD, Merle Gleeson, created and has been running for the past 20 years. She said to me,  “Every year I think I’ll stop, but you know, I can’t. For then who will do this?” Most of us like the T-shirt says, “Run on insulin.” I’d venture to say all of us run on what this work gives us – a sense of purpose, of contribution and making a difference.

I love my work as an inspirational speaker and flourishing-with-diabetes workshop facilitator. It energizes me. This work fuels us, we choose it, we make a difference in hundreds, thousands of peoples’ lives. Yet all of us in this space can relate, along with the maps we post on Facebook of our constant travel, to the weariness of too many flights, too many hotels and yet feeling there’s still so much to do.

This month, particularly this month, you, you diabetes warrior, find the time to put your feet up, have your partner, friend, dog, neighbor hand you a cocktail, look around your room, your house, at your family, take a deep breath and know, really know, the world is a better place because you have made it so.