Last year I joined a Youth Diabetes Action bike tour for 8 hours a day over a period of nine days. The greatest challenge was managing continuous and vigorous exercise on insulin. The greatest threat was hypoglycaemia, and even delayed effects of low blood glucose at night.
Even with all these challenges, I believe that regular exercise, insulin therapy and managing food all go hand-in-hand. One of my challenges related to eating with diabetes is how to calculate the amount of carbohydrates in food when eating out at a restaurant or having take-away.
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In Hong Kong, there are so many restaurants providing different cuisines. One type of food, such as noodles, can be cooked in so many ways with a huge variety of sauces and seasonings, which usually contain sugar. As a result, every time I visit a restaurant where I have never been before, I can only guess the amount of carbohydrates in those dishes, and I often underestimate, which results in a higher blood glucose value. Overall, the food choices available and affordable for students like me on a budget here in Hong Kong are usually not healthy.
What I can do is to eat "less unhealthily" and choose dishes with enough meat, vegetables with less salty or less sugary sauces if possible, and avoid cold drinks which usually contain a large amount of simple sugar. Maybe this challenge can be overcome by bringing packed lunch to school or workplace, which can be prepared at home with the accurate number of carbohydrate calculation for easy insulin dosing at mealtime. Yet, having lunch with friends, classmates or colleagues is a crucial part of my social life, and everyone enjoys eating out. Generally, I think most of the pressure comes from ourselves.
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Everything revolves around food in our society, which makes eating with type 2 diabetes more challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and, therefore, I have made progressive changes to the way I eat. One change at a time.
As luck would have it, most of my favourite foods became difficult for me. Some fruits also became off-limits. It was necessary for me to remove those things from my food plan because I do not use insulin to manage my diabetes. Finding alternatives made living with these food changes much more bearable. Replacing pasta with spaghetti squash or zucchini made a huge difference!
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I choose to eat a sandwich with a fork and knife, avoiding the bread. I order cottage cheese or sliced tomatoes instead of potatoes. I travel with my own snacks so that I can avoid fast and convenient foods. Attending a celebration means loading up on salad and having only a taste of that birthday cake. These may seem like sacrifices but I no longer feel deprived. I believe that learning more about healthy eating would be good for me. It would give me an additional set of tools to manage my blood sugar, and my overall health.
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Essentially, I've allowed myself to look the other way when I eat something unhealthy, especially if I can manage my blood sugar by doing fancy tricks with my insulin. I'm justifying unhealthy eating behaviour and using blood sugar as an excuse. Honestly, I'm intimidated by the idea of learning about food.
The endeavour seems overwhelming, with conflicting opinions and misinformation throughout the journey. Where do I start? Who do I trust? New research is also constantly reminding us of the heart-healthy benefits of both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like omega-3s, and even the weight-management perks of some saturated fats like coconut oil. If food trends on the Internet are any indication, most of us are miles ahead of legislation and are settling back into a respectful relationship with fat. From creamy coconut-milk popsicles to almond-butter energy balls, the most popular pictures in your Pinterest feeds are often flaunting full-fat.
Our food priorities have seen a very dramatic shift from a preoccupation with quantity to perceived quality. Oz last week. And we are now talking in absolutes. Coined in by Dr. Steven Bratman, the term orthorexia was used to describe an obsession with righteous eating. People with orthorexia often have their own strict set of eating rules and refuse to deviate from their ideals. The result is often severe psychological distress, social and relationship interference, and physical signs of malnutrition. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their relationship with food, speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
I recently watched a woman at the gym pop two vegan brownies into her mouth at 9 a. But focusing solely on specific ingredients or food labelling is clouding our ability to assess our food choices holistically. In the s when I was growing up, my mom would have called a gluten-free cupcake with vegan buttercream a once-per-week treat, so why are we calling it a daily clean-eating snack? I also have an issue with the moral weight we assign to these dichotomous categories of food.
Unfortunately, this strict food thinking is being taken to the extreme, leading to eating disorders. There has been a lot of discussion in the medical community about the new unofficial eating disorder orthorexia which is grounded in a fixation with dietary purity. Pete What if you have the opposite problem?
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Neal Hi Pete. Breezy Hi Pete, what were the bloodwork results? Speak with a real nutritionist not a doctor to find out more about the diet you need to be on, June 25, at Report abuse. Mary These low blood sugar events are a reaction to eating that. Laura Pete, listen to Mary. Pete Going on a low carb diet is not worth spending the night in the ER or another time having the campus nurse treat me for hypoglycemia while the campus cop didn't want me to drive.
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June 27, at Report abuse. Phil I am so tired of people tell me what NOT to eat instead of telling me what to eat. Neal Phil, there is much information out there. ABS The general rule of thumb is eat directly from the God's pantry and avoid everything that has been adulterated by man. June 25, at Report abuse Reply. Anne I have been a diabetic for 33 yrs. Neal Hi Folks. ToTheIdiots My daughter has type 1 diabetes. Mary Actually, your ancestors, just like mine, only started eating grain when they were starving during "the long winter" and the majority of their grains were fermented.
Jimmy Why do they keep lowering the numbers to classify more and more people as type 2 diabetics? Mary While it is true that most people progress no matter what warning they are given, people who are warned at a blood sugar of 90 pre-diabetic or early diabetes have a good opportunity to turn their life around and never spend a dollar on drugs. Laura Blood Sugar explains this in detail. June 26, at Report abuse Reply.
Brittney I wish this article had a little more information for those diagnosed with Type 2 who do not lead a sedentary lifestyle and ate very well. Anne I responded to this article earlier, but thought I would respond to Brittney. Hunter Typical rubbish advice on diabetes here. Elise It's hard to cure diabetes completely, while Maha Meditation taught by Holy Ziguang Shang Shi certainly provides the best way to treat this tough chronic disease.
Vichara Bravo to Elise for mentioning meditation, a healing art that goes to the roots of stress. Patrick Well, the article states the obvious. June 27, at Report abuse Reply.
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