Low Carb Alternatives When Cooking At Home


There are many benefits to cutting carbs from your diet, aside from losing weight. Overly processed foods, such as white bread, often include many types of wheat flour, and have been linked to causing conditions like heart disease. More and more people are reacting badly to these processed carbohydrates, hence the recent gluten-free movement.

But what is the best way to cut out these processed carbs from your diet? Why not try some creative carb substitutions that will let you keep eating the foods you love, while giving your body a break from hard to digest processed foods.

We’ve complied some of over favourite carb substitutes, to help you on your way. Easier to digest and richer in nutrients, you’ll surely enjoy these low-carb, unprocessed foods:

1. Replace potatoes with cauliflower

Potatoes are yummy, but they’re also full of starches and simple carbs you simply don’t need. Try our recipe for mashed cauliflower – it’s easy, delicious, and so yummy you might find you prefer it to the traditional mashed potato. It doesn’t have the same starchy texture, but this easy mashed cauliflower recipe is sure to become a staple in your home.

Recipe: Mashed cauliflower (gluten free)



  • Head of cauliflower (or pack of frozen cauliflower)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Butter
  • Favourite mashed potato flavourings of choice (eg; paprika)


  • Slow roast your cauliflower with a little quality olive oil and some sea salt at around 180 degrees until the edges start to turn golden.
  • Blend cauliflower in a food processor.
  • Add a little organic butter to taste. Some people add paprika, roast garlic, or sour cream to give the dish a flavour boost.

2. Low-carb pasta alternatives


Plenty of health bloggers advocate veggie noodles as a great way to replace your beloved pasta. But in reality, the flavour and texture of your favourite fettuccine or spaghetti is pretty far off that of a zucchini or parsnip. Luckily, there are lots of pasta alternatives on the market made from beans and thickening agents which are a more similar substitute to wheat pasta. Many also  boast higher protein as well!

Slendier is a product that has a very similar texture to pasta, but only has about a tenth of the calories. Like other alternatives it’s made from a vegetable, but what makes Slendier unique is it uses the Japanese Konjac vegetable, which creates the springy noodle quality you want from your pasta.

Super yummy in taste and unbeatable in texture, Slendiers products are also low in carbohydrates and add an extra serve of veggies to your diet. And for those in a hurry – Slendiers noodles and pastas cook in under a minute!

3. Nut flour or oat alternatives for cooking and baking

If you want to enjoy your sweet treats in the morning without all the carbohydrates, consider replacing wheat flour with something like almond meal, coconut flour, brown rice flour, or even oats. Most of these alternatives have their own distinct flavour, so as a bonus you can cut out the need to add sugar.

Just remember, these are still sweet treats! Many nut flours are a lot higher in saturated fats than your carb-laden wheat flour, so you should not be eating recipes like these every day.

Recipe: almond flour pancakes (gluten free, dairy free)



  • 1.5 cups of almond flour
  • 2 x eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk (or other dairy-free milk of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp of butter, Nuttelex or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar


  • Place all the dry ingredients in your blender, then add all the wet ones on top.
  • Mix well for at least 1 full minute. Add milk or coconut oil for a looser consistency.
  • Heat your butter/oil in a fry pan.
  • When butter/oil is melted, add a dollop of your pancake mix.
  • Flip when it is dry on the bottom, and it’s easy to wedge a spatula under there.
  • Enjoy!

Some final health advice about going low carb

It can be hugely beneficial to cut out processed foods and some simple carbohydrates. These benefits do not just extend to losing weight (although a diet low in simple carbohydrates will certainly help if this is your goal).

However, when people cut out carbohydrates they often increase their intake of saturated fats. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap – instead focus on eating foods that are easier to digest. This will give you more energy, and is an all-around kinder thing to do for your body



Adapting a Style of Communication with Your Child with ADHD

Children with ADHD frequently experience difficulty participating in elements of sustained and focused day-to-day conversation. But adapting your own style of communication to your child’s needs can help him maintain a connection.

When necessary, pause to get your child’s attention (call his name before giving a command), maintain eye contact, and perhaps have him repeat back or explain what you have told him to be sure he has heard and understands. This approach works well not only when issuing commands but also when beginning any sort of conversation with your child. If he tends to interrupt, help him out by keeping your sentences brief and focusing only on what needs to be said. Avoid interrupting him frequently because he may not be able to stay engaged in this type of interaction. If you sense that his attention is wandering, touch his arm, take his hand, or otherwise make physical contact. Some parents find that conversation flows more smoothly if they are also involved in a physical activitywith their child, such as washing dishes or making dinner. Finally, if you are telling your child something that you want him to remember, write it down in simple terms or encourage him to write it down himself.

Introducing concepts such as “consequences,” “rewards,” and “positive and negative behavior” into the family vocabulary can go a long way toward clarifying communications. Where you might have previously instructed your child to “Go to your room!” following an unacceptable behavior, you can now inform him that his behavior has led to a “time-out”—and by the time you give this command, he will know the exact rules that apply to this term.

Specific behavior therapy language strategies, such as when/then statements (“When you finish your homework, then you can go play baseball.”) may also prove useful when interacting with all of your children and can improve communication and morale in the family as a whole.



The Different Kind of Worried You Feel When Your Child Has Epilepsy

Woman in Pink Hat and Baby

My son Bunz had a seizure at school the other day. He was wide awake at the time. That’s a first because until that day, he’d only ever had seizures in his sleep. I’m not sure what this means. My husband says it’s probably a one-time thing, nothing to worry about. But in our experience with epilepsy, there’s no such thing as a one-time thing.

I’m worried.

I shouldn’t worry. My friends tell me this, and my husband tells me this. Science tells me this. If I had a psychologist, he might tell me this. But Bunz’ new neurologist doesn’t say not to worry. She doesn’t say to worry, either – it’s just that she’s more of a facts and strategy kind of woman. Always thinking about the next step. She told me the other day that even when she’s not working, she’s always thinking. Is thinking the same as worrying?

I want to be a facts and strategy kind of woman, too. But my heart keeps getting in the way.

When my husband tells me not to worry, I tell him I’m just being prepared. Because the best thing to do if you’re worried about something is to prepare for it, right? And then there’s no sense in worrying because you’ve already done everything you can.

Like that time I bought a hammer to keep in the glove compartment of my car. I wasn’t too worried about driving over bridges, but one day this woman’s car went off a bridge near our house and, miraculously, she survived. All of a sudden it seemed like a very real possibility that my car, too, could go flying off a bridge for no good reason. And if that did happen, I’d better have a hammer so I could smash my car windows and swim to the shore, just like her. (I doubt I’d notice my tube top falling down, though. I’d just yell at everyone to “Call my family! Don’t just stand there!”)

But you know, there’s no sense worrying about these things because you’ll never get them right anyway. Chances are, you’re going to worry about the wrong thing. And while you’re busy doing that, something else will sneak up and smack you in the face. I ended up getting rid of that hammer because I started to worry about what might happen if the airbags deployed and a hammer came flying out of the glove compartment into someone’s face. Of the two possibilities, the airbag one seemed most likely.

Despite my being prepared, I’m always surprised by bad news. There’s always that split second of confusion before it sinks in. “What?”

The text message saying that Bunz had a seizure at school. “What?”

Death, disease, lost homes, lost children, terrible things happening to people we love. “What?”

I think it’s short for, “This is a joke, right?” Or “Man, I’ve been worrying so much about all these other things that this particular thing wasn’t even on my radar.” Or “How is it possible that only a second has passed but our lives are now irreversibly changed?”

When it comes to epilepsy, the worrisome part is not just that a seizure will start but that the seizure won’t end. It’s different than driving off a bridge. With epilepsy, it’s more of a waiting game.

The air is tense with waiting these days. I’m used to waiting at night, watching Bunz sleep in the video monitor. We’ve done this for so many years that we no longer feel anxious or agitated at night. Just watchful and alert. Ready to spring to action at the first sign of a seizure, even when we’re bone tired from the day. It’s our normal.

But lately the days are like nights, and this doesn’t feel normal at all. All the time, waiting for a seizure to start. And despite this constant waiting, it always happens when we least expect it.

This morning we were sitting at the breakfast table, eating Kix and listening to Bunz’ brother go on about LEGO Chima Lloyd. I saw Bunz grin as he picked up a LEGO Spiderman figure and opened his mouth to speak.

But instead of words, visible waves of flesh rippled across his throat and spread to his chin, pulsating through his lips and cheeks. A flash of surprise entered his eyes just before his pupils, too, got swept up in the terrible rhythm. I paused for a second (What?”), then gathered him up in my arms. Supported his neck, turned his head to the side.

When he came out of it, he cried and begged me to take the seizures away. He got angry and tried to rip them out of his head, pulling out a few hairs instead. After the anger passed, he just seemed tired.

I hate to say it, but damn.

I’m worried



Fruit and veg consumption tied to mental health

now, most of us are aware that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our physical health. But a new study published in the BMJ Open suggests eating five a day is linked to better mental well-being.

A previous study suggested that consuming five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is the optimum amount for lowering the risk of death from any cause, which contradicts another study that suggested we should be eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day.

The researchers from this latest study, led by Dr. Saverio Stranges of the University of Warwick Medical School in the UK, used data from the Health Survey for England, which included nearly 14,000 adults over the age of 16.

This survey collected detailed information on the mental and physical health of the participants, as well as their health-related behaviors, demographics and socio-economic characteristics.

In addition, the team assessed the participants’ mental well-being using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, putting the top 15% of participants in the “high mental well-being” group, the bottom 15% in the low group, and those between 16-84% in the middle group.

‘The higher the veg and fruit intake, the lower the chance of low well-being’

Overall, the researchers found that high and low mental well-being were typically associated with the participants’ fruit and vegetable intake.

In detail, 35.5% of participants with high mental well-being ate five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who consumed less than one portion.

Additionally, 31.4% of the individuals from the high mental well-being group ate three to four fruit and veg portions per day, and 28.4% ate one to two.

“The data suggest that [the] higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake, the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being,” says Dr. Stranges.

The researchers also considered other health-related behaviors – such as smoking, alcohol intake and obesity – and found that only smoking and fruit and vegetable intake were consistently associated with mental well-being.



5 Dog Grooming Basics

Dog grooming is one of your dog’s basic needs and an important part of dog ownership. Just like people, dogs need physical maintenance to look and feel their best. Fortunately, dogs do not need to bathe as often as people, but you do need to learn how much grooming your dog actually needs and keep it on a schedule. Generally, a dog’s grooming needs depend on the breed and hair type. If your dog has a skin, ear or nail condition, follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding grooming your dog. It is also important to use the appropriate grooming tools. Here are some dog grooming basics to remember.

groomer brushing dog - Tetra images/Getty Images

1.  Hair Brushing

Most dogs enjoy being brushed, and sessions will strengthen the bond with your dog while maintaining a healthy coat. A dog’s brushing needs depend on hair type. Choose the right tools and follow these minimum guidelines:

  • Long-haired dogs usually require daily brushing to prevent matting and tangling of hair.
  • Medium-haired dogs may be prone to matting and tangles and should be brushed at least weekly.
  • Short-haired dogs can typically go a few weeks in-between brushing.

Regardless of hair type, you can brush your dog daily – especially if he enjoys it. Regular brushing will keep the coat shiny and healthy. More frequent brushing during shedding season can help prevent hair build-up and excess shedding. Consider products like the FURminator deShedding tool or the Bamboo Shedding Blade.

Dog Paw Photo - Picture of Person Holding Dog Paw - Photo © Chaban

2.  Nail Trimming

Nail trims are often hated by dogs and owners alike. Most dogs dislike even having their paws handled and know how much it hurts when nails are cut too short. Dog owners are often uncomfortable with the process for fear of hurting their dogs.

Dogs will develop an aversion to nail trimming once they experience pain from it. The best way to avoid this is to learn how to trim nails correctly and exercise caution. Ideally, a veterinary technician, vet, or groomer should teach you how to trim your dog’s nails. Most dogs need monthly nail trims, but your dog may need more or less depending on the rate of growth.

An alternative to nail trimming is the use of a rotary tool to file down nails. Consider the Peticure Grooming Tool for this task.

Bath for a Dog - Photo Getty Images / Stringer

3.  Bathing

Bath time does not mean fun to most dogs and owners. It may bring forth an image of a wet dog running from the tub, dripping all over the house. Bathing does not have to be this way if your dog can get used to it. He may not like the bath, but he’ll be easier to manage. Learn how to bathe your dog properly and make the experience as positive as you can for you and your dog.

Most dogs only need to be bathed when they seem dirty or itchy. Many people like to bathe their dogs monthly, but bathing as often as once a week is not considered harmful. Always use a soap-free shampoo that is intended for dogs. Depending on the condition of your dog’s skin and coat, your veterinarian may recommend a specific shampoo. In this case, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions about bathing.

dog ear - Photo © Sharon Montrose/Getty Images

4.  Ear Care

Your dog’s ears can be a haven for bacteria and yeast if not kept clean. Some dogs can go their whole lives without ear problems, and the only routine ear cleaning needed is during the monthly bath. Other dogs have chronic ear disease and require multiple cleanings a day.

Ear problems can often be traced back to genetics. Dogs with floppy ears or long hair tend to be predisposed to ear problems because the ear canal simply does not have as much air exposure. Manyear problems are a sign of allergies. If your dog has excess debris or foul odor in his ears, your veterinarian will likely prescribe special ear cleaners and medications. If your dog’s ears are relatively healthy, you can help keep them that way with proper ear care.

dog-grooming-BillHolden-Cultura-getty173806966.jpg - Bill Holden/Cultura/Getty Images

5.  Haircuts

Dogs with continuously growing hair, such as thePoodle or Shih Tzu, typically need their hair cut every 2-4 weeks depending on the breed of the dog and the style of the cut. This task is often best left toprofessional groomers, though many dog owners are able to learn some basic maintenance haircuts. If you are interested in learning professional dog grooming skills, consider dog grooming school



A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life

A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

There are many different types of low-carb diets, and studies show that they can cause weight loss and improve health.

This is a detailed meal plan for a low-carb diet. What to eat, what to avoid and a sample low-carb menu for one week.

A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan

What foods you should eat depends on a few things, including how healthy you are, how much you exercise and how much weight you have to lose.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone

You should avoid these 7 foods, in order of importance:

Overweight Man Eating Cake

  • Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many others.
  • Gluten Grains: Wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Includes breads and pastas.
  • Trans Fats: “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
  • High Omega-6 Seed- and Vegetable Oils:Cottonseed-, soybean-, sunflower-, grapeseed-, corn-, safflower and canola oils.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. Use Stevia instead.
  • “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Products: Many dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc.
  • Highly Processed Foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.

You MUST read ingredients lists, even on foods labelled as “health foods.”

Low Carb Food List – Foods to Eat

You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.

Woman Holding Salad

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others. Grass-fed is best.
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock and many others. Wild-caught fish is best.
  • Eggs: Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others.
  • Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • High-Fat Dairy: Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.

Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.



Low Carb vs. High Carb – My Surprising 24-day Diabetes Diet Battle

What I learned from doubling my carb intake: the same average blood sugar, but four times as much hypoglycemia, more work, stress, & danger.

As a teenager, I ate a high carb diet that included lots of Goldfish crackers, white sandwich bread, pasta, and white potatoes. It was tasty, but it put my blood sugars on a wild roller coaster every single day. Things turned around in college when I learned about nutrition, got on CGM, and spent time with health conscious friends. I soon realized that eating less than 30 grams of carbs at one time was a complete gamechanger. I’ve stuck with that approach ever since.

But is this lower carb method actually better for my blood sugars, or have I just been fooling myself? To find out, I took on a somewhat terrifying self-tracking experiment:

  • 12 days of my usual, lower-carb diet, which averaged 146 grams of carbs per day (21% of daily calories). My carbs were primarily from nuts, seeds, vegetables, and a bit of fruit.
  • 12 days of a higher-carb, high whole-grain diet, which averaged 313 grams of carbs per day (43% of my daily calories). My sources of carbs were NOT junk food: plain oatmeal, whole wheat bread, quinoa, wild rice, and fruit.

Neither of these was unrealistic. My lower-carb diet was nowhere near Atkins level (20 grams per day), and the higher-carb diet was consistent with the “average” 45% carb diet in people with diabetes (according to ADA).

Even though this was a one-person (n=1) experiment, I wanted to be as scientific and fair as possible: eating whole, unprocessed foods in both periods; counting and tracking every single gram of carbohydrate (LoseIt! app); wearing CGM 24/7 and downloading the glucose data to document what happened (Dexcom G5 and Clarity); taking insulin before meals (5-15 minutes prior) and correcting when blood sugars went out of range; and keeping total calories and my high level of activity as consistent as possible (Fitbit).

Before starting, I assumed:

  • Low-carb eating = lower average blood sugar, much more hypoglycemia.
  • High-carb eating = higher average blood sugar, less hypoglycemia, way more fun.

How wrong I was!

To my utter surprise, both diets resulted in the same average glucose and estimated A1c. But there were major tradeoffs:

  • The higher-carb, whole-grain diet caused four times as much hypoglycemia, an extra 72 minutes per day spent high, and required 34% more insulin. (A less healthy high-carb diet would have been far worse.)
  • Doubling my daily carbs also added much more effort and produced far more feelings of exhaustion and diabetes failure. It was not fun at all, and the added roller coaster, or glycemic variation, from all the extra carbs made it more dangerous.

I would summarize it like this: high-carb eating felt like highway driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, alternating between 120 mph and 10 mph. Low-carb eating felt more like driving between 55 and 75 mph. The final averages were the same (65 mph), but the experience was far different in terms of safety and effort.

This is far from a perfect experiment, and I recognize it has many limitations. The goal was to change my diet, to honestly document what happened (with real data from my devices), and to share what I learned. A lower-carb approach requires some tradeoffs (convenience, variety, time) that may not be worth it for everyone. But I hope this article sheds light on why lower carb seems to work for my diabetes, and more broadly, why we must move beyond A1c alone in describing glucose control.

[Editor’s Note: You should absolutely talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your own diet, medications, or routine.]


Glucose Profiles

The plots below show my daily glucose profiles averaged over 12 days of high-carb and 12 days of low-carb eating. The black line shows the average at that time point, while the colored bars indicate the range of values at that time (yellow=high, gray = in range, red = low).

Can you guess which is high carb and which is low carb?

Observations: Low Carb

– Very consistent average throughout the day with no major spikes (black line).

– The bars are short and almost completely gray, meaning the vast majority of glucose values fell in the tight zone of 70-150 mg/dl.

– No obvious periods of serious highs or lows, consistent with my glucose data in the months prior to this experiment.

Observations: High Carb

– The black average line is more spikey, indicating more variability

– The bars at most time points are longer (wider range of values at one time), and there are more highs (yellow bars) and a few more lows (red bars).

– Trouble in early morning (highs), after breakfast (highs), late afternoon (lows), after dinner (highs), midnight (lows), and 1 AM-5 AM (steadily rising glucose).

Average Glucose, A1c, Time-in-Range

The different profiles above resulted in a near-identical average glucose and the same estimated A1c (low carb on left):





How is this possible? Averages can be misleading! Here are the time-in-range results, where things start to get interesting (low-carb on left):

To achieve the same average blood sugar on the high-carb diet, I experienced more than four times as much hypoglycemia (less than 70 mg/dl): 97 minutes vs. 22 minutes per day. I also had 72 extra minutes per day above 160 mg/dl during the high-carb period. Those trends mostly cancelled out, resulting in a similar average but far different blood sugar profiles.


I needed 34% more insulin on the high-carb diet, as my bolus insulin doubled to cover the additional carbs. I did not change my daily basal insulin (22 units) between the periods.

Low Carb

High Carb

Total Daily Dose

34 units

45 units


  12 units
22 units

  23 units
22 units

Lessons Learned

1. Average glucose and estimated A1c did not capture the vast difference in variability or hypoglycemia between the two phases. Look at the two plots below – the one on the left is from a low-carb day, while the one on the right was from a high-carb day. I chose these two days because they had near-identical average glucose levels: 123 mg/dl (low carb) vs. 121 mg/dl (high carb). But the diabetes experience of those days was FAR different.


Every day of high-carb eating also brought the dreaded double arrow trend on my CGM: glucose rising or falling at more than 3 mg/dl per minute. For example, a -100 mg/dl blood sugar change in 25 minutes. Those scary drops were like riding a roller coaster day after day. By contrast, low carb eating rarely resulted in more than a 1 mg/dl per minute change (-25 mg/dl in 25 minutes).

2. I experienced four times as much hypoglycemia on the high-carb diet. In my effort to treat highs, I had to accept more lows. This tradeoff between high and low blood sugars is what made high-carb eating a tightrope walk every day. I could have been less aggressive, but that would have caused longer and larger spikes in glucose. Low-carb eating made it easier to spend more time-in-range because there were fewer spikes and drops to deal with – instead of a tightrope, it was more of an open sidewalk.

3. Insulin is a dangerous drug, and doubling my carbs required 34% more every day. Large-carb meals also required two to five times more insulin in a single dose. My typical lower-carb meals needed one or two units at a time to cover vegetables, nuts, protein, and a bit of fruit – all raise glucose in small increments (+20 to +60 mg/dl) over a couple hours. By contrast, higher carb meals – even whole grains – often required five- and eight-unit boluses. Insulin has been called thesecond most dangerous drug (after the blood thinner warfarin), and insulin errors cause more than 97,000 hypoglycemia hospitalizations each year. I see value in taking smaller doses.

4. Feelings of stress and failure skyrocketed on the higher-carb diet. All the extra work and planning was exhausting! While a lower-carb diet generally lets me put diabetes in the background, a higher carb diet requires constant vigilance, measuring, worrying, reacting to CGM alarms, and pre-planning. My twelve days of large-carb meals were tiring and mentally taxing – I felt like I was getting it wrong all the time. Here are some of the differences in effort:

Low Carb Experience

High Carb Experience

Little carb counting. Flat one- or two-unit boluses for most meals and snacks

Constant carb counting, measuring and entering into bolus calculator. Highly variable amounts of insulin.

Take insulin at meal start, after, or not at all.

Critical to take insulin before meals

Easier to track boluses – one or two unit boluses stop lowering blood glucose in ~2 hours

Harder to track boluses – large doses (5+ units) can still be lowering glucose at 4+ hours

Smaller activity impact: boluses are small and not significantly accelerated from any type of exercise. Stable blood sugar makes activity easier.

Larger activity impact: big boluses are dramatically accelerated from light activities like walking. Variable blood sugar makes activity more challenging.

5. Higher-carb eating put more pressure on accurate and precise estimates (meal size, needed insulin, impact of activity), and penalized me harder for getting it wrong. As a hypothetical: if I’m about to take 10 units of insulin, but my estimate is 30% too high (the meal is actually 70 grams of carbs, not 100 grams), that’s a three-unit overdose. For me, that translates to a massive 105 mg/dl difference in blood sugar: 100 vs. 205 mg/dl, or even more dangerous, 45 vs. 150 mg/dl. Compare that to a meal with 20 g of carbs requiring two units of insulin – a 20% error = 0.4 units, or just a 14 mg/dl difference (glucose meter errors alone can be larger than that!). A lower-carb diet put much less pressure on having accurate estimates. I’m a big fan of reducing diabetes math!

6. High-carb meals were most challenging at breakfast. Look at the pictures below showing my three worst morning (7 am to noon) blood sugar curves for the 12 days of low carb (left) vs. 12 days of high carb (right). Low-carb meals were not perfect, but the post-breakfast highs were so much faster, higher, and longer after high-carb meals. As anyone with diabetes knows, breakfast makes a huge difference for getting a day of blood sugars started off right.

Low Carb vs. High Carb – Worst Mornings

7. It was a harder to remember to eat vegetables on the higher-carb diet. When meals contained 60 grams of carbs or more, it was easy to just eat a sandwich and a piece of fruit, or chicken and a side of rice – those meals felt “complete” as I was making them. On the low-carb diet, vegetables automatically filled the side-dish spot, and the meal didn’t feel “complete” unless some veggies were on the plate (a single piece of chicken is just not enough food!). My higher carb meals were less likely to include vegetables, since the reminder to include them was not as apparent.

8. Eating a higher-carb diet without checking glucose often or wearing CGM would be like driving a racecar at 150 mph blindfolded. For all the reasons listed above, checking blood glucose often (6+ times per day) or wearing CGM seems essential on a higher-carb diet – it allows for corrections after the inevitable turbulence of post-meal glucose spikes, large insulin doses, incorrect estimates, and hypoglycemia. I’m fortunate to have access to CGM, and I recognize this is not possible for everybody with diabetes. But for those who choose to eat high carb, checking glucose often is critical.

Concluding Thoughts

I’m leaving this experiment with an even better understanding of why lower-carb eating works for me. And as I’ve discussed in previous columns (and show below) there is still great variety and taste to be found in a lower-carb diet.

I do not believe there is a single diet for all people with diabetes – we all come from different circumstances, and what works for me may not be worth it for many others. I just know that my blood sugars were completely out of control as a teenager, and they are much more in control now. The biggest factor in that change was eating fewer carbs at each meal.



10 Things Kids With ADHD (and Their Mommas) Wish Teachers Knew

The contrast between expectations and actual ability is stark but invisible when it comes to ADHD. Individuals with ADHD don’t have any outwardly visible signs of having a disability. So ADHD behaviors are often interpreted as willful, defiant, oppositional, disobedient and disrespectful. I think this is toughest for kids with ADHD in the classroom environment. Kids with behavioral and developmental disorders often look like “bad” kids. I want so badly to change that.


1. The struggle is real. I’m trying hard to not be different from my classmates and friends. It takes a lot of work to look like I don’t have any problems at school.

2. Things are a lot more complex to me than you imagine. What’s intuitive to you is a long and difficult thought process that I often don’t have time for.

3. I worry a lot! I’m constantly worried that I’ll look different, that I’ll forget my homework, that I might say something wrong, or that I’ll get in trouble. I probably worry almost every minute I’m at school. Sometimes that makes me tell wild stories to try to get out of school. 

4. I feel stupid when I can’t accomplish what my peers can. I’m not stupid, but I sure feel like it when things are hard for me but simple for others.

5. I’m emotionally sensitive. I might look like a cry baby, but I feel things deeply.

6. I am a literal kid. I cannot tell when my friends are teasing. I take everything they say and do at face-value. I often feel like my friends are being mean to me.

7. I’m smart! When given the time to fully process or a way to show what I know that doesn’t involve completing a worksheet, I can shine. Give me the opportunity to surprise you.

8. I’m not lazy! There’s a lot more going on in my mind than most people. Plus, I struggle with planning, sequencing and organization. That can slow me down or make me not want to do the work. And my ADHD brain is interest-based — I can focus better on the assignment when it interests me.

9. My weaknesses often make me feel like a failure. You can help me a lot just by believing in me and encouraging me.

10. I don’t intend to make you angry. I want to do well. I deserve love and respect, just like my peers.



How Mindfulness Helps Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression

Peaceful woman finding body and mind balance

When I’m depressed or anxious, it can be hard for me to remember what makes me happy or what calms me down. Every coping skill I’ve learned in therapy seems to fly out of my head and disappear elsewhere. I used to let the depression or anxiety take over and control my mind, and would be miserable as a result.

During my last hospitalization, I learned about a meditation technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to what is going on internally and externally in the moment you are in. Mindfulness doesn’t exactly rid your mind of negative or anxious thoughts, but trains you to accept them and let them flow freely without feeling bad about having them.

It’s hard to accept negative thoughts at first; you just want them to leave you and not return. But acceptance is an important step in recovery, and accepting your thoughts for what they are is important when battling anxiety or depression.

On my bad days, I try to be mindful in everything I do, not just sit and think mindfully. When I wake up, I am aware of how I feel. I’m aware of the warmth still in my body as I stretch, and am aware of the immediately negative thoughts I have about the day that hasn’t even begun yet. I let those thoughts be, and move onto being mindful about my surroundings. As I travel from my room, to the bathroom and into the kitchen, I am mindful of how the carpet feels between my toes and of the bird’s songs outside the windows. Already my negative thoughts are moving through my mind, making room for positive thoughts.

As I sit down for breakfast, I eat mindfully. I eat slowly, savoring each bite and each texture of the food. I enjoy what I’m eating, even though on my bad days I don’t want to eat. Mindfulness helps me to not only satisfy the hunger I can’t feel on a bad day, it helps me to truly find pleasure in something so simple as eating an apple. And finding pleasure on a bad day is so very, very important.

As I walk down the street with my daughter in the stroller, I am mindful of my surroundings. I notice the birds flying, the trees swaying and the bees moving from flower to flower. I notice my daughter look around, imagining she is being mindful as well. Children look at the world with such innocence and wonder, much like mindfulness has us do. I accept the worries swimming in my head for when we return home; chores, lunch to prepare, phone calls to make. I accept them and move on, back to observing the beauty around me.

When it’s raining, it’s hard for me to remain mindful. The weather matches my mood and I would like to just stay in bed. But I am mindful about the rain. I notice the size and the speed of the drops, and remind myself that water, even in the form of rain, is good. It is good for the plants, for the crops and for me. It washes away yesterday and prepares me for another new day. I used to let the rain, the bad days, control me. But when I learned to look at the rain mindfully, my mood toward it changed, just like my mind has changed when it comes to negative thoughts.

Remaining mindful helps me cope with my anxiety and depression. It keeps me in the present moment, and manages my worries about the past and the future. Mindfulness doesn’t make my worries disappear, but rather equips me with the peace and strength to deal with them. I was just practicing mindfulness on my bad days, but now I try to remain mindful on my good days, too. Since trying to remain mindful all of the time, I see my situation and the world around me in a more positive light. I find I enjoy the little things more often when I’m mindful; my daughter’s laugh, the neighbor’s dog, my mom’s cooking.

Without mindfulness, I would still be in darkness on my bad days. I would let my negative thoughts completely take over, leaving no room for an inkling of positivity. Without mindfulness, I may not see myself or the world around me in a realistic, positive way. I am glad I learned the technique during one of my most difficult times, so I could learn to use it in the most trying, and the most wonderful times. Mindfulness is not only just a form of meditation. I believe it is a way of life, and a natural medicine to help treat anxiety and depression.



When I Was Nonverbal: A Poem on autism

Being nonverbal for years

I often tried to have conversations with my peers

Using body language to bring on communication.

My mind was looking for the right way to tell my parents I loved them

When the doctors said I had regressed.

I knew in my heart I was there.

People sometimes didn’t understand.

While I often didn’t understand the world around me.

When I first started speaking, I found new possibilities

While supports gave me new opportunities.

Getting good grades in school became my motivation.

Being accepted for who I was became an objective.

Because bullying became a difficulty.

Years later even more things I wanted to do became a reality.

And I realized I wanted to become a role model —

That with hard work and determination we can all achieve amazing things.

And for our loved ones we could help them along the way.

With your help we will bring change.

Because with my parents help that nonverbal 2.5 year old boy today is now a national speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant, nonprofit founder, television host and full-time employee at Autism Speaks.

We will make a difference.

And when it happens you will be there with us.

It will be because we know all our loved ones, with or without special needs, just want to progress and be the best they can be every day.

Believe every day in our community.

Believe in hope.

We are learning more about finding the right supports for our loved ones.

Believe in the beauty in our community.

And finally…

Believe our loved ones will do anything they set their minds too. My parents always believed in me, and we always need someone to believe in us.

For every accomplishment, no matter how small. We will give them the supports.

Believe in them…