Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Cupcake is not Broccoli

Learned the Hard Way. What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

I have learned so much since I was diagnosed with diabetes.  I’ve been at this for nearly 7 years now and you’d think that I “know it all” and had learned valuable lessons long ago.  Today I am going to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I didn’t learn one of the most important lessons until sometime this last year: A cupcake is not broccoli.  Yes, that’s right folks, you heard it here first!

When I was first diagnosed I went about changing my diet to something that I had always thought was healthy.  I cut out desserts and the obviously “bad” foods as best as I could.  I kept hearing and reading that people with diabetes can eat anything as long as they pay attention to portions etc.  I read how we needed to watch how many carbs we eat.  I knew roughly how many carbs I could eat at one meal.  However, I didn’t truly learn until this year that the type of carb makes a huge difference.

It would seem obvious, at least it does now, that we should focus on healthier foods and avoid the over-processed sugary foods.  I got that early on, I did, but there was a Kate living inside me who desperately wanted to be normal and be able to eat whatever she wanted!  I didn’t want to let go of the foods that I enjoyed.  I spent a lot of time in the grocery store, reading labels to determine just what I could eat.  I went searching for snacks and “goodies” that would fit into my carb allotment.  I scoured the shelves seeking foods that I could “safely” eat.  That sounds like a sensible, mature thing to do, right?  Well it isn’t, in my opinion.  What I should have done in the beginning is realize that there really are foods that I can’t shouldn’t eat all the time.  Instead, I stubbornly held on to foods that did nothing but make things harder on me.  The more I ate of the higher carb foods, the harder it was to let them go.

Let me insert here that I’m a T2 who doesn’t use insulin.  Those of us who don’t use insulin can only control our blood glucose by paying attention to what we ingest (and exercising, of course).  We don’t have the option to bolus for a goodie.  Therefore, thinking that we can eat a cupcake just makes it more difficult to control.

So, how has this “new found” knowledge changed the way I eat?  I have given up eating some foods.  I no longer eat potatoes.  Crackers and chips are off limits.  No more French bread (I still eat some whole wheat and a slice of 13 carb rye on occasion).  I no longer read food labels on snacks in the hopes that I can eat them.  According to my handy Calorie King book, a mini cupcake with frosting has 13 carbs.  2 cups of chopped broccoli has 12 carbs.  The old Kate would think she could safely eat either one without causing blood glucose issues.  The newer, more educated Kate knows that she can’t.  A cupcake is not broccoli.

I still indulge now and then.  I still eat my peanut butter pie when my numbers are good or I can exercise for 15 minutes afterward.  I will still splurge when eating out if I feel like it.  I refuse to fear the carb, but I respect it.  I have diabetes but it doesn’t have me!

I’m participating in Wego Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.  I’m posting every day in April.  #HAWMC


  1. love it! and i think i just realized how much easier it is to have type 1 than type 2. i CAN eat potatoes and cupcakes (even though my numbers don't always like them), and all i have to do is give more insulin. i try to stay away from foods like that, and go with healthier, lower GI things. respect is good.

    1. I respectfully disagree Kim, there is no way that having type 1 is easier! I have the utmost respect for you who have to so carefully weigh, measure, calculate and inject. Nothing about diabetes is easy, regardless of type.

  2. What a great post - and something I need to keep in mind too. I must admit that I pay great attention to carb counts, but not necessarily to GI values and such. Thanks for the reminder that a cupcake is not broccoli.


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