Peanut Butter Paradise

Family members, friends, coworkers, and really any one person who is the least bit acquainted with me all know one thing: that I, Molly Johannes, have an addiction to peanut butter.

Creamy, chunky, even the powdered stuff that you mix with water – it’s all positively delicious to me. I’d like to blame it on the fact that peanut butter is a lower-carb food item; when I was little, it was the first thing I’d reach for when simultaneously experiencing high blood sugar and hunger. Okay, okay, it still is my go-to snack even now.

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Living my best life in peanut butter paradise.

What’s not to love about peanut butter? It’s rich and thick, somehow sweet and savory at the same time. It pairs excellently with a number of foods, from apples and bananas to toast and crackers. It also comes in a wide array of flavors; beyond traditional, I’ve seen peanut butter fusions containing white chocolate, dark chocolate, honey, strawberry, and pumpkin. I can honestly say I’ve yet to come across peanut butter in any iteration that I truly disliked.

It’s a problem. A peanut butter problem. But an oh-so-tasty (if highly caloric) one to have, and one I’m happy to live with because it coexists so blissfully with my diabetes.

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How I Learned the Importance of Carb Counting

One recent evening, I was rummaging through the kitchen pantry and noticed a bag of “veggie stix” stashed away, waiting to get opened. The sight of the bag instantly brought back memories of a time I was blatantly irresponsible with my carb counting and insulin dosing…

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…It was my junior year of college. I had plans to meet with a friend for dinner at seven o’clock. While that’s a standard suppertime for many people, it was kind of late for me. So that explains why I decided to treat myself to a snack a couple hours before it was time to go, just to hold me until I had my meal. My snack of choice? A bag of veggie stix just like these were sitting in the kitchen of my on-campus apartment. I thought I’d help myself to a few, believing (naively) that I had enough self control to know when to stop shoveling them down my gullet. That’s right, instead of doing the right thing and counting out a bunch before stowing the bag away, I was blindly consuming handful after handful without dosing for a single stick.

I can’t even use the defense that these veggie stix are strangely addicting – they really are, they taste a little like those potato sticks that used to come in cans – because I knew what I was doing wasn’t good for me. I just didn’t care. I had munched my way through half of the bag when it dawned on me that it would probably be smart to stop myself from eating more. I rolled up the bag, returned to my room, and did some homework until it was time to meet with my gal pal.

Little did I know that my blood sugar was rising to potentially dangerous levels.

I didn’t find out how high I was – over 400 mg/dL – until I reached the sandwich shop and had a plate full of chicken pesto carb-y goodness waiting to be consumed. My face must’ve shown my shock, because my friend asked me if I was alright. I quickly explained to her my mistake, and took an extra large bolus to cover my food and correct my blood sugar. Once that was done, I somehow managed to stop panicking long enough to enjoy the dinner with my friend, even though I couldn’t eat a bite of mine until an hour or so after injecting my insulin.

Although it sucked to go through this, I’m kind of glad that it happened because I learned a major lesson from it: ALWAYS count my carbs. It doesn’t matter if I WANT to be lazy or pretend that my diabetes doesn’t exist, I HAVE to hold myself accountable. It may be mentally draining and a bit of a nuisance, but it’s my own health here. It’s up to me, and me alone, to manage it.

And by the way, I did just help myself to the above bag of veggie stix. I had exactly 24 pieces, which equals exactly 5.4 grams of carbohydrates – a much smaller amount than what I ate that one night five years ago.