Tag Archives: diabetes and holidays

How to Do Easter With Diabetes in Your House

Too many people seem to go overboard on Easter candy, in my opinion, and as a result, their kids do, too. The effects of sugar are such that if your child has any major stress happening, they might be tempted to sneak candy in when you’re not looking and this can wreak havoc on blood sugars.

Trying to dose for and cover candy doesn’t usually lead to any consistent positive results, either. Unless you’re ok with a 160 mg/dl and in that case, therein lies our fundamental disagreement.

Either way, havoc-wreaking on blood sugars is a very big deal and is to be avoided for your child’s immediate and long-term wellbeing. It’s not “ok” if it’s often happening because we’re letting it by doing things that make success highly unlikely, you know? Like, if it usually doesn’t go well, why keep doing it?

Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Easter if you do (or don’t) have diabetes in the house:

  • Make a special roast or something that you don’t eat every day.
  • If you’re a Christian, here’s a reminder that you obviously should know where to put your focus and this can help you avoid too much emphasis on all the other Easter activities.
  • Bake a low carb treat to have after dinner. This splurge isn’t going to mess up blood sugars and there isn’t going to be a bucket of more of it tempting you or your child for the next few weeks.
  • Plan a fun activity. It takes creativity, especially if you have kids of different ages (though they all have different personalities). Talk to your kids and find something the whole family can enjoy.
  • Start a new tradition. This also summons creativity but it’s worth it. Kids are ok leaving behind something like typical Easter egg hunting with candy if there’s a worthy replacement. Some people stuff eggs with coins, others do erasers, stickers, and other small toys.
  • Put on music.
  • Bring a festive attitude–it’s infectious to your child and other family members.

Here’s what I’m considering (my kids are 9):

I am thinking about filling eggs to put around the house with numbered instructions for a treasure hunt. The kids would have to find all the eggs, put the instructions in order, and then answer riddles and questions for clues to the treasure. I don’t know what the treasure is, yet, but I think that it won’t be as fun as the treasure hunt itself, especially if it involves me getting up early to hide more clues around town. We did that once for my husband, Alex and the kids thought it was the greatest thing we all ever did. It takes effort but you gotta admit, it sounds fun, right!?

You can even plan for the treasure to end up with your church service. I’m not religious but for those who are, that sounds like an excellent idea to me! Unless it’s really early in the morning, then you’d have to get more creative, I guess, like starting the hunt on Saturday and ending on Sunday. Or the treasure could be a small gift that’s waiting at home. This works for all ages because you can make simple or hard questions and riddles and keep the locations as close to home as you want (living room or backyard is totally sufficient for very little ones).

Your kids will enjoy all this quality living that focuses on relationships, things of special meaning, and enjoying that which nurtures us and they won’t need the powerful effects of sugar to soothe or stimulate them. Yes, it’s hard with everyone doing loads of candy and chocolate but you can do different and maybe others will join you over time in tweaking the way we celebrate Easter and other food and kid-centric holidays.

We have to lead the way if we don’t like “how things are done” instead of just complaining about it all or bemoaning the consequences.

The Trouble for Diabetics in Winter

  “Every mile is two in Winter”

~George Hurbert

Many of us diabetics seem to have an especially difficult time during the winter months.  There are probably several reasons for this.  Less exercise, less time outdoors, holiday stress, and more frequent snacking all contribute to blood sugar havoc. 

I’ve never managed to escape winter’s mean grip on me.  I catch at least one virus during this time of year which manages to knock me off of my healthy routine for about two weeks.  Then, because I’m getting less vitamin D from the sun (in fact, none from the sun) my mood and energy levels plummet.  Let’s not forget those times (all too frequent) when I decide against going to the gym because I am convinced I’ll freeze to death on the way there.  I should mention that my gym is just down the road at my apartment complex. 

I have been reading a lot of fellow diabetic’s words and I have easily come to the conclusion that I’m definitely not alone.  Just testing blood sugar these days is tough because, well I don’t know about you but, when I prick my finger, it’s so numb I have to swing it around a couple times for the blood to come out.  I do that and look like a softball pitcher or else I have to prick harder, which hurts.

I’m thinking we all need a plan of defense.  Those of us who have a hard time during the winter, that is.  I do know a few people who I’m secretly suspicious of being cold blooded as they can run out into the cold with shorts and a t-shirt on and still smile.

I say we need a plan that starts in late or mid fall. 

The vitamin D issue is pretty easy to tackle.  We can supplement with it.  I recommend doing this carefully since you can overdose.  A simple blood test can determine your current levels-so ask your doctor about this.  Several months after being in Cancun two years ago, a blood test found my vitamin D levels to be surprisingly low.  It doesn’t quite work how we might imagine.  The sun you get in July doesn’t provide you adequate vitamin D through the winter.  You have to get a constant dose of this year round.  Anyway, when my levels were found low, supplementing for a few months with cod liver oil brought those levels right up.  This did happen quickly however, which is why the blood test is important.

The plus about having adequate vitamin D levels before entering winter is vitamin D protects against viruses and it would be great to minimize the chances of catching the all too common cold.

What about exercise?  For me, I can substitute at home yoga on the days I really can’t march several hundred meters to the gym.  What might you do?  Anything active you like to do in the comfort of your own home?  You may want to try simple floor exercises in front of the TV.  These work really well.  When I was 15 I wanted to tone up so each night I did 20 minutes of leg lifts and squats and push ups and you know what?  In two months I was a size 3 instead of a 5.  I really should take up that experiment again and see how it works.

Snacking is a problem for many of us it seems.  Goodies are sort of thrown at us during the holiday season and how are we to say no?  I’ve been trying to focus on enjoying warm liquids.  I’ll drink hot organic chicken broth, hot herbal tea without sugar, coffee, hot chocolate (made with little milk and little sugar).  The days I do this, I snack less (because I’m full of liquids) and I stay warm, too.  This doesn’t completely solve my problem but I’ve been trying it for a few days and it has helped me stick to regular meals instead of all day grazing.

I’m going to get vitamin D to supplement with.  I’m going to do some yoga right now.  I’m going to then make myself some peppermint tea. 

Oh we didn’t address the stress issue.  Well, for me, hopefully the vitamin D will help my moods, the yoga help relax me, and the tea warm me.  That should help.  Of course, next year I should try these three small changes in the fall and see how it helps throughout the winter season. 

What do you think?  Would it help us all to start taking some actions before winter sets in to sort of safeguard against diabetes winter burnout?

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!  We’ve still got a few more months to brave!