Friday, November 13, 2009

Thinking About the Upcoming Holiday Season

I've made a few goofs this past two weeks, but nothing really bad ... until last night. Regular meals are usually simple to work around and calculate, but how do you manage a night out?

Last night, after a fabulous Pete's Game, our wonderful producers treated the crew to a after game get-together. It's usually held at a restaurant that serves bar-type munchies and the feast consists of wings, lattice fries, natchos etc. All the goodies you'd expect for a late night get together. I tried to be good and I did restrain myself but it got me to thinking of the upcoming Christmas holiday season.

Years ago I would start my Christmas preparations off with a bake-a-thon of about 150 dozen cookies. (I'm not kidding - this was my gift to family and friends, we didn't keep them all). Add to that the Christmas cakes, fudge etc and you can imagine the temptation all of that.

With holiday entertaining, we also have to consider all of the yummy appetizers, the drinks and long hours of trying to get everything done so that we can have the "perfect" holiday season.

This is a big strain on anyone, let alone someone with chronic health concerns. Stress - whether it be dietary, physical or mental, has a big impact on our health. The holiday season has the potential to be a triple threat to our health. A naturpath was telling me that the few weeks following Christmas are always busy with people who have over done the season and have fallen ill.

How would a diabetic handle the pressures of Christmas goodies, the mountain of pre-holiday tasks and events. Luckily for us, our Challenge ends this week, but for a diabetic, its a lifetime of challenges.

"Over two million Canadians have diabetes and that number is expected to reach three million by 2010" read more ...

This challenge has been a wake-up call for me and I will be watching my choices more closely now. I can make a real difference in my health outcome with some small changes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

time is running out

I would first like to agree with Cheryl on the whole hectic livfestyle and how when you are so busy its hard to find time to have a good healthy meal. I know I am finidng it really hard to eat at the same time everyday 3 times a day. I know there are others who have a lot more hectic lifestyles than mine, but as a student my schedule is all over the place. The lack of time between classes or between classes and work makes it hard for one to have the time to make a proper meal at home. This certainly turns us to want to have fast food. The fast food resturants are all trying to compete with one another to see who has the better healthier choices for the menu. However do you ever wonder if the 'healthy salad' is actually better for you than the regular burger you eat? I know I do, and with all the preservatives that are used, and the healthiness (for lack of better word) of the dressings, it kinda makes you wonder.

As for the rest of the time we have left to get on track with being a person with diabetes, we don't have very much time left. I feel as though I am just getting a hold of the idea when I need to take my pills, take my blood sugar, and how much insulin to take. For such a drastic lifestyle change, it certainly does not happen overnight. I have come to the conlusion that because I have been reading labels the last week and a half, I will continue to do this in the goal of being a healthier person. I went out shopping with my roommate last night, we have both decided to make the healthiest choice when we are choosing our food that comes into the house. No more of the craving food that everyone craves every now and then! I think by having someone who is around me everyday doing the same thing as I am doing will be a good incentive and motivation to keep me going with this new 'diet' and exercise plan.

We only have 5 days left!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Stress of a Hectic Lifestyle

Stress affects everyone and for someone who is ill or has health concerns - it places even more demand on a body ill-equipped to handle it. Health professionals advise us to monitor our stress and find ways to balance our life to reduce the impact stress has on us. Putting this strategy into action can be quite the challenge.

First, I will admit that I do not usually have a hectic lifestyle. I spoke with Betsy on the day we began this challenge about "hectic". My week is nothing compared to all of the meetings and functions she takes part in.

My stress is in not planning ahead so that I can care for myself with healthy options. I know I'm not alone in this otherwise our "fast food" industry wouldn't exist. We tend to go full tilt until we are famished, and then need something to eat "quickly" as we have to get back to what we were doing.

Many food services have revamped their menus to offer healthier choices also including providing nutritional data for those who need it.

I wish when I walked into one of these establishments that I "really" wanted the healthy choice. Why is it that the less healthy is almost always more appealing? Going into a restaurant that deep-frys anything almost guarantees that I'll have a craving for fries!

For me the best choice is to plan ahead and bring something delicious from home. Good plan - now lets see how long it takes for me to implement it!

Now - for those who have have better self-control - here's a handy Eating Out Guide!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From the seeds we plant

The Sunday New York Times featured Sesame Street; it's turning 40 today. At this time, 40 years ago, I was a late second trimester lump, as yet to have emerged. And, as the Times pointed out, the issues of the day in late 1969 (rainbow Muppet's showing how we are all the same on the inside, and can get along in urban settings) have moved on. But does the show remain dedicated to social change? I think they who make it, would say yes. And, if so, who better to show change ("CHANGE" was the slogan after all) than Michelle Obama--today's guest.

Yes, I tuned in. I'm about to turn 40 too. Maybe Grover would help me cope?

First Lady Obama's message was, as promised by the Times, healthy eating. A kind of toddler locovore advocacy. Plant seeds in kids, so they'll plant seeds and eat healthily. Message received.

My children, Tom 5 and Ivy 3, watched along. But the show, over all, didn't hold them. It was too frenetic. Big bird thinking of leaving the Street at the beginning was grossly unearned sentiment. Then, the segments kept changing and not returning to the actual Street. Ivy walked away during Abby Caddaby's flying school sequence. I'm thinking not a good sign. Tom hung in there, but only because he could tell I was actually watching the TV with him, as opposed to snuggling with him while mostly reading a book or newspaper off to the side. There was a letter of the day for a split second: "H". And the number, obviously, was 40. A vexing, or abstract, one for everyone in my living room. As it ended, I was left with a feeling disjointedness and mild confusion. There was no overarching story arc. I guess I know why, although I grew up on it, my kids don't ask to watch it.

Maybe our world is a more tolerant place 40 years on. But, if Sesame Street feels it must act as if it has ADHA to compete and be "relevant" no wonder too many of our children are obese--and are facing diabetes diagnosis. No wonder they eat, and are being fed, so much, and badly. Sweet and fattening food, sensual and tactile, a piece of personal comfort to offset our distorting and alienating world. Okay, Michelle made it; but we've lost something too. Slowness, for a start. So, as a tonic, after 40 years, the answer is to tell our kids to go plant seeds? I wonder what Kermit would have sung for us, what feelings of self-worth, safety, connection, predictability, and love he'd have offered to help? He planted some deep seeds back in his day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One week done!

As a type 1 diabetic, it seems as though taking care of your diabetes is pretty demanding. For someone such as I (and everyone else participating) who are not used to being on a strict medication schedule, it is very hard to remember that your pills have to be taken at this time everyday, you have to take your blood sugar before every meal and then calculate the appropriate amount of insulin to inject according to the amount of carbs you are going to have for your meal.
As a student I already find it hard to have appropriate meal schedule. Sometimes I eat 2 times a day sometimes I eat 4 times a day. With the chaotic schedule of being a student it is a hit and miss with meals, and also the timing of the meals as well. I have found that if I wake up in the mornign I will remember to take my blood sugar, pills and insulin, then I will have it on my mind that my next time is lunch time. I pack everything and bring it with me where ever it may be. When it comes to the afternoon I am usually not as good at remembering that I need to take it, so the times of when it is taken varies.
I can see that being diagnosed with diabetes would be such a change for an individual who is not used to being on such a strict schedule. Overall I feel that the frist week went alright, I am aware that I have to be doing this everyday 4 times a day and I have tried to stick to that. My goal this week is to get on an even better schedule where I will take my sugars around the same time every day. Hope everyone is managing alright.

Live it like ya mean it: Day 4-6

Okay, three days in one to cover...

Friday: no issues, really, enjoyed a nice flat bread sandwich loaded with veggies, a bit of turkey and a slice of swiss with a pickle on the side and that weird-tasting nestea zero (I blame the sucralose for the odd taste) and a little muffin on the side to make up the rest of the carbs (the flat bread was the only carb, and I guessed it was about the same as a couple bread slices).

Saturday: Went to the gym today for some treadmill and weight action - I enjoyed the treadmill (gotta love the intervals), but didn't enjoy the weight room; I blame residual teen-insecurities. Went out for dinner too - had a yummy grilled salmon with grilled veggies and some rice. Eating out can be done! Seriously, "BG" across from Wild Rock is awesome!

Sunday: Roomate with the car keys not back from her weekend away, so no grocery shopping, which meant a twist on lunch: one serving of tostitoes with a whole diced apple and some cheddar to hold it together and milk. Yum!

Oh! On Thursday, I was flipping through that day's Toronto Star, and found an entire section dedicated to Diabetes with an expo on Type I diabetes (a 7 yr old brother helping his 4 yr old sister read her glucometer at school after he tests himself; they're both Type I). So if you see the Thursday November 5th edition of the Toronto Star, check it out - there's some really good articles in there, including how much it costs another family with two Type I members each year.

Reflections - End of Week One

Its been a week now since I began this challenge and although I'd not wish to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I can say that the management of it is certainly do-able.

The healthcare professionals that instructed us in dietary guidelines and choices have done a great job in presenting the information in a way that it is easy to understand and work with. Food packaging and the newer cookbooks include the nutritional breakdown to make this calculation possible.

For those eating out, a Pocket Guide for Dining Out was provided, but many restaurants have the nutrutional information of their menu items available in some format - on the menu, in a brochure or on their website.

I never seriously considered the implication of our food choices until this past year when my husband became ill. Now that we are over 50, many people we know in our age group are now being diagnosed with a wide range of issues. Right now I am blessed with a strong body and good health, but I am overweight and not as physically active as I should be. I can still make changes now that will help ensure I stay as healthy as possible!

I can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes
"Scientists believe that lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. A healthy meal plan, weight control and physical activity are important prevention steps." read more ...

What are the risk factors for diabetes?
If you are aged 40 or over, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes and should be tested at least every three years. If any of the following risks factors apply, you should be tested earlier and/or more often.


  • a member of a high-risk group (Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent)
  • overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle)

  • a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • health complications that are associated with diabetes
  • given birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kg (9 lb)
  • had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol or other fats in the blood
  • been diagnosed with any of the following conditions: polycystic ovary syndrome, acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin), schizophrenia

What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following:

  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight change (gain or loss)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent or recurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection

It is important to recognize, however, that many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Impulse Purchases - Day 5

Ahh, Saturday Morning! The Sun is shining and I have a list of things to do before I arrive at the football game. I'm mentally going through my list as I drive down the street and decide to stop for a beverage before I hit the farmers market. One low fat venti, Tazo Chai Latte please. Actually when I ordered it - it was several fragmented sentences cause I can't say it that smoothly in person ;-). This is a once in a while treat but I love it in the colder weather as the black pepper helps heat me up.

As I take my second sip before I drive off to the market I remember - shoot, this probably isnt the best choice carb-wise. I didnt think to ask for nutritional info before I ordered.

We have been instructed to target our carbohydrate intake to 50-60 g per meal and the evening snack to 15-20 g.

I already had my breakfast, so there was little room for additional carbs. Imagine my surprize when I checked the website and found that my darling chai latte was 56 G of carbs!

Once again - planning ahead may help. I don't know if I can make a real substitute with less carbs at home, but I'm sure going to have to give it a try. I guess the first consideration should be a smaller size!