Glucometers and Other Fun Gadgets

It is hard to believe I am in the same state this afternoon as I was yesterday afternoon. Just last night it was hot and sticky with the usual summer bugs lighting on you and interrupting our outdoor meal with our grandson. Today, the only thing that is outside is my spousal unit and that is only because he is willing to face the wind and rain that is making it suddenly feel like March again. I guarantee there will be no dining al fresco unless we pack up the poodles and make our way to another state. My guess is we shall stay put as the weather would just follow us anyway.

I have hemmed and hawed over this week’s blog and finally after reading a post by the Weston Price Foundation on glucometers and checking insulin levels I hit upon this week’s subject, the letting of blood. I am not fond of pricking my finger for any reason but this subject has been on my mind for sometime. I would really like to know which foods keep my blood sugar within an acceptable range and which foods don’t achieve that particularly desirable effect.

What type of glucometer should I buy?

If you are on Facebook you know that there are a number of health related pages you can “like” or “follow”. Most of my health “gurus” are on Facebook, so I read their latest news and glean what I can. One such health page is authored by Taylor Clouse. His company, Isagenix, makes products that support health aging and telomere support system. Honestly, I know little of his company and have never tried their products but he often has some good health advice and tips, so I read what he has to say and use whatever might apply to my situation.

One day he was talking about fasting glucose levels and that they should be around 80. The last time I had mine checked they were around 90 and I know it has been creeping up and I don’t want that to happen. So I posed the question, which glucometer do you think is best to use?

He quite happily told me the glucometer he likes and feels is the cheapest to buy and to maintain is the Bayer Contour Blood Glucose Monitoring System by Ascencia. He said it was quite reliable and the strips were not too expensive to buy (which is how they usually make their money). As it happened I had some points to use at, so I ordered the unit and the strips.

Why do I care what my my glucose levels are?

Diabetes is a huge issue in the USA and my father developed Type 2 Diabetes in his elder years. I have one brother on insulin and another brother who controls his Type 2 Diabetes with his diet and exercise. My mother never had a problem and one brother seems to stave it off with a manic obsession with his weight and a bit of hyperactivity. These are not good odds and coupled with the fact that I have an autoimmune disease being prudent seems warranted.

After all Type 2 Diabetes is harmful to your entire organism and is often brought on by the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is insidious, it happens without symptoms until it is too late. To put it in dental terms it is like an aching tooth. Teeth don’t hurt until the tooth is in real trouble and needs a root canal or to be extracted.

Type 2 Diabetes is the same. Usually you start with insulin resistance (typified by belly fat accumulation) and before you know it you have diabetes. Insulin resistance causes any number of maladies but the one that bothers me is that it can cause inflammation and we all know, or should know, that inflammation is deadly. Inflammation seems to be at the root of many cancers, heart attacks, stroke, and even pain and stiffness of joints.

A glucometer will help me and can help you determine if you have a problem with insulin resistance. Are you eating foods that cause a sharp rise in your insulin levels? Or an hour after you have eaten are your insulin levels close to 80 where they should be (they say between 80-100 but I think 100 is way too high).

Information and articles of the subject of Diabetes

I found a great foundational article at Life Extension Foundation’s site if you have little to no knowledge of Type 1 vs. Type 2 diabetes, so I will let you read that on your own. Suffice it to say, in my opinion Type 2 is preventable. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle will help you stave off the undesirable side effects of over stressing your pancreas with too many refined carbohydrates and sugars.

Chris Kresser had a great series of online articles titled “Diabesity” where he has about 14 articles dealing with the fact that Type 2 Diabetes is closely associated with so many unhealthy condition that are rife in our population today and how you can treat and/or prevent diabesity (a term he says was coined by Dr. Francine Kaufman). If that isn’t enough to convince you that knowing how your food intake is affecting your body is important to your longevity and health perhaps Joe Mercola’s take on the subject will.

Kris Insight

I have had my Bayer Glucometer for several weeks and I hadn’t really had the nerve to prick my finger yet, so in the name of research and being able to enlighten my readers I finally did it this afternoon. It was easier than I thought it would be, so easy, in fact, I did it wrong the first two times. The third try was the charm and only two lancets were wasted and two test strips (Argh! Those are the expensive items).

The instructions were clear and the preparation was easy. You do need to be sure to buy the test strips because the glucometer most likely doesn’t come with any. Mine did come with about 10 lancets which may be enough for me to figure out which foods might cause an issue for me. I set the enclosed lancet on the middle setting, for depth of puncture, and that worked perfectly. While I was braced for some big puncture wound the prick did not hurt at all yet was effective enough that my finger bled slightly for a few minutes which allowed me to finally do the test correctly.

The mistake I made was to try to drop the blood drop on the test strip. No, no, no, do not do as I did, do as I say. When you see the drop of blood on your fingertip just gently put the drop up to the end of the strip and it will soak it up, you can watch it happen. Perhaps first of all you should carefully read the directions because I confess I skimmed over it and probably did it before I had read everything carefully. Blood and the letting of blood is not a favorite of mine and just the prep was making me a bit light headed (never fear all is well now).

My test was about an hour post meal and the result was 75 which is a great result considering the meal was a slice of watermelon. A snack may not really constitute a meal and may not accurately reflect my true reaction to food, so there will now be future tests, one of which will be a fasting test to see how I am doing in the morning before I eat and then one hour later to see how my breakfast went down. I think another test will be a high carb meal and test an hour later to see my result and then a high protein meal and its effect.

Now that I have finally taken the step to start testing there will be no holding me back, so stay tuned for more escapades and Kris’ insight.




2 responses to this post.

  1. You can get an A1C test that measures your blood glucose average over the last 90 days, so it gives you a very clear overall picture, not just a moment-in-time-snapshot. You can get this at your doctor…OR… just buy a kit at your local pharmacy (about $10 at Walmart), which includes a lancet, collection blotter, AND even the lab fee. You just follow the instructions and mail it in; the lab will mail you, or email you, the results. Do this just 4 times a year to keep up with your glucose levels.


    • That is great news Marsha, I had no idea one could buy an A1C test at Wal-Mart. Do you have to ask for it or is it on the pharmacy shelves? I need to do one and was going to wait until I saw my doctor but I like the freedom of ordering my own tests and/or getting them locally. I also need to test my human growth hormone levels, too bad Wal-Mart doesn’t carry that.;O)
      I recently took slow release potassium and got my levels back to normal and it did help. I just felt more in balance. Taking 10mEq for two weeks brought my levels right up and now I just have to figure out how to keep them balanced as my sodium remains low and as you will already know from my blogs I take copious amounts of sea salt (up to 2 tsp a day plus on my food).
      I am going to check Target to see if they sell the A1C as I am not a Wal-Mart shopper but in the meantime my glucometer does a nifty job of showing me what is working and what isn’t. I even found better ways to use the lancet thanks to a book on diabetes.


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