Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Food Stuffs

Tonight's DSMA chat was about food, specifically how people with diabetes figure out what to eat, and deal with the food police. Eating is more than just taking in nutrients. It's a social experience that is central to our lives. Even in our modern society newlyweds are still given pots and pans, silverware and plates as gifts. Weddings are celebrated with food. Babies are welcomed into families with food. Religious rites involve food. What would Communion be without wine and bread? Passover without lamb? These foods they mean something beyond nourishment for the body. Food nourishes the soul.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes my concerns turned to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and baseball games. Would I have to give up stuffing and green bean casserole? Would I have to say no to a chocolate Santa or a marshmallow Peep? Would I be able to sit in the stands, eat a hot dog, drink a beer and cheer for the Kane County Cougars?

These thoughts whirled around in my head until I learned about carb counting, and how to use insulin to cover carbs. Then I realized there are no off limits foods. That was a huge weight off my spirit.

I've discovered there are some foods that spike my blood sugar more than others. Because I don't like how high blood sugar feels I have voluntarily eliminated pizza and Chinese food from my diet, but that doesn't mean I can't eat them. I can. I just have to pay the piper later.

I learned it is OK to have a whacked out high blood sugar once in a while. It's not the end of the world to mess up and fail at counting. I plan for cookies and cupcakes in my meal plan -- carbs, fats, calories and all. I have to be able to enjoy my life around my diseases. Diabetes and MG are two big rocks in the middle of my life. I flow around them as best as I can. Diabetes didn't make me any less human. It didn't diminish my need to gather with people I love and have a meal together. I still need the social connections that happen over food.

 What I don't need are busybodies telling me what I can and can't eat, what I should and shouldn't eat. I'm an adult and I hate being treated like a child. That doesn't help. What does help? Doing the carb counting math with me.

The veggies are 7 grams of carbs. The chicken has zero. The potatoes have 36 grams. How much was that? 43. OK. I have a 1/10 insulin to carb ratio. That means I need 4.3 units to cover this meal. But, oh snap! I can't give fractional dosages... until Monday when I start my pump. That's going to be awesome. I can't wait.

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I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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