Saturday, March 3, 2012

The 'Betes Preachers...

Art by: Ankhammentu
Pinups Girls and Vectors 
There are two things that often make me feel uncomfortable; no, three: discussing religion, the current state of politics... and discussing my diabetes regimen with another diabetic.

"Wow, you have to get out of this business if that makes you uncomfortable, Liz!"

You'd think.  :-) I still do all three.

Some of you might get where I'm going with this, before I even get there. You meet some diabetic folks, you share the management lessons (individual lessons) life with diabetes has taught you, and then you're told you're wrong; very wrong. You might even get accosted for it.

It's not surprising, really. More personal than spirituality, than who we vote for... I can't think of anything more personal than what we eat.

What we eat and when, is a language, and it speaks for us and who and what we are, as people; for what we believe, subconsciously. Besides hunger, it might say things like...
  • We're sick;
  • We're bored;
  • We're emotional;
  • We're religious;
  • We respect nature;
  • We're against corporate greed;
  • We believe in self-sustenance;
  • We believe we don't care;
  • We use food as filler;
  • We use food as comfort;
  • We use food as excitement; 
  • We use food as DOGMA; 
  • etc, etc, etc. 
I've truncated it considerably here, but the list for what our eating says can be quite lengthy...  and often perplexing.

For these very same reasons, there really isn't any other "belief" system in which so many folks try to "preach" to us, sell to us, get us to follow their way, their methods, their paths; get us to join their particular "culinary denomination," more strongly.  

... And, often, BEFORE illness even enters the mix! 

It doesn't help that for every need or illness, there's an opportunist out there hawking a book, a cure, a reversal, a miracle, and of course... a conspiracy theory, and a diet. A diet you must strictly follow to the letter. They all claim to be the experts on "weight loss," or the "it" revolutionary diets. They ALL claim they can work for any illness, regardless of your circumstances, and let me tell you, not a single one of these people... has ever said anything less than that they were 'renowned' experts. They all claim to be renowned doctors, dietitians, food scientists, etc. (Experts in everything, and nothing.) 

Folks with diabetes are just like everyone else, and can be vulnerable to the pulls of these jokers, and of fad dieting choices, from every which way. We are, after all, eager little sponges, wanting to soak up all that 'learning' out there in the big ol' 'interwebs'... and we want be on the cutting edge of managing our disease. We also want to be IN CONTROL, at all costs, and often under fed delusions that needing ANY medication at all is a bad thing.

Now, don't get me wrong... We must strive to be the healthiest we can and I am not against any particular way of eating, so long as it's something we can maintain long term, and it works for US and our daily diabetes management, as well as our personal beliefs. 

It's just that there's a lot of intransigence being taught out there, as well; a lot of 'evangelizing' and a lot of intransigence. People use these food platforms to tell others that there are NO other ways to health, but through their own plans; that they will lose control and binge uncontrollably, or never attain tight control, and go to diabetic complication hell if they don't follow as they do, or that they are lacking in scruples if they decide differently. And it gets so annoying! 

To me... THIS is what getting "diabetes religion" means: that you are so self focused on what works for YOU, that you forget that your own mileage varies, as well as everyone else's, and that we all have the RIGHT to find our own path in our management, without someone else making us feel that we are the devil in a blue dress for daring to do so. 

I'm a moderate low carber, myself. I'll still eat some ice cream, some tiny amounts of pasta mixed in with a lot of veggies, or tiny amounts of rice; I'll even occasionally, go jogging for the pleasure of having a cupcake... or I'll eat a cheeseburger on a lower carb bun. I EAT BACON. I, personally, do not view foods as "good" or "bad." And honestly, I *believe* it's wrong to do so. I believe life is about moderation. I hate to admit that, because I can get attacked at any point by no carbers, low carbers, no-restrictions on carbs people, vegans, raw foodists, and I have! 

But quite frankly, since what I put in my mouth is between me, my God or lack of a God, my glucose meter, and my doctor, it's no one's damn business! (It's insane for anyone to think that it is!) 

Keeping it between you, and your glucose meter and your doctor, is what we truly ought to be evangelizing. Finding that balance that is right FOR YOU, so that you can keep a good pace during the long-life marathon that is diabetes. 

(... And yes, I do not take any medications. I've lost nearly 80 lbs, and yes... my A1C is 5.5%, and yes... I have a beautiful cholesterol panel. Thank you, very much. I've worked HARD for that... even if I got to have a burger or some ice cream, along the way, while achieving it.) 

Your diabetes mileage can and WILL vary. Help where you are asked for help, support those who need it, and NEVER lecture another for being different than you, or having different needs than you. After all, you wouldn't want them deciding what you should eat. Remember the code of Diabetes Etiquette for Diabetics.



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