Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Moving past the meh

Yesterday, I kicked butt and took names when it came to being active. I gladly jumped up on the treadmill and walked FAST and UPHILL for 30 minutes. I felt great!

Today, I ache all over and not because of yesterday’s exercise. Yes, I have a few sore muscles but that’s a good thing. No, I ache, like the flu. I’m finding it difficult to get out of the recliner and do anything. In fact, I’m so proud that I pushed myself to write this post. I seriously had to push myself. Sigh.

While thinking about the difference between yesterday and today, I remembered reading many, many times that some people just can’t make themselves exercise. It might be due to the boredom of the routine, it might be due to sore feet, it might be due to other chronic issues that cause pain. Whatever the reason, so many people just don’t exercise, often for very valid reasons.

The part of my brain that knows how much added exercise is vital to good health is balking at this realization. Why can’t I just go and walk? Why can’t others? It’s not that hard…and yet, it is.

Last week I had the privilege to participate in an online T2 summit. We talked about a lot of good things, including exercise. Kelly Rawlings reminded me that studies have shown that 30 minutes of exercise per day is beneficial, and that the exercise doesn’t have to be done all at once! Three 10-minute exercise session each day can have the same benefit as one 30-minute session. I knew that and yet I had forgotten. I’m always so focused on “get on that treadmill and WALK!” that I forget that I don’t have to put in 30 minutes in one stretch.  

So, thank you Kelly for the reminder. Today, I’m going to do just that. Three 10 minute sessions. I can do that. So can you. (And don’t forget to log your efforts at: http://bigbluetest.org/take-the-big-blue-test/ through 11/19/14 and help raise money for diabetes charities.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stem the Tide

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s a month when advocates try to raise awareness of diabetes, more so than the rest of the year. November is exhausting. Either you bust your gut trying to do more, advocate more, plead more, educate more…just more. Or, you do your usual thing, feeling a bit guilty that you’re not doing more. Maybe you don’t participate at all. Damned if you do, etc.

I’m always impressed by how certain people have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of advocacy energy. I wax and wane when it comes to my advocacy…and housework. Lately I’ve noticed more and more of my DOC friends mentioning that they’re a bit burned out. It makes me shout “me too!” but it also makes me sad. It reminds me of life in a small town: the same group of people are the ones who support Little League, do all the church work, organize bake sales for PTA and are scout leaders. Eventually they burn out and it’s left to someone else to pick up the reins. I’ve watched it happen here where I live and I know that it repeats itself across the country and the world. The DOC isn’t much different than a small town. It’s not surprising that people burn out; their throats sore from shouting into the wind. 

Those of us who have diabetes are very aware of it. We want others to be aware of it too so that perceptions can change, funding can increase and myths can be busted. The thing is that people don’t pay much attention to someone else’s disease unless it affects them directly. Why should they? Their lives are filled with things that matter to them and may not have the time/energy to truly care about diabetes. So why advocate? Why raise our voices to educate and inform? 

It’s hard not to be aware of diabetes these days because the media splashes the word about along with images of fat people and dire warnings of doom and gloom: lost limbs, blindness and worse. I mean, after all, it is an epidemic!!!!! This “epidemic” is mostly portrayed as something that can be prevented if we would just eat less and move more. That is insulting to all people with diabetes because it just ain’t true; not for any type of diabetes. It’s also dangerous for people who may someday be diagnosed. They may think that it won’t happen to them if they “just avoid sugar” and park at the far end of the lot. Usually the word epidemic scares people and might actually push them to do something. But the diabetes “epidemic” doesn’t seem to cause this panic. I think that’s because it’s felt that diabetes can be prevented and it’s our own damn fault. It won’t happen to me, surely, because…well, just because! 

This is why I continue to advocate for people with diabetes. 

Does being an advocate mean that I have to constantly work at changing people’s perspectives, harangue politicians to enact important medical legislation and write a blog? Does it mean that I have to up my advocacy efforts in November? Nope. I do what I can, when I can. Advocacy doesn’t have to be this big thing, it can simply be a matter of showing your friends and family what life with diabetes is like, with all its warts. 

I join my voice with others who advocate for people with diabetes. Together we can be like a huge moon that will turn the tide of this disease’s perceptions and outcomes. Yeah…that’s good. I can do that no matter what the calendar says.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It’s a matter of taste

I have spoken before how, over the course of several years, I’ve slowly changed what I eat. I have always adored bread. I used to eat too-large portions of pasta. Muffins. Potatoes. Cookies. Other stuff. Things have changed. I’ve found replacements or adjustments to a lot of my previous carb-heavy cravings and my portion sizes have reduced dramatically. I can still overeat stuff like a boss now and then, but I have found that my tastes have changed, slowly, and I often don’t get as much satisfaction out of those previous splurges as I used to. They just don’t taste as good. I don’t feel like they are worth the splurge.

I love to share ideas and foods in the hopes that someone else might find benefit in their D lives as well. Remembering that everyone is different, and so is their diabetes, I very much dislike it when someone touts a certain food or carb level or widget that “will make all the difference in your diabetes”. That makes it difficult for me to share recipes etc. since I have no idea if others will like it as much as I do and I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying that “this is the way”. 

I decided to begin sharing some of these foods with you, along with the caveat that they might not work for you. You might not like the flavor. You might not appreciate the texture. You might still be at a stage where you just can’t let go of your bread/pasta/potatoes/sweets. I realized that that’s ok. I’m just going to put it out there and let you decide for yourself.

I have been following some low-carb/paleo folks on FB just so I can find some new recipes. I’m not following a specific diet, especially not paleo, but you can find some great low-carb recipes on these websites. Here are a few I follow that often have great ideas: DJ Foodie, Holistically Engineered and The Low Carb Test Kitchen.  These folks will often post recipes from other food blogs, not just their own. I’m not telling you that “you simply must follow them!” I’m recommending them as a way to find new, low-carb recipes if that’s your desire.  

Bread. I like me some bread but I can’t eat “regular” bread without seeing blood glucose spikes, even the touted whole wheat variety. I’ve already shared with you a bread recipe that I like that is made with eggs and parmesan cheese. (It’s remarkable to me that it comes out like bread when there is no flour in it. Chemistry is amazing.) Yesterday I tried a different variety of bread and I like it. It’s “rye” bread, without the rye. It is higher in fat and only 1.8 grams of carbs per serving (based on what the author of the recipe says.) This bread is moist, but that can be dealt with in your toaster if you prefer. Non-grain breads are a lot denser than breads made with flour. It is an acquired taste/testure, but I’ve acquired it. You could too, if you want.  Here is the link to the recipe.

I had an egg sandwich this morning. That is one breakfast I truly enjoy and can no longer do with “regular” bread. It was yummy. I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t share this recipe with you. You might not like it, but maybe you will. It’s a matter of taste.