Sep 17 6 Comments

Carbohydrates, yoga and a small light beer

Diabetes makes you weird.

Diabetes makes you weird.

They say that it is the subject line of your blog that draws the readers. I almost considered putting the word SEX in there as well, but felt like it may also cause me to lose some of you. And although it may have helped me gain a few new followers, I was not willing to lose any of my current readers. You mean too much to me!

This week my husband decided to change his diet 100% .After he got diagnosed with Diabetes type 1 about six months ago he has not been able to control his blood sugar any longer than I am able to control a hula hoop round my waist. When he started reading about the long-term effects of high blood sugar and the unpleasant surprises that come with excessive insulin injections he decided he loved life more than chocolate, and wanted his legs to remain on his body more than he wanted baguettes and mashed potatoes. He cut all the carbs in his diet cold turkey. And when I say all the carbs, I even mean his Friday beer. Unless it is served in a very small glass, and is l-i-g-h-t.

I didn’t want him to live on a diet consisting of scrambled eggs and hotdogs with an occasional leg of chicken or possibly a pork chop. So for the last week I have spent my free time glued to no-carb recipes and I am almost an expert already. I can make bread, crackers, granola, lasagna and much more using only food from Steve’s Yes-list.

But this is not a food blog, although there are days I wish it was. The days when I have nothing smart to say. That is when I wish I could just give you a recipe, followed my ten photos of the dish in the making. But that is a different story. All together.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

You can make delicious bread with just lots of seeds and some other ingredients that you can ask me for.

 

As I have been going through this rather radical change in our household (the girls and I want to show our support of Steve by disguising the maple syrup, or eating fried cabbage with a sprinkle of chia seeds together with him) I have been saddened by all the things he will not eat anymore. It makes me so very sad to think of the banana splits that he loved to eat. Now there will be no more ice cream, no more banana, no more chocolate sauce. But, he can have as much whipped cream as he wants, unless it is sweet. My homemade bread is the best, and so are my cinnamon rolls. How will his life be now that he no longer can eat either? When (if) we go to Belgium, he won’t be able to try all the monastery beers made by the trappist monks.When we eat fresh cut-up fruit with vanilla yoghurt in the evenings, he can only have the plain, lactose-free yoghurt minus all the fruit. He could have flax seeds however.

But then I thought about this: He didn’t go blind. He didn’t lose his hearing. He didn’t get diagnosed with a brain tumor or cancer. He didn’t get ALS. He didn’t become paralyzed from the neck down. He didn’t get arrested and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He got diabetics type 1, which sucks, but which can be managed with some self discipline and perhaps some yoga as well.

And me, the wife, will keep making food that helps him feel that life is good.

 

What I am also thinking is that we live in a country where medicines and doctor visits are close to free, in a country where you can buy chia seeds and coconut flour, in a place where there actually ARE doctors and nurses, in a country where we are free to travel where we want to, despite the fact that Steve is an immigrant. We live in a country where controlling people’s excessive eating habits is harder than their lack of things to eat. We live in a country where fish is abundant in the ocean, and beer is so expensive it is better not to buy it anyway, but to save for retirement instead. Not all people are that privileged. Not all people can say that life is good, even with diabetes. Some people just have to come to terms with the fact that for them treatment is impossible and diabetes is not a disease one learns to live with. It is a disease one dies from.

 

So, I gladly figure out how to make waffles with no flour, no carbs and no dairy. (Flour, dairy and carbs are actually similar things. I just liked the sound of it in the sentence).  I do it in honor of my brave husband and of the thousands who are diabetics in countries where there is no treatment or help available and they just die from diabetes. Like Burma. Or Myanmar, like some people like to call it.

6 Comments

  • Gwen ORoark says:

    That’s awesome news!! Go Steve 🙂 you are the best doing everything to support his change. Love you both!

    • oddnygumaer says:

      I just saw that you have a blog, Gwen. I need to visit it now. And, yes, my guess is that Steve will eat a lot similar to you.

  • Steve Wytcherley says:

    Hey Steve and Oddney – Oddney I enjoyed your blog. I wanted share my story with you too and hope it is an encouragement. Two years ago I got diagnosed with NASH – non-alcoholic steatohepatitis – a disease of the liver. My blood work was out of whack and I had jaundice and bouts of extreme fatigue. I had been in and out of China and Indonesia throughout the year and put it down to travel sickness, but alas no. I am not a traditional candidate for this ailment, I do not have diabetes and I am pretty skinny, so the cause is probably genetic. So anyway – with no known medical treatment I was left to ponder what the next 10, 20 or whatever years may look like.

    Sheleen and I did our research and decided to address it nutritionally and I decided to cut out all processed sugar, meat, dairy, and alcohol and went to a predominantly plant-based diet. I’ll scare people off I say vegan, so I call it being a nutritarian or a flexi-tarian …(this means I eat the odd bit of fish and egg).

    It was very difficult at first, I felt miserable, I felt the task was too much, I felt very alone actually because from a social perspective we relate around all things food and beer, wine and the odd nip of whisky. Especially living in a culture where everything and everywhere you look food and drink is based around the things you can no longer eat! The sadness is very real as you express in your blog.

    But – like you mentioned with Steve, you realize you like life too much – so I got over my sorrow and got on with it.

    Basically, I discovered a whole world of food-based joy and geeked out researching plant-based diet, recipes and the like. Sheleen went on this journey with me, and actually so did my good friend Michael Badriaki and his wife because he was fascinated by the health benefits of this approach and decided to give it a go.

    Here are a few links:

    http://engine2diet.com

    http://kriscarr.com/products/crazy-sexy-kitchen-book/

    http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

    The fat sick and nearly dead link – ignore the weight focus because clearly that is not the issue – but these all talk about how plant-based nutrition can halt ailments and sometimes bring reversal. The Engine 2 Diet has a great documentary if you can access it from Norway. And the Kris Carr story is fascinating to me. I am not sure what the implications of this approach are for diabetes, but I can only believe it is good as it proposes the nutritional benefits of this approach – you would have to double check sugar levels and what works for you, and sugar is something I definitely have to control as for me it affects liver health.

    Sheleen is very supportive, but is free to eat and drink whatever she wants, she still enjoys her beer and wine now and again (but that has its side benefits too), but is very supportive and together we eat very well and enjoy it.

    The benefits have been that my liver-related blood work has improved dramatically and stabilized, I have a way better handle on fatigue, and feel generally much healthier. When this becomes realized – it is the biggest motivation to stay on this new wagon.

    So there is fun and joy and life after diagnosis of an ailment that requires drastic and dramatic nutritional changes. The diet for us is now normalized – it is a normal way of life. I would encourage anyone to check out a plant-based diet approach to nutrition, whatever health status they have – of course doing the research to make sure it works for them (I am pretty sure it works for many many things).

    Think of it like this. Most families have 6-8 go to meals they cook week in and week out (plus snack foods). If you can discover 6-8 replacements based on your new diet restrictions, before not-too-long it becomes as if you never lived any other way (well it took between 6-8 months for us). It actually has become more difficult for our extended families than for us, because they feel sorry about us and also think we are crazy by being so dramatic – we find their reactions quite funny!!

    For me as I look back – I would say that stress is the biggest culprit of the issues I was diagnosed with. Stress plays havoc on the body. I still struggle with this and is something I need to get a much better handle on.

    Anyways – I hope this information is encouraging to you both. There are others out there on this road with you. The work you have given your lives to is amazing and overwhelming. These things have taken their toll. I hope and pray that you may continue to be in renewed health to continue be about the things that motivate and inspire you for many many years, as I hope for Sheleen and I too.

    I would encourage anyone to check out a plant-based diet approach to nutrition, whatever health status they have.

    Steve ‘n Sheleen

    • oddnygumaer says:

      Wow, what an incredibly cool story, and thanks for sharing it, Steve. I am going to look up the links you sent, and will send a proper reply on your email address too. I am a closet vegetarian myself, but have had to put that idea on hold as I am making all this meat for Steve. Great to hear from you!

  • Itsme Emsti says:

    Thanks for this! Mom has also been recently diagnosed with Diabetes (but type 2) so we are also changing our diets to suit this new issue. I would love for you to share any recipes! Blessings!

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