Amy’s T1D Adventure: Oaxaca City (Part 2)

Sunrise over Oaxaca

[Here’s a guest post series from Amy McKinnon, a One Drop user and 27-year-old ex-advertising executive who recently swapped her NYC apartment for an oversized backpack to explore the streets of Latin America for six months. Amy has lived with type 1 diabetes for 15 years and tries her best to balance blood glucose levels, marathon training and a high-carb raw-vegan diet. Now she has thrown travel into the mix. EDITOR’S NOTE: Amy is a performance athlete and consumes a high carb diet. At One Drop, we believe that a low carb approach to food reduces the risk of hypo and hyper glycemic incidents and can effectively reduce blood sugars. However, we want to share a variety of personal experiences so we can all learn how other people live their lives with diabetes. Always consult your doctor before making changes to a prescribed regimen.]

Monte Alban (and Blood Glucose) Ruins

I shower after a sweaty morning run, gobble down some breakfast (plus a sneaky hot chocolate) and pack a backpack of dried fruits, a couple of apples and some almonds to snack on. In front of the Oaxacan ruinsMy blood glucose is in the 300s upon my arrival at Monte Alban — damn! Not happy. I think it was a combination of post-run adrenaline and the sugar and fat in the hot chocolate. I give my correction dose and know I’ll be walking around, so it’ll come down in no time. Within an hour it’s down to 113! But now I have to snack on some cranberries to stop it from continuing to crash. Oh, the perils of highs and lows…

Feeling better, I take on the ruins! From the top, there’s an incredible view of both the ancient town and the newer towns on the outskirts. I take a quiet moment on one of the benches to close my eyes and absorb the energy coming from the place. It was an incredible feeling. After 10 mins, I open my eyes and see a butterfly (my spirit animal) fluttering past — this was a good sign.

Panorama view of the ruinsAll ruined out and waiting for the bus, I snack on my only food left – raw almonds. I hope this doesn’t backfire on me later, but deep down I know it will. Once I got back to town, I wandered through the local markets and got a craving for some cooked food, so I pick up some fresh corn tortillas for dinner. Another decision I won’t be too happy with in a couple of hours…

 

Boy did they taste delicious, but boy did they also make my my blood glucose sky rocket! High and not wanting to come down, I gave double the amount of insulin I normally would. The combination of processed carbsfrom the tortillas and fat from the earlier almonds created the ultimate insulin resistance. I definitely had some frustration inside of me. Spending the night in seemed best after the day I’d had — tomorrow was a new day and I could press reset.

Tuesday Tour Day!

Amy McK - Oaxaca post2 - 04 IMG_1311At 10am, I was off to head to a couple of destinations to listen, learn and see. First stop was Arbol de Tule — an incredible 2000-year-old Cyprus tree! It was an incredible sight, with magic and energy emanating from its branches. I wanted to give the tree a big hug, but you could only view it from a slight distance to protect it. I was pretty impressed when I learned that this one tree consumes 2000 liters of water a day just to stay alive!

Next stop was a traditional Zapotec (indigenous) carpet-making factory. We learnt how they used natural resources to dye the cotton to make the carpets and how they used these very basic wooden tools to design beautiful carpets with Aztec patterns, birds and intricate indigenous designs.

Carpet-making factory

Before our final destination, we stopped at a buffet for lunch. Knowing most of the options would be laden with cheese and meat, I made sure I was prepared with snacks: apples, dried fruit and a couple of bananas. I sat with a young Spanish couple as they giggled at my lunch choice. I knew it would pay off in the end with my blood glucose control.

 

The final stop was Hierve el Agua – a limestone waterfall and some cenotes with an incredible view of the surrounding mountain ranges. We didn’t have much time here but I managed to get a couple of photos and take in the view!

Full wheel at Hierve el Agua Full view at Hierve el Agua

Back from the tour at 730pm and so exhausted, I ate a quick salad for dinner with some canned mushrooms and corn (surprisingly it tasted better than I expected!) and jumped into bed!

A lazy day at the local markets

Jaguar souvenir from OaxacaMy much needed lazy day was off to a perfect start: sleeping in! After getting up and eating breakfast, I wandered to the local markets looking for something traditional to buy my 4-year-old nephew for Christmas! So many beautiful arts and crafts — it was a hard decision, but I chose a beautiful blue jaguar.

I continued to wander the streets strolling in and out of craft stores, book shops and of course ended up at a chocolate shop. People say chocolate is addictive and I can prove that from personal experience — even high blood glucose doesn’t deter me! Another chocolate con agua was ordered and I enjoyed sipping it slowly, feeling privileged to be in Oaxaca. Later, I ended my evening with a slow walk back to my apartment, dinner and bed! Tomorrow morning I’d be rising early to hopefully try and capture some morning magic.

Up with the sun on my last day in Oaxaca

My last day here in Oaxaca and I knew i hadn’t seen everything! I rose at 6am – it was chilly outside, so I pulled on leggings and a jacket. When I stepped outside and breathed in the cool air, it felt good. I begin to jog slowly…One Drop exercise log

I arrive at the auditorium, climb up a brick wall and perch myself there, looking over the city of Oaxaca and the majestic mountain back drop. As the sun rises, I can feel it’s warm energy emanate into my soul. The sun has a special place in my heart and has always giving me an incredible warm energy. Right in this moment I feel at home.

When the sun shows up in all its glory, I continue my run for about 6 miles, which I make sure I log in One Drop. I like to see how physically active I am each day and how it helps to maintain my blood glucose control, even though I eat large amounts of unrefined carbohydrates.

One last hot chocolate…

After breakfast, I sneak in a little nap and rise again at around 11am (with a low blood glucose) to head to a neighborhood called Colonia Reforma and the infamous Itanoni restaurant for lunch. Itanoni is a traditional Oaxacan restaurant that specializes in healthy, sustainable, non-GMO, organic versions of traditional corn dishes. It was mostly vegetarian, so I was excited! When I got to this adorable restaurant, I instantly knew I would have a good experience! Traditional Mexican Christmas decorations covered the ceiling outdoors.

I took the waiter’s recommendations once he understood that I’m vegan. I got a tortilla filled with arroz (rice) and mushrooms and topped it will red and green chili sauce. Next was a tortilla filled with deliciously warm black beans in the shape of a triangle! So so so delicious! I had to order another with a papaya and pineapple juice. Mexican food never tasted so good! By far the best meal I’d eaten on my trip — definitely worth the high blood glucose I would experience later on. I finished off this exquisite lunch with another hot chocolate – the addiction is real!

Vegan lunch in Oaxaca - despite the carbs, no blood glucose issues here!

I walked 30 mins back to town and test my blood glucose 90 mins later — miraculously, it was 85! It must’ve been the activity straight after the meal.

I spent my last afternoon wandering around the streets, picking up some local handmade jewelry — a ring with the gemstone spinel and a bracelet with the aventurine stone, which is good for bringing prosperity and positivity into your life. I snuck in one last hot chocolate and bought myself much-needed new running shoes – authentic adidas for $70!

I was also lucky enough to stumble across a local music performance next to the church by a special needs school. Most of the children where deaf or mute. They played some beautiful music surrounded by very proud friends and family.

Today was a good day, with stable blood glucose levels and an aura in the air that was going to stick with me for a while.

Thank you Oaxaca for an incredible time. I will be back.

Hasta manaña, Playa Del Carmen.

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Amy McKinnon
Amy McKinnon

Amy McKinnon is a One Drop user, marathoner, ex-advertising executive, and has lived with type 1 diabetes for 15 years. Amy is currently exploring the streets of Latin America for six months.