A Diabetic Talks: The Holiday Season 

Holiday season is upon us but for me, the past couple of years just haven’t been the same. 

As a type 1 diabetic, my life consists of counting carbs. Before every single meal, I have to figure out the carbs in the food, decide how it will affect my blood sugar and if it is worth eating. If I’m having a bad day of high and low blood sugars, I might opt to not have something carb-heavy like pizza or pasta or I might have to turn down an ice cream date because all the sugar might react badly in my system. 

All those foods are my favorite and not eating them due to health sucks. 

This ties into Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas heavily. One main reason I look forward to these holidays is the food. I love walking into any room and seeing candy and chocolate bars during October. I love eating so much turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie to the point I go into a food coma in November. I love trying all my great aunt Mary-Ann’s cookies she would make every year in December. 

These things are no longer options in my life after getting diagnosed with this disease three years ago. Now I have to pick and choose wisely what I eat. 

Don’t get me wrong, all the holidays still have benefits but as I grew up, the food was always my favorite part. Halloween candy is completely out of the picture now and can never be used for enjoyment but only out of necessity if my blood sugar is low. 

At Thanksgiving dinner, I have to choose precise amounts of food to eat and have to try and avoid the very carb rich foods. At Christmas, I feel I can only treat myself to a select few desserts. 

My life has become a game of moderation. At all times my one goal is to avoid my blood sugar going high and going low. It is such a fine line and it can become overbearing trying to avoid those things. 

Although I am mostly showcasing the cons, it does come with some pros. 

The first is discipline. It can be very challenging for me to be disciplined in this area but when I am, it is very rewarding. It feels good to see my blood sugar stay stable because I passed up on a certain food or because I took the time to accurately measure it out. This discipline also helps in other areas of life and teaches me to be disciplined with other things like homework, school and working out. 

Another thing is it helps my health. In the grand scheme of things, we shouldn’t be constantly eating junk food or stuffing our faces. Since this is not really an option in my life, it leaves me feeling better. It helps that I don’t have the option to eat crappy constantly. It also goes back to that discipline and hopefully it pays off when I’m older. Hopefully, I will know how to keep a steady, nutritious diet when I am older and am not blessed with a fast metabolism like I am now. 

Lastly, it has taught me to cook. Prepackaged foods are filled with additives that we should oftentimes avoid. I have a rule that if it is not something I can make myself then I should probably steer clear or only eat in moderation. This is stuff like Cheez-It’s or Oreo’s. 

I have taught myself to cook healthy foods that I love eating that not only taste better than most foods I could buy, but also provide me with so much more nutritional value. 

Diseases can be a blessing and a curse. It sucks to have and can take away from some things in life but it can also help in other areas. Daily, I get to see how certain foods react in my body compared to others which is something the average person does not see. 

It can help me see what foods we should all be staying away from and what foods are truly good for us. 

Although I complained heavily about the holiday season, I will still enjoy it to the fullest and am very much looking forward to the yearly foods. I just have to be a bit more cautious with my choices. 

Write to Luke Jackson at Luke.jackson.2@mnsu.edu

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