i have survived thanksgiving! hurray! this probably sounds melodramatic, but i honestly don’t mean for it to be. thanksgiving is not a diabetic’s friend. it’s the most food-stuffed holiday of the year, based on the delicious cornerstones of bread, potatoes, stuffing (aka bread with meat), and cranberries (aka sugar bombs). although the much ballyhooed twenty-billion-layer salad was noticeably absent, my aunt katie and uncle D put on an amazing spread. unfortunately, this meal can present the average diabetic with challenges similar in difficulty to those of level 8-2 of super mario brothers one. (remember those annoying hammer throwers?) in other words, it’s flippin hard to be a diabetic… especially on thanksgiving.
diabetics need to match the amount of insulin they inject to the amount of carbohydrates that they eat, which is a simple theory, but an impossible task. as catherine price said in her great nytimes post last week, diabetes is like walking a goldilocks tightrope. too little insulin = too high… too much insulin = too low. (aka worst feeling EVER. also, pretty dangerous.) being just right is like finding a needle in a haystack– my insulin requirements change with the day of the week, the weather, the amount of exercise i have, how stressed i am, whether or not there’s a full moon. insanity.
but back to thanksgiving. so there we were, the panda and i. we were sitting next to some really great folks, like little helen (my favorite lady in the world), cousin marc (what a guy!) and evelyn (with her cheeks full of mashed potatoes). on my plate, i had turkey (2 slices, 0 grams carbs, 10 grams fat), mashed potatoes (about 3/4 of a cup, 22.5 grams carbs, 10 grams fat), stuffin (about 1 dollop, i didn’t remember what the carbs or fat was, so i just guessed), roasted vegetables (a few pieces, some fat, some carbs), gravy (a pour, about 6 grams fat, 6-8 carbs). i avoid cranberry sauce at all costs. i do NOT (although i totally should, because they are like CRACK) avoid aunt katie’s delicious homemade buns. yes, i said buns! i had one on my plate (one bun = 30 carbs, 2 grams fat). then i ate another, and then the baby panda gave me some of his.
so by the end of this meal, i had ingested approximately 3 million carbohydrates and done a ton of guesswork. as you have probably surmised, my carbohydrate counts for this meal were based mostly on past experiences and some (not so scientific) wild @$$ guessing. over the holidays, i just don’t have the desire to call the dinner hosts in advance for an accurate dinner menu and try to plan my meal ahead of time by pulling out my trusy calorie king book and actually doing the math required to figure out how many carbs are in my dinner.
but maybe i should. i can’t remember the last holiday where i haven’t felt rotten due to a high blood sugar. and i haven’t even mentioned the temptations of dessert. on one hand, i have always believed that my diabetes diet is not a limiting thing. it’s no different than a diet that one would follow if she were just trying to eat healthily. other people (out of a desire to be aware of the struggles that i’m grappling with) may ask me if i’m “allowed” to have a certain type of food. and i try really hard to let them know that it’s not so much about what i’m “allowed” to have, but how i handle what i eat. diabetics can eat anything that people with normal pancreases (i didn’t know that was even a word! so many As and Es!) can eat– we just have to do a ton of thinking first to determine what’s in it and whether it’s worth the insulin and potential blood sugar trouble.
for the most part, i try not to let the betes get me down too much. it’s rare (this wasn’t always the case) that i look at someone nonchalantly eating a bowl of chips, berries, oatmeal, or candy corn and get jealous that they can just EAT. i don’t worry about the injections and vigilance as much as i used to. but i do worry about the holidays. as i approach the next round of them in just a few weeks, i wonder if it would be happier and healthier for me not only to make a greater effort to plan what i am going to eat and know exactly what’s in my meal, but also to avoid the snack and dessert tables altogether, so that a 300+ blood sugar the next morning doesn’t leave me surly, sad, and sloth-like.
any advice, other diabetics? or non-diabetics?
today’s book review (in honor of the new moon flick, which i may or may not have seen twice):
the twilight saga collection, by stephanie meyer
oh bella. stop crying and giving up your identity. oh edward. stop moping and being self-pitying. oh jacob. well, you can do whatever you want because I LOVE YOU.
these books are indeed addictive, but meyer’s portrayal of bella and her incredible lack of an identity independent of edward and lack of self-confidence drives me insane. i don’t care how topaz his eyes are, that’s just not right!