Personal Chef Approach member Penelope hit the nail on the head when she says “the biggest lesson that could be applied to ANY person’s eating plan is one word -moderation.” So many of the changes she and daughter Micaleh have had to make in their diet, could benefit all of us. Here is the rest of their inspirational story about living with type 1 diabetes, and the adjustments they’ve made in both diet and lifestyle.
There are many schools of thought on treating type 1 diabetes. As a parent I just take in all the information that I can handle without screaming, and utilize what I can. As a growing child my daughter looks like every other child her age, and I do not want her to see diabetes as something that singles her out or holds her back in the rest of her life. Yet, having diabetes means having an action plan, balancing food, exercise and insulin control. Without this vital routine a diabetic is at risk of losing their life.
Micaleh has been forced to grow up fast, not only is she the child of a single-parent home, she was the first kid at her elementary school to have type 1 diabetes. I always joke that she is eleven going on thirty because she is my little pal. She is so grown up in her tastes in music, films, books and art, yet still very much a little girl who does not understand why God did this to her (in her own words). She longs to be “normal” just like every other kid and be able to open the fridge and eat whatever without having to think about doing an insulin shot and calculating the carbs.
Diabetics today can eat just about anything as long as it is an exact portion, so you know exactly how many carbs you are eating. The pancreas, in people with type 1 diabetes, does not create insulin so they must inject insulin to “help the body process food. My daughter can eat whatever she wants but she must always cover the food with the right amount of insulin. In our home there are still some definite “no’s. I do not buy sugar-based sodas or candy. I also stay away from highly processed high carb snack food like potato chips or anything bread-y like donuts or muffins. She can still eat these on occasion but I would rather keep the temptation away. I also buy as much organic food as I can, including meat. I do not want any hormones or additives added to her food.
Dealing with a picky eater who is also diabetic is very difficult. But you just have to keep trying new things. I learned she loves raw almonds (which I had bought for myself on my cleanse diet) and lentil soup! When she is older she can decide if she wants to live a low carb or raw food type diet which will greatly reduce her insulin intake and keep her blood sugars low.
Another challenge for my daughter is puberty. Raging hormones and stress raise a person’s blood sugar levels, so even if Micaleh is calculating her food precisely she can still experience high blood sugar. Since hitting puberty, her insulin levels have increased immensely. Her doctor assures me that once puberty stops, the levels will lower again. So my daughter’s diabetes has forced us into healthy eating.
Micaleh IS going through a growing spurt now so when she comes home from school she is starving! I have organic baby carrots and hummus on hand for her or organic strawberries or raspberries -anything in the berry family is low carb. Water is your friend if you are diabetic, along with light to moderate daily exercise (too much can cause low blood sugar). Water helps naturally lower blood sugar, however even this is a balancing act. If my daughter’s blood sugar is over 300, exercising can make her blood sugar rise, and water will be ineffective.
Our biggest challenge is that diabetes never takes a day off. It is a slow and silent killer. Even when my daughter’s blood sugar is high she looks fine and acts fine. But repeated blood sugar highs can cause a myriad of health problems such as blindness, kidney failure and limbs that have to be amputated. Plus I am raising a tween! She constantly will eat her food before she has tested and given herself a shot. I feel like a nag but I HAVE TO DO THIS. She gets mad at me, but I don’t care if it means her life will be prolonged and she wont suffer any organ or tissue damage from repeated highs.
I have said this before and I will say it again – I am NOT interested in managing my daughter’s diabetes, I am interested in a CURE. Science is doing some wonderful things, for instance they are working on an artificial pancreas, and I am often told that it will be cured in my daughter’s lifetime. I just hope we are both alive and well to see that day.
I’m sure I am not alone in wishing for a cure for Micaleh too, Penelope! Thank you so much for enlightening us with your story. Please do come join our community of amazing people like Penelope, who are proactively sharing their experience, advice, recipes, and having fun with the personal chef approach to making healthy meals ready to go from fridge to table in a snap. I hope you enjoy our “recipe of the week”taste of what you can expect with this delicious low-fat hummus recipe I snacked on when I did the cleansethat Penelope referred to above.
This is easily one of my favorite snacks, lunches, or appetizers; cleanse or no cleanse. It is high in nutrients, filling, and it’s easy to make and grab on the run.
SERVINGS: makes about 1 1/4 cups (one serving is 2 tablespoons)
1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and 1/3 cup liquid reserved
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (you can substitute raw cashew butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional, but great for the cleanse)
In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne (if using). Pulse to roughly chop, then process while adding the 1/3 cup reserved liquid from the chickpeas and flax seed oil.
I usually use it as a dip for crudités, pita chips, or spread it on rice cakes. I’ve used it in chicken salad, and it also makes a great spread on sandwiches when you want to kick them up a notch with flavor.
Try using ancho chili powder in place of the cumin and roasted garlic, or add in a couple chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garnish with toasted pine nuts (after you finish the cleanse).