In today’s article we are going to cover the ultimate tool to help those living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes lower blood sugar.
For those living with type 1 diabetes, this tool is still incredibly helpful – but rather than using it to lower blood sugar, this tool will help you determine the exact amount of basal and bolus insulin to inject in order to control your blood glucose with precision.
What is this ultimate tool we’re talking about? Is it a snazzy new technology or fancy new smartphone app? Does it use artificial intelligence to predict your blood glucose values?
On the contrary. The ultimate tool to help you lower blood sugar is a piece of paper and a pen. But before you leave this article and say, “that’s ridiculous,” hear me out.
The tool that we have found to be incredibly helpful teaching you how to lower blood sugar is called the Decision Tree. This is a super simple (yet super powerful) tool that gives you incredible insight into your blood glucose control.
Filling out the Decision Tree requires that you document some very important metrics. The simple process of writing down your actions is truly a game-changer.
Every day, you fill out a single page to document all the activities you perform on a daily basis, in chronological order.
Be sure to list the following:
Every time you eat food, don’t just write down “I ate lunch.” Be very descriptive in what foods you are eating, and also be quantitative by listing both the carbohydrate and fat content of the entire meal. This information is absolutely critical.
This information enables you to fully understand what variables are controlling your blood glucose profile, and provides you with the information to help you understand how your food, medication, exercise, and stress is affecting your wellbeing. If you are part of our coaching program, this is what enables us to see where issues are arising and what improvements can be made.
Accurately documenting this data gives you the opportunity to visualize exactly what is influencing your blood glucose values. Having this information at your fingertips is truly eye-opening.
Cyrus and I have been following a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle for a combined total of 24 years. We have filled out hundreds of Decision Trees over the course of many years, and we are the first to admit the process of documenting every diabetes decision during the day is time consuming and tedious.
After going through this process, you eventually get to the point where you can achieve optimal results without using the Decision Tree at all. It is certainly a process and it takes time to get full insight into your blood glucose profiles, but using the Decision Tree is a necessary first step in achieving full control of an otherwise elusive process.
Through coaching thousands of people, we have found that people who skip the Decision Tree ultimately find themselves needing to go backwards and start from the beginning at some point in the process of transforming their lifestyle.
So do yourself a favor and start filling out Decision Trees now – it will help you build a rock solid foundation to lower blood sugar from the get-go.
For those living with non-insulin dependent diabetes, the goal is to use the Decision Tree as a tool to help understand how a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle is affecting your insulin sensitivity. We sincerely hope that you don’t have to use the Decision Tree for more than a few weeks, but you can only get there once you have full insight into your lifestyle variables.
For those living with insulin-dependent diabetes, the goal is to fully understand how much basal and bolus insulin to use everyday, so that you can become an intuitive eater and feel confident in dosing insulin with precision.
Most importantly, in the first weeks and months as you transition to a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle, your insulin needs are likely to decrease quickly as you gain insulin sensitivity. The Decision Tree is the tool that allows you to understand how to reduce your insulin exposure to minimize your risk for hypoglycemia.
I have documented my food intake for many thousands of days since adopting a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle in 2006.
While in college at the University of Florida, I completed a year-long project in which I documented every piece of food that went into my body for 365 consecutive days. I also logged every blood glucose reading and every insulin injection in that same time period.
I am very proud of my documentation, and I would be happy to share my data with you. If you are interested in seeing the thousands of data points that I collected during that year, you can see all of that information by clicking here.
I can assure you that after all of this data collection, the Decision Tree is a very effective tool, which provides you with valuable insight that is difficult to gain otherwise. Using the Decision Tree taught me:
The truth is that it’s very difficult to quantify just how beneficial the Decision Tree has been in my life with type 1 diabetes. I find that this tool is priceless, and I highly suggest you download the free templates below and start documenting your decisions today.
If you use the Decision Tree properly for a few weeks, just watch how it changes your ability to lower blood sugar (non-insulin dependent diabetes) and truly master insulin dosing (insulin-dependent diabetes).
Are you ready?
Have you used a Decision Tree before? Do you have any questions about how to use the Decision Tree to lower blood sugar? Tell us below!
Robby Barbaro was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. Robby graduated from the University of Florida and is the cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and the founder of Mindful Diabetic. He worked at Forks Over Knives for six years before turning his attention in 2016 to coaching people with diabetes full time. Robby enjoys exercising every day, spending time with friends, and sharing his lifestyle on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.