Glucometers: A Good Way to Start Your Day

Happy September! I have some disdain for the idea that summer is over when school starts up but let’s face it for the majority of people when school resumes summer comes to a precipitous end. I guess more important than when it ends  is how you spent your warm days (or hot in parts of the country) and if you feel content with your results. I am very content with my summer and I hope you are too.

On being content

I am content with how I spent my summer vacation but I have had some ups and downs along the thyroid highway. All of a sudden I started having some adrenals symptoms again. My temperatures were up and down and all around, so I finally asked my adrenal group what they thought.

The moderator started with “What are you taking?” and proceeded to list off a number of things that can affect cortisol. I was taking not one but about three supplements that can lower cortisol, zinc, inositol and 5HTP, so I stopped taking the 5HTP immediately and the inositol. The zinc I take infrequently now because as you may remember I was low in zinc on my Spectracell test and zinc is critical to your good health.

The 5HTP was an experiment to see if it made me feel happier, so I feared when I stopped taking it the world might crash around me but instead I discovered it most likely was suppressing my cortisol and making things worse. If you are taking supplements and have adrenal problems please check this list particularly under the column headed “Contributes to Adrenal Fatigue” taking these supplements can be the difference between feeling content with life and feeling overwhelmed.

Do you check fasting glucose levels

Once I realized I was taking a number of supplements that were actually causing my adrenal issues and cut back or discontinued use of them things have improved. I am also convinced that if you are eating incorrectly for your metabolic type this, too, will hamper your progress with hypothyroidism. Knowing that my fasting glucose has been elevated in some recent blood tests I decided it was time to get serious about what foods were spiking my fasting glucose. Once I knew what an entire days menu could do I could then test individual foods to learn which ones I should avoid.

When my spousal unit started telling me stories about people who obsess over things and how it can start being a problem I knew he wasn’t enjoying my finger stabbing-blood letting experiments. As I explained to him (without really changing his opinion one iota) if I want to know what is spiking my glucose levels I need to check 15 minutes after suspected foods and see what it did to my levels. Call it obsession, call it scientific, call it whatever you want it was a really helpful experience and I have learned something that has improved my day to day life.

What foods spiked my glucose?

You might remember in my blog about my latest blood test results that my fasting glucose levels (FGL) were elevated. I had my latest blood draw on a Monday morning and now, through testing my fasting glucose, I know my Monday morning fasting glucose levels are the worst by far (often 126). Other mornings my typical FGL is 80-90.

Knowing it was Monday mornings when things were whack-o made eliminating one food really obvious, grains. Typically during the week I am very carb conscious but my weekends have been three days of treats, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday night we often have leftover pizza or pasta, sometimes gluten-free sometimes wheat based crust. Saturday night is date night and I serve a nice meal that often would  include potatoes, white and sweet. Sunday is usually pasta or pizza because then I have leftovers for Friday night. Just writing about it makes me cringe because it should have been obvious to me without testing my blood that these were bad habits.

I found other foods that seemed to have an equally negative effect: beets, carrots, Monster cookies (made a special way but still), quinoa, rice, (basically any grain), honey, maple syrup, and fruit especially strawberries and grapes.

What can I eat?

Had I stuck with my Mercola diet for the Fast Metabolizing Protein Type I would have been okay but a year ago or more I decided to try a gluten-free lifestyle which included lots of GF cookies (and sugar-free), pizza crusts, toast, etc. all made from lots of high carb grains. I loved trying all the new recipes and following all the GF experts but I know now and knew then it wasn’t the right food for me. I did it anyway and shared lots of the yummy recipes right here on Krisinsight.

I can have pizza but with a hamburger crust and all non-starchy vegetables are fine. Wine seems okay in moderation (very moderate) or I can have a watered down Martini that is mostly water, ice, orange bitters with a touch of whatever I want to “spice” it up. Toast is possible but it does spike my glucose levels and it has to be a “paleo” bread or one that has no grains.

Why go to all this bother?

Why bother, you might ask? There are several reasons but one was a recent patient I saw in the dental office. She has been diabetic for 40 years, Type 1 discovered when she was 20. I was telling her about my fasting glucose levels and how high they were a few times. She looked at me, eyes wide with envy and said “I would kill for fasting glucose levels like that even on medication”.

It was a real eye opener when later I saw her in our waiting room checking her glucose levels. Turns out she can’t even drive home without checking to make sure her levels are okay. Believe me I don’t ever want to find myself in a dental office poking my calloused fingertips unable to even get a drop of blood to see if I can drive home safely.

Another reason for some discipline is I can tell that my adrenal health is better. I can tolerate more stress and my temperatures have come up as a result of being able to take more T3. If you think of your body as a grand piano you know it plays best if  kept tuned perfectly. If one key gets out of tune it can make some pretty discordant music. If  something gets out of whack your thyroid can’t work well, your adrenals can’t keep up and pretty soon you are feeling wonky again.

Krisinsight

As always keep in mind this is not a controlled experiment. I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing my experiences with you, so, with that in mind, let me summarize the last month. I quit taking zinc every day, no more inositol, very little progesterone, no 5 HTP, and little to no melatonin as they all can lower cortisol and my body cannot tolerate a lowering of cortisol. I took IP6 for about three weeks but as there are some good reasons not to take it I stopped and will test my iron again later. The biggest change was my diet and staying away from foods that increase my fasting glucose levels.

I started taking Magnesium Threonate after reading about its ability to cross the blood brain barrier on Mercola.com and Life Extension Foundation’s site. I have tried and tried to tolerate Magnesium chloride in oil form and orally and I just can’t seem to use it successfully. People say if you keep using the oil you will eventually tolerate it but that has not been the case for me. My skin is so dry it burns terribly and then my legs get really scaly and powdery. I can use it in my bath but I do very little of that in the summer preferring showers (I have also started to end every shower with cold water. At first it was shocking but now I actually look forward to the radiating warmth you get after being pummeled with icy cold water).

My sleep improved (but still has its ups and downs) after doing all of the above but I did find that the magnesium threonate is best taken during the day and not all three capsules at night. I tried to raise my T3 dose again but eventually had to lower by 6.25 mcg to 56.25 mcg when I had a really bad night of racing heart and being jolted awake. I do take zinc, as I am deficient, but sporadically instead of every night. I use bio-identical progesterone but mostly as an OTC cream that I can use to protect my breast tissue. Otherwise I still take CoQ10, B complex, Alpha Lipoic Acid (helps blood sugar levels stay steady), Mixed tocopherol Vitamin E, Selenium, Krill and/or fish oil, astaxanthin and spirulina.

Today I noted that I am developing moons on fingernails that never had them before. I have now been taking B12 injections for 3-4 months and pretty much do one injection per week. I never used to have any moons on any fingers but my thumbs. I now have them on my index and third fingers. I don’t have scientific proof that this is the B12  but there are several articles on the internet that have many sources saying that it is and it is something that has changed for me since I started the injections.

I still think I am more fragile than I should be but I have come to accept that those of us with chronic illnesses are more fragile. We have to watch our glucose levels. We have to test our electrolytes more often and we have to stay on top of things before they get worse. It is what it is and even if those around us don’t understand we know what we have to do to stay healthy.

Even if you aren’t 100% happy with your health try to make the most of every day, even the ones that aren’t so good and for goodness sake use laughter as your best medicine. A belly laugh a day will perhaps not keep the doctor away but it sure won’t hurt. As this quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley says, ” The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”

Santé,

Kris

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