Sunday, August 9, 2009


Life with Diabetes

This past June I wrote a blog called Diagnosed with Diabetes.
In this blog, I wrote about my fears of having diabetes and my search for answers.

It is now three months since that faithful day in May when my doctor told me after routine blood work that my results showed that I have diabetes. So started the round of appointments, starting with meeting the diabetic nurse Dalia, the dietician Yifat and finally with the diabetic doctor.

Following the doctor’s instructions on measuring my blood sugar level four times a day once a week and visiting my dietician on a regular base every three weeks, I have managed to lower my blood glucose number to be in the normal range and have lost twelve kilos [twenty-six pounds] to boot. My dietician doesn’t want me to loose another gram.

I saw my diabetic doctor last week and he was very please with my progress. He said that my attitude to change my lifestyle, loose weight, and go walking 20 /30 minutes everyday have put my glucose numbers in the normal range. He now only wants me to check my glucose level four times a day one day a week every other week. This is amazing since my first instructions were to check four times a day everyday.

We spoke about some of the foods that I have been avoiding like the plague such as chocolate and cakes, my two weaknesses. I told him that Yifat, the dietician said that I could have a piece of cake Shabbat morning without feeling guilty, but that I just can’t put the cake into my mouth. I feel like the alcoholic who has been on the wagon and is coping, but if he takes just one drink it will be ball game over. I’m so afraid that since I haven’t had a crumb of cake since May, if I take one piece I’m going to want the second piece. He told me to enjoy my piece of cake and not to worry about the second piece. He also said that once in a while I could treat myself to a square or two of a dark chocolate bar. Life just got sweeter..........

Next week I have to do an important blood test, Hemoglobin A1C that will check my average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. The doctor will then really know how I am doing.

The title of my blog is Life With Diabetes. What does this mean? It means eating a balance diet, 3 small meals a day and 2 snacks with proper portions. My meals and snacks have to be both appealing and can sustain me though out the day.

I watch the Glycemic Index [GI]. This index ranks food based on their overall effect on blood glucose levels. I will give you some examples of different GI ratings for some common foods. If you are interested in checking out the foods that you enjoy an interesting link is:

Low GI foods are rated 55 and under. Some foods are:

Apples, oranges, pears, peaches, beans and lentils, pasta, sweet potato, sweet corn, All bran cereal.

Medium GI foods are rated 56 to 69. Some foods are:

Honey, jam, shredded wheat, ice cream, white basmati rice, pita, couscous.

High GI foods are rated 70 and above. Some foods are:

White bread, brown rice cooked, white rice, cornflakes, baked potato, mashed potato.

I learnt that the longer you cook pasta and vegetables, the higher the glycemicin value will be. Pasta has to be cooked al dente and vegetables just until they get a little soft.

This guide from the Canadian Diabetic Association shows proper portions for each food group.

During the first weeks I was just a nervous wreck about everything that I put in my mouth. Was the amount too much? Was the GI to high? I have to be more careful at the next meal. I was making myself and my family crazy and I was walking around with a constant headache because I was always hungry.

Now on most days I know my intake of food is at a good level but sometimes I still get nervous and think I shouldn’t have eaten that or maybe I ate to much. Being positive that my glucose number is going to be high I do a quick blood test and sure enough my number is in the normal range.

Now when I go grocery shopping not only do I check who gives the kosher hashgacha on certain foods I have to look for the little red star from the Israel Diabetic Association. The symbol tells me that this product is safe for me to eat.

Life these past three months have been sort of an adventure. I am still learning the ropes. I pray that Hashem will give me the strength to continue to progress in the right direction and keep me healthy.

Feel free to pass my blog around.



Kris said...

Wow! Three months to a significant diet, exercise, and health change!
You are doing great!
In Colorado, we have very high diabetes and dialysis rates -- thought to be due
to the large number of Hispanics and Native Americans / Indians and their diet.
I had not commented re: your lovely poem on Gush Katif. In 1992, I traveled
in Gaza -- so pretty. I cry for the exiled and the land.
Have a great week,
Kris Ayalla

Meyer said...

Good read!

Yocheved said...

I admire your courage and resolve, Miriam.

Ask your medical team about coconut. Some diabetics can have it as a nutritious sweetener and food.

Are you connected to the Jewish Diabetic Association? My books hold about that and more info that might be helpful to you and to other diabetics.

Yocheved Golani and

Bev said...

Thank you for the up-date.
I also have to watch my intake since my doctor also said that I potentially have it. To loose the weight and move more. I heard that we need to walk 10,000 a day to stay in shape.

Anyways be well,

Phyllis said...

Congratulations. Doctor's orders are always the way as long as they're followed through. Keep on informing us with your progress - it sounds really good. Will power is the main idea.

Regards to all,

chaya said...

Very inspirational! Keep up the good work and the prayers and who knows? G-d willing you won't need to check your sugar levels for 6 months at a time....or ever!

Selma said...

Hi Miriam
I was so glad to read your blog on the update of your diabetes. You are managing it so well.
I am sure it's not easy, but you are determined to be careful and with G-d's help you will
continue to stay well.


Anonymous said...

I admire your courage and resove!

I recommend you look into Dr. Caroline Dean's website and enjoy an interesting read
"The Low GL Diet" by Patric Holford. Dr. Caroline discusses magnesium supplementation and how it can help you. The low GL diet makes a diabetic diet tasty and fun.

I wish you much hatzlacha and good health.

Alissa said...

Wow, amazing Miriam! Kol Hakavod! Your commitment to your health has really paid off. You should be very proud of yourself; having gone through something similar many years ago, I know how difficult it is. And I can totally relate to the fear of having that one allowed piece of cake causing you to "fall off the wagon" :) So glad the doctor reassured you!