Using FreeStyle Libre: Partnering with Abbott to share more on #LivingFullyWithDiabetes
Getting healthier and taking care of overall well-being is something I always advocate. At the same time, we must take care of the underlying health conditions to live our best lives.
While I have diet, exercise, and sleep patterns sorted out (well, mostly) I need to take greater care when it comes to my glucose levels. So, I turned to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system to keep an eye on my glucose levels.
Wondering what CGM is? Read my blog post where I talk about Abbott’s Freestyle Libre, a sensor-based continuous glucose monitoring device that can track glucose levels continuously and also show a daily pattern of varying glucose levels through graphs and ranges.
Using the data from CGM
Since one’s health and well-being are directly proportional to their everyday habits, I make sure that using the insights I get from using Freestyle Libre, I am able to make the required changes in my lifestyle. On a daily basis, when I scan the sensor with the reader, I get a reading of my current glucose levels as well as glucose trends (8 hrs of glucose history) and arrows (whether glucose is rising or falling and how quickly).
Let me show you how I use this data to make changes in my diet and activity levels.
Impact of different foods on glucose levels
Recently, I decided to cut down on my meat intake. I am not on a vegan diet as I consume cheese, milk, and milk products but my diet is now primarily filled with vegetables. I also keep an eye on my glucose levels after I consume my favorite foods.
Here’s a snapshot of my glucose levels after having a tall glass of Peanut butter Oatmeal Smoothie.
Recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie:
- ¼ cup oats
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 banana
- ½ cup soy milk
- 1 tsp chia seeds, optional
- Add the ingredients to a blender.
- Blend for about 30 seconds until the smoothie is creamy and lump free.
- Pour into a glass and garnish with banana slices.
- Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
You may also add plain Greek yogurt, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, or more chia seeds for added protein. A touch of cinnamon, apples, and frozen berries will enhance the taste as well.
Read| Three smoothie recipes you must try that are nutrient-rich.
Eating out vs home-cooked meals
Instead of eating out regularly, I choose to cook at home, thereby, having control over what goes into my body. I’m much better equipped to make healthier choices because trust me, the amount of sodium, fat, and calories in restaurant meals is unbelievable. Having more home-cooked meals also forces me to plan and prep my meals in advance. I am, therefore, more inclined to eat a balanced diet.
Check out this video below to see how I have on the Freestyle Libre, a powerful tool that could track glucose trends 24 hours a day, without any hassle of blood tests or painful finger pricking. It tracks blood glucose levels not only in response to diet but you can see the impact in lifestyle behaviours including exercise and sleep.
After tracking my glucose levels for a few days, here are some changes I made in my diet:
- Before eating carbs, eat a salad with vegetables first.
- Complement your carbs with protein, fats, and fiber.
- If I crave a sweet dessert, I always eat it after my meal to avoid blood sugar spikes.
- Meals with higher protein and fats resulted in less sugar spike.
- My highest spike came after eating pizza
I got myself an expensive pedometer, basically a smartwatch to hold myself accountable for my active hours. I understand that the standard goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day. But for someone who hardly manages 3000, I decided to start small by aiming for 6000 and slowly increase the count as and when I can.
What did I find?
- There was a glucose spike whenever I worked out on an empty stomach.
- A small snack before a workout helped maintain the glucose levels.
I achieve my step count goals by doing the following:
- Going for a walk after every meal.
- Walking everywhere within a mile, be it running an errand, getting groceries from the nearby supermarket (unless it is a big one)
- Take my dog for a walk often which ensures that my pet stays healthy and fit too.
- Dedicate 30 minutes a day to organizing my home: be it doing the dishes, tidying up my workspace, or sweeping the bedroom floor.
- Add 10 minutes of daily stretching as it relieves aches and pains, lowers the risk of injuries, and increases blood flow to the muscles.
I believe that when you care for yourself, you’re better able to take care of others. Therefore, self-care is a priority. For this:
- I do something that’s just for me: take a bath, meditate, read a book, go for a solo walk, write in a journal, cook a meal for myself, or do anything else that makes me happy.
- Schedule a healthcare appointment.
- Keep an eye on stressors by jotting down things that uproot my calm every day.
I am a night owl. If I get an option to stay awake to complete a task, be it work, watch a Netflix rom-com, or read a book, I most definitely will do it at night. However, this had a direct impact on my physical and mental well-being as I found myself waking up tired more often and always stressed out.
What did I find?
- Irregular sleep patterns had a direct impact on sugar level spikes.
- Steady blood sugar resulted in much better sleep.
*Freestyle Libre Screenshots*
To get better sleep, I set up a wind-down routine.
- Avoid large meals a couple of hours before bed.
- Go for a walk with my furry friend just before hitting the bed.
- Create a sleep environment by switching off all electronic devices and changing up the lights and décor of the bedroom to feel more relaxed.
This CGM device is easy and convenient to use and I could monitor my glucose level trends and patterns regularly and pain-free. Now I also know which foods I should consume more to avoid fluctuations in my glucose levels and what habits I should continue to maintain my glucose levels.
Please share this blog post with your friends and family if you find it helpful. Do comment about what you think of the product or if you have any queries regarding it or my experience.
You too can take charge of your health and manage diabetes by opting for CGMS. If you’d like to find out how Freestyle Libre can help you, drop in a comment.