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How can you improve your relationship with food?

Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 17, 2017

Nutrition Month 2017 image

What can I eat that won’t affect my blood sugars?

Should I go gluten-free?

Can cinnamon reduce my diabetes risk?

I have a lot of gas after eating certain foods. Should I stop eating them?

Do I have to eat vegetables? I know they’re supposed to be good for me, but I don’t like them.

When I’m stressed, I eat. I know it’s not a good idea, but I don’t know what else to do.

If you struggle with any of these challenges (and many others), there’s no time like the present for a nutrition intervention. March is Nutrition Month, and Dietitians of Canada and Diabetes Canada are here to help. This year is all about how to” take the fight out of food” and improve your relationship with food, no matter what struggle you face.

Let’s take Tim, who is 58 and lives with type 2 diabetes, as an example of how you can put this three-step approach to work.

1. Spot the problem: Tim says, “I’m overwhelmed by everyday food decisions at home or when eating out.”

2. Get the facts: Tim visited diabetes.ca and learned how he can eat well, along with other important factors that contribute to a long and healthy life, such as monitoring and keeping his blood sugars in his target range, being active, and managing stress.

3. Seek support: Tim didn’t get nutrition advice because he was afraid it would mean giving up foods he loved. But the more he read about nutrition and diabetes, the more he understood that a dietitian could help him fit his favourite foods into his eating routine, and that planning meals didn’t have to be complicated.

Have questions? Visit Diabetes Canada or call the information and support services line at 1-800-BANTING (226-8464). 

Want to find a dietitian? Visit www.dietitians.ca/find or contact your local diabetes clinic. 

Joanne Lewis is the director of nutrition and healthy eating at Diabetes Canada.

http://www.diabetes.ca/getmedia/482890c9-9f91-400b-9083-1942ed865202/index_03.jpg.aspx

What’s your biggest nutrition challenge? Tell us your story. Visit our myDC community forums and share now.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content. 





Don’t be sorry for my daughter because she has diabetes

Don’t be sorry for my daughter because she has diabetes
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 06, 2017

That evening in August 2016 when my daughter, Taylor, started to crash was a scary one. She would stand for a minute, and then roll around on the floor. After watching her a few times I realized she was having trouble standing because she had no energy. Other signs had been there for awhile, including drinking an abundance of liquid every day and filling her diapers with urine within an hour.  That evening, I paced around the house as I contemplated taking her to the hospital or waiting until the next day to take her to our family doctor. Part of me worried about what the doctors were going to say, but regardless of what they told me, I would protect her. I was her father.

At the hospital, my wife, Angel, and I explained Taylor’s symptoms. A nurse checked her blood sugar: Taylor’s numbers were six times what was considered normal. A urine sample confirmed that she was chock-full of ketones. She was admitted right away. My wife was upset. It was her first day at a new job and she didn’t feel she could call in sick, plus we really needed the money with the way the Alberta economy was, so I stayed with our daughter.

Taylor was only two years old, and by that evening, she’d already had two IVs and a lot of tests. I was awake for the next 36 hours, upset, scared, and feeling so many other emotions I couldn’t even explain. I cried to the doctors. I felt so bad and felt like it was all my fault. I couldn’t help but think if I had given her one less treat she wouldn’t have gotten type 1 diabetes. The doctors did a good job trying to comfort me and explaining that Taylor’s diabetes had nothing to do with anything I did or didn’t do.

After her diagnosis, Taylor was discharged. We were asked to come back every morning that week to get educated about diabetes. There was lots to learn about blood sugars, carbs, health, insulin, and checks, and I took in as much as I could. On Friday, we were given emergency numbers, a boost of confidence, and sent on our way.

Our days are now filled with blood sugar checks, giving my little one insulin twice a day, and counting her carbs and sugar at every meal and snack. Yet I cannot imagine what it feels like to be her. She’s the one getting poked all the time. She’s the one who can’t eat what she use to. She’s the one who has had her life turned upside down. Even her babysitter bailed on her, saying she wasn’t knowledgeable enough to ‘deal with this.’

People have sent their sympathies. My response has been simple: Please don’t be sorry for me, Taylor, or my family. We are all fine. She is fine. Diabetes is a tough lifestyle change that our family has to get used to. Taylor is still the same child with the same personality: she laughs, plays, dances, loves music, and loves to spend time outside. And I love her more today that I did yesterday.

George Dean is a child and youth care worker from Dartmouth, N.S., who currently resides in Edmonton. He spent many years in the child welfare system and has been homeless. He is a loving father of three girls, a husband, and an inspiration to and advocate for youth in care all over the world. He has written articles and presented to various child and youth care agencies, and is writing his own biography.

Give to end diabetes today! 

Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has touched your life or that of someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.  

Do you have a child with diabetes? Visit our myDC community forums and share your story now.





Donating to Clothesline helps fight diabetes

Donating to Clothesline helps fight diabetes
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: March 02, 2017

a photo of clothesline contest winners, colin and jennifer deacon

Colin Deacon, 57, is all too aware of diabetes and its complications due to a family member who lives with type 2 diabetes. His wife, Jennifer, is also familiar with the chronic disease; her good friend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in high school and experienced complications when she became pregnant in her 20s. “I cannot imagine living with the risks and complications of diabetes, especially if you have limited resources,” says Colin, who credits Jennifer with introducing them to the Clothesline program.

Busy working as start-up entrepreneurs in Halifax, the couple always make time to donate their reusable items. “We love the program. We’ve been donating for as long as we can remember and through three household addresses,” says Colin. “Each call from the program reminds us that we need to do some organizing, and it is wonderful to know that the stuff we no longer need goes to support those affected by diabetes.”

As the grand prize winner of Clothesline’s Find your escape! Where will your donation take you? campaign, along with a $5,000 travel voucher, Colin and Jennifer now have another reason to love Clothesline.

Donate your gently used clothing for a chance to win a $5,000 dream vacation or one of 10 $500 VISA gift cards as part of the “Escape the winter blues! Where will your donation take you?” campaign, running until March 31. One hundred per cent of net proceeds raised by Clothesline directly support the Diabetes Canada and world-leading diabetes research, education and advocacy.

Have you donated to Clothesline before? Tell us your story. Visit our myDC community forums and share now.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.





Every word in this song was written by someone with diabetes

Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: February 20, 2017

And that’s what makes “Brave Faces” so powerful.

“I don’t think I can do this much longer.”

“I don’t think people will understand.”

“I’m trying every day but no one sees it.”

“I’m tired of putting on a brave face.”

“I don’t want to live a life that makes me feel scared.”

Scared, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed or alone…for some, this is the daily reality of living with diabetes. But it’s not the whole story. There’s hope, too…for an end to the stigma, discrimination, complications and the disease itself.

“I’m brave.”

“I’m OK.”

“I want to live.”

“I don’t feel scared.”

“I think I can do this.”

“I can do this.”

Yes, you can! And, after you listen to the song or watch the “Brave Faces” video, please visit enddiabetes.ca – the home of End Diabetes, the new movement launched by Diabetes Canada.

Yes, Diabetes Canada. On February 13, the Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada to shine the light on diabetes in new and bold ways. To make the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. And, to speak clearly on behalf of the 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. There’s no time like the present. We all deserve a life free of fear.


Diabetes Canada and End Diabetes logos


Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has touched your life or that of someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in our myDC community content.  

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To the government of Ontario: please help keep my daughter safe at school

To the government of Ontario: please help keep my daughter safe at school
Picture of Denise Barnard
Posted by: Denise Barnard
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Lisa Geelen’s daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four. Lisa (pictured above) spoke to Ontario members of provincial parliament (MPPs) at Diabetes Canada’s Diabetes Day on the Hill on World Diabetes Day (November 14). Here’s her story:

Prior to my daughter’s diagnosis, I was unaware of what diabetes was – the symptoms, the complications – and most of all, how fatal it can be.

On September 18, 2010, Anna, who had just begun kindergarten, became very ill. We didn’t know what was wrong. We thought she had the flu: she had been losing weight and was very pale. We called Telehealth Ontario, and then an ambulance, which rushed her to the hospital. After Anna’s blood was checked, we were told she had type 1 diabetes. She had almost died due to the very high levels of sugar in her blood.

After many days at SickKids, we returned home, and my husband and I began to learn about diabetes and how to take care of our daughter. We began our new life of poking Anna with needles, never-ending math (counting carbs is good practice actually), 24-hour health care, and constant worrying. Once we figured out a routine, we started to prepare for Anna’s return to school. We had no idea it would be so hard.

We discovered her school didn’t have a policy that outlined how to care for a child with diabetes and neither did the school board nor the province of Ontario. So, I searched the web and learned that New Brunswick had a diabetes policy for their schools. I used it as a starting point. I now have a 10-point [individual care] plan I go through every year – from conducting hands-on training with Anna’s homeroom teacher to talking to her classmates about diabetes – to ensure Anna has the care she needs.

Each school year, I take the first two weeks off work to train school staff and to be there if needed. And every day, I label Anna’s lunch with the number of carbs it contains. I send her to school with a diabetes kit that contains blood sugar testing supplies, fast-acting sugar and a cell phone.  And at regularly scheduled times I receive a text from Anna about her blood sugar checks. The reality is if the day-to-day management of her diabetes slips, an emergency will occur.

Not all children have parents who can take two weeks off at the beginning of the school year, who know how to advocate for their child, or create a plan. And not all kids have a school that’s willing to work with them to make one. Yet, despite all the precautions, I can’t control everything that happens at school. Last year, Anna experienced two very dangerous lows, which were preventable.

I don’t want anything to happen to my daughter before the government acts. I want Ontario to put in place a policy and training that will keep my daughter – and all other kids with diabetes – safe at school. This needs to happen immediately. Another school year cannot begin without a fully implemented policy. For families like ours who live with diabetes, we have already waited too many years.

Lisa Geelen is a management consultant and the mother of two school-age children. In addition to being a Diabetes Canada advocate and volunteering at her children’s school, she also has her own diabetes awareness campaign and website, coffeesonme.com.  

Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has touched your life or that of someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content. 

Do you have a child with diabetes who’s in school? What has been your experience? Visit our myDC community forums and share your story now.