Friday, January 28, 2011

Nutrition Does Matter

I want to first start by saying that this post is strictly on our experiences and what works for Andrew based on his age/height/weight.  All nutritional changes that you make must be first consulted with your doctor.

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning, you know that Andrew is experiencing a diabetic honeymoon and through diet and exercise, and most of all God's grace, we have been able to discontinue all insulin.  Andrew also has celiac, so all foods that are given to him are gluten free.  Gluten free foods generally contain more carbs than traditional wheat products so we really need to pay attention to portion sizes!

Andrew did not have the "typical" type 1 physique upon diagnosis. He was actually slightly overweight.  I am happy to announce that through our diet and exercise plan, he has lost 8.5 pounds! YIPPEE!!!

Our plan:
I make sure that he eats at designated times everyday and he gets a set amount of carbs per meal.  All portions must be measured.  This can be tricky when eating out, but we try to be as close as we can.  This plan was designed by a diabetic nutritionist specifically for Andrew. (Please do not use this plan for your child!):
Breakfast           : 3 carbs (2 starch, 1 milk) + 1 protein
Lunch                : 4 carbs (2 starch, 1 milk, 1 fruit) + 2 protein + vegetables
Afternoon Snack: 1 carb (1 starch) or protein
Dinner                : 3 carbs (2 starch, 1 milk) + 3 protein + vegetables
Bedtime Snack   : 1 carb (1 starch) or protein

We play with the numbers a bit.  For instance, if he comes in around 120 at his afternoon snack, Andrew will choose a non starch snack (i.e. sugar free jello, nuts, cheese stick).  If he would be around 90, then if he wants one, he can pick a starch snack. 

I'm finding that nutrition drives his numbers, especially the starch carbs.  The other day, I gave him 3 starch carbs instead of 2 at lunch to test him and by afternoon snack, he was up to 263!  Yesterday, I chose 2 starch carbs for lunch and he came in at 86 for his afternoon snack.

I'm finding that as I keep a strict nutrition schedule, it keeps his numbers more stable, at least at this time.  I only give him a sweet treat every other day.  I find that even if I count the carb correctly, the sugar still drives up the numbers.  On sweet treat days, I'll usually give him 2 gluten free cookies (18 g carb) in his lunch.  I always give it with food and not as a snack.  If he wants something sweet, he'll grab sugar free jello, sugar free popsicles or sugar free gum.  Although, I'm finding that his cravings for sweets have really gone away.  I think it is partly because his system is more balanced now. 

Again, Andrew is not on insulin which I know changes everything since we experienced that for 1-1/2 months.  I've definitely learned from all of you other D-moms that sometimes there just is no rhyme or reason to the volatility in BG.  I find that keeping a diet log helps in explaining different situations that we might run into regarding BG.  My main purpose of this post is to offer our experiences and hopefully help someone else that might be struggling with fluctuating numbers.  I've learned that by eating at approximately the same time everyday and eating the same carb load in each meal helps us.  Your diabetic nutritionist can really help you.  We all know that lower carbs = lower insulin needs.  For Andrew, I know that I cannot go over the carbs per meal listed above or his blood sugars will go way too high.  My goal and prayer is to keep him off of insulin for as long as possible.

For exercise, I make sure that he does something active everyday.  He usually will ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes or so.  He will also play the Wii, but it has to be Wii Sports, Wii Fit or something else that gets him moving.

If anyone here would like to share their nutrition/exercise plans, please share them with us.  I'm a firm believer that nutrition and exercise has a great deal to do with taking care of diabetes.  I also feel that taking the proper measures with nutrition and exercise will greatly reduce complications in the future.  Again, this is my opinion and on doing research regarding both diabetes and celiac disease. 

Again, please consult your doctor/nutritionist for any dietary or exercising changes.


  1. Nikki, I admire you for your comittment to an alternative and for making a decision on what will work best for your family. I am amazed at the treatment options available and will be very interested to see how this works for Andrew.

  2. Hi Amy, I am scouring every area that I possibly can to help this honeymoon last as long as possible. I've even met with natural doctors. They've recommended that we stop using Splenda as it can destroy the beta cells that are left. We (Andrew included) are willing to do whatever necessary. I'll definitely keep you all posted. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

  3. I'm so inspired, Nikki!

    I think you'll find that, when insulin becomes part of your routine again, nutrition and exercise will remain a significant part of his overall management.

    You're doing a GREAT job! I am amazed, once again, by God's provisions...the knowledge you're gaining...the diet/exercise experiences, the gift to Andrew of being able to adapt to his new lifestyle one step at a time.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. you are doing a fantastic job! we also use nutrition and exercise to help manage diabetes...tyler is not celiac but we do adopt a gf lifestyle. i believe nutrition plays a huge part not only in d management but in long term health as well. you can read our story on our blog.....
    glad to come across your blog.

  5. Wendy and Alix,
    Thank you for the compliments! I honestly feel like I have a new full-time

    Alix, I'm off to visit your blog - thank you!

  6. it is a full time job.. works well with homeschooling!