Gluten-Free Expo Review

Disclosure: The Gluten-Free Media Group provided me with a complimentary admission to Gluten-Free Expo. All opinions are my own.

Gluten-Free expo was amazing. So many different products to explore! I was quite familiar with some products and approached those vendors as a true fangirl. And there were many more that were either new to me or that I have not had a chance to sample in the past.

All the swag! All the vendors!

Without further ado, I present to you some of my favorites.

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Everything by BFree. Like, everything. Breads, bagels, pita bread (yes, GF pita bread exists), breadsticks – everything is so good! I’ve heard of the brand before but this was my first time sampling it. A+

 

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These things are like crack. Seriously, you can’t eat just one. Very tasty and make great appetizers/party food.

 

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So many yummy things by this company that was completely new to me. See that chocolate cake mix? Tried it. Tastes amazing.

 

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So Delicious is so delicious. Also so blurry, sorry. Why yogurt, you ask? Isn’t yogurt normally GF anyway? Well, yes. I loved this for my own selfish reason. In my early twenties I developed mild lactose tolerance. A few years ago it got worse. Thank goodness I can still have cheese and most processed dairy products, as well as just a little bit of milk/cream. But I had to say good bye to yogurts and ice cream altogether, because doubling over in pain is so not worth it. So Delicious makes yummy coconut milk based yogurts and ice-creams. Trust me, I tried many and it’s not that easy to pull it off.

 

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Using the swag I brought back, I assembled V’s lunch later that day: a sandwich with BFree bread roll, So Delicious yogurt, and sun butter.

 

The following day I decided to bring V along. It felt great to be able to tell her that she could eat everything. How often does that happen? Almost never.

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Some of V’s favorites were Sun Butter and Milton’s chips. Yum!

So it’s lovely when everything is GF and I could say yes to everything. Except that stupid diabetes thing that did not agree with all of the sampling V had. We tried to estimate carbs best we could but ended up severely underestimating.

 

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Oops! We fixed it, using mainly insulin. For bonus points tell me at what time we arrived to the Expo? How were you able to tell?

 

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V was excited to assemble her lunch for the following day, using some of her favorite products.

 

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Last but not least, we got to try Keli’s Sauces. Sweet N Sour sauce was hands-down favorite. Not only is it delicious, it’s also pretty low in carbs, at 5 g per 1 TBS. V dips everything into it. It’s taken an honorable place alongside ketchup and it’s a place hard-earned.

I can’t wait to go to the Expo next year and if I’m lucky I’ll make it to other Expos. I highly recommend you do the same. If you go, I have a pro tip for you: go hungry or else you won’t be able to get through even a fraction of samples. Also,  you may not need another meal that day. Or ever.

Giveaway Results!

I feel like Oprah. You get a ticket, and you get a ticket, EVERYONE GETS A TICKET!

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Image Credit: Giphy

Everyone who commented on my last post gets one free ticket to the Gluten Free Expo in San Diego! Please email me using the Contact tab and I’ll give you the code.

Missed the giveaway? I have a 20% off coupon for you!

1. Visi ticketing page: http://ow.ly/t0j7306YzeQ
2. Enter promotional code ADVANCE at the top & click apply
3. Select the ticket(s) you want and & click order now

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Sound of silence

V asked to take a little break from Dexcom. Just for a day or two, she said, and then we’d put it back on. It’s been two weeks and counting. Sometimes you don’t realize how much something affects you until it’s no longer there. This break is helping me realize that I have a major case of alarm fatigue.

These two weeks have been so much quieter. No more daily high and low alerts. No more waking up in the middle of the night to false alarms. No more buzzing and beeping in the middle of various activities. Mind you, there are plenty of other beeps that keep our senses stimulated. The “Beep Beeeeep, Beep Beeeeep” of the pod, one hour after we change it or a few hours before it expires.  Or the “Click Click Click Click Click STAB!” sound of cannula insertion. Or the “SCREEEEEEEAAAAAAACHHHHHHHHHH” song of its people the pod sang to us when it failed this morning. But those are far less frequent noises compared to the daily onslaught of Dexcom alarms.

There have been times here and there I really missed our “Deckie.” V was not feeling well for a couple of days last week and I wished I had the data to better fine-tune her basal rates.  There were a couple of nights we had to get up in the middle of the night and test, instead of being able to glance at V’s BG on our phones. There were several times it would have been so much more convenient to dose by Dexcom instead of having to test. And there were a couple of times I would have treated high BG a lot more aggressively had I had Dexcom trend data to inform me of how BG was responding.

Despite mentioning here and there that she wanted to put Dexcom back on, V does not seem eager about it, and we are not pushing. Truth is, we are enjoying the sound of silence. In the meantime, we are finding value in going back to basics, staying in tune with V’s body, letting go of micromanaging BG, and using our spidey-sense to make dosing decisions. Tonight V woke up, got out of bed and came downstairs to tell me she felt really low. Indeed, she was 44. Perhaps we would have caught it much earlier with Dexcom, but we caught it anyway, treated, and back to sleep she went. A few days ago, she was 56 after intense swim practice. It would have been so much easier if we could see her BG trend on Dexcom. But V asked me if she could wait it out a little and not treat because she felt OK and because her BG often tends to shoot up after practice. I agreed. Sure enough, 15 minutes later she was 65, and settled on a solid number in lower 100’s within an hour.

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No Dexom? No problem. She scores 100 anyway!

This break won’t last forever. V’s middle school sleepover is approaching in a few weeks and at that time wearing Dexcom will not be negotiable. We will take it one day at a time.  And maybe there is room for a compromise? We could turn off all alerts altogether and use Dexcom solely for trend data. Or we could change low alert from 75 to 55, and high alert from 225 to 350, in order to not miss more serious lows or highs. Or perhaps my alarm fatigue will be diminished so much that I will be ready to go back to our old settings and put up with the alerts in exchange for easier and more precise BG management.

This time will come soon enough. Today, I am letting go.

 

 

Global Athlete

Back in January our kids went to ski/snowboarding camp that was put together by Riding on Insulin. Kids and a blast I wrote about our experience in this post. We were really inspired by staff and volunteers of ROI. It was then and there that I decided that I absolutely needed to get involved with RIO somehow. I did so by becoming a Global Athlete so that I can fundraise for ROI to keep the programs going.

ROI has a thriving endurance team. It is comprised of Type 1’s and other Type 3’s (friends and family of Type 1’s). Most of the people train for Ironman races. Now, I am definitely not cut out for Ironman for many reasons, but I can run a little.

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And I am crazy inspired by anyone who does an Ironman. Fortunately, I did not have to sign up for Ironman (or any triathlon, actually) to become part of ROI endurance team. As a Global Athlete, I can stick to running. I’ve made a commitment to run at least three races and raise at least $1500 by the end of this year.

It’s interesting how things work out sometimes. Prior to January camp, I’d been on a racing hiatus. I experienced a major training burnout while preparing for New York Marathon in 2014, and after I completed it I took a break. I kept running but went for over a year without doing a race. My decision to fundraise for ROI kicked me out of my complacency and abruptly ended my hiatus. We came back from ROI camp on Sunday evening; I was enrolled as a Global Athlete and signed up for a race by following Tuesday afternoon. I was one of those things that just felt right.

I decided to stick to half-marathons because I am not yet ready to do another full marathon (though I think I might have one more left in me.) It seemed challenging enough anyway given my hiatus, and that even prior to it I was typically doing only two races per year. My training and fundraising took off.

In March, I completed my first of three – San Diego Half Marathon.

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Yesterday, I completed my second of three – San Diego Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon.

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Actually, our family completed a little triathlon of sorts: all except for my hubby had races yesterday. V had swim meet, her brother had BMX race, and I ran my half. We had to do some crazy juggling to get everyone to their events but we pulled it off.

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My third race is TBD in the fall. I have not made up my mind yet. So many good options out there!

Of course I have to close out with the link to my fundraising page, if you are so inclined to support my fundraising. No amount is too small, every dollar is appreciated, and you know that your donations will go directly toward awesome adventure sports camps for T1D kids. We can’t wait for our next one!

 

Diabetes Blog Week: Tips and Tricks

Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.) 

I am not the most organized person, to put it gently. But now we have too much diabetes paraphernalia and it has to be organized somehow. Below are some of my favorite things that help me keep diabetes stuff more organized  less disorganized.

This Lazy Susan office supply organizer is great for keeping lots of diabetes things in one place. It holds our wipes, lancets, strips, tape and more. It can hold infusion sets but it’s a tight fit for pods a tad too small for Dexcom sensors. I can jam a few in but it’s not really worth it, so we keep those separately. Someone on my local T1D Facebook page recommended this organizer and it’s worked great for us. Here is it on Amazon for $22, not too bad.

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It took some trial and error to figure out how to carry our back-up supplies. We are often on the go and there have been many times we had to change a pod unexpectedly, or check for ketones, or fix/attach/detach/mcgyver something, so we need to carry lots of crap with us. We tried different baggies and cases but nothing really worked. Then one day I saw one of my fellow D-Mom friends (or, as Katy brilliantly recommends, a D-Unit) with this little medical case. I ran, not walked – RAN – to Target to buy it. Best $5 purchase ever. It changed my life.

On the outside, it’s a perfect size, unassuming, yet its purpose is clear, it zips closed so that nothing falls out, it has a handy handle and even a touch of pizzazz.

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On the inside, it is roomy and functional, has different compartments (BTW I think I have a borderline unhealthy love for compartments and zipped pockets), and fits all our necessary backup stuff: insulin, syringes, pods, wipes, ketone meter, glucagon, extra strips, scissors, batteries, and more. Everything has its place and stays put. Loooooove.

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Last but not least, this beauty, along with the PDM, Dexcom receiver, and a couple of gluten-free snacks, goes inside a small backpack, which we refer to as Diabetes Kit. It’s usually V’s responsibility to pack it and wear it. We don’t leave home without it. At least in theory. We may have accidentally left it behind once or twice or thirty million times.

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By the way, the front pocket is where we keep fast acting sugars, for quick and easy access.

And that’s a wrap! Or a zip-up 🙂

I had a blast writing these Diabetes Blog Week posts. Don’t forget to check other people’s posts here. 

Diabetes Blog Week Wednesday: Language and Diabetes

There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

There are so many words and phrases surrounding diabetes that can evoke a strong response. Where to even begin to describe some of mine?

Coincidentally, I weighed in on what I think about “diabetic” in one of last year’s Diabetes Blog Week Posts.  The short of it is, it’s OK, it does not bother me in the slightest.

I could talk about “compliance”. That’s one word that does not make me – and many others – feel warm and fuzzy, especially when it’s used by healthcare professionals to slap a negative judgment without making any efforts to understand why their patient is struggling.

But you know what word really gets a reaction out of me? Wait for it, wait for it…

DIABETES.

That’s right. I am totally serious. I have a very complicated relationship with that word.

There is a part of me that is simply sick and tired of hearing it. Diabetes, shmiabites… How often do I hear it every day? How often do I say it myself? Diabetes brings me no joy and saying/seeing/hearing it is no exception. When I don’t say it out-loud, I think it. Diabetesdiabetesdiabetesdiabetesdiabetes… Sometimes it’s just a slightly annoying white noise; other times it’s like a swarm of angry wasps. Can I please have a day without saying, hearing or seeing the word?

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Often, when I hear the word “diabetes” uttered by a stranger, I recoil. What’s going to come next? A mean-spirited joke? A deluge of misinformation? A judgment? An unsolicited advice? It immediately puts me on a defense. Do I say something? Do I let it go?

Then there is a hassle aspect of it. You can’t just say “My daughter has diabetes” and leave it at that. It’s not like “she has hazel eyes”, or “she is 11 years old”.  Once the word “diabetes” comes out of my mouth, some version of an elevator speech must follow. There are times I don’t mind. And there are times I absolutely cannot stand it. I can feel anywhere from annoyed to exhausted, depending on what’s going on.

Yet, there are times when, upon hearing “diabetes”, my ears perk up and my heart skips a beat, in a good way. It usually happens when I’m with my T1D tribe, or when I meet a new diabetic/family, or when a person who’s addressing me clearly knows what they are talking about. When a stranger at Costco notices my daughter’s pump or CGM and asks if she has diabetes, it’s a good sign! The word becomes a symbol of connection, unity and understanding. Bring it on!

And then, when I am particularly mad at diabetes the thing, I call it “diabeetus”. No matter what is going on, calling diabetes “diabeetus” makes me chuckle. As soon as I can laugh at it, it’s a battle half-won.

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Within Goal

Stay within the lines, the lines are your friend… Screw that, says diabetes…

Our lines are between 70 and 150. We try to beat diabetes into submission by forcing BG to fit between the two lines. Now, this range is rather arbitrary. 70 is fairly standard, as that’s usually the bottom normal for people without diabetes. Some people with diabetes actually feel pretty lousy in the 70’s, so they may shoot for a higher bottom target. V feels excellent in the 70’s, so unless she’s going down or running around/being active, we are perfectly happy there. 150 is a total crapshoot. People with functioning pancreases hardly ever get BG above 120, and that’s usually after consuming a massive amount of carbs. For us, getting through a day without going over 150 is almost unprecedented. It usually happens when V has some sort of GI upset, which makes her run low. So that’s not anything to celebrate or be proud of.

But rarely, very rarely, magic happens. (Full disclosure: we are going to pretend a little here, because at 11:30 V actually dropped below 70. However, my day ended at 11 and, after I snapped the photo below, I fell soundly asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. I did not even hear Dexcom alarm. Hubs got up to handle V’s BG while I blissfully slept through it all.) So, for all I care, March 19th was a perfect day with V’s BG staying within the lines.

Within goal: 100%

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