The stigma that comes with diabetics who choose to eat “normal” is sometimes quite high. And if I’m honest, I truly don’t believe a high carb lifestyle works for most diabetics. A very high attention to detail is required to eat whatever and stay in range. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but a lot of dedication is needed. I certainly know high carb does NOT work for me. But who am I to say what works for you?
That’s why I’ve been showcasing the different approaches that rock star type 1’s manage. Click either image below to see how each manages a low carb or high carb lifestyle. And continue reading for Raffael’s high carb approach!
Please share your name, a bit about yourself, your recent A1Cs, and your general approach to a high carb lifestyle.
Hi! My name is Raffael and I have been a diabetic for a little under 2 years now. I am a graphic designer from Australia, Queensland. My current a1c is 5.2 and previous 3 a1c’s have been 5.4mmol, 5.2mmol and 5.5mmol. I’ve never considered living a low carb lifestyle as I enjoy eating carbs way to much! When I’m not at work, I’m cooking up a storm in the kitchen! Food has always been a passion of mine and pizza is my favourite thing to make. I don’t particularly have any approach to living a high carb lifestyle as I have always lived this way and to be completely honest, I don’t carb count or weigh my food at all. I feel like I understand my body and my food enough to be able to look at my plate and know exactly how much insulin I’ll need and 99% of the time I’m correct. With eating a lot of carbs people assume that I get huge spikes, this is completely incorrect, in fact, my blood sugars rarely ever go into the double digits. Some people also may argue that I am still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ but I also completely disagree with this.
Have you always eaten high carb? What other perspectives can you share that led you to eat high carb?
Pre and post diabetes diagnosis I have always eaten a high carb diet. Growing up I was an extremely fit person doing triathlons, swimming, surfing and cycling, so eating a lot of carbs was important to keep my energy up and I think that desire for high carbs has always stayed with me, even though I’m not doing all those activities anymore.
On average, how many carbs do you consume per day?
On an average day I do consume quite a lot of carbs. My weekday breakfast usually consists of 2x poached eggs on toast (39×2 = approx 80g) and a coffee with full cream milk (20g). For my lunch I’ll usually eat a chickpea, beetroot and feta salad (approx 30g) and I’ll have a few bliss balls that I make myself (10g) OR I’ll eat dinner left over from the night before. My dinner’s usually consists of pasta, quiche lorraine, falafels or rice and veggie bowl, I’ll eat approximately 150grams of carbs per day. As stated I don’t keep track or particularly count carbs so these are just an approximation.
On the weekend I eat out a lot at different restaurants and cafes. When I go out to eat I prefer to eat things like pizza, pasta, arancini balls and bruschetta – all the carbs! (Can you tell Italian is my favourite cuisine?)
What is your approach? Do you eat EVERYTHING, do you focus on certain foods, exercise, etc?
I tend to eat anything I want. I don’t drink soft drinks, cocktails or any other sugary drinks as they tend to spike me and there are a handful of fruits I don’t eat. I think eating in routine helps me to maintain my levels as I know the exact amount of insulin I need and know how it will react with my body, I also like to eat at the same time every day. I personally think exercising daily and being in routine allows me eat whatever I want. My daily exercise routine consists of a combination of weights and cardio. If I’ve had a super busy day and don’t feel like exercising much I always make sure I get a little cardio in, which usually means skipping or walking.
One of the biggest issues with eating high carb, in my opinion, is the fluctuation of high blood sugars after a meal. How do you mitigate your blood sugar from spiking after consuming a high carb meal?
As previously stated, I rarely ever get spikes with eating high carbs, I know some people may not think this is normal but it really does depend on the individual, just because I can eat an entire pizza without a spike doesn’t mean the next person may. When I’m eating at home I like to bolus 15 minutes before eating however doing this at restaurant can be quite difficult. When I eat straight away without waiting that 15 minutes, I always give myself an extra unit of insulin to balance out the food and insulin, this method works a treat for me.
How often do you have low blood sugars? Just like above, using so much insulin at one time brings a lot more into the playing field, ie: high blood sugars followed by low blood sugars.
I don’t often get low blood sugars and if I do it’s a very quick fix. When I do get low blood sugars it’s usually doing too much cardio in the morning, without enough carbs in me to sustain myself. My insulin sensitivity is quite high so if I am low 2 jelly beans is usually enough to get my out of a hypo. I never over treat my hypos either, I don’t get into that state of panic and over eat because I know only a small amount of sugar is all I need to bring myself back up. I don’t experience a hypo if I give myself too much insulin at the one time when eating a high carb meal.
Here’s a big round of applause for Raffael! Thank you for sharing how you manage your high carb lifestyle with diabetes. It’s so important that we learn from each other and hear new perspectives. But remember, what works for you may not work for others! Don’t forget to read Micha’s high carb and Abby’s low carb lifestyle.
Also, post your questions here so that Raffael can see and answer them! If you’re wondering about something, more than likely someone else is too.
P.S. Raffael is not a medical professional, neither am I. This is her personal experience and is not meant to be taken as medical advice.