If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you know that it is a serious, chronic disease that requires stringent management. This may come across as quite depressing, and you may even ask whether it’s possible to continue doing all the things you love.
Fortunately, people with diabetes can live long, fruitful, and enjoyable lives. They can go on vacation, host dinner parties, and have productive careers like everyone else! Here are a few ideas to get you eating, partying, and adventuring despite diabetes.
Caring for your diabetes can be a major expense, and dealing with financial hardship is no fun at all, so make sure you take care of your financial situation for stress-free holidays. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more options are now available for diabetics who struggle to pay their health bills. Also, consider buying your prescription medications from international and Canadian pharmacy referral services like Canada Med Pharmacy, which offer diabetes medications like glucophage that are accessible and affordable to Americans. These drugs are sourced from vetted international and Canadian pharmacies and fulfillment centers that have passed stringent regulations. The American Diabetes Association also has a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide on insurance options.
Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and having diabetes doesn’t mean you are now sentenced to a life-long diet of bland vegetables and tasteless desserts! However, a little foresight can help a lot.
Buy whole foods, not processed foods. Having a shopping cart of fresh vegetables and meat is typically cheaper than a shopping cart full of frozen pizzas, saving you money you can use on other fun things. Too lazy to chop, peel, dice, mince, and cook all those whole foods? Try frozen vegetables. They can be just as healthy as fresh vegetables and usually come in a colorful mixed bag of veggie varieties.
Experiment with alternative cooking methods. The method of cooking you choose will greatly affect the nutritional value of your food. Avoid frying, but try roasting, baking, and grilling food, which may be just as – if not more – tasty than frying. Use fresh herbs, sodium-free spices, and lemon or lime juice to add flavor to your meals.
Trick your brain. The root of our relationship with food lies in our brains. If you trick your brain, you can eat less, eat healthier, and feel just as happy as you would be eating unhealthy comfort food. Tricks include: eating from smaller plates, choosing plate colors that do not contrast with your food, using a bigger fork, and even playing soft, relaxing music while you eat.
Diabetes doesn’t mean boring Fridays spent at home or watching your relatives gorge themselves at Christmas. With the right precautions and planning, diabetics can have rich social lives too.
Celebrate the holidays. It’s okay to enjoy a dessert or two, but see if you can split a portion with someone else (perhaps another diabetic? or your health-conscious yoga-enthusiast cousin?) so you can appreciate the taste without accumulating the excess fat and sugar. If you’re trying to cut carbs, try substituting one carb for another, such as skipping the garlic bread for the mashed potatoes instead. Consider replacing a red meat dish with a fatty fish dish rich in omega-3 fats.
Drink in moderation. Alcoholic drinks can contain large amounts of sugar, so be careful. Generally, it is recommended that diabetic men drink less than 2 drinks a day and diabetic women drink less than 1 drink a day. Talk to your doctor about your intention to drink so you can plan in advance. If you’re going out, be prepared for emergencies, wear a medical bracelet, and perhaps educate a friend on the signs of hypoglycemia so that they don’t confuse it with inebriation.
4. Go on adventures.
Diabetics, of all people, should not miss out on adventures. Traveling and exploring gets you active in an enjoyable way, not to mention all the emotional benefits of understanding another culture or breathing in the great outdoors.
Plan how to bring your medical supplies. Thankfully, the TSA has special considerations and lenience for diabetic medical supplies. Do talk to your doctor about your glucose-checking schedule if you will be crossing time zones, and research the nearest hospital and pharmacy wherever you decide to stay. Wear a medical bracelet or card in your wallet with your health information in the local language, research the local cuisine, and be careful of heat exhaustion. The CDC offers a comprehensive guide for diabetic travelers on their website.
Yes, you can play outside. Backpacking, hiking, boating, and other expeditions are on the table. Key things to remember include always having a traveling partner with you (in case of emergencies), bringing sanitary wipes so you don’t get infected while testing blood glucose, and perhaps investing in a satellite-based emergency help system in case anything goes wrong outside of cell phone reception.
More than 100 million American adults live with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and many have fulfilling, enjoyable lives that are almost indistinguishable from people without diabetes. Thankfully, we live in a time of excellent healthcare and technology, so take advantage of the tools and information you have, go outside, and have fun!
Health information used in this article was sourced from the American Diabetes Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Diabetes Council.
About The Author
Alison Lee is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. She enjoys writing about finance, medicine, and health, among other topics. Follow Alison on Twitter: @Alison__Lee
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