Amy’s T1D Adventure: A Parade for a Grocery Store?

Amy's T1D Adventure is Cusco!

Exploring Cusco

Amy's T1D Adventure: Photo with baby llamaMy adventures in Cusco happened both before and after Machu Picchu. Pre MP I was still a little sick from Lima and focused on recovering for a few days. I found homemade Kombucha (which is a great source of probiotics) at the local Saturday market. 2 liters for $1! NY, you have some big competition! I went to the largest markets in the town center, San Pedro, to stock up on fruit and veggies. Then, I was ready to explore.

Sunday welcomed me with open arms and good BGs almost all day. I explored the city center and tried to capture the unique heritage of Plaza de Armas. I snuck in an afternoon massage, a coca tea, and a photo with a baby llama. It was so adorable, I couldn’t say no!

Amy's T1D Adventure: Raw vegan mealEven though Cusco sits at 3,600m high, I wasn’t feeling the altitude. I signed up to the tiny local gym which had 1 broken treadmill, 4 bikes and some weights. But, there were dance classes!

I ventured to the hippy town of San Blas that sits on a steep hill above Cusco. While walking up the hills I could definitely feel the altitude. I found a cute, yet overpriced vegan cafe and had almuerzo (lunch). I was finally feeling better.

It was a good day for my BGs – walking really helps keep them in range! A great advantage of having the ability to explore a new city!

On Tuesday, I was brave and decided to venture for an outdoor run. My lungs were feeling it the whole 3.3miles. I spent the afternoon doing a walking tour of the city visiting a few, very small “museums”. I also made a sweaty, long hike to Cristo Blanco and the Saqsayhuaman ruins.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Amy with Ruins

A Parade for a Grocery Store?

In the city center there was a parade celebrating the anniversary of a grocery store – no lie! People from surrounding towns came dressed in traditional clothing. There was also a lot of traditional music and dancing – a beautiful festival for a strange cause.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Grocery Store Parade

It was a full on day to say the least. I snacked on many bananas, quinoa energy bars and some glucose tablets while walking for 6 continuous hours. It was already Wednesday before I knew it and I was heading to Macchu Picchu the next day. I snuck in a few more museums that were much more fascinating – the contemporary art museum and the regional history museum.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Art from Museum

Insert my Machu Picchu experience here which you may have already read about – one of the best experiences of my life!

I was back in Cusco on Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of my weekend relaxing, eating, and drinking Kombucha. I had organized 2 tours of the other famous attraction surrounding Cusco – Valle de Sacrado (The Sacred Valley). Monday was a tour of the Maras salt ponds and the archeological site Moray. The salt ponds were unlike anything I’ve seen. So fascinating – 300+ natural salt ponds that supplied salt as far as Lima and Bolivia.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Natural Salt Pond

For some reason I was having low BGs the entire day….I hadn’t exercised the whole weekend so couldn’t quite figure this one out. It’s a little frustrating to eat when you’re not hungry. Another pattern I notice is that after a whole day of low BGs I end with a high BG at night. This time it was a lovely 360 mg/dL by dinner time! Eeek.

Marvels at Moray

Back on the tour, our next stop was Moray – some incredible development of agricultural farming by the Incas. Between each ring there was a 5 degree (Celsius) difference in temperature, allowing the Incas to acclimatize their crops to grow in cooler or warmer temperatures.
Amy's T1D Adventure: Moray agriculture ring

After the tour I went to the gym for a dance class – I was definitely the girl with the least moves. I’m slightly jealous of how Latin girls can shake their hips! I had put my pump on suspend before class as I was starting with a BG of 75 mg/dL which I think contributed to the pre-dinner extreme high.

My Street Art Discovery

In the evening I wanted to try and walk out my BG and get it back into range. I walked the 30mins from my apartment into the center to buy some incredible paintings from a street seller. He believed in Shamanism and had painted some visions he had seen of Pachamama (Mother Earth). It’s unlike anything I’ve seen and I can’t wait to hang it on my wall when I get back home.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Street Art


On Tuesday I somehow managed to brave the steep streets and squeezed in a 6-mile morning run. My lungs were getting used to the altitude and I was hoping I’d be able to run in La Paz- the highest capital city in the world and my next stop!

Amy's T1D Adventure: Nike Running Map, Peru Wednesday was a long day as I had Part 2 of my Sacred Valley tour. We spent a lot of time in the bus driving to see different ruins. I have to admit I was a little unimpressed after being to Machu Picchu. Maybe I should’ve seen the smaller ones first!

We got back to Cusco at 7:30pm and all I could think about were some potatoes for dinner and bed! Thursday was my last day in Cusco before my 7am flight to La Paz on Friday morning! I was excited to spend the next day packing, doing laundry and buying dried fruit for the plane ride (which customs at Cusco airport make me throw out!).

In the evening I squeezed in my last dance class. I had a post workout high BG, and could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body. I’m not happy with the BG but the benefits of exercising outweigh the high, which comes down before I fall asleep!

Hasta manaña La Paz! Gracias, Cusco!

This is a guest post series from Amy McKinnon, a One Drop user and 28-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 high and low blood glucose incidents and can effectively reduce blood glucose levels overall. 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.





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.