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15 Ways to Thrive With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Yerachmiel Altman I achieved 57 years of living with type 1 diabetes this year! I was diagnosed just one month after my 2nd birthday and have logged half a million hours of living with type 1 to this day! I want to share with you the tips and knowledge I’ve acquired through my top 15 tips living and working with diabetes. Hopefully you find these as useful as I have. Remember that everyone has a different way of treating their disease so don’t worry if some of these tips don’t apply to you!

1. Put your mind into it.

If you focus on what’s important to your health, it opens up wider possibilities than thought before.

2. Don’t judge yourself

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

4. Its not your fault.

You didn’t choose to have diabetes, it chose you!

5. Make smart choices everyday

Diabetes self-care is all about choices. Human minds create over 35,000 choices about every five seconds.

6. Don’t wait for the cure.

Ever have someone talk about the “cure in five years” ? Do your best to control diabetes to best of your ability.  Monitoring your diabetes will only lead to better health and a longer, happier life with hopefully less complications. This will help to leave you in improved conditions to be eligible for breakthrough treatments when they ARE available.

7. No your way or the highway thinking.

Don’t think the way you are doing it is the best or only way.  Always read, research and try (under medical supervision) different ways of treatment, wellness, and care. Listen to those around you.

8. Know thyself and thy diet.

Always learn as much as possible about your own self.  Everyone has certain foods that for themselves don’t follow the standard “curve” (and/or standard “carb count”).

9. Find your niche and your system.

Each person has to find the system or methods that work best for them.

10. Get Techy

Technology has given us many many modern inventions which aid in our control and understanding of diabetes – you have determine which of them works best for you and which ones aren’t as helpful.

11. Find a mentor. Find a community.

Vitally important to have others who are type 1 and similar in length and type of diabetes as well as and other life factors.  It is also important to have a “mentor”; someone else to ask questions of.  Having another person to ask or to bounce ideas off of can many times resolve issues before they become problems.  Additionally long term use of equipment gets us into habits  –  having others to ask may open doors we didn’t even know existed.

12. Pay it forward: spread your knowledge to others!

It is very important once one has learned enough to help others.  It is both really helpful for the other people AND very good for yourself.

13. Surround yourself with love

Always have family and friends who lift you up, and help guide you through the tough times that come with being a T1D patient. There is always hope!

14. Open up

Diabetes doesn’t have to be a secret, share with others about your disease. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about your chronic illness but with more awareness comes more acceptance. However you always know how much is safe or okay to disclose,you are never obligated to tell people or only focus on your disease. You’re a multidimensional person!

15. Enjoy Life!! You CAN live a joyous and fulfilling life with diabetes!

Real Talk With Dave: You Are NOT Alone

“You are not alone”. Just one thing they immediately tell you when you are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Though this is so true, when one is first diagnosed, that is not necessarily something you would want to hear. It takes time and a personal connection with T1D on a unique level to fully understand this phrase.

When I was first diagnosed at the age of 11, I was still unclear as to what my life was turning out to be. I was frustrated, scared, and confused most of all. Out of politeness and respect, everyone would tell me, “you are not alone” and how millions of others fight the same fight daily and struggle to make ends meet with their Diabetes. However, I simply did not like that saying at the time. I hadn’t fully accepted or made peace with the fact that I had this disease to deal with now for the rest of my life or until there is a cure, causing me to feel as though nobody understood what I was going through and how no one could ever relate with me. Fast forward to today, I now know that is not the case AT ALL.

Take it from an actual Type 1 Diabetic, if someone ever says the phrase “you are not alone”, believe it, because that is actual truth right there. Over the past few months, I have been given the amazing privilege of actually meeting such awesome Type 1 Diabetics in person and just the few times I’ve spent with them, I’ve realized how we really are not alone. We all go low. We all go high. We all know what it feels like to be so sick of dealing with T1D every day and it being such a big deal in our lives. We know what it feels like to wear a device on our bodies 24/7 in order to stay alive. We know what needles feel like. And we simply know what pain feels like.

The few meet-ups I’ve been to where the majority were Type 1 Diabetics, there were countless times in which I actually saw one another with the full T1D package. Pump sites, medical devices, low/high treatment solutions, you name it! We all go through it and know EXACTLY what it is like.

I can remember being surrounded by other Diabetics and going low and having others around me offer to help and ask if I was feeling okay, simply because they knew what it feels like. Something about being so real with each other and experiencing similar situations can really build up trust and loyalty with one another, creating lasting and memorable friendships. Of all the wonderful T1D’s out there, whether on Instagram, YouTube, or just about anywhere else where we can share via social media our daily struggles, I constantly see others showing what they are dealing with and seeking support from each other, which is why the Diabetic community never ceases to amaze me at how kind everyone truly is. Seeing how others are doing at different parts of the day really keeps us all in the loop together and allows for discussion and a place to vent off on our T1D. None of us know what may happen with our Diabetes at any given point in our lives, which is why, when something does happen, we can always depend on one another for the right words and support we crave.

If you are in a bad place with your Diabetes and are feeling all alone, fret no more! Surround yourself with other Diabetics and don’t be afraid to completely vent off on your feelings towards T1D, chances are, everyone else will feel the exact same way. It always helps to have someone to turn to in any situation regarding your Diabetes for a sense of understanding and care. I can guarantee you will feel so much better about your Diabetes and will be so inspired to spread awareness in ending T1D. There are thousands of other Diabetics out there, in person and online, and several Diabetic organizations that are constantly up with ways to bring us closer together, allowing us to never feel alone.

Just remember, life is a beautiful gift and though Diabetes is a factor in our lives that we never wish we had, it makes it so much easier having each other to remind us that we can do anything as long as we stick together.

 

WE ARE NOT ALONE. Don’t forget that.

 

Live well,

 

Dave

Real Talk With Dave: Loving Your Numbers!

As a Type 1 Diabetic of 9 years, I have had certain time frames in which my numbers were wonderful, and times in which I just could not gain control over them.

Most Type 1 Diabetics are diagnosed at a very young age, which makes it a bit more difficult to gain control over their blood sugars as they are, in reality, kids who just want to be kids. This disease takes a certain part away from you, and most T1D patients hardly remember a childhood without Diabetes. Wanting to go out with friends, sports teams, or on field trips make it hard to stick to a day to day regimen and diet, which then causes blood sugars to spike up and crash from time to time. At some point (and we each discover that point in our lives at a different rate), we need to find a common ground between living and loving our numbers. It can be tough, time consuming, and overwhelming to have to figure out what works out for each individual person and the way their body reacts to certain things, but at one point in time, your numbers will cooperate if you set your mind to healthy living.

What it takes is self-discipline.

Just a few weeks of training your mind to carefully watch your numbers as they change throughout the day (maybe by monitoring them on a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)), sticking to a healthy diet consisting of different nutrients that are beneficial to a person with T1D, and figuring out what truly works best for you can be all you will need in finding happiness with your numbers. I’m not saying you have to give up your favorite dessert or be on a strict health plan in order to work towards those better numbers. What I am saying is that in moderation, anything can be done. I for one can not give up my favorite food (sushi), which can be very high in carbs and tricky to calculate how many carbs I am eating, so that is what I may call a “cheat meal” in which I accept that fact that my numbers may go a bit higher than usual, actually much higher than usual, but I am able to let it slide.

Us Diabetics work hard each day just to stay alive, so every now and then, it’s okay to have a day where we eat what we want and however much we want

…just as long as you do get back in the zone of those great numbers.

I can remember countless times in which I would have a determined mindset which allowed me to gain the numbers I wanted, but then there were also times in which I simply did not care about my numbers, diet, or exercise plan, but you know what? That is absolutely okay. We all go through a burn-out period and it does get in our minds and makes us think we are failing on our bodies, but we just need to find out what inspires us to pick ourselves back up and start over again.

Something that helps me is that if one day is really tough and I just cannot seem to get one good blood sugar reading that day, I tell myself how it’s okay to continue the rest of the day with not so good blood sugars, as safely as possible, just as long as the next day, I start fresh and new and treat it as a blank page in a notebook, allowing me to make better choices and plan ahead for the day and what I want it to look like. Highs and lows come from a number of different causes, such as different foods, exercise, stress, and sickness, etc. That is why as much as we try to gain the control we need, some days just get the best of us and don’t allow us to truly live. But we are human. We get sick. We get stressed out. We are active. So as hard as we try, it may not work out the way we intended it to work out, but again, that is absolutely OKAY.

Nobody is perfect.

There are no Diabetics out there who have mastered T1D completely as this disease is aggressive and doesn’t care how long you’ve had Diabetes for.

It is not an easy thing to get right away, but eventually, accumulating as many “good” days as possible makes it easier to overlook the bad days. Days will pass in which you may feel like giving up, but you have to remember who you are here on earth for: your parents, friends, family, and ultimately, yourself. The better the numbers, the better (and longer) the life you will be able to live.

So go ahead, work towards those amazing blood sugars that you are capable of!

Live well,

Dave

Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth

Today marks the last day of National Diabetes Awareness Month, which means it its your last chance to drop by both Le Colonial and Brasserie Ruhlmann to indulge in our tasty, curated pix-fixe menu! A percentage of the proceeds from this menu will help us stop childhood obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, and improve eating habits for children locally.

Courtesy of Le Colonial, please enjoy this recipe for their exquisite pan seared cod with a ginger lime broth.

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Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

BROTH

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 pieces fresh ginger, each 2 inches long
  • 1 Thai chile, halved lengthwise

FISH

  • 3 pounds Cod fillet
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro stems
  • ½ cup finely minced lemongrass (about 2 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chiles
  • 2¼ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • Fleur de sel, for garnishDIRECTIONS:
  1. To make the broth, trim the lemongrass, leaving only the bottom 5 to 6 inches of the stalks, and peel away the outer layers, leaving only the tender stalks. Bruise the lemongrass by smashing it with a small pot or the dull side of a cleaver. In a medium saucepan over high heat down to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cod into 6 equal pieces and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro stems, lemongrass, olive oil, chiles, garlic, and salt and stir to form a paste. Spread evenly over the tops of the cod fillets.
  3. In a very hot pan, cook the fish until firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per inch of thickness. Just before serving, stir the lime juice and fish sauce to taste into the broth. Place each piece of fish in a bowl and pour ½ cup of the broth around the fish. Garnish with cilantro, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

ENJOY!

I Am A Warrior, I Have Type1

I have been a type 1 diabetic since I was 8 years old. My brother is a type 1 diabetic as well. He is one year younger than I am, and was diagnosed one year before I was diagnosed. Other than that, we have no family history. It just was a freak thing, a mystery. It is rare for a brother and sister to both have type 1, that’s what the doctors told us at least.

I was visiting my father in Michigan when I was diagnosed with type 1. I had extreme thirst, was always lying around, didn’t have much energy, and urinated my bed due to the extreme amounts of fluids I was drinking. I was brought to the doctor, and my blood sugar was unreadable due to how high my glucose was. The doctors taught me how to practice giving shots with needles on oranges; yes, the fruit. After that I was hospitalized for a few days.

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My brother Joseph and I, both type 1 diabetics. Diagnosed one year apart at ages 7 and 8.

I was so young and I didn’t understand exactly what was going on. It was a challenge. Even though diabetes had been around for years, in the 90’s it was still considered “new.” Today we have advanced medicine such as insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors and mixed insulin. However, when I was a child, we did not have any of those. I had to administer multiple shots every day, and mix two different insulin’s together.

At school, my brother and I were the only diabetics, no one else. We both felt different and alone in that factor, but we did have each other. We would have to be called out of class to the nurse’s office to test our blood sugars and give insulin. I think the hardest part as a kid was not being able to eat sugar. I always had sweets before I was diagnosed, and then all of the sudden I wasn’t allowed to. Diabetes was so “new” to us at that time that things were eliminated simply because of lack of knowledge. We were told “no sugar, low carbs.” I was grateful however, that my parents found a sleep-away “diabetic camp” that my brother and I both went too where everyone there was just like us: diabetic.

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At diabetic camp. I’m still friends with one of the girls to this day, her name is Alison. Type 1 diabetic.

As I got older, my diabetes was mostly kept silent. I didn’t want anyone knowing I had to give shots. Then the insulin pump came during my high school years. I hid my pump so people wouldn’t ask questions like: “what’s that” or “why do you still have a beeper?” College was the real challenge though. I was in denial. I didn’t test my sugars often, didn’t give myself enough insulin and my eyes felt blurry. I felt invincible. All I did was drink and party. My a1c at the highest was 13, which is beyond dangerous. Shortly after, I was hospitalized for DKA (diabetic keto acidosis). That’s when I knew I had to get my act together.

As I got into my mid 20’s I began working out and seeing more and more diabetics on social media. I came across so many diabetic accounts and it made me realize there are people just like me, facing the same obstacles (and more), who were truly inspirational. I got my life back. I started listening to my doctors, testing my sugars all the time, going regularly to my endo and other specialists, and giving the proper amounts of insulin for my food intake. I began working out and being open to having my pump out in the open instead of hiding it. I became heavily involved in the diabetic community: JDRF Long Island Chapter attending walks and local functions as well as the ADA, ride to cure diabetes. I got involved on the diabetic app “Beyond Type 1” and was featured on their Instagram account for “living beyond type 1 by lifting weights.”

Raising awareness and being around other type 1’s made me realize that I was not alone. I loved what I saw at these events, so I began a diabetic Instagram (@t1dchick) with over 7,000 type 1 followers. They started asking me questions and advice, and at that moment, I knew I was a leader. I was helping diabetics and inspiring them to want to live healthy lives with type 1 diabetes.

After my social media explosion, I wanted to make diabetes visible. I created trendy diabetic alert bracelets and began selling them. I donated a percentage of my sales back to the organization that has been there since I was a kid: JDRF.

Diabetes has taught me so much. With age comes maturity, and I am truly living “beyond” this disease. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to embrace my disease and take care of my life. I have been on the Medtronic insulin pump for over 12 years now and just recently became a cgm, Dexcom user. I am so grateful for this technology, making my everyday life easier. Type 1 is manageable and I can live a long healthy life with the proper care and positive attitude.

I want to inspire others to not hide behind diabetes. There are so many people living with type 1. More and more diabetics are coming out and being open about our “invisible” disease.

Diabetes is part of who I am. I don’t remember life without having diabetes.

I am a warrior, I have type 1.

November: National Diabetes Awareness Month

Happy November!

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Today marks the beginning of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

At Lyfebulb, our mission is to improve the quality of life of those living with chronic disease. We have a special focus on Diabetes, as our founder, Karin Hehenberger, has Type 1 Diabetes herself.

Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin, and requires daily shots of insulin to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Type 2 Diabetes is the result of the body’s inefficient use of insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 29 million people in the United States have Diabetes, and 86 million have prediabetes. Lack of awareness about Diabetes combined with insufficient access to health services can lead to blindness, amputations, and kidney failure. Persons afflicted by both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes benefit from healthy diet and regular exercise.

Two tenets of The Lyfebulb Philosophy, which we announced yesterday, are to ‘eat well’ and ‘do good.’ With this in mind, we are thrilled to partner with two incredible restaurants – Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial in NYC – to bring you a special prix fixe menu in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The menus are a result of a collaboration between Lyfebulb and the chefs at the two restaurants to bring you healthy, Diabetes friendly options that limit sugar and carbs. While the menus are great for diabetics, everyone can benefit from a healthier diet.

Check out the menu below. A percentage of all proceeds will go to the Lyfebulb Foundation, which focuses on creating awareness about diabetes, providing education to children about eating healthy, and building a community of patient-to-patient mentorship.

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The Lyfebulb Philosophy – An Introduction

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  • Work Hard
  • Eat Well
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Expand your Horizons
  • Relax Frivolously
  • Do Good

We believe that living well and being happy with yourself include all these components. It is not enough to work hard and play hard but we need to take care of our bodies and minds as well. Treating our bodies as finely tuned machines is a method top athletes are used to and that works for periods of our lives but to succeed to be overall happy the human being needs more than just fuel and toning, we also need intellectual stimulation, feeling needed and to use our hearts.

I have lived a life that has been divided into different phases, the first phase as being a child athlete in gymnastics, track and field and tennis which required me to keep my body very strong and flexible.

This changed when I was diagnosed with diabetes a few days before my 17th birthday after which I dedicated many years to forcing my brain to take in as much as possible about my own disease and show the world that I could compete well in academics and later on in the work place. I did not focus on my health for a few years and due partly to my lack of care for my own body, it broke down and forced me to switch focus again.

After having to solve for several complications to diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision loss and general dysfunction, I started the third phase of my life, which now took into account my body and mind, but I still had not included my heart. When you are fighting for your life, it is hard to think about what you can do for others, but survival instincts take over and the individual becomes selfish. I see this a lot in people who have chronic disease, they tend to feel sorry for themselves during periods of time and it will take some soul-searching until they realize that helping others, ie doing good makes you feel and even look better!

When I realized all this, more than 20 years after my diagnosis I felt a new kind of energy and motivation that reached beyond making money or getting ahead. I wanted to make a difference but to do that, I needed to take very good care of my mind and body.

For me, my motivation changed from being a competitive athlete, star student and young professional trying to make it, into an adult with some disabilities but with a clear compass for what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to be seen.

I think motivation is the driver for behavior and any program to affect health, esthetics or performance need to include strong motivational triggers, otherwise technology, diets, gyms do not work.

My simple advice to anyone who wants to keep a healthy diet is to eat a balanced diet, with proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but to reduce the portion sizes and the amounts of simple carbs, saturated fats and red meat as soon as you want to reduce weight. Another important trick is to have many smaller meals, rather than a few heavy ones, to never have a large meal late in the evening and to replace alcohol with water as much as possible. You want to keep your metabolism high and working, which you do not do if you starve yourself and skip meals. Coffee is a great metabolism booster, although there are side effects to consider if you are hypertensive or if you have GI issues.

Regarding exercise, my simple advice again is to be regular and to incorporate physical activity daily, almost as a part of your routine. It could be a walk in the morning, after lunch and dinner, taking the stairs and to walk the distance from the last bus stop before reaching your home. If I do not have time to get to the gym or go for a run in the Park, I pay extra attention to my body during the day and do small things such as lifting my legs while sitting, tightening my muscles in meetings or volunteering to do errands (will make you popular in the office). Getting your heart pumping is critical and using your muscles will build tone and make you look better.

At Lyfebulb we also believe in broadening your horizons beyond work and exercise. This means that we encourage individuals to participate in activities that are not directly related to your work, for example music, art, antiques, theater, movies. This is different than just enjoying some time off, which falls under the category of relaxing and we add the word “frivolously” to make sure there is no required learning in the relaxation.

Personally, broadening of my horizons is the most difficult pillar to incorporate in my life and that has to do with my competitive spirit. If I am not very good at something, I rarely participate actively, just passively, as a form of relaxation. For example, I love watching movies, but I do not push myself to watch so-called intellectual movies or classics unless they are enjoyable. I do not listen to music to learn about a composer/artist or genre, only to feel happy or work out. I love fashion, but only if the clothes appeal to me personally and if I would consider buying them. I am not interested in their history, the designer or how they were originated or made. I have a strong sense and clear views on esthetics – but only for my own pleasure.

Lastly, doing good – something we feel we should all be doing daily and always keep the concept in mind. It actually should not even be a thought, but it should be inherent to your character –  we believe that people who are good, normally do well!

So now let us get back to motivation. What drove me to become a top tennis player in my country as a teenager? Not doing good, not to be healthy and not to be rich, but I was driven by the motivation of winning, becoming a champion and the satisfying feeling that I was truly excellent at something. A similar feeling drove me to do well in school, but the direction my studies took me also included the motivation to learn more about my personal disease and to be part of the race toward a cure. I wanted to graduate with two degrees from a top university in record time, and so I did. But when I had reached that goal, my motivation to pursue medicine was lower than my motivation to become successful financially and to again prove to the world that I could do something very hard, ie move careers and become a successful young woman in finance despite my scientific background. Although it appealed to me to make money, financial success was never the driver, while “winning” still was. I set up goals for myself, in getting great jobs, performing well in meetings and being recognized for my intelligence. When I got very sick due to genetic predisposition to microvascular complications and mismanagement of diabetes, I was motivated by a different driver – health.

I needed to get back in shape metabolically to continue the life I was living, and although I made big changes, this fight required double transplants and lots of medical care to get to the point where I am now.

 

What motivates me now – health and doing good are at the forefront, success at work and personally are secondary. I want to be happy and I want to make others happy. I love seeing the work we do at Lyfebulb make a true difference for people and that I can use my experiences to help others – companies, individuals, foundations and hospitals. I guess I still like to be recognized and my inherent insecurities push me to work very hard and to continue my quest, but I never forget to keep space open for my health which clearly is backed by how I eat, exercise, relax and how I expand my horizons!

My advice to others is to recognize your personal motivation – it may differ from mine. If you focus on your looks, health, family, net worth really does not matter. All that matters is that you use your trigger at the moments when you need to make decisions and that you keep in mind the 6 Lyfebulb pillars of our Philosophy.

For example –

1: if your motivation is your family, keep them at the forefront of your mind when you are faced with stress. When you are close to eating the wrong meals, skipping your daily exercise or when you are close to making an unethical decision – think about your family and how they will suffer if you are no longer strong and happy.

2: if your trigger is your financial situation, think about the long term and how your health is critical to your pocketbook and that making short term profits while disregarding your waistline and your morals will not enable you to enjoy the money for a very long time

3: if your driver is your appearance, consider the food you are eating or avoiding to eat and the exercise you are dropping or overdoing. It is equally bad for your appearance long term to be too skinny as it is to be too fat. Health is reflected by your appearance, so if you drop your driver, your health will be suffering a great deal.

We will be featuring a number of ideas to stay on the plan – simple, enjoyable and motivational posts will be launched on our various social media outlets. Stay tuned and do not hesitate to reach out to tell your story and to ask us more about ours!

Lyfebulb Partners with Le Colonial NYC: Coconut Chicken Soup

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The Team at Lyfebulb is proud to partner with a Lyfebulb Favorite in NYC:  Le Colonial NYC in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month!

During the month of November, Le Colonial will feature a very special diabetes friendly three course prix-fixe menu, proceeds from which will benefit the Lyfebulb Foundation and support our mission to improve the lives of those living with chronic disease!

Make sure you stop by the 57th street location during the month of November to try it out – much more information to come.

As a teaser, here is the recipe of one of the sumptuous, and healthy, dishes that will be featured on the menu:

Coconut Chicken Soup or súp gà dừa

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups (24 fluid ounces) sodium ­free chicken stock
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces across the grain
  • ½ lb (8 ounces) fresh or canned straw mushrooms (drained)
  • One stalk lemongrass
  • 6 fresh bird’s eye chilies (more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 2­ inch piece of fresh galangal, sliced thinly crosswise
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 limes
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (but have more ready)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1½ cups (12 fluid ounces) full fat coconut milk

Instructions

  • First, concentrate the stock. Put the chicken stock in a wide and shallow saucepan (to ensure fast evaporation), bring it to a boil, and reduce it over medium­ to high heat until the liquid measures half its original volume.
  • Halve (or quarter) the straw mushrooms into bite size pieces; set aside. Any meaty, mild ­flavored mushrooms will do.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalk into 1 ­inch pieces and smash them set aside.
  • Do to the chilies what you just did to the lemongrass; set aside.
  • Remove the stems and the tough veins that run through the middle from the kaffir lime leaves, and tear them up into small pieces. You can also bruise them a little. Set aside.
  • Juice 2 limes; set aside.
  • Put the coconut milk into a 4­ quart pot, followed by concentrated chicken stock, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass pieces, and galangal slices.
  • Bring the mixture slowly to between 160° and 180°F (slightly below a simmer), allowing the herbs to infuse the liquid for about a minute.
  • Keeping the temperature steady, add the mushrooms and the chicken to the liquid; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature. The liquid should never at any point come to a rapid boil. Don’t worry; at 160°­180°F, your chicken will be thoroughly cooked.
  • Stir gently to ensure that the chicken is evenly cooked. (If you want more liquid, add more plain water or unconcentrated broth.)
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, throw in the smashed chilies and remove the pot from heat immediately.
  • Add the juice of 2 limes and the fish sauce to the pot, stir, and taste. Add more lime juice and fish sauce, if necessary. The soup should be predominantly sour, followed by salty. The sweetness comes from natural sugar in the coconut milk.
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve your soup!

 

Breaking Through by Omar Hassan

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We are thrilled to announce that in one month, we will collaborate with UNIX Gallery and Contini Art UK, to bring you a special performance by the artist Omar Hassan, a member of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle.

Omar is an internationally renowned and celebrated artist whose technique, style and personality break away from conventional approaches. Hassan’s work merges his many worlds: fine art, boxing and living with Diabetes. In his work, Hassan explores the gravity of disease and simultaneously emanates positivity and the powerful urge to overcome adversity.

Omar will create one of his amazing works of art on November 17th at UNIX Gallery, located at 532 W 24th Street in New York City, which will then be auctioned off during a silent auction. The proceeds will go the Lyfebulb’s foundation, and help further our mission to improve the lives of those living with Diabetes. If you are unable to attend the event, you can still make a donation here. We appreciate any support our community may be able to provide!

We hope to see you at UNIX Gallery on November 17th at 6 pm!

To RSVP, please email Andrew Cole – andrew@unixgallery.com.

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Travel Tips from Lyfebulb

Dr. Hehenberger of Lyfebulb provides us with some key travel tips in this short video that are essential for diabetics and others with chronic disease. Some of her key tips include:
  • Before traveling, do your research and find out where the nearest hospital or medical center is, relative to your hotel.
  • Be sure to always pack your meds in your carry-on luggage.
  • Inform your travel partner of your condition and also ask them to pack a spare supply of your meds just in case there are issues with your luggage.
  • Make sure that you don’t let your insulin is stored in a suitable temperature and make sure not expose it to excess heat.
  • Stay safe by taking necessary precautions and Enjoy Your Vacation!

Diabetes Doesn’t Have You

Chris Dudley played basketball in the NBA for 16 years. The Yale graduate gained notoriety around the league as a voracious defender, energetic rebounder, and formidable shot blocker. He played Center as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New Jersey Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, and the Phoenix Suns. Dudley was born in Connecticut, but grew up primarily in the San Diego area of California where he started playing basketball. A bit of a late bloomer, Dudley played Junior Varsity basketball through his junior year of high school when he was first diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 16. Committing to Yale University during his senior year, Chris Dudley played for the Bulldogs from 1983 to 1987 before becoming the first ever Type-1 Diabetic to play in the NBA when we was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth round of the 1987 draft.

Dudley’s professional career achievements include playing in a total of 886 games, scoring 3,473 points, 375 assists, 1,027 blocked shots, and 5,457 rebounds. The NBA rewarded Dudley with the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1996, and USA Today named him the Most Caring Athlete in 1997.

I was fortunate enough to interview Chris Dudley about his experience playing basketball as a type-1 diabetic.

It was in his spring semester in 1981 after his sophomore year that Chris Dudley started to experience the classic symptoms of increased thirst and frequent trips to the bathroom. His close uncle had diabetes, so after advising Dudley and his dad to test his blood glucose level (BS) at a home test kit from the local pharmacy, he realized he had T1D.

Initially shocked, Dudley remembered that the life expectancy for diabetics was well below that of non-diabetics in the early 80’s. Nearly as important to the 16-year-old was the question of whether or not he would be able to keep playing basketball.

Lucky for Dudley two main factors kept his spirits high in this tumultuous time. One, his endocrinologists in San Diego were fairly progressive in that knew the value of athletics in maintaining steady glucose levels. Although not a lot had been confirmed in this time as it related to the effect on sports and diabetes, his doctors did not deter Dudley from continuing to play. Second, Dudley looked to National Hockey League star Bobby Clarke for inspiration. Bobby Clarke was drafted into the NHL in 1969 as a diabetic, ultimately winning two Stanley Cup Championships and being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. Clarke inspired confidence in Dudley that achieving athletic success was possible for a type 1 diabetic.

Most diabetics typically receive their insulin through two methods: multiple injections via an insulin pen or syringe, or through an insulin pump. Through the bulk of Dudley’s career, he received his insulin through multiple injections, as pump use had not been as highly advertised until the early 2000’s. Dudley commented that he wears the pump to receive his insulin currently, and would have considered wearing the modern day pumps back in his playing days, had they been available.

Other than his impressive doctors back in San Diego, Chris Dudley credits a particular nurse, Molly Meyer (who worked at Yale where Chris played in college) as incredibly instrumental in helping him out to manage his diabetes when it was most important and the level of play was at its highest. When asked about the most important person who currently helps Dudley the most with his diabetes management, he notes that his wife, also named Chris, is responsible for keeping him on top of his health.

Exercise of any kind with diabetes can be arduous. Playing basketball at the highest level for 16 seasons certainly presented unique challenges for Chris Dudley. When I asked him what the hardest aspects of his career were, he spoke about all the spikes in bis blood sugar from adrenaline he experienced, playing night after night in front of ten of thousands of screaming fans. The schedule of an NBA player also presents plenty of variables that may affect his glucose level management, from altitude of certain cities to back-to-back games on the calendar. The lag time for insulin in the 1990’s was also closer to 45 minutes, rather than the 15 to 20 minute absorption rate diabetics are blessed with today. This meant Dudley had to operate with a tremendous amount of foresight to try and keep optimum BS levels for game time.

I asked Dudley to share with me his average game day schedule, including testing times, in order to get a better sense on how regimented an NBA player with diabetes’ agenda must be.

Assuming the game was at home:

    • Dudley would wake up and test
    • Eat Breakfast
    • Prepare to drive into the arena for a pregame shootaround and test
    • Arrive at the arena and test
    • Participate in the pregame shootaround and test
    • Complete a quick workout, this might include a light lift and/or a solid stretching session, all while testing
    • Drive back home and test
    • Take a nap, wake up and test
    • Eat a balanced meal, chock full of protein
    • Relax for a bit and test
    • Drive back to the arena for the actual game and test
    • Get more shots up, complete pregame workout is necessary to get loose and test
    • Prayer/Mediation in the pregame Chapel and test
    • Pregame meeting with the team and test
    • Right before game time test
    • The Trainer will test (4x) throughout game
    • At Halftime test
    • After the game, get changed, test, and drive home
    • At Bedtime, test

If you’re counting at home, that’s roughly 20 times a day that Dudley tested his blood sugar. He notes how convenient it would have been to have been playing professional basketball in the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) era where he could read a continuous plotting of his blood glucose levels.

Unlike golf, swimming, or singles tennis, playing basketball as a diabetic is complicated in that you are a member or a team. With that team aspect, comes a level of responsibility and accountability to your teammates. It can certainly be intimidating to talk about your issues as it relates to your disease when you are the only diabetic surrounded by others who know very little about your needs. A member of many different teams in many different cities, Dudley asserts that his teammates everywhere were largely supportive. Even though many of peers never quite understood his condition, they showed a genuine interest. When I asked Dudley what may have contributed to such a positive response, he recalled back to early in his career, when he purposively didn’t miss any games or practices. Dudley credits his durability, at a time when his reputation had yet to be fully molded, to be responsible for players around the league to recognizing Dudley would not lean on diabetes as a crutch or excuse to not work hard and hustle.

Despite an incredible display of toughness and durability, like all diabetics, Chris Dudley has certainly had his fair share of hypoglycemic (or low blood sugar) incidents. One can imagine how stressful it must be to in the heat of the moment in a big game, unsure of whether or not you are just tried form running up and down to court or if you’re experiencing an issue beyond your control. What Dudley feared most wasn’t just playing terribly, it was letting his teammates down and embarrassing himself in front of 20,000 fans. When a diabetic’s blood sugar initially starts to drop, the symptoms mirror that of just being tired. Every athlete’s natural response to fatigue is to push through that feeling, to tell your body it can take on more, when in reality there’s a possibility it truly can not. Dudley was fortunate enough to have had these experiences, but was never forced to miss an entire game. The all to familiar act of having to binge drink juice in order to maintain a normal blood sugar level was definitely a phenomenon Dudley says he experienced.

When I asked him about any particular scary moments he’s faced when having a low, he recalled a game he played against the Denver Nuggets. The game was already decided, causing every player to worry less about execution and more about running up and down to the court and scoring to perhaps leave an impression for the games ahead. Dudley’s blood sugar crashed dramatically, and he ended up leaving the game entirely and needing an IV to deliver glucose and replenish lost fluids. In addition to the increased elevation of the Mile High City, Dudley also suggested he might have been a tad ill, which could have contributed to his erratic BS.

Despite occasional hiccups, it is without question that Chris Dudley found success playing basketball in the NBA. In talking about his greatest achievements as a basketball player, Dudley includes his 16 years of playing professionally, being the first ever type-1 diabetic to play in the NBA, leading the NCAA in rebounding while at Yale, and being amongst the leaders in the NBA in rebounds per minute played. Dudley recalls one his most proud moments to be when he won the Eastern Conference Finals playing for the New York Knicks in 1999. It was the first time in NBA history an 8th seed had beaten a 1 seed, beating the favored Miami Heat 3 games to 2 at home in front of their fans at Madison Square Garden.

Outside of the court, Chris Dudley has been serving the diabetic community through his Chris Dudley Foundation for the last 20 years. Operating out of Oregon, he holds camps through which his foundation aims to empower kids with type-1 diabetes. Dudley promotes achieving dreams by through acceptance, staying active, and taking care of yourself. Dudley adds that his foundation has teamed up with the Portland Trailblazers and the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Union to promote healthy activity and encourage diabetics during the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Awareness week.

I asked Chris Dudley what message he would give a newly diagnosed teenager with professional athlete aspirations, like himself all those years ago. Dudley paused and echoed again acceptance.

“You have Diabetes, Diabetes doesn’t have you”

It’s normal to ask “Why me?” but you cannot get too caught up in wondering what cosmic forces aligned for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. Dudley remarks instead that you should work through it.

Looking ahead, Dudley has no end in sight for his annual camp until a cure is found. In fact, he is looking to potentially expand his camp across the West Coast. He will continue to work with the Portland Trailblazer and Pacific Northwest Diabetes Union on Diabetes Awareness week and has some very revolutionary ideas for the NBA. In 2015, American sports leagues have used their influence to bring awareness to such causes as Breast Cancer or Military Appreciation. Dudley has expressed a desire for the NBA to potentially join forces with the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness. The month of awareness is in November, as is the beginning of the season, maybe the two associations could even incorporate a color scheme to be worn throughout the league. I, for one, would be ecstatic to see such a notion actually manifest itself.

Before finishing our interview, I told Chris Dudley that I’ve always kept a dynamic Top 4 diabetic athlete Power Rankings, a Mount Rushmore if you will. Diabetic Athlete Gary Hall Jr. introduced me to the idea that diabetes did not have to inhibit your athletic dreams when he won the gold just weeks before my own diagnosis, so he earns a spot. I was playing basketball in high school around the time of Adam Morrison’s heroic performances at Gonzaga, so he earns a spot. Jay Cutler balances his blood sugar levels while playing in the National Football League. Spot. I added myself last both because I came up with this idea and we need a little ethnic diversity. After laughing at my foolishness, Chris Dudley was gracious enough to offer me his Diabetic Athlete Mount Rushmore:

1. Bobby Clarke (NHL): Mentioned earlier in this piece, Bobby Clarke is an NHL Champion and Hall of Famer who had achieved many accolades around when Dudley himself was diagnosed.

2. Ron Santo (MLB): Santo was a star third baseman for the Chicago Cubs from 1960-1973, the Five time consecutive Golden Glove winner also batted .300 and hit 30 home runs in four of his fifteen seasons

3. Bill Collision (Triathlete): Coming out of California, this triathlete was the first ever to win the competition as a diabetic.

4. Chris Dudley (NBA): Chris Dudley was the first diabetic to ever play in the NBA, paving the way for plenty of others to follow in his footsteps. He’s well in his rights to put himself on top of that mountain.

As a player, Chris Dudley embodied grit and determination, he has taken that effort off the court in the present day to encourage and inspire diabetics like him to flourish at the highest level of competition. We should all take a page out of Dudley’s book and accept the terms our lives have given us, but to not be defined or deterred by them. As we work towards both a cure and better methods of management, let this be our battle cry:

“You have Diabetes, Diabetes doesn’t have You!”

For more updates and tips on how to use fitness for diabetes management and prevention. Follow me on twitter @roycHealth !

Going For Gold

Gary Hall Jr. is a three time Olympic swimmer out of Phoenix, Arizona by way of Cincinnati, Ohio. A product of a strong swimming lineage, his father Gary Hall Sr., uncle Charles Keating Ill, and maternal grandfather, Charles Keating Jr., all have competed and won medals in previous Olympic games.

Hall Jr. himself competed in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games, winning a total of 10 medals. At only 21 years of age in the 1996 Olympics, he won two individual silver medals and two team relay golds, including helping set the world record in both the 400 meter freestyle and medley relays. Hall won 2 gold medals in the both individual and relay events in the 2000 Olympics and an additional gold in the 50 meter freestyle in 2004.

Although highly decorated, Greg Hall Jr. had to overcome being diagnosed with type-1 Diabetes Mellitus in 1999 before the 2000 Olympics. He faced a decision whether or not to give up swimming entirely.

I spoke with Gary about that tumultuous time in his career.

Hall was diagnosed in march of 1999, after we underwent the very typical stages of grief and shock he says he remembers there being few diabetic athlete standouts at the time. Most importantly, there were certainly no Olympic athletes.

Two separate doctors told Hall that his diagnosis would mean the end of his career. They told him the strenuous Eight or more hours he would have to spend practicing in the pool would be too great a risk for someone having to regulate their blood glucose levels with insulin injections.

Unsatisfied with this news, the determined Hall eventually sought the advice of Dr. Anne Peters, who he credits most for her encouragement to not give up early on. The UCLA (now USC) endocrinologist and her team worked closely with Hall to utilize his strict workouts positively to control his sugars, rather than as an obstacle. Gary Hall credits Dr. Peter immensely for helping him find a routine that ultimately allowed him to continue competitive swimming at the highest level.

When he returned to swimming competitively, he broke the world record in the men’s 50-meter freestyle race with a time of 21.76 seconds at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Most diabetics are instructed to regulate their diets and control their blood sugars with multiple insulin shots delivered through syringes and pens. Insulin pumps offer a lot of flexibility with the amount of insulin that can be delivered over specific periods of time, but can be burdensome, as they must remain attached to the body. Choosing which method of insulin delivery can be challenging, especially for a world-class competing athlete.

Hall noted that he alternated back and forth between wearing a pump and taking multiple injections as he trained for the Olympics Hall attempted unsuccessfully to wear an Omnipod pump in the water for training and meets as he adjusted to swimming as a diabetic. Unplugging his pump and no longer receiving basal insulin, his blood glucose levels would shoot up hundreds of points after a training session. Here he was competing in a sport where swimmers shave off their body hairs in attempts to gain an edge and facilitate speed. Hall on the hand was wearing injection sites for his pump that would fly off his body, forcing him to try such extreme measures and using duct tape to adhere the sites to his skin in the water. He settled finally on multiple injections for competition.

The daily activities of an athlete are so regimented; it’s nearly catastrophic when there are disruptions. Unfortunately, diabetic athletes are all too familiar with challenges which may disrupt their routines. When I asked Gary Hall what his biggest challenges were, he responded with his beliefs about the lack of resources for diabetic athletes on topics such as: post workout spikes, competition adrenaline spikes, and the differences in blood sugar management between anaerobic and aerobic workouts.

The best way to combat these challenges is to maintain a stringent routine of the same activities before competition. I am well aware that diabetic and non-diabetic athletes alike will follow a particular routine that works for them like a bible. I asked Gary to share with me his routine for the day leading up to a big race:

  • Gary claimed he would test his blood sugar 20-25 times a day.
  • He would carry his blood glucose meter with him at all times all the way up to the Ready-Room before a particular race (A small room near the pool where only competing athletes were allowed 5-10 minutes before each race)
  • After the race he would test again, his blood sugar typically had shot up, sometimes up to 300 points
  • He would then proceed to giving himself a bolus of insulin to get his blood sugar back down to a comfortable level (below 200) before it was time for his heat to participate in the next race

Despite all the precautions we take, diabetic athletes can still fall victim to complications related to their blood sugars. “Going Low” or experiencing hypoglycemia is a condition where blood glucose levels are too low. The body usually undergoes symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, and an elevated heart rate. If not treated, hypoglycemia’s can lead to seizure, coma, or death. Surprisingly, most diabetic athletes or far more concerned with not being able to compete than they are about their own safety.

Gary Hall recalls a hypoglycemic episode at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Australia. He remembered testing throughout the day, but approximately 15 minutes prior to the race, he checked his blood sugar (BS) on his meter and it read 60 mg/dl (anything under 80 is considered low and exercising at a two digit BS is not recommended). He quickly grabbed and drank a sports drink and waiting a few minutes before checking again. After the second reading he realized his blood sugar had actually dropped even more, and it was officially time to panic. He chugged down another sponsored sports drink in the ready room and grabbed a third on the way to the actual race. Holding his third sports drink during swimmer introductions, he gulped it down on the starting blocks legitimately moments before the sound of the gun. With a belly sloshing full of sugary hydrate, he started the race, but unfortunately vomited underwater at the 35 meter mark. Gary Hall Jr. solidified his cult hero status as he completed this task on national television, but still finished second in the race.

Hall admits his biggest fears related to going low include the serious risk of having a Seizure in the pool and drowning, but also the soul-crushing possibility of potentially having to stop what you love to do.  

On a more positive note, I asked Hall what he appreciated about his experiences participating in the Olympics as a diabetic athlete:

“I could not have imagined the level of support from the T1D community. I received letters of support from all over, motivating me to train harder.”

Hall continued to say his greatest accomplishments were being able to represent the USA and win on the greatest stage, and representing the entire diabetic population worldwide.

In November of 2008, Gary Hall Jr. retired from competition. Since retirement, Hall has been extremely involved in health initiatives related to diabetes and Type-2 diabetes prevention.

Alongside groups such as the Aspen Institute, the Clinton Foundation, the American college of sports medicine, and the T1D Exchange, Gary Hall works tirelessly with policymakers to improve the lives of Americans looking to take control of their health.

Hall is currently promoting “Project Play”, an initiative looking to increase youth access to physical activity and sport. Hall has testified before Congress and believes that when it comes to insurance, discounts that currently exist for corporate gym memberships and safe driving should be extended to children and families who consistently engage in physical activity and sport. He believes American children and families should be rewarded when they proactively protect themselves against obesity and Type-2 Diabetes.

When I asked him how he envisions the rest of us as citizens can help aid the cause, he replied that we should all be advocates. Anyone touched by diabetes in any way should open up and speak about the challenges he or she faces. He recalls that legislation back around the time of his diagnosis would not have allowed him to buy health insurance, despite being able to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Hall doesn’t believe in us as diabetics settling with the rules as they currently exist, and moving forward would like diabetics to have the ability to join the military. Overall, he preaches that more people should get involved.

I too agree more should be done, especially for those willing to work for their health and well being. I think we should all follow Gary Hall’s lead and take it upon each and every one of ourselves to promote initiatives beneficial to our cause.

When asked what other famous athletes or celebrities might’ve inspired Hall throughout his career, he chuckled and replied simply: “The people who touched me most weren’t world champions, they were ordinary folks doing what they loved, who wouldn’t be denied” In august of 2004, a 13-year-old version of myself sat and watched Gary Hall win the gold after a television segment explaining what he had gone through as a diabetic athlete aired. About a month later that boy would receive the news from his doctor that he too was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. After recovering from the initial shock, he remembered Gary Hall Jr., and found comfort in knowing that he too could achieve his highest athletic dreams.

I will always be grateful for the inspiration given to me that year from Gary Hall, his performance encouraged diabetics and athletes across the world not to allow any shortcomings to stand in your way to greatness.

For more updates and tips on how to use fitness for diabetes management and prevention. Follow me on twitter @roycHealth !

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