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.