Nutrition

Sometimes there are hidden blessings within life's challenges. In 2001, my son was diagnosed with diabetes, and one of our family's responses was to commit ourselves to eating healthy food. I researched nutrition and diet and was quickly convinced that the negative effects of white sugar, white flour, additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners weren't worth convenience or keeping the peace. Eventually I brought my news to the family, taught them what I had learned and explained why we needed to change our ways. They warily agreed.

I won't say it was easy or fast, especially because in our family, we also have to limit how many carbohydrates are in each meal. This means almost no potatoes, no rice, no pasta and very limited bread. We've slowly changed our habits over time and have seen an equally gradual but steady improvement in our energy level, overall health, weight and sense of well-being. Recently I left a bowl of raw green beans and a dollop of hummus next to my kids as they sat reading on the couch. They both looked up with smiles and said, thank you. Remembering times when neither would eat anything green, I was struck by the changes we now take for granted. I finally feel like I have some suggestions to offer other parents, even if only to say "Don't give up."

The key to getting all of us to eat healthier food was only buying things with nutritional value. It seems simple now, but in the beginning, I thought Cheezits and Goldfish were a staple. I try to stick to the outside of the supermarket: produce, meat, fish, bakery for whole grain products, dairy, and frozen fruits and veggies. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have many good options including sprouted grain bread, frozen fruits, and eggs and meat without antibiotics or hormones.

"Danny has attained and maintained near-normal blood sugars for the past two years, something that is rare in pediatric endocrinology."

Diabetes Positive, July 2006