eliminate the carbs

Facts of life: I have had diabetes for many, many years. And it’s exhausting. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, and it’s actually almost every adjective you can think of that is not a synonym for “fun”.

I started this blog because I had so many friends ask me for the recipes I made, about the food I cooked, about how I could make such amazing black bean brownies because they would never think of doing that themselves, but they’re so good and they want to try them and they’re so much healthier and they’re trying to lose weight, so can they have the recipe?

I’ve never really announced, Internet-wise, that this is why I cook. I cook because then I can control what I eat. I’m not some healthy food nut because I think it’s fun, because I think it’s healthy. It’s a way to cope. When my body forces me awake at 2 am because I’m on the verge of a diabetic seizure* I at least know that tomorrow I can fix it: when I eat the leftovers for dinner, I’ll adjust my insulin/carb guess down and my blood sugars will rise. It’s a balance and I can do it, so long as I know what I’ll eat and how it works.

But it’s still frustrating as hell. My friends who are on diets for fun drive me nuts. “Oh, if I cut out carbs, I’ll lose weight.” “I have a glass of juice and a wheat bran muffin for lunch, and that lasts me all day.” “I’ll have nothing but rose water for three days, and then I’ll introduce things back in. That’ll clear my system, and I’ll feel so much better. More refreshed.”

Bullshit. I get the intrigue: if you’ve never focused on what you eat, and you think by doing so you can make yourself thinner and more desirable to yourself, great. I’ve thought about every single thing I’ve eaten since I was six years old. Ever turned down birthday cake at a birthday party? I have. Ever drunk straight liquor because your only option of mix is juice or coke? I’ve done that too. I’ve been counting carbs since I was 23, and can estimate the amount of carbs in food so quickly I wish it was a math challenge.

So what now? I’m old enough to not really care what other people think of me. I do, but not enough to change my diet over it. I do care about being healthy though. I do care about preventing blindness, or kidney failure (or, heaven forbid, both). I do care about maintaining my blood sugars at 6, as close as I can manage to the “able-bodied” 3.6 level. I do care about all of that. So I will change my diet for that.

So here’s the goal: cut down the carbs. Eat a lot of vegetables, drink a lot of tea. Try and introduce more beans in my diet, try and cut out things like crackers and bread. I already generally try to avoid white flour, pasta, corn, potatoes, white sugar, and high processed foods. But let’s see what more I can do.

I’m going to try and track it here. Thanks, Internet, for being my friend on this. I feel like someone out there might get this, might understand the frustration about this being the “trendy disease”. But mostly I just want to track it for me. It’ll give me something and a reason to focus on. So here’s going. Let’s start?

*my doctors are very clear diabetics don’t have seizures. What we have are apparently fun times? Insulin reactions. Low glycemic episodes. “Episodes”. “Reactions”. Periods in time when you can’t control your body, where these aren’t seizures or strokes but you want to move one step forward but go two steps back, where you can’t articulate what you need except it’s very clear in your head. These aren’t seizures. These are periods. Episodes. As a lay diabetic … The name doesn’t change how horrible they are.

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