“We avoid grains, gluten, starches, sugar and fruit,” explains Mia Nickels, mom to 7 year-old Holden who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost a year ago. “I sweeten with Stevia or Swerve. He is non-celiac gluten intolerant. We can always tell when he has gotten into some hidden gluten, because he will have a huge unexplained spike, his stomach will hurt, and within 24 hours he will develop a rash around his mouth and on his cheeks.”
For beverages, she says, “He usually drinks water with all meals — sometimes with Stur added (a zero-calorie flavor product). Occasionally he’ll have Zevia soda. I sneak protein powder into a lot of things, too. Shhh…don’t tell!”
One major aspect of Holden’s success in his low-carb diet is his mom’s passionate effort in baking him gluten-free (GF) and low-carb (LC) treats based on various recipes, many of whichshe posts to her Facebook page (and his favorite donut recipe included below). You can find many of Mia’s recipes with each photo on her Facebook page.
Holden’s Low-Carb Diet:
Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in coconut oil, bacon with melted cheese, and half a LC bagel with Kerrygold butter oralmond flour waffle sticks with butter and Waldon Farms syrup, and bacon with melted cheese.
Snack: Cheese, LC/GF brownie, or LC chocolate meringues
Lunch: Lunchmeat rolls (ham, turkey and chive cream cheese) or GF meatballs in LC tomato sauce, LC/GF bagel sandwich (piled up with lunchmeat, cheese and mustard), LC chicken wings, Mexican chicken soup accompanied with a celery, raw broccoli, and nuts. I usually send a LC baked treat or two pieces of Chocorite, too.
Snack: A few of his daily snack options include nuts, cheese, HWC hot chocolate, TrueLemon Jello, Nori/Ham wraps, raw veggies with guacamole dip, or a baked treat like LC/GF mini-chocolate donuts or cupcakes.
Dinner: I try to always make sure there is a meat and a vegetable included with all dinners and he gets healthy portions of both.
Holden’s Meat Favorites: Mexican cheesy chicken, steak, baked pork chop with pork dust breading, GF meatballs in LC sauce, baked chicken, “breakfast for dinner” (eggs, bacon, etc.), lettuce wraps, and bun-less bacon cheeseburgers.
Veggies Dishes: Some of our favorite veggie dishes include artichokes, cauliflower casserole, creamed spinach, broccoli with cheese sauce.
Dessert: Hot chocolate, LC ice cream, Chocorite, LC milk shake or a LC baked treat.
This Low-Carb Diet & Holden’s Insulin Doses
“He rarely needs bolused insulin when we stick to the above and his basal rates have decreased pretty dramatically since switching to this way of eating,” explains Mia. “Prior to transitioning to this diet (in Spring of 2015), he was on an insulin pump and took 9 units total of basal per day and we bolused 8 to 11 units of insulin for meals and corrections. Now he gets 3 units of Lantus split in half, and he rarely requires any fast-acting insulin. When he does, it’s diluted because his sensitivity to insulin is so high.”
“1 unit of Humalog used to drop him 40-50 mg/dL. Now one unit drops him 350-400 mg/dL. So a correction is rarely more than 0.05 or 0.10/unit. Granted he’s still honeymooning and his basal/bolus needs will change over time, but our goal is to keep him honeymooning as long as possible and this way of eating has definitely helped us do that by not demanding much from his pancreas with high-carb meals.”
Does Holden like eating this way?
“An interesting note to this is he, despite only being 7, now dictates this diet at home and away from home,” explains Mia. “He reads labels and won’t eat anything that he knows from past experience has caused him trouble. He orders for himself in restaurants (and doesn’t hesitate to send it back if they have gotten it wrong). And even when I am not with him and he’s offered something that he knows or thinks might contain something that will impact his blood sugar, he will politely refuse it or call me to check.”
Does he have more low blood sugars without eating carbs?
“We rarely see lows with this way of eating, but when they happen we only treat with glucose. He keeps quartered glucose tabs in his kit and knows that each quarter will raise him 10mg/dL, so even with only second grade math under his belt he can quickly calculate how many quarters he needs to bring him to our target of 85 mg/dL. We use the rhyme “strive for 85″ to help him remember his target.”
“So, that’s our story. I know there aren’t many parents that would say this, but Holden is actually happier and healthier now than he was prior to his dx. Knowing that he has type 1 and finding a way of eating that makes keeping his blood glucose in a manageable range has given us our child back. He’s more comfortable in his own skin now than he has been since pre-school. And people that have known him since then are shocked at the difference the diet has made. If I wasn’t living it every day, I’d be skeptical, but it’s been amazing to watch the transformation. We are blessed to have found an answer that works for him.”
Holden’s Favorite Donut Recipe:
Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Donuts:
1/3 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
25 drops liquid Stevia
1 tbsp SF Nutella (NutiLife of GoLo)
1 Chocorite Bar – OR 1/8 cup Lilly SF Chocolate Chips
Melt in a double-boiler or mason jar water bath and set aside to cool.
1/4 cup unsweetened coco powder
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup Swerve
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
Add to dry mixture:
1/3 cup canned full fat coconut milk
& chocolate mixture from STEP 1
Pipe miuxture into a preheated mini donut maker. We use this one. Love it!