The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Punishment

loooooove peanut butter (frequent visitors of this blog are very aware of this fact) and chocolate. It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet. And Reese’s cups of all shapes and sizes are definitely the most delicious snack in the entire world – though I have a special affinity for Reese’s pumpkins for having the ideal chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio.

Despite my unwavering adoration for peanut butter and chocolate, the dynamic duo doesn’t always love me – or my blood sugars – back…especially when I neglect to bolus accordingly.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’d just woken up from a brief cat nap on the sofa and felt hunger pangs. I checked my CGM and noticed that my blood sugar was going a little low, so I yawned, stretched, and ambled into the kitchen for a snack.

That’s when I remembered I had a tasty treat in the fridge – crunchy peanut butter chocolate squares I’d whipped up the night before to bring to a friend’s apartment. They were made from, obviously, crunchy peanut butter, but also crushed graham crackers, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and a silky, smooth layer of melted dark chocolate. The squares were chock-full of carbs, but cut small enough and on the thin side…so I naively assumed I could eat a couple without doing any real damage to my blood sugar levels.

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The crime? The existence of these peanut butter and chocolate squares. The punishment? High blood sugar for unknown length of time. Cruel.

So I dove in, helping myself to some additional crumbs at the bottom of the bag that had broken off from roughly cut squares. After a couple of minutes of totally pigging out, I made myself stop because I could practically feel my blood sugar begin to rise. I even took a couple of units of insulin (not at all calculated, just two off-the-cuff units) to offset any high blood sugar.

Unfortunately, two units wasn’t exactly enough. Within an hour, I saw my blood sugar go from the 80s to somewhere in the 280s. Not at all what I wanted! I began bolusing and stacking my doses like crazy while I fixed dinner and fretted over how long it might take for my blood sugar levels to come back down so I could eat a real meal. By the time dinner was ready, though, I was still high but confident that the insulin on board would do its job. But it took nearly five hours for everything to stabilize, from when I first gave into the peanut butter and chocolate squares to a couple hours after dinner.

Not my finest moment in life with diabetes since everything could’ve been prevented from the beginning. But maybe it goes to show one of the reasons why people start out each new year with the hopes of eating clean and cutting out sweets – junk food tastes so wonderful when it’s being consumed, but the long-term effects are too much of a punishment to make it worth it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, time to evacuate the apartment of all carb-y confections…

Memory Monday: The First Time I Tried Sugar-Free Chocolate from Yummies

Memory Monday is following a slightly different format from here on out! One Monday per month, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how much my diabetes thoughts, feelings, and experiences have unfolded over the years. Today, I remember…

…the first time that I tried sugar-free chocolate. Not just any sugar-free chocolate, though: It was from Yummies, a massive candy emporium in Southern Maine. The store is lined, floor to ceiling, with bags upon bags of candy. You can bulk buy your favorites to your heart’s content as well as discover weird, relatively unknown confectionery creations. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s basically a saccharine paradise.

When I was younger, I watched a lot of Phantom Gourmet – partly because it was always on the TV in my Grammy’s nursing home when we visited her each Saturday afternoon, and partly because I was a growing foodie who loved learning about local hot spot eateries. At around nine years old, an episode that featured Yummies aired on TV, and I discovered that they had an entire case devoted to sugar-free chocolates in their store. I knew I had to go check it out; fortunately, my parents were willing to take me there next time we trekked up to Maine.

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Yummies, also known as candy lover’s paradise.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into that store. My jaw dropped as I laid eyes on the 10,000 pounds of candy they had on display. As I wove through the rainbow-hued aisles, I could practically feel my blood sugar spiking. But I was on a mission to find the sugar-free section that looked so delectable on television that I could practically taste it.

I heard angels sing hallelujah when I laid eyes on the aforementioned case of chocolates. There were so many choices! And all of them were made in the store, guaranteeing higher quality! It was a T1D chocolate lover’s paradise: There were fudge meltaways, peanut butter cups, almond bark, coconut clusters, sea salt caramels, chocolate peanuts, malted milk balls, peppermint patties, and even more beyond that. I remember marveling at the variety for a solid five minutes before I was told by my father to hurry up and make my selections. I don’t remember exactly what I chose, but it definitely included the meltaways and peanut butter cups. Once they were paid for and I was back in the car with my chocolate treasures, I took my first bite and could scarcely believe it was sugar free candy – that’s how awesome it tasted.

Every summer since then, I’ve made an annual visit to Yummies to pick up my tasty sugar-free chocolates. It brings back memories of being a little kid stepping into that store for the first time, memories that are almost as sweet as the candy inside.

Easter Basket Dos and Don’ts for People with Diabetes

Please don’t judge me for what I’m about to say…

…Even though I’m an adult, I still get Easter baskets. I know, I’m a bit spoiled.

The contents of said Easter baskets have varied over the years. But the ever-thoughtful Easter bunny has always been conscientious of the goodies he places within it, given my diabetes. After all, diabetes doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Easter treats, both of the sugary and sugar-free variety.

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One of my favorite Easter baskets received as an adult contained a stuffed animal, two bottles of wine, a book of crossword puzzles, and Easter chocolates.

Whether a kid or an adult, here’s some ideas for an Easter basket that any T1D in your life will appreciate:

For kids:
Coloring books, markers/crayons/colored pencils, stickers, comic books, movies, frisbees, outdoor/warm weather toys, nail polish, puzzles, mini games, stuffed animals…

For adults:
Lottery tickets, gift cards, coffee, wine/beer (one of the best finds in an Easter basket, TBH), gum, other small snacks, books…

Truly, depending on who the basket is for, there’s a ton of possibilities as to what can fill it.

My thoughts on candy:
I’m the only person I know who doesn’t completely loathe sugar-free chocolates. Obviously, I prefer actual chocolate – because, you know, that’s what tastes good. But I don’t exactly love all the carbs in it. I find that snacking on sugar-free chocolates (as long as the quantity is small) satisfies a sweets craving well enough. But I also think that real treats, like Reese’s peanut butter eggs (my weakness) or Cadbury eggs (pure confectionary delight) are okay. After all, Easter is only once a year. And with carb counts widely available these days, it’s easy to know exactly how many you’re consuming.

Plus…who doesn’t love a good candy sale the day after a holiday? Talk about a great low blood sugar stash!

On another note…Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Spring to you!!!