Because I Am a Diabetic, I am Not a Fan of Food

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Because I am a diabetic, I am not a fan of food. Truth be told, I hate having to eat.

Since I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 eating food for me has been little more than a chore and a necessity. It’s one part of the three-legged stool of medication, exercise, and diet that one must monitor closely in order to properly control diabetes. I still have Oliver Twist-like reminiscences of being called out of class in grade school at 10 a.m. every day to eat a mandatory snack. The experience, however, was more of a Bizarre-O version of Dickens where I was brought to an empty school cafeteria to eat a cheese and balogne sandwich and drink a carton of milk before I was permitted to go back to class. Every day when I was called out of class I wanted to say to the teacher, “Please sir, I don’t want any more.”

I have spent years attempting to avoid food. When Power Bars were first introduced to the market I rejoiced because I could simply eat one in place of a meal, or so I thought. This kick lasted a few days before further research revealed it was a nutritionally risky way to proceed with my diet if I didn’t want that three-legged stool to tip over and send me crashing to the floor underneath it.

When I first got an insulin pump I celebrated by setting the basal rate so low I didn’t have to sit down and accomplish finishing a scheduled meal for two days. Despite these salvos in the war against food, the demand of having to consume meals at regular intervals so that I could manage my diabetes properly has never truly gone away. It is always there, lurking, waiting, controlling my life and imposing its need upon me like a toddler who will never grow up.

Or, at least that’s the way I figured it would always be. Then, last month, things changed when I got a juicer.

I was first inspired to get a juicer after reading an article by ASweeetLife.org’s own Catherine Price about how a juicer changed her life. I read it and thought it would be a good way to get some badly needed fruits and vegetables that my diet is bereft of due to my lack of enthusiasm for eating. After reading Catherine’s article I let a year go by before I did anything about it.

But then I bought a juicer. I plugged the thing in. I fed it some carrots and apples and spinach and ginger. I put the concoction to my lips and, ehr muh Gawd. My life, at that moment, shifted to a higher nutritional plane. Of course I immediately thought of Billy Pilgrim, the main character in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five. Specifically I thought of the scene when a starved and malnourished Billy dips his finger in a vat of vitamin-enriched syrup and licks it. “A moment went by,” Vonnegut writes, “and then every cell in Billy’s body shook him with ravenous gratitude and applause.”

A few hours later I stood in my kitchen and drank a lunch of kale, spinach, lemon, cucumber, apples, and carrots. I then experienced the zing of going through the day with more energy than if I had had a normal lunch of say, a bologna and cheese sandwich and a carton of milk.

More than this nutritional uplift, however, I experienced a welcome sense of relief as I loosened the bonds of not having to eat as much and as often. In short, I felt high.

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Cynthia Ivie
Cynthia Ivie

Oh my god no one has understood this about me before. I am an amazing cook and love to cook for everyone. But I hate food and avoid eating. I was a diabetic who controlled it with food for over 25 years. Now I have Insulin but I still hate to eat at times. It is hard to find foods that trigger my appetite. My family thinks I am crazy. You are the first that admits like me food can be an enemy not just for diet but to HAVE to eat every two hours. Wow

Katie Bacon

Maybe you should try Soylent–all your nutrients in a drink (written about in The New Yorker a while ago: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/12/the-end-of-food).  It would be interesting to see how a meal like this–exactly the same at each meal–works for people with type 1.
 

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