"Can you eat that?"
One of the top questions all diabetics get is “Can you eat that?” Seriously, once you’re diagnosed with diabetes your eating habits become communal knowledge- doesn’t matter if it’s at work, school or at home, everyone wants to know why you’re eating a banana at 10:30 in the morning. No it’s not just because you’re hungry, you must be low! And don’t you dare think about having a cookie, nope no no, not with food police around. Doesn’t matter if the cookie is flaked with gold and rainbows and was delivered by a unicorn specifically for you, diabetics do not and can not even think about a cookie, let alone eat one. This question is also interesting because while the food police have wondered why I’m eating a cookie for give or take a nanosecond, I’ve contemplated if I should eat said cookie and the repercussions of eating it for a good 3-5 minutes and have decided, based on how much I know my body, activity levels, and blood sugar behavior, that I will consume said cookie. So yeah, I think I can eat that.
9 times out of 10, this is an innocent question asked with good intentions and unfortunately, a little bit of ignorance. Where did this perception of a “diabetic diet” come from and why does everyone think I’m on it? I would like the world to know that yes, I can eat cookies and I will eat cookies when I want, wherever I want. Isn’t it about time we turned it around and said “Hey!! Perceivably healthy person! Why are you eating that cookie?!? Shouldn’t you be eating ALL of the carrots?! WHY AREN’T YOU EATING CARROTS?!”
Allow me to explain a little bit more on why there is no such thing (in my humble opinion) as a diabetic diet:
- The diabetic diet is one that is loaded with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts, healthy fats, and high quality dairy products. Processed foods and sugars should be kept to a minimum. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the diet every single person should be eating to live a healthy life, not just diabetics.
- There is always room in any diet for indulgences, you just have to make them worth the calories. Instead of going for a store bought cookie, go for a homemade cookie. Instead of going for a homemade cookie made from the chocolate chip bag recipe, go for grandma’s secret cookie recipe. Instead of going for grandma’s secret recipe, go for an updated version of grandma’s recipe with fresher and healthier ingredients. See what I did there? I just made room for cookies in every single diet ever invented, you can thank me later.
- Full calorie soda and juice should be consumed when you need to bring up a low blood sugar, but not casually because it’ll spike your sugar and soon enough, you’ll experience a sugar crash. Weird, but doesn’t this apply to everyone as well? 50 grams of sugar from OJ right in the morning when you wake up really isn’t a good idea at all, especially if you’re having OJ with pop tarts. What is that, 100 grams of sugar? Seems like a lot for everyone, no?
Listen, deciding what to eat and the implications of eating certain kinds of food are things everyone has to do, not just diabetics. We’re just medically forced to make good choices because of the clearly visible impact food has on our health. We make a good choice and we feel good, but if we make a bad choice we feel terrible for hours. Just because “normal” people can’t see what eating a slice of cake once a week or drinking a frappuccino daily does to their health doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for them to do it, right? Let’s make a deal: if you don’t judge my food choices, I won’t judge yours. Deal? Another part of the deal is that we all get together every once in awhile and eat super-fantastic versions of grandma’s secret cookie recipe, because we all deserve to indulge every once in awhile.