A Mother’s Day Post

I have been trying to write more often but haven’t been for the last few days.  I just had my braces adjusted the other day and I have been in extreme pain.  Because I avoid taking something like Advil unless absolutely necessary, I haven’t been able to concentrate on much except pain.  

The pain has significantly subsided luckily in time for Mother’s Day.  What mom wants to be grumpy on Mother’s Day?! So here I sit at a cafe while my darling husband is out with the kids having fun.  Funny thing is, as much as I enjoy my “me” time, I am ready to get back to my family after a couple of hours.  I suppose that is the mother in me.

Those who knew me growing up will tell you I never ever thought I would be a mom.  I swore over and over again I was never going to get married and certainly never have children!  I was going to travel the world and be a career woman just like my Great Aunt Donna.  Sadly for her, I now realize it is probably because she never met the right person because when I met my husband I felt something totally different.  I call my children “love children” because they are both a complete manifestation of our love.  As cheesy as that sounds it’s true.  When I look into their eyes I get this overwhelming and intense feeling.  How could two people create one person?  How can this child before me be both me and my husband? And then our second child a different but second version of that?  It’s magic I tell you!  

I found out I was Type 1 diabetic about one year after my second child was born.  Aside from being angry that I had to make so many dietary changes, I felt like it was such an unfortunate time to find this out.  My children are 14 months apart.  Therefore I had a 2 1/2 year old boy and a 1 year old little girl at the time.  I thought to myself why now?  It is already exhausting having two tiny children but now I have to completely overhaul my lifestyle?  Yes, it was a slow process but it can be done.  And rather than give up and wallow in my exhaustion and sadness I looked into the faces of my children.  Who am I to give up in front of them?  Who am I to leave them without a mother at a young age if I don’t take care of myself?  And most importantly, what kind of example am I to them if I do not take control and own my condition?

Sure I can preach to them as I raise them but somehow I know that my actions and what I stand for will have a greater impact on their character.  Instead of feeling sad and sorry for myself that I can’t live a “normal” life, I would rather show them the power of staying proactive and positive.  As hard as it is being a mother, I imagine that it might have been harder dealing with my diabetes had I no children at all.  And so it is that everyday I wake up with them, I am so happy I am a mom.  A Type 1 diabetic mom.  They are my constant reason for fighting, loving, and living.  This one is for all of the Type 1 moms out there who feel this same way.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Interview of Coca Cola Executive

Yesterday I came across an interview of Coca Cola president Katie Bayne.  You can read it here:

 http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-06-07/coke-q-and-a-coca-cola-mayor-bloomberg/55453016/1 

I find this interview appalling on two levels.  One as a mom, the other as a diabetic.  I notice she uses the word “need” a lot.  What consumers might “need” or when she “needs” a pick-me-up.  I am no rocket scientist but last time I checked man has been living without soda just fine since the beginning of time.  Soda is not a necessary part of your diet.

She kills me when she says, “There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular beverages.”  But the icing on the cake is when she then states, “When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-me-up with calories and great taste.”  I don’t know about you but either she is lying, she knows nothing about proper nutrition and is a complete idiot, or…she is lying.  I don’t think there is any mother out there who deep down in her heart thinks that soda is a great source of energy.  And what kid needs a pick-me-up? That’s absurd.  Silent indoctrination such as this, that soda serves as a kid form of coffee is pretty unconscionable if you ask me. I imagine if she had a diabetic child this interview would not even exist.  

So she is then asked about empty calories. To which she replied: “We don’t believe in empty calories. We believe in hydration.”  L .O .L.  I have never found soda to be hydrating, actually the opposite.  Furthermore, just because they don’t believe in empty calories doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Sorry Ms. Bayne but I’m not dumb enough to fall for that one.  

She goes on to talk about how obesity is not linked to soda consumption and that actually when sugar content in soda decreased, obesity still rose.  There is more than just sugar at work here.  So you lower the sugar content by creating a diet soda with good old aspartame.  I don’t believe aspartame is good for you or your metabolism.  Not to mention it’s cancer causing.  She sure doesn’t say whether cancer has increased or not.

When asked how much Coke kids should drink a day she compares the calories of a 12-ounce can to a bag of pretzels.  Both aren’t good for your kids and both would send a diabetic’s blood sugar sky high.  

Her daily routine consists of multiple Diet Cokes (again can’t get around the aspartame) and she would rather have that than a cookie or a candy bar.  No difference if you ask me.  Has she taken a look at the nutritional labels of any of these because I’m pretty sure she hasn’t.  And again she uses the word “pick-me-up.”  You simply don’t need “pick-me-ups” to get you through a day.  It’s called real food…well and bacon (for those of you who know my love of bacon).

Lastly she is asked about sugar being an addictive substance.  I love how all she can say is “There is no scientific evidence.”  There’s plenty of evidence and it’s right under all of our noses we just choose to ignore it because just like someone who is addicted to something the first step is to overcome denial.

This interview really struck a nerve with me.  She must get paid an exorbitant amount of money to be able to answer interview questions like this.  I personally wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.  There is almost part of me that hopes her son grows up to be some amazing  health guru that completely smashes all of her ridiculous attempts at convincing the people soda is good for you.  But hoping won’t do anything.  Those of us who know it is unhealthy and wrong have to make sure that we say something otherwise we’ll end up looking just as ridiculous as she does and in poor health.

It Is Not Just “My” New Diabetic Life

When someone is newly diagnosed with a chronic illness it is often overlooked how immediate family members and close friends are affected.  I, for example, was very proactive about making the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes required to maintain my diabetes.  This was no easy task but especially harder because I was married with two very young children.  My life was turned upside down and in turn theirs was too.  Of course, there have been bumps along the way.  I suddenly went through the kitchen and tossed everything grain in the trash.  Yes that includes cereal, cookies and the most beloved staple in a Korean home, white rice.  I would watch my husband who is not diabetic walk into the kitchen scouring the fridge and the cupboards only to come out with a sad, defeated look on his face.  I mean I had to give the guy credit.  He was making the same changes I was making too but without the same reason.

It bothered me to think that I might become some sort of food nazi so I would watch him eat a hamburger on a lovely golden brown bun and eat all of the delicious panchan with soft sticky rice, while I on the other hand would eat my hamburger wrapped in iceberg lettuce and skip the rice completely.  I knew that when he went to work he would eat as he liked at lunchtime and of course whenever we would meet friends outside of the house it would certainly contain a fair amount of carbs.

All the while, I have tried to stay communicative with him.  Let him know what it feels like when I have a low or conversely when I am high.  I keep him informed when I research something and learn something new.  Sometimes I think to myself, “this is going in one ear and straight out the other.”  Surprisingly, I see changes.  There has been more than one occasion where he has skipped the rice not only on my behalf but because he now understands why it is not good for you.  We have a better kitchen routine down too.

So now the reason for this post.  I was going through the fridge today, as I usually do on the weekend.  Sometimes when I am feeling uninspired I will cheat and buy some of those low carb yogurt cups from the grocery store.  I know, I know, they are not ideal but I admit I cheat here and there.  Last time I picked some up I mistakenly chose a couple of the regular non low-carb version (35 grams of carbs!!!!).  I told my husband they were all his.  But to my surprise when I looked in the fridge today there is one of the two left.  It made it a whole week without being touched.  I’ve even suggested for him to eat it when he goes looking for a snack but no go.

Sure I guess it could be that he just hasn’t been in the mood for it but I’d like to think that my husband has really been there with me on this health journey.  And that maybe some things were not just going in one ear and out the other.  It is a silent sign and one that is encouraging and reminds me that I am not going through this alone.  Thank you honey for doing your best to understand and learn with me.  Thank you for not eating the yogurt cup in the fridge.

For those of you who are newly diagnosed remember that it is a big change for you and also for those close to you.  Just as it will take you some time to change your routine and sort things out it will be that way for others too because we are all in this together.

Ethics 101

I currently work for a very corporate company and in a recent meeting my boss was mentioning business ethics.  Of course this concept is everywhere these days.  Go to any true corporate website and you will most surely find a page dedicated to informing you of their corporate responsibility.  Nowadays, as a society, we highly value a company that can not only make billions in revenue but also abide by ethical standards.  Of course how transparent these companies are is to be debated. I am not going to get into that here.  What I will say is why aren’t we taught human responsibility?  And no I’m not talking about spending $1.00 a day to save a child’s life in a third world country.  Is it too much to ask to save your own?  What I gather is that it is corporate’s responsibility to do right by us and its our individual respnsibility to….to take care of everyone else???  Now don’t get me wrong; I am a hippie at heart and love humanitarianism (my dream has always been to be an attorney that practices international human rights law for refugees), however, how on earth are you able to take care of someone else if you are not properly taking care of yourself? 

OK. So where am I going with this?  Ethics needs to be retaught.  We need to learn the ethics of doing right by our bodies.  We are all caught up in what we need to do for others or what others are doing around us that we completely neglect our selves.  If becoming diabetic has taught me anything it is that I MUST TAKE CARE OF MY HEALTH. FOR ME.  NO EXCUSES. And then for everyone else.  It’s just like how the mother should put the oxygen mask on first and then proceed to save her children.  You can’t do anything if your body and health are not right.  I am a mom so this really hits home with me. 

Take a look at this: in this month’s Diabetes Forecast Magazine I read “Type 1 diabetes is on the rise, according to researchers who studied 20 years of data on Philadelphia children up to age 14.  The frequency of diabetes diagnoses rose by a third in all kids…In kids under age 4, the rate of diabetes diagnoses rose by 70 percent”  70 percent!!!!!  It then goes on to say, “The researchers aren’t sure why diabetes may be increasing at such a rate in younger children.”  (Are you kidding me? You can’t even postulate that it has something to do with our incorrect food pyramid, carelsssly promoted processed foods and lack of play?)  And children are not the only ones being diagnosed Type 1.  I am proof.  The number of adults being diagnosed has also increased. 

I’m not here to preach but why aren’t we making a change?  We value ethics so how is it so easy in one sentence to say that a disease has risen 70 percent but then write it off by saying we don’t know why this is happening.  The answer is right in front of us.  Let’s start focusing on our selves.  Focus on what we are eating instead of chalking it up to “I had a stressful day so it’s ok” or “The food pyramid says so” and how we are moving/exercising instead of “I’m too tired” or “this is just my body type.”  Let’s also teach our children, the new generation, the ethics of nutrition and taking care of their bodies so that living a satisfying life doesn’t just come from good grades and becoming some well-to-do company man.  Have your own personal mission statement and begin by taking a minute to look in the mirror and hold yourself accountable. Because in the end you know it is the right thing to do.

Peanut Butter Heartbreak and Allergy Misconceptions

I say it over and over again that for so long I really had no clue about my body.  But that’s because I really had no clue.  I could say my body has been an experiment but actually my life has recently been an experiment on how to live harmoniously with my body.  I realize now that it’s talking to me. Helllloooooooo there!!!! It’s been saying to me.  Luckily I finally pulled the earplugs of naivety and denial out of my ears.

After being diagnosed Type 1 diabetic obviously there was a major adjustment to my diet.  OK no more rice for me but reasonable carb, high protein peanut butter heck yes! It was my “treat.”  When I was feeling bad it was there to comfort me…until I started realizing it was doing more harm than good.

All of a sudden I felt like I was in high school again.  My face was breaking out, my back and my chest too.  Since I had changed so many things I was eating it was a difficult process of elimination.  It wasn’t until I eliminated everything else that I realized it was the peanut butter! My precious peanut butter!  Low and behold when I removed it from my eating repertoire my skin cleared up.  And that was that. No more peanuts.  Clear beautiful skin.

When I tell people I am allergic to peanuts 98% of the time they ask me if I go into anaphylactic shock.  Seriously?  What are we learning about health growing up?  Oh yeah we’re required ONE semester of health.  Not everyone’s allergy manifests in the same way and not every allergy manifests via anaphylactic shock.

Another example, I am allergic to sulfa drugs (no Coldeeze or multi-vitamins for me), Cipro (used to treat UTIs) and the dye Red 40.  When I ingest these I break out with small hives on my feet and ankles.  I remember getting sick and taking a bunch of coldeeze only to wake up with itchy feet.  Hmmmm could it be althetes foot? Ewwwww.  I sprayed the hell out of my feet to no avail until I realized it was an allergic reaction.  When I went to the doctor they didn’t believe me saying that allergic reactions come out on the trunk of your body first.  Needless to say I never went back to that doctor.

Back to peanuts.  I have always loved peanut butter as I think you can tell.  I used to eat it all the time growing up.  In retrospect I doubt I would have had the “acne” I did in high school had I not been eating peanut butter.  I wasn’t listening to my body.  I always chalked it up to hormones never a faulty immune system.

If there is anything you can take away from this post it is this:

Take the time to pay attention to your body.  The soul and the body must be in tune with each other.  It is not simply your physical vehicle.  Don’t let your ego think it is more important.  If your body is doing something out of the ordinary don’t be so quick to write it off.  Stop and take the earplugs out.

Secondly, don’t doubt your feelings and thoughts when it comes to your body just because a medical professional tells you you are incorrect or because status quo states otherwise.  You and your body are one; you’re on the same team.  Set yourself up with confidence in your life and you will always feel like you are winning.

Boston Today

While this post has nothing to do with diabetes or nutrition I couldn’t help but write about an observation of mine regarding the events that took place in Boston today.

First, I just can’t understand how any decent human being can attempt to hurt another in any capacity.  Its just sick.  It’s unconscionable. Sadly there are those who do things like this.  They were not hugged enough as children.  That’s no joke.  I am a mom and I take that seriously.

Secondly, I’m quite surprised at how many graphic photos are floating around.  Growing up (in America) I don’t remember seeing pictures of this nature, either in the newspaper or on the news.  When I see gore in a movie for example I get extremely squeamish.  But I think this is partly because I haven’t been accustomed to seeing it all my life.  It seems that these graphic photos of the aftermath are what people want to see.  You can do a search for “graphic boston photos” and they will show up.  It signals to me that people want to see the truth, as ugly and horrifying as it is, we want to know and understand the reality.  Perhaps knowing this reality will ignite something in us.  To stand up for ourselves and/or make a change.  To say “this isn’t right.”

It hurts my heart to think that these people’s lives have been turned upside, unknowingly by the will of some evil person(s).  I hope those affected can push forward and show the sick people who did this that the human spirit is far greater than what they did today.

Sweat is Good

Sometimes I think to myself how far I’ve come to learn about my body in the past year.  There was a lot I didn’t know about it.  I feel like the body I knew for 28 years is not the same one I know now.  As I continue to research and read about physiology of the body (for personal interest, I am not a doctor), I come across new ideas about my body.  For example,  when I look back to when I was younger, I rarely sweat growing up.  I’d like to say I was very active but I don’t remember drenching t-shirts ever.  I was actually glad about this.  No nasty sweat stains for me!  Some will say that certain people genetically sweat more or less than others.  I used to think this was the case.  But now I don’t think that’s entirely true, at least for myself.

I’ve been bad the past few months: eating more carbs than I probably would like to and hardly exercising. Maybe because it has been winter? Anyway, last week I started walking on my treadmill again when the kids go to bed or I’ll ask hubs to give me 30 minutes time while he plays with them.  I walk just enough to get me sweating, (the incline setting helps), and I am in awe that my body is doing this.  My whole life it has been difficult to sweat and now I can get a nice sweat going after a good walk on the treadmill???? What gives right?  OK so maybe a portion of it is genetics, I’m still not sweating buckets but there has been a change.  I really think that the fact I wasn’t sweating previously was an indication something wasn’t right.  I now know it had something to do with my diabetes.

I am sure my inability to produce enough insulin at all times just sucked the life out of me, literally.  I’ve never been one to drink a lot of water either so inability to produce adequate insulin together with low water consumption equals serious dehydration.  I am pretty sure I was consistently dehydrated.  No wonder why I always had dry skin and never sweat!  When I found out I was diabetic the urgent care I went to put me on an IV.  They told me it would take about an hour to drain the bag.  Ummmm 30 minutes later that baby was empty!

Most people think of sweat and say “Ewww gross!” But for me it is so reassuring to feel beads of sweat running.  It tells me that my body is functioning differently than it used to and that’s a good thing.  Insulin, eating low carb and drinking 3-4 liters of water a day (I literally carry my liter water bottle everywhere I go, ask my husband) help me stay hydrated.  Can anyone diagnosed as diabetic later in life relate to my experience with sweating?  If so please share!