Low Carb with Love
I want to make this easier for you. I want to turn the volume down on your child’s diabetes. I want your family to have hours where diabetes disappears. I want to share with you how I love my son.
I know that change is hard.
I wanted to make this easier to digest. Bullet points. Top 10 Tips and Tricks for utilizing a Low Carb diet in the management of Diabetes in Children. But when I tried to dig down to the very basic starting point, I realized it wasn’t a top 10 list. There were no tricks. At the very basis of using a moderate, selective or low carb diet to manage diabetes, it’s a philosophy. Even below that is the need to feed and care for one’s child. Below that still is love. This is how we love our children, and in the case of a diabetic child, it can become very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. We could tear this all apart and talk about the macros. Maybe later we will. But the root of all this is nourishment. Let’s start from here.
Close your eyes. Call to your mind the foods that people have eaten as long as there have been people. Think of foods that come from the ground. Leafy greens, carrots with bits of earth still on them. Tomatoes that are actually red. Bell peppers. Bags of nuts and seeds. Think of the foods that are eaten all over the world. Foods that don’t require translation. To me, these are berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds and eggs. Soups. Meats cooked on an open flame.
When I think of a low or moderate carb diet, these are the foods that come to my mind.
When you obsess over the number of carbs per meal, packaged and prepared foods seem much easier because they’ve already laid it out for you, these are the grams of protein, these are the grams of carbohydrates, these are the grams of sugar… but that’s a trap. What kind of carbohydrate, what kind of sugar? Do I dose from the net carbs or subtract the fibre? Wait, is it actual fibre or have they added fibre to reduce the net carbs? Already we’ve lost the plot and that’s just standing in the store caught in a battle of wits with an advertiser out there somewhere who’s realized that you can just inject “fibre” into a “product” and call it “healthy”. Get out of my face with that nonsense.
My son has worn a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor for 4 years now. I can’t help but think about a line when I think of feeding him. Because he was so young when he was diagnosed, there was a lot of snacking and I was able to track individual ingredients and see how 7 raspberries metabolized in a fairly isolated context. ¼ cup plain yoghurt. ¼ cup almonds. 4 baby carrots. ¼ cup snap peas. The nature of how a child snacks is an amazing way to learn how each food metabolized and how that affected his blood sugar. Does this snack require insulin? Do all snacks require insulin? What if he ate it at the peak action of the meal dose? I didn’t realize at the time how useful those quiet days would be, how these snacking experiments would forever change how I looked at food.
So yeah. I’ll write another article on making a balanced plate of whole foods and how I dose for them and what kinds of strategies I use when shopping so I have the greatest number of options and all the things that can help you improve your diabetes management with food, I just want you to know that all that is just gravy though. The thing you need to understand first is nourishment. Start asking yourself, does this food I’m about to give my kid have any soul to it? Fill your child’s plate with life force. That’s where you need to start.
Low Carb with Love, Stephanie Bonas
Stephanie is the author of our 2019 blog post, Low Carb Diets for Families managing Type 1 Diabetes, and a member of our team of Diabuddies School Staff Trainers. Originally from California, Stephanie lives and works in Toronto. Her son, Lennox, was diagnosed with T1D in 2016.
Our community blog is written by a diverse group of ICD participants and supporters. We are grateful to be able to share the various perspectives of our community with you. These are opinions, not medical advice, and may or may not be right for you!