The Recipe of Love and Understanding

Meal preparation often peppered with talk of diabetes.

RachelBy Rachel Baumgartel

Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!


May 2007 — If someone were to walk into our home on a weekend evening, the scent coming from the kitchen would be the first thing detected. Garlic being sauted, ground meat browning, barbecue sauce simmering – any of these distinctive aromas could be discerned by one's sense of smell.


The next thing someone might notice is that Greg and I have made very little changes to our menus since my type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Before the diagnosis, we rarely considered how to adjust recipes to aid in Greg's type 1 diabetes control. Now both of our dietary needs are considered and met. The portions are smaller, whole grain carbohydrates are used in place of simpler ones, and the quality of our ingredients has improved. Rarely does dessert make the menu, unless fruit drizzled in balsamic vinegar counts as a sweet treat! Despite the subtle changes in what we cook, the challenge and the enjoyment of cooking together have not altered.

Inevitably, someone would discover that the subject of diabetes comes up while cooking together as Greg and I listen to good music, engage in good conversation, and make good food.

At times, the music lends itself to thinking and talking about our diabetes. For instance, when we listen to Johnny Cash, Greg and I think of his struggle with complications and the fear of future complications for each of us. But we remind each other that neither of us is that man and we may not see those same complications, if any.

Usually, however, the conversations about diabetes are more orientated toward what is happening that day or that week with respect to our blood sugar trends. We like the good readings and dislike the high readings, while knowing there is always a chance to improve the less-than-stellar ones. This provides a good opportunity to offer each other suggestions and motivation when the going gets rough with diabetes.

As we sit down to eating one of our delicious meals, we contemplate ways to make a recipe healthier if we are making something straight from a mainstream magazine or cookbook for the first time. On the other hand, we may try to determine how we can splurge on an ingredient rather than use a healthier substitute because some dishes just taste better using their original recipe.

Of course, there are days when one of us doesn't want to talk about diabetes and we have learned how easy it is to turn the conversation around to other topics. Other days, the latest diabetes research news dictates and dominates our cooking and dinner conversations. It is a delicate balance Greg and I watch for, especially when enjoying a meal with other people who may love us but don't have to deal with the everyday reality of diabetes like we do.

Cooking together wasn't something we did much in the early years of our relationship, but eventually it became a favorite activity. The increased focus on diabetes in our lives didn't change that, for which I am grateful. It isn't just about the cooking or the eating, it is about the conversation and the simple act of enjoying each other's company.

Read more of Rachel's columns.

dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: June 14, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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