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What will people say about your attitude when this is all over?

Good day, folks! I hope you are all staying safe and healthy as you try to navigate the uncertainty of the times we find ourselves in.

We have all read and heard countless stories of how difficult this has been, the tragic losses families have had to endure, the milestones that have been and will be missed, the danger of being on the front lines, women having babies without their partners or family surrounding them, the parents struggling with working and trying to homeschool, and the list goes on. We are all trying our best to get through the seemingly monotonous days with some sense of sanity when we lay our heads down. All of our stories are different and so is the way we deal with all that is happening.

In some ways, it feels as though we are all mourning the time that is being lost. Each day that passes is a day without our loved ones. A day without gathering and laughter shared over a meal. In other ways, it feels like we all needed to step back to evaluate the things that we were making a priority over what truly matters. I really feel that God was telling me Let’s make this a time of reflection, kid, we’ll get through this together.

I know for me, I am trying my best to see the light at the end of all of this and pray that I come out of it with a deeper appreciation for the things I took for granted. If you’ve read my previous posts, I am a huge believer in the power of positivity. I am constantly telling my girls about the importance of seeing the positive in even the bleakest of situations. That is not to say that it is easy to do that everyday, it’s not. It’s something you have to work at all the time. I have had really crummy days through this, and I have also had some of the best. We have had more family dinners, game nights, indoor campouts, and movie nights than ever before.

I talk about positivity so much because I see how toxic negativity can be. I see posts everyday of people complaining about every little thing. I always thought that wisdom came with age, but I’ve seen, especially in all of this madness, that this is sadly not the case. I’ve seen this pandemic bring out the best in humanity and I’ve seen it bring out the true complainers. A lesson I learned a long time ago is not to surround myself with toxic people because it is too easy to get sucked into drama. I left drama behind a long, long time ago.

I hope we can all find the positive in these uncertain times, and I hope we can have a new understanding of what is important, what is not, and how we can better ourselves moving forward. How will people say you handled this situation?

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

So I (or a loved one) just got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, now what?!?

As this is a topic that comes up most often, it’s worth a re-post. A dear friend has a family member, a nine-year-old girl, who was just diagnosed two weeks ago and asked if I could speak with the family. I’m always happy to speak with parents of newly diagnosed children, but it has to be in their time. Some parents are just not ready at first and just need time to wrap their minds around this new life. I’ve been there, and the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. When they are ready to talk, the question hanging over their heads is, “Now what?” This is the question I get asked most often, so, the simplest way to put it… there is no simple answer. 

The “now what” is different for everyone so it’s a pretty loaded question.  I try not to sugar-coat anything (no pun intended) or tell parents what they want to hear.  The truth is, your life is going to change.  Your child’s life is going to change.  But, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing (even though it seems like it right now).

As a parent, you have no doubt been all over the internet researching, learning, driving yourself mad over the volume of information there is available and trying to decipher what’s important, what’s not, what’s right, what’s wrong.  I could tell you to stop, but I won’t. I won’t simply because I am a parent myself and telling me stop wouldn’t do any good.  You are going to do it anyway.  You will continue to drive yourself insane trying to soak in this new life.  But, this is all part of the process.  It’s part of learning to live with something new and trying to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can.  And, it’s human nature.  It’s our natural instinct to do whatever we can for our children.  Plus, are you really going to stop just because I said so?  I thought not.

If you have read some of my previous blogs, you know I am all about perspective.  I am a huge believer that your attitude will make or break you.  A bad attitude will lead to a lifetime of bad experiences, negative thoughts, and emotional meltdown.  I’ve said a thousand times, I never mean for it to sound like having a good attitude is “just that easy,” but if you can get there, your life will absolute change for the better, and that is a promise.  It’s never a good time to get diabetes, but getting it now is leaps and bounds better than any other time in history.  With insulin pumps that allow you to take insulin in different ways (extended boluses, dual-wave boluses, temp rates, etc.) and continuous glucose monitors, a long, healthy life is extremely achievable.

The first days and months of a new diagnosis are dizzying.  You feel like you need to learn a disease, inside and out, all at once.  You want to scream from the rooftops that it isn’t fair that your child has to live with this burden.  You feel like you would do anything to take it on for them.  If this is you, and I know it is, it’s okay.  It’s all part of your journey in navigating a difficult, consuming disease, and you have every right to feel whatever it is that you feel.  Another thing I am a big believer in is that nobody has the right to tell you what you should or should not feel.  God made all of us unique for a reason, so let your heart feel what it feels. It may not be what someone else’s heart feels, and that is okay.

The truth about T1D is that the learning never stops.  I still learn tricks that I’ve never heard before or tried, 30+ years later.  Yes, you need to learn the basics, but the rest will follow, a little at a time.  When I hear diabetes educators tell patients how many “treats” they can have in a given week, I want to rip my own eyeballs from my head.  It’s utter nonsense.  That may have been what was taught way back when, but to the extent that advice is outdated is mind blowing.  That kind of thing was taught when insulins worked very differently and required a strict diet on a regulated schedule.  Technology advancements, especially insulin pump features and CGM’s, make it so that no food is restricted.  Should you eat pizza and candy every day?  Absolutely not, but neither should a non-diabetic.  One thing I always tell parents is that if it is unhealthy for a diabetic, it is unhealthy for non-diabetic.  Questions like, “should you be eating that” should enthusiastically be answered, “Why yes I should, thanks for asking!”

You will get there, and so will your loved one.  Different foods work differently in every one of us, so there is no one-size-fits-all about diabetes.  It is all about learning your own body, how it reacts to stress, exercise, food, and weather.  Figuring that part out can be tough, but it is also rewarding.  I love a challenge, and I love figuring out new foods and how to properly dose for them.  It took a long, long time, but I have pizza figured out perfectly now and hold my sugar steady over the next several hours.  That was for sure a pat-myself-on-the-back triumph!

I know this is such a cliche, but diabetes is truly a one-day-at-a-time disease.  Get through today.  If you need to at first, just get through the next hour, and then the next.  Don’t get caught up trying to figure out life five years down the road, because in five years, things will be way different than you imagined anyway, so don’t waste your precious energy.

I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a sweet mom whose son was recently diagnosed.  I gave her a lot of the above advice, but I also told her that I want her to call me and let me know when the day comes that she is able to say, “Wow, I get it now.  I can’t believe how overwhelming this seemed at first.” I will be really excited when that time comes for her.

The most helpful things after a new diagnosis, in a nutshell:

  1. Let it out.  Get mad.  Scream if you want to.  Pull it together and plow ahead.  Repeat as necessary.
  2. Get involved.  Join a support group, local or online.  Write to your senators.  Become a patient advocate.
  3. Learn how to carb count and utilize online food databases.
  4. Ask your endocrinologist about a pump and CGM.  A pump is a personal preference, but for me, it’s the most freeing and allows more flexibility in eating.
  5. Don’t feel like you need to “learn diabetes” in a day.  There are many factors in this disease.  Be patient, and give it time.
  6. Embrace it.  Your loved one did nothing to cause this.  Embrace it and figure out how to move forward.
  7. If someone starts talking to you about a “diabetic diet,” walk away.  Walk away fast, and delete the term “diabetic diet” from your vocabulary as there is no. such. thing.

Knowing what I know after living with diabetes for over 30 years, I wish I could take your pain away and take on your burdens until you get to a better place.  But, the truth is, the getting there is an experience we all need to navigate on our own.  Tom Hanks said it best in A League of Their Own when he said, “The hard is what makes it good.”  You have to put in the work and you have to figure it out on your own.  When you do, oh what a feeling!

As always, I would love to connect with you if you have any questions.  Thank you for reading and for the positive feedback.  I am grateful for all of you!

Type 1 Diabetes and the Love of Baking

Ahhh, diabetes and baking! Oxymoron you say? Not at all.

This is a sticky subject for me, though not for the reasons you may think. If you have followed me from the start, you already know what I’m about to say. It’s not because diabetes and baking don’t go together. It’s the PERCEPTION that diabetes and baking don’t go together. If you knew I would say that, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve come a long way!

I’ve said it at least 2,573 times. Diabetes is about knowing YOUR body. It’s about knowing how the disease works, how different foods affect YOUR blood sugar, how insulin works, how to take your insulin differently when you eat differently, and the list goes on.

I’ve never been one to say that this is easy. It’s not easy. At all. It takes time, patience, and the persistence to not give up if something is not working. I used to hate eating Chinese food. Not because I hate Chinese food, but because I could never, ever control my blood sugar in the hours following a meal. I could have just given up Chinese food, but, ummm, yea, not going to happen! I figured it out. I didn’t figure it out the next time or even the time after that. It took trying different ways of taking my insulin, learning that the fat content was slowing down absorption making my sugar levels spike for hours on end, and figuring out exactly how to control the initial drop then severe spikes. Me=1, Chinese food=0.

It’s exactly the same way I feel about baking. I love to bake and try new recipes, so I am not going to let diabetes get in the way of that. It tries, and sometimes it wins, but not often. If it wins sometimes, I know to do things differently the next time. It’s another challenge, but I’m no longer intimidated by those challenges like I was in my earlier days of having diabetes.

I still, after all this time, get comments about what I eat. I eat like everyone else does, it’s just a little more figuring things out for me. Do I sometimes eat a couple cookies or a piece of cake for dessert? Sure do. You should have seen me at Thanksgiving! My dad kept looking across the table and saying, “Wow, that’s a lot of food!” It really was, I won’t lie. And I loved every bite of it. Then I loved every bite of my pumpkin pie piled with whipped cream. Then I loved watching my blood sugar line hold steady all. day. long. Me=1, Thanksgiving=0.

So, with baking, it’s the same for me. People think that if you bake, you eat a lot. I love baking, but I don’t eat half the dough in the process. I may take a bite, and I’ll definitely try a cookie here and there, but I am still surprised when people say, “How are you diabetic and bake all the time?” What? That doesn’t even make sense to me.

If you are a new follower (and shout out to all my new followers, HELLO), and you are wondering how a diabetes website does not feature any sugar-free recipes, please read my post titled “My favorite sugar-free desserts” and you will understand why. Hint: sugar-free is not carb-free and many “sugar-free” versions contain more carbs than the not sugar-free versions. Go figure!

I hope you are all enjoying the recipes. It’s been an overwhelming (in a good way) week with so many new followers and views! Thank you all so much for your interest in my website!

Many new recipes to come this week. I had to learn how to code them, so they are taking some time to upload.

Have a great week, all!

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Andes Candies Mint Thumbprint Cookies

Wow everyone! I made my thumbprints last week and posted to the Facebook group The Wedding Cookie Table. Many asked for my recipe and it absolutely exploded! As of last check, the recipe has been shared more than 329K times and I’ve gotten messages and questions from all over the world. So cool!

Thank you so much to all of you who have shared and commented. Please know that I have been in touch with WordPress, and I am currently working on coding each recipe so it can be printed in an easy format (currently there is a print feature, but it will print the entire page, comments and all). I have typically only done blogs and just recently started adding recipes, so I am still learning how to code and add different features. Hopefully, this particular recipe as well as the Italian Peaches will have the fully functional print feature by the end of the day.

UPDATE: Everything is now coded and working properly! Here is the link to the mint thumbprints, http://juvenilejourney21.com/andes-candies-mint-thumbprints/

Happy baking!!

Don’t Be Afraid To FEEL What You Feel

Hello friends!  Yesterday was World Diabetes Day which is held every November 14 in recognition of Frederick Banting’s birthday.  Frederick, along with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922, later selling their patent for a mere $1.  That low price was due to the fact that they wanted insulin to be available and affordable to all who needed it.  Boy, have times changed!

For those who have read most of my blogs, you know that I often talk about positivity and finding the good in not-so-good situations.  You also know that I always add a disclaimer that I never mean for my advice to sound like it’s “just that easy.”  Nothing is “just that easy.”  Losing weight is not easy.  Fighting a chronic illness every single day is not easy.  Overcoming an addiction is not easy.  Anything worth fighting for is not easy.

I have a long history with diabetes, over 31 years now.  I would never dare say that diabetes is easy for me now.  Easier yes, but easy?  No.  My problem (and this has always been a problem of mine) is that I’m stubborn, too stubborn sometimes.  With stubbornness comes pride, and with pride comes a whole host of things we won’t let ourselves do.  For me, that’s resting when I know my body needs a rest but I just keep pushing when I know I shouldn’t.  But more than that, it’s letting myself feel how I feel.  I know I will always have diabetes, so my mindset has always been, “Do the best you can, girl.  Be positive and never let this disease get the best of you.  Help others, share what you have learned, and keep educating yourself.”  But, if I’m honest with myself and all of you, some days I just want to scream and cry and complain and throw a pity party.  And darn it, that’s OK!  I’m human and I am learning to let myself feel what I feel.  It’s not reasonable or even possible to be positive all the time, but I know that I can’t beat myself up on the days that it’s not possible.  When you’re stubborn like me, you convince yourself that feeling sorry for yourself is unacceptable.  Feeling sorry for yourself and staying there is one thing, but letting yourself have a moment is quite another.  I am learning to embrace my moments and letting them happen.

I often have people tell me that they forget I have diabetes because I “never show it” or I “never complain.” After so long, it just becomes second nature to do the things you have to do to get through the day and I’ve never been one to let people know every little ache and pain that I have (Um, except for my mom.  I turn into quite the baby when I tell my mom every single minute detail about my ailments.  Sometimes they are followed up with pictures, but whatever.  Don’t judge me.  Y’all do it too).  Anyway, I just don’t like to complain about it, and quite frankly, people don’t want to hear complaining all the time.  Most of the time, I really don’t feel like I have anything to complain about.  I feel grateful that there is so much technology that wasn’t available when I was first diagnosed.  Notice I said “most of the time I don’t complain.”  Last week, I finally let myself unleash, which I haven’t done in a very long time.

My husband and I attended a wedding, and while getting ready, I had a severe low blood sugar.  I just got out of the shower and my sugar dropped rapidly.  I was soaking wet from sweat and laid down on the floor with the ceiling fan on high.  It took 40 minutes for my sugar to come back up, and by that time, I felt like I needed another shower from sweating so much.  That night, I wore a floor length form-fitting dress.  There was absolutely no place to put my insulin pump where it wouldn’t show and where it was easily accessible.  I ended up wearing an insulin pump garter belt that felt like a tourniquet.  You could still see the outline of the belt because it was a tighter dress and the pump had to be on the inside of my leg so it wouldn’t bulge on the outside.  So, I was wearing a tourniquet and a pump between my thighs.  Not to mention I had to reach way up my dress to take insulin in church.  Not the place you want to be reaching up a dress.

Later that same night, something finally snapped in me and I told my husband I couldn’t hold it together anymore.  I told him that I try so hard not to complain about diabetes but I just couldn’t do it in that moment.  I was tired.  I was tired of checking my blood sugar around the clock, I was tired of constantly figuring out where to put my pump, I was tired of the alarms that go off every day and throughout the night, I was tired of counting carbs, I was tired of carrying snacks for lows and extra insulin everywhere I go, I was tired of feeling tired because of the blood sugar roller coasters, I was tired of worrying about the price of insulin and where I will be when I get old, I was tired of worrying if my girls are going to become diabetic because of me, I was tired of having to think about every crumb I put in my mouth, I was tired from 31 years of worry.  I was done and I just needed to cry.  And then I was ok.

It’s OK to be mad.  It’s OK to be sad.  And it’s OK to be OK.  Just feel what you are feeling and don’t be afraid that you are “giving up” because of it.  I had myself convinced that because I am typically positive about diabetes, because I have a blog that emphasizes positivity, and because I pride myself on never complaining that I couldn’t EVER complain. Everyone needs a release sometimes, and sometimes that release is all it takes to feel good again.  I know for me, it takes serious work to be OK with a disease that takes so much from you.  But, as I have said before, I am grateful that I can feel OK more than I don’t.  It’s a long, long, long journey, one that looks different for each of us.  Mine took over 20 years, but the things I learned in those 20 years I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Those lessons are all part of who I am.  When you are wishing and praying to come through whatever situation you are in, remember that the hard parts are the parts you will look back on and know where some of your greatest lessons came from.

Emotional UNintelligence

Hello there strangers! It’s been a long, long time.  Since last March, in fact. The end of the school year always proves a bit stressful, and it seems as though everyone is just trying to limp across the finish line into summer. Once we are into summer, in full relaxation mode, daily routines fall by the wayside and it’s not long before we start to crave routine once again. Once school starts and the routine rushes back in, it’s not long before we are wishing for a break.

It seems that’s the way life goes, always reaching for something that is just out of reach. Once we get it, we are wishing for something else. One thing I don’t want to have to reach for is emotional intelligence. I am constantly replaying conversations in my head that I’ve had with others, hoping that the things I said didn’t come across in a way I didn’t intend or in a hurtful manner. If I feel that something I said or the way that I acted could have, even in a small way, hurt someone else or made them feel like my opinion degraded theirs, I am not OK until I make it right. That is the very definition of emotional intelligence, being aware of how you interact with others and being in control of the emotions that drive us.

Emotional intelligence is not just learning what to say, more importantly, it is learning what not to say. You have to be thinking to yourself, “How is this going to come across? Am I speaking truth, or am I just spouting my emotionally unintelligent opinion that I am convinced everyone should feel too?” Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, but there is a way to say things that is not hostile or demeaning. I’ve said it over and over, it’s like someone saying they are a democrat or a republican, which ever one the emotionally unintelligent person is not, and watch how fast the conversation spirals out of control. Emotionally intelligent people can have a conversation where both can express their opinions and respect the fact that the other feels the way they do for their own personal reasons.

Our family has actually lost relationships because of emotionally unintelligent people who felt that it was OK to tell me that if I ate a certain way, I wouldn’t have type 1 diabetes. By the tone and the aggression behind it, they were speaking it as gospel, that it was an absolute truth, and we were stupid for not believing it. So, basically, if I eat bean sprouts and cinnamon, my incurable disease will be cured, got it!

Far too often, I have met people who have felt that they can tell me how my disease works, what I should be eating, what I shouldn’t be eating, why I should feel grateful that “at least it’s not cancer.” The list goes on, and we all have people like that in our lives. It’s frustrating, yes, but we all have to deal with people like that throughout our lives, so it’s important that we learn how to deal with those types of personalities. Trust me, those types of people have very small circles around them. If you are constantly walking away from a conversation thinking how hard it is just to be around that person, other people feel the same way. You will probably also notice that those are the people who are surrounded by drama, self righteousness, an “I am the best and I know everything” kind of attitude. It used to be draining for me to worry about those people in my life or thinking that if I could just talk sense into them, they would change. WRONGO. This is something I’ve written many times about, if you want to change someone, the only thing you can do is change your attitude about them. Do not, I repeat, do not let these types of unintelligent, self-righteous people take up any space in your mind. Stay in your own lane and be the best person you can be.  If you think you can change someone, I’m afraid you are going to spend a lifetime beating your head against the wall. Let them go. Trust me, they are not spending any time worrying about you, so don’t waste your time worrying about them.

My hope is that I never stop thinking about the kind of person I am, how I interact with others, and how my actions and words affect others. I hope that you too are not weighed down by those in your life who are emotionally unintelligent. The only thing we can do is change how we deal with these types of individuals and what effect we will allow them to have in our lives.  As I am someone who writes a lot about positivity, I try to take negative situations and use them to reflect on my own behavior. I wrote in an earlier blog that some of my greatest lessons were learned from one of the cruelest, most emotionally abusive bosses I ever had the displeasure of knowing.  It was a horrible situation to be in, but the lessons learned were monumental, the greatest being that I would never waste another minute caring about the aggression and opinions of an emotionally unintelligent person. Neither should you!

Happy Halloween to you all. I hope it’s a safe one!

What is holding you down?

We all have things that hold us down.  We all have reasons to be bitter, to hate, to withhold forgiveness, to dwell in the past, to spew negativity.

But, does that mean we should?  Not even close.

Not one of us can say that we’ve had an easy life.  In fact, the hardest parts are what help shape who we are.  But, the shape we take is up to us.  Each one of us has a choice to make at every fork in the road.  Will we go the right way?  Will we let the situation that brought us to the fork take us down or make us fight?  There was a time that I let having diabetes get the best of me.  I resented that I had to do things just to get through a day that others didn’t have to do.  I hated that I had to wear something on my body every second of every day just to survive.  I was bitter, and I was negative.  And, that was my choice.  I chose to live in bitterness and I chose to be negative.  If you think these things are feelings and not choices, think again.  When I was tired of being bitter, I made a choice and that choice changed who I was, how I was going to handle my disease, and how I was going to live my life.  Was it easy, no.  Not even a little bit.  I certainly didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m free, I’m happy, and I want the world to know it.”  That’s not how it works.  It’s slow, it’s painful, it’s hard and it’s oh so rewarding!

Hard and rewarding.  That’s how anything worth fighting for should be.  Don’t you think everyone would fight if it were easy?  We’re all fighting demons that others may not see and we all have things we wish we could change if we could.  For the things I cannot change, I pray to God that I can accept those and that others can too, but it is my choice to change or not change the things that are in my power.  For the things we hold onto, for the people we think we are holding in chains by not forgiving, I’m sorry to tell you that if you tug hard enough, you will realize you are the one whose hands are bound.  You are holding yourself hostage from a life well deserved and you are forgetting the forgiveness that has so graciously been given to you by God.  Imagine if God didn’t forgive you because He just didn’t feel like it. He’d be pretty lonely up there if He made the same decisions that we make when we choose not to let go. Listen, I know it’s not easy to take all of our burdens and simply decide to be done with them.  It takes effort every single day, sometimes hour by hour, and it takes time.  It takes patience.  It takes faith.  Most importantly, it takes a sincere desire to want to change.

Warning: cliche about to happen.  If I can do it, anyone can.  That’s no joke folks.  I was a seriously broken person.  I just simply didn’t want to be that anymore.  I still have bad days.  I still get sad for no reason.  The difference is now I don’t let myself linger there.  I have the power to say, “Not today, pal.”

So what is holding you down? Who do you need to forgive to break the chains around your heart? Whatever or whoever it is, make a decision.  Will you let it continue to hold you down, or will you set yourself free? Only you can decide.

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Coming Soon!

Hi all!

I have been working on a new section for recipes and will be sending out information shortly.  This will have everything from appetizers and main dishes to sides and desserts.  There will be a little something for everyone, including keto-friendly recipes, low-sugar/low-carb recipes, and good old “I don’t care how many calories are in what I am eating” recipes.

Stay tuned!

My favorite sugar-free desserts

So folks, this is a question I get asked often.  I love, love, love baking and finding new recipes that are pleasing to the palate, so by default, I love talking about baking.  It’s very rewarding when I share a recipe and someone tells me what a hit it was.  Not like I made up the recipe, but it’s fun when you can add something to someone’s go-to list.

So what, you ask, are my favorite sugar-free recipes?  None. Not one. Zero.  A list could only be shorter if you start counting into the negatives, which I could easily do by giving you some pretty downright gross sugar-free recipes (Frookies circa 1988 anyone?  No?  Bueller)?  Ok, let’s move on.

Give me the real deal any day.  “But you are a diabetic,” you are no doubt thinking to yourself.  Yes I am, and a proud sugar eater at that.  Listen, it all comes down to common sense, moderation (I am aware that moderation is a word everyone is no doubt sick of, but it stands the test of time, moderation is key so learn to love it), and knowing your body.  Part of, ok let’s be honest, most of, the problem is that many people’s mindsets are stuck in the 80’s and 90’s when diabetes was referred to as sugar diabetes.  I’m sure you’ve all heard an older person tell you how “they have the sugar.”  That’s the problem.  Diabetes isn’t so much about sugar as it is about carbohydrates, which just so happen to be made up of sugars (among other things, but that’s for another post).

What does that all mean?  Well, for starters, it means that even “sugar-free” foods contain carbohydrates.  When you are a diabetic, you count grams of carbohydrates, not grams of sugar, to determine how much insulin you should take.  That is how diabetes works (hence why it drives me bananas when people talk about diabetics “not being allowed to eat sugar”).

For the sake of argument, let’s entertain the above rationale for a moment.  If you only know the old school way of thinking, you wouldn’t bat an eye if I was eating sugar-free oreos, right?  But, if I was eating a regular oreo, you would ask “are you allowed to eat that?”  Here’s what you need to understand, and get ready for your mind to be blown.  I gave you fair warning.  A “sugar-free” oreo is not carbohydrate free.  In fact, one sugar-free oreo contains 8.5g of carbohydrates which would raise my blood sugar if I didn’t take insulin to cover it.  Here’s where the mind-blowing part comes in, there’s your second warning before reading on.  One regular oreo contains 8.3g.  Come again?!?  That’s right friends, the sugar-free version contains more carbohydrates per oreo.  That means I am taking exactly the same amount of insulin to cover both the regular and sugar-free versions.  That means they will both raise my blood sugar the same amount.  Before you write to me and tell me that the package says regular oreos contain 25g of carbohydrates and sugar-free oreos contain 17g, please read the labels carefully.  For regular oreos, a serving size is 3 cookies; however, for sugar-free oreos, the serving size is only 2 cookies.  Hmmm, now that’s curious.  Could it be that they want you to think that sugar-free cookies have less carbohydrates?  Whatever the reason, and this is just me personally, there is no way I am eating something that is “sugar-free” over something that contains sugar when the net carbs is what matters to my body and my insulin requirements remain the same.  The sugar-free version may have no added sugar, but believe me, there are so many additives to make up for the sugar and to add taste.  There are just too many unknowns about sugar substitutes and the body’s ability to digest them.

I’m not here to argue that you should not be eating sugar free if you are a diabetic.  I’m simply telling you why I prefer to eat the regular versions of foods.  There are tons of great recipes out there that are naturally low in sugar and carbohydrates.  If something is naturally low in sugar, that’s one thing.  It’s another when you start adding sugar substitutes and other questionable ingredients to make it sugar free. Just because something says sugar free does not mean it is good for diabetics. Like everything in life, this is something you need to make a decision based on your own research and what is best for you.

My only exception to the sugar-free thing is Diet Coke.  Mmmm Mmmm!  I love me some ice cold Diet Coke or a Diet Cherry Pepsi.  I know, I know, any kind of soda (or pop where I’m from) is not good for you, but man, it’s good!  It’s not so much of a sugar-free thing for me with this one as it is a taste thing.  When I was diagnosed in 1988, I started drinking diet and never looked back.  We were always a pop family, my dad with his Pepsi, and my mom with her Coke.  I can remember taking my first sip of diet pop thinking there was no way I would ever get used to it.  Now, that’s how I feel about regular.  It just tastes like I’m eating spoonfuls of sugar, blah!

Like I said, it’s all about common sense and moderation.  If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie.  If I want a burger and fries, well gosh darnit, that’s what I am going to have.  But, that’s not how I choose to eat on a regular basis, so I am not going to stress about it.  I’ve learned, with patience and time, how my body works and how different foods affect it.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to really know your body and know how insulin works.  Understanding how insulin works is absolutely key to figuring this all out.  As far as I’ve come, I’m still figuring things out all the time.  My body works differently when I’m sick, when I’m tired, when I’m stressed, when I’m hot.  It’s a lot to take in, but in order to stay on the right track, it’s necessary.

Have a great week everyone!

Top to bottom, or bottom to top? You decide.

Perspective, am I right?  I know some of you loyal readers are probably sick of hearing that word, but I can’t apologize.  It’s simply the way I choose to live my life.  With perspective.

I’ve recently heard and read, more times than I can count, complaints about the holidays.  Specifically how busy and rushed they are and that there’s just not enough time to get everything done.  When I hear about “how many parties” people have to attend or “how many family get togethers” are coming up, I feel lucky that those thoughts don’t cross my mind, simply because I have a different perspective about them.  I feel blessed to have so much family to have all those get togethers and I feel blessed to be invited to “all those parties” that people have.  If you have “so many parties” and “a ton of family get togethers,” count your blessings, because you have people who want you at their parties and you have family.  Some people have neither.  I’d rather have too many places to be and too many people to see than have no one in my life who wants me at their parties and no family to share the holidays with.

My dad recently shared a poem with me that was written by a 17-year-old girl named Chanie Gorkin from Brooklyn.  Chanie tries to live her life by perspective and was inspired by a poem entitled “Worst Day Ever.” Chanie doesn’t believe that there is a worst day ever so she tried to come up with something that shows that your day is based on how you choose to look at a situation.  Here is Chanie’s poem:

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Pretty bleak.  Now read it again, this time from the bottom to the top.  Voila!  New poem, new perspective.

I urge you to take whatever situation you are in and find the good in it.  There is good to be found in even the grimmest of situations, but you have to be willing to look.  How do you choose to look at your days?  Top to bottom, or bottom to top.  I’ll take bottom to top any day!

May God bless you all with a new perspective, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

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