Posted by on Thursday, 11 March 2010

Diabetic unfriendly

Just in case you happen to have come across this blog shortly after the diagnosis of yourself or a member of a family, here's a little tip from someone who's been there. Never, ever, ever buy any foodstuff labelled 'diabetic'. Ever.

Soon after diagnosis and for several years afterwards well-meaning friends and relatives would 'treat' me to some diabetic chocolate, jam or something similar. It wasn't long before I realised that these expensive products were something of a poisoned chalice. They appeared to allow you to continue to enjoy something sweet and tasty that you worried you'd never be able to eat freely again.

The reality however quickly becomes clear. Yes you can eat that bit of chocolate. But it isn't very nice chocolate, and even a few squares (which is all the packaging suggest you allow yourself to avoid succumbing to a dose of the runs) are followed but terrible bouts of wind. I mean really bad, uncomfortable, painful, window rattlers. Quite funny, granted, but then you are faced with the rest of the bar sitting there; daring you to try it again.

Some would suggest you need to have impeccable control and a will of iron, then melt a square of proper 70% dark stuff on your tongue after a big meal once in a blue moon. For us real people however, it's important to realise that it's just a case of not very much and not very often. I don't have to live like a monk forever. If I'm careful for most of the time, a little treat every now should do me very little harm and stop me going insane (or giving up altogether).

Personally, and yes I know it's not the best thing to use, I always used to eat chocolate to recover from low level hypos (you know the ones that hover around the 4 mark). Yes it is too high in fat. No it doesn't get into the bloodstream as quickly as glucose tablets. But I'm lucky not to have much of a problem with my weight or cholesterol levels, and it gives me enough of a chocolate fix to make saying no all the other times easy.

Coping with diabetes long-term has meant learning to live a different way. To live every day with it in mind. I've had to come to terms with not being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. To make different, healthier food choices my default option. But I also needed to find a way to live as normally as I can, every day. To live with the condition, not under it.

Besides a little bar of something makes a great pay-off for a trip to the gym :)

Update: Diabetic friendly

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