In this blog post, I cover 8 strategies I followed on vacation after a pre-diabetes diagnosis, and what actually happened! I wore an Abbott Freestyle Libre and so I had actual data about how my blood glucose responded on vacation.
This is my first beach vacation in 4 years, since before I was pregnant and I'm so excited.
I went live talking about my experience and blood sugar on vacation, so you can watch the show below and/or continue reading for a summary!
8 tips for Travelling with Pre-Diabetes
1. Wear an Abbott FreeStyle Libre. No Abbott has not sponsored this blog post, in case you are asking. Wearing a blood glucose monitor is a game changer because this alone will give me information that I can act on right away. It's okay in submerged water for up to 1/2 hour and I have swam with it, showered with it. Generally, I place it on my upper shoulder which is mostly above water in a pool or lazy river.
2. Skip breakfast when it feels natural. I generally skip breakfast at home, so I would get a coffee with heavy cream from Starbucks and enjoy that. I can also add some fat to my morning coffee to stay fueled and energized.
3. Keep breakfast low carb - When I do enjoy breakfast, I plan to keep it low carb and get myself a LOT of energy. Breakfast is an easy meal to keep low carb including if you are vegetarian. Eggs, Tomatoes, Veggies, Omelettes.
4. Walk after a high reading - After a meal with carbs and/or sugar, I will go for a long walk because this tends to bring my blood glucose down faster.
5. I will try as best as possible to not have late night snacks - This advice goes against #2. If I skip a fast and enjoy a full complete breakfast, a lunch and dinner, I am generally NOT hungry at night. If I am hungry, I will opt for 3 meals per day. I will respect what my body feels like doing.
6. Can I drink alcohol with prediabetes? The answer is yes I can and yes I do, BUT it has an impact on my blood glucose personally. I have also learned that the liver has to first process that alcohol before it can go back to fat burning. I am also a parent of a young kiddo on vacation and I have significantly reduced my alcohol consumption as a result of that (his wake up time doesn't change if I drink). I plan to only enjoy a drink 10% of the time. During the day, I plan to stick to ice coffees.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar to blunt the blood glucose impact - I plan to take ACV with me (let's hope it doesn't break on the flights) to take before a meal where I know I will be indulging in carbs and/or sugar to help blunt the blood sugar impact. I REALLY LIKE Pineapple Collaborative Apple Cider Vinegar you guys - it doesn't sting your throat, it's high quality and tastes like apples!
8. I plan to get LOTS of movement - swimming, slides, climbing up stairs, beach, paddle boat, walking. I am not planning any official workouts, but if I need it or my body feels like moving, I will hit the gym. This will definitely help keep my blood sugars stable - I always see a rise during exercise and dip after.
What happens to your blood sugar on vacation?
Because I wore an Abbott Freestyle Libre, I actually was able to track my blood sugar. Here are my top observations about snacking, blood glucose, vacationing with diabetes.
#1. My resting blood sugar (at night) and fasting blood sugar and travel day blood sugars were naturally higher
#2. My blood glucose since vacation has been atypically high. Even my blood sugar during the night has been much higher than before I went on vacation. I am now fasting to bring it down.
#3. Desserts I took like the Keto Bark Recipe REALLY helped and travelled well in my suitcase. Coco Polo chocolate bars helped too! I would have taken much more for a 7 day vacation
#4. Day 1 - 4, I followed most of my tips. Coffee with heavy cream, a salad lunch and a dinner where I ate protein first and dessert from the snacks I brought
#5. Day 5 - 7, I definitely wanted more dessert and carbs. These are days I enjoyed some dessert, a sushi / seafood dinner, more refined carbs.
#6. Walking, skipping breakfast, and skipping alcohol (other than 1 glass in 7 days) really really helped manage my blood glucose and also bring down my blood glucose after a meal faster
#6. Stress on vacation and heat plays a definite role in higher blood sugar levels.
#7. Coming home to no food - Because we forgot to put all the food we prepped in the fridge, coming home to no food was really difficult and extended the amount of days I was eating out into Day 8 and 9.
#8. My Abbott Freestyle Libre ended on Day 4 and I did not put one on again until the travel day. I think this would have helped me manage my blood sugars. Note: water and swimming did not affect my FreeStyle Libre. I had a patch/cover on and did replace it 2x.
#9. What would I have changed? Taken more dessert options and likely dialed down carbs and sugar on Day 5 - 7. I would have had food for when I came home.
#10. I did not take Apple Cider Vinegar as planned and in retrospect - I would have taken it.
Is true balance achievable on vacation as a diabetic?
Is true balance achievable? This is such a philosophical question. We definitely have a tendency to celebrate with food, focus on food on vacation. Personally for me, I need to redefine what true balance means and find other ways to enjoy a vacation than just food. For me, the impact on my blood sugar and the stress that followed the vacation - was very very challenging.
I hope this blog post helps you plan for your next vacation whether you have diabetes, gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes. For top foods to take with you on vacation and mindset, click here.