Want to know more about my Diabetes Management program?

If you are a woman with Type 2 Diabetes, want to follow a plant-based approach, and need help, consider Enlighten Health & Wellness.  I do not regret working with the Zamans one bit and would do it again.  This is not a sponsored post. 

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The end of 2017 was hard, y’all.  My blood pressure was not changing, I developed Type 2 Diabetes, and was not getting inflammation or weight under control.  While I was not gaining weight, I was not losing, either (just the same 5 pound every month).  I knew I needed help, but there is no local plant-based Diabetes education class offered in Charleston (I’m working on this, so stay tuned).  I went to Facebook and found a plant-based Diabetics group and visited daily.  I discovered that I was not alone in the struggle and found some comfort in that.  I also found the woman who changed my life.  I responded to her post about a coaching program and was excited when selected to participate.  I’ve been working with her for a few months and have seen my A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight come down.  I’ve also come off of Metformin and had my blood pressure medication dosage reduced.

Thinking and writing about this course makes me teary.  Bear with me.

Marie Howe Zaman is the coach who helped inspire and encourage me.  She gave me tough love when needed and made me work.  She is the coach and co-founder of Enlighten Health and Wellness and the Enlighten for Diabetics program.  I believe it is the main reason I finally saw a difference.  The program is for women with Type 2 Diabetes and is worth the time, effort, and work.  The focus is not just on food, and that is key.  Diabetes education, fitness, food, accountability, and support make this program invaluable.

It started with a call and goal setting.  Once my specific and attainable goals were set, the work began.  There were articles, videos, and quizzes.  Yes, I had to work, but the work is what made the difference for me.  I learned more about myself, my motivations, and reasons why I easily fall off track.  These lessons gave me focus and a way to combat my demons.

While the lessons helped me get my mind right, the food and activity portions of the program also played a role in my success.  While I had a fitness tracker, it was not compatible with the app that gave Marie insight into my food, activity, and sleep.  I found a Fitbit Flex at Marshalls for a steal and it worked just fine without connecting multiple apps or any hassles.  The only time I needed to take additional steps was when my Fitbit was charging and I used my other tracker.  Tracking was easy and the app provided a direct line to Marie whenever I needed an ear or had questions.

I’m still torn between a Fitbit and Garmin as my reward for hitting my 2018 goals at the end of the year.  Which do you prefer?  Sleep and heart rate tracking are a must-have feature.

Access to a cooking course and meal planner are included with the course.  I thought my cooking game was on point, but I still learned a few things.  And I have not purchased any commercial vegan mayo or salad dressing since starting the cooking course.  While I had several recipes for substitutes at hand, I was not ready to let go.    If you know me, you know this is huge.  I love my condiments, but they don’t always love me.  I’ve known that for a while and have finally made the switch.  It does not take much time to whip up the cashew (and white bean) sour cream that I use as mayo and a yogurt substitute and I truly love the taste.

In addition to access to a coach, whole food plant-based cooking course, meal planner, tracking app, and courses, there were bi-weekly one-one-one meetings with Marie and bi-weekly group meetings with a small group.  I loved seeing how my fellow students were doing and especially appreciated the Q&A sessions with Dr. Tarique Zaman, MD, MPH.  Dr. Zaman is Marie’s husband and another driving force behind the program.  His input adds even more value to the program and helped make lessons stick.

As it is a 12-week program, I’m a little sad to see it end, but it isn’t over.  I have no plans to stop working the program and will keep in touch with the Zamans as I continue to see progress.  As I told Marie, she should prepare to be Facebook stalked, lol.  Not in a scary way.  I’m a member of her Beat T2D Naturally Women’s Support Group and have no plans to leave.  Apply for membership if you want to learn a little more about her approach.

Before you say anything, yes, occasional setbacks are still progress.  It helps me see when I fall off course and paints a clear picture of the need for a change somewhere. 

To learn more, visit Enlighten Health & Wellness on Facebook or schedule a free Discovery Call.

I am so happy that I reached out to Marie in December 2017.  I feel fantastic and she is a huge part of why.  Thank you so much, Marie!

What happens when I stop tracking

Morning, y’all.

v cuts mug

I love this mug from the Vegan Cuts Coffee Box! 

It’s Saturday.  I usually sleep in until around 9-10 am as a weekend treat (and because I usually stay up until 2 am or so on Friday night/Saturday morning).  Not today.  Why?  In part because I went to bed just after midnight and because it’s a high pain morning.  The pain level this week had me thrown.  Yes, there’s a spike twice a month, but this spike has been 3 weeks long.  I decided to jump on the scale to see what’s what and found the culprit.  I’ve gained – part of it is due to typical hormonal changes and the other part is due to tracking.  Well, the lack of.

Why did I stop tracking?  I did not completely stop, but I did slack off.  I stopped paying attention to portions.  Yes, I still need to keep portions of some things in check, even when following a primarily whole foods plant-based plan.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.  More nuts and seeds (I’m looking at you peanut butter, cashews, and pecans) and letting too much bread and oil get in hurt when I overindulge.  The extra treat days don’t help, either.  I slipped back into an old pattern and am paying the price.

Why did I slip?  I get a little lazy and bored.  I feel like I can let go of the routine a little more than not and have not worried as much since my blood pressure and glucose readings have still been great (90-110 range fasting and 120-135 after meals) which keeps me on track for coming off of more meds.  I still have more energy and generally less pain than after the weird muscle spasms a few weeks back.

I know what I need to do and how to do it.  This gain was not a surprise and I should have paid more attention.  This it not beating myself up.  This is just a statement I need to see in print (well, on the screen) and a reminder that exercise alone does not work for me.

So, what’s next?  Getting back in gear and following my plan the way it works:

  1. water
  2. produce
  3. protein
  4. whole grains with portions of trigger foods in check
  5. treats twice a week at most

See, that’s not so bad.  It’s not boring when I put some thought into it.  The heat has sent my cooking mojo into hibernation, so i need to find ways to mix it up a bit.  Produce is banging this time of year, so between farmers markets and the produce department, I can be inspired.

Right now, I’m enjoying my morning smoothie (a blended salad as Dr. Fuhrman calls it), coffee, and water.  While my coach is not fond of me drinking my calories as a regular thing, she is happy with the way I make the program work.

I’ll share more about my fantastic Diabetes coach soon.  Until then, have a fantabulous day!

Peace!

 

 

Bloodwork update, May 2018

Xena 3-2018

Say hi to Xena

Howdy, y’all.  What?  I said I’d get back to the regularly scheduled posts.  This one is a quick update on how 2018 is working so far.  My goals for the year are to get off more medication and continue to get stronger.

As of February I am off of Metformin with an A1C at 6.1 thanks to plant-powered menus  and am working on getting off meds.  At the tail end of May, I had a 3 month follow up to see how things stand.  They stand on point!

Bad cholesterol is down 20 points.  In three months.  Believe me, the happy dancing started in my head and my smile almost hurt.

Weight was down 5 pounds.  Not a huge drop, but it was still lower than my February appointment (and after lunch, fully dressed) and it’s worth celebrating.  The happy dancing continued.

The biggest news was the A1C.  It was still at 6.1 and a sign to the doc that I do not need Metformin and am on my way to prediabetic levels. You hear that. Prediabetic!  Once my A1C is under 5, I’ll be in remission.  I almost cried.  Seriously.

Doc also cut one of my blood pressure meds in half and said I may come off of them too as I continue to lost weight and get my numbers down.  She said to keep doing what I’m doing and recommended I add in exercise a few days a week.  I go back for more bloodwork in August.  I plan to see better results.

What am I doing?  Tracking my meals and water on My Fitness Pal has been huge.  I see how I’m doing and where I need to tweak things.  I eat more greens, oats almost daily, limit processed foods and sweeteners, and planned cheat meals.  My coach may not approve of the cheat meals, but I know myself.  If I do not have the flexibility of the occasional treat, I will end up on a free-for-all of all the forbidden foods.  Not that anything is really forbidden, just limited.

I’m looking at you, coconut, nuts, seeds, Nada Moo, and Go Max Go Bars. I love you all.

I’m walking more.  I take the psychos out every morning and get in a mile.  If I am up to it, I take another lap or two around the neighborhood. I keep a moderate pace and add faster intervals.  Xena has a pretty quick pace naturally, so when I’m ready to jog, she’ll be by my side.  Victor is getting older and likes to take his time.  He’s the perfect warm up or cool down partner.

My yoga/Pilates PT routine should be a priority, but it has slipped aside in favor of daily flexibility.  Just 10 minutes a day is the plan for now, but I see a 3-Week Yoga Retreat in my future.  I need more flexibility to help ease the daily pain and with recovery.  I am not 21 anymore and I feel it on a daily basis.

So, that’s the update. If you have any questions for me, just ask.  You know I’ll answer.  I know this is not an easy path, especially if there are chronic issues and emotional eating in the way.  I’m learning to work around my limits and finding my best path.  I hope you can find yours.

Until next time, peace!

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Victor thinks he should help me with my practice.

 

Type 2

Diabetes.  I did not want to hear that diagnosis.  It was already around me (family and friends) and I thought I’d escape it personally.  Nope.

I was first diagnosed in 2015, but I was more pre-Diabetic than Diabetic according to everything I was ordered to review.  Once my script ran out, I did not rush to refill it.  I believed I could handle things on my own with diet and exercise.  I did not plan for extended periods without more exercise due to pain, the depression- and stress-fueled binging, or the frequent ‘eff this’ days that led to fast food dinners.

The ‘yes, you have Type 2,’ was repeated in December 2016.  I’ve been taking my meds, eating decently for the most part until this past March-April, and moving more when I can.  I’m going back in sometime next month for an A1C test re-do and am not sure if I’ll be given the green light to stop meds.  My fasting Glucose has been in the 140+ range for a couple of weeks now.   I’m a little worried.

Yes, plant-based people can develop diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension.  It happens.  No, I will not go Paleo unless it’s completely plant-based.  You heard me.

I have noticed that my Glucose jumps after TexMex restaurant meals, fattier meals. and when I eat at random times in general.  I’ve also noticed that my pain flares are longer and have higher spikes.  Yes, Diabetes can cause that.  And my fat loss is currently at a standstill.  Why?  Pain.  It always goes back to pain.

I don’t mean a general discomfort, Dr. Who-Thinks-I’m-Just-Lazy (yes, a former doc said this to me and she knew about my spinal issues).  I am in pain.  Pain that makes it difficult to even breathe sometimes.   

I am trying to keep it positive, though.  I have a dusted off my copy of Eat to Live and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, have few new cookbooks with oil-free and high nutrient recipes, and follow more blogs that feature the dietary guidelines I need to follow.  I also registered for the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run and ordered my shirt a size smaller than I wear now.   Training begins now!  Goals!  My PLant-Fusion New Year is still in full-effect.

So, that’s what I’m up to now.  Well, in addition to more appointments to figure out what exactly is ailing me.  You know the drill – blood tests say this, but symptoms point to another thing.

Go with love, y’all.  Always choose love. If you need me, I’ll be over here with a book, game, or napping.  No telling.

June already? What’s your plan?

Can you believe 2014 is already six months old?  June is already 11 days old?  Where did the time go?  Are you on track?  Anywhere close to where you wanted to be?  I’ll admit it,  I’m not.   And I won’t let it throw me much.  I’ll tweak my plans and go month to month.

My plan was in part inspired by a dream.  I’ve been back and forth to the doc and specialists (yes, plural) trying to finally figure out what all ails me.   It’s exhausting and frustrating and frightening if I K et my mind wander too much.  More so if I consult Dr. Google instead of waiting to for a specific diagnosis.   According to Google,  cold symptoms could be anything from a cold to a rare syndrome that would put someone just outside death’s door.  No one needs that kind of stress or fear without knowing what’s going on inside them.

So, back to this dream.  Of course I dreamed about a doctor visit.  I mean, it’s been at least 33% of my focus for a while now.  So, I’m waiting for the doc to walk in, and it’s Kris Carr!   You know, the woman behind Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  Her.

I was so in awe and blown away.  I think seeing her was a sign.  Not that a cancer diagnosis is looming, but that I’m doing the right thing by following up with the docs and working on healing.  Another round of physical therapy starts next today   My diet is cleaning up and even more greens are coming in.  My healthier cookbooks are my main kitchen inspiration and I’m eating to live.

There they are, two of my inspirations!

There they are, two of my inspirations!

One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.

One of my go-to’s for healthy vegan eats. Lindsay Nixon photo.

A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Sherrie Thompson photo.

A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  This and the tahini dressing that is.

I'll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.

I’ll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.

I don’t want to just survive anymore.  I want to thrive, glow, and kick ass.

So, what’s happening with you?  Have any good dreams lately?

Guest post – Spring into Action to Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is no joke.  It’s touched so many people and their families.  While we may not be able to prevent Type 1, Type 2 can be effectively managed with nutrition and exercise.  Carolyn Fallon wrote this excellent post on making the needed changes easy and fun.  Carolyn blogs at Full on Fit — give this a read and follow her blog.  

My 13-year-old cousin was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  Since then, the importance of health and nutrition has become a central theme in my family. We now work together to stop this disease from
invading again. Diabetes prevention isn’t just theory; studies have shown that if you control your weight, eat healthy and stay active, you can prevent or dramatically delay the onset of the disease.

Since March (was) National Nutrition Month, it’s a perfect time to make positive changes. Unfortunately, the excitement of spring can make us forget our New Year’s resolutions. Little slip-ups can quickly turn
into obesity and sedentary living, and those conditions lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, it’s critical to make our health a priority all year.

Here are some great tips we’ve discovered:

Anti-Diabetes Nutrition Tips

Healthy Snacks
Instead of serving potato chips and cookies, keep healthy snacks like fresh fruits or vegetables readily available. These natural foods are packed with cell-building nutrition and fiber instead of sugar and poor-
quality carbohydrates that can trigger overeating and lead to obesity and diabetes.

Whole Grains are Best
Choose whole grains whenever possible. Fiber-rich whole grains digest slowly; they don’t cause sudden blood sugar spikes that lead to large releases of insulin.

No Sugar!
Lower the amount of sugar your family consumes by switching to water or low-calorie, natural beverages like unsweetened brewed iced tea instead of sodas. This will help keep blood glucose stable and keep from
adding on extra weight.

Kiss Fast-Food Goodbye
Say good-bye to greasy, deep-fried foods that don’t offer any nutritional value. Stir-fry, bake, grill or broil foods, and use non-stick sprays instead of heavy fats and butter.

A yummy recipe for the whole family to enjoy: Sour Cream Fruit Dip

1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Amaretto
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and serve with fresh or lightly grilled fruit.

Spring in Your Step

Flower Walk
Plan a family or neighborhood flower walk. Gather a list of local spots that boast lovely blooms and map out a walking path to visit them. This is a low-impact activity that is appropriate for almost any age or fitness
level.

Take Advantage of Yard Work
Plant a garden and mow the grass. Yard work burns plenty of calories, and spring is the perfect time to take advantage of it. Expect some soreness from the bending and stooping. When you finish your own
yard, volunteer to help your neighbors with theirs.

Play Like a Kid Again
Plan activities with the whole family. Instead of indoor games, take competitions outdoors and incorporate physical activities into the game’s rewards or participation requirements. Games such as tag, kickball, capture-the-flag, etc. are all fun for all!

Get Fit
Go to a fitness class, or rent some fitness videos and exercise together as a family right from home! My cousins love coming to my house to do Zumba and Yoga. What’s even better is the great benefits of such fun
activities – according to orthopedic doctors from Syracuse’s Orthopedic Center, yoga is great for people of all ages because it increase balance, posture, flexibility, and bone and joint health. Plus, it increases our
bonding time in an activity that everyone can do at their own level and pace!

You can find many creative ways to encourage activity and healthy eating. Above all, make good habits fun, and enjoy a happy, healthy spring.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!