5 Strategies To Survive New Holiday Traditions With Strangers

Thanksgiving Dinner Guest

I’m always down for a road trip so when I was invited to Austin to share Thanksgiving with new friends, I starting packing my bags. I met Lisa and her family in Hawaii and spent a number of evenings with the Thomas family. I even attended her daughter’s wedding, so driving a few hours for Thanksgiving was a no-brainer.

As the departure date approached, I felt the anxiety creep in. I was excited to see everyone, but nervous to spend 72 hours in someone’s home I barely knew. We had discussed my diabetes so they were familiar with me testing my BG and shooting up, but a wave of insecurity came over me.

  • What if I can’t eat what they’re serving?

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You Can’t Stop The Waves But You Can Learn To Surf… With Diabetes

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(Ryan is not currently scanning the coast but the pathophysiology of asthma. Authored July 2015.)

Let it be known: I am not a real surfer, yet. Can I swim? Aptly enough. Can I catch a wave? Yes. Can I stand up? Occasionally. Can I turn? Sure.

That said, as I scan a nice break off the coast of Maui, humbled is my main qualification. Surfing is an art honed through decades of work in salty water, watching the sun rise and descend on opposite horizons, all on the same day. I have observed real surfers. Those who are the art and the religion–no separation between their body and the waves, riding the earth’s energy. Gorgeous stuff.

Having paddled out now over 30 times, blood sugar themes do their emerging thing, and I know what to expect. In many ways, I’ve found surfing to be a simpler, more-straightforward cause and effect relationship between movement and glucose levels (compared to running or cycling). Continue reading

Can One Hotel’s “Superfood” Campaign Be Legitimately Healthy? My Blood Sugar Says So.

SuperFoods2

A monumental girl’s weekend was being planned and while on hold with The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club, the recording boasted superfood options. It made me think – is this just another marketing ploy? After traveling extensively over the past couple of months, I’ve picked up a few buzz-words hotels and resorts are using to lure guests.

I dropped my bags at the door and couldn’t wait to do a little investigating. What were they offering and how were they marketing it to the general public? Low and behold, the first page of the In-Dining Menu options read, “Maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road with our nutrient-rich and delicious SuperFoodsRx™ dishes. The following page actually listed 25+ super foods with a brief description.

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How To Travel, Surf, And Be An Islander | Amber and Ryan from Hawaii | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 8

How To Travel, Surf, And Be An Islander | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 8

All in all, Amber and Ryan were pumped to cross paths on the island of Maui and share their traveling journeys to date. How do each of them deal with airport security? What do they eat in airports? Snacks? You know they both had snacks. At the time, Ryan had been on Maui for a month, mainly combing beaches and pretending to be a surfer. Amber focused on socializing in every happy hour across the island for two weeks. She breaks down the Hawaiian culture and cuisine, while he gives us insight into managing blood sugar while surfing. Continue reading

Tips On How To Handle The Oh Sh*T Diabetes Moments When Traveling

Oh No

The DDG has been all over the map in the past year and documented a few less than desirable moments to say the least. As I embarked on my journey to Hawaii, I was not prepared for life’s little hiccups. I’m sharing a few scenarios and how I handled the “Oh Sh*t” diabetes moments while on the road.

  • You get carsick because your friend and DDG partner in crime thinks he’s speed racer.
    • TIP: Feel free to curse at him (a slight punch in the arm is acceptable), burp out loud and chug some water. Should you need to throw up, you might consider doing so in your driver’s lap.

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The Tales Of My Traveling Testers

The Tales Of A Traveling Tester: Diabetes Management Issues

 

Now that I say the word “tester” aloud–not positive of its use by most people to describe their glucose meter–but alliteration always wins, thus testers will suffice in the title. In a recent podcast episode with my parents, we discussed how many testers have disappeared over my 26 years of existence. I think I’m approaching triple digits.

Whether it be OneTouch, Precision, Bayer, or Freestyle, I will part ways with no attachment to brand. During the college years, the pharmacist at Walmart knew who I was, not by my prescriptions (those resided at Walgreens), but by how many of these I purchased.

The natural question to ask is why? It’s most likely a multi-factorial problem but this is my guess list of most likely causes: Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Is Spam A Real Food? – Hawaii Seems To Think So

SpamAloha. I arrived on the beautiful island of Maui a few days ago and adore the Hawaiian culture. As I’ve ventured out exploring different parts of the island, I’m amazed by the diversity within a few square miles (desert vs. rain forest like conditions, rocky vs. sandy beaches), but one thing is consistent – SPAM. I was shocked when I stumbled across SPAM on the center aisle in Target which inspired me to do some research. I hope you enjoy a few interesting facts about this “mystery meat” and the theory as to why it’s so popular here in Hawaii.

Spam in Target

  • Ingredients – Pork & ham shoulder, salt, water, modified potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate. (YUM!)

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The Traveling Terms: 3 Mantras To Unlock A Great Trip

Traveling With Diabetes

Traveling is tough, especially on us creatures of habit. Time zone switches, varying sleep schedules, and new cuisine all introduce subtle changes that cause big swings in blood sugar. Most of us live on routine. I’ve noticed that expectations are the root of most of my blood sugar suffering. I can’t believe my blood sugar’s high. This sucks. So, maybe we should believe it?…

In order to alter expectations and thus be present for the joy of experiencing a new place, I’ve learned to institute these terms during any trip:

1)Spontaneity is the priority

Instead of the focus being on controlling your sugar, gear your focus toward being ready for anything. The goal is to be free to live in the moment. The only way to be in that place is to test my blood sugar frequently, have insulin around, and carry a snack.

 

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To Surf, Or Not To Surf, With My Pump

surfing with type 1 diabetes

I hope Medtronic doesn’t read this post. Why? I think I’m going to surf with my pump attached this summer.

 

The story starts back with a New Year’s Resolution. Upon waking on the first day of 2015, I knew I had to surf this year. Not sure why. Didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I could feel the ambition. It was a true one. Now 6 months later, I’m kicking it in Hawaii with no agenda… but to surf. That’s it.

 

The board and I got in the water for the first time yesterday. As I stood there ready on the beach, I looked down and saw my tubing. In less than 30 seconds, I knew that I had to take it into the water. Well, had probably isn’t the best description of the choice, but a choice was made. The car was a long walk back. I wanted to keep the sugar in a good range. The beach was pretty crowded with limited shrubs for hiding. I had no flip flops or shirt to disguise it under. I’m, after all, on an island pretty far away from backup resources, like a spare pump.

 

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A Simple Routine For A Smooth Day Of Hiking With Diabetes

It’s the weekend, it’s sunny (or snowy in our case), and you decide to take off on a last-second, afternoon adventure. You haven’t prepared, but it’s too perfect of an opportunity to pass up. What’s an insulin-dependent to do? Go for it! In an effort to simplify the process and get us outdoors quickly, I’ve put together the list of hiking essentials:

Shoes

This really should go without saying, but it’s important for two reasons.
1) The right hiking shoe avoids any kind of blister issues that get endocrinologists all hot and bothered.
2) A comfortable shoe increases joy while hiking, especially while coming down the mountain, exponentially.

I love all of Merrell’s products. Extremely comfortable. Wearing this hiking/running low-profile pair for shorter hikes or camping has worked great.

Water

You just never know when that “little afternoon adventure” will turn into the “holy shit I think we’re actually lost” moment. Pack some water, everytime. More than you think you need. On longer bike rides and hikes I go with the endurance oriented Camelbak system here:

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