For 6 months, I struggled to answer the questions about the keto diet as I was too afraid to tell the truth, I was too afraid to suggest Keto to another diabetic and then something went wrong.
Someone asked me the other day how I manage to have such an active life while living with diabetes. The general prescribed diet for diabetes is low/medium carbs, normal protein, low fat. The problem with this is that you land up with low energy levels, so you tend to up the carbs to get energy
For 6 months, I struggled to answer the questions about the keto diet as I was too afraid to tell the truth, I was too afraid to suggest Keto to another diabetic and then something went wrong… the world is full of critics and sometimes I felt like I was being observed by the world waiting for something to go wrong, so I could be told…. I told you so.
What good is a life if you lose the curiosity of wondering how far you can go.
My mom told me a story the other day about a friend who had back problems, but he didn’t want to listen to his doctor or friends and constantly tried to prove the world wrong by pushing further than he could, now he is in serious pain and struggling.
If he had just listened to the doctors she said. I had just got back from a warrior race…. still battered, lying on the floor……not yet sure how to string a response back….. so I settled on with but what if the doctors were wrong….. and what if I spent my whole life bubble wrapped in fear of a consequence we cannot avoid…. What good is a life if you lose the curiosity of wondering how far you can go….
At the end of the day if you really want something in life…. if you really want to be able to live an active life….. you have to find another way…. and what works for one might not work for another…… I have spent the last year on the ketogenic diet and I would never go back….. it has allowed me to access a lifestyle I just couldn’t have any other way….
The ketogenic diet can be of great benefit when understood fully and used properly (from my perspective), however it is equally dangerous when approached without proper preparation and caution.
While diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and nutritional ketosis are worlds apart, my experiences as a type 1 diabetic is that, there is a fine line between DKA and nutritional ketosis, (this fine line only applies with people living with diabetes, as a non-diabetic you cannot go into DKA). I say fine line as I do find if my body is fighting an infection or for any other reason my blood sugars have gone high, I find that the Ketones suddenly jump high a lot quicker than normal. However, that being said, since changing over to keto the only DKA episode I have had, has been as a result of a blocked insulin pump tube.
It has not been easy to adjust to the ketogenic diet, and the preparation required to figure it out is an on-going learning experience…… it’s definitely harder than carb counting as you try to count carbs, protein and fat delay to carefully balance the sugars…. with the added adrenaline playing it’s own story….. but for me it’s been about getting control back into my own hands, it’s been about being able to write my own story, so no it hasn’t been easy but it has been empowering.
Whenever some-body asks me about the diet I’m on, I generally get do you have a quick how to, a recipe book or an easy way to do it….. if you looking for simple this is not the answer…..nothing good comes easy in life or it wouldn’t be good….
Feeling lost with no guidance on the diet has led to the discovery of loads of blogs and books on type 1 diabetes with the ketogenic diet….. I have been very grateful for the inter-web as it allows me to connect with small groups of people living with diabetes all over the world….. living a life not prescribed by their condition….
So where did it all start….. it started a week after a seminar by Justin…. I’ve never been one to really listen to another, but head me on a topic and I will locate every ounce of research I can find on it. Two weeks into researching, I had found loads of opinion pieces, but very little actual research…. Painful, I had enough research to figure out how to do it but almost no understanding on the link into type 1 diabetes.
Medical opinion, not a chance…. Convinced the doctor that I wanted to try it for 3 months before my first warrior race, if it didn’t work I would stop…. Reluctantly he agreed, if I did a full blood work before and as I was going along. Dietitian…. Shopping, I did Dietitian shopping, eventually I found one who agreed to work with me on it, but spent the first half of each session trying to talk me out of it….. Great basic medical support in place….. however, I slowly learnt that it was not the medical support which actually allowed me to do Keto but it was the community and social support I received from Adventure obstacle course training (AOT).
The decision to give the Keto diet a chance was a hard one, the medical team was half hearty onboard which meant that the support was not really there…. I knew I couldn’t do it without support…. but I had absolutely no confidence in my own abilities…..That was the point where AOT became more than training….. but the approach to my health was completely different….. instead of holding my hand and telling me how to take my life back….. Trish and Claude created an empowering environment through their leadership style….. they gave me a safe space to learn and practice the skills I needed at both training and with Keto…. at every turn, they guided me to believe that I had the answers to everything I needed to know…. They empowered me to take back all that the medical system had removed…….
We all fight different battles….. some chosen….. some given…… and while we have to focus on the positives it doesn’t mean the negatives don’t exist……. not many people consider how strongly influential the people around you can be towards either making you feel isolated in your battle or acknowledging the challenges while supporting you to continue to fight another day…….As an athletic community, Keto was promoted by Trish and Claude to us but never forced…. Within this those who were interested joined together to create a keto support group, where everyone could learn from others, ask questions, share recipes and support each other. One of the most amazing things I learnt on this group, was that we were all in it, learning together…. Keto was an experiment where things went wrong, and we all had our turn…. Getting rations wrong, running out of energy, putting on muscle mass (when you didn’t want to), fluctuating cholesterol levels, epic cooking failures….
For the first time in my life, food changed to a positive experience…. Social events always had carb and non-carb options, sugar and non-sugar…… The entire atmosphere had changed, there was more of a fight for the keto doughnuts than the chocolate cake….the guilt around food and eating had changed to a discussion on what else can be baked and enjoyed.