Got Those Low-down, Fatty-Food-Eatin, No-Carb-Countin’, High-Blood-Glucose Blues

It’s going to be a low-fat, low-carb day. I feel like crap. No, I’m not sick: My blood glucose (BGs) have been high since yesterday, and it’s all my doing.

I woke up yesterday (Sunday) morning with a reading of 82 mg/dl. Perfect! I then proceeded to ruin it.


First of all, I teach religious school. In fact, I’m the religious school director. And, since we’d just observed Tu B’Shvat, which is the birthday of the trees, we had a special service at which different foods that grow in Israel are traditionally eaten. And I neglected to check the carbohydrate content of those delicious dates, figs, wheat-and-barley muffins, and so on, so I “guesstimated.” And not very well, I might add.

As I jokingly told the leader after the Tu B’Shvat seder (service): “That was a great seder! My tummy’s full and my sugar is sky-high!”

And, later that day, there was some football game going on that I was obligated to watch. (It happens that I live in Colts Country.) We stayed at home and kept the game repast simple: just chili, and not even with beer. But, when I do make chili, I have a tendency to make it very thick and to use it as a dip with taco chips.

Now, my husband had visited the manufacturing facility of a well-known salty snack food company on Friday and came back with a carton full of goodies, including my favorite type of taco chips. Nice, fresh taco chips. It made me wonder how long those things sit around in bags before they get to the grocery store. Not only did I fail to weigh my chili, I didn’t bother to count my chips, either. Again, I guesstimated.

So I exacerbated the BG problem. I didn’t go below 200 all day yesterday. Or all of last night, according to my continuous glucose monitor.

Additional insulin didn’t seem to be helping at all, so I put in a new infusion set to see if that made a difference. Protocol for people who use an insulin pump is to take an injection of insulin if blood glucose is high after a couple of checks, but I also figured that if I wasn’t getting the bolus insulin I programmed, I wasn’t getting the basal insulin that is infused automatically, either. Besides, I wasn’t dangerously high—just uncomfortably so.

Exercise is another option, and I may climb onto my stationary bicycle as soon as I get up the energy. Exercise helps to sensitize your body to insulin and is a good way to help get your blood glucose down. Frankly, I’d rather ride a real bicycle—riding a stationary bike is boring, it doesn’t go anywhere—but the temperature is below zero here, even without the windchill factor.

While it might have been better to eat more wisely on Sunday, my psyche needs a “human” day once in awhile. I don’t like being stuffed into a box all tied up with a bow and labeled “diabetes.” One of the highlights of my diabetes self-management education was when the dietitian taught me how to control my BGs while eating what I chose to eat instead of giving me a long list of “no-nos.”

As I’ve said before, I usually eat healthy and I’m pretty good about calculating carbohydrates and matching my insulin intake to that. But once in a while I…don’t. And I know that, the following day, I need to get back to the routine.

It’s now later in the day and my BGs are down to 106. Putting in a new infusion set was the trick to finally bringing me down.

But I still don’t think I’ll dip into that leftover chili.

  • Jan Chait

    B, I very rarely do a complete changeout at the same time, so I suspect that, in this case, I had inadvertently left the set in a tad too long. Maybe I need to write the day I put a new set in on my tummy. My friend Barbara, who’s an MS, RN, CDE, and does pump training, suggests some other reasons to change your set:
    -A new site can result in better insulin absorption.
    -There can be unknown particulate matter at end or inside end of tubing, causing a blockage or impedance of insulin delivery.
    -The set may be in scar tissue, or there can be edema or inflammation at old site.
    -“Fresh” insulin may work better.
    -Any, or all, of the above.

    If I recall correctly, if your blood glucose doesn’t come down after two boluses, do an injection and change your site. You have to be especially careful when you’re pumping, because you don’t have any long-acting insulin in you. It’s very important that delivery remain uninterrupted except for short periods (like bathing and such).

  • B.

    Why did you decide to change your infusion set? I am new to the pump and don’t understand. If you were giving yourself Bolus why do you think it wasn’t working?

  • Ephrenia

    I don’t have a problem when I eat chili. I would if I ate it with corn-based tortilla chips (which I really used to love!). Now I make my own chips. I take low carb tortillas and cut into chip shapes. I crisp them in the microwave, usually.

    I’m from Texas, I’d die without chili. LOL.

    You do have to watch canned chili. They add a lot of carby fillers. I’ve found that the ChiChi’s Beef Taco filling works great as a low carb chili. Comes in the cooler section. About 1/3 of the tub makes a decent serving and is under 10 net carbs. Add a little cheese and my own chips and I’m still under my carb limit.

  • seeksbliss

    Speaking of eating what you like instead of being told everything is a no-no, please take a look at a book called, “The Insulin Resistance Diet” by Hart & Grossman. It changed my life and even on the days when I didn’t eat what I should. The levels don’t rise nearly as much as they used to and my cravings are so much better now. I lost 45 pounds in five months, when nothing else worked. This isn’t a “diet” to me, it’s a “different” way of combining foods I like.

  • Marlene Schenter

    Living with diabetes for 58 years does have its ups and downs. It is great reading of others day to day dilemmas. I just wrote a book that talks about the same scenerio you mentioned. It is nice knowing that others experience what I have.

  • Sharon

    Dear Jan,

    I TOTALLY understand! I know I’m a little late in responding, but I just decided to click on your story today. I put myself on a modified Atkins diet on Feb. 14th of all days! So, here I sit at the diningroom table eating a sugar-free, low carb popsicle while my husband & granddad eat Black Forest cake that I baked! I had terrible jitters holding myself back from licking the bowl of freshly mixed fudge chocolate cake! My sugars are great though and I really seem to strive for that. When I used to eat the taquito chips & other stuff like that, I could not help myself (or I did help myself) & was sorry to see the sugary results!

    Thanks for showing the human side to diabetes. I’m going to stick w/Atkins for now and just monitor my sugars until my next doctor’s visit next month.