Saturday, March 22, 2008

FAQ: What can J.J. eat??

"What can J.J. eat?"

"Can he have birthday cake?"

"Should I have any special foods ready for J.J. when you come over for dinner?"

The questions abound about J.J.'s diet now that he has diabetes!!

So.....what can J.J. eat? The answer is simple...yet complex. It's simple in that he can eat anything!! It's complex because it still depends on so many factors. The plain truth is, J.J. should eat like any normal HEALTHY person SHOULD eat.

There is just so much confusion concerning this question. Mainly because so and so's Aunt Bertha has diabetes and she can't eat this and that and the other. The majority of people with "diabetes" have a different form of diabetes, type 2, which is treated differently than what J.J. has. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be helped out by diet and exercise. They have their own set of challenges that I'm pretty much ignorant to because I'm steeped in Type 1!! Still the confusion is there which makes it important for me to try to explain J.J.'s condition.

So....back to Type 1.....before the introduction of rapid acting insulins the diets were extremely regimented for Type 1'ers. We are looking at a change in just the past 7-8 years or so. The insulins they were using took so much time to "kick in" and everything had to be timed just right with just the right carb amount. Along comes fast acting insulin plus the pumps and you have "freedom" a sense. These newer insulins act within a half hour and do their job quick.

When we were in the hospital we knew nothing.......absolutely nothing about diabetes. We knew diabetes was the diagnosis, but until we started the training the next day we were still complete ignoramuses. I even called my oldest daughter and told her to take the special Christmas treat ice cream bars to the family they were staying with so J.J. wouldn't feel bad when we got home from the hospital. Thankfully she forgot because when we got home they ended up being a special treat for being such a great trooper in the hospital!!

So back to the I said at the beginning....he can eat ANYTHING.....but that doesn't mean he SHOULD eat anything. It's just like us. We can have a piece of cake after every meal, but that doesn't mean we should. As a parent I don't tell my kids they can have any food at any time all the time. They have limits and restrictions. We push whole foods, healthy snacks, with the occasional treat. We have a saying here: THE WHITER THE BREAD, THE SOONER YOUR DEAD!!! So we try to eat healthy, and I'm finding more ways to sneak the healthy stuff in and limit the unhealthy snacking.

With that said we already see trends in J.J.'s body. We figured today that a high carb breakfast sends him to the moon!! We will have to majorly adjust his insulin or cut back on carbs for breakfast. Now high carb doesn't equate necessarily to bad diet. The last high carb breakfast he had before today was oatmeal, yogurt, and a bagel. (It was a Panera bagel.....those are all pretty high carb!! And he didn't even eat it all.) That's a pretty healthy diet, but a little too high in carbs for J.J. without accounting for them properly with insulin. So we keep this in mind and from here on out we can make a mental note that high carb breakfasts need more insulin....OR....we may have to end up saying, "Look, Dude, you can't eat all those carbs for breakfast. Let's try eating ________." Basically, these minor adjustments are so individual. We have to see what works best for J.J. and proceed from there.

I believe everyone makes adjustments like this in their diets in one way or another. We'll eat a food that gives us heartburn, stomach upset or _________(you know what I mean!!!) I for one do not do well with O'lean or artificial sweeteners!! So I avoid them, but I might have a little every now and then. J.J. is the same.....there are some foods that he will not do well with in managing his diabetes, so we'll avoid them or limit them.

My overall goal in feeding J.J. is still my overall goal in feeding all my kids. Eat healthier!!! Eliminate empty calories!! Eat a balanced diet!! Think about what you're putting in your mouth and WHY you're putting it in your mouth. Is it really for FUEL? To keep your body going? OR Because you're bored, tired or upset?

So.........What can J.J. eat?...........ANYTHING.....just like most people!!!

The better question:

What SHOULD J.J. eat!!??..........That depends on him and his body, but for the most part he should eat foods that are healthy and wholesome.....just like most people!!!


Donna said...

You're right, Lynnea. Just plain old eating healthy is a good start. You will find certain foods do different things to his blood sugars. But once you know them, you'll know them & how to work with or around them.

But I'm also glad JJ can have about anything to eat (in moderation, of course). I am from that generation that couldn't do that as kids. Those long-acting insulins were a real trip. It was almost impossible to time anything correctly. I am so happy we have those fast-acting ones now. They help so much. Oh, and those artificial sweetners in sugar-free candy didn't treat my body very sweet (if you get my drift). LOL!

JJ is blessed to have such a great mom who is doing all she can for his health. I hope you all have a Happy Easter!

Colleen said...

Even though it can seem annoying, having friends who care enough to ask you what to serve J.J. is pretty nice. We all whine about the "diabetes police" but I think when people ask, we should take the opportunity to teach, like you have.
Hope you had a nice Easter!

Donna said...

Hi Lynnea - Tag! You're it! See my post at:

Here's what you do:
1) Write your own six word memoir;
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like;
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere;
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links; and
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Have a happy Monday!

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