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Hi! My Name Is Ken, I'm A Diabetic
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Hi! My Name Is Ken, I'm A Diabetic on 10/27/2011 18:59:57 MDT Print View

I have been diagnosed as having diabetes. I have a question to those that suffer the same condition, what do you eat on the trail. I am none to pleased about this as I LOVE food. What do you do for food????

Edit: I should add that I have been diagnosed with level two diabetes. My doctor thinks that with improved diet, better exercise and dropping some weight, that I should pull out of this. Though this whole change is a life long change.

Thanks for the replies!

Edited by kennyhel77 on 10/28/2011 16:12:12 MDT.

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Hi Ken, I'm a diabetic! on 10/27/2011 21:31:09 MDT Print View

I'm type 2 and I look forward to my outings because I pretty much can eat anything and as much as I want. Hiking and paddling burns through the calories and keeps my blood sugar levels at normal levels with a little help from Metformin. Through trial and error I have learned how many grams of carbs I can consume at certain times of the day and how physical activity affects my blood sugar levels. In general, my levels want to rise throughout the day. Physical activity has a larger impact early in the day vs. later. Thus, I hit the gym in the mornings and gradually taper my carb consumption throughout the day.

In the real world, I am restrict myself to 45 grams of carbs per meal and may consume two snacks of no more than 30 grams each. On the trail or water, I increase my carbs to 90 grams for breakfast, 60 grams for lunch and 45 grams for dinner. My mid-morning and afternoon snacks are 40 grams each. If it is going to be a cold night and I had dinner early, I may have a pseudo bedtime snack of around 30 grams.

Bottom line, everyone reacts differently. You will need to monitor your levels several times throughout the day to learn how you react and what your trends are. I pretty much have it dialed in and tend to monitor myself closely for the first few days to see if I am still responding as expected. If so, I stop testing myself with every meal and fall back to once a day before and after a meal. I do rotate between breakfast, lunch and dinner. When it gets so cold that I have to wear cap and gloves I have found that my glucometer will not turn on unless I keep it on me.

Obviously, my protein consumption does increase and I hit the fat hard to make up for the calorie deficit.

I am still working on my web site but you may find it helpful:
http://worthdonaldson.weebly.com/
Do not let your diabetes hold you back. It can safely be managed on the trail.

Edited by worth on 10/27/2011 21:40:19 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
diabetic on 10/28/2011 08:08:09 MDT Print View

Hi Ken... My name is Laurie and I'm a diabetic too. Those first trips were an adventure and I found I had to pretty much double the carb that I was eating at home. It difficult when I was on insulin. I also, on the advice of my endocrinologist, cut down my basal insulin. However, I found it even more challenging when I was on glucophage or other oral medications because I didn't have the control of insulin. Now I'm medication free (diet/exercise) and I love being in the wilds because that's when I get to have a few treats (I tend to go a little low on trips).

Phyiscal activity can make you react in different ways and each person has variances. If your blood glucose reading is really high before you are going to hike be cautious. Sometimes this activity can cause a spike followed by a significant dip later on. Even when we are day-hiking I check my levels between 6 and 10 times a day and I really listen to the cues my body gives me.

A grazing mentality when it comes to food is best. I use a wide variety of foods and things like legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa and the like. Also look at the glycemic index of the foods you eat as that can be useful. As you know, not all carbs are the same.

For the most part, I make a dehydrate the bulk of my foods. This gives me the utmost control and I'm a foodie so having food that tastes good is important to me. I steer clear of much of the pre-packaged fare because of the sodium, etc.

A great book is "Think Like a Pancreas". While written mainly for insulin dependent diabetics, I found its section on exercise and such extremely helpful.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 10/28/2011 08:09:45 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: diabetic on 10/28/2011 19:27:50 MDT Print View

Thank you both for your help

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
you're welcome on 10/29/2011 09:06:44 MDT Print View

You're welcome... I'm just paying forward the help given to me by two backpacking diabetics who made me realize that I could still do the things I love - I just had to think ahead a little and be prepared. Hang in there!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: you're welcome on 11/06/2011 14:33:51 MST Print View

For those that have type two diabetes what do you eat eat on the trail, as well as aside from drinking water, what electrolytes do you drink and?

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
diabetic on 11/06/2011 15:54:52 MST Print View

I eat pretty much the way I did before diagnosis. The only difference is that I add in extra snacks with high GI so that I can raise BG quickly if necessary. (hello jelly beans!). I also choose foods that will slow the rise a bit - things that are high in protein like quinoa, beans, lentils, and the like.

I also drink plain water or water with Crystal Light. I do carry EmergenC ElectroMix in the first aid supplies but have never needed it.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 11/06/2011 15:56:44 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: diabetic on 11/06/2011 16:16:11 MST Print View

Thanks Laurie Ann, I wanted to clarify that. I was thinking along those lines but wanted to be sure. Last summer I hike in the Sierras and was at 9-11,000 feet and was not hungry all that much. Some of it due to altitude, but I am wondering if it was not from eating properly and keeping myself hydrated. I would really tank out around 3pm or so. I wonder if I was suffering from the ill affects of diabetes at that point. This was last Sept.

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Electrolytes on 11/16/2011 22:31:42 MST Print View

I normally just drink water. I have historically (pre-diabetes) had good experiences using Vitalyte Gookinaid Hydralyte. It has less sugar and more electrolytes than Gatoraid. It is not a light weight item but it does an excellent job in getting you rehydrated and preventing cramps. The flavors are good and light on the taste buds.

http://www.vitalyte.com/

http://www.vitalyte.com/hypoglycemia-and-diabetes/

Edited by worth on 11/16/2011 22:40:41 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Electrolytes on 12/06/2011 14:21:35 MST Print View

My toes have the tingles going on. My dietitian told me to take a supplement that I purchased well over a month ago. I have taken it and it has not done anything. My doctor told me to take vitamin D and that should help. Does anyone have experience with this? Laurie Ann, you emailed me about this and I cannot find your email on my phone...errr

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 12/06/2011 14:22:40 MST Print View

Reginald, you mentioned that you eat whatever you like on the trail. Do you bring your kit with you to test your glucose levels???

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Hi! My Name Is Ken, I'm A Diabetic on 12/06/2011 15:00:39 MST Print View

Hi Ken!

Like you I am a diabetic!

Unlike you I'm a type one, juvinle diabetic and have been so for over 23 years. I am on the insulin pump so keep in mind my diet may be different than yours.

For me I've found that a diet high in complex carbs and protein yet lower in fat is the way to go for me.

A typical trail diet for me would consist of:

450g carb (60%)
145g protein (15%)
90g fat (25%)

I eat a good deal of beans, energy bars, dehydrated chicken, peanut butter (no saturated fat), and extra virgin olive oil.

I also like to bring the lower sugar gaitoraid drink mixes, some energy gells to treat low blood sugar, and of course crystal light drink mix (yummy!)


I test my blood sugar around 7 to 10 times a day when backpacking to make sure my blood sugars are in control. I also reduce my insulin basil rates when hiking (yeah insulin pump!)

Edited by chadnsc on 12/06/2011 15:02:25 MST.

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Glucometer Kit on 12/06/2011 20:36:29 MST Print View

I bring a kit but use it less often than a insulin dependent diabetic would. As a canoeist, there have been times when I have not been able to check as often as I would prefer due to weather or water conditions. Sometimes it would be too foolish to put the paddle down in a solo canoe. Initially, I test two or three meals (before and after) daily and then fall back to my usually routine of rotating between meals once a day if I am consistently responding as expected.

I use a different kit on the trail or water than what I use at home due to weight and replacement cost if I trash it.
I prefer using the Accu-Chek Multiclix lancing device because the lancet drums make it lighter in the long haul. There is no disposal of used lancets because they remain inside the drum with no risk of accidental puncture.
Accu-Check Multiclix device = 0.6 oz
Multiclix lancet (contains 6) = 0.05 oz
Most of the lancet devices I have weighed are about 0.5 oz. The weight savings arises strictly from the lancets. Your typical single lancet weighs 0.05 oz and that does not include the weight of your waste storage container.

I use the TRUE2go glucose monitor. It snaps onto the lid of the container of test strips. It is about the size of a film container.
It weighs 0.6 oz.

Test strips are under a dollar each. 50 strips weigh 0.2 oz.

I also bring a spare battery that weighs 0.1 oz.

For 48 tests, my total kit weighs 1.5 oz.

You can usually purchase the glucometer for around $10 when on sale or with a rebate coupon. Test strips run under a dollar each. Insurance may pay for all or most of it. The only negatives I have ran into are problems with using it on cold mornings. If it is going to get cold at night it is best to sleep with it or warm it up in your pocket come morning. If you record your numbers, keep in mind that it does not have a memory. I have compared test results with my Bayer Ascensia glucometer and they have been in agreement.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Electrolytes on 12/07/2011 03:14:41 MST Print View

Ken, your toes tingling are probably the early warning signs of neuropathy. Neuropathy happens when your blood sugar is not under good control. Try to get your blood sugars down and keep them from spiking when you eat. Avoid foods like sugar and white bread that spike your blood sugar, and if you must eat carbs, then make sure they are low glycemic index foods like whole oats and brown rice (wheat tends to have a lot of problems). Add fat from fish and olive oil to get you the calories you need and control inflammation. Stay away from salad oils. The key to keeping neuropathy at bay is to control your blood sugars.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 12/07/2011 09:42:01 MST Print View

Thanks Miguel. I have switched over to whole wheat bread, pasta, brown rice a a month and a half ago. As for salad dressing I have switched to extra virgin olive oil and vinaigrette for my salads. Thanks for the advice!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Electrolytes on 12/07/2011 09:44:10 MST Print View

Reginald thanks for the detail response on your kit. Makes perfect sense to me and I will start figuring out what to do

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
take yer vitamins on 12/07/2011 10:42:02 MST Print View

Yes... Vitamin D helps greatly. I also take two minerals. One is chromium that helps with glucose metabolism and the other magnesium which is helpful if you are prone to leg cramps and the tingles. Also, chromium and magnesium help with keeping your electrolytes balanced... something that can be a bit difficult for diabetics. That said, women generally are more deficient in chromium than men are.

Hope that helps.

PS I'm currently training as a runner for my first 5k race (the Ford Race to End Diabetes) so I am learning more and more about supplementation as the training progresses. A great resource is the Diabetic Athlete's Handbook.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: take yer vitamins on 12/07/2011 10:45:20 MST Print View

Thanks Laurie Ann. Appreciate the help. I bought some vitamin D yesterday and it will be a part of my morning routine from this day forward! Good luck on your 5 K!!!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
D on 12/07/2011 17:41:15 MST Print View

There are many benefits to D. Because I live north and always wear sunscreen... I take it year round. I've heard that there is some benefit for those with seasonal affective disorder.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Hi! My Name Is Ken, I'm A Diabetic on 12/13/2011 18:05:28 MST Print View

Well I have dropped 20 pounds through diet in nearly 2 months. I am just about to be able to start cycling and getting in better shape. I am very, very excited to backpack this summer and feel better while doing it. Thanks for the suggestions.