Friday, June 9, 2017

How Being Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Improved My Entire Life!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

If you’re reading this story in the hope of seeing drastic before and after photos, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed (unless of course I could wear my body inside-out, in which case the transformation would be pretty damn impressive!), but rather my story is about completely changing my life in every single aspect to become the healthiest and happiest version of myself.

Here we go…


I better start by introducing myself. My name is Drew Harrisburg, and I’m 28 years young. I’m from the beautiful Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. Ever since I was a young kid I’ve been intrigued with the human body, as well as had a keen interest in science and nutrition. My love for all of those topics is what sent me on the path to becoming a qualified health professional. By the age of 22, I had earned my title as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, and I was on my way to opening my own private practice.

I’ve always been a very active and sporty guy, but that didn’t mean I was holistically healthy. I used to exercise for mostly aesthetic purposes. Put simply—I wanted to look like the guys on the cover of the fitness magazines. I used to eat a diet fairly high in refined carbohydrates with most of them coming from packets of gluten-containing grains. I was a ‘glutaminated’ from inside-out (yes, I made up that word). I thought I was doing everything right because I was following the conventional wisdom of healthy eating guided by the old food pyramid.

When I was 23 years old I started noticing some pretty serious changes happening. Over the space of about 6 months I lost 13 kgs (29 lbs). I withered away from an athletic and muscular 82 kg (181 lbs) physique into a 68 kg (150 lbs) stringy ectomorph. To say I was constantly tired would be a vast understatement – I was absolutely exhausted! I often fell asleep whilst driving my car. I remember one time having to pull over and sleep on the side of the road despite being only 10 minutes away from my house. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open no matter how hard I slapped myself, pinched myself, or yelled at myself. I even fell asleep in a job interview face-to-face with the head of the company, despite sticking a pen into my thigh under the table.

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My strength was deteriorating in the gym. My muscle mass was melting away. I was hungry, thirsty, and frequently waking up in the night to urinate multiple times and drink from the tap. In hindsight, the signs and symptoms were very apparent, but when diabetes isn’t on your radar it’s impossible to know. I knew something was wrong, so I asked my parents (who are both doctors) to send me for a blood test. My results came back indicating that my Hba1c was very slightly elevated, but my auto-immune antibodies were through the roof! I was told there was a chance I’d develop type 1 diabetes at some stage in the future. The doctor at the medical centre pulled out a blood glucose monitor to teach me how to operate the device. The plan was to take it home and test my levels regularly to monitor tends and patterns in case I were to develop diabetes one day. As she took my very first reading the number on the device popped up as 16 mmol/L (over 3x the normal range) We thought it was a mistake and re-tested. It wasn’t.

The day I was diagnosed with diabetes was without a doubt the most difficult day of my life. I fought back tears in front of my parents as they sobbed for what felt like an eternity, just so I could show them that I was brave and that everything would be ok. The first time I really understood the meaning of the phrase “the world caved in” was when I saw it with my own two eyes. For a brief moment I honestly thought that life was over. I thought it would never be the same. It even felt a bit like a death sentence. It was a dark period of time around my diagnosis—but it didn’t last long. After the grieving process wore off and I came out of the post-diagnosis depression, I truly turned my life around. I even wrote a letter to my diabetes, as if it were a person, to help me voice my feelings. I strongly encourage anyone with a chronic condition to do the same. It’s a very freeing exercise. You can read my letter here.

I immediately began looking for solutions. Thankfully, after doing some Google searching (I think I typed into Google: ‘the best health website in the world’), I came across Mark’s Daily Apple. I read success story after success story until there were none left. I started reading all of Mark’s articles and found myself deep down a rabbit hole of life-changing information. When I finally resurfaced, I was a paleo bunny from head to toe.

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 8.47.50 amDiabetes was my wake up call to not only rethink how I was eating and moving, but it very quickly let me know that I was far from invincible. It allowed me to take a look at the bigger picture. I became aware that I had been overlooking many of the other aspects of life that contribute towards being healthy and happy.

I remember making a decision one day that I would become an expert in managing my disease and that I would cement myself as a world leader in diabetes. So, the journey began. I went back to university and completed my second degree, this time in Diabetes Education and Management. Since being diagnosed with diabetes, the last few years have been one big self-experiment, and the cool thing is—I’ve been the subject and the lead scientist. I’ve made countless mistakes and discovered just as many solutions. Perhaps the greatest discovery of all is that a primal lifestyle is not only an effective way for me to manage and survive with my condition, but rather it allows me to thrive with my condition. I immediately started following a paleo autoimmune protocol and the results were mind-blowing. Not only did I achieve a 70% reduction in insulin requirements and very stable blood sugar control, but my debilitating shin splints completely disappeared, so too did my chronic sinusitis.  

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 8.49.02 amNowadays my lifestyle is first and foremost about managing my disease, but more importantly it’s about being healthy and happy in a balanced and sustainable way. My training has shifted from typical bodybuilding routines towards getting stronger, more functional, flexible and athletic. I train indoors and outdoors, in the ocean and on the land. I discovered that walking is such a useful tool to stabilise blood sugar levels so now I walk after most meals. I lift weights, sprint, train calisthenics, play sports, surf…the list goes on. Exercise truly is a form of medicine that we can freely and happily administer to ourselves. I follow a grain-free, gluten-free, low(er) carb way of eating. I get some sunlight every day. I love nature. I practice mindfulness in each and every moment. It really is a balanced approach to living and moving!

Where I am today…

I’ve spent the last 5 years building a business around myself as the core of my brand. I’m here because l want to put a healthy face to diabetes. My aim is to share what I know with others so that we can learn to love our condition as a partner that walks with us, not one that rules us. I’m an ambassador for diabetes organisations as well as a spokesperson for Australia’s exercise science governing body. I’ve made multiple appearances on national TV here in Australia. I consult online and in person as an exercise physiologist and diabetes educator.   

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I created a brand called Drew’s Daily Dose, as well as a website and various social media platforms, to spread my message as far and wide as possible. I like to think of Drew’s Daily Dose as much more than a website about diabetes. It’s a home that inspires, empowers and enables people to thrive with diabetes, rather than simply live with it. My background as a health professional and my own personal triumph with managing diabetes has ignited a passion to share everything I know. Drew’s Daily Dose is my way of empowering people to take control of their health, so that like me, they can live a fuller, happier and healthier life than ever before.

Diabetes is a very small part of what makes me Drew. I’m an exercise physiologist, diabetes educator, sport scientist and most importantly – I’m a happy and healthy guy thriving with type 1 diabetes. I’ve not only accepted living with it, I’ve learned to love it and manage it so that it doesn’t manage me.

To come with me on this journey, visit my website, Instagram, and Facebook.

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The post How Being Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Improved My Entire Life! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.



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Clearing Up the Confusion About Salt

We consumers may find ourselves all shook up when it comes to salt — unsure about how to absorb the latest research, which can seem to conflict. One minute we are warned to be super-careful about our salt intake or hazard increasing our risk of a host of health woes, including high blood pressure — and are further cautioned that high sodium consumption could be raising our children’s risk of heart attack and stroke. The next minute we’re told our efforts to cut down on salt intake by easing up on our salt shakers is not going to help much — and that, in fact, consuming less sodium might not do much to lower blood pressure after all.

 

A recent New York Times headline seemed to sum up the current don’t-know-what-to-thinkness of it all: “Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong.” Oof. The Times article beneath the headlined filled us in on two new studies of Russian cosmonauts that found that salt may not make us more thirsty, as is widely believed, but actually less so — yet it may make us hungrier. Further research determined that mice burned more calories — and ate more — when they consumed more salt.

 

The studies contradict “much of the conventional wisdom about how the body handles salt and suggests that high levels may play a role in weight loss,” the Times reported. Still, one expert suggested to the paper, the studies results may not mean the conventional wisdom about sodium and blood pressure is wrong, but rather that we may be right about “the adverse effects of high sodium intake … for all the wrong reasons.”

 

Why is it all so confusing? “The biggest issues are that the general public doesn’t know all the places salt is hiding, plus when they see a value for salt content they don’t know when it’s too much,” says Dana Angelo White MS RD ATC, Healthy Eats contributor and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc.

 

Most Americans take in the majority of our sodium through processed convenience foods and restaurant foods, so if we eat a lot of these foods, we are probably consuming more salt than we should be, White says. “The daily recommendation is 2,400 milligrams per day, but many Americans take in far more than that,” she notes.

 

White advises consumers to check labels carefully to make sure we are aware of the sodium content of the foods we eat and to cut down when necessary. And those who cook at home, she says, ought to season the food as they go, adjusting to taste, so as to avoid going overboard.

 

We all need salt, which is a vital electrolyte, White says. However, she cautions, our bodies need only 1,500 milligrams per day, so most of us should at least aim to keep our consumption under 2,400 milligrams per day, an allowance White calls “generous.”

 

“Those with high blood pressure may need to be more conservative” with their salt intake, she says, “while athletes that sweat and lose more salt need to take in a bit more.”

 

And no, sweating out the calculations to figure out how much salt you’ve consumed probably doesn’t count.

 

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Glamour and Marie Claire, as well as Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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Friday Favs

^^HAHAHA. I am so ready to put my resting beach face back on!

We swapped out the rugs in the office so we could use one of Thomas’ family rugs from his old house. I love the look (and the light!). Also, we finally hung our height ruler. Newsflash: Mazen is taller!

You know what’s missing from our house? The two living room armchairs. They are getting reupholstered in some Sunbrella fabric (did I write about this already?) that will hopefully repel everything that touches it and will last for 100 years, so we currently have limited seating upstairs. But you know what? I secretly LOVE the openness! Makes me want to rearrange the living room when the chairs return, but I’m not really sure what other arrangements would work. Perhaps chairs and couch facing each other coming out from the fireplace? But then it would be hard to watch the TV without a turned neck, so I don’t think Thomas would vote for that ; )

Remember when I wrote about that new app called Best Fiends? We are totally obsessed with it! I’m not getting a dime to write about it again, but I did want to share that it continues to be such a fun game! I am now on level 124, and Mazen has gotten into the 20s all by himself. I try not to let either of us spend too much time on it maybe a few rounds per day. But it’s really fun!

Early Mountain Vineyards just rebranded with a new logo and released their 2016 rosé. I just love the texture on the label! They sent me a bottle to taste.

It was lovely, and my favorite kind of rosé. It reminded me of fresh summer strawberries with a little bit of citrus.

I totally admit I am terrible about going through new phone cases. I flip flop between sleek cases, no case, colorful cases, and cases with bonuses. I recently wanted something that could hold cards and protect my screen for travel and nights out on the town when I don’t want to take a purse. I tend to tuck my phone in a pocket and go, but if I added loose credit cards, sometimes they would fall out when removing my phone too. So I found this beauty at Casetify with a 20% off deal-of-the-week and have been loving it for those special occasions.

I was in Richmond last week for a work thing and got to have lunch at the Quirk Hotel. I’ve been hearing whispers in the wind up from Richmond about this chic boutique hotel, and while my visit was limited to the lobby, it was so cool! The decor is stunning  I loved all the pink and marble. But even better, the food was outstanding!! I had a grilled avocado and quinoa salad, and my lunch mate had a cream of asparagus soup that was out of this world (she shared a few bites!). If you’re ever traveling to Richmond, stay here! P.S. Rumor on the street is that one is coming to Cville too!

And finally, mochi!! I was strolling through Whole Foods last week and literally bumped into a new freezer case full of them! They had a handful of flavors, so I bought a strawberry and vanilla to bring home to the family. Thomas and Mazen both loved them. Can you see how the outside is kind of like the texture of an unbaked pie crust, and then there’s ice cream inside? I also love how they are perfectly portioned into little balls (shown here cut in half). I can’t wait to taste the other flavors.

Have a great weekend if I don’t see you sooner!

The post Friday Favs appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.



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A Whole Week of Rest Days

Hey, hey! Happy June 9th, friends!

Today is our sweet boy’s 3rd birthday – and we are, of course, going to celebrate appropriately! I kept Qman home from preschool today, so we’re planning to go out for breakfast this morning and then Grandma, Aunt Steph, Cousin Matthew, and Karli are coming over to play. There are a few other fun surprises planned throughout the day with a big ol’ party on Sunday. I seriously can’t wait and hope he has the best time ever! I really love celebrating (other people’s) birthdays! 🙂

So, the other morning, I woke up and laid in bed for quite awhile. Usually, I’m up and at ’em and thinking about my workout for the day. My go-to strategy is putting on my gear as soon as I wake up, so I make sure that I get my sweat on. This morning, though, I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t have the motivation to move my body… at all really. I did five intense workouts the week before, which is WAY more activity than I’m used to. I just felt like I needed a day off, so I decided to take a rest day.

Fast forward to the next day… I still wasn’t feeling it, so I took another rest day. The day after that… I still didn’t have the urge to exercise. Typically, when I skip that many days of exercise, I feel kind of blah about myself. I usually feel lazy and annoyed that I’m not motivated. Then, I read this article about intense workouts and over-training, and I decided to take the rest of the week off. I’m pretty sure five intense workouts in one week was too much and taking multiple rest days is probably exactly what I need to fully recover. I’m planning to go to CrossFit tomorrow, so we’ll see how I feel! 🙂

Once I got out of bed, it was time for breakfast. First, I poured myself an iced coffee with collagen and goat’s milk. Then, I reached into the fridge for my overnight oats in a jar – an oldie, but goodie!

After that, I get Qman ready for school. He’s in a bit of a mood, but we eventually get ourselves out the door. Ooooh, I hear 3 is “fun.” Ha!

Quinn’s mood actually improves when I tell him that we need to go out the backdoor because the front of our house is in shambles since we’re in the middle of having a bunch of work done.

Leaving through the slider sure is exciting, especially when it’s raining!

At first, it’s pretty neat walking through the backyard in the rain, but then Quinn asks me to pick him up. Two seconds later, he yells: “RUN!” Haha! So cute.

As I’m running to the car, Quinn starts saying, “more, more,” which, at first, I don’t pay much attention to, but then he keeps saying it. I eventually stop and he jumps out of my arms. He walks over to a patch of mushrooms in the grass and points down at them. Oooooh, mushrooms! Very cool.

On the way home from daycare, I stop by the grocery store to grab a few ingredients for some recipe testing that I need to do later that morning (+ Funfetti for Qman’s birthday party).

Recipe testing is such a fun part of my job!

These Chocolate Brownie Protein Bars (sans protein powder) turned out so well, and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys! 🙂

After that, I sit down at my laptop and get to work. I have a lot to accomplish, especially since the next several days are jam-packed. On Thursday, I have an Entyvio infusion with doctor’s appointments and all that jazz, so the day is basically shot, work-wise. I’m taking Friday off for Quinn’s birthday and then I’m in New York on Monday and Tuesday for a blog trip. Long story short, I need to get a jumpstart on all sorts of stuff. Murphy “helps” by sitting on my lap and giving me supportive pug therapy.

Mid-afternoon, I participate in a Beautycounter webinar with some of my favorite bloggers. Seriously, it was surreal connecting with some of them, especially since I’ve followed a number of them for years now.

I finish work for the day and then head to daycare to get Qman. At pick-up, Quinn’s teachers tell me that he had a great day. He didn’t have a single meltdown and instead was much more vocal when someone made him upset – like if another kid took a toy away from him or pushed him. I loved hearing this – he’s growing up so fast!

Back at home, I quickly throw together dinner – thanks to some awesome meal prep over the weekend.

The rest of evening was pretty low-key. We did the usual nighttime routine and then headed to bed.

The end.

Question of the Day

How many rest days do you take per week? What are your thoughts on high-intensity workouts + rest days?

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