National Diabetes Month: Growing Up as a Type 1 Diabetic

National Diabetes Month: Growing Up as a Type 1 Diabetic

For the longest time, I had a vague memory of eating pizza in a hospital gown. I remembered sitting up in a hospital bed with my family around me and a pizza box lying on the edge of the bed. I thought I dreamt it or made it up, but when I was older, my parents told me that this was in fact my 3rd birthday celebration, which happened to be the day after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It’s ironic to look back on it now, more than 20 years later, at the greasy pizza fed to me in the hospital and the lollipops given to me by various dentists (before they started giving me toothbrushes instead), and, yes, even the slices of sugar-frosted birthday cake I still on occasion enjoy. For so many diabetes sufferers, these foods were the cause of their illness, but for me and other type 1 diabetics, they had absolutely nothing to do with our diagnosis at all.

It’s a distinction rarely made when talking about diabetes, especially now that type 2 diabetes – the diabetes brought on by poor diet and obesity – is so prevalent among children in America. Type 1 is actually an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly confuses the pancreas for a harmful invader and destroys its cells.

It used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes since it typically afflicts children at a young age, but this moniker is less common now thanks to America’s growing adolescent obesity problem. Those with type 2 produce less insulin than normal (the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) or simply become less resistant to the insulin they do produce. Those with type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, can’t produce any at all. This means we not only have to check our blood sugar numerous times a day, but also have to take insulin by some form of injection daily.

It can be difficult, but luckily for me, I’ve never known life without diabetes. I’m used to it and now that I’m older, I’m not self-conscious about my condition. Doctors have even told me they love their diabetic patients more than their regular patients since they are often more healthy; they are aware of their blood sugar levels, they eat less sugar and junk, and they tend to focus more on physical activity. And because diabetes for us is a chronic condition, we actually DO have to pay more attention to the foods we eat.

Thankfully, Blasting helps regulate our blood sugar readings just as well as it helps those suffering from Type 2. The increased fiber intake helps balance out my readings and I can customize my Blast with my favorite fruits that also help increase my body's insulin sensitivity, maintain my blood readings, and give me the energy I need to keep active throughout the day. My favorite Blasts include a mix of berries, a spoonful of antioxidant-rich cacao, some greens, and a dash of cinnamon, known for its blood-regulating properties.

Feel free to include these ingredients in your daily Blast if you’re trying to control your diabetes. They’re tasty and, well, we’ll save the greasy pizza for those special occasions!

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