lifestyle

Diabetes and Us.

“Type 1 Diabetes is a completely manageable disease – but there are some days that are just rough.” – Nick Jonas

I’ve realised in the past few months that not many people actually know what having or living with Type 1 diabetes is like, and many are actually quite interested, so I’ve decided to write this blog post. This is Diabetes and Us!

This is my partner, Kieran.

He’s 26 and builds cars for a career. He’s a qualified football coach and an amazing big brother.

He also has Type 1 diabetes.

Before you ask ‘is that the bad one’, let me explain.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle choices or from it running in your family (not actual running, although this would probably help). It is caused by the sugar levels in your blood being too high. It is treatable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, or through medication.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by anything in particular. The healthiest people can still suffer with T1. It is caused by your pancreas being unable to produce insulin (the chemical that keeps your blood sugar levels balanced).

Both types are ‘bad’, but both are treatable in different ways.

So in order to treat his diabetes, K has to monitor his blood sugar levels constantly throughout the day and often throughout the night. He does this by pricking his fingers to get a drop of blood and testing it on a little machine, which will churn out a number between 0-30+. Healthy blood sugar levels will come back between 4-8. If this is the case, he’s all good and doesn’t need to do anything. If they are low, he has to eat something that will make them return to the ‘healthy zone’, and if they are high, he has to inject himself with the right amount of insulin, via a little needle on the end of a ‘pen’ to bring them back down. There’s a lot of maths involved in this but I won’t go into this just yet.

So he will test his blood every couple of hours, and on a bad day, might have to inject on every one of them. This is unlikely, but sometimes his body just doesn’t behave!

Now on top of this, imagine having to do maths, and then inject yourself with a needle every time you wanted to eat. This is just reality for people with T1. For every meal and every snack, every drink and every treat, Kieran (and his mum a lot of the time!) has to weigh, measure, and note down the amount of carbs in everything he eats. (Carbs because they are directly related to the sugar content.) He then has to inject enough insulin to counteract the carbs!

To give you a quick idea:

  • 1 unit of insulin will bring his blood sugar level down by 3 (so if it’s 17, he’d have to inject 4 units to bring it down to 5)
  • 10g of carbs requires 1 unit of insulin (so if a muffin has 25g carbs, he has to inject 2.5 units of insulin)

Mental right??!

We’ve heard people say “awh I couldn’t do that, I hate needles”. But the reality is, he has no choice. It’s that, or a coma. Like genuinely.

He tests his blood and injects all over the place: in the car, in restaurants, in castle gardens. If we eat pizza late at night we will set an alarm for 3am to check his levels aren’t through the roof. He gets up at 6am every day to inject a ‘baseline’. It’s just a way of life.

The truth is, he can eat what he wants. If he wants a cake or chocolate, then he eats it. He just has to balance out the sugar with insulin, just as a healthy pancreas would. The downside is that diabetes often comes with tiredness, thirst and changes in mood.

So far, thanks to his attention to detail and the incredible care from his family, he has managed the diabetes amazingly, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

Please don’t ever be afraid of asking questions. Diabetes shouldn’t be a taboo, and you’ll probably find people are relieved to be asked rather than being watched!

I hope this gave you a tiny insight to Diabetes and Us!

RouxWithAView xx

Ps. I am doing a skydive on June 9th to raise money for DiabetesUK. If you would be interested in sponsoring me, the details are on my Facebook page. Thank you.

Travel

Our Tour de France – Pre-trip

When you die, can I have your maps? -my brother

My parents gave my brother and I the best childhood we could have dreamt of. We were always out and about on adventures; every weekend and every holiday. As a family, we made particularly special memories in France, taking regular trips by car and ferry to our favourite spots. On a couple of occasions, we went on long road trips, right to the south of France.

My brother and I looked up to our parents in awe as they found their way around the foreign country with ease. I never thought that one day I would be in a position to follow in their footsteps.

However, as luck (and hard work) has it, in August this year I will be doing just that, and I am so excited!

My partner and I have planned a two week trip from Dover, right to the south of France and back again, stopping at nine different locations on our way.

We will be clocking up a total of over 2260 miles over the fortnight which will cost a whopping £300 in fuel!

We mostly just want to explore, enjoy the driving and find our own favourite places, but we have a few things we are definitely looking forward to.

  • Visiting the palace at Fontainebleau
  • Crepes
  • Disney!
  • Renting a boat on Lake Annecy
  • Driving through Switzerland
  • Looking at super cars in Monte Carlo
  • Fresh croissants for breakfast
  • Rivers and castles
  • Having the roof down on the car
  • Lots of hotels

Life is all about adventure, and I can’t wait to go on this big one with my best friend!

Food

Veganuary

The lack of compassion and respect for anyone who is a few degrees too different from us, anything that is foreign or weird or a little bit unfathomable to the human psyche is what separates us all and what causes suffering. – Evanna Lynch

I have a real issue with the idea of my life falling into a regime, so I am constantly looking for new ideas and challenges to keep me excited.

With New Year on the horizon, it seemed like a great time to think of something a little bigger and more challenging. After speaking to a vegetarian and a vegan from work, I had some ideas about what my New Year’s resolution could be. I had also been reading some articles about how starting new things and having something new to focus on is good for your mental health. So it was then that I decided… I am going to do (or try my best at doing) Veganuary!

I have always had thoughts about animal welfare in the back of my mind, but if I’m honest, that’s where they stayed! Although I adore animals and am against violence, I was never really passionate enough to do something major about it. I was also inspired by people living a vegan lifestyle, such as Evanna Lynch, but their lives seemed so far off the one I was living.  I also had the issue of my health. My body struggles to hold onto the vitamins and minerals I need now, without removing vital elements from my diet.

With these doubts in mind, I did some research and, to my surprise, found hundreds of recipes that include all the nutrients I need to stay healthy. Loads of them used ingredients that I already had in my cupboards! Maybe this wasn’t going to be so difficult after all!

My journey started with a slightly dubious trip to Tesco. I had a list of essentials but went with the idea that I would see what took my fancy! I can honestly say that there are a lot more vegan friendly foods out there than I expected, and despite feeling a little bewildered, it was actually really fun hunting for things I can have!

Alpro is a complete saviour, offering substitutes to milk, yoghurt and even chocolate pudding, all three of which went straight into my trolley! I also found vegan friendly granola by Deliciously Ella, Agave Nectar by Groovy Food to use as a substitute for honey, and hot chocolate syrup by Sweet Freedom. Flora also do a fantastic vegan butter made entirely from seeds, which is delicious when melted into a toasted bagel!

It may only be day two of my one month Veganuary mission, but so far I am having a ball! Not only am I full up and feel much healthier than I have done in a while, but I also feel like I am doing my bit for the future of the planet!