A Taste For Spice »

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ABOUT

*Picture: My handiCAT Traveler aka Bug, born with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (severe).

Hey-hey! I’m Jennifer from Los Angeles, CA now living in the greater Nashville, TN area. I have a soft spot for all animals especially handicap ones, a passion for helping others, giving, being creative, and indulging in all kinds of foods. I have quite a resume as far as education goes due to my quest for finding my purpose but at the end of the day, I’m a “Jenn Of All Trades.”

Initially I studied both Visual Arts and Biochemistry because I couldn’t decide between the two. At the time I wasn’t sure what I’d be most happy and successful with. While they were both strong interests, they never became that career everyone seems to look for to define themselves. I went to massage school specializing in Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, and Trigger Point. I practiced Neuromuscular Re-Education in addition to that. THEN, I got certified in Pilates and Yoga. I helped many people rehabilitate from injuries, helped prevent injuries, trained, even dabbled in training women in pole acrobatics. I was all over the place, on top of building websites and doing graphic design.

Suddenly I woke up one day and decided I needed to be more of an adult. I went back to school, medical school at Bastyr University studying Naturopathic Medicine. I was for sure this was my one passion I’d live for. Years later, while I was fortunate to build a business that was constantly growing super fast… I came to realize that doing one thing was just not a thing! Not a thing for me. I can only imagine what you’re thinking right now, I’m sure it’s along the lines of everything I’ve already established about myself, LOL!

After 17 years, I’ve come to the realization that your career and educational background does not define you. My biggest pet peeve quickly became the moment someone you meet for the first time asks “what do you do?” and of course the answer is always what you do for a living. That happens to be the basis of what you are to everyone you meet. BUT REALISTICALLY IT’S NOT!

All these years later I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t have to have one passion. We can have as many as we like and do whatever we want. I like having my hands into a variety of things and I’m never bored with that. I’m almost always a happy and certainly a silly person that also loves to cook. (Oh boy, here we go! ANOTHER thing to add to the list, does this chick even sleep?) Look, I totally believe that if we all had a few hobbies, it’d keep most people out of trouble and this world would be significantly a better place.

I love eating. I love cooking. I love feeding people. I love experiencing new food with others. Even helping people with cooking, along with all the nutritional benefits behind it. But lets face it, eating healthy 100% of the time is nearly impossible. Striving for such a rigid expectation leads to fall backs. So, living a life of moderation leaves the opportunity to be healthy and never deprived. You’ll find my variety of recipe options easily reflects that. Creating this food blog seemed to be the perfect platform for me to store my recipes all the while share them with friends, family, and anyone else in the world who loves to cook. I really do hope you enjoy them!

My Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) – Type 1.5 Diagnosis

I mean, is that even a thing? What the hell is this? I wasn’t taught this in school!

Diabetes always sounded like a life sentence to me and I’ve never been given a life sentence to anything! You mean my healthy living habits, never being over-weight, perfect cholesterol, great heart health, not sedentary life that I put conscious effort into isn’t good enough? You gotta be f*cking kidding me!

That, my friends was my initial thought process. And as I type this, it has only been an overwhelming 5 months since my diagnosis. Which means I’m still going through the many stages of acceptance, most of which are very dark, sad, resentful, angry, all of the above feelings that come and go. Apparently, this is normal. And so I have accepted that odd “normal” phase to happen and let it do it’s thang. But there’s an upside! Having to re-train my knowledge of what healthy eating is for ME as a type 1.5 diabetic isn’t necessarily easy, it’s a bitch but I feel a lot better as I’m adjusting and learning. So there’s that.

WHAT IS LADA/TYPE 1.5 DIABETES?

So it’s not Type 2. And it’s not entirely Type 1. So what the hell kind of Diabetes is this?! Like type 1, it’s an autoimmune disease. There’s no cure as of right now. LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) is adult onset typically after the age of 30. It’s also known to be slow progressing, hence “Latent.”

At some point, my pancreas will no longer produce insulin at all and then I will be a full blown insulin dependent type 1 diabetic. How long it takes for a person to go from point A to B varies from person to person. Right now, in my case I’m in the middle of what is called the “honeymoon phase” where my pancreas is still producing insulin, just not like a non-diabetic.

A significant change in dietary lifestyle makes a huge difference in LADA patients by keeping foods very low carbohydrate, high protein, high healthy fats, and fiber. These changes not only avoids super high spikes in blood sugar but it also preserves the Beta Cells that produce and store insulin. Over time beta cells are destroyed and can no longer be produced due to the autoimmune response that LADA is. If diagnosed as early as possible, there’s a greater chance in preserving those beta cells over a longer period of time, resulting in less insulin therapy.

Insulin is released in two phases. Phase one is insulin that has been stored in the pancreas and can be released immediately once you start eating and when blood glucose starts to rise. The phase two response is insulin that is made by the pancreas in response to rising blood glucose. The difference between the two is that the phase one response is immediate because the insulin is pre-made and stored, while the phase two response is slower but longer lasting.

My phase 1 insulin release is deteriorating, so within the first few hours of eating my sugars go up fairly high and typically peaks at 3-4 hours. It isn’t until then that my pancreas finally produce enough insulin to knock my sugar levels down, in some cases almost too low, it’s unpredictable. Where in a non-diabetic, this wouldn’t ever happen.

HOW IS THIS MANAGEABLE AND/OR TREATABLE?

I’m currently waiting for my first appointment with an Endocrinologist on December 21, 2017. A long wait it is. As I wait I’ve been doing gobs of research and joined a few LADA support groups that have been beyond helpful. Often times doctors don’t keep up to date on diabetic information, studies, research, etc. and therefore it helps to get info from a variety of the very people who live with the condition. It is much more thorough and some times passing the info down to an open minded doctor can be beneficial to him/her and their patients.

In the mean time, leading up to my appointment I’ve been testing my glucose levels regularly upon waking, before eating and after from 1-3hrs after. It’s not fun but the process has allowed me to see a pattern in which my body behaves to certain foods, and even moods/emotions.┬áIn addition, my dietary habits have been going through a transition from what was almost a Mediterranean Diet with a few indulgences here and there to eliminating pretty much all traditional pasta, grains, and anything processed of high carbs. Certain fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in carbohydrates have had to be either completely eliminated or eaten in small amounts. So far, I’ve had some exciting replacements so I don’t feel too left out in the culinary world and have started to share those recipes.

I’ll update this as more unfolds.