Type 2 Diabetes: How to Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes While Taking Long Car Trips
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Type 2 Diabetes: How to Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes While Taking Long Car Trips

Long road trip vacations can be wonderful but they can also cause dangerous blood spikes in diabetics. When you are sitting in the car for many hours you are of course being very sedentary, you are barely using any energy so this causes the blood sugar to spike because you body is just not using up any sugar. Here are some tips for avoiding blood sugar spikes during road trips.

I have type 2 diabetes and it is pretty well controlled.  My blood sugars rarely ever fluctuate and are pretty consistent.  I have noticed over the last coupe of years however that when we go on vacation and take long car trips my blood sugar tends to spike.  My blood sugar which is almost always between 100 and 130 will spike up over 250.  The best explanation for this is that when you are sitting in the car for many hours you are of course being very sedentary, you are barely using any energy so this causes the blood sugar to spike because you body is just not using up any sugar. 

I have never seen any articles on diabetes and traveling so I have created my own plan for long trips to keep my blood sugar from spiking and I am going to share it with all of you. 

Before The Car Ride

This may be easier said then done when you just want to get on the road but if possible do a half hours worth of aerobic exercise before you leave for your trip.  Exercise is a good way to lower you blood sugar.  Don't take your blood sugar numbers right after you work out as blood sugar tends to spike up a bit during exercise, after about a half hour to an hour after you have worked out your blood sugar will start to go down.  For me on average a half hour work out will lower my blood sugar by around 20 points.  Never workout however if your blood sugar is over 190 because of that initial spike I just mentioned.  If your blood sugar is above 190 you should really try to get it down before embarking on a long car trip.  Drink a lot of water and take a leisurely walk around the block.  Let those who are traveling know that you requrie some time to get your blood sugar down a bit and that likely you will need a couple of short bathroom breaks after the car ride gets going, as you should be drinking a lot of water and of course your body will be flushing out some of the sugars. 

Eating and Drinking in the Car

You may be tempted to drink diet sodas in the car all day while traveling but this is not a good idea.  You can have one but mainly what you should be drinking is water.  If that sounds a little too rough then get those individual packets of Crystal Light and pour that in to your water bottles, but still be sure to drink regular plain water as well.  Drinking plenty of water will assure that you stay hydrated and it will help to keep the sugars moving along.  Take small sips throughout the ride to avoid having to go to the bathroom a lot. 

As for food you will want to mainly eat things that have protein in them if you are planning on snacking in the car.  Remember as you are sitting in the car for several hours your body will not be able to sufficiently burn carbohydrates like it normally would so go easy on the carbohydrates.  I am not saying you can't have any but limit them as much as possible, and make sure most of what you are eating is protein. 

Obviously you should avoid sweets all together and things likes chips as well. 

Your best bet for snacks are:  Nuts, peanut butter with low carb high fiber crackers, chicken cut up in to bite sized pieces, tuna or tuna salad with low carb high fiber crackers, cheese, hard boiled eggs, an apple with peanut butter and cottage cheese.  I know most of these are not normal car snacks but when you have diabetes you need to alter your behavior sometimes to compensate for what your body is unable to do on its own. Remember though that even good things can be too much when you are a diabetic so all foods should be eaten in moderation. 

Rest Stops

When ever you stoop to go to the bathroom or fill up the tank try and squeeze in a short walk.  Don't just fill up, use the bathroom and get back in to the car.  Unfortunately for me I have an impatient spouse who just wants to get back on the road so I can only get in about 5 minutes.  If 5 minutes is all you can squeeze in be sure to walk around non stop moving your arms about as much as possible, in other words walk with purpose. 

When you stop for lunch or dinner breaks be sure to take a brief walk before getting back in to the car, 15 minutes is ideal but do as much as you are able to. Again walk with purpose. 

Eating Lunch and Dinner

Your lunches and dinners should be nice and balanced again protein is important.  Vegetables are of course great too and a little fruit as well.  Keep breads, pastas, and rice to a minium.  For instance if you eat a burger with the whole bun skip the fries and chips.  Have a side salad instead or an apple. Avoid full portions of pasta or rice.  A good lunch or dinner would be a portion of meat, a vegetable, and a small serving of rice or pasta, or one dinner roll, by small serving I man no more than 1/4 of a cup. Personally I never eat more than 1/8 of a cup at any meal.

Eating Breakfast on the Road

There is a tendancy to want to eat sweets for breakfast when traveling don't do it.  Pack yourself a couple of hard boiled eggs, some high protein high fiber crackers, and some peanut butter or cream cheese.  Some dry high fiber cereal that is low in carbs mixed with some nuts is a good choice as well.  If you hit the drive through try a yogurt parfait from McDonalds along with scrambled eggs,notice I did not say the scrambled egg platter you can just order the eggs by themselves.  An Egg McMuffin is not a terrible choice either, skip the hashbrown and drink water instead of juice or soda.

In The Car

Obviously you are limited with what you can do in the car to keep the blood flowing but there are a few things you can do.Lift each leg up slightly one at a time and do some ankle rolls.  Then starting at the bottom of your body tighen up each muscle group one at time and hold and then release.  Start with your feet then move on to your calves, then your thighs, your buttocks, your stomach, your chest, your shoulders, and your neck.  Do some wrist rolls.  Expand and lift your shoulders and chest and release, gently move your neck from side to side. Lift your arms up as high as you can and move them around.  Repeat this whole thing once or twice ever hour. 

These are of course things to do if you are the passenger, if you are the driver you are automatically moving around a bit more, but the movements mentioned above would of course not be safe for you to do while driving but you can practice deep breathing which will be helpful to you. Inhale deeply through your nose expanding your stomach as you do so then slowly release the breath through your mouth.  Do this at least 3 times everky couple of hours. 

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Comments (1)
Ranked #36 in Diabetes

Great advices here Rae, thanks.