Amy’s T1D Adventure: Isla Holbox, Destination Dos!

[Here’s a guest post 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 in travel to 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.]

Diabetes and a Vegan in Seafood Paradise

Isla Holbox is a very (very) small island off the Yucatan Coast of Mexico, northwest of Cancún. Population is 1,200 and the island is known for its fishing and local seafood – a shame… I’m vegan! @vegamy T1 Diabetes doing yoga

The roads are unpaved and most people get around on foot or quad bike. The Main Street has about 12 restaurants, a super mercado and a few pharmacies, convenience and clothing stores.

The island is surrounded by other smaller, unpopulated islands full of wildlife, birds and greenery.

Isla Holbox exemplifies the simple life on a small piece of paradise, surrounded by blue water and white sand.

So, after a bumpy off road 4-hour bus ride and a ferry trip with incredible views I landed safely on the shores of Isla Holbox.

A BGL 300 morning(!)

A little crazy start to my day with a BGL in the 300s after thinking it was a good idea to eat rice with my banana for breakfast! Won’t make that mistake again!

By noon my numbers settled, energy was back and I was ready to explore!
@vegamy T1 Diabetes art show
Fruit stalls, smoothies & straight to the beach after a quick lunch and I am in awe! As I was absorbing the beauty of this place I managed to have some fun with a few minutes of beach yoga! What a background!

As I lay on the beach soaking up the sun and atmosphere, I saw a group of pink flamingoes on the distance shores. I was in such amazement of their beauty I forgot to take a photo! Some memories are just for the mind – and this one was beautiful!

All beached out and time for a run with a starting BGL of 60 = banana & some glucose tablets and I set off!

The street art in the town is incredible and I made some interim stops to capture it!

Day 2 began at 7am with a windy 5-mile run along the beautiful beach strip as a rush of freedom ran through my bones, reminding my why I love running.

So glad I managed to sneak that in before the rain hit hard around 10am. Our Island Boat Tour got postponed – fingers crossed for tomorrow.

With the rain gone by early afternoon, I went for a long walk down the beach getting some fun snaps in the water!

There is absolutely nothing around you! Feeling so grateful to experience this.

600gm Carb Days

There is always time for a smoothie stop, and of course I stocked up on more fruit – cannot get enough in my body! I’m averaging 600gms of carbs a day and my BGL has been getting more and more in control! Here is a snapshot of yesterday’s totals 🙂

I’ve also been switching things up between my pump and injections, especially with my beach visits!

6 units of lantus seems to be covering my basal requirements during the day! Still feel like it’s a guessing game when I switch back to injections and the pump definitely makes me feel more secure.

(EDITORS NOTE: The 6 units of Basal and Amy’s long runs seem to do a great job of keeping her base glucose levels steady, and then it appears that she takes the balance of her insulin and the effects of all the exercise to process the massive carb intake (which greatly helps her athletic performance and recovery).

I had grand plans of going to the town plaza in the evening to watch a live salsa band play but torrential downpour flooded everything out!

The last day on Holbox the sun came out and the tour was on! In a small boat a group of us visited a few of the neighboring islands.
@vegamy T1 Diabetes basal insulin

Isla Parajores – the island of birds

We saw more flamingoes, much closer, this time. And yes, I even managed to get a photo of one of these mythical creatures.

Pink flamingoes are actually born white and gray and turn pink from eating crill that acts like a dye and turns their feathers the soft rosy color. A fun fact I learnt on the tour.

Other bird life included pelicans, seagulls and beautiful tall, slender white storks.
@vegamy T1 Diabetes flamingoes

Next stop was a bigger island that had a cenote (a cenote is a natural sinkhole, from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes water. Cenotes were used by the ancient Mayans in Mexico for sacrificial offerings.). I jumped in for a quick dip, trying to pretend it wasn’t freezing!

The island was mostly covered in vast grasslands and I felt like I was in the African Sahara. The cenote was the only area surrounded by mangroves and filled with little fish and a few lizards basking close by in the sun.

@vegamy T1 Diabetes cenote

Isla Pasíon – the island of passion

Our third and final stop was Isla Pasíon – the island of passion. Where legend says people used to have their honeymoons on the island and you could walk for miles through the surrounding water on sandbanks that would take you out to the middle of the Ocean. Now I think it’s just for tourists!

Hasta Pronto Mexico City!

It was time to say adíos to Isla Holbox!

On the 7am ferry heading back to the mainland, destination Mexico City, the sun captures my full attention, taking my breath away as it welcomes us on a Tuesday morning.

@vegamy T1 Diabetes sunset




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.