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Life

I’ve been bad at posting. I think it’s been at least a month since my last one, and I was doing so well! Maybe I haven’t felt the need to talk about things lately or maybe I haven’t watched any movies worth sharing with people but whatever the reason I need to get back to it. I want to talk more about my personal journey with Type 1 diabetes as I still struggle to make changes with my lifestyle but I do also want this space to be a good reflection of me as a person. Both the good and the bad. I think that’s the tough part though. I need to just let go and write what’s on my mind.

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Empty Stomach

I am so hungry these days. It’s been about 6 weeks since I started seriously eating a plant-based diet but only about 3 days since I started eliminating sugar. Whoa, that’s a tough one for me. I guess I had a ‘secret’ sugar addiction. By secret I mean that I was probably in denial about how much of my diet consisted of the stuff. This week I’ve been hungrier that ever but I’ve also had more energy so I think I just need to start adding sugar free snacks to my routine. As someone who never really liked nuts it’s been hard for me to adjust but I think the more I eat them the more I can appreciate the earthy, wholesome taste! It might be time to make some more granola.

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The Staircase

This is a fascinating watch. The Staircase is a documentary movie (or seeing as it is 8 hours long I like to call it a miniseries) which follows the trial of author Michael Peterson who was accused of killing his wife Kathleen back in 2003. I don’t really want to give away any of the details because it’s better to watch it for yourself! I’d have to give it a five out of five.

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Tabloid.

This is probably one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. A retelling of a crime of passion committed by Joyce McKinney, a wide eyed American girl who chased her true love to London to kidnap him and seduce him into leaving the Morman church only to be arrested and thrown in jail and then have her life dissected by the British tabloids. Directed by Errol Morris the story is retold by Joyce herself and two reporters from two seperate tabloids and then also from an ex-Morman who gives some insider info into the church. I would give this one five out of five all the way!
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Whole Foods to Thrive

I just finished reading ‘Whole Foods to Thrive’ this morning before I left for work.  Although I can’t really say it was a page turner the content presented is easy to read and informative.  I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying a plant based diet but is unsure of it for any reason.  Brendan Brazier is a huge advocate for eating whole, nutrient dense foods to fuel your body.  ‘Whole Foods to Thrive’ also include recipes which is helpful, after reading all the benefits these ingredients have to offer you’ll want to put them to use immediately!

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Diabetes

I have been living with diabetes for fourteen years.  I was diagnosed at the age of fifteen with Type 1 (at that time it was still being called juvenile diabetes) and was hospitalized almost immediately.  For the next week I was learning all about syringes, insulin, carb counting and checking blood sugar levels.   Although I struggled with dealing with the life changing diagnoses I was totally in love with insulin.  After spending a whole summer being too fatigued to spend a day at the beach, being too thirsty to make it through a trip to the grocery store, having to pee too bad that I couldn’t make it to the outhouse in the middle of the night (on a camping trip) insulin was a revolution.  It changed the quality of my fourteen-year old life completely.  I think thats why I’ve never even considered life without it since then.

The last year or so my bloodsugar has been harder to control than ever before.  My A1C has been on the rise (the highest being 9.4), and every visit with my endocrinologist would leave me feeling frustrated and disappointed.  Things were better when I was working out consistently but I’ve been lacking the time and motivation to get to the gym 5x’s a week.  So about six months ago I decided to get an insulin pump.  This was a big step for me – ever since I was diagnosed they’ve been pushing an insulin pump but it never appealed to me.  To be honest, even after using one for six months it still doesn’t really appeal to me!  It has improved my health (I just found out yesterday that my A1C is down to 7.2 – a huge step in the right direction!) but I need to be doing more.  I feel like for the last fourteen years I’ve been using insulin as an excuse to eat whatever I want when really, I should be using food to try to fix what’s wrong with me.  I know that realistically I won’t be able to reverse my diabetes, nor will I be able to stop using insulin but I hoping with some positive changes in my diet I will be able to feel better, prevent any long term damage to my body and live a long, healthy life.  Isn’t that the dream?

I started this blog with the intention of being more open about living with diabetes – for myself and for anyone else who might be interested in reading it.  I’m hoping that in the coming months I can look back on this and see how far I’ve come – how any  changes have impacted my life and use that to keep moving forward.

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Raising Arizona

One of my favourite movies of all time.  I first watched this one about 2 years ago on a recommendation from my boyfriend and prior to watching it I HATED Nick Cage.  This movie changed everything.  Not only did I start loving Cage, but I also fell in love with Holly Hunter, the southwest, the Cohen brothers,  John Goodman (well, more like my love of him grew) and cacti.  I’d give this movie a five out of five.

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Thank You

A patient sent us a letter of thanks and appreciation after being discharged a couple of weeks ago, and in it he included this quote that brought tears to my eyes.  After a hard few days at work last week it feels so good to know that all our hard work isn’t for nothing.

“God has His eyes on everyone, acts of selflessness and compassion provided to others will not go unrewarded”.

 

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Springtime Salad

Spring is almost upon us, I can just feel it! Even though temps have still been below freezing up until this week, something feels different. There are more birds chirping, the days are longer and the smell of damp earth is so present that you can’t help but sense that change is in the air. To celebrate I made this simple salad full of sunshine-y citrusy goodness.

Springtime Salad recipe:
Ingredients:
romaine lettuce
kale, remove the tough stems
1/2 orange
1/2 grapefruit
feta cheese
fresh mint

Directions:
Chop washed romaine and kale into bite sized pieces. Remove rind from orange and slice horizontally to make orange ‘coins’ (save rind). Pick some mint leaves off the stems, roll and then slice into thin strips. Put all ingredients (including cheese) into a bowl and squeeze any remaining juice from the rind onto the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

(I also sprinkled some toasted buckwheat and chia seeds on this salad after taking the picture which was a great addition.  Some walnuts or sliced almonds might be amazing as well!)

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Spicy Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

I have an addiction. A full blown one at that. Three weeks ago I knew nothing about granola. I bought it maybe twice in my life, and most of the time I didn’t really like it so I would give it away. Then I saw this recipe on www.mynewroots.org for Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola and I just had to try it.  Sarah B (of My New Roots) includes all the reasons why you should be eating this granola but really, I just had to look at the pictures of it and I was sold.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth. A big one. I sometimes think that it’s a side effect of diabetes just to drive me crazy. I’ve been trying to cut down on my snacking on processed food and I thought this would make a great substitute. I tried it and I’ve been making it every week since. I’m still giving it away but this time it’s because I’ve found something so good that I can’t bear to keep it all to myself! I did make some changes to the original recipe (even though it is so good it didn’t need me to change a thing) because I like the combo of chocolate and spice.

Ingredients:
2 cups / 300g rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
1 cup / 200g buckwheat
1 ½ cups / 65g coconut flakes
1 cup /125g almonds
1 cup /125g mixed dried fruit (I used mulberries and cherries)
¼ cup / 30g chia seeds
½ tsp. coarse sea salt
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
cayenne pepper (use your judgement – I used a pinch or two)
¼ cup / 35g coconut sugar
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa powder (organic, fair-trade if possible)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°F.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, chia seeds, sea salt, dried fruit, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and coconut sugar. Roughly chop nuts and add them to the mix.
3. In a large pot over low-medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add honey or maple syrup, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth.
2. Pour dry ingredients into the pot with the liquid ingredients and fold to coat.  I like to do it on the stovetop on a very low heat to prevent the coconut oil from returning to solid
3. Spread mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and press firmly with the back of a spatula (or your clean hands) to ensure that the mixture is compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip granola in large chunks, and place back in oven to bake for another 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes until toasted and fragrant.  Your whole kitchen will smell like heaven.  Test a nut if you’re unsure of whether or not it is done – it should be lightly roasted.   (I have burned the edges on this at least twice but that’s my favourite part!)  I use this on everything – my morning chia pudding, my salad at lunch or dinner time (especially the toasted buckwheat) and then of course I eat it as a snack whenever I get a craving for something sweet.  Enjoy!

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