Balancing Blood Sugar and Hope for Type 1 Diabetics

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Kami Lingren: Welcome to The Wellness Crossing. I’m your host, Kami Lingren, and this podcast is designed to share real experiences and inspiration for reclaiming health, reviving the soul, and embracing a life defined by you. Join me each week as we pursue healing and learn to be our best advocate in health and beyond.

Kami Lingren: All right, listeners. Welcome back to today’s episode of The Wellness Crossing. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m really looking forward to sharing today’s guests, Lyle Haugen, with you. He is just a powerhouse in teaching and sharing his knowledge of diabetes and how to manage blood sugars. So really without getting into anything more, I really would love for you, Lyle, to share what it is you do, what you’re passionate about, and what brings you here today.

Lyle Haugen: Well, thank you Kami. Wonderful being on your show. It’s great. I am a type 1 diabetic. There are two types, type one … Actually, there’s about three or four, but I won’t get into all that right now. There’s type one and type two. They’re the two that most people are familiar with. I’ve been type one since 1985 after an industrial explosion. The explosion caused the onset of type 1 diabetes.

Kami Lingren: Wow.

Lyle Haugen: That has kind of been where I’m at for the last 35 years.

Kami Lingren: Is there something you believe that was a part of that triggering diabetes starting, and do you feel like that’s something that can be common for other people as well?

Lyle Haugen: I do. To be honest with you, Kami, I spent 27 years following the mainstream medical system as to how to manage, and control, and take care of. They made some great advances over the years in technology and better insulins, but they still never truly figured out how to manage because it’s such a fluid system. I mean, you put one thing in your mouth that does this thing. You put another thing, and it doesn’t do the same thing. So, it’s very confusing for a lot of people. It’s very taxing.

Kami Lingren: Sure.

Lyle Haugen: There was an expression made by somebody in … Coming up here soon, it’ll be a hundred years since the discovery of insulin by Banting and Best, two Canadian researchers. During that discovery, prior to that, there were sanitariums for type 1 diabetics that you basically went to die. So with the discovery of insulin, we’ve turned this from a death sentence to a life sentence.

Kami Lingren: Amazing. Amazing.

Lyle Haugen: But in that life sentence, it depends on how you approach a lot of things. There are some doors that get closed. During my journey, I had recently come back from Los Angeles and had been trained as a commercial deep sea diver. Kami, I was trained to dive to a thousand feet plus, and I also became a diver medic, which may have a little bit to why I became a coach eventually here, but…

Kami Lingren: Wow.

Lyle Haugen: The medical portion of that …. Give you a little visual representation because there is a lot of stuff in the news now about going back to the moon, and going to Mars, and space travel. That was kind of my … That was my thing when I was a kid because I was six, seven years old when we first landed on the moon. I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. When things didn’t work out that way, my next chance at it was to be a diver, which is very much like being an astronaut. Matter of fact, astronauts train in the water. So, there’s a lot of similarities. There’s a lot of science. There’s a lot of engineering. There’s a lot of excitement to do that kind of stuff. It’s kind of you’re not supposed to be there. Right?

Kami Lingren: Totally.

Lyle Haugen: It’s a little bit of thrill and excitement that steered me in that direction but then I ended up becoming diabetic. I’ve now, in the last five years since I’ve made a lot of changes, really sort of delving into my history and kind of thinking like, “What was I like? What was going on at the time? What was happening?” Because your question was, what can set you up to become … Is there a possibility of being set up to become a type one or any diabetic? And I believe there is. I truly believe there is. There is a lot of, I should say, few studies as to how that is, as opposed to managing a cure. Maybe we should be looking at prevention as opposed to a cure.

Kami Lingren: Powerful.

Lyle Haugen: Do you see where I’m going with that?

Kami Lingren: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lyle Haugen: I kind of looked at my life. I was in a lot of stress. There was a lot of anxiety. I’d just come back from dive school. I was recently married six, seven, eight months prior to that. A lot of stuff going on in my life. Then, all of a sudden, I opened this door of a building, and building blows up, blows me 45 feet across the lease. I worked in the oil and gas industry, and that totally changed my life. I lost my diving career. Eventually, because of being a new diabetic when you go through the lows and highs in your blood sugar it, it drags your emotions with it. Have you heard the expression hangry?

Kami Lingren: Yes.

Lyle Haugen: Right? Well, that’s low blood sugar, okay?

Kami Lingren: Yeah.

Lyle Haugen: The thing is, most people don’t understand what high blood sugar is. So when you get type one, you are blessed to have both of them. And I say that facetiously, right? So you get to see both sides of the tracks here, and both sides really suck. It really does. You have this narrow window where you’re supposed to be between. In Canada, we call that 4 to 8 mmol. In the US, I think it’s 70 to 150 mg/dl, somewhere in there. that’s where your blood sugar level is supposed to be traveling in.

Lyle Haugen: Now, what could be setting all this stuff up? Type one is an autoimmune disease. So what is it that’s flaring up the autoimmune? Well, if we track some of that back, we can go all the way back to Hippocrates, and he says all disease begins in the gut. If we have issues with our intestines, with our gut, at the time of a stressful event, such as me being blown up that can disrupt the immune system.

A few months later, I’d gone to diabetic school with a guy that had just gotten married. That was his stressor. A lot of people get a virus. That’s their stressor. But, there has to be a perfect storm before, I believe, before this to ever takes hold.

Kami Lingren: That makes a lot of sense. Even when I think of my journey with illness as well, there were years leading up to it and triggers along the way that, as you said, that perfect storm. So many people I know, too, have experienced that, and it is beyond the onset of whatever they’ve experienced next in their diagnoses or in their health. So for you then, you’ve kind of shared some of the big ways it’s affected your life, and leaving a career you loved and were passionate about. What are some of the day-to-day ways that it affects your life, and how do you manage that?

Lyle Haugen: Great question. Before I sort of got a bit of a routine of what I do now and what I can teach people how to do, it was sort of all over the map. A lot of the reason for that was that there were different insulins to work with. I’ll try not to get this too complex for everybody out there. The insulin that you make as a non-diabetic that secretes from your pancreas is what we would call out of the vial, regular insulin or short-acting insulin. Insulin is a hormone that secretes into the bloodstream, and it is there to move glycogen out of the bloodstream and into the cells. That’s all it’s … Well, that’s not all it’s designed to do, but that’s one of the major functions it’s designed to do.

Lyle Haugen: So, the bloodstream does not like to have an excessive or high percentage of sugar in it. When it gets too much, we start scratching the blood vessels. We start creating a lot of issues in there. That’s why type ones or diabetics have some of the largest amounts of heart problems, stroke problems, kidney problems because it’s actually a vascular disease. It breaks down the blood vessels. It also creates problems in our eyes. So again, being vascular, we ended up with eye issues, basically, retinopathy where the retina detaches from the back of the eye because of a bleeder, we get little aneurysms in there or little strokes kind of thing, and they just … They keep bleeding and they don’t stop.

Lyle Haugen: Those are things that we need to watch. But all of this stuff that we need to watch is only because our blood sugars are out of normal range, Kami. The trick here is to keep everything into the normal range, and that’s the challenge that most people face.

Kami Lingren: So for those who are listening then who maybe feel like they’re questioning, is it even possible for them to maintain more control, more … I don’t know if balance really is the right word, but more of a semblance of balance with their blood sugars. Do you believe there’s hope and are there some kind of insights you would give as to where to even start?

Lyle Haugen: Another great question. So to be honest with you, before I started working exclusively with type one and type two’s, I actually worked with the general population. Because as I made some discoveries for myself and balancing my own blood sugar, the amazing thing was that I found out how to balance blood sugars in non-diabetics.

Kami Lingren: Oh, wow.

Lyle Haugen: Most of my work was initially, the first four or five years, was balancing blood sugars in non-diabetics. And believe it or not, when you have balanced blood sugars in a non-diabetic, they all lose weight, if that’s one of their problems. It’s a side benefit. If you balance your blood sugar, your body will stabilize back to where it’s supposed to be. Happens every time.

Lyle Haugen: Now, there can be some other issues with hormones that we need to fix and work with and all that kind of stuff. But, I figured if I can balance a non diabetic’s blood sugar, then why can’t we move that over to the diabetic category? So what did we do in the non-diabetics? We worked with the food. One thing is diabetics are taught, especially type ones, they go, “Oh. Ever since Banting and Best, you’ve got it easy now. You’ve got insulin.” Well, it’s not easy but … And we do have insulin. That’s great, but this is not like taking a blood pressure pill, Kami, and you take it once a day and you don’t think about it.

Kami Lingren: Sure.

Lyle Haugen: You can’t do that with diabetes because it’s so fluid. You can eat something, 20 minutes later your blood sugar will double in 20 minutes.

Kami Lingren: Wow.

Lyle Haugen: An hour later, that whole doubling will go away. Remember we were talking about hangry?

Kami Lingren: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lyle Haugen: Here’s the setup for hangry. Most people typically in the morning will have a high carbohydrate breakfast, whatever that is. Cereal, toast, milk, all the traditional stuff we were advertised to or grew up on because your friends and everybody else did it, right?

Kami Lingren: Yeah.

Lyle Haugen: So you start out with this high carbohydrate breakfast. You’re wide awake instantly. You’re basically on a sugar high. You’re going through your thing, running through a couple of little things in the morning. Next thing you know, that hangry shows up. Well, if we look underneath the body, what’s going on there? Well, as we ingest a lot of these fast carbs, they absorb into our system, into our bloodstream. Our blood sugar level starts to rise. Our system goes, “Hey, we can’t have this going on.” It starts injecting insulin.