Tagged: Crimson Rider

How Crimson Riders Eat Out!

A major concern my wife frequently shares is what to eat when we go out. I used to be the guy who dreamed of the all-you-can-eat-buffet! I loved the pizza, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, fresh breads, and chocolate cakes. Best of all, I could eat until it took all eight of my children to carry me to the car! My lovely wife remembers those days and when we go out now she wants to avoid such places and instead look for “Bob’s Tree Bark Restaurant” or something like that.

The truth is, with willpower, you can eat anywhere. I feel so great on 135 carbs a day that I don’t miss the mac and cheese one bit! That’s right, I feel good! Thank you, James Brown! So, I comfort my wife with these words. “Everyone sells sirloin, turkey, chicken, fish, egg whites, and salad.” Generally, that’s true! With one of those proteins and a healthy salad, I can easily find 30 carbs to add to the meal and enjoy every bite! More importantly, when I leave the restaurant I feel satisfied and happy!

So, what could go wrong? Well, cheating for one. Crimson Riders are not on diets. We are fighters! The fight goes on because this is our lifestyle, not a diet and the threat of Type 2 Diabetes never goes away because it is incurable. So, don’t cheat! If you think there is a small enough portion of ice cream, pizza, donuts, cookies, mashed potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and French bread then you are not a Crimson Rider.

Another threat is prodding. “Oh, you have got to try this! Just a bite!” No, you don’t. Remember, a small red potato has 30 carbs! A bite may go as far as doubling your carb intake. While we fight Type 2 Diabetes, I strongly encourage you to be gentle and loving to everyone else. Politely decline, don’t lecture, and assure your friend that your portion is sufficient. It is! Your loved ones just want you to have a good evening out!

Hidden sugar is another threat. Try not to blame the restaurants. Sugar sells! Sauces, glazes, and gravies may all contain sugar. Your server may not know how it was prepared so don’t count on them for nutrition advice. Look for seasoned proteins using herbs and spices for flavor! Forget the dressing and ask for olive oil to be brought to the table. Use it as a sauce on the protein and on the salad. Olive Oil is a super food!

The last threat I’ll discuss today is portions. American portions are too large! All you need to be full, happy, and feeling great is 4-6 ounces of lean protein, low or no carb veggies and fruits for nutrients, and 30 carbs for energy and some bodily functions. That’s it! Ask for smaller portions. Consider the senior meals, look at appetizers as a meal, or get a salad with grilled protein as a meal. Don’t worry. I was a big eater! Many of us are. That is mostly because we eat empty carbs that leave us feeling empty. Crimson Riders eat superfoods that stick with you and leave your satisfied! I promise. It’s true for me; I’m not lying, and (most importantly) I’m not selling anything!

So, what is your favorite meal out and where do you get it? Help your fellow Crimson Riders!

Getting Family Support

A big question I get concerns other family members. “How will I get them to eat 130 carbs a day?” Well, my answer is that you might now want to have them eat that much. Let’s look at this problem together and come up with a strategy. We have two goals.

  1. We’d like our families to support our efforts to fight our Type 2 Diabetes.
  2. We’d like our family members, as much as they are able to do so, to avoid getting Type 2 Diabetes.

There is a national epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes sweeping the nation. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in our nation may soon have Type 2 Diabetes! Much of this is due to a terrible diet. We hold three to five major holidays a year that focus on giving kids candy. We believe being good neighbors means giving kids cookies. And, we often plan to end every meal with something sweet. There are approximately 40 carbs in a slice of apple pie. If you add that to mashed potatoes, a roll, salad dressing, a sweet drink and some carbs from the sauce, you could easily have your entire 130 carbs there. This is why we as a nation are obese and why Type 2 Diabetes is an epidemic.

Add to that, kids like sugar, see their friends eating sugar, and wonder why their strange parent(s) won’t give them normal food like everyone else. I’ve also met married couples where the one without Type 2 Diabetes says “I’m sorry you have this condition but I don’t and I’m not eating like that.”

It’s not as simple as saying “everyone needs to eat what I eat and how I eat it!” There is more and more research that suggests that some people tolerate carbs better than others. If this is so, it may be that people who are Pre-Diabetic or Type 2 Diabetic are less able to process carbs than members of their family who do not have that problem. I live with a family full of athletes. It is nothing for a member of my family to run 4 or 5 miles a day. Runner’s World recommends that a long distance runner eat 3-5 carbs a day for every lb of weight. If a runner weighs 150 lbs, he’ll need to consume as many as 750 carbs to keep glycogen in his muscles for running.

In other words, his meals shouldn’t look like mine! I shouldn’t be giving him or anyone else a guilt trip because they eat more than I do. It’s not as simple as everyone eat 130 carbs a day. You should visit your doctor and work out a plan. My recommendation of 130 carbs a day is for Type 2 Diabetics or Pre-Diabetics who want to aggressively fight Type 2 Diabetes. My target weight is 180 lbs. I intend to continue my daily 40 minute workouts of interval training for the foreseeable future. For that lifestyle, 130 carbs (or 135 in my case), is sufficient to lose weight, stay energetic, and control Type 2 Diabetes. I can’t say this loud enough: Talk to your doctor! While the general target for Crimson Riders is 130 carbs a day and 40 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week, I actually eat 135 carbs a day. In other words, I tailored my lifestyle to me!

So, I have two key things you can do to help you achieve your goals and help your family. The first, is don’t feed your family garbage. Cookies, sponge cake, candy, and junk like that is not loving. Those are empty carbs that burn too quickly to give them any benefit. Feed your family good foods from the 31 Super Foods list, including carbs! High fiber carbohydrates with low sugar amounts like oatmeal and quinoa can fuel your family without spiking their blood sugars. Second, understand that they may eat more than you if they have an active lifestyle that demands more carbs. Just because your kid eats three slices of the almond crust pizza (which is delicious and we’ll post that recipe soon) doesn’t mean you have to eat three.

One final word about this. Some Crimson Riders don’t have Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes. They love people who are in that boat! If you are married to or live with someone affected by Diabetes, lovingly and gently encourage them to fight the disease by eating the Recommended Daily Allowance of Carbohydrates (130) for an average person who works out for the minimum amount of 20-40 minutes four times a week. Don’t eat garbage in front of your fellow Crimson Riders. It means so much when your partner lives well and encourages you to do the same.

How are you supporting the people you love in terms of developing a healthy lifestyle? No complaining! Tell us what you’re doing that’s working!

Jim Lenze


How to Find Great Food!

I eat to live, not live to eat! Food is now my medicine because I have Type 2 Diabetes. My goal is not to control the disease or slow it’s progression. My goal is to reverse the disease and live a long, healthy life! I’m a Crimson Rider!

Getting your diet down to 130 (I’m at 135) carbs is not easy if you eat typical American food. A five carb scoop of ice cream looks like a joke! We’ve all seen the MyPlate Food Guide. It recommends that the two largest portions on the plate are dedicated to whole grains and vegetables. Whole grains are great for you as they contain fiber that lower cholesterol and help control sugar levels. Vegetables are high in nutrients. But some vegetables and some whole grains are high in carbohydrates! That leaves us with the question, what foods should we eat?

Let’s deal with the MyPlate Food Guide first. It isn’t radical enough. It’s great that the graphic does not include dessert. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, forget desserts! I know, there are well meaning dietitians out there that are calling out “NO! You can have dessert in moderation!” I’m sorry. I know you mean well. But that approach makes Type 2 Diabetes a progressive disorder. We’re not trying to slow down the destruction caused by this disease. We’re trying to reverse it! No dessert! Spend your few 130 carbs on foods that fight Diabetes and make you stronger!

The MyPlate Food Guide includes a portion of whole grains that is too large! It should be the smallest portion on the plate. A small red potato has 30 carbs. That’s the entire carbohydrate portion for the entire meal! A slice of whole wheat bread is around 15 carbs. Butter doesn’t affect sugar levels but it does affect cholesterol. There are good butter substitutes that do not include hydrogenated oils and have only 5 carbs. That leaves you 10 carbs for your drink and vegetables. You’ll probably need them for those portions. For your protein, find lean cuts and let’s lower that cholesterol.

All of that sounds good but it looks like we’re going to be hungry and eating bark! NO! That’s not true. I am not a physician who recommends this stuff and eats pizza. I’m a man with Type 2 Diabetes who is actually following these guidelines on a daily basis. So let’s be clear, I’m not hungry! I like my food! I enjoy lots of good things! I’m not deprived and I’ve maintained this approach for over a year! My A1C is 5.7 and I don’t take any Diabetes related medications!

This site will soon include recipes for tasty, healthy foods like the Crimson Rider 15 Carb Chocolate Shake and Crimson Rider soup! But for now, let me show you where we found the ingredients for this wonderful food!

Researchers have identified 31 “Super Foods” that lower cholesterol, fight sugar levels, raise energy levels, fill you up, and generally make you feel fantastic! We’ve integrated them into all of our meals. In fact, we have a copy of them and what each does on our dining room table so we don’t forget. I’ve linked an article that discusses these 31 Super Foods on this site!

Now, how to use them! Go through your favorite recipes and replace high cholesterol and high carbohydrate ingredients with the super foods! Almond Flour pancakes are delicious! The goal is to revise your recipes so that each meal is approximately 30 carbs and each snack has approximately 10-15 carbs total. If you need help, here is a food calculator that will allow you to enter your ingredients, adjust the portions, and determine the carbohydrate amounts.

Now, it’s your turn. Look up the 31 foods. Create fantastic new recipes. Enter them into the calculator and then post those recipes on this blog! We’ll try them in our Crimson Rider Test Kitchen (my house) and if they are fall within the guidelines we’ll post it and acknowledge you as a true Crimson Rider!

Our Team

There is no one Crimson Rider. A Crimson Rider is anyone who fights their own Type 2 Diabetes or wants to support the fight. We will be building our team over time so you may find new folks here from time to time.

Jim Lenze, Editor & Web Master

Jim Lenzecrimson rider

Jim was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2013. He is a professor of Communications Media at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He wrote and directed The Crimson Rider in 2014, provides editorial supervision and media support for this site while also contributing as a blogger and vlogger.

Coming soon: Dr. Nicole Clark, Food and Nutrition Expert

Exercise that Fights Type 2 Diabetes

You need to exercise. Your doctor says so. Everyone says so. But what kind of exercise? Gyms are expensive and embarrassing. Weights look dangerous. Biking is fun until it rains or snows. Swimming sounds good but pool memberships are also costly and you worry about athlete’s foot and Diabetic Neuropathy. What is Crimson Rider supposed to do?

Let’s look at why you need to exercise and that will tell you what kinds of exercise will help the most. First, your body stores glucose which is sugar that comes from eating sugar or other carbohydrates. That’s right, bread is converted into sugar which is then stored in your body. Your body stores the glucose in muscles, so that when you are attacked by a saber toothed tiger you can run like blazes and get away. But there are no saber toothed tigers anymore and we rarely need to run from danger. So, the glucose builds up in your muscles.

When your stomach converts carbs into sugar, it then transports the sugar in the blood to muscles that need refilling for future saber toothed tiger attacks. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your body doesn’t work like this very well. You may not have enough insulin to get the job done or you may not respond effectively to the insulin you make. In either case, if you can get the glucose out of your muscles, it will be easier for your body to process the sugar in your blood because it will have a place to go! Therefore, you need exercise that not only works your heart and builds your muscles, it must also use the glucose stored in your muscles.

According to Science Daily, new research has proven that high-intensity interval training can rapidly improve your body’s ability to metabolize or utilize glucose and thus lower your blood sugar levels. Interval training is short bursts (40 seconds for example) of intense exercise followed by 20 seconds of gentle exercise. By stringing together a series of exercises where each muscle group is worked, interval exercise can deplete glucose in the muscles making room for the sugar in your blood to go into your muscles.

You can find interval training programs in many gyms across the country. It may help you to have a group that regularly meets to complete the interval training as they may encourage you to keep going! But you can complete interval training, specifically designed for Type 2 Diabetes, in your home. We have links to YouTube videos on our Exercise page that are free, designed for people with Type 2 Diabetes, and focus on interval training to lower your glucose levels and improve your A1C levels.

Do you have exercise ideas that work to lower glucose levels and improve A1C numbers? Post them below and let other Crimson Riders know how you are fighting Type 2 Diabetes.





Finding Time to Exercise

Exercise has a tremendous impact on the quality of your life! You will feel better, have fewer problems related to Type 2 Diabetes, and look better if you exercise regularly. But finding time is a major problem. For years, I went to work at 7:30 am and worked till 5 pm every day. I teach at a university and my time was spent sitting in front of a computer, sitting in front of a desk, or standing in front of a class. I didn’t get a lot of exercise and it showed. I weighed in at 250 lbs and I could barely get up off the floor if I laid down.

After my diagnosis, I decided to get ready for a 30 mile bike ride as part of the Tour De Cure fundraiser organized by the American Diabetes Association. It was a great experience and you can learn more about it by watching my documentary: The Crimson Rider. I lost weight and felt pretty good after training for the ride and actually completing it. But after that, I found it hard to find time to ride my bike (trike). Getting the trike out, making sure the tires had air, and fixing whatever little problem had occurred in my crowded garage took time. I would ride through my neighborhood but that quickly became boring. I would drive to bike trails but that took even more time. If it rained or was cold, I had no desire to ride at all! Soon, I was barely riding. Some Crimson Rider!

The weight crept back up and the A1C went with it. Soon, I was back where I started.

I needed exercise that didn’t take a long time to prep or complete. I didn’t have time to drive to gyms or bike trails. I also needed a routine that was inexpensive and didn’t take much time.

Here’s what I did. I made radical changes so I could fight Type 2 Diabetes! I asked my chairperson not to schedule me for 8 am classes. I would come in at 9 am. I set the alarm for 6 am, went downstairs and ate my 30 carb breakfast. I cleaned up the dishes and took care of some daily chores and by 7:30 am I was in my family room in front of the computer watching YouTube.

Charlie O’Connell is the founder of Fitscript and the Glucosezone. He is a fitness trainer who has a YouTube channel with exercise videos for people with Diabetes. I started with level 1 of the D Fight Series which focuses on interval training: short bursts of hard exercise (40 seconds) followed by 20 seconds of light exercise. There are three people in each video. One is doing a very gentle form of each exercise. One does a moderate form; the last does an intense form. I stared with the gentle exercises which, believe me, were difficult for me at the time. The full video takes approximately 30 minutes.

I committed to completing the exercise every day but Sunday. I teach Sunday school and wanted the morning to prepare and go over my notes. My wife joined me for exercise which is very important and I’ll talk more about family support in another blog post. There were days when I couldn’t exercise because of some scheduling problem but I felt that I was doing my part as long as I worked out 4-5 times a week. Rain and cold were no longer a problem. I was finished by 8 am. I showered and went to work, there by 9 am. I could enjoy the rest of my day knowing my exercise was done and I had done my part to battle my Diabetes with exercise designed to fight my disease!

Eventually, I was doing the moderate exercise within the video and then the intensive exercise. Within one year and in conjunction with a 130 carb diet, my blood sugars were back under control (A1C of 5.7 as the day I am writing this) and my weight continues to drop (215 lbs today). We recently moved on to Level 2 of the D Fight Series presented by Charlie O’Connell on YouTube. The exercise is short, free, convenient, weather-proof, and private! I love it!

I encourage you to give the Fitscript exercises a try. They offer several different videos including one you can do from a chair. All you need is an hour to work out and clean up because you will sweat! You won’t see dramatic results for about 6 months in my experience. Then, you’ll start to see dramatic results that will greatly encourage you! If necessary, rearrange your schedule so that you can dedicate that hour every day. For me, 7:30 am works best! For you, it may be right after work, before bed, or something else. Try to set that hour aside every day. Don’t kick yourself if you miss a day. As long as you work out 4-5 times a week, you’ll get there! Don’t worry if all you can do is the gentlest form of exercise. That’s good enough, especially to start.

So, do you have any suggestions for other forms of exercise that can help your fellow Crimson Riders? Post them below! I still ride my trike but now for fun and a little bonus exercise! Please like this post and share it so your friends who have Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes, or have loved ones with Diabetes can see this and get some encouragement!

We’re in this fight together and we’re going to win! Till next time!

Jim Lenze
A Crimson Rider

Let’s Get Radical!

This is my first post! We’ll talk about why your blood sugars are out of control even with a moderate diet. Let’s get started!

You’re lying on the couch because your blood sugar is running high and it feels like someone hit you in the face with a hammer. Worst of all, you did everything right. You had one serving of whole grain pasta with spaghetti sauce and even substituted lean ground turkey for the beef. You drank skim milk and skipped dessert! You even used whole wheat bread instead of French bread for the garlic toast.

But it gets worse! When you started to feel badly, you got your blood lancet and fired that trigger. It hurt, but no blood showed up. You pressed harder, fired again, and still no blood. You shook your hand so blood would go to your fingers and fired once more. Then the blasted meter said 220. Why?

You’re not alone. That scenario commonly plays out for people with Type 2 Diabetes. After the diagnosis, you committed to changing your diet, eating in moderation, and working our regularly, even if it meant taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

There are several obstacles standing between you and success. They are as follows.

  1. Moderate diets don’t work.
  2. You need more than a little exercise.
  3. You’re eating the wrong foods.

Let’s start with your diet. The Institute of Medicine sets the Daily Recommended Allowance (RDA) of Carbohydrates at 130 per day. The spaghetti dinner mentioned above probably included the following.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti – 37 Carbs
Spaghetti Sauce – 9 Carbs
Whole Wheat Toast – 14 Carbs
Skim Milk – 11 Carbs
Ground Turkey – 0 Carbs
Butter – 0 Carbs
Total Carbs = 71

If you watched breakfast, lunch, and snacks carefully, you might keep your carb totals down around 150, but that’s still more than the RDA of 130. Most people, however, eat around the same number of carbs at each meal and half that number at each snack. Here are those totals!

• Breakfast – 70 carbs
• 10 am Snack – 35 carbs
• Lunch – 70 carbs
• 3 pm Snack – 35 carbs
• Dinner 70 carbs
• Evening Snack – 35 carbs
Total Carbs = 315 carbs!

That’s almost 3 times the RDA! No wonder you have a high blood sugar! Moderation doesn’t work! But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

There are steps you can take, no matter where you are right now in terms of weight, fitness, or lifestyle. You can turn this around without spending money on gyms, diet programs, or embarrassing support groups.

Follow these three guidelines with consultation with your primary care physician!
1. Build a diet around healthy foods!
2. Limit your carbohydrate intake to 130 carbs per day.
3. Exercise for at least 40 minutes a day at least four days a week.

You might call that radical. I call it doable. It may also raise some interesting questions.
1. How will I find time to exercise like that?
2. What kinds of exercise should I do?
3. How will I convince my family to eat like that?
4. How will I overcome being hungry all the time?
5. Where can I find a list of healthy foods?

This site will help answer all those questions! And, remember this. I’m not a physician. I’m a man with Type 2 Diabetes. I started out with an A1C of 7.9 and weighed in at 250 lbs. I’m less than six feet tall and I’m over 50. After one year of fighting diabetes instead of living with it, I have an A1C of 5.7 and I weigh 215 lbs. I’m still losing weight and I don’t take any Diabetes medications. I didn’t develop a new pill or discover a secret. It’s diet and exercise!

I limit carbs in the following manner.

• Breakfast – 30 carbs
• 10 am Snack – 15 carbs
• Lunch – 30 carbs
• 3 pm Snack – 15 carbs
• Dinner 30 carbs
• Evening Snack – 15 carbs
Total Carbs = 135 carbs!

I use a YouTube videos for exercise. My wife and I center our diet on 31 superfoods that can be found in any grocery store and taste great! No secrets! No gimmicks! Just the right tools to fight Type 2 Diabetes!

I hope you’ll subscribe to my site and come back as I post blog articles and videos that answer the questions posed above. And those are just the beginning! What are your questions? Post them on this site and I will do my best to answer them!

Jim Lenze
A Crimson Rider!


Full disclosure, I have no relationship with Charlie O’Connell, Fitscript, or the GlucoseZone. I have just benefited from the videos and highly recommend them! These workouts do not require special equipment, just an Internet connection and room to move. Rain or shine, cold or hot, you can work out. There is no better way to fight Type 2 Diabetes!

Level 1

This video was the beginning of my daily exercise to fight Type 2 Diabetes. I followed it for one year and lost 35 lbs. My A1C went from 7.9 to 5.7 without medication. It’s a great place to begin!

Level 2

This video was step two for my daily exercise routine. I strongly urge you to get used to level one before trying level 2. Thanks, Charlie!