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What Can I Eat?

Rachel Garlinghouse, happy about pie."What can I eat?" 

This is the question that so many of us with diabetes ask ourselves.  Diabetes, having so much to do with the balance of food, insulin, and glucose numbers, can create a very complicated relationship with food.  Foodie Rachel Garlinghouse was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 24 years old, forcing her to examine food through a whole new lens.  With blogging as her medium and food as her weapon of choice, Rachel is now a FoodBuzz foodie with a mission:  showing the world that real people eat real food. Here's her story, in her words:

As a person with diabetes, how many times have your food choices been questioned or dictated?  “Can you eat that?”  “Doesn’t that have too much sugar in it?”  “I think there’s angel food cake available.”  

Sigh.

I think people generally mean well.  My friend and I, along with our husbands, were recently planning to have dinner at my friend’s house.  We decided on brownies and ice cream for dessert with me bringing the brownies.  She asked what kind of ice cream my husband and I liked and at the same time that she asked, “Should I get sugar-free?” I said, “Anything but sugar-free.”  

After I was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age twenty-four, I began a two year bi-polar relationship with food.  In the beginning, I followed my doctor’s orders down to the last carb for fear of ending up back in the ICU in DKA.  Then, as I began to get acclimated to my new life with diabetes, I learned how to “cheat,” consuming, in excess at times, the foods that I should avoid or only eat in moderation.  Then I would feel guilty and ban myself back to a strict diet.  Then I would cheat.  This cycle continued.  

My love of cooking and baking made my life with diabetes even more complicated.  I felt that my passion for creating recipes only lead to more wrong attitudes and actions.   I couldn’t figure out how to balance my disease with food.   Additionally, as many of us do, I constantly felt the “food police” monitoring my every bite.  The kitchen was often a place of release and regret---with no balance between the two.    

This past summer a colleague of mine suggested that I blog about my recipes.  At first I resisted the idea, knowing that my already busy-life would get busier if I added on yet another project.  Furthermore, wouldn’t food blogging on make me want to eat and cheat more?  Despite my reservations, the concept of food blogging weighed heavily on my mind, and I decided to try it.  

On July 11th, I created my first entry, drew in my breath, and hit “post.”  Within a few weeks I was picked up by Foodbuzz, and now I’m officially a pro-blogger.  My entries are typically Tasty looking d-friendly salad here.part-story, part-recipe, so I am able to share a part of myself with my readers while enhancing their dinner tables with Baked Parmesan Chicken or Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Ever since my diagnosis, I have become even more determined to write something that makes a difference, and now I think I’m coming to that place.  I have learned through my blogging experiences that I am far from alone in wanting healthy recipes that satisfy the stomach while not compromising blood sugars.  

I invite everyone I know, with diabetes or not, to check out my blog and then get busy in the kitchen.   I would love for you to visit me too, and let me know what you think.  And go ahead and surprise your friends and family by serving a delicious dish that is not “sugar free” and devoid of flavor and pleasure.  Let them know that real people eat real food.  

Editor's Note:  Thanks, Rachel!!  For more from Rachel, including great photos of her creations and some d-friendly recipes, visit her blog at Sugar, Spice, & More Things Nice.

Comments

Kerri: I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I have more than 150 blogs in my feed reader, and now I *have* to add Rachel's too.

Rachel, I'm thrilled that Kerri has pointed to your blog. I'm a "foodie" too, and do most of the cooking in the house (because I love it!)--and my boyfriend is T1. When I first started cooking for him/us, I'm certain he probably got sick of the "can you eat this?" type questions. I just didn't know. I think the public has a very warped view of food in general, let alone understanding the nuances of diabetes. I tinker with recipes, and have hit on a few that taste good sugar free (using Splenda) and a few that are um, less successful. I'm looking forward to trying some of your recipes soon!

Oh yummy!!!! I'm adding her to my feedreader too. (Don't worry, Jen, I'm right there with you with over 200 subscriptions!) I love to cook and bake, so I know I'll be trying lots of recipes from this blog. I think I might start with the banana bread - yum! Thanks for the tip!

It's good to see this blog. I'll be adding it, too. I'm a food blogger with diabetes also, though I'm more into salty than sweet.

Hey Kerri, thanks for posting this, I added the link and I'm really glad we can always come to your blog and find the latest that is going on and know about more diabetics who are blogging!!
Thanks again! :]

-Mollie and Jackie

Hmm...do I put this in my d-blog or my food blog category on Bloglines...hmm?

Hi, Im a friend of one of your students and she just told me that you have diabetes. I was diagnosed with type 1, 2 years ago at age 14. Basically I just like meeting other diabetic people, and empathize with the fact that food is something taht we are all policed on all the time. I think your blog is a great idea and I hope you can get the word out about our disease and how we know whats best for us and not everyone else. I actually just wrote a memoir for school about my diagnosis. Anyway just thought Id say hi.

Tommy

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