Tough it is; however, my alternative is tougher row to hoe.

by | Jan 1, 2017 | 0 comments

In 2016 we encouraged all of our staff at Pederson’s Natural Farms to join us in a Whole 30 Challenge. Their participation was not mandatory. The challenge would only last for 30 days, but we wanted them to come away with a healthier approach to cooking and eating. We had the participating staff chronicle their Whole30 journey and this is one that stuck out that I wanted to share. 

Meet Elias Gutierrz, he works in the maintenance department at Pederson’s Natural Farms. This is his Whole 30 story. 

Week One

First week behind me in my Whole30 Journey and it’s been a great personal success. I feel better physically and emotionally. Tough it is; however, my alternative is a tougher row to hoe.

Last year I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. That’s a tough one. If you know me, you know I love to eat. Diabetes and what I like or liked to eat don’t go together. So, when I say my alternative is a tougher row to hoe, Whole30 isn’t that big a challenge.

First off, why me? No one else in my family has diabetes, so why me. Well, diabetes doesn’t care about who, why or when. Diabetes only cares about my lifestyle and how I eat.

It has been a struggle. Not only is it a pain, it’s just inconvenient. So anything that makes it easier is great.

I’m sitting in Pederson’s break room before New Year’s and several people are talking about this Whole30 deal. A couple of people are acting excited about. It sounds hard, but it’s not as hard as diabetes, so I decide I’m in. I’m tired of feeling bad and I am tired of trying to find good stuff to eat. I actually started scaling back and correcting my diet the week before New Year’s. So on New Year’s day, I am ready.

Really, the hardest part of this challenge is going to be the blog, I don’t know how to blog. So, my Whole30 team is helping me BLOG.

Being in a small town (Gustine,Texas), it’s more than a little bit difficult to find food that fits Whole30. All of the Pederson’s crew on Whole30 has been sharing ideas and then if you can’t find the right stuff or I don’t have time: I find out Freida’s Sweets and Meats is going to do Whole30 for January. So, finding the food part isn’t as hard as we thought it would be. Check out my Facebook posts, I love chicharrons! Also, if you eat really good quality food that meets Whole30 requirements, I get satisfied.

Did I mention I like to eat! I really like good food. It’s not what I used to eat, but I really like what I am eating.

Did I mention that there are things allowed on Whole30 that are not allowed in a diabetics diet, makes it even harder! I’m on the Whole30D Program.

So, here’s the deal! I feel better already. My old ways of eating were making me sick. I feel better and a couple of people notice and said I look better. I am already able to see differences in my medication; I need less medication to regulate my blood sugar. I was really kicking a can over this medication thing; who knows, if I eat Whole30 I may not need medication long-term. I am having to monitor my blood sugar to make sure it doesn’t fall too low, so something is happening or something is working for me.

Did I mention I finally feel like hitting the gym, starting tonight!

Week Two

Two weeks down and two more to go!

I was just telling Neil Dudley this isn’t so hard.  Although, I really am missing dairy and a cheeseburger still looks really attractive.  But, I have stuck to this challenge and I am going to see it through the full 30 days and then some!

Then I remember 3 weeks ago when I was in a bind with my blood sugar.  Remember, I’m type 1 diabetic; if you want a challenge, try dealing with diabetes.  It’s really hard for me because I really am in love with food.  I can be having a really bad day and a good meal perks me up every time.  Unfortunately, my old diet resulted in huge and unmanageable spikes in my blood sugar.

I started on the Whole30 a few days before January 18, 2016; it’s been at least 22 days for me.  I have actually started using less and less insulin through my pump and I am having to make a real effort to keep my blood sugar high enough in the morning.  So, when I think about that cheese burger vs. having a spike in blood sugar,,,, it’s a pretty easy decision to make.  My goal is to remain on a Whole 30 inspired diet and get off my insulin pump altogether.  I have heard about people being able to do this and I know I can get there.

Week two, I feel really good.  I haven’t felt this good in a long time.  Two weeks ago, I would wake up in the morning and feel sluggish and overall had a really “down” feeling.  I have more energy now.  Two weeks ago, I felt like I had shut the door and left my ass on the other side of the door.  That’s just not me!  I am normally in a great mood, feel good and like to work hard.  Two weeks ago, my ass was dragging.  Now I have energy.  It’s not just energy to do stuff, my mind is more focused.  I was really having problems with being distracted and would just forget stuff,,, important stuff.  Not only am I sharper minded, I feel better about myself.  

I am convinced it’s getting all the sugar and all the things with hidden sugar out of my life.  It’s made a big impact on my overall life so far.  

So like a lot of things in life, it’s a trade-off.  I might not get to eat cheeseburgers, dang.  I have heard I might be able to start eating some of the things not allowed in this Whole30 Challenge after the 30 days.  I am not like most of the rest of the people on the challenge.  I have to monitor my blood sugar all day.  I know exactly what a cheese burger does, or a glass of milk or a pile of cheese.  You aren’t supposed to get on a scale to weigh during these 30 days; however, I have to measure the blood sugar all the time.  I really think if I change to a Whole30 lifestyle all the time, I will be medicine free in 2016.  

Week Three

Three weeks down, one more to go!

That Cheese Burger is still on my mind!  Not touching one, but it’s still on my mind.

Got to see my first blog post in Week 3, all the comments made me proud of myself and it makes me so thankful for all of the support that my family and friends have been giving me.  My wife’s FB comment inspires me to continue on Whole30 reset and on a more healthy life.

I really battled low blood sugar last week.  Normally, type 1 diabetics battle with high blood pressure.  Since taking the Whole30 challenge, I have gone from very high blood sugar, to normal blood sugar and now having a challenge to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  When my blood sugar gets too low I have zero energy, my vision is impaired and I feel sick.  I had such a hard time keeping my blood sugar from climbing to a really high level, I got an insulin pump.  The insulin pump has helped keep my blood sugar “more” normal, but it’s a pain to have the pump in my pocket or attached to me 24/7.  I don’t like it much at all.  So, now I am eating really healthy and watching what spices I eat and the pump isn’t adjusting for my more nutritious life.  So, it’s tanking my blood sugar,,, especially in the morning when I wake up.  I have a visit with the doctor this week and hopefully this solves this problem.

Type 1 diabetes: a chronic condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin on its own.  You have to have insulin so your body can use sugar for energy.  Without enough insulin, your blood carries all the sugar and your cells can’t use it.  There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, only management of it.  It’s like a sugar dragon on steroids.  Untreated or unmanaged = risk of heart attack or stroke, nerve damage in legs and feet, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage and skin problems.  Guess what, I have had the onset of some of these issues and I want all of this to stop now!

I say all this not for sympathy or for attention.  Being a Type 1 Diabetic is a pain in the rear!  I am telling this story for two reasons: 1/  Whole30 seems to be working for me and more importantly 2/ I want to set an example for other diabetics or potential diabetics.  Take care of yourself now and don’t go through what I am experiencing with Diabetes,,, it’s like a ball and chain to me.

With that said, my objective after the Whole 30, 30 day reset is to stay on the Whole30 program.  Why wouldn’t I, it’s the only thing I have seen consistent results with since being diagnosed with the diabetes.  Feeling better, being more focused, losing weight are all benefits that I want; however, my #1 inspiration is to get rid of this PUMP.   

Whole30 gives me a real chance of meeting this goal for 2016.

Week Four

Challenge finished and Whole30 goes on!

That Cheese Burger gets less and less important every day.

Health is something we/I always took for granted.  I guess you take it for granted until the doctor tells you something is really wrong

This is what happened to me in December 2015.  I had to make a change.  Sitting in the break room at Pederson’s Natural Farms; people were talking about the Whole30 program.  This was talked about right at the time I really needed something to boost me into changing the way I eat.  I was trying to adjust my diet on my own and it wasn’t really working and the food was boring.  I got a chance to eat really good food in January and it taught me a diet doesn’t always mean bland, bad tasting diet food.  I like to cook and it’s made me a better planner and a better cook for myself.  

Overall, I just feel much better after the 30 day reset.  I can’t afford to back up, so the reset is going to have to keep going for me.  I am still having problems with my blood sugar, but not like a month ago.  For me, It’s not just that I feel better and that I think sharper after a month.  Remember, I have the Type 1, ball and chain, insulin pump attached to me 24/7.  That pump constantly monitors my blood sugar and infuses insulin based on my blood sugar use and based on my past insulin usage.  So, I can go to the clinic and they download a graph that shows me exactly where I stand on blood sugar over time.  In November and December (Pre-Whole30), I was using a lot of insulin and my blood sugar was all over the place.  High one day, low the next morning,,,,, like a roller coaster.  Life is hard on an insulin roller coaster.  Since I started the Whole30 reset, the spikes in blood sugar are calming down or there just aren’t the extremes from high to low.  I actually started having problems with my blood sugar being too low and had to have my pump reprogramed to account for my improved nutrition.  I think I surprised the ladies at the clinic and I know I have surprised myself.   As of February 1, 2016, “MY GRAPH” for blood sugar is falling off like a cliff (almost strait down).

I spent all day at another doctor February 1, 2016 about inflamed nerves.  This is a typical symptom of type 1 diabetes.  My nerve endings become inflamed in my back and especially in my feet.  I know a month ago, it was so bad I had a hard time getting moving in the mornings.  I got the riot act read to me yesterday about how much I would hurt, how it’s not really reversible and I was given a stack of prescriptions.  I know I don’t hurt like a month ago and I think Whole30 may be helping with this too.  

My house looks like a pharmacy with all the prescriptions I have been given to deal with diabetes.  It’s too early to tell at this point; however, I know I am making more progress than I was before Whole30.  I can’t afford to stop.  I want to eat some junky food, but I don’t want to back up my health.  And, when I say I can’t afford to stop,, all the insulin and all the prescriptions cost a lot of money,,, even with insurance.  

I’m always really optimistic and Whole30 has given me back my personality and hopefully my health with little or no medications by the end of 2016.  A lofty goal, but I know I can do this!