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Fitness, Top Tips

How to handle a hyper mid-workout

When our sugar levels spike during a workout it can be super confusing and we are left not knowing what to do. Here are my tips on preventing sugar spikes and how to correct it!

Why do hyper’s hit mid-workout?

why hyper's can hit mid-workout

One of the main reasons a hyper hits mid-workout is due to adrenaline.

Your body secretes adrenaline to increase your heart rate and increase oxygen delivery to working muscles. Adrenaline also increases glucose release into the blood so you have plenty of energy to workout.

Normally, small amounts of insulin would be secreted from the pancreas to ensure glucose can be used as energy. Of course people living with type 1 diabetes cannot do this, so we must adjust our prep.

The aim of the game is to find trends during exercise, e.g. when you spike, when you drop and what helps you to stay in range.

Don’t panic if you get it wrong, sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn. I used to get it wrong all the time and it would result in me having to stop my workout.

Prepping to workout

There are so many factors to consider when prepping to workout, some to consider are:

sleep - hypers during workout
  • The type of exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Insulin doses
  • How much you slept on the previous night
  • Recent alcohol consumption
  • Stage of menstrual cycle

In order to get your prep right, you have to record and learn how certain factors impact your sugar levels. For example, if I sleep less than 7 hours the night before weight training, I can expect my sugar levels to spike. I have noticed this time and time again, therefore I know my workout prep requires more insulin.

The menstrual cycle is a big factor for women to consider. Sugar levels tend to spike at certain stages, so it is a really good idea for women to track their sugar levels over a few months and apply what is noticed.

In summary, take a few weeks/months (as long as you need) to track how your sugar levels react to situations. You can then adjust your nutrition, training method and insulin dose to accommodate and keep your levels in range!

Correcting a hyper mid-workout

cardio - hyper's during workout

We need to be careful not to over correct here, the last thing we want is to drop into a hypo!

The type of workout I’m doing decides how I treat high sugars.

If I’m weight lifting I will inject a bigger correction dose (usually 1-2 units) and swap to cardio based exercise until my sugars come back down.

If I’m doing cardio and spike (this is pretty rare for me), I will inject a smaller dose (1/2- 1 unit) and continue with cardio.

When sugar levels spike above 13mmol/L I would recommend stopping your workout and continuing once your levels return to normal. This rarely happens to me, but if it does, I will calculate a correction dose and go for a slow walk. This is how I treat hyper’s normally.

If your sugar levels consistently spike while working out, you need to bring this up when you see your consultant. They will help you make a plan and can give you tips on how to calculate your insulin doses based on your sugar level data.

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Thank you for reading how to handle a hyper mid-workout! I hope you found this useful, be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to handle a hypo mid-workout! and my Simple guide to fitness with diabetes!

Recipes

Strawberry jam cake recipe

Here is my strawberry jam cake recipe which is perfect for Valentine’s day! This recipe is pretty high in sugar, but we all deserve a treat!

The macros are listed below and are based on 14 servings.

Macros:

Calories: 265
Carbohydrates: 24g
of which sugars: 13g
Fibre: 0g
Protein: 3.6g
Fat: 17g

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 150g margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp strawberry jam

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 300g cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

For the sponge:

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, line your loaf tin with baking paper and grease with margarine.

2. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, margarine and eggs. Mix until well combined.

3. Next, pour the cake mixture into the tin. With a tablespoon, make a line of jam in the middle of the mixture. While the cake bakes this will sink to the bottom 🙂

4. Next, bake for around 30-40 minuteskeep checking it until it is golden and bouncy.

For the cream cheese icing:

1. In a large mixing bowl add all of the icing ingredients. Mix with an electric whisk until combined.

strawberry cream cheese icing

2. I like to serve this on the side as it should be kept in the fridge. Keeping it separate also means you can warm the sponge before eating!

3. Serve up some warm sponge and top with chilled icing!

4. Next, enjoy! 🙂

strawberry jam cake

Thank you for reading my Strawberry jam cake recipe! Definitely give this one a go, it is delicious! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post be sure to check out Lemon and Almond loaf cake and Is ‘diabetic’ chocolate really healthier?

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Education on Diabetes

10 facts about Type 1 diabetes!

Here are 10 interesting facts about type 1 diabetes!

1. We can make around 180 health decisions every single day

This is a rough calculation, but people with t1d have to make a decision about everything!

Every activity requires us to make a decision on how to keep our levels balanced.

Put that into perspective – before eating, sleeping, training, going to work and so on, you have to consider diabetes first.

2. Diet is not the only thing that impacts sugar levels

Everything impacts sugar levels! Diet, activity level, hormones, sleep, emotions and so on.

Treating diabetes is not as simple as just injecting some insulin and getting on with it. Every dose of insulin has to be calculated carefully depending on that specific situation.

3. Burnout is very real

decisions - t1d facts

The fact that you never truly get a break from managing t1d makes mental and physical burnout very real.

Everyone living with diabetes will feel burnout, whether they are tired from low or high sugars, worrying about long term complications, or even just need some extra sleep.

If you know someone living with diabetes and they appear to be burnt out, offer them some help. Whether you can grab a snack for them, listen to their worries or help them access medication! – it can be very hard at times, so however you could help would be greatly appreciated.

4. People living with type 1 CAN eat chocolate!

Yes, we CAN eat chocolate, cake, sweets and everything similar.

chocolate - t1d facts

If people living with diabetes fancy a treat, we will use our insulin ratio and experience to figure out how much insulin we need.

The other important time we might need a sweet treat is during a hypo! So yes people living with diabetes absolutely can eat everything, with the correct planning!

5. Insulin therapy is not a cure for t1d

Insulin therapy is simply the best way to manage diabetes.

A ‘cure’ would be a treatment that gives individuals back the ability to produce insulin and to regulate sugar levels.

Unfortunately we currently do not have a cure, but researchers are working daily to help us!

6. T1d does not always start from early childhood

age of diagnosis - t1d facts

Interestingly, research shows that there are 2 age brackets where type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed.

  • Between 4-7 years
  • Between 10-14 years

Despite this, being diagnosed in later teenage years and even at any age is still possible.

T1d is widely known as the diabetes ‘people get from birth’, but developing it is much more common in the above age brackets!

7. We don’t know what triggers t1d

What we do know is type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means our own antibodies destroy the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

There are some theories as to why our own antibodies might start to attack our own cells, but it is an incredibly complex system. Hundreds, even thousands of factors may contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes.

8. Access to medication can be hard

expensive medication - t1d facts

Certain countries charge hundreds to access insulin and glucose monitoring systems. This can be catastrophic, resulting in individuals rationing insulin because they cannot afford it. This leads to many complications of diabetes, and even death.

This disease can be completely managed with the correct support, so you can only imagine the anxiety individuals feel across the world.

Even with the NHS in the UK, access can still be hard. This is due to budgeting issues and type 1’s often only getting a select amount of medication a month.

Don’t get me wrong, we are incredibly lucky to have the healthcare system, but global access to technology and medication has a very long way to go.

9. Diabetes tech is coming on leaps and bounds!

On the positive side, diabetes tech has come such a long way in the last 5 years.

With insulin pumps, FGM’s and CGM’s helping to provide more efficient glucose monitoring and diabetes control.

For people reading this who are currently using the Freestyle Libre 2 (I know, it has been life changing!) Abbott have the Freestyle Libre 3 launching in the coming months (which has even more advanced tech!) – It is smaller than series 1 and 2, and supposedly works more like a CGM, automatically sending updates to your phone.

Exciting times! 🙂

10. Everyone living with t1d across the globe are warriors!

Living with something that impacts your every move on a daily basis is something that should be looked up to. It should be appreciated and more widely understood.

To everyone reading who is living with type 1, keep going. I am proud of everything you have accomplished! I am only an email away if you ever need anything!

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Thank you for reading 10 facts about type 1 diabetes, I hope you found it interesting! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Myths vs truths about diabetes! and Confused about ‘types’ of diabetes? Here is your diabetes 101

Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

5 ways to handle high carb meals

Sometimes all we fancy is a nice burger and chips, but the anxiety of our sugar levels spiking stops us.

Here are my top 5 ways to handle high carb meals, so you can eat that cheat meal and stay in range!

1. Nail your insulin to carb ratio

Finding your insulin to carb ratio should be part of your consultation with your endocrinologist.

Insulin to cab ratio is essentially how many units of insulin you need per 10 grams of carbs. If you know this number, it makes it 10x easier to figure out how much insulin you need for each meal.

If you are unsure of your ratio, be sure to ask your consultant at your next appointment!

2. Pair it with protein and good fats

Having a balanced meal with carbs, protein and fat is essential. The presence of fat and protein slows down the digestion of carbs, slowing down the absorption of sugar. This really helps to keep sugar levels balanced post mealtime.

So ensure you are having a portion of protein – a palm sized portion of meat/fish/tofu, or 2-3 eggs for example.

Also ensure you are consuming good fats with your meals – by good fats I mean unsaturated fats. E.g. extra virgin olive oil, avocado, hummus, nuts, seeds etc.

3. Staying active is your bestie

walking - high carb meals

Another trick I like to use when eating higher carb is to walk post meal.

I like to go for a leisurely walk with my family/friends for around 30 minutes, or until my glucose comes back down into range. I will usually begin walking when my glucose goes above 9mmol/L with sharp rise (arrow pointing up on my FGM).

This not only keeps sugars balanced, but it is also a lovely routine to get into for socialising and for mental health!

4. Go for brown carbs

 brown rice- high carb meals

If you can, opt for brown or wholegrain carb sources. I know this is harder when eating out, so don’t sweat it if you can’t – it is fine to eat white carbs every now and then!

The reason I recommend brown carbs is because they contain higher amounts of fibre, protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients than white carbs.

Therefore, opting for brown for the most part of your diet is adding essential nutrients!

5. Give your insulin enough time to kick in

Another tip I have is to give your insulin enough time to kick in. This amount of time varies between individuals, but it is a tip that has helped me so much!

Before higher carb meals (for me that is 60g of carbs or more) I will inject about 20 minutes before eating. – This works wonders for me, if you want to try out this tip I recommend starting slowly to avoid hypo’s.

So start with injecting 10 minutes before eating, then increase or decrease this time if you spike afterwards. Set a timer straight after you administer the insulin so you know exactly when to eat!

Experiment and adjust this time until you find what suits you! – Using an FGM or CGM is especially helpful for this!

timer - high carb meal tips

Thank you for reading 5 ways to handle high carb meals, I hope you found this useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check 5 ways to improve digestion! and 5 Easy ways to lower your HbA1c!

Education on Diabetes

Oxidative Stress 101

Oxidative stress is an extremely interesting subject that is linked to many diseases including diabetes and complications of diabetes.

Keep reading for a simple summary of everything you need to know about oxidative stress!

What is it?

what is oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is defined by the balance of antioxidants and free radical particles in the body.

Free radicals have a uneven number of electrons and require antioxidants to ‘neutralise’ them.

Therefore, we must consume antioxidant rich foods in order to help the body clear free radicals.

A point to note – we cannot completely stop the formation of these particles. Free radical production is part of many processes in the body, including detoxification in the liver.It is all about balance!

How does it impact the body?

When we do not have enough antioxidants in the body, free radicals begin to cause damage. This can contribute to the beginning of diseases in the body.

It can be linked to:

  • Diabetes and complications of diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis (plaque formation in blood vessels)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Parkinsons and Alzheimers

How to minimise it

cleaning products - oxidative stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Get antioxidants in your diet!fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants. Ensure you are consuming around 7 portions a day. Also drink herbal teas such as green tea which contains lots of antioxidants!
  • Prioritise 7-9 hours of sleep a night – the sleep hormone melatonin also acts as an antioxidant.
  • Wear PPE when using cleaning chemicals – wear gloves, open a window and even wear a mask.
  • Make exercise a part of your routine – exercise is fantastic for all aspects of health, so make it a priority (even if you can only fit 20 minutes in a day!)

Thank you for reading Oxidative Stress 101, I hope you found this interesting! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Metabolic syndrome 101! and Diabulimia 101!

Recipes

Delicious recipes for curry night!

We all love a curry night! So here are some of my favourite dishes that are delicious, fresh and healthy.

Serves 2

Macros: (for half of the chicken, potatoes and Brinjal Bhaji)

Calories: 505
Carbohydrates: 47g
of which sugars: 12g
Fibre: 14g
Protein: 41g
Fat: 17g

Ingredients:

Tandoori chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Tandoori masala seasoning mix
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • Salt and black pepper

Brinjal Bhaji:

  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 green chilli
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli

Curry Potatoes:

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 80g cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and black pepper

Method:

Tandoori Chicken

1. Cut the chicken into chunks and place in a frying pan. Mix all of the seasonings in a bowl, add it into the pan, and coat the chicken in this seasoning mix.

Tandoori chicken - curry night

2. Add some olive oil in the frying pan and cook the chicken.

3. Once the chicken is cooked, serve it and drizzle with lemon juice.

4. Next, enjoy! 🙂

Brinjal Bhaji

1. Finely chop the aubergine, courgette, onion, garlic and chilli.

2. Next, heat some olive oil in a saucepan and fry off the aubergine, onion, garlic and chilli. Add the courgette along with the seasonings, tomato puree and a dash of water.

brinjal bhaji - curry night

3. Lower the heat and allow this to simmer for around 20 minutes. Keep adding dashes of water to soften the aubergine.

4. Next, enjoy! 🙂

Curry Potatoes

1.Preheat your oven to 180

2. Chop the potatoes and cauliflower into chunks and spread on a baking tray.

3. Next, coat the potato and cauliflower with all of the seasonings and drizzle with olive oil.

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and crispy. Check them at around 20 minutes, giving the tray a shake. – I also added red pepper with 10 minutes left to add some extra veg to the dish!

curry potato and cauliflower - curry night

5. Next, enjoy! 🙂

Thank you for reading my curry night recipes, enjoy! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Peri-Peri chicken recipe and How to lower your cholesterol!

tandoori chicken - curry night
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Top Tips

The New Year’s Resolution ‘hype’

2022 has just begun, which means all of the ‘new year, new me’ propaganda is being thrown in everyone’s face.

Please remember

New Year's resolution

Don’t get me wrong, setting new goals and making positive lifestyle changes is vital! This is all part of growing and developing, but sometimes the whole hype around having to set a year’s resolution can be toxic and unsustainable.

So please don’t get dragged into this. Some red flags to look out for include people or posts making claims like ‘how to lose X amount of weight in 2 weeks’.

Remember it does not have to be a new week, month or year in order to make a positive change.

A summary on how to make sustainable changes

  • Make a list or mind map of goals you would like to accomplish (short and long term)
  • Pick your top 3 MOST important goals
Goal setting - new year's resolution
  • Make them realistic and specific – I.e. breaking long term goals into smaller tasks.
  • Find motivation, and more importantly discipline – ask yourself why you set this goal? This is why you get up everyday and complete a small task in order to reach that important goal!
  • Remember to look after your mental health. Prioritise tasks that you enjoy, self-care is productive and is an essential part of getting to where you want to be.
  • Embrace your emotions – if you’ve had a bad day, it is what it is! Take a few hours or even days off, let your emotions out, then get back to it!

For more info, check out How to set sustainable goals for yourself!

Thank you for reading The New Year’s Resolution ‘hype’, I wish you a very happy new year! I hope you found this post useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out 5 foods packed with hidden sugars! and Jack Iredale on managing type 1, while playing professional football!

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Top Tips

Merry Christmas from Defying Diabetes!

merry Christmas

This is just a quick Merry Christmas from us and a massive thank you to all of the amazing Defying Diabetes readers!

I’ll keep this post short, but here are a couple of things to do to get the most out of your Christmas.

  1. Stay hydrated
  2. Go for a walk with your family
  3. Tell your loved ones you love them
  4. Play a game!
  5. And eat lots of amazing food and drink!
Merry Christmas from Defying Diabetes

Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Christmas Turkey Curry Recipe! and Delicious Banana Brownie Recipe!

Recipes

3 must make Christmas canapés!

Here are my top 3 must make Christmas canapés! They are absolutely delicious, easy to make and perfect to show off at your Christmas party!

These recipes will make canapés for 3-4 people.

Chicken Swizzlers

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breasts
  • Mini wooden skewers
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Small bunch coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 small garlic clove

Method:

1.Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Next, cut the chicken breast into small strips and pierce with small wooden skewers.

2. Next, add all of the peanut sauce ingredients into a blender. Blend until combined.

3. Drizzle 1/4-1/2 of the sauce over the chicken swizzlers, save the rest for a dipping sauce!

4. Next, cook the chicken swizzlers for around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t over cook and dry out.

5. Finally, dip them in some peanut sauce and enjoy! 🙂

Smoked Salmon Blini

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice smoked salmon
  • Gem lettuce
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 60g plain gluten free flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 150ml milk
  • Butter or oil for cooking

Method:

1.Add the flour, egg and milk into a bowl and combine with an electric whisk. If the mixture if too thick you can add some more milk to loosen the mix.

2. Next, melt the butter or oil in the frying pan and cook the blinis. I usually aim for the size of a 5.6cm pastry cutter.

3. Once your blini’s are cooked, top with crunchy iceberg lettuce, a slice of smoked salmon and a crack of black pepper. Just before serving squeeze over fresh lemon juice.

4. Next, enjoy! 🙂

Smoked salmon blini - Christmas canapés

Vegetable Tempura

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 broccoli
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 large egg
  • 80g plain or brown rice flour
  • 180ml chilled sparkling water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • Soy sauce for serving

Method:

1.Cut your veggies into medium sized chunks. Next, fill a saucepan with olive oil for shallow frying (about an inch deep). Turn the hob on to a medium heat, and begin warming the oil.

2. Crack your egg in a large mixing bowl, add the sparkling water and whisk until combined.

3. Next, add the flour, salt, pepper and continue to whisk until combined.

4. Now the batter is ready, dip each piece of veg in it and place it straight into the pan.

5. Repeat until all of the veg is coated and cooked.

6. Next, dip them in some soy sauce and enjoy! 🙂

vegetable tempura - Christmas canapés

Thank you for reading my 3 must-make Christmas canapés! Make sure you give these a try, they are all delicious! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my homemade mince pies and Christmas Turkey Curry Recipe!

brown acorn near clear long stem wine glass
gingerbread man near coffee mug
Top Tips

Christmas activity ideas!

This weeks post is a little different, I want to focus on mental health and general wellbeing. Christmas is such a lovely time of year, it often passes by so quickly, leaving us thinking we should have been more festive!

So I’m going to share some fun Christmas activity ideas you can do with your family and friends to make the most of the festive season!

1. Create a Christmas movie list

This is something I love to do every year with my family! There is nothing better than snuggling up with a blanket, a hot drink and watching a great movie!

Making a list also gets you super excited, here are some ideas for your Christmas movie list:

home alone
  • Elf
  • Home alone 1 & 2
  • The Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2 (Netflix)
  • The Grinch (2018)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • Love Actually
  • Gremlins

2. Go to a Christmas Market

Christmas markets are absolutely beautiful, there is so much to enjoy including:

Christmas market - Christmas activities
  • Christmas lights
  • Traditional food and drinks
  • Gift buying
  • Decoration Inspo and buying
  • Ice skating
  • Meeting Santa with little ones

You can also find some amazing gifts to support small local businesses.

The majority of Christmas markets are outdoors which is great for COVID. Being outdoors helps to decrease the spread of the virus, so if you are worried about COVID, this might be a good activity to choose!

3. Get baking!

I absolutely love baking, especially during the Christmas season! So grab a family member, or a friend and get in the kitchen!

Here are some ideas!:

4. Host a Christmas cocktail competition

Obviously this one is more for adults, I usually split everyone into teams of two (you can do it individually!) and every team has to come up with and make a cocktail.

After trying every cocktail, each team votes which one is the best. It can get quite competitive, but I think it’s great fun!

Some other Christmas activity ideas:

gingerbread house - Christmas activities
  • Complete a Christmas puzzel
  • Build a gingerbread house
  • Make mulled wine
  • Play secret Santa
  • Make your own decorations
  • Christmas photoshoot

Thank you for reading The best Christmas activities! I hope you enjoyed this post and got some great ideas! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to stay on track this Christmas! and Is ‘diabetic’ chocolate really healthier?