Every endo visit is an adventure, in my book. Last week when I went in, proudly displaying my latest A1c result of 6.2 (!), the whole session turned out to be about my fiber intake and (nonexistent) vitamin regime. Aaargh! Can't a PWD rest on their laurels for just a day or two?
First off, we decided I needed more fiber in my diet (don't ask). So how much fruit do I eat? Um, next to none, I had to admit. Of course I miss the stuff, but it's just not worth the glucose spikes, I thought. Well, my endo instructed me to try a new strategy: add in a little bit of fruit at the end of one meal each day. So for example, half an apple or a few slices or orange after I've ingested some other foods, preferably heavy on the protein. With the other foodstuffs in there to help absorb the glucose shock, this shouldn't cause too much BG havoc. And if it goes well, I can try adding another fruit portion after another meal. Hooray for doctor's orders!
Secondly, we talked about vegetables. I do OK here, although I ought to expand my horizons beyond salad, broccoli and carrots. Liquid form seemed like a good idea until I had enough of those mega-green smoothies, and that tomato/veggie juice I was supposed to choke down for breakfast during the South Beach diet. (The first bottle's still standing on my refrigerator door, with the thick red residue clinging to the sides of the clear plastic jug — shudder.)
All right, so what about a daily multi-vitamin? And baby aspirin (81 mg)? And am I taking a daily dose of Vitamin D? My problem is that I don't tolerate this stuff very well. A while back I was feeling pretty nauseous every morning, which I cannot stand (pregnancies notwithstanding), so I stopped taking all of those supplements. But now I'm instructed to get back on 'em.
I'm starting out with a One-A-Day Women's Multivitamin, and hoping the coating they add on the outside to make the pill go down easier won't make me feel ill. Sometimes the red dye in the coating, or gluten ingredients in my case, can cause a yucky feeling in your gut.
Finally, my endo insisted that I start taking a daily Vitamin D. "We're all a little Vitamin D deficient in this country," she said. What the heck?! I grew up in Los Angeles, where the sun almost never doesn't shine. I grew up believing that people in California were never in need of extra Vitamin D, although your body has only a limited capacity to store it. Furthermore, in all the years I spent in Europe (where people get about 95% less sun), I never heard anyone talking about taking Vitamin D supplements.
Still, no reason to argue with my endo. We Americans are a bit vitamin-happy, but as long as I can tolerate it, why not? So of course I went home and starting looking into what Vitamin D actually does:
* it promotes the body's absorption of calcium, which is essential for the normal development of healthy teeth and bones
* It also helps maintain adequate blood levels of the minerals calcium and phosphorus
* it affects the immune system by promoting a process called phagocytosis, which controls inflammation by transporting cells into the blood
Vitamin D is something of a super-vitamin, I read, because it "behaves like a hormone in the body, relaying chemical messages — something no other vitamin does. For example, Vitamin D signals the intestines to absorb calcium from foods and to regulate its uptake by bone cells."
I'm guessing my endo is aiming to help me avoid osteoporosis, that softening of the bones that is a special concern for women over 40 (which my aerobics' instructor is always shouting at us about - ugh).
Not only that, but apparently Vitamin D is hot stuff right now! It's good to keep in mind that vitamins are as trendy as anything else sold to consumers. And hey, back in the I Love Lucy days, the vitamin tonic primarily consisted of alcohol. The motto being: If it makes you feel good, it must be good for you?