Monday, 28 November 2011

Eating my mom out of house and home

Last spring, Coach Taylor took the track team out for lunch after a meet. I’d logged my personal best, and our school had won the most medals – I guess he wanted to celebrate.

When I ordered, Coach Taylor looked at my tray and said, “You’re not going to eat all of that, are you?” 

Well I did – and was still hungry... Mom’s always talking about how I’m going to eat them out of house and home. And when Coach isn’t teasing me, he talks about the importance of giving my body the right amount of fuel.

Grandma makes fun of how much I eat sometimes, too. She’s always making whole wheat pasta and rice, or salads with barley and wheat kernels. She hardly ever peels her potatoes (even when she mashes them). I always assumed that was the “farm way” – but I get it now.

It’s to help keep Grandpa’s blood sugars stay even.

As part of National Diabetes Month, the registered dietitian at the school talked about the importance of eating smaller portions, eating regularly, and choosing whole grains when possible.

It makes sense now. Just like I understand why Grandma adds a bit of canola oil to recipes – it helps make you feel more full, so you don’t overeat.

Smart thinking!

Gotta jet – Grandma’s making brunch and I am HUNGRY. It’s ok if I eat a lot though, right? I’m young and my body needs filling.

Plus, I dare you to resist Grandma’s cooking.

 - Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 18 November 2011

The importance of eating right!

More than 3 million people in Canada live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

My Grandpa is one of them.

November is National Diabetes Month, so we're learning more about this disease in health class. I've always known it's serious, but Grandpa copes with it so well, I almost forget he has it. Except when Grandma reminds him about cutting back on his ice cream - or other sweets, like my Halloween candy.

It's got to be hard for Grandpa even though he's tough and doesn't show it. Ice cream is his weakness. He used to have a bowl of vanilla and fresh raspberries every day in the summer. Until a few years ago when he just...stopped. Now that I know some of the symptoms - like how Grandpa was always thirsty and losing weight - I might have recognized sooner that something was wrong. 

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder – which means the body can’t use digested food for energy and growth.  Most of what we eat is broken into glucose – the principal source of fuel for our bodies.  But glucose can’t enter our body’s cells without insulin. A person like Grandpa has a body that doesn’t produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that don’t respond well to the insulin that the pancreas produces. This means that there’s too much glucose building up in the blood. Eventually, all this glucose passes out of the body in urine, but it means that the cells are not getting it for energy, growth and body repair. 

Grandpa is fit today, which the registered dietitian says is key to managing diabetes - eating healthy, staying active and losing weight.

Reading about diabetes and all of the statistics is scary, especially since we were told there’s often a genetic tendency for various family members to be diabetic. But I’m proud of my grandpa, and I’m even more inspired to stay fit. Not just for track and field - for my overall health!

Gotta jet.

- Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Grandma uses a lot of the recipes from a cookbook called The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen.  And she’ll make sure that there are a few copies made available free, if you make a comment on this post. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Too much candy? That's crazy talk!

My superman costume wasn't just a hit at school. Between me and my friends, we filled three pillow cases full of Halloween candy - and that was only a couple hours of trick-or-treating.

Even after I traded all of my caramel Hershey bars for my sister's Tootsie Rolls, I brought home a mountain of goodies. Far more than an athlete should eat. At least that's what coach Taylor and my health teacher say.

A registered dietitian came to the school last week and talked to us about the importance of a balanced diet, and how each of the food groups plays a role in overall health. I guess Halloween candy isn't one of the major food groups. And as it turns out, those Tootsie Rolls can be more trick than treat. 

Simple sugars, like the kind you find in chocolate and other candy, give you a quick energy boost - which might be ok if you run the 50-meter dash right after. But Coach Taylor explained that the sugar rush only lasts so long and then you crash...not so great if you're working on endurance training. Or even studying for an exam.

The nutritionist registered dietitian taught us that sugar doesn't react like fats. Good fats - like canola oil - slow down your metabolism so your food digests more slowly, and the energy stays with you longer.

Good to know, but the registered dietitian taught us something else as well: Everything in moderation. 


Gotta jet - time to "moderate" the gobbling down of one of those Tootsie Rolls.

- Chase Superman Duffy