Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Frugal Diabetic – update

Let me give you a bit of the history for the new readers.  A lot of this is covered in my blog series called frugal diabetic.  I had spent a few years getting frustrated by diabetes diets and learning to tolerate artificial sugar.  Yet, my weight kept getting heavier and the sugar count went higher.  I was living on food bank food and fast food and convenience foods.   Food bank foods are to keep you alive, not healthy.  Fast food and convenience foods are just plain bad for you.  I was going to a medical clinic for the low income that had a revolving door attitude.  I tried, really tried, to follow all the diets for diabetes found in books and on websites but I just grew more frustrated as my sugar levels went higher.  Eventually my A1c reached 11.9 and I weighed 235 pounds.


When my frustration with the clinics and the confusing diet information got to be too much I finally took control of my own health.  I stopped listening to the dieting experts because it was not working.  *I* needed to be my own expert because it was *my* health that was at stake.  I stopped doing the daily finger sticks and went to doing an occasional test.  The only number that actually mattered was the A1c. I put away my weight scale because I didn’t want to focus on the pounds either.  I still use it for weighing packages.  I quit counting calories and carbs and points and measuring but I do read package ingredients lists.


I started eating the same way I had when I was a child and cooking the way taught to me by my Grandmother who I called Mama.  (Grandma Mama on this blog)  The meals Grandma Mama cooked and fed us were recipes used during WW1, depression era, and WW2 rationing.  I started telling myself, if Grandma Mama wouldn’t recognize a food then I would not eat it.  Back when I was a kid the only fast food was how fast Grandma Mama could put a meal on the table.  There were no fast food places on every corner and super size was not even a description.  Instead of thinking about blood sugar readings and carb counts I concentrated on just good food cooked the way it would have been in the rationing years.  (1940s)  I began pretending the year was 1943 all over again.  I also kept reminding myself that if the ingredients of a food are made in a lab it will take a lab of medications to digest it.


Ok, I don’t want to completely go over all the posts I’ve already written bout my diabetes.  I want to tell my good news.  Last Wednesday my doctor told me I had a 6.2 A1c reading.  That’s down from the 7.4 reading three months ago and a long way from the original 11.9 a little over a year ago.  My weight is down to 160 pounds.  Yea!!!  My doctor says if I keep doing what I’m doing she can see me being off my diabetes medications by the next visit.  I can’t say what I’ve done is going to help anyone else.  This is what worked for *me*.  Each person must take charge of their own health the same way I did.  Know what you are eating.  Know what is going into your body.  My belief is that the volume of what you eat is not as important as what that volume contains within it.  I’ll repeat… if its made in a lab it will take a lab to digest it.


Isn’t that great news?  There is a no “cure” for diabetes but it can go into remission and stay there for a very long time.  I’ve been aiming for that remission and I’m ( ) this close.

** NOTE **

I received a comment on another post but it really should be included with this post so I’m copying and pasting it here for others to read.  I’m hoping it may help someone struggling to pay for their type 2 insulin.

From:  James Schaupp

This is more of a FYI for diabetics that require insulin. My mother is a severe diabetic, in her 60’s and has been a diabetic since her early teen years. She retired after 30 years as a surgical nurse and had to pay outlandish prices for Insulin such as Atlantis and Humalog. Her insulin was expensive and was always in the donut hole. She found a rural older doctor that told her there was over the counter insulin. He was a doctor I believe in the former USSR and Poland. She said something about it and I called the pharmacies around here (rural Nebraska) and the cheapest was, though I hate to say it Wal-Mart for $24.95 a vial for generic over the counter insulin. She can handle a $125 month for insulin, but couldn’t before. I have been following you for a long time. I found your old quilting blog before you moved to wordpress. I hope this helps someone else that is having trouble affording their insulin. And the $24.95 a vial is full price not the co-pay. I pick it up for her and just go to the pharmacist and ask for a vial of insulin.



26 comments on “Frugal Diabetic – update

    January 5, 2017

    Dear Na-Na & all the readers,
    I’ve been surfing on the Internet about UK seniors frugal blogings & here is a website about a person’s recreation of UK WWII food rationing, with many recipes… !!
    Rationing was even more severe over there & the last (meat) stopped in 1954!!
    Many of the blogs also have “No-Buy” January challenge, especially for foods. They try to eat up their cupboards, freezers & canned goods, etc…
    Too bad my car will be needing some new tires in January or so, according to my mechanic… 🙂

    • Anita
      January 5, 2017

      Yes, I heard of Carolyn Elkins a few years ago in a news report. Her recipes come mostly from readers and is a good place to start learning cheaper foods. Aren’t we all trying the “no spend month” on a continuing basis? (smile) Frugal people love finding ways to go “no spend” to save as much as we can don’t we? Personally, I prefer to read history books to learn frugal stuff. What better way to learn from a time in history than to read books from that time? Currently I’m reading about the 19th century (1800) courtesy of project Gutenberg. How people dressed, kept warm, cooked, gardening, and stuff like that in the days before industrialization.

  2. Susan
    December 14, 2016

    I SO needed to hear this! I have been on WW for almost a year, and have lost 55 pounds, but my A1C and cholesterol numbers are the worst they’ve ever been, despite the weight loss. My husband asked me what I had been doing different, and I realized I had fallen back into the packaged food trap so I could eat MORE food for less points — but what I was eating was junk.

    I’d just decided to go back to real foods only, and then I read your post — it reinforces what I really already know! I hope my results are as good as your!

    • Anita
      December 15, 2016

      Thanks Susan, I’m glad I wrote it. You will get there now that you know what the problem is. I believe in you! Be sure to read the posts called “frugal diabetic – one through ten” which may help you understand why your A1c kept going up. I wrote them but I still refer back to them every time I got discouraged or just can’t remember. Those posts helped me stay on target. Hmm… you know diet is a four letter word meaning deprivation and starving? EAT! Eat healthy instead of empty calories.

  3. Shelley
    December 14, 2016

    You have worked so hard and for all the best reasons – congratulations!

    • Anita
      December 15, 2016

      Thank you.

  4. T
    December 13, 2016

    That’s really great news- and a marvelous Christmas present to yourself!

  5. Margie in Toronto
    December 13, 2016

    Congratulations – that is wonderful news and just shows you what can be done! I completely agree that it is up to us as individuals to take charge of our lives and our health and not to “give in or give up”. I’m getting back on track with my own healthy eating plan – I’ve managed in the past year and a half to go from being maxed out on BP meds to the minimum dosage possible and the aim is to get off both drugs within the next few months and I am taking inspiration from your blog – thank you.

    • Anita
      December 13, 2016

      Oh! Margie that is good news for you too. I’m proud of you. Maybe we’ll get off the meds at the same time. If we don’t take charge of our own health…. who will?

  6. Deb Krow
    December 13, 2016

    Congratulations Nana!

  7. Donna
    December 13, 2016

    Anita, you are doing so good! You must be very proud of your success. Just goes to prove all that processed and fast food just is not good for us! I try to cook from scratch to keep down the processed junk. Keep up the good work and you will soon be off the medication.

    • Anita
      December 13, 2016

      A few days ago a friend brought me a fast food burger and I didn’t want to eat it. I explained the reason and I believe she is going to take charge of her health too. I’ve discovered all over again how good roast veggies taste.

      • T
        December 14, 2016

        Roast veggies- love them. My favorite is parsnip, well really I like it deep roasted in oil, but it is healthier without the fat!

        No one in America is looking out for our health, all the doctors/hospitals/insurance companies care about is PROFIT. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not being realistic about the situation, or they are lucky enough to be able to pay cash for good doctors who don’t require insurance, or are those few people ( like congress ) who get excellent coverage paid for by the taxpayer…

        My doctor has never once referred me to someone or spoken to me about- diet. When I asked about it she said in her experience people need meds for life. Then she developed an obsession ( to my mind ) with kidney function, which thankfully I have no issues with, though I subsequently discovered diabetes and high blood pressure drugs are terrible for the kidneys…

        Anyway, not long after this conversation the woman opened a dialysis spa. It’s in her interests to have patients with kidney failure now.

        It’s irony that the medical field has priced people like you and me out of reach Anita, with the endless greed and failure to care, yet we are the ones who can tell people the simplest ways for many to get themselves well.

        But truthfully I believe even if eating well could cure every disease in America I doubt the medical profession would embrace it because medicine in America isn’t like in other countries- to help people, to cure people, to keep prices affordable etc- it’s to make profit, maximum profit, for a favored few- the doctors, hospital and health insurance company ceos. And they seem to be able to convince any politician who challenges them to leave the status quo…

        • Anita
          December 15, 2016

          You need a new doctor. You are so right about that. The medical industry, and the food industry, is all about the money for the rich at the top. No the medical industry has no interest in getting people healthy because there is no profit. They will keep us in that dark place of ignorance and misinformation by any means necessary to keep those profits rolling in. Its up to each individual to search in the dark for the path toward health for themselves and then shine the light of knowledge and information so others can find that path too. I hope I help at least two people along the way and those two each help two more etc.

  8. sarasinart
    December 13, 2016

    Woohoo and big congratulations to you for figuring out what works for your own body! 6.2 is near normal and your weight loss is fantastic!

    • Anita
      December 13, 2016

      I keep looking around to see if someone is going to jump out of a corner to tell me its all a mistake. That the readings are wrong or something. The one major problem with loosing all that weight….. my pants and undies won’t stay up without a ton of safety pins. I’m always afraid I’ll be walking along and next thing I’ll find myself walking naked. It hasn’t happened yet but I’ve started wearing really long shirts just in case. I need to get to the clothes closet soon.

      • sarasinart
        December 14, 2016

        Ha! It’s good that they’re too loose after all that weight, but I sure hope that doesn’t happen!

  9. Jasna
    December 13, 2016

    That is such good news, Anita. Heartfelt congrats!!!! (((hugs)))

  10. Leslie Saunders
    December 12, 2016

    This is great news, Anita. You deserve to be proud.

  11. Linda Ladner
    December 12, 2016

    Congratulations! I know you are relieved to be getting healthy again. You are so wise and sensible and such an inspiration. I’m very happy for you and I hope you get off those meds next visit!

    • Anita
      December 13, 2016

      Thanks Linda I’m confident it will happen.

  12. Jackie
    December 12, 2016

    Excellent! Bravo!

  13. Kathleen
    December 12, 2016

    Absolutely Great news!!!!!
    I am just now realizing I need to start taking care of myself before it’s too late…I have been taking care of hubby for 34 yrs..dogs and cats and now chickens…My hubby always calls me DOCTOR MOM…I need to start taking care of ME..I have never been selfish when it comes to caring for people…I help people move and doctors visits out of town…I am not bragging just saying…you get so busy taking care of others and YOU get lost.
    I am proud of you Anita

    • Anita
      December 13, 2016

      I know exactly how it is to do for everyone else but ourselves. That was one of the reasons I stopped quilting. The quilt customers needs came before my health and personal life. I was suffering because of it. Me got lost. When you get to the absolute point of “what about me” you will do it. Of course some will see that as being selfish but I looked at it as insurance that I’ll be around a bit longer Thank you Kathleen. I do plan to go back to quilting in the new year, but not as intensely.

  14. Gaby
    December 12, 2016

    Wonderful news!

  15. Cynthia
    December 12, 2016

    So happy for you! Keep up the good work.

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