Ninjabetic – Christmas and diabetes
As Christmas is less than two weeks away it seems appropriate that this month’s column has a crimbo theme to it, mixed with diabetes of course. Christmas, as the song goes, is the most wonderful time of the year! Whilst that might be true for some, I know that for others it can be a struggle, especially with a condition like diabetes thrown into the mix.
The party season brings with it plenty of booze and food – and for those of us old enough to drink it also means careful consideration about the decisions we make whilst enjoying a drink or two (or more). Planning ahead and being organised to the max also comes into play because when that tipsy feeling hits, we’ll be glad that we’ve made a plan beforehand. I know it sucks a little fun out of the celebrations, especially when it comes to a spontaneous night out, that turns from a quite glass of wine in a quaint little pub with a burning log fire to… well… a 4am taxi home, wearing a reindeer hat and singing like you’re Cliff Richard on helium, but better to be safe than sorry. As someone who’s been in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) after a night out, trust me, you don’t want that on top of a hangover. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Top tips: eat before you go out and have something when you get home, take your diabetes kit with you wherever you go, take spares (put them in friends pockets or handbags if you run out of room), have plenty of hypo treatment with you, book a taxi to take you home rather than standing at a rank where you could be queuing for a while, have spare cash for said taxi and keep it separate to your drinking funds, make sure your phone is fully charged and wear a medical ID or make sure the people you are with know you have diabetes – bar staff, bouncers, police have been known to mistake people who are having hypos with people who have just had too much to drink.
We know that we can manage food along with diabetes, we do the hard work so don’t let anyone dictate to you what should and shouldn’t be on your plate
Next up is food! The love-hate relationship that many of us go through for most of the year is coming at us 100 times faster and with much bigger portions over the Christmas season. Should we enjoy every last mouthful? Of course we should! Just like with alcohol, it takes a little more brain power to work out insulin doses, a few more reminders to check blood glucose levels, a little word in the ear of the chef to ask how long food will take to cook, but that doesn’t mean we can’t (and won’t!) enjoy the festive food that’s on offer just as much as everyone else is. One of the biggest misconceptions about diabetes is that we can’t eat the same food as those without diabetes. I know this grates on people, I know how frustrating it is to hear “should you be eating that” but we know better, we know that we can manage food along with diabetes, we do the hard work so don’t let anyone dictate to you what should and shouldn’t be on your plate.
Rather than reading my top tips on food, diabetes and Christmas, why don’t you send your own tips to The Diabetes Times twitter and facebook page so they can be shared? It would be great to hear what others do!
Enjoy Christmas everyone – you deserve it.