I have to admit that I almost used a wildcard for this one, because I worry about being judged based on my food intake. On other social media, people get excited when you post about the decadent food you’ve consumed; when it’s in tandem with being a person with diabetes, it’s a potential opening for someone to tell you “you’re doing it wrong.” Even some “confessions” you read are enough to make you feel bad. “I totally cheated today! I had half a chocolate! I’m so bad, tee hee!”
What do I eat? Anything and everything. Too much, probably. My family has always been a food-forward family. My father is an amazing gourmet cook. (Ask literally any one of my friends who has been to my parents’ house. They will tell you.) There was a joke that I was the only person to ever go to college and LOSE fifteen pounds. I joke, but I’d really rather be a person who wasn’t super interested in food. I’m often not sure if I eat a lot more than other people or not. What I am bad at is moderation. I feel I am excellent at not eating, and excellent at eating a lot – it’s the in between. Of course, a lot of what I eat is vegetables. One of my favourite snacks is a whole cucumber, and I have to stop myself from eating the whole bag of carrots.
One of my favourite things about Toronto is its wide variety of food from all over the world. I’ve always found it incredibly difficult to calculate carbs, even when given a book, because so much of it is, “potato, 30 carbs,” and there are usually maybe a couple of pages devoted to “ethnic food” (sigh). One of my favourite things in the world is okonomiyaki – yeah, not really in the carb counting book. I’m getting better at calculating for it from sheer number of times consumed. Eventually, I’ll get dim sum right…one of these days.
With my family providing the occasional amazing home-cooked meal, and my city providing a cornucopia of delights, and my tendency, when I’m home, to consume vegetables, excellent cheese (brie, bleu or goat…or really anything, but give me some St. Agur and I’ll be your friend for life) and low-ingredient combinations like chickpea salad, I’m not a great cook. Mostly it’s lack of interest. I make great eggs, and a mean balsamic vinaigrette, but my husband does most of the cooking, and it’s mostly of the heating variety. We’d love to be more invested in making meals, but it’s going to take a lot for us to change.
Of course, throw in the blood sugar insanity, and many of us are often unsure of when we’re actually hungry. It all leads to a very strange relationship with food.
My three worst sins are a) not eating in the morning, b) letting myself get hangry, and c) overeating at night. (I typed “my worst sin,” then “my two worst sins,” then revised again. I feel like the Spanish Inquisition.) I’m a night owl (I’ll stay up all night if I’m not careful, which is not a good plan on days where I teach at 8:30am!) That means I have a lot of conscious night hours, which leads to more time at night wanting to eat, and I tend not to be hungry (or even feel nauseous) in the morning. Often, if I do eat in the morning, I find that I’m incredibly hungry for the rest of the day, which I feel is the opposite of what it’s supposed to do. If I eat in the morning, in any case, protein really needs to be involved for me not to feel terrible. I am trying to get better at stopping myself from eating much past dinner, but it’s hard when I might eat at 6pm and be up until 3am or 4am, or if I have so many commitments back-to-back that dinner is at 10:30pm.
This Wednesday is a good example of various “sins”
On Wednesday, I didn’t have the greatest selection of food in the fridge, and I didn’t feel like eating breakfast. I then went and taught my class (transit time: 55 minutes). Then, it took me 95 minutes to get to my phototherapy appointment, which was one minute and seventeen seconds long. Then, it took half an hour to go back to my apartment to get my gym bag. I had five minutes before I had to leave for the gym. It was already 4pm. I hadn’t eaten. I shoved a couple of slices of deli meat, a cube of cheese, some cucumber, and a couple of spoonfuls of a light chocolate mousse into my mouth, and ran to the subway to get to the gym. I was so hangry (hungry and angry) at the more than three hours of transit and lack of food that my friend insisted I had to start with boxing. It was actually a great idea, as we were both hangry.
After doing that, running a couple of miles, doing a weight machine circuit and stretching, we decided we desperately needed dinner. We walked to an izakaya and I had some takoyaki (I want to define this better than “ balls of octopus,” but it’s difficult) and a tonkotsu ramen soup. (By now, the carb book that I used to use would have been throwing me question marks and blank looks.) My post-exercise body sometimes goes low, and sometimes throws me a random high. This was one of the latter. I stayed up a good eight hours after the meal, and didn’t eat anything else, which is unusual. Also unusual was that I didn’t have a rehearsal for two hours after gym, which I usually would on Wednesday, after which I’d play games at a friend’s place for a few more hours. (Can you say “overcommitted”? I have at least three rehearsals a week for various groups.)
There is no typical food day for me. I love that about my life and my city, but it certainly makes diabetes chaotic.
I’ll close with a random food success story from this week:
The other night I had Thai food; pad thai and coconut cashew vegetables. When I ate it at 9pm, my BG was 7.2. (I had run 5k a little earlier and done some weightlifting.) I was hungry again at a little after 1 am, so I tested. 7.1. I was suspicious, feeling like I might drop later, so I ate more of it without taking much insulin. When I woke up? 7.1.
I felt like a diabetes god, I tell you what.