Sunday, October 26, 2014

Changes in blood glucose

There was a strange period towards the end of this summer 2014 where my blood sugars began to act in ways they never had before. I was still eating only beef, leafy greens and bone soup. After every breakfast, my BG would go up well above 140 and sometimes even approach 180. It would come down on its own to about 120 by lunchtime, but this was still extremely unusual and very upsetting. I took to running after breakfast in order to bring it down, which it did very effectively. This period lasted about a month.

When I returned to New York City after a summer working at a diabetes camp in Massachusetts, my normal functioning of BG resumed, staying all day under 120, waking up at about 100 and never going below 80.

But my final year of a masters degree here in New York has proven to be one of the most stressful times I have had in any of my schooling, and I have had to revisit many of the problems I thought had been resolved in order to maintain healthy BG without the use of insulin.

After a few weeks of school, I began to get strange numbers jumping outside 140 after breakfast and hanging above 120 for an entire day. I also began to get some strange high numbers in the evening near 170. The situation deteriorated a bit more, with episodes in with my BG would be over 160 for more than 18 hours before coming down. There were even some times that it approached 200 late in the evening after dinner. My daily regimen of yoga had not changed much and my diet was still the same.

I took to running every morning after breakfast for about 20 minutes, perhaps a little less. This is EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE- after a morning run my blood sugars will stay near 110 until about 3 or 4 or in the afternoon. I continue the morning yoga practice and then follow it with the run after eating breakfast. I also find that I must go on a late afternoon run as well in order to avoid high numbers after 4 or 5 pm. This is also EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE, keeping the afternoon numbers below 120.

I have also been getting more acupuncture- about 2 or 3 times per week. It seems that the primary reason for this difficulty with the BG is due to stress. Every practitioner from whom I receive acupuncture tells me that the parasympathetic nervous system isn't activated. If you have read my very first article, you will recall that the parasympathetic nervous system is the branch of the nervous system responsible for digestion and relaxation. When the sympathetic, its foil, is activated, stress hormones most notably Cortisol, are released and elevate BG levels for use in the quick metabolism that would otherwise be required to fight off a threat that the mind perceives. In short, something is going on at this point that is taking me out of an activated parasympathetic state and into the activated, stressed state.

The morning yoga practice is as important as ever. I make sure that I do the important breathing practices that activate parasympathetic function as well as include some of the difficult physical exercises to build muscle mass and metabolize sugar. Running is important on two levels- one, it metabolizes the food from breakfast and uses it and, most importantly, running is a long deep breathing exercise that activates parasympathetic function.

I know that something is wrong with stress related factors, and that the functioning of the pancreas is likely the same as it was before this difficult period. There is a chance of course that it is not, but I do notice that after very good acupuncture, my blood sugars look beautiful no matter how much I eat.

I am not sure to where this period of difficulty will lead, but all I can do for the time being is to try things to address the given situation and see what happens. It is a lot to do 2 hours of yoga and then running every morning, but it works and I feel really good when I do it. If I require an afternoon run, then that is what I will have to do as well. I've had a few moments where I thought that it would just be so much easier to hook up my insulin pump and not worry about it, but then I remember that I STILL don't have to take any insulin. Those number still come down on their own and if I wasn't doing any running or anything they wouldn't look good, but they wouldn't be dangerous either. That all reminds me to keep up and keep trying things to figure it out. Every time I have to get up and do yoga or put on my shoes and go for a run, I learn something important about resiliency and allow the discipline of having to do it work for me. It can be very frustrating, but each time it gives me an opportunity to practice equanimity as well as grit.

End of Beef and Leaf

6 months of the "Beef and Leaf" diet is over. I cheated twice during the 6 month period. One time I ran a 5k and I ate a banana afterwords because I literally felt as if I would pass out, and another time I had broccoli instead of spinach or another leafy green because I decided I would cheat that one moment.

After this six months, I feel stronger than I ever have before. I have also had wonderful digestion and elimination as well as extremely consistent energy during the day from wake up until bed time.

My blood sugars are another story. I still do not require any insulin, but there has been some extreme difficulty about which I will write in a new post.