Thursday, July 12, 2012

Raising Hell... One Ice Cream Scoop at a Time

Last year, a certain man writing for his local newspaper, took advantage of the health struggles faced by people with type 2 diabetes to push his OWN agenda: Food Alarmism. In it, he claimed folks with type 2 diabetes were like alcoholics, who needed to be kept away from all sugar, and be on a fruits, vegetables, and grains only diet. 

It was a very hurtful column, not just for type 2 diabetics -- who get BULLIED constantly because of the massive amount of assumptions and misinformation in the news and media, but it also hurt type 1 diabetics as well. In his post, the man became indignant because the local type 1 diabetes organization in his community was having an ice cream social to generate funds so they could send some children to diabetes camp, and he confused them for type 2s. Not only did he wrongly confuse type 1 children for type 2 patients, but he also tried to be our food police! These kinds of strict views on food are the views that often lead to many eating disorders, and poor self images. Diabetics world wide were enraged, and responded swiftly against this level of ignorance. Soon thereafter, the newspaper took his columns down.

It was no surprise to me to find out he was a "Chef, Motivational Presenter, CBS Host, and Syndicated Author." It's always this type of 'persona' that want to stir the pot. He needed READERSHIP, and MONEY! And what a way to do it, than with food alarmism. 

Food Alarmism is becoming more the rage these days, what with the credible threats of pollution, pesticides, GMOs, cattle hormones, etc. There is no doubt that we, as consumers, need to become a little more discerning with what we put in our bodies, and be more mindful of moderation.  

The problem is that food alarmists feed on our constant food insecurities. They are like any intolerant religious zealots or fundamentalists: they leave NO room for anyone else to live life, or their diets, differently... PLUS they want to make money off of you. They feed on YOUR 'concern' and 'fear' and your desire to be 'healthy.' Then you go around recruiting OTHER people with your genuineness, and bring them over to their side. They can be just as bad for you, health-wise, as the fast food industry we so want to attack. They also love to claim they have the all the aswers, and the science to prove anything... taking advantage of those who aren't savvy enough to recognize junk science when they see it. Small studies with minimal results, studies with inconclusive results, studies done by organizations with biased interests, studies where little is known about the population groups used, or research promoted by people trying to sell you something, etc, etc. People regularly flock to 'The Doctors,' 'Dr. Oz,' 'Dr. Hyman,' and 'Dr. Mercola,' for their daily dose of alarmism. They DON'T care about how you felt better thanks to the placebo effect, when you took their supplements; they care about the $60 you spent on their supplements, or their books.

So, last year... intent on proving that we, diabetics, can control our own diets -- in MODERATION -- and that we do NOT need to be policed, or be on diets of just fruit, veggies, and grains only... I set out to create the first online, and worldwide, Diabetic Ice Cream Social.

I just got tired of people telling me what I can, and cannot have. Writing articles giving license to others to police, or bully me, or using their OWN fears of food to control my life... or assuming I'm a lazy slacker, or a person with a bad diet, if I choose to have a treat, once in a while. Over 2,400 people responded in support... and yes, I'm going to do it again. We need freedom to mind our own lives, and our own illnesses... without busybodies out there pushing us around as to what we can/can't/should/shouldn't eat. 

I've been criticized left and right this week, by a few who are against my social: 
  • I'm irresponsible, and promoting gluttony (a moderated portion of ice cream hardly classifies as gluttony);
  • I'm irresponsible and not promoting good eating habits (excuse me, moderation is a GOOD eating habit);
  • I should instead write letters to editors, and just attack the problem directly (we can all raise awareness in different ways... but perhaps YOU should write the letters, instead);'
  • I should be holding a 'marathon' or a 'walk-a-thon' instead (why? so that a lot of people aren't able to participate, because they have mobility issues, or neuropathy?) 
  • That I am increasing the type 2 diabetes epidemic (surprisingly, this one came from a type 1 diabetic who should know eating a scoop of ice cream is not going to give ANYONE diabetes.) 
  • That I am wasting my time, and instead I should go around collecting insulin to give to needy diabetics (ummm... how about YOU get off your behind, and collect insulin? If it needs to get done, DO IT... don't accuse me of not doing it! Do what YOU have a conviction that needs to happen.)
So... controversial as it might be, because of these reactions and more, I am convinced -- more than ever before -- that we NEED this type of awareness. Going around lecturing people on how sugar doesn't cause diabetes is not the most effective way to do it... Teaching people that moderation is what makes LONG LASTING healthy habits, and not just crazy, restrictive, fad diets -- IS. 


My numbers after last year's ice cream social.


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