Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, Diabetes Style!

I am having mixed feelings about closing the book on 2012. It seems bittersweet in many regards. Don't get me wrong, there were some less-than-stellar moments. I think about the first few months, January-March, when I was training hard for my first half marathon. My body was tired. I was also running a Mock Trial tournament at school and practicing for Mock Trial Regionals. It certainly was a busy couple of months. Then, we were thrown into an unseasonably warm Spring. I remember running on days when the weather felt too good to be real. The 11 and 12-mile runs almost seemed easy on those days. My birthday is March 5. My mom took me to Nashville to see my favorite band, Mumford & Sons. We shopped. We ate. It was a lot of fun. I remember eating a three-course meal at Morton's Steakhouse. I ate so much. I cannot imagine what my blood sugar would have read had I known to check.

In April, the big news came. If you need a refresher, check out this post that details how I ended up in the hospital with a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. The next few weeks were hard. They were harder than I cared to admit to myself or to you all. I was thrust into a new way of living. I tried to embrace it with positivity, but some days just sucked. The hardest part of the whole thing, early on and today, is the unwelcome anxiety that comes with knowing I'm sick. Maybe "sick" isn't the appropriate word, but I do have a chronic illness which, over time, can damage the body's organs. It has very real short-term dangers and long-term dangers. In truth, I don't think about that every waking hour of every day, but I do carry around more worries than I'd like.

This isn't a set-up so that I can say the dreaded Bar Exam ended the way it did because of Diabetes. I maintained in October just as I maintain today, Diabetes had nothing to do with my failing the Bar. I know plenty of people who like to argue otherwise, and I appreciate their benefit of the doubt. You know what? Failing the Bar Exam has been a blessing in disguise. Yes, I am taking it again in February, but I have been able to explore all sorts of great ideas for my future. Some legal, some not. Some creative, some not. Some lucrative, some not. I would trade in the embarrassment, of course. But  I take full ownership of the results and the person I have become in their wake.

As usual, the holidays came and went, and 2013 stands beckoning. 2012 sure did deal me a hand of cards...a series of defining moments. I hope more than anything that this blog has been one iota as helpful for someone else as it has been for me. It has been my therapy and creative outlet throughout the good and bad. In 2013, I plan to continue this blog. I plan to continue my candor with you, the readers, about the realities of Diabetes. I vow to continue to take care of my health, both physical and mental. It has been far too easy to reflect on 2012 and put myself and my struggles at center stage. But when I zoom out, my struggles and I are mighty small in this big world. My struggles and I are mighty small in comparison to my abundant blessings. You see, my family and friends, whether they know it or not, have carried me this year. Every word of encouragement, concern, and love has been internalized and re-internalized to propel me onward. I'm carrying you all with me into the adventures of 2013. Many thanks to you and your support.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

guest blogger: spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs

Well, Jenna Harris has done it again! Back when she agreed to guest-blog, she provided me with two fabulous recipes. I wanted to space them apart. I think Andrew and I are going to put the ingredients for this recipe on our grocery list and make this ASAP

Spaghetti Squash with Herb Turkey Meatballs and Garlic Tomato Sauce
Serves: 4
Total Cook and Prep Time: 45 minutes

1.2-1.5 lbs. of ground turkey
1 spaghetti squash
1 can diced tomatoes or 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cans tomato sauce
1 small white onion
5 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375. In fill large stock pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Place in whole spaghetti squash and cover with lid. Let boil for 30 minutes. Squash is done if a fork can be easily inserted to the outer layer.

Tomato Sauce:
In medium sauce pan, add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, rosemary, and basil to taste. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of pepper. Let simmer as you prepare everything else.

Combine ground turkey meat with 1 tbsp. minced garlic, chopped basil and chopped rosemary (amount of herbs can vary to your liking). Roll into balls that are approx. 1.5 inches in diameter (1.2 lbs. or turkey will make around 16, 1.5 inch meatballs). Place in oiled baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.

When squash is done, remove and place on large cutting board. Cut squash vertically. Spoon out seeds and center layer of stringy squash (will be more gooey and mushy than outer layer). Drag spoon along skin and the spaghetti squash should fall out very easily. Make sure all seeds have been removed and any excess water is drained. Plate spaghetti squash. Top with meatballs and tomato sauce. Serve with parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread!

Doesn't this  just look delicious? 

Let's commit together to making more healthy, creative recipes in 2013!
Thanks SO MUCH to Jenna!

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 2012 Endo Appointment

So, I go to the endocrinologist every three months. Depending on which tests I had done the last time, I may or may not give blood. This time is a blood-giving time. Admittedly, I am a baby when it comes to giving blood. I look away, fidget my feet, and breathe deeply to avoid passing out on the floor. Hopefully, since it won't be my first rodeo, I will be able to handle it like a grownup. I don't know what to expect from my hba1c this time. It was 6.2% last time, I believe. That was all reflective of insulin therapy via multiple daily injections (mdi). This hba1c will reflect my experience on oral medications. In truth, most days are pretty good - never even hitting 180 mg/dL. There have been a few days or span of days when I couldn't seem to get it together, but I always had something I could blame - Italian food, Mexican food, that baked potato from which I just couldn't stay away... You see, for me, I was constantly testing the boundaries to see what my body can and cannot handle on oral meds. I learned the hard way that even flatbread pizzas with white sauce are a recipe for hyperglycemia. I can count on my fingers how many times I chose to do a correction bolus. I am happy with my situation the way it is now. Hopefully, my endocrinologist will be also. I go in at 11:00, so I will follow-up in the paragraphs below...this is just my pre-appointment ranting :)

Ready for the results...?

hba1c = 5.9% 

He still thinks I can get even lower, but I am pleased with anything starting with a "5"! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Like a Kid a Christmas!

I figured it would be easier if I posted Christmas pictures as they come along. Last night, Andrew and I celebrated Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house in Cordova. This is an age-old tradition, complete with Dirty Santa and casseroles galore. My blood sugar has been behaving wonderfully the past few days (knocks on wood). I think the rippling effects of a 5.5 mile run on Saturday are still playing a part. I can't wait to go running again :)

Anyhow, back to last night...traditionally, kids open presents first. The youngest little muffin in the house is my nephew, Zen. Zen will be two in a couple of weeks, and he is at the age when he loves receiving everything! Wes and Kelsey (my brother and his girlfriend) bought Z a lot of fun musical instruments, and it was pure joy watching him enjoy his Christmas. Little Z is usually asleep by 6:30-7:00, so the fact that he was still trucking along at 9:00 was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.


May you ALL enjoy Christmas Day with the zeal of a two-year old! 


The Holts 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Is it really Christmas Eve already? I know I am not alone in finding that time flies the older I get. When I was younger, I looked forward to Santa and toys. Now, I look forward to the togetherness. I want to soak it in like a sponge, but it always seems to end too soon. I reflect somberly on those who have lost loved ones this year. It is hard for me to imagine celebrating Christmas with a single person missing. I can't fathom what some families are feeling this year in light of the tragedy in Connecticut. I hope they find a clear path to peace. I hope they feel the love and support of those of us around the world. Our lives are fragile, hanging in a delicate balance every moment of every day. So, may we not find joy only in the gifts we unwrap. Let us treasure each embrace, each conversation, and each "Merry Christmas" from a stranger. Let us have patience is travel and patience in turmoil. Let us have love for each other that extends long past a day on the calendar.

It will be my first Christmas as a Diabetic.Christmas helps put Diabetes in perspective too. It seems a little smaller on a day of such grandeur. I''ll be fine! I just need to pace myself, avoid the punch, and limit the cookies.

I know it has been a while since I have posted on this blog. The fashion blog monopolized a lot of my time in December. I have plenty of life updates to exam prep, half-marathon training, an upcoming endo. appointment, etc. So, you'll have to stay tuned...

Happy Holidays!
God Bless :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guest Blog: Healthline

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are Two Different Diseases

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’re probably wondering exactly what it is and how it differs from the type 1 variety.  First of all, diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by the body’s inability to produce sufficient insulin, which is a key factor in transferring blood glucose to the cells.  Type 1 and type 2 diabetes may result in the same disorder; however, they are actually two separate diseases. 

The key difference between type 1 and type 2 is that type 1 is genetic, quite often inherited and cannot be prevented or cured.  Type 2 diabetes occurs later in life, is thought to be brought on by obesity and bad eating habits, and can sometimes be remedied through diet, exercise and weight loss. 

Type 1 diabetes is actually an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system has destroyed the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  Without insulin to transfer glucose from the blood to the cells where it is needed, blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels, causing excessive thirst and urination as the body seeks to rid itself of the blood glucose the only way it can.  The cells, meanwhile, are starving.

Type 1 diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes because it generally manifests during early childhood and rarely after age 40.  It is considered a genetic disorder and is often inherited.  There is currently no cure for diabetes 1, and sufferers must inject themselves daily with insulin in order to survive.

Type 2 Diabetes is Often Self Inflicted

While the exact cause and mechanism is not well known, it is generally agreed that type 2 diabetes is quite often brought on or at least aggravated by obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise.  Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in the body develop a resistance to insulin, possibly as a result of being subjected to extreme amounts of the substance over many years. 

Chronic overeating leads to chronic high doses of insulin being generated by the pancreas in response to the overwhelming amounts glucose entering the blood after a large meal.  Too much insulin can be toxic to cells, which may respond by reducing numbers of insulin receptors in order to protect themselves.  It may be that cells develop insulin resistance over time anyway, resulting in a predisposition of older people to develop diabetes 2, but this process may be sped up through overeating and poor diet, causing a much earlier onset of the disease.

In a classic catch 22 situation, these altered cells require higher levels of insulin, which the pancreas then produces, causing the cells to respond by developing further insulin resistance.  At some point, the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin to cover this increased demand, and as with diabetes 1, blood glucose levels become dangerously high and the cells begin to starve.

Depending on the severity of the condition, type 2 diabetes may be managed through diet and exercise, losing weight, and in more severe cases oral or injected insulin supplements.  The prescription for preventing diabetes 2 is the same as for managing it; maintaining a healthy body weight, getting regular exercise, and eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and whole grains, which helps to maintain steady blood glucose levels.

Complex carbohydrates and starches are digested more slowly, releasing glucose into the blood system gradually, unlike sweets and simple carbs, which cause immediate spikes in blood sugar and trigger an over-production of insulin.  This large quantity of insulin then causes a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia, triggering hunger pangs and further binging.

Put quite simply, the difference between diabetes 1 and 2 is the cause.  Diabetes 1 is genetic and its occurrence cannot be changed, while diabetes 2 is a result of lifestyle, and is not necessarily a predetermined outcome of the aging process.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today, I dedicate this space to mourn the loss of innocent lives both in Memphis and Connecticut.

There are no right words or sorrows deep enough to convey proper condolences. Instead, I can offer my thoughts and prayers. Additionally, I can promise that I will not be taking my family and friends for granted this holiday season.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 3, 2012

Diabetics Who Party...

Most days, life as a diabetic feels a lot like life before being diabetic. Sure, I have a few extra chores, but it is no detraction from my quality of life. When I attend parties, however, I must always be aware of how much nibbling I am doing. Yesterday, my wonderful fellow-diabetic friend, Stephanie, hosted an ornament party at 2:00 PM. Rewind a couple hours before that, and I am sitting at Tugs having brunch with Andrew, Catherine, and L.D. (long-time friends). I'm ordering and realize that I did not take my Metformin that morning. You see, I am so routine-oriented that I know to take the pill with breakfast - which I usually prepare at home. Because I was ditching breakfast in favor of a brunch, it didn't even occur to me to throw it in my purse. So, I chased my breakfast with the Metformin. Nothing crazy happened, but I wasn't where I wanted to be by the time the party started. So, I did what any good diabetic would do - bolus! 165mg/dL and all this food in front of me? Definitely worthy of a bolus. Need a refresher on what a bolus is? I was unaware for quite some time. Bolus refers to injecting fast-acting insulin. It usually happens before meals based on carbohydrate content, but it can happen as a correction of a miscalculation after eating as well. I probably got that wrong in some capacity, but that is how I use the term. Anyway, my blood sugar was fine the rest of the day. I just noticed that parties give me an extra level of awareness of what and how much I am eating. Trust me, when the food is this good, portions can amass quite quickly :) Take a look...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Month: December


Nothing brings me back to the Diabetes blog quite like a new month! Do we need a refresher as to why new months are awesome? For a goal-setter, it is an optimal time to set new short-term goals. Next month will also mark the New Year (and we can all laugh at the Mayans), and then we can do both short-term and long-term planning! My December started off on an inspiring note. Andrew and I handed out water at the St. Judge Marathon this morning. There is nothing quite like the determination of thousands running for a cause! I attempted my first half-marathon this past March. Though my training went swimmingly, the race day did not. I only ran 9/13 miles, and walk/ran the final 4. To me, that is not sufficient to say "I've run a half marathon." So, that's not something I say. But that's something I'd like to be able to say. Now that I have a Continuous Glucose Monitor, I feel confident that I can give that race a fair rematch. So, for Goal #1, I'd like to start training for the Germantown Half Marathon at the end of the month. There, it's out there. The next step to commitment is signing up :)

At the end of the month, I go to my next endo appointment. It will be my first endo appointment assessing an entire three months on oral medications. My goal is to have my A1c under 6%. Well, really, I'd just like it to be lower than last time (6.3%). So, Goal #2 is to keep a tight watch on my blood sugar throughout the month. That may mean fewer cookies. I am so pleased with the oral meds, and I wish this therapy could last forever, but I am always preparing myself for a time when they may not work so well.

I also have a lot of exciting ideas going on in the career world. I won't disclose too many details, but I have really enjoyed cultivating my creative passions. First thing's first - Goal #3 is to begin studying for the February Bar Exam. I've already begun the flashcard making, which will hopefully be a helpful change from the study methods last time!

Don't forget to check into Exclusively Chic this month for a 25-day gift guide to holiday shopping! :)

Welcome to December, friends! I hope you've set some awesome goals to end 2012.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

diabetes & thanksgiving

I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive about celebrating Thanksgiving after Diabetes. For me, my favorite Thanksgiving foods include sweet potato casserole and cornbread dressing. Translated into Diabetes terms, that is "carb casserole" and "carb dressing". Was it going to be the same? Would I feel deprived? Resentful? Meet the indulgences - 

cornbread dressing + sweet potato casserole
lots of bread and lots of sugar

I knew that I wasn't going to get away without having a bite, but I devised a plan to feel like I was indulging without sending my pancreas into overdrive. I had my mom make cauliflower mashed potatoes and a sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake. I would load up on meat, green beans, and cauliflower mashed potatoes. That way, I would be too full to notice the indulgences I had minimized. Witness, behold...operation cauliflower -

Was so amazing! Thanks mom! :)

Blood sugar before eating = 116 mg/dL
Blood sugar after eating = 114 mg/dL
= success!
Of course, after analyzing how much I was stressing out about how to navigate the feast. I felt a little silly. The food worked out. It worked out because I made good decisions and had family willing to accommodate and encourage me. I learned in church today that we can learn from our, not literal bruises, but struggles. I learned "that our bruises make us better, not bitter." It sounds counterintuitive, right? To be thankful for a struggle? Well, nestled within every struggle is nugget of perspective. Don't get me wrong, Diabetes sucks. I wouldn't have wished it on myself or anyone else. But, this Thanksgiving weekend, I was around my amazing support group - family and friends. I was reminded that Diabetes, when put in perspective, is about diligence and discipline. I am so thankful that my grandfather beat cancer this year and survived chemo and a plethora of other health distractions. He was able to cook dinner, visit with all of us, and beat us in Scrabble. That is what it is all about. Not me. Not my Diabetes. Not my cauliflower mashed potatoes. Not mg/dL. It's not about what is on the table, but who sits around it. 

For the egg bowl party at the Montagues, Andrew made fruit salad + dip.
I roasted Splenda/Cinnamon Pecans. 

The most fabulous of friends :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sauteed Scallops Recipe

Hi friends! You know one of the best parts about blogging? Getting great recipe ideas from creative friends. I have a friend - from waayy back in my 4th grade flannel-shirt-wearing-days. Her name is Jenna Harris, and she was kind enough to share some fabulous recipes and pictures for this blog. I cannot thank her enough for her time and willingness to contribute to the low-carb cause! 

Sauteed Scallops with Cauliflower Mashed and Kale Chips
Serves: 4 people
Total Cook & Prep Time: 50 minutes

1 lb sea scallops
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of curly kale
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Milk or Cream (optional)
Minced garlic (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and cut cauliflower and place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or red cayenne pepper (optional). Bake for 35-40 minutes. When have 10 minutes left on the cauliflower, prep the kale by washing it, removing the stems, and cutting into 1 inch pieces. Place kale on oiled baking sheet. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil over the leaves and toss with hands. Spread leaves on baking sheet (can be close together, do not have to be completely spread out like cookies). Sprinkle kale with salt and pepper. Remove cauliflower when lightly browned and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake kale for 10 minutes on 350.

Place warm cauliflower in food processor or blender and add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic (optional). Add 1/2 cup milk or cream to get a more fluffy and creamy texture that resembles mashed potatoes. If not using milk or cream, add approx. 4 tbsp. of olive oil. Blend, scrape sides and blend again until smooth, fluffy texture. Place lid on blender to keep warm until serving.

On medium high temperature, melt 1 tbsp butter in a sautee pan. Add olive oil until entire bottom of pan is covered. Let butter lightly brown and then place scallops in one at a time once butter and oil begins to bubble. Let each scallop sit in oil for 1.5 to 2 minutes - depending on how big the scallops are. It is very important not to pic up or move the scallops during this time. Use tongs to turn scallops onto other flat side and cook for 1 additional minute.

Plate cauliflower mashed. Place scallops on top and spoon a little oil/butter from cooking pan over the top. Remove kale from oven and use a spatula to serve on plate.

You guys! I cannot wait to try this. Doesn't it looked delicious?
Jenna would make a fabulous food blogger.
Thank you for the wonderful content.
Bon Appetit! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photo-a-day Week 1

Oh hiiii, blog. I hardly recognized you since you were taken over by political aliens. Nice to see you again! I mentioned in a previous post that it is National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are some interesting challenges going around social media - one of which is to post a photo per day in keeping with designated themes. It has been a week now, so here is my week's collage:

Fun, huh? Well, I shared the article I wrote via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I am beside myself at the outpouring of support! My friends, family, and social network make living with Diabetes manageable because of the constant encouragement. What a joy...what a blessing to have all of you behind me in this journey...a heartfelt THANK YOU.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

After today, this blog reverts back to being a Diabetes blog. But first, I need to do a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking. What's that? Well, you know, the woulda shoulda couldas that come up after the fact. I will lend some positivity to you today...and a little dose of perspective. Let me just remind you that no candidate offered to cure my Diabetes with a magic wand. That was disappointing. I digress. What did the bar exam and this election have in common? I had weeks to brace myself for the result! :)

I don't know about you, but campaigns are such a draining time for me. If you really pay attention to speeches, data, debates, talk shows, articles, conventions, social media, etc., then you are likely exhausted by today. I typically take a few weeks away from politics after being glued to it for months. But today, I am facing it. You can garner a lot of information from election data regarding the pulse of the nation. The election is over. Democracy did its beautiful thing. If you step back and consider other societies, that should make you feel really good, even if your guy didn't prevail.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Newness. The election is over, and the balance of power is the same as it was yesterday. That may not feel so new. Remember that presidents often govern differently in their second term - they build their legacies. Once the election is over, it is unproductive to stop supporting your country's progress. We are all invested in lifting America from the depths of its crises, so ask yourself, "what can I do to further that aim?" That can get you actively involved rather than force you to predict the worst for America. If you really believe that government is going to swell to epic proportions, keep a watchful eye on it. Being the "watchdog" party serves an important function in a democracy - one of accountability. Congress experiences mid-term elections (recall 2010), and it is important to stay vigilant and informed to vote in those races as well. 
  • Republican Party. Political parties have evolved throughout history. When I didn't pass the bar exam, I couldn't just bury it. I had to get introspective to figure out what went wrong and what needs to change going forward. I submit that if Republicans dismiss this crucial step of introspection, then this country will evolve without us. If minorities look at the GOP and cannot consider it a viable option, that is our problem and not theirs. The GOP has a lot of great candidates with great leadership potential, and I think they are taking a hard look at themselves today. I am not abandoning my ideologies, but I know I can be the change I want to see in the party. Republicans lost with women, young people, Hispanics, and African-Americans. Newsflash - that's America! If a party can't get support from those groups, then it's time to evolve. And, I promise, many conservative ideas transcend race and gender, if only it could be communicated articulately. 
  • Vitriol. The quickest way to lose political credibility to is to espouse racism and intolerance. There are really great ideas worth consideration, but hateful rhetoric only eclipses them. If you think such bigotry propels a political agenda, I urge you to find a new party. As I have mentioned many times, people's political affiliations boil down to philosophies on government. This is an age-old debate, and the passions run deep. We should keep to the meritorious discussions rather than vitriolic accusations. 
  • I win, you lose. Nobody loves a good campaign battle like I do. I have blinders on when it comes to the two-party system. I like it. I'm used to it. It has a sports-feel to it. This guy or that guy. My team or yours. I like the stark contrast of ideas (most of them). I am guilty of cheerleading for my team during the campaign. That's the fun part! When an election is over, I love when people win or lose gracefully. Mitt Romney handled his defeat with the utmost class. President Obama handled his victory with similar class. Let's take a nod from the candidates and stop with the gloating and whining. President Obama said last night, "We are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not as cynical as the pundits suggest." That would be awesome if it were true. Look around social media and tell me with a straight face that we are not cynical or divided. I think what Mr. President meant to suggest was that we don't have to be divided or cynical. My advice is simply to revert the anger into productivity. Mad at the other party? Come up with winning ideas. Mad at your own party? Encourage growth from within. America is a country run by its people - why on Earth would you bow out now?
If you cannot find joy in politics today...if you don't find solace in my advice...then I'd be glad to direct you to non-political alternatives. Thanksgiving is coming! I love hanging out with my family during the holidays. Christmas is next! Burn a good candle. Put up your decorations early - there is no law against it! Focus on the Memphis Grizzlies- they're back and would love your overflow of competitive spirit from this election. If you need somewhere to channel it, take it to the GRINDHOUSE! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Prediction

I strategize election predictions much differently than I strategize, say, a March Madness Bracket. In a bracket, I tend to predict with my heart. I typically take Memphis all the way through, regardless of all the statistics and rankings. Each term, there are groups of professionals who think the polls are worthy sources of information and those who find it flawed. Both sides are talking heartily about their winning strategies. Both sides are stumping in the same group of swing states. All the while, the polls have ebbed and flowed in keeping with the race's momentum. We have heard the memorable quotes - "trickle-down government" and "binders of women". We have seen intervening news stories - Benghazi and Hurricane Sandy, both of which stirred the pot of electoral politics, but unlikely altered the cauldron. We have heard who is doing better in the ground game, the early voting game, the independents game, the seniors, and the female voting block - both sides maintaining the edge is theirs. We've seen Karl Rove lay waste to his whiteboard. We've seen Axelrod gamble his mustache over this election's outcome.

I have run the gambit of emotions this election cycle. In fact, Romney did not get my primary vote. Frankly, I wondered if anyone would be able to contend with the Obama Machine. When the conventions came along, I got to know Mitt Romney, the candidate. My enthusiasm increased. After the debates, my enthusiasm increased. But when all is quiet, and there is nothing left but wild speculation and spinning pollsters, I worry about the outcome of this election. Fear not. I am not a "gloom and doom" gal. An Obama win will not send me to Canada. In fact, although I did not vote for him in 2008, I felt the gravity of history on my shoulders when he won the White House. Even his non-supporters could find hope in America after witnessing such an important milestone. But alas, for me, my loyalty boils down to my fundamental philosophies on government. A lot of people disagree with each other based on core convictions, so why do we get so heated? Aren't we entitled to throw our life experience, learned studies, and gut-check biases into a pile and find our place on the political spectrum? Heck, I disagree with Republicans on some serious social issues. I just disagree with liberal reasoning down the line. But some of my most precious friends are liberal. I don't find that to be a flaw in them. It makes my life more interesting, enriched, challenged, and diverse - all things I welcome.

So, here it is, my big prediction. It is, in part, based on numbers. It is, in part, based on gut. But I think the real winner come Tuesday night will be Bill Clinton.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Recipe Video: Protein Pancakes

Do you like protein pancakes? I do. I usually made a recipe from PBFingers or a recipe from ToneItUp. The one I made is a hybrid of the two, really. Things to know before you watch the video. I do not cook. I make due with what I have when my husband isn't home to cook for me. Also, this is the first time I have done a video from my computer, hence the awkward transitions. Oh well, the rawness is what makes this blog...grassroots to say the least.

  • Flax - 1 TSP
  • Coconut Milk or your choice - 2 TBSP
  • 1/2 Banana Mashed
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Your portion of Cinnamon 
  • 2 Egg Whites (1/4 cup)
  • Syrup 
  • Optional Fruit Garnish
Mix it together in a bowl or measuring cup with spout. Turn stove on Medium Heat. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Mine cooked quickly, so pay attention. Garnish with berries and/or syrup.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Months: November Edition

You guessed it! New months bring new excitement :) But, do you know what makes *November* special? It is National Diabetes Month. If you would, please take the time to learn a little bit about the disease...something you didn't already know. Chances are, you know someone with Diabetes...or you will eventually. I mean, hey, you know me. I've learned a ton in these 7 months.  One of the most difficult aspects of having Diabetes is feeling that no one knows what it is like - the routine finger pricks, the constant upkeep of supplies, the worry about getting sick, the mass quantities of carb math. etc. You know what else is hard? Hearing people talk about Diabetes as though someone wished it upon themselves by lifestyle choices. It is a very unproductive way of thinking. Designating a month for a disease inspires people to get educated and raise awareness. Know the symptoms. Once I learned them, I had high suspicions that I had Diabetes, and later that was confirmed by a hospital visit. What a time to raise our awareness and grow our tolerance as we enter the holiday season! 

November promises a lot of other great activities:

  • THIS SATURDAY: Kait Lawson's CD Release Party at the HiTone. FREE o' charge!
  • Daylight Savings Time = Crisp Dark Nights + Light Cool Mornings
  • 11/6/12: A little thing called ELECTION DAY! This is where I hunker down like a nervous wreck with my blank map and color in the states as the results are discovered. I remember last time very well. My optimism held out hope for Ol' McCain, but it did not pan out that way. But I was happy at the end of it all. The President is still the President. America is still America. Same rings true this time around:)
  • Catherine's Birthday (shout out!)
  • Thanksgiving!
  • The start of mass consumerism (aka Black Friday)
  • Overlap of Football and Basketball seasons! GO GRIZZ!

Ham & Cheese Omelet is my favorite low-carb choice.

Monday, October 29, 2012

morning coffee musings: rant-style

The word on the street is that November is Diabetes Month. Well, that's exciting! I'll use that as an opportunity to educate myself. Right now, they are talking about obesity on The View. I am having mixed emotions. They are chatting with people who are battling their weight. These individuals and their loved ones pushed for change toward a healthier lifestyle due to a fear of developing health complications like Diabetes. I think we can all agree that this a good thing - whatever catalyzes change, right? The mixed emotions come in because in discussions such as these, they talk about Diabetes as though it is akin to a death sentence. I understand the "scare tactic", but very disconcerting as someone living with Diabetes. First of all, obesity didn't put me in the Diabetes camp. Even if it did, I wouldn't want to be talked to like a ticking time bomb. Here's a gal, on The View, diagnosed with Type 2 at age 12. She no longer has to take Metformin because she utilized diet and exercise to improve her Diabetes. Paula Dean just said, "that's the beauty of Type 2 Diabetes, it is reversible." I'm happy for Paula and this gal on The View, but as someone who is likely going to need medical assistance forever, it offers me little comfort regarding my own management. I am back to the weight I was before diagnosis, thanks to being off of Novolog and on Metformin. There's no more weight to be lost to improve my Diabetes, in line with the advice they give obese Type 2s. I was the most active I had ever been when I was diagnosed. To me, that points to Type 1. The fact that I produce half the insulin I need and have lovely blood sugar levels on Metformin points to Type 2, commonly associated with insulin resistance. All this talk about TYPES seems unproductive. I wish this disease would be more solution-oriented. Regardless of the type, let's do what works for us and delivers the good numbers. If it is diet and exercise, power to you - your solution is in your hands! If it is oral medications, let's use those. If it is injected insulin, let it be your lifeblood. I wish the medical community would just admit that Diabetes is not cut and dry. There are versions of Diabetes called MODY and LADA. Those haven't always been in the realm of consciousness. It seems that, for insurance purposes, physicians try to squeeze square pegs into round holes. I am not blaming anyone, except the system...maybe. Lord knows where I'd be without these physicians. I just like to call a spade to spade and acknowledge nuances. Well, that is a morning rant, my friends. Now I can get on with my week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

My undiagnosed life is a not-so-distant past. As I reflect on some of my favorite meals and snacks, I realize that to a Diabetic, they are disasters...and often deceptively so. I have always had an interesting relationship with food. My cravings always were in the form of sweets. If I try to strip away my sweets-cravings, some of my favorite meals were still certainly high-carb. I am not suggesting that I indulged in these types of meals on a daily basis [except when I was having Diabetes symptoms because I was ravenously hungry]. Because  I have always been active, I never thought twice about going to TCBY or ordering the tummy-warming McAlister's Cheddar Potato Soup in a Bread Bowl. As a Diabetic, all I can think of now is a Carb swirl with Carby Chips or Carb Soup in a Carb Bowl. Here is  how the thought-process has evolved for me.

Undiagnosed: Well, I did run three miles today. I am passing a TCBY. A Chocolate/Vanilla Swirl with Butterfinger sounds awesome. I think I'll stop in.

Diagnosed on Novolog injections: TCBY sounds good. What is my blood sugar? is okay. I could just give myself some insulin for it. I really need it? Nutritionally speaking? This Novolog made me gain weight on its own, so I probably shouldn't help it along with empty calories. 

Diagnosed on Oral Meds: TCBY sounds good. Man, I haven't had that in forever. Where is my blood sugar level? Oh, it is still coasting down from my last meal. I should probably just let it fall back to normal instead of eating this snack and having it jump back up again. It really isn't even the best use of a snack anyway...nutritionally speaking. 

Some days, I hate these extra layers of self-reflection. I wish I could just hop in the car and head to TCBY. I wish I could order the Brownie Sundae after a meal with my husband and think nothing of it beyond running it off later. Other days, I am glad I have trained my mind to really analyze the nutritional value of my meals and snacks. Diabetic or not, it is always good to know what you're putting into your body ... and why. My entire food life is one giant cost-benefit analysis.

Lessons Learned:

  • It is a carb-eat-carb world out there. For example, 1/2 cup of No-Sugar Added Vanilla Yogurt from TCBY is 21 carbs. Add Butterfinger? Sure, just add 10 more carbs. That Potato Soup in a Bread Bowl I mentioned...yes, carb-city. If you eat the soup and the whole bowl...131 carbs. Because McAlister's has a neat nutrition-calculator, I can determine the carb content were I to eat only half the bowl...approx 65 carbs. 
  • Though I may not actually be a Type 2 Diabetic (rather, just a 1.5 or Honeymooning Type 1), I am currently taking medications that a Type 2 would take. As such, I know a little bit about living as each. On Novolog, I was careful about what I ate because I was tired of getting heavier.  But I knew I could indulge because I had the medication to cover such indulgences. On Januvia, I am cautious about eating too many carbs in a meal because I am trusting one pill to provide sufficient control all day. My goal is not to rely on assistance from Novolog correction doses, so I restrict my overall intake of carbs. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Morning Coffee Musings: Bernstein Edition.

It is totally okay if you have no idea what is going on with the image above this text. First of all, I finger-sketched it on my iPad and added text - that's why it looks unprofessionally done. But it is the birth of a new feature - Morning Coffee Musings. I went on a rampage yesterday pinning coffee, people drinking coffee, places where people buy coffee, contraptions in which you brew coffee, coffee on tables with magazines. It's not that I am obsessed or addicted to drinking coffee. I like to have a cup in the morning like the next guy. These images evoked such positive emotions in me. Coffee, to me, signifies productivity, introspection, and coziness. It makes me want to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, organize my planner, wear sweaters that cover my hands, and breathe in the crisp air. So, basically, Morning Coffee Musings will entail a brain-dump of what is on my mind when coffee gets the creative juices flowing. Want to see what pins inspired me? Check out my Java Jubilee Pin Board. 

Now that you have been properly introduced, let us begin. Yesterday, I re-read Dr. Bernstein's novel Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. When I first read it, I was deep in the world of insulin shots and carb-counting. I found the novel so demoralizing and felt it advocated loftier-than-necessary ideals on how to manage Diabetes. Imagine limiting yourself to 6 carbs at breakfast, and 12 carbs for lunch and dinner (each). For those of you keeping up, that is about 30 carbs per day. He gives you recipe ideas and various ways to prove to you, the reader, that it is possible. Now that I am on oral meds, managing Diabetes through my diet feels much more important. As opposed to insulin shots to cover the carb-content of your choosing, I have one pill that is supposed to do its job all day. So, the blood sugar spikes after a meal can be directly traced to my meal's carb-content and not to insufficient insulin dosing. The fewer carbs, the tighter the control. Easier said than done, yes. After all, carbs are what make me feel full and satisfied - or so I have been trained to think. I just had a two-egg ham and cheese omelet for breakfast. I am drinking coffee with a splash of milk and Truvia. I am confident I can walk away meeting the goal of 6 carbs or less. What's the trick? Protein. According to this book [and logic], it is ideal to have your blood sugar back down to a "normal" [debatable as to the meaning] level before the next meal. For example, if I eat a carb-heavy breakfast at 9:00AM with my fasting blood sugar around 80 mg/dL, my blood sugar may still be around 130-140 mg/dL by the time I am ready for lunch. That means I am starting out a little high and my eating a sandwich would boost me up even higher, and the cycle would likely continue for dinner. So, I have decided to give this "diet" a fair shot for a week and log the blood sugar levels. If I feel amazing and the levels are ideal, then I may try to make this a lifestyle. My goal, as with the goal of Dr. Bernstein, is to keep Diabetics who may be producing insulin [honeymooning] in that honeymoon phase indefinitely. He believes it is possible with proper control and medication. And honestly, what do I have to lose?

Friday, October 19, 2012

TGIF & Memphis Music

You know, Memphis gets a bad wrap most of the time. We top crime lists, obesity lists, and infant mortality lists. I say...statistics shmatistics. Let it be known that I love Memphis. I am not suggesting that my city doesn't have flaws. It does! But I have tried to train myself not to see my city's flaws and decide I need to be somewhere else; instead, I have tried to see a city with flaws and be a part of the solution. Memphis has a lot more to offer than crime and Diabetes. We have history richer than gold. We have an amazing assortment of restaurants. We rally around our sports teams. Perhaps most importantly, we have a constant outpouring of wonderful music.

Have any of you had an opportunity to listen to Kait Lawson? Let me tell you - this is really something special. The songs are catchy. The lyrics have grit and depth. Her voice is amazing. I feel very lucky to  have an inside track to Memphis music, and I am very excited about the talent coming out of Madjack Records soon. Don't believe me? Check it out. Want to see it live? [There is nothing like seeing it live.]

Kait is having a CD Release Party.
When? November 3, 2012. 
Time? 8:00 PM
Where? HiTone 

I promise you will not regret stopping in to see such a wonderful local talent. If all the negative press has been weighing on you over the years, let this uplift you and restore your faith in what Memphis has to offer. There is a lot more that meets the eye.

Courtesy of the Madjack Records Website

TGIF, Readers! Enjoy your city this weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2012

6-Month Anniversary with Diabetes: Letters

Dearest Diabetes,

Like any new relationship, the journey to get to know you has been an interesting one. I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know how we would get along. Finally, I didn't know if things would be deceptively easy. You are compared to marriage, in a sense. Marriage has a "honeymoon phase" in which a couple is still fueled by newfound love and commitment, oblivious to the realities of making a marriage work. You offer a similar situation. Sometimes you are much easier to manage because you are having some assistance from my pancreas' continued insulin production. In marriage, the honeymoon eventually subsides, and the relationship is nurtured now by how we handle life's challenges. Dearest Diabetes, we, too, may leave this honeymoon one day. You may take me on a journey riddled with unexpected challenges, but our commitment to each other can carry us through anything.

Maybe the next phase for us will be more like that of mother and child. Instead of cooperating with one another, you will be completely at my mercy. It will be up to me to nurture, protect, and control you. You will offer me potential rebellion, and I will have to adapt and re-adapt to that reality. With time, we will eventually learn to work cooperatively again. We will meet new challenges.

Dearest Diabetes, I never would have chosen for you to come into my life. In fact, you invaded like a thief in the night. Now, you feel like the roommate that won't leave. To have and to hold. Til death do us part. You aren't like marriage in all aspects. I cannot divorce you. Of course, I always hope divorce is a last resort for anyone, but in our case, Diabetes...I'd have quit you yesterday if I knew how. You see, the goal in marriage is forever. The goal in Diabetes is an amicable divorce.

I'll continue to write you as the milestones mount. I wasn't happy to meet you, and now you're just a tough pill to swallow...quite literally.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Big News: Bar Exam.

Oh, hi. Today is the day. So, I thought I'd give a play-by-play, starting at 11:00 a.m. That way, you will get a live account of my emotions. I'll post it later in the day, so I am merely saving as I go along.

11:00: Well, my soap opera comes on. Have I told y'all about this? You see, when I was very young, my mom watched The Price is Right and Young and the Restless. These are CBS morning shows. At some point, I started watching it with her, and I still watch it. I blame her for this obsession, and she blames me for Keeping up with the Kardashians. I think that's a fair assessment. Anyway, all I know how to do on a day like this is try to be "normal". That includes watching my normal shows. But how do I feel? A little nauseated. I slept well. I had no problem falling asleep, and I am thankful for that. I am checking my social media periodically, but I haven't been on the Bar Examiners' website yet. I have received several reassuring, sweet messages from friends. It means a lot to know people are thinking of me, but it also makes me all the more nervous. I have eaten breakfast, and I am waiting for a phone call from Emily Blaiss with the results. I have no idea when to expect them, which adds to the anxiety.

I'll update you at noon. In the meantime, here is a picture/memory of bar prep:

12:00: Hey again. Anxiety has not subsided. I am actually experiencing heartburn. I keep flashing back to the essays I screwed up and the terrible multiple choice results I had during prep. Of course, I failed, I think to myself, unable to find the silver-lining. Fingers crossed as I watch last night's Project Runway.

1:00: Ugh. Still nothing. The rumor mill is in full force on Facebook, and the consensus is that it will be out mid-to-late afternoon. Like good law graduates, people followed up and investigated what that means. 3:00 - 5:00 is the thinking. So, what am I doing now that I have run out of shows? [Glee failed to record yesterday...] I am about to take my dog on a long walk. I can zen out on walks. It will also be nice to get some exercise considering I just ate cheese and bites of 6-day-old cake for lunch. 

2:00: You guessed it, still waiting. The good news is that I worked off a bit of anxiety by subjecting my dog to an Olympic-caliber dog walk. It totaled about 40 minutes. There seems to be a lull in the social media world. I feel that, in this lull will come news. And soon. I did hear from my dad, and they are on the plane heading back home from Jamaica. I would love to be able to deliver good news to them. There have been so many great, reassuring voices throughout this experience. They say things like, "I have all the confidence in the world that you passed." It's nice when others have the confidence that I so obviously lack in situations such as these. 

2:22 THE NEXT DAY: That can't be good, right? Well, if any of you follow me on Facebook or checked the entire roster of law students, you already know that I did not pass the bar exam. However, as promised (and as Queen Over-sharer), I am chronicling that experience as well. This is how it happened. I saw someone on Facebook mention that the results were online. So, I texted Emily and told her to look. Her response to me was, "I think you should take a look." That could mean anything, so I didn't overthink it. After all, when you pass, there is nothing quite like seeing for yourself, right? After spending entirely too long determining that "Holtz" is not "Holt", it hit me. As you can imagine, it wasn't pretty. In a few words: embarrassing. disappointing. defeating. I knew for a while that it was a distinct possibility that I would fail. It wasn't because I didn't finish the exam or freaked out in the middle of it. Truthfully, having worked as hard as I did, I am eager to see what went wrong. I believe they'll send me a breakdown of the score. I joked that if I failed that I would blame Diabetes, but I am not going to pull that card. It wasn't a direct issue for me during Bar Prep in that it stayed in control. Whether it was a subconscious hardship, I will never know. Sure, I wanted to be able to tell the story that I was diagnosed in April, graduated law school in May, studied until July, and passed in October. So, that's not going to be the story...big deal.  I'm not one for excuses. It is what it is, and it is time to decide where to go from here. It's time to write a new chapter. 

I don't have to decide this minute. Thank Goodness. But I do need to do some soul-searching and answer some big questions. The first one to knock out is do I want to do this again? There is another exam in February for which I could sit. Honestly, if i do decide to do that, it will be to prove to myself that I can do it. The thought, "oh crap! now, i can't practice law!"  never crossed my mind when I learned I didn't pass. I loved law school. I'd probably do it all over again, but I never developed a desire to practice law. In fact, the whole time I have been waiting for results, I have been cultivating other interests. There are plenty of things I could do and be happy. It is a matter of assessing the situation, making executive decisions, and accomplishing the goal. So, I'm thinking of it like this - what would make me happy? what do I need to do to get there? [school? certificate?] I do know a few things. I'll be okay whatever I do. At the end of the day, I won't care about hours billed or salaries earned. I hope to maintain quality time with family and friends. I hope to maintain a healthy relationship with Diabetes and my overall health. Finally, I hope to find a career that feels like a great fit. Confidence is not my strong suit these days, but I am confident I'll find my way. 

[Note: I was very tempted to erase this post immediately after "The Big News", but I am hoping that, as time passes, I'll be glad I shared the story...not just for myself, but for anyone who has gone through similar setbacks. I'll gladly put my ego on the line for that.]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Build Up: Big News Eve

Looking back, I will be glad that I blogged about my bar exam experience...even up until Big News Eve. Eeeevveennn if the Big News is bad, I will be glad I chronicled the emotions and anxieties going on along the way. 

So, what have I done to distract myself today? Andrew and I did a three-mile jog. He is sweet to come down to my pace just to keep me company. Then, I watched my morning shows. Theeennn, I made lunch. I don't oft make lunch beyond assembling a sandwich, but I was feeling inventive. I blame Pinterest. From there, I went shopping at Urban Outfitters. Flannel shirt + corduroys = so 90s. I won't elaborate... that is more fashion blog material. Afterward, I was delighted to vist my nephew and deliver him a toy I bought at Urban Outfitters [below]. The day continued on a positive note when Andrew and I visited the new Central BBQ Downtown location. That place was nice and spacious! I was a bit concerned, however. You see, BBQ sauce has sugar. I know this. Want to give yourself a Diabetes scare? Eat BBQ. Don't wash your hands. Then, check your blood sugar. The number will be the craziest false-high ever. I ordered it anyway. I ordered the pulled pork, greens, and macaroni (my favorite carb). No spike. I sit here, at 123 mg/dL. I wonder if the run early in the day set a favorable tone for my blood sugar? If so, I'm going to make a habit out of that. You know what I did next. I didn't watch sports. I didn't watch Glee or Project Runway (on tomorrow's distraction agenda). I watched the debate. At least, I think that's what it was. I don't know if it was the format or demeanor, but I was put-off by it all. 

So, tomorrow...what's the big plan? Distraction. Go about my day. Breakfast + Exercise + Lunch + TV  + Blogging + Waiting anxiously by my phone for Emily Blaiss to deliver news in either direction. I can't, for my own sanity, play the refresh game all day. 

Central BBQ
Quinoa Stir Fry = Quinoa + Fried Egg + Green Peas + Garlic + Sesame Seeds + Cumin + Salt + Pepper 

This is Boo, the dog. I had no idea it was an internet sensation. I just saw it at Urban Outfitters and thought to myself, " this looks like your dog. Zen should have it." I told Zen the dog was named "Ros". Now, he will associate it with my pup.

okay, so maybe Roslayn has a little more fur.
and maybe her snout is a little longer...
but you get the idea.