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Upon Eating Out
Thursday, my college youth group is having a Fourth of July picnic. I'm half excited, but half wary of all things food related. The diabetic in me is curious, anxious, and completely nervous about what will be served, how it was prepared, and so on. The diabetic in me is wanting to be a total control freak...but unfortunately, this isn't a situation where I can be. This situation calls for a little gambling and adventure-taking.
Ever since I started venturing out on my own, I've struggled with food. I want healthy choices. I want choices that won't send my blood sugar through the roof. And mostly, I want choices that I will actually eat (as I'm a fairly picky eater). All those things combined leaves me feeling like I have to make the restaurant choice or at least give plenty of acceptable options...while trying to make everyone happy in what they're putting in their own mouths.
Most of my life to this point hasn't contained a lot of these issues thankfully. My parents made those choices/influences when I was little. Then I started venturing out with friends who were very familiar with my eating habits/diabetes so I had an obvious say in what I ate. But about five years ago, I started venturing further outside the box. I met new friends who weren't familiar with my diabetes (they hadn't grown up with it the way my other friends had), I had a much larger selection of food (moving from a town of 3500 to a city of 6 million), and my diabetes started to take larger precedence in my life.
Now meeting new people, going on first dates, and experiencing outings like the picnic are total hat tosses...I just never know which way I'll land when I hit the floor. Will there be foods that I like? Will there be healthy options like fruit or vegetables? What will people think if I have to ask for special circumstances? It all runs through my mind as I pick restaurants and go through "food life."
Even though I'm more "liberal" in my diabetic food choices (as in, I eat carbs and sweets in moderation and don't limit myself to a great extent), I still feel compelled to worry that something won't be right. I worry that someone won't understand (but then think if they can't, it's their problem). I stress that I won't be able to eat enough (especially for the picnic when I'm sure I'll be active). I worry about unexpected ingredients that send my blood sugars soaring.
Overall, eating outside my box becomes much more hassle than its worth sometimes. The unexpected doesn't play into my avid love for adventure in the way I want it to because it isn't really about whether or not I like the food; it's more about how the food will like my diabetes. After all, the tango between glucose and insulin is a nasty dance sometimes.
So in order to avoid the nasty that can come with that tango, I'm a major preparer in all parts of life. But especially in food. If I have to choose a new restaurant (for instance, a date insisted we go somewhere new a few months back), I look for places that I can see a menu beforehand. I usually know exactly what I want before I sit down at the table, because I usually order the same exact things at every restaurant (it leaves less guessing when it comes time to give my insulin). And I try to find out as much information about "potlucks" or "picnics" as I can ahead of time. It may mean a little less spontaneity when I eat, but it gives me a greater peace of mind than anyone can imagine. Plus far fewer food induced highs and lows, which I'm ALWAYS thankful for.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)