Thursday, March 31, 2011

HOW do THEY eat THAT!?

Pasta. Cereal. Burgers. Fries. French Toast. Garlic Bread. Ice Cream. Apple Pie. Chicken Soup. Chili. Chicken Parmesan. Veggies, fruits, juices, milk, hot cocoa, yea all that too.

THEY CAN EAT IT! Say it with me now?! TYPE 1's CAN EAT JUST LIKE YOU!

Well not just like you. There are some small majorly important steps that must be taken before they can indulge in that slice of cake or eat the healthy and delicious veggie parm mama made.

And this here post is gonna explain how!

First there are some words and abbreviations  I want to explain so that when I give the rundown on what steps are taken for a Type 1 to eat  you understand. Remember these are done EVERY TIME food is consumed.

GC: Grams of carbs. The way a Type 1 calculates his or her dosage is mostly based on the carbohydrate count of the food. NOT the sugar. The total carb count. IE: those cookies are 19gc for 2.

Bolus: A large amount of insulin either delivered via syringe or pump when ones sugar is either high OR when eating.

IC: This is the insulin TO carb ratio. Usually this is determined by lots of testing, and sometimes trial and error. For example: For breakfast Justice gets 1 unit of insulin for every 11gc (grams of carbs.). So that would mean if Justice consumed 22 grams of carbs for breakfast the insulin needed for JUST the food (not factoring in if his sugar is higher or lower than his target) he would need....that's right! 2 units! Very good!!

There are other factors that one must take into consideration as well. At the start of the meal is the sugar low? Which would usually mean less insulin is needed than what the IC result was, or is it high? Meaning it needs some more. These things are all based on other factors that to be honest would confuse the shit out of you more than I already have and you would click the X in the top right hand corner.

Sooo lets just say there's more that goes into the whole "is that suggested amount right or not?". But these are the basics.

So let me set the scene. Its breakfast time. Here's what must happen BEFORE Justice can eat, and this is no matter what! So even if you have a house full of people on Christmas, or trying to rush dinner  to catch a movie, or whatever you can think of...these steps MUST occur.

Justice checks his sugar. Result is 156.

Breakfast: A bowl of Kashi cereal with milk, 3 turkey sausage with Agave Nectar Syrup, and a Gogurt.

I  first MUST weigh the cereal on my digital scale. 

The carb count is 25gc for each 33grams. Well Justice eats 2 full servings every time. So that's 66grams on the scale, 50gc. 
Then the milk, is 12gc for 1cup. 
Total carbs for Cereal with milk : 62gc

3 Turkey sausage are per the box 3gc. 

Agave Nectar syrup is 15gc per Tsp. So I  measure out 1/2 tsp: 7.5 gc

You still with me?

Gogurt per the box is 12gc each. He has  one. 12gc.

So that brings the total carb count for his breakfast to: 84.5 grams of carbs. So we round of to 85gc for good measure.

Now I enter into the pump the amount of carbs.

It will divide that amount of carbs by his IC of 11, and give the number 7.70. 
But it will also factor in that his sugar was 156 and his target is 120. So it will suggest to dose an additional .25.

But he has gym today so I decide not to give the extra insulin for his sugar being a little "high" and just go with the 7.70.

Breakfast tends to be THE HARDEST meal for Type 1s. Meaning after they eat sugar levels spike to the heavens, and sometimes we have to  find tricks to avoid that. For us it means Justice bolus' 20 minutes BEFORE eating. 

So after all that I did, he must now WAIT to eat. 20 minutes pass and he can proceed! We only pre bolus for breakfast and very very large meals. Its what works for us, remember I ain't no doc.

Keep in mind this is all done with the pump, for those using syringes all this is done in  their heads or on a calculator. Yup. EVERY TIME THEY EAT.

Now of course there are times  when we go out to eat and cant weigh the foods, such as ice cream. BUT you better believe we have the carb count for that ice cream shops items on the menu! For us we use the trusty  Calorie  King book. It has carb counts for everything! Even most fast food joints! Whoohoo!!

So you see Justice can eat cake at your kids party, he can  have pizza with the class, hell he can have hot cocoa but we need to know carb counts. So when you invite us over, keep the nutritional info. It  makes it a lot easier on  us, and if  not don't look at us like we are nuts when we whip out our book and yes our scale!

There are a few things I think you should know.

1)  Once insulin is given for a meal ALL food must be consumed, or a dangerous low blood  sugar could follow.

2) If  more  food is wanted everything must be weighed and counted AGAIN. Yup.

3) This isn't so much to know but think about. There are type 1s  as  young  as  a few months.Can  you imagine trying to dose insulin for formula? Or the baby food that is more on the floor than in their mouths?

4)  Even medicine such as antibiotics, or cough suppressants can have carbs, and insulin will need to be dosed. This can be tricky as well, I have never seen a carb count for meds so I have to wing it!

Its  not easy for type 1s or the parents of type 1s to just sit down and eat, but thankfully by doing these things my son can sit and enjoy his birthday cake. 40 years ago this wasn't so. Diabetics were told to stay away from sugars and carbs. I am so grateful for new data  and technology that allows my son and other to enjoy food!

Of course not all foods are simple. Pasta, pizza, and  high  fat foods have delayed digestion and  can take time to figure out the  right dosing  for each  person. Its not an exact science.  Even with all  these formulas and  tools sometimes sugars end up low, sometimes high, because Diabetes has a mind of its own.

But I hope the next time you see my son, my friend, or my friend's daughter enjoying sushi, cake, or lasagna you understand they CAN  eat it, just like you. They just have a more "fancy" way of getting  ready for  dinner.

Happy Eating!

(If you can't view video in your country please click here. )

*Please remember moderation is key for all of us, not just those with Type 1 Diabetes*


Denise said...

well done!
the song made me laugh :-)

htimm=) said...

Great job! Sorry I didn't get you any picks. I have food ones but thought you wanted more weighing and measuring etc. The video turned out great and I love the song choice!

Penny said...

Great video Lexi and thanks for helping spread the truth! LOVE all those beautiful faces!!!!!

Reyna said...

I LOVE this!!! I think it is wonderful how you went into each step of what we have to go through to feed our children...and what PWDs must do as well.

Definitely the hardest part was the spills...etc when Joe was younger - OY.

I'll be sharing this - Thank You. Love ya Lex!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Nice job! Made me smile to see so many smiles. :)

Amy said...

Awesome job!! I loved the song choice, too funny...

Lora said...

great job girl!!!
I so forgot to send you pics... sorry :( I suck!

Jules said...

oh dear. cr@p. i better go check our panadol bottles :(

Cara said...

I love this post! The details and the work that goes into being "normal" is soooo much sometimes. Even if you "cut corners" it's still a lot of work. People who don't live with, or care for someone living with diabetes can't understand this. But your post gives them a look into what it's like.

Heidi / D-Tales said...


I love the way you ended it with the bit about when you see me eating cookies, don't fret, just offer me some milk!

I have some pics of Jack with ice cream smeared all over his face and eating pancakes. I don't know why I didn't think to send you those.

Wendy said...



Love it!!! Great vid, my friend!

Misty said...

Really great post! It is truly something that others (who do not have diabetes or care for someone who does) do not realize.

I love the video! The song made me laugh. Can't wait to show it to Ally. She loves seeing others who understand what she goes through every day. Thanks for doing this.

busymom said...

Awesome-what we all do, but don't have the time to write down!! : ) (..or type!)
(AKA our daily life!)

Anna said...

Can I please borrow the line, "a fancy way of getting ready for dinner."? This will be so great when our friends' kids say things like, "Roxy can't eat that!"

bofeglue said...

Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic!


ribiczar said...

Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet interesting and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!

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