Eating with Type 1
Type 1 diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes…those are very hard words to hear as a parent. When my son was diagnosed we had no idea. I had taken him to the doctor for a physical due to his just not feeling well and constant complaints of pain. A few years before we had found out that he had JRA. Now here we were again.
After leaving the doctor’s office and returning home I received the phone call that makes all parents hearts stop. “mom can you and dad bring J in to the office as soon as possible” WHAT?!?! My dh was out-of-town, so I had to get the boys lunch finished and back into the car. Driving to the doctor was a LONG drive, in my mind so many things were racing but I kept saying, it’s ok, God knew before we did.
Upon arriving to the doctor’s office they ushered me right in, no waiting, the doctor came in the room and started talking about “different forms of treatment” I was like WAIT can you tell me WHAT it is we are treating?! He said, I’m sorry, he is diabetic. whew! Why whew? Because there were so many things it could have been that were so much worse.
J A1C test was 365. The A1C test is an average of your blood sugar levels over a three-month period. So, at 365, that was HIGH. A normal bsl is 70 – 120.
I come from a family of diabetics, however, they are all over weight adults. Type 2. Type 1 or JD is a total different creature. Why? Because type 1 means your pancreas is not working. For type 2 you can diet and exercise and get your diabetes under control not the case with type 1. He of course does need exercise, as we all do, he does need to limit his sugar intake but other foods affect him as well. Pork is a major fact for him. Why? Pork has a ton of fat and the fat will settle in his blood stream so that when he eats sugar it sticks to the fat and remains in his system for hours longer than if he just ate sugar.
Other major contributors for him are bread, cheese, pork and fried foods. Oh and let’s not forget his two favorites, pizza and Chinese. Both guarantee a HIGH bsl unless he goes outside and runs around to burn off the sugar.
Pills did not help, two types of insulin did not help, he has been wearing a pump for 7 years. A pump is basically an external pancreas. It gives him constant insulin and he adjust it each time he eats. He has to check his bsl 4 times a day and some days more depending on how he is feeling.
Several things we learned, fiber is a great force against sugar! If he eats a fiber bar with 14 grams of sugar and 7 grams of fiber, then only 7 grams of sugar count against him. Sleep is another important factor. Exercise is his enemy but best friend. A love hate relationship.
He like me, has several immune issues. Diabetes is an immune disorder, so is JRA.
Vitamins are important. We purchase a special diabetes formula vitamin from The Vitamin Shoppe.
Raw vegetables are friends, but not to a teenage boy! Raw fruit is an enemy as it is full of natural sugar. Bananas are his favorite and drive his bsl through the roof.
Poor guy, he and I, both get so tired of people saying “OH you’re diabetic you can’t eat that” actually he can. He can eat anything. As his pancreas does not work, he adjust his pump, yes diet does help keep it under control but he does not have to be on a sugar-free diet. As a matter of fact, sugar-free products are not as healthy as you may think. Read the labels carefully, some contain sugar alcohol and the carbohydrates (sugar) are actually higher than non-sugar free products.
One of the best things for us has been that my son sees a diabetologist. His doctor studies diabetes and sits on the NC diabetes board of studies at ECU. He gives monthly nutrition classes each month for his patients so that they can hear first hand what they should and should not do. It is a four-hour MANDATORY class for all his patients and well worth the time.
We focus on high fiber, low-fat, low sugar, fresh vegetables with a limited amount of sugar and fruit. Lots of activity, proper amounts of sleep and vitamins. With a son, you can imagine the difficulties we had during the teenage years, but now as a young adult at 21 he is very responsible for his own well-being.
For more information, talk with your doctor, and visit : http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/
Vegetable tray (Photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa)