What are Carbs?

This isn’t some boring scientific definition of carbohydrates. It’s a cheeky one.


Carbohydrates are a form of energy. This is the most simple definition that comes to mind when answering, “What are Carbs?” A question asked to me by a close family member, someone who I thought not only would know but might understand their effects on me growing up with Type 1 Diabetes. Of my seventeen years counting carbohydrates, watching carbs swing my moods and require more insulin, I have gone through my fair share of burnouts. Diabetes burnout is a real thing but that’s not what I’m addressing in this post. Right now, I’m talking about zooming in on one of the veins that leads to the greatness that is a large, pounding Diabetes Burnout. This vein is the exhaustion of the word, the smell, the numbers, the taste and the effects of c a r b o h y d r a t e s.

They get a bad rap. The pitbull of the food game, and like pitbulls, are actually really sweet but put in a bad light by society. People have developed some twisted and very faulty connection between carbohydrates and being unhealthy. Trendy diets limiting carb intake or full on casting them away and people crediting not eating carbohydrates to dramatic weight losses? Well yeah, no wonder you lost weight, Susan, you’re starving. Instead of replacing their white bread with whole grains, or enjoying a jelly doughnut for breakfast every now and again they are restricting themselves and banishing all carbohydrates to the same corner.

Here’s another answer to that baffling question; carbs are not bad for you. I’ll be straight up, I’m defensive around the topic of carbohydrates as a Type 1 Diabetic. (Surprised or have you smelled my attitude through this entire post?) For the majority of my life I’ve had to pay special attention to carbohydrates as they do cause a fluctuation in my Blood Glucose levels so by taking them out of the equation, steady graphs may result but ya know what won’t stay steady? My happiness. I enjoy carbohydrates. Does that mean I eat McDouble- Doubles for dinner? No. Does it mean I can eat a handful of maui onion flavored potato chips for a snack? Heck to the fudging yes. That’s the best flavor.

When clearing up the misconception that Type 1 Diabetics can’t enjoy carbohydrates – by the way, nobody ever questions me for chowing down on some roasted sweet potato with quinoa, but they do say with a sneer, “Can you even it that?” when I’m reaching for a cookie with less carbohydrates. Anyways, I tell everyone asking questions about my diet as a Type 1 Diabetic that I can eat whatever I want, I just have to think about it a bit longer. For every food decision, I spend an extra 30 seconds between “Do I want this?” and “I’ll take two” asking myself questions like

  • What’s my blood sugar like right now?
  • Is this food going to make my BG harder to bring down to target?
  • Am I actually hungry or just bored, is it really worth bringing out a syringe for?
  • How much will I have to bolus for this?
  • Am I going to be exercising anytime after this?

Might even be more than 30 seconds, really. Whether the answers are in favor of the sustenance or not, the mind of a diabetic is surrounded with so much anxiety around food that it begins to feel like a weapon used against us. Our conversations with strangers explaining stigmas around Type 1 Diabetes usually lead to food, suggestions for favorite low carb recipes, condolence gifts consisting of sugar-free gummy bears. Carbohydrates are this recurring theme when struggling with what this disease means. I’m exhausted. I wish it was just all food. A four letter word without macronutrients being misjudged.

xoxo

Ciara

This is not sponsored by Hawaiian Chips- though that would be pretty neat.

Foods Against the Flu

Smack dab in the middle of July, I was struck with the flu. Not a stomach flu, thank goodness! For two days, my comfy, soft, lovely bed became my death bed. Whenever I’m sick, I either lose my appetite or the only foods that “sound good” aren’t the most nutritious like a grilled cheese (with like white bread and Kraft singles) or a pot of macaroni and cheese. I know deep, deep, deep down that these foods aren’t the way to help me fight off whatever malicious virus is taking over my body. So this time around I worked very hard to find meals that I wanted to eat and tasted as good as food can taste when you’re sick. Though I kind of had to drag myself out of bed when I was due for a meal, I found my own kind of comfort foods that kept my stomach full and immune system JUICED. Whoa that was aggressive, I just mean got it ready to fight.

Being sick is one thing, being sick with Type 1 Diabetes is another because our Blood Glucose (BG) levels are harder to keep at a homeostasis while our body is fighting the sickness- it is under immense stress. The hormones our bodies release when under stress to fight off the illness tend to interfere with the insulin and raise our BG levels. When those sugars aren’t in range – our immune system isn’t at it’s optimal strength. I think this is why I fell victim to the flu because the night before, I had a night of very high BG’s when I forgot to give my night time dose of long-lasting insulin. Having my body so far from homeostasis, allowed some walls to come down and the virus to enter. This is just a theory! But it goes to show why it’s important to keeping sugars stable and pay extra attention to the diabetes while being sick.


1. Smoothies

Antioxidants are the players you should have in your diet while battling a virus because they help you bounce back faster so you can get right back to work and fall back behind on your T.V shows. Vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene are some fun antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and are prettttty easy to get. Luckily a nice cold smoothie felt really good on my tender throat and tasted really good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ c. frozen cauliflower – Vitamin C, babyyy
  • ½ banana
  • Pawful of berries; strawberries, blueberries, blackberries!
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood
  • 1 tbsp. Almond butter
  • Just a splash of water/nut mylk – get that hydration!

Don’t forget to pre-bolus for any smoothie with a good amount of fruit because all the sugars from the fruit hit you fast in liquid form. I started using this Amazing Grass Green Superfood blend when I was working at Whole Foods (they have little single packets to try!). I love this mixture because it has all the vitamins and minerals from greens condensed into this scoop of powder that’s easy to mix into smoothies or just plain nut milk! It’s a large boost of greens that are great for that immune system.

2. SOUPer Excited to Hydrate

I know this is the first piece of advice for basically anything. Want clear skin? Hydrate! Want to learn how to fly? Hydrate! But really, consuming fluids is important for a Diabetic with a virus. By staying hydrated, the kidneys are able to balance electrolytes as well as filter out waste efficiently. As diabetics, we already need to keep hydration a priority as it helps blood flow and keep sugars stable so when our noses are running and mucus is constantly leaving our body from coughing, sneezing, we need to replenish as. much. as. possible.

When I was sick, I made sure my water bottle was always filled and took one Nuun tablet a day. Nuun has an immunity tablet with vitamins for when you’re feeling sick, stressed or on the go. I also made soups for dinner- well not made, I’m too lazy for that. But Amy’s has some great canned soups like Lentil Vegetable and Black Bean Vegetable. Soups get those liquids in ya system!

3. Beans and Toast

One of my favorite comfort foods. A fried egg sandwich used to be when I was younger. Wild. Amy’s at it again with their white beans in tomato sauce that are lovely when heated and put on some buttered toast. I really liked this combination with Beckmanns’ German Style Farm Bread loaf toasted and buttered up. I don’t like to hold back with extra fats and proteins when I’m sick because I know I’m not eating a lot so I try and fit them in when I can. Beans provide some solid sustenance when sick. They’re filling and bring some magnesium and B vitamins to give your body some energy. Although the appetite has left the building, pushing yourself to get this meal is so worth it and fulfills that crunchy, salty grilled cheese craving for me.


It’s hard to say if these meals sped up my recovery but there’s no doubt they benefited me more than just surrendering to my lack of appetite or eating junk food. I hope nobody has to deal with the kind of virus I had but unfortunately, as Type 1 Diabetics, our immune system can weaken easily depending on our management. Stay healthy, my friends!

xoxo

Ciara

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission when you shop through them! Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog, it means the world to me!

Balanced Bulletproof Coffee

Trying not to do the thing where you have to read ALL about the product before just getting straight to the recipe BUT I have to tell you why I started making this coffee almost daily. This is like a bulletproof coffee (coffee high in fat to keep you full longer, throughout the day etc.) – that never appealed to me because if I want to be full… I’ll eat food… I love coffee but I also love breakfast and I don’t think those two are synonymous and never should be.

Most of my workouts start between 8A.M-9A.M and I don’t get up until about an hour before. This is because I want to make sure my Blood Glucose levels are ready to go and so that I can fill my tummy a bit before. Oh and to drink my double espresso. I’m a big believer in making sure not to workout on an empty stomach but I also don’t want to make any of my favorite breakfasts before a workout. That takes too much time and fills my stomach too much. I’m not trying to lose my breakfast all over the barre studio, ya know? So I usually opt for half a bar (Rx, Larabar, Perfect are some of my go-tos!) with my morning espresso.

Okay now we’re getting to the coffee.

I don’t wake up starving but my workout is much more enjoyable and efficient when my stomach isn’t growling and I really feel like I have more energy. The times I’ve gone straight to the workout without a bite, leave me running to the kitchen to stuff my face after and I just don’t find that enjoyable. I wanted something that can hold me over, provide me my macronutrients, and wake me up before my morning workouts. Thus was born the Balancing Bulletproof!


My coffee dose is usually a double espresso, nothing else. I like my coffee strong and bitter. I don’t add anything like cream or sugar so this was a big change for me! But this drink gives my body so many more nutrients and good food while tasting SO DANG AMAZING. After blending up the ingredients, there’s a smooth foam created and each sip is rich and creamy. YUMMY. If you don’t like your coffee strong, just modify the ingredients a tad until you get your desired flavor! By following the recipe below, it won’t have a strong coffee taste especially if using flavored collagen or sweetened nut milks!

Enjoy and please feel free to shoot me a message if you like it and tag me in your posts if you try it!

What you’ll need:

  • -6 oz hot water

  • -2 shots of espresso

  • -A dash of cinnamon

*Modest Mylk is a fun little find I found on Thrive Market! It’s a nut mylk BASE. Meaning, you mix with water then refrigerate to make your own nut milk with SO much less waste. Each jar saves 11 cartons that would usually be used to sell mylk!


How To:

Putting the teaspoon of ghee at the bottom of the cup, pour the hot water over so it starts melting! Add the espresso, milk, date syrup, cinnamon and then lastly – add the collagen protein RIGHT before blending it up in a Nutribullet or blender to avoid clumping!

How I Bolus:

I bolus for about 10g carbs for this baby, depending on how much date syrup you use and what kind of protein powder/collagen I’m using! Because it’s a first thing in the morning kind of beverage, my BG is much more susceptible to spiking or at least trending up so I bolus with that in mind!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission when you shop through them! Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog, it means the world to me!

I'm Going on a Pumpcation!

Pump-ca-tion

/pump’kāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. An extended period of time disconnected from insulin pump

    “I’ll be taking a pumpcation after nearly 15 years of being connected to a pump”

verb

  1. To take a pumpcation

    “While I’m pumpcationing, I’ll be doing MDI (multiple daily injections) to receive my insulin”


This post contains “Reasons Why I’m Taking Pumpcation,” explaining my personal reasons for disconnecting from the pump temporarily and “How to Book a Pumpcation,” a walkthrough of the steps I took before going on MDI.


I can’t remember when exactly I first hooked up to an insulin pump but I was about 8 or 9, only a couple years post-diagnosis. Someone came over to my house and with my parents, taught me how to use the insulin pump. We practiced inserting a cannula beneath my skin, and filling a reservoir of insulin, two things we would need to do every three days. After we felt confident in these maneuvers, I was left with a long wire attaching a little me to a little machine.

Not until I went to Diabetes Camp did I learn how to insert the pump on my own. I came home after two weeks away from my family feeling SO proud of this accomplishment. I found the back of my arm to be my favorite spot. It was the most painless, lasted the full three days (except on the rare occasion it would be caught on a nosy door knob). But lately, I’ve been a little burnt out. Not on Type 1 Diabetes (well more than usual, anyways) but on my pump. I’m exhausted after what? Over 2,000 pump sites all over my body. That’s not including the ones that don’t work, the ones that bleed, the ones that are uncomfortable.

So it’s time to take a pumpcation. Packing up my pump supplies and heading on a one way ticket to shots-ville. Not tequila. Just insulin shots. This might only last a week, but I’m going to try and last 30 days. That seems like a fair time to allow my body to adjust to the long-acting insulin and figure out if injections fit my lifestyle better!

Reasons Why I’m Taking a Pumpcation:

-Change-

Change is good, change is refreshing. A pumpcation is like a change of scenery, like I’m taking my diabetes to face the ocean instead of the city. Humans vacation to help with burnout at work and the real world. Their one week on the beach is supposed to be stress-free with no work emails or calls. Although I can’t take a vacation from my diabetes, the pumpcation can be refreshing in the same way.

-Dependent on Technology-

It’s currently 2019- we’re ALWAYS on our technology. You’re reading this via iphone, tablet, computer and heck, I’m using technology to type this. Being without pump will eliminate a piece of technology that I’m feeling dependent on. I want to remind myself that under certain circumstances, I can survive with MDI (multiple daily injections). I think of this as like going from an automatic vehicle to a stick shift because incase you ever rent a car in Europe or go on The Amazing Race then you know you’ll make it (the cars are most always stick shift and the losers never know how to drive them).

-Disconnect-

Okay, did you know that my pants have TWO pockets?! Without a bulky pump taking up the space of one pocket, I’ll have two usable pockets to keep whatever I want in! What does one actually put in pockets though? I’ll find out. Along with the freeing up of pockets, I won’t be connected to a wire. This wire quite literally keeps me alive so it’s not anything I can risk getting yanked out by door knobs or tearing out when the pump machine falls out of my pocket (okay, what are pockets actually good for?). Although I’ll be wearing a Dexcom™ (wireless) – this change is a bit more freeing.

How to Book Your Pumpcation:

-Make sure the time is right-

Ya don’t want to book a trip during the wrong season; the weather might be crappy or the flights expensive. You also don’t want to take your pumpcation during the wrong time! This May, my A1c is officially the lowest it has ever been. I was 7.6% before I started wearing the Dexcom™ and currently, am at 6.5%. Not only are the numbers showing me that my diabetes is more controlled, but I also feel the difference in my day to day life. Since joining the Type 1 Diabetes community online, I feel supported and encouraged to live my best life by taking care of myself. Reflecting on this, assured myself (and my doctors) that it was an appropriate time to take a pumpcation.

-Talk to your doctor and book this pumpcation-

Your doctor is like your travel agent here, they should help in figuring out the best time to go on a pumpcation. Every doctor has their own method and reasoning for why or why not to take a pumpcation. Make sure to receive your endocrinologist’s blessing before going on a pumpcation to figure out if the time is right, as well as to receive some tools in figuring out insulin sensitivity and carb to insulin ratios!

-Start packing and planning-

Like planning an itinerary for an actual vacation, figure out what the next, say 30 days are going to be like and start packing! I chose to use insulin pens for my short-acting insulin and just a syringe for my long-acting insulin. I also had to decide when I wanted to administer my long-acting and because I trend lower at night, I’m going to do it in the morning! I’ve also figured out what my fears/worries are for this time. I like to workout about 5-6 days a week and I usually set a temporary basal on the pump but you can’t do that with long-acting insulin shots. So this is going to have to be something I pay extra attention to!


Make sure to subscribe to stay updated on how this little experiment goes! I will definitely be coming back to contrast my time pump-free with my time needle-full.

xoxo

Ciara

4 Delicious Cocktails That Won't Spike Your Blood Sugar

The holidays are here everyone! Whether you like a sneaky cocktail or shy glass of wine every now and again, the holidays are booked up in events that will more than likely serve one or the other. Type 1 Diabetics are totally able to drink buuuuut like with most things diabetics do, we have to think about it more than others when doing so. As a twenty-something who occasionally socializes and lives with a family of happy hour fanatics, I enjoy having a cocktail or glass of wine.

To make things a little easier for the thirsty diabetic this holiday season, here are some fun cocktails I whipped up with the help of cocktail connoisseur, Alli DelGrippo (@allidelgrippo). I reached out to Alli who works in the alcohol business in Philadelphia, PA and asked her opinion about low carb cocktails. Below you’ll find a cocktail for the gin, tequila, vodka or mimosa loving side of you! All these cocktails contain less than 5 grams of sugar, and can be made in no more than 5 minutes!

“May your bubbles be merry, and your spirits be bright,”

– Alli DelGrippo

1. GINger ‘Bucha

For all my fellow gin lovers, here’s a refreshing drink that tingles the taste buds and relaxes the shoulders.

-1.5 oz of gin

-¼ cup club soda

-¼ cup Health Ade Ginger Kombucha

-Squeeze of a lemon

-Fresh mint

Muddle up some mint in a shaker, throw in some ice and pour over the rest of the ingredients! Strain, top with mint garnish and enjoy!

2. Tequila Watermelon

Watermelon & tequila are great drinking partners. Watermelon doesn’t have a lot of sugar but still has a light, sweetness that is cut with some lime to make a refreshing cocktail.

-1.5 oz. of tequila

-4 muddled cubes of watermelon

-½ cup of club soda

-Just a tad bit of agave

-Squeezed lime

First, muddle up the watermelon cubes in a shaker and add ice and the rest of the ingredients. Strain and drink!

3. Tito’s Classic

This classic club soda and vodka with a wheel of lime and orange is refreshing and slightly sweet!

-1.5 oz of Tito’s vodka

-Wheel of orange

-Wheel of lime

-½ cup of club soda

Pour Tito’s vodka and club soda over ice, put the wheels on the rim of the glass to serve. When ready to drink, put the orange and lime in the glass for flavor!

4. Bubbly Blueberry

Adding a bit of sweetness to a glass of sparkling wine never hurt nobody! This one definitely won’t be spiking your Blood Glucose levels, but make sure to bolus for the dash lavender syrup!

– Blueberries

-Sparkling wine

-Lavender syrup

Muddle the blueberries in a shaker, pour the bubbly over and add a dash of lavender syrup! Strain and sip!


Remember to alwaysalways always drink responsibly. With Type 1 Diabetes, you have to take certain precautions when drinking. Check on your blood glucose levels as frequent as possible and stay away from super fruity, juicy cocktails that will spike your blood sugar! To learn more about my experience learning how to drink with Type 1 Diabetes, check out my blog post: How to Drink and Bolus

Have some friends over, put together a cheese plate and enjoy the buzz of the holidays and these drinks!

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit!

The more ya eat, the more ya toot!

I used to have a real distaste towards beans without ever trying them. Just like most teenagers, I just made an assumption that I didn’t like them. Now that I’m a mature (ha!) twenty-something, I’ve found ways to enjoy these fiber and protein, packed little nuggets. One way is in this fre$h salad!

My three-bean salad consists of kidney beans, navy beans and garbanzo beans, all have a around 15 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrates (with 12 grams of fiber, making the net carbs around 33 grams) per cup! Not to mention the high amounts of manganese, folate, and iron.

Why are those three essential to our diet?

Manganese-
Manganese is an essential mineral that our body doesn’t need a whole lot of (as opposed to the way we fawn over Vitamin C and B-12) but that doesn’t make it any less important. This mineral aids in bone health. It’s stored in the bones and helps increase bone density. If you’re at risk for osteoporosis, try getting more of this mineral to help keep those bones kickin’.

Folate-

Folate is a vitamin that is mostly heard in relation to the prego ladies. That’s because it aids in rapid growth and development, which is exactly what’s happening inside those bellies! But folate, or folic acid, also helps those not expecting as it’s needed to produce red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. The production of red blood cells are important to keep oxygen flowing through your veins and white blood cells kick butt against infections.

Iron-

We all know this big guy, because I’m sure some of you have heard of or know someone who is anemic, meaning they have an iron deficiency. When someone has anemia, it means they are “lacking blood,” and will most likely be treated with iron supplements, as iron is an important ingredient in hemoglobin (blood).

In addition to the major health benefits of filling that tummy of yours with beans, the reflection of them on my Blood Glucose (BG) levels was beautiful. Because beans aren’t just carbohydrates but rather, accompanied by protein and some fat- they don’t spike my BG. Yes, there are carbohydrates in them but I like to bolus post-eating because the carbohydrates raise my BG so slowly over a few hours after eating.

So now that you know how much awesomeness are in beans, here’s a SUPER easy salad that you can make for a week of lunches! I made this bean salad and it lasted me a whole WEEK! The best part was that you don’t have to eat it the same way every day. What I mean by that is that you can use it as part of a larger salad or add some goodies to it and spice it up (but please always eat it with your mouth haha)!

Ingredients:

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can navy beans

1 can kidney beans

1/2 red onion, chopped finely

Mint (however much you see fit!)

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Olive Oil

Lemon

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Now pay attention closely, you’re going to take all these ingredients and toss them in a mixing bowl. Voila! Magic.

Hint: Drizzy drizzzzle some Balsamic vinaigrette (I love the Balsamic dressing from from Primal Kitchen) on it before serving!

But really, this isn’t anything crazy or revolutionizing the nutrition world but is really great for keeping you full on the go and full of fiber, carbs, protein and vitamins! Top with some avocado, add some tomato, scatter some beans on your favorite salad or maybe even mix with some tuna filets. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before taking supplements and ask your Registered Dietitian about carb input. This is the method that works best for me and my diabetes, but we are all different.

4 Bolus Friendly Breakfasts

At twelve years old, I would go to bed thinking about Nick Jonas but now I go to bed almost every night thinking about breakfast. That’s weird, I know. But breakfast (and a hot cup of coffee) actually make me look forward to leaving the comfort of my bed in the morning. That’s how powerful this meal is. I guess Nick Jonas would have the same affect if he was waiting for me in the kitchen, but he’s usually not.

Anyways, I can’t remember the last time I skipped breakfast but I do know that the days when I can take my time and sit down to enjoy a freshly whipped up breakie are SIGNIFICANTLY better. But breakfast with Type 1 Diabetes get tricky when my cravings clash with my blood glucose (BG) levels. Starting the day with low BG means starting the day dizzy, confused, and with an uncontrollable appetite. Just a reminder to never let a hypoglycemic diabetic near a kitchen. Ever. Waking up with high BG isn’t any better. This scenario involves fatigue, thirst, and though one of the textbook symptoms of hyperglycemia is hunger – for me, that feeling is usually replaced with a lack of appetite. Probably because my body already feels like it has enough glucose and is waiting for insulin to arrive.

If you’ve ever encountered this problem, then you’re a normal diabetic and nothing is wrong with you. This is my morning struggle (but not really, because either way I get breakfast). So here are four of my favorite breakfasts that are bolus and blood glucose friendly!


Sunny Side Up Eggs with Avocado

Waking up with a high blood glucose level is not when I want to have pancakes, smoothies full of fruit, or yogurt bowls drizzled with honey for breakfast. I just don’t crave carbohydrates with high BG. This might just be me knowing that by adding more glucose to my bloodstream, I’ll have a more difficult time bringing my BG down to homeostasis (100 mg/dL-150 mg/dL), and I do not want to deal with that. Type 1 Diabetics can DEFINITELY have as many pancakes, waffles, toast with jam as we want, but we might choose not too for the sake of our BG. For me personally, I avoid starting my day with carbs when my BG is already on the hyper side in order to prevent a rollercoaster of BG’s and then I feel like my options for breakfast are limited to ones that don’t include carbs.

The bolus given to correct the high BG can take 15 to 20 minutes to bring back to target – BUT (there’s always a but with this disease) when your body (diabetic or not) first wakes up in the morning after seven plus hours of inactivity, the liver sends out a burst of glucagon (glucose stored in the liver), as it’s been slowly releasing glucagon while your body was fasting (since you’re not eating while you’re sleeping- but if you do, that’s cool and you should go see somebody). Basically, this response can cause a little raise in BG numbers.

With these kind of mornings, my favorite breakfast is two fried eggs (in avocado oil) with half an avocado and an arugula salad with some cherry tomatoes, possibly a side of berries and almond butter. The protein from the eggs and almond butter fill me up and slow down the processing of the sugar from the berries. If BG is normal in the morning, adding a quesadilla or piece of whole wheat toast to the plate is a perfect way to get in complex carbs.

Total Carbs: Zero carbs! Woo-hoo! The only thing is, if you start your morning with absolutely no carbs to make your cells happy (glucose is their preferred source of energy), your BG levels are bound to crash eventually. So I suggest having a some kind of carb once your BG has come down to homeostasis or about an hour after breakfast.


Sweet Potato Hash

As I began paying more attention to nutrition and more specifically the importance of carbohydrates, I had to play with my basal rates to adjust to the increase of complex carbohydrates in my diet that are found in foods such as whole grains and vegetables. I went through a period of being terrified of any kind of carbohydrate because I saw carbohydrates as an enemy to my blood glucose levels. Carbs made them go up and I hated how I couldn’t always control them. My body processed these carbohydrates differently than the simple carbs (also referred to as simple sugars) abundant in processed foods. Simple carbs are the sneaky ones that raise our blood glucose levels FAST, while complex carbs take longer for our bodies to digest they are keeping our tummies satiated for longer and keeping BG levels steady. Complex carbs get their name from their long saccharide chains making them polysaccharides. Technically, complex carbs can also refer to highly refined starches like white bread and many pastries. But complex carbs like whole wheat breads and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes are such a FULL source of iron and a lot of B vitamins (these are important if you don’t eat meat).

I first made this next breakfast in college and not actually even for breakfast. I made this as a response to a craving I had for a greasy, crispy, diner-style breakfast without the actual diner but with some of the grease and crispiness. This breakfast not only curves that craving but also works as a lower carb option for breakfast. The first time I made this, I used a cheese grater to shred enough sweet potato to make a haystack. I grilled the haystack in a pan with avocado oil and salt & pepper until the potato shreds looked crispy. Then I fried up a sunny side egg to put on top of the potatoes. Voila, like a corn beef hash! Now that I’m not an amateur (Ha ha I am most definitely still an amateur), I put in a mix of yams and add things like carrots and onion to make it a little tastier and vitamin filled. I also don’t have the same cheese grater I used in college so in the picture below, I chopped the sweet potato into tiny pieces, then roasted until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside!

Total Carbs: Sweet potatoes (and most starchy vegetables) can be a pain in the neck to calculate carbohydrates for because of the variance in size. For this breakfast, I used a small sweet potato about the size of my fist. The cubes equaled a little more than a quarter cup. I estimated 8 grams of carbs for this! That’s subtracting for fiber.


Yogurt Bowl with Toppings

Picture it: A Sunday morning, with no work (I usually start work at 7:45 A.M on Sundays, so this is a big deal for me) and I wake up at 8:30 A.M with a BG of 95 mg/dL. The sun is shining, coffee is brewing (which would worry me because who started brewing the coffee?), but this hypoglycemic-skewing blood glucose number is ideal for my third favorite breakfast and one of the easier ones for sure: a yogurt bowl. I can’t actually remember the last time I had a yogurt cup by itself with zero toppings or additions. That’s so boring and not satisfying to me. Here are some of my favorite toppings to put on whatever your favorite yogurt might be! I like a thicker yogurt because it reminds me of having like a pudding dessert for breakfast so I usually get Siggi’s plain or vanilla flavor! The yogurt can also be substituted with a thick smoothie.

Fruits:

  • Berries (strawbs, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc.)

  • Banana

  • Frozen mango (I like the consistency better frozen, than freshly cut)

  • Chopped apple (with a sprinkle of cinnamon)

Nuts/Seeds:

  • Walnuts

  • Almond/Cashew Butter (healthy fats)

  • Pumpkin Seeds (Iron)

  • Hemp seeds (omegas 3 & 6!)

  • Chia seeds (fiber and protein)

Total Carbs: This is dependent on how much fruit you’re adding to the yogurt, as well as the type of yogurt. The Siggi’s plain flavor is 4 grams of carbs with four times the amount of protein, which slows down the speed of the carbohydrates. For half a cup of strawberries (halved), I bolus for 6 grams of carbs and the same goes for a quarter cup of blueberries! If I put a banana in the mix, I use half and bolus for 8 grams of carbs. Because this breakfast, especially with the added almond butter, is high in fat and protein, I don’t bolus before eating. (Side note: It’s recommended to bolus before eating meals so the insulin is ready for the food). Anyways, the fat and protein will slow down the sugar of the yogurt enough so that as I’m active in the hours after, my body will burn off the carbs slowly.


The Breakfast Taco

And finally, with no diabetes lessons to introduce this breakfast, I present to you: the breakfast taco. This isn’t anything creative but it is something more practical that I find I can cook up within 15 minutes depending on the level of fanciness I’m willing to reach. The breakfast taco (and really, any kind of taco) is an easy way to get the macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Starting your day with these three will impact the rest of your day so positively, your body will thank you. Here’s what I usually do for my breakfast tacos but keep in mind that this is my minimal effort taco for a short morning before going to work or class. You can definitely add things like red cabbage or avocado crema – I just rarely have those on hand:

  • Start by chopping up bell peppers and red onion- you can do this on a Sunday night and have them ready for the week! Put the chopped up veggies in a pan with some oil and grill them until they brown – put them aside.

  • In between the veggies and egg scrambling, I like to heat up the tortilla in the pan for about 15 seconds each side.

  • Scramble the egg however you like it and lay on the tortilla. I love using Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning ($1.99).

  • Top with the veggies, some black beans and sliced avocado!

Total Carbs: I use the La Tortilla Factory Sprouted Grain tortillas and they’re 16 grams of carbs with 2 grams of fiber! If you use beans, make sure to count those carbohydrates as well, but if not, then the rest is carbohydrate free.


Deciding which breakfasts are best to start your day based on the blood glucose levels are an example of how T1D is like a dog chasing its tail; possible to catch but not easy (and makes you dizzy). It’s annoying to run in circles trying to chase perfection within diabetes. Working all those gears in your brain to calculate carbs and getting as close as you can to the actual amount because if you mess up, the result is hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. There’s no perfection with diabetes, even the numbers that read on our BG monitors are just an estimate to demonstrate a pattern in your glucose levels. They’re easy to obsess over but they aren’t the judge of whether you’re perfect or not. It’s a process and the process requires balance.