Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Eating on Faith

I've thought a lot about eating and dietary habits, and for some reason, that subject keeps getting mixed up on my head with thoughts on faith and religion.

A little background here: I was raised in a conservative Christian household. I am still a Christian. I attend church regularly. I believe in God. I much prefer the term 'faith' to 'religion' or 'religious'. I am not religious, although I won't slug you if you call me that. I have a relationship with God. I am a Christian. My faith is important to me.

Now, my faith is a quiet faith. That is to say, I don't generally feel the need to inquire of my new friends whether they know whether they're going to heaven when they die, nor do I attempt to convert them once I do know their faith. Being of my own same faith is not a requirement to be my friend. I am a sinner, and it doesn't bother me to hang around with other sinners. Not that I inform them of their sin. That's God's job. My job is to show God's love. Others may show His judgement, if that is what they believe they should do. I don't talk about my faith in either of my blogs, much.

But having the background that I do, I am acutely aware of issues of legalism, and of the intersection between actions (works, if you will) and long-term hopes (salvation). And I see a lot of the same dynamics that humans bring to areas of faith brought to bear in the areas of eating.

For instance, I believe that some vegans are among the most legalistic humans on the planet. For many of them, this legalism makes them rather unpleasant to hang out with. Again, though, this is a normal thing, a station on the road that humans follow, a common error of thinking.

I don't know if this post is coming together the way I'd like it to, if I'm drawing the lines between the concepts as they exist in my mind, so let me see if I can make the point.

For diabetics, we eat the way we eat in order to have the best outcome in health. We each must choose our own dietary plan/plan of salvation, if you will (I'm going to offend all my church friends here, I know), and choose to follow the plan bite by bite, meal by meal. We follow our dietary plan with the hopes of 1) long life, 2) avoiding long-term disabilities or complications, and 3) short-term blood glucose control. There can also be other goals, such as 'feeling better' that are harder to quantify, but I think most diabetics would agree with those three main goals.

Aside from the short-term blood glucose control, one's progress towards long life and avoiding complications is tough to see. (And my dietary guru doesn't even believe in the level of short-term blood glucose control that most diabetes experts, including my physician, do. His advice, from his older books, says "Follow my diet, lose weight, and don't worry about high blood sugars, even up to 300, as they're not nearly as dangerous as lows are." In other words, follow the dietary plan, and salvation will be yours. I still test. I'm not freaked out by highs, but I'm still aiming at getting lower numbers. And I do take oral hypoglycemic agents, which he would prefer that I not do.)

But whatever dietary plan you choose, whether it be one of glycemic index, or moderate fat vegan or vegetarian diet, or standard ADA carb counting or even the older exchange style diets, you must choose to follow your plan at each moment that you eat. Choosing the brown rice and veggies as opposed to the chicken-fried steak with fries is an act of faith. When you choose the foods that are on your plan, you are hoping for long life. You are choosing to delay or avoid complications and disabilities, by choosing this meal. Salvation by knife and fork. Our lady of the smaller portions.

So here is my urging for the day: be faithful. Choose a plan and follow it. Choose a dietary plan, that, according to all that you know, will support your life in a positive and healthful manner.

And no, a perfect eating plan and a perfect eating habit will not make for an easy diabetic life. One hopes that it will make for an easier diabetic life, but crises will still occur. Unexpected events happen.

But, set a course and follow it. Eat good things today.

And, please, forgive yourself if you don't. You'll have another chance to eat well and follow your plan in a few hours.


  • At 6:02 PM, Blogger Rachel said…

    Amen! My dietary style is very much a mixed bag, if you couldn't tell. I'll be posting sometime in the next couple weeks how my husband and I are still "Foodies" despite the dietary restrictions.


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