When will they/we learn about Diabetes?

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This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

I am bored. Today again, I found myself explaining to a total stranger about Diabetes and carbohydrates. No dear stranger, it is NOT about not eating sugar (cake, candy). It is about managing my carbohydrates. “Oh you can’t have any cakes”. NOT true, but the better CHOICE is making it myself with a lower carbohydrate batter. It is okay. For as long as I can remember, people spoke of people with Diabetes as “having sugar”. Folks would whisper: “He/ she has the sugar you know?” This person I thought would know better. He has several family members with Diabetes.

More to the point is that I can’t always have EXACTLY what I want (a huge hunk of baguette slathered with butter or pate). That is unless I choose to have it and make it fit into my meal plan. You and I know that if we want to have what we want, we need to balance it in some way. Having Diabetes has NOT stopped me from eating what I want from time to time. The “dietician” that screamed at me seven years ago “YOU CAN’T DO THAT” was wrong. It might not be the best choice, but it is MY choice. I can do “that” and I just have to remember, I should not do that except as a “needed” treat. Sure, we do need to limit our intake of sugar too. But as you and I know it is so much more about the carbohydrates.

One reader commented:
“Yummy it looks but I wouldn't eat it. Even though sugar free my sugar would be real hi.”

Each of us is different. It is great that this person knew what would and would not work for him. Each of our bodies reacts differently. I am lucky and find that a small amount of scrumptiously seasoned potatoes does not affect my BG. Others can look at a potato and their numbers will go through the roof.

Christmas came and went and not without the carefully chosen food gift of a trail mix kind of thing. I just say thank you to the gift giver and hand the “healthy” mix over to someone else? Should I say: Look you have got to stop sending me this stuff, it is not a good choice for me? It might be great for hikers or people that dried fruit, nuts and twigs are a treat and an energy booster, but not so good for me, a person with Diabetes.

There is naturally the “Sugar Free” candy. Some work for me, some do not. It becomes a question of how I want to spend my carbohydrate budget. Is a piece of odd tasting chocolate worth 5 grams of carbohydrates? The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. It is up to each of us to make that decision for ourselves. One of my old favorites (pre diagnosis is Perugina bittersweet chocolate. Half of a 3.5 ounce bar nets down to 11 grams of carbohydrates. When I REALLY need an emotional chocolate boost, this is my go to product. Would I like the WHOLE bar? You better believe it, but the half works because I make it enough for me now.

It isn’t easy to maintain any diet or for that matter any exercise regime. There are some days we just want to blow it off. I can’t face my gym some mornings at

5:30 AM. Truth is that I almost never WANT to crawl out of a comfy bed to exercise. What keeps me going is the end effect of the work.
I see all kinds of comments online from my fellow Diabetics. It is sad that so many feel that they have been dealt a bad hand in life. There was one person who said:

“What did I do that was so bad that I deserve this horrible disease?”

We should know the answer is NOTHING. It is just so.

Diabetes is not a punishment, it is a disease. All we can do about it is to choose to manage it as best we can. It may involve sacrifice, but it can also involve a great challenge to “our inner stuff”.
I chose not to JUST make the best of it but to do everything I know how to GET the best of it.

Isn’t it time to say to those people that whisper about “the sugar”, I have Diabetes and I am going to be the strongest, healthiest, most creative, person that ever was? I am going to figure out what works for ME. ENJOY!!!

Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic