The second edition of "What I learned Last Week," is a bit delayed due to just returning from a bachelor party in Miami followed up by a few days in Key West. For all of the type 1s out there still trying to figure out how to manage blood sugars with alcohol this post should provide some great tips.
1 - Carb loading is my key to drinking safely as a type 1 diabetic: As a single 28 year old guy, drinking socially is a bit part of my life. I don't go out like I'm 23 anymore (thank god) but when the opportunity presents itself I do like to have a good time. Back in May I threw a bachelor party for my friend in Montreal, terrified of how alcohol would affect me I drank but was very very cautious. After a few months I've learned to control my blood sugars much better and this past Saturday put my knowledge to the test. Most of the guys at the bachelor party had been drinking all day, but I wanted to save up until I could eat a pretty big meal. We went to Taverna Opa on South Beach where I stuffed myself with pita bread, hummus, and proteins and of course beer. I bolused for only 60 grams of carbs although I knew I'd be having vastly more carbs than that - 4 hours after dinner started and a few sheets to the wind my blood sugar was 110 so I followed that up with a clif bar and continued to drink Jack & Cokes/ Diet Cokes (alternated) until 3am at Mansion. When I woke up the next morning my blood sugar was a nice and happy 125.
2 - Pina Coladas have a ton of sugar! After a 15 mile run on Monday in Key West, I had some lows throughout the day due to over active insulin. I intentionally under bolused for my delicious coconut fried Grouper at Alonzo's Oyster House and enjoyed some great dark & stormys. Walking on Duval St. it just felt right to have a frozen drink and felt a Pina Colada was the way to go (notice a coconut theme to this night!) Prior to the Pina Colada my blood sugar was about 160 - perfect start for a night of fun. An hour and a half after the frozen goodness I was up to 281!!!! Lesson learned.
3 - Ensure is a great way to get carbs in while training without having stomach issues. Because of my insulin sensitivity I need a ton of carbs to complete an hour of exercise even if I turn my pump off 2 hours prior to activity. Lauren has figured out I need 45 to 65 grams of carbs depending on stress level per hour of training. However, 2 gels an hour for two hours forces me to curl up on my bed in the fetal position in between trips running to my bathroom. She suggested I try Ensure. During that 15 mile run in Key West I put Ensure to the test and it passed with flying colors. My run of 2 hours and 15 minutes required about 100 to 120 grams of carbs, 2 and 1/2 to 3 bottles of Ensure. With the Accel Gels after about an hour and 1/2 I would start to feel stomach cramps but I had no symptoms of GI issues with the Ensure. Yeah the bottles are kind of a pain to carry around and the liquid looks gross on my fuel belt but it gets the job done and doesn't make me think an alien is coming out of my stomach.