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. 

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