Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween sugar highs

With Halloween right around the corner, diabetics have a lot to be on their toes for. Unfortunately for children suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, Halloween and its mountainous amounts of candy, can be very depressing. Trick or TREAT, as they say. Treats=sweets, and that is not a friendly equation for those of us who cannot produce insulin. Now, most of the candy distributed on Halloween comes in the pint-sized pieces. I will not go so far as to say we shouldn’t eat any of those (I’d be a huge hypocrite); we diabetics just have to limit the amount of them that we eat. Further, maybe we should eat a more vegetable filled dinner before having some scary goodies.

Pictured below are some of the more famous Halloween goodies. I have listed the amount of sugar in grams (same as carbs) right next to the names. Notice that the grams of sugar listed are usually for the regular sized candy bar or bag, not the fun size. So it’s probably safe to assume that the Halloween portion has about 1/3 that amount.

Starburst Fruit Chews: 34 grams

Snickers: 30 grams

Skittles: 47 grams
(These things are like little sugar ovals- but good for bouts of low sugars)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup: 25 grams

Nerds: 15 grams/tablespoon
(more like little sugar pellets)

M&M's: 31 grams

KitKat: 22 grams

Hershey's Bar: 31 grams

3 Musketeers: 40 grams

Milky Way: 35 grams

Milk Duds: 20 grams

I think Halloween and Easter have to be the downright hardest Holidays for people, especially children with diabetes. There is candy EVERYWHERE. Two healthier alternatives that pop into my head if you are looking for something a little healthier are caramel apples and peanut butter spread on top of individual hershey bar segments. I hope all of you fellow diabetics are careful this Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to monitor those sugar levels!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Time Crunch

I'm in kind of a time crunch right now. I have a Anthropology test tomorrow morning and am posting this short one in between bouts of studying and banging my head on my softest wall. Tomorrow I am going to post a pretty substantial listing about Halloween candy/costumes/and carbohydrates. (It's not going to be pretty)

But this upcoming weekend I will not be in the blog-o-sphere. I put up a picture of my club frisbee team, One Trick Pony

the other week. We've actually been pretty busy with our season this Fall. We officially began our season last May and have battled through the West Plains Sectional and Central Division Regional tournaments to qualify for the UPA National Club Championships this upcoming weekend. It's an annual event held in Sarasota Florida that brings together the top 16 teams from around the country. One Trick Pony is a co-ed team in the Mixed Division. We currently have the 6th rank spot!!

If you would like to follow our progress or learn more about the sport in general you can check out the Ultimate Player's Association's website.

Til, tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Insulins

Sorry about the fuzziness, but these are my two different kinds of insulin. Humalog, the one on the left is the kind I take before or after every meal. Lantus, the one on the right is what I take every night before bed. I'll explain why:


Humalog, a lispro insulin, is fast acting. It only takes about 15-30 minutes to start working. Since it is absorbed quickly, it doesn't stay in you system for very long. There are 100 units per milliliter (mL). It comes in a 10 mL vial, so each vial has 1,000 units inside.

I'm going to be throwing a lot of numbers at you here, I'm sorry (mom).

In my diet, 1 unit of insulin compenstaes for every 15 grams of carbohydrates that I consume. So, if I go to Qdoba and eat a burrito with 75g of carbohydrates in it, I should inject 5 units of insulin either right before or right after I eat. Coincidentally I have learned that 15 grams of carbs also raises my blood sugar level 15 points (mg/dL). So, my general grand equation for eating and insulin, without exercise involved is:

15g carbohydrates=50 mg/dL=1 unit Humalog

Exercise is a topic I will cover another day this week. The short of it though, is that exercise speeds up the process by whichi insulin is absorbed, so I have to be careful to inject too much insulin, running the risk of Hypoglycemia


Lantus, a glargine insulin, is a long-acting insulin. An injection may stay in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Since it is absrobed over a long period of time, it is easy to understand this as a regulatory injection. I take this every night 1-2 hours before bedtime. (If I just grab a banana in the morning, I do not take humalog. If I eat a full breakfast, I can take humalog then)

I injectany where from 14-16 units on Lantus every night. If my bloold sugar is 80-100 mg/dL, I take 14. If it is 100-120 mg/dL I take 15. If it is >120mg/dL, I take 16.

Here is my brief description of what happens overnight: Type 1 diabetics cannot regulate sugar levels because of the complete absence of insulin production. Every night, a person's liver is signaled by glucagon in the pancreas to release glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. This release raises a person's blood sugar. A normally functioning person would be able to produce insulin overnight to conteract this release of sugae from the liver. Since diabetics cannot do this, the long-acting Lantus allows them to regulate their blood sugar levels overnight.

*This is one reason it is drinking can be harmful for diabetics. If the liver is too busy clearing alcohol out of the bloodstream, it does not release sugar into the bloodstream. If a diabetic takes Lantus without the liver releasing this sugar, he or she runs the risk of severe Hypoglycemia.

If any of this didn't make sense, please email me at hwsamson@gmail.com!

Diabetes quote of the Day: "You have now been given a two-year that will be at your side for the rest of your life, and will never grow up. Take care of it." -Sharon Plummer, R.N.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun Food Facts

Above is a typical food pyramid. One that everyone has been shown at some point in their lives. Depending on anyone's diet, the number of servings are varied, but these are pretty close. Part of learning how to eat with diabetes can be a challenge, but I prefer to think of it as a blessing. It almost forces me to eat healthier because I have to actively think about all the nutritional information when calculating insulin injections.

If you look at the pyramid, the two problem layers for diabetics are the bottom and the top. Glucose is a simple sugar. When we all eat, our bodies break down carbohydrates into sugars. Obviously cakes, chocolate, and most desserts are a big no-no (at least in extreme moderation), but many foods on the bottom of the pyramid such as pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes all contain very high levels of carbohydrates, food that elevates blood sugar levels. Know though, that no food is your enemy. Diabetics can physically eat cake and not die or pass out, it just affects us very quickly because we cannot process the sugar out of our blood after it has been absorbed through the stomach and intestinal walls.

Sorry, that was a long explanation. I'll show some quick comparisons. A snickers candy bar has 30 grams of sugar, so does a regular sized banana. Which is the healthier option?

A taco bell regular taco has 12 grams of carbs, so does a piece of peanut butter toast.

It's all about picking your battles and learning to fall in love with green vegetables. Substituting an apple for a cookie is healthy, but still has the same amount of sugar in it. It just so happens that an apple's sugars are probably better for you. I mentioned green vegetables because they are very healthy for you (rich in antioxidants) and contain little to no sugar or carbs. Which means there is little to no adjusting insulin levels when eating a orange or green bell pepper. Does this mean you can't indulge? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I have a candy bar every now and then. I love bread. I just choose too take smaller portions of things that will affect my blood sugar negatively.

Here are two examples of food that I love, that companies have tailored for diabetics.

Dreamfield Pasta
Dreamfields pasta makes it easy for diabetics to enjoy pasta in the same quantities that normal people would enjoy. Each serving of Dreamfields pasta has only 5 grams (digestible) of carbohydrates. When compared to normal pasta brands containing 45 grams of carbs per serving. This was a ray from heaven for me because I LOVE pasta. The best part about it, people cannot tell the difference. I tried it out on my family, all three of them could not tell a difference.


Healthy Life brand bread can be found at any grocery store. 1 slice of regular bread contains 15 grams of carbs, this brand contains only 6 grams per slice. Don't ask me how they do it; personally I'd rather not know. My only caveat with this brand is that the slices tend to be a bit smaller. But it works great for toast in the morning or sandwiches if you want to cut back little by little on the carbs.

I'll post a little more tomorrow about more healthy and unhealthy eating options. Til then, ciao!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Welcome to the second installment of Famous Fridays! This week's actress has enjoyed fame and success from movies including X-Men, Die Another Day, and Monster's Ball.

That's right, it's

Halle Berry

Halle Berry was born in 1966. Though not diagnosed until she was 23 years old, she lives with Type 1 diabetes. In 1989, while doing a taping of "Lifesize Dolls", which I guess was some popular TV show with beautiful women, Berry fell into a diabetic coma.

When experiencing a diabetic coma, a person's blood sugar levels reach such a high level (sometimes as high as 800mg/dl or higher!!!!) that they actually pass out and need to be instantly hospitalized. She actually didn't wake up for 7 days.

And I thought I had it bad. Click here to read more about Berry and her struggle with diabetes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


eh... er... on Sunday. Sorry about the delay. But I want to introduce a new, and hopefully long lasting topic on my blog. Drumrolls please (da da da da da da da da da da da)

It's time for FAMOUS FRIDAYS!
Every Friday I will be doing a short post on someone famous with type 1 diabetes. First up,

Jay Cutler

This is a bit of an older picture. Jay Cutler is the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears. He is a relatively young quarterback, and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes near the end of the 2007-2008 NFL season with the Denver Broncos. The team noticed something was wrong when started performing poorly in games and losing weight. His diagnosis story is much like others, with overarching themes of denial, weight loss (35 pounds!), and blood sugar level astronomically higher than they should be. Listen to Cutler talk about it:

The 26 year old Jay Cutler was born in 1983 in Santa Clause, Indiana. (Yes, that's not a typo) He was diagnosed at the age of 25. As of today, according to Yahoo sports news, Cutler has played in 40 NFL games. He has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards and has thrown for 60 touchdowns. Not too shabby for a boy that can't make his own insulin.....

Cutler isn't the only famous athlete with diabetes. He joins quite a list of athletes who fight the disease daily, including Arthur Ashe, Joe Frazier, and surprisingly enough Jackie Robinson! For a more thorough list, check out this page of the website DLife.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sorry for the delay

From here on out I'll be posting and updating things regularly. I was in Ames Iowa this weekend at an ultimate frisbee tournament. I got way behind on school work and decided that I should neglect the blog for a while. It didn't really help. I play for a team called One Trick Pony. Check us out if you want! Here's a picture of the team from October 2008:

I'm going to separate this blog into three main sections. I'll have little updates throughout; but I want to focus on diabetes globally, health and nutrition, and entertainment. Tomorrow I will have the first installment of my Famous Friday section. I'll be highlighting a famous personality, be it celebrity, athlete, or politician who has diabetes. There are more diabetics out there than you might think. We are not alone!

Shout-out to my mom: here are some diabetes basics

Symptoms of Diabetes
  • Polydipsia- excessive thirst
  • Polyuria- constant or excessive urination
  • physical exhaustion, people feel more tired than normal
  • sweet-smelling urine
  • eventual weight loss
  • I get irritable very quickly (sorry)
  • I get tired at weird times
  • The world seems sort of fuzzy
  • I get head aches
  • Not noticeable right away

  • My body feel heavy, especially my legs
  • I get lethargic
  • I zone out, lose focus/attention
  • I feel like my strength is gone
  • Very noticeable

I had all of these symptoms. But like I said, I was in denial. So, thank you mom for being a mom. You were on my back for those early months in 2008. I didn't appreciate it then, but I do now. Hopefully you will check in on this blog periodically just so you can stay in the "know" about me.