During the winter, people don’t get out as much and you are stuck in doors often with tasty holiday foods!
That seems to be true for at least half of Logan County. I recall several years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes, which is a pancreatic disorder, and the first thing I learned was how truly deadly this disease is. Hey, it killed Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. It kills more people every year than AIDS and cancer combined, but most people think of it as something the victims do to themselves.
Such is not the case, and in fact there are two types of diabetes — adult onset, or Type II, which develops later in your adult life, and Type I, or early childhood diabetes.
One of my friends was diagnosed with Type I as a child when he went into a diabetic coma on his birthday after his dad took him out for some sodas.
You can’t tell from looking at people who has diabetes, either. One of my friends is skinny as a rail and his diabetes is worse than mine. In fact, I have visited him in the hospital when he went into a coma. That happens when your blood sugar level goes over 400, by the way.
Insulin is the older and more traditional way to treat diabetes. In addition to being a pain to deal with (you have to keep it cool, you have to give yourself injections) it’s also expensive. However, many diabetics take care of their ailment with pills.
I am in that latter group. Fortunately, many of the pills are available as inexpensive generics that you can get for $4 at Walmart and Kroger pharmacies and some others. My own personal physician (Dr. Walters at the Community Health Foundation of Man) is very good about trying to find medications for me that I can afford and I doubt he realizes how much I appreciate that.
The second thing I learned about diabetes was how many people locally are afflicted by it.
The third thing I learned was how difficult it can be to watch what you eat. Some of the worst stuff a diabetic can devour is stuff we normally think of as “healthy” foods, such as breads, potatoes and other food high in carbohydrates. That’s right. As a diabetic, you are better off snacking on beef jerky and pork rinds than toast or chips. A high protein diet gets old fast. I never was a big one on sweets, but I do sit and fantasize about fresh baked bread on a regular basis. White bread can rocket my glucose levels up by 50 points, by the way.
I was thinking about all of this the other day when I got an interesting email about holidays food and diabetes.
The holiday season, for many, invokes memories of family and friends and food, especially during Christmas and New Years. Traditionally, that also means roasted turkey, stuffing, pies, cookies, cakes and all sorts of comfort food. In my family, it usually meant pizza too.
With large helpings of carbohydrate- and sugar-laden food, extra meals and snacks, it can be challenging and frustrating to manage your blood glucose levels.
Having to remind friends and family members that you can’t eat a big slice of grandma’s great cake or pie is a drag. Experiencing this year after year can turn what was once a cherished holiday into a time of dread.
The folks at www.Fit4D.com, a personalized diabetes coaching service, have some helpful wintertime tips to deal with the pressures and food laden stresses of this time of the year.
• Planning ahead is key. With all the wonderful holiday food to choose from, be sure to have your plate planned out in advance to avoid letting your taste buds take over. This includes deserts Find out recipes and carbohydrate content of foods ahead of time.
• Try to plan holiday meals around your normal meal times instead of snack times.
• Keep your carbohydrate intake spread out throughout the day, don’t save it all for one big meal. Remember that your body likes consistency with carbohydrates to process the glucose efficiently and work properly with your medications.
• Avoid holiday parties or events on an empty stomach.
• Appetizers, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and celery, are great low carb, low calorie options.
• If you choose to drink during the holidays, please be safe with regards to carbs, calories, medication, and general wellness. Many alcoholic beverages contain carbohydrates. Be sure to wear medication identification, and never drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol also does not mix well with some medications, so please check with your healthcare provider before drinking. Limiting your alcohol intake will save you calories and not impact blood glucose levels as much.