The Cookie Conundrum

Merry Christmas, dear reader! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday yesterday. Thank you for your continued support of my blog. I’m looking forward to continue writing in the new year! Enjoy this new blog post about my favorite food weakness this time of year.

Hi, my name is Molly, and I have an addiction to cookies.

Not just any kind of cookies, though – Christmas cookies, to be exact. I think my obsession with them truly took shape when I was in eighth grade. That’s when my aunts, cousins, and I gathered for our first annual Christmas cookie swap, a joyous occasion during which we spend an afternoon sampling cookies we’ve baked. It’s just as glorious as it sounds.

Unless you’ve got diabetes, of course.

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Bags and baskets filled with sweet little sugar bombs (A.K.A. cookies!!!)

I say that because it seems no matter what I do, my blood sugar always ends up high after partaking in the cookie consumption. And I’ve tried many different strategies to combat it, including:

  • Pre-bolusing
  • Breaking cookies in half to cut down on the carb intake
  • Running a temp basal rate
  • Exercising pre- or post-swap, depending on my blood sugar

I’m fully aware that I don’t HAVE to eat the cookies – I could go to the swap and watch everyone else try them and plaster a fake grin on my face – but honestly, how miserable does that sound? I fully believe that just because I have diabetes, it doesn’t mean that I should deprive myself. And as a disclaimer, I’m not sitting there wolfing down cookie after cookie like I’m the Cookie Monster: My family sets out just enough so that each person can try one cookie from all participating bakers. So usually, accounting for all the cookies I split in half, I eat approximately 6-7 whole cookies (which vary in size but are typically no larger than 3-4 inches in diameter). All that said, I still account for at least 45 grams of carbohydrates when I bolus for the cookies, which should have me covered…

…in theory, anyways.

Hence, my cookie conundrum, which occurred yet again when I participated in the 2017 swap. I spent a solid few hours in the late afternoon and early evening battling blood sugars in the high 200s and low 300s, which proved to be extra challenging without my CGM’s aid (I had to remove it because the dreaded ??? appeared and wouldn’t go away for several hours). But I handled it: I managed to get my numbers back down, try an array of fabulous cookies, and spend an afternoon with my wonderful family members.

Cookie conundrum overcome, if you ask me.

Planning for Office Potlucks with T1D

Today is my office’s 10th annual holiday potluck! I’m looking forward to sampling a wide variety of dishes prepared by my coworkers. I know that it’ll be a carb heavy feast, though, so I’m going to have to do a little planning in order to prevent my blood sugar from spiraling out of control.

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I feel like I consume the amount of carbs that this gingerbread house contains on office potluck days (okay sort of exaggerating but that’s how it FEELS).

Honestly, my strategy for office potlucks is a little similar to what I do on other food-centric holidays: test often, extend boluses as needed, consume everything in moderation, and so forth. But there’s a few additional things I like to take into account when it comes to potlucks:

  1. Request labels for the food. I want to know precisely what’s in front of me. No, I don’t expect or want someone to write down every single ingredient they used to prepare a dish, but I do think it’s not too much to ask for the name of the dish. Labels are everything!
  2. Ask the cook if more explanation is needed. Case in point: At our last potluck, I tried noodle kugel without knowing what was in it. I mean, it’s obvious that NOODLES are a main ingredient, but pasta aside, I had no clue that sugar, cinnamon, and raisins were also used to make it. Needless to say, my blood sugar was sky high after sampling this (delicious) carb bomb, and I think I could’ve mitigated the situation if I’d only spoken up.
  3. Find someone to share the sweet stuff with (or save it for later). Chances are, I can find a coworker who’d gladly split a cookie with me so we save ourselves from the calories and carbs in a whole one. But if I truly can’t resist having a big piece of cake to myself, then there’s no problem in saving it for later – I never know when my next low blood sugar will strike!
  4. Load up on low carb options. Typically, I take as much as I want of the veggies, salads, cheeses, and meats that people contribute to the potluck spread. I know that if I fill up on lower carb items first, then I won’t overdo it as much on the heavier pastas, breads, and cakes.
  5. Be upfront with coworkers. My colleagues are very understanding when it comes to my diabetes, which is awesome in certain situations – like a potluck! But every now and then, I encounter someone who just doesn’t get my diabetes (even if I’ve tried to explain it to them). They’ll insist upon me eating whatever they’re offering to me, and take it personally if I turn them down. So I’ve decided that the best way to cope with this is to be totally honest with my coworkers and tell them why I can’t or don’t want to have what they are offering. So if Edgar* is begging me to try a slice of the chocolate torte he slaved over, I’ll straight-up tell him my reasons for skipping it (whether it’s due to high BG or simply being too full!). There’s a reason it’s said that honesty is the best policy, and this certainly applies in an office setting.

Either way, I look forward to this potluck every year and I won’t let my diabetes prevent me from enjoying it. Here’s to an afternoon filled with food and festivities!

*Edgar isn’t a real coworker. I just made him up for the purpose of this post. But I bet his hypothetical chocolate torte is amazing.

10 Tips for T1Ds Celebrating Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

A holiday that promotes gratitude and eating…what’s not to love? As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving, though, I can’t quite say that my diabetes feels the same about it. Fortunately, I’ve developed a bit of a game plan as to how to handle diabetes when Turkey Day comes rolling around – here are my top 10 tips for making the most of a Thanksgiving feast with diabetes!

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A tree of thanks I made many Thanksgivings ago – note my gratitude for Lindt chocolate, specifically.

10) Don’t skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. This helps me avoid over-eating when Thanksgiving dinner is served later in the day. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge thing, maybe just a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of fresh fruit – anything that will sate me for a few hours.

9) Volunteer to prepare a couple of dishes. If I’m going somewhere for the feast, I like to know what my host needs me to bring. If I have creative control over the dish, I prefer to make it something that I know won’t be too hard on my blood sugars, such as a side of veggies or a sugar-free dessert.

8) Familiarize yourself with what’s being served prior to sitting down for the meal. Before my family sits down to eat, I like to know what exactly we’re being served so I can plan accordingly. I can usually get away with strolling around the kitchen to get an idea, but sometimes the chef (my aunts or my mom) kick me out while they finish cooking dinner!

7) Don’t feel pressured to try everything. It all looks and smells so good, but I have to remind myself to use some restraint when piling my plate with Thanksgiving food. I’ll add staples like turkey and green beans (both of which are low-carb!) and take smaller portions of the heavy things, such as stuffing and potatoes.

6) If it’s necessary, extend my bolus. This all depends on what my blood sugar is before the meal, but sometimes, I’ll extend it in order to prevent lows or highs post-feast.

5) Check my blood sugar often. I’m not afraid to check my blood sugar as often as I need to throughout the Thanksgiving feast. I’d rather have an idea of where my blood sugar is headed than leave it to chance and guess incorrectly.

4) Go for a walk or organize another outdoor activity. The weather doesn’t always cooperate with this idea, but I’ve found that dragging my cousins on a 20-minute walk after eating helps my blood sugar and provides us all a chance to hang out while our uncles take control of the TV and our aunts chitchat over cups of coffee.

3) Wait a bit before having seconds or starting on desserts. I try to indulge a bit on the sweets at Thanksgiving, but I know that it never works out for me if I help myself to desserts too soon after consuming the main course. So I avoid the temptation by staying busy after eating dinner – my mom and aunts always appreciate an extra set of hands to assist with clean up!

2) Look up carb counts if I’m struggling to come up with them on my own. Sometimes, I can’t quite determine how many carbs are in a serving of pumpkin pie – I’ll guess too low and end up high, as a result! But I know that there are tons of carb counting resources at the tip of my fingers, thanks to my smartphone. I rely on the MyFitnessPal app and the handy Thanksgiving carb chart from Beyond Type 1 to help me come up with complex counts.

1) Remember what the holiday’s all about: being thankful! Enjoy the day and time with loved ones! Whether you’re part of a large family like mine, a small one, or choose to spend the day with friends or a partner, just relish it for what you want it to be.

A Shout Out to my Endocrinologist

For the first two weeks of Diabetes Awareness Month, I’m responding to prompts provided by Beyond Type 1 on Twitter (and I’ll post a couple longer responses here). Today’s prompt encourages us to give a shout out to a healthcare provider who has made a difference in our lives. I’m not disclosing the name of my endo for privacy purposes, but that doesn’t diminish the amount of gratitude I have for her.

Dear Endocrinologist,

Thank you.

Thank you for always listening to me during our appointments.

Thank you for making me feel heard and never laughing at the problems I brought up that I thought were stupid or embarrassing.

Thank you for never making me feel bad about my A1c.

Thank you for reminding me that my A1c is just a number, and I’m worth more than what that value represents.

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Waiting for my endocrinologist at a recent appointment

Thank you for motivating me to take better care of myself after every appointment I have with you.

Thank you for being patient with me.

Thank you for inspiring me to try new technology, and not judging me when I used to express my fears about abandoning the known for the unknown.

Thank you for asking me questions, in an effort to make sure you fully understood my thoughts and feelings about my health.

Thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

Molly

 

Happy Diabetes Awareness Month!

It’s November 1st, which means…

Diabetes Awareness Month is here!!!

To celebrate, I’ll be posting a variety of content that’ll give non-T1Ds a bit more insight into life with diabetes. I’m going to *attempt* to respond to the many wonderful prompts provided by Beyond Type 1 and the College Diabetes Network, starting today!

Beyond Type 1’s first prompt is easy enough: Post a photo of your #bgnow! (This is a hashtag commonly used on Twitter to share current blood sugar readings.)

So here it is:

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Hey, not bad! Especially for a post-breakfast blood sugar! I’m hoping for some tighter numbers this month, seeing as I just saw my endocrinologist a few days ago. I had a good A1c reading, but not my best, so I was a little disappointed. But she reminded me that my A1c is just an average, and that I should be proud of the progress I’ve made in the last few years. Her faith in my ability to take the best care of my diabetes that I can is super reassuring. That, combined with my excitement to advocate all month long, is exactly what I need to meet my personal goals.

Looking forward to an awesome month of diabetes advocacy!

Happy Halloween, Boos and Ghouls!

(Yes, the “boos and ghouls” is a cheesy take on “boy and girls”…I have a goofy sense of humor, what can I say?!)

Happy Halloween! Just a friendly post to say: Yes, people with T1D can enjoy Halloween. Whether they choose to eat candies or stay away from them, there’s haunted happenings of all varieties that they can partake in. Here’s a little glimpse at what I did today to celebrate:

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  • I dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast! I love all things related to Disney, so I happily donned this costume to work today.

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  • Speaking of work, we had a small Halloween celebration in the office! Pictured are several of the sweets we offered throughout the day. We also did a “spooky” scavenger hunt and had a costume parade, both of which were as awesome and fun as they sound!

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  • I also baked cupcakes for my coworkers! I didn’t eat any (I wanted to save my insulin for a few Reese’s cups, instead – they’re my favorite), but I had a blast baking these and using fondant to create some festive designs.

It doesn’t matter if you’re low-carb, sugar free, T1D, or none of those things – Halloween is for everyone to make whatever they want out of it! With that said…

Have a SPOOKtacular day, readers!!!