” I suspected I had type one, but didn’t even want to give into the idea that I could have it. I remember staring at my skeletal body in the mirror, incapable, sick and a shadow of what it once was and deciding I needed answers.”
– Tracy Sanders

DIABETES + SPORTS >  PERFORMING AT YOUR BEST

Welcome to our new Diabetes page. Living a low-carb, high protein, low sugar diet isn’t just about performance, or even general health. For diabetics, living this lifestyle, coupled with exercise, could be a huge asset in managing the effects of Diabetes. With a staggering 415 million adults living with Diabetes worldwide (International Diabetes Federation) , the realities of this disease are ones we cannot afford to ignore. Low-carb, high protein, low sugar products like Keto’s can assist athletes in choosing smart, diabetic-friendly fuel for training, events and recovery. Along with our products, we also look to providing valuable information to athletes looking for information around Diabetes.

BLOG SERIES: T1D JOURNEY

In our first Diabetes-awareness series we meet Keto Ambassador Tracy Sanders, diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) at age 20. Tracy shares her journey with us, as well as her go-to resources in this 4-part blog piece. Read along, and be sure to follow Tracy’s Instagram – Type1Tracy

T1D Journey Part 4: Support & Worst Advice (ever)

Tracy Sanders shares with us her journey from her T1D diagnosis to a healthy, fit lifestyle fueled by a low-carb diet.

The Support
We live in the age of social media where the ability to connect with people from all over the world is astounding. It’s a tool that cannot be ignored. I decided to start on Instagram account (@type1tracy) documenting my journey with type one, to share my ideas, to inspire and be inspired. The community is remarkable and large. There is every kind of diabetic online, all with different approaches to their diabetes management. The common thread is that we are all learning and experiencing the ups and downs of T1D.

Worse Advice Received
I went to a dietician to hopefully receive some help with food quantities and advice on portions. She could only recommend a high carbohydrate, lean protein, fat-free diet and was appalled when I said I would appreciate a less carbohydrate intensive regime. She was completely judgemental and harsh and dismissive. There this woman sat, with her working pancreas and dietetic qualification, and told me how I should be eating bucket loads of carbohydrate because that’s what top organisations are recommending. It is a diet that may work for some but it angered me as it was very easy for her to prescribe such a diet without personally experiencing and knowing the rollercoaster blood glucose levels, labour intensive regime of injections and calculations I would have to do. The most disheartening part was that she would not take a moment to hear my story, or learn how reducing my carbohydrate had given me tremendous freedom with T1D and had lifted a good part of the burden of blood glucose control off my shoulders. I left there with an unhelpful piece of paper, describing the cereals and bread I should eat.

 

KEY POINTS:
1. Remain eager to learn about diabetes and your body
2. Keep an open mind to information
3. Know that you have the power to not only control your diabetes but flourish with it
4. Believe in yourself
5. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself when you mess up
6. Get connected, search tags on Instagram such as #typeone, #diabetes, #t1dlookslikeme, and enter a world of support, motivation, empathy and understanding

Tracy Sanders is a final year medical student graduating as a Doctor in December 2017. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 20, and has spent the last 3 years exploring, learning and sharing the possibilities that lie after a life-altering diagnosis. Follow her journey on Instagram via Type1Tracy

 

T1D Journey Part 3: Diabetes & Sports

Tracy Sanders shares with us her journey from her T1D diagnosis to a healthy, fit lifestyle fueled by a low-carb diet.

Managing diabetes and sport
I have always adored sport. I participated in swimming, touch rugby and netball throughout high-school and have always led an active lifestyle. I was determined to continue this hand in hand with T1D.

It is advised that one should exercise with T1D, however, I do not feel it is emphasized enough. Exercise has an overwhelmingly positive impact on diabetes management. It does not cure, but it tackles multiple issues all at once. It reduces the amount of insulin you need, it provides those positively impactful endorphins, and it empowers your body and generally improves how you feel about yourself. In any form of chronic illness, it is important to empower yourself in some way. Exercise and fitness are one of my forms of empowerment. However, it is not an easy task. It requires patience with your body and an assertive attitude. You have to be perceptive to the information your body and glucose readings will give you, and continuously adjust your insulin management accordingly. This is important to find your pattern of management, which is an intensive task at first, but once you learn about your body it becomes a bit easier to find that balance.

 

It is advised that one should exercise with T1D, however, I do not feel it is emphasized enough. Exercise has an overwhelmingly positive impact on diabetes management.

The Process
I continue the journey to finding my ultimate balance, I continue learning, adjusting and working on the dynamic process of diabetes management.

I started my journey militant and strict in my ways, I cursed at the site of butternut and gem squash, I saw every carbohydrate as a failure and struggled with huge guilt if I slightly deviated from my strict diet. I have worked to undo unhealthy mental habits surrounding my diet and attitude towards food and have learnt that the low carbohydrate diet is not a cult, it is not a be all and end all, and it is simply a lifestyle. Most importantly it is individualised, different ratios of fat, carbohydrate and protein work for different people and you need to find your balance.

I continue to read and research about T1D, it’s vital to take an interest in yourself and your condition, make yourself a priority and be proactive about your health. It’s important to be open to how other people approach their health with diabetes and never be judgemental. I have friends who follow a strict high carb, low fat, plant-based diet and they are happy looking after their health in their unique way. We must be open to change, open to experiment and deviate from our routine ways, which may even be failing our health.

With any approach you have to take the step to manage your diabetes, you have to start the process with kindness and appreciation. Practice kindness towards yourself, patience when you stumble or lose your way and gratitude for all that your body is capable of, besides making insulin.

Tracy Sanders is a final year medical student graduating as a Doctor in December 2017. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 20, and has spent the last 3 years exploring, learning and sharing the possibilities that lie after a life-altering diagnosis. Follow her journey on Instagram via Type1Tracy

 

T1D Journey Part 2: The Change

Tracy Sanders shares with us her journey from her T1D diagnosis to a healthy, fit lifestyle fueled by a low-carb diet.

 

The Change
I had picked up the word “Paleo” somewhere in my December holidays. The Paleo diet includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat while excluding foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt and alcohol. The concept made sense to me, instead of struggling with carbohydrate counting and insulin- a flaw-filled activity with endless variables influencing your ratios, why not cut the carbs? Instead of treating my broken carbohydrate metabolism with insulin I would try to remove the carbohydrates. I was exceptionally motivated to find out how to optimally control my diabetes and excited to experiment with my new chronic illness. My primary aim was to never let T1D stop me from pursuing my fullest life.

On the first day of January 2015, I cut all carbohydrates and dairy products and embarked on a sugar-free lifestyle to see how this would help my diabetes. I remember stopping at Harrismith on the way back to Johannesburg and being exceptionally unsure what to eat since my usual cappuccino and low GI sandwich were not going to cut it. I opted for an inappropriately big bag of raw almonds and munched on them, no doubt the incorrect portion size- but I didn’t have to take insulin, my sugars remained perfect and I had no doubts and concerns about my sugars and that was a liberating feeling.

The next day I went to a leading bookstore and spent a good few hours trolling the shelves for books on diabetes, paleo and low carbohydrate diets. Then, the shelves were not boasting the large variety of books on the topics that they do now, but I found a book introducing me to the basics of Paleo.

I started to reduce my insulin until I stopped insulin entirely. My long-acting and short-acting insulin sat in the fridge unused while some people asked if I was certain that I was diagnosed with T1D and that it was impossible that I wasn’t taking insulin. I was admittedly, in my honeymoon period of my type one diagnosis, which meant that I still had some pancreatic functioning, but too little to cope with carbohydrate. I didn’t touch insulin for 6 months. Gradually my honeymoon period dwindled off and I had to start taking long-acting insulin to keep my blood glucose in range.

Later I invested in Dr Bernstein’s book “Diabetes solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Glucose”, which I truly believe every diabetic should read, regardless of the diet they Follow. A few other books I took an interest in were 3 books from Sarah Wilson called “I Quit Sugar”, “I Quit Sugar for Life” And “Simpilicious”. There is a proudly South African book called “The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics” by Vickie de beer and Kath Megraw, “That Sugar Book” by Damon Gameau and “The Real Meal Revolution” by Tim Noakes.

Tracy Sanders is a final year medical student graduating as a Doctor in December 2017. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 20, and has spent the last 3 years exploring, learning and sharing the possibilities that lie after a life-altering diagnosis. Follow her journey on Instagram via Type1Tracy

 

T1D Journey Part 1: The Beginning – From Diagnosis to Frustration

Tracy Sanders shares with us her journey from her T1D diagnosis to a healthy, fit lifestyle fueled by a low-carb diet.

 

How I was diagnosed
My type one diabetes (T1D) diagnosis was slightly unconventional. Firstly, I was 20 years old, and most people are diagnosed at a much younger age, peaking at around 14 years of age. Secondly, I was diagnosed at home by my brother. He was diagnosed with type one diabetes years before, at the age of 13 years old.

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing cells of your pancreas. Insulin regulates your blood glucose levels and without this vital hormone, the glucose in your blood builds up to dangerous levels and your body begins to starve. I lost over 10 kilograms although I was eating more than usual, drank up to 10 litres of water a day and I was absolutely drained of energy and life.

 

I suspected I had type one but didn’t even want to give into the idea that I could have it. I remember staring at my skeletal body in the mirror, incapable, sick and a shadow of what it once was and deciding I needed answers. Nauseous, head surging and having reached my wits end, I asked my brother to test my blood sugar. I was in diabetic keto-acidosis and my blood sugar was immeasurably high on my brother’s glucose meter- simply as that, I now had type one diabetes.

My Response to the diagnosis

My first response to my diagnosis was a complex, stream of emotions. I felt a great amount all at once. A strong emotion that poured over me was, paradoxically, relief. I finally understood what was wrong with me. I cannot explain the trauma of losing yourself to such a degree, and not understanding why you are fading away physically, mentally and emotionally. My heart still aches when I think about what I went through. My heart felt an incredible amount all at once when T1D became my reality, it broke for my parents but it sang that my brother and I were now a team.

We decided to correct my blood sugar at home, in quite an uneducated manner, with my brother’s insulin. We brought it down to a normal range overnight, which could have resulted in serious complications such as hypokalaemia and cerebral oedema. I never went to the hospital where hindsight, I should have been admitted. I suffered from terrible oedema (body swelling) for days after my diagnosis, no doubt due to deranged electrolytes and abnormal fluid shifts. We phoned my brother’s endocrinologist the next day. He was away at the time but drove back to Johannesburg to see me. I remember receiving all my injection pens and going out to breakfast, ordering and truly acknowledging my reality as I tested my glucose levels and injected my thigh with insulin in the restaurant. There was a profound moment of gratitude as I knew I would start to feel human again.

Where to start

When you are diagnosed with T1D, you are absolutely thrown into the deep end. Not to mention that your legs and arms are tied and there happens to be a 50kg weight attached firmly to your feet. You are abruptly instructed to consciously take on the role of an organ that many people don’t know exists. Also, this organ is a fine-tuned machine that is phenomenally precise in its functioning that it becomes a mammoth task for the clumsy human. You hardly have a second to absorb the news before you are sent on your way with injections and directions. There is no time to think, to work through your emotions or come to terms with the diagnosis, you dive straight into action and responsibility.

I was blessed to have had some exposure to and insight into T1D as a second-year medical student and living with a T1D brother. I also had the opportunity to phone my doctor at any time with questions and concerns and there was a 24/7 emergency line for support. I am forever grateful that I was self-motivated and I simply hit the ground running, perhaps not seamlessly well, but I ran regardless. I recorded all my blood glucose readings, what I ate and when, the carbohydrate count of each meal, exercise and insulin injected. I set out to learn my insulin and carbohydrate ratio, (how much insulin I need to inject for a certain about of carbohydrates) as well as to develop a system of pattern recognition in learning how my body responds to insulin and exercise.
I was diagnosed mid-October and before I found my routine I promptly welcomed the arrival of the December holidays and its routine disturbing ways. It was on a rollercoaster of sugar readings with abnormal eating and lack of exercise. Indulgence didn’t only correspond to a weight gain thanks to those sneaky holiday kilograms, it now meant injections and the profound effects of high and low glucose. I experienced my first serious low blood sugar, which left me hallucinating and terrified, understanding that my glucose was low but battling to help myself. The weight that I lost before my diagnosis rapidly returned since initiating insulin injections and I started to feel uncomfortable in my own skin, and psychologically the weight gain was demotivating.

 

Tracy Sanders is a final year medical student graduating as a Doctor in December 2017. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 20, and has spent the last 3 years exploring, learning and sharing the possibilities that lie after a life-altering diagnosis. Follow her journey on Instagram via Type1Tracy

 

” Did you know – Low Carb Products like Keto can assist Diabetics in managing their Disease.” – Keto Nutrition

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