Wednesday, January 20, 2010
What if ?
When Adele first got diagnosed with Celiac disease in the summer of 2002 we had never even heard of the condition. The doctor told us that it could not be cured and that there was no medication that could be taken to control it. The treatment was quite simple - a gluten-free diet for life and her bowel would heal and she would be back to "normal". Food is the medicine.
A few months later came the Type 1 diagnosis. The treatment in this second round of chronic auto-immune disease diagnoses was a bit more complex - she'd need to inject insulin for the rest of her life (little did we know then that this was actually the "easiest" part) all the while trying to balance food intake and exercise with this injected insulin in presence of other uncontrollable processes that can and will throw off this delicate balance at any given time. I remember the doctor telling us that her immune system was mistakenly destroying the cells that produce insulin, but that she could still basically eat whatever she wants as long as she gets synthetic insulin injected to cover the carbs (thus replacing the insulin that her body no longer produces). They made it seem rather simple. I'm not sure if it was to allow us time to mourn and not overwhelm us from the start? Or if they're like many other "book smart" medical experts with no real-life, 24/7 Type 1 gaming experience and really didn't know any better. They were (and still are) basically preaching that we should be able to play the Type 1 game without any dietary restrictions (well, except for Gluten in our case because of the Celiac disease). It's with this knowledge that we began our Type 1 journey. **One thing to note here is that Adele was 2 and 1/2 years old when she was diagnosed, I'm not sure what they'd tell an adult as far as recommended diet?
But what if we apply more of the "food as medicine" Celiac philosophy to the Type 1 game? After all, food is controllable, along with exercise and insulin dosage, and a big part of the Type 1 balance equation. What if part of our Type 1 gameplan is to only eat foods that work with our bodies instead of work against it? For me and Adele (and anyone else with Celiac disease), any food that contain gluten triggers our bodies to work against itself by causing damage to our bowel and make us sick. What if a Type 1 gamer would eliminate foods that wreak havoc on blood sugar and make them sick? I've always wondered how much of an effect that this would have on Type 1 blood sugar stability and control.
If it were me I'd give it a try without hesitation. To me, a low carb, whole food, high protein, no dairy diet would seem to make so much sense as a winning Type 1 game plan. It would be difficult to adapt at first, but so was the gluten-free diet when I first started and now I have no problem whatsoever following it since I feel sooooo good on it. It is worth all of the effort.
So, I'm still not the one with Type 1 diabetes and Adele is still just 9. At her age she just wants to be like everyone else, so I'm not pushing this on her right now. It'll have to come from her if she is to adopt this way of life. Right now we're teaching her about healthy eating, mostly by example, while trying to limit the "junk" food but still letting her be a kid as much as possible. Maybe we're missing the boat? Maybe modern medicine (the pill pushers) are missing the boat? Damn, I wish I wouldn't question myself as much...