Eating with Type One Diabetes

I mentioned in my last post about comments made to me recently about my eating habits. The exact comment was “you’re a bad diabetic” and although it was said jokingly, I knew it was said with an underlying judgement and it did annoy me.

I’m not the healthiest person in the world when it comes to eating. (I thought I wasn’t too bad, but when asking family and friends, the fact that they all just laughed made me realise maybe I’m not thatttt healthy).

I don’t always get my five a day, in fact I absolutely hate fruit and only ever really consume it in drink form, (apart from the odd apple), but I don’t particularly eat a lot of junk food. I do have bad days where I will eat anything and everything, even if it means upping my injections. Everyone has days like that, why should it be any different for me?

I do have to watch how much I snack.  With the insulin regime I’m on, (four regular injections a day, not including extras for high bloods / stuffing my face) I have a lot of freedom with what I eat and how much.

I work out my insulin dosage through something called carb counting. Every diabetic has a different ratio depending on insulin type, insulin resistance and weight. Personally, I do 1.5 units of insulin, for every 10g of carbohydrate I consume. For example, if I ate a packet of crisps that stated on the packet 20g of carb, I’d do 3 units.

Now I know a lot of people will be surprised by this, as most people assume that it’s the sugars in food that matter, and to some extent, they do. But it’s carbohydrate that affects blood sugar the most and to complicate things more, there are a few types of carbohydrate, and various foods / various carbohydrates make my blood sugars react different ways. I’ll be honest, I still don’t entirely understand the whole process or how it works so I’m not even going to pretend to (although typing this, I now realise I should probably know more about this) but what matters is I know how to look after myself and I know how my body works.

There is actually a course for diabetics, known as DAFNE, which stands for Diet Adjustment for Normal Eating. It’s been designed to teach Type One Diabetics how to inject insulin for what they’re eating, rather than work out what to eat around their insulin.

When I was first diagnosed, I was only on two injections and I had to eat very strictly. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember eating a lot of wholemeal. To this day, I still can’t eat Wheat Crunchie crisps as I remember only being able to eat those type of crisps for a long time and now I absolutely hate them. When I moved onto four injections, it gave me a lot more flexibility with my life and what I could eat. For example, I could eat my tea, do my insulin, and then an hour later decide I wanted something extra and just inject again. Obviously it isn’t ideal, but it gives me a bit of normality and I won’t do it if my blood sugars are already high. It’s all about balance.

Some diabetics won’t agree with this post, they’ll have a strict eating regime that they stick to and if that’s what they’re happy doing then that’s fine. Diabetes is so complex and every case is different so it’s all about working out what works for you.

Basically, I may not be the healthiest person in the world but I’m okay with it. My blood pressure, my cholesterol, etc etc are all how they should be and I’m not overweight. I have good days and bad days, but I am not a “bad diabetic”. (Most of the time).

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