Friday, September 11, 2015

Nutrition counts with age


“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”  ~Unknown

The oddest thing happened.  When I got home last night, my husband pointed out a HUGE box of overflowing fruits and vegetables, saying they were sitting on our doorstep.

My first reaction was it would be my wonderful, nutritious-oriented daughter because we had talked about having a bake or make day -- try making pies or I'd show her how I make my popular bruschetta from the tomatoes I grew in my very own garden!  She was not responsible, however, didn't hesitate to say she'd swing by to pick up some.

There were two bags of different apples, a big bag of oranges, about 7 zucchini, more apples, about 50 kiwi -- it was amazing!

My second conspirator I thought of was my best friend who had just returned from Victoria after dropping her son off to begin his first year of university.  After exchanged texts this morning, I discovered it wasn't her.

Hmmmm, the plot thickens.  Who is our guardian angel or fairy godmother?  

What was so fascinating about this was I had just said at work, after a colleague shared pieces of heavenly nectarine, that I had been craving fruit but with my crazy schedule, hadn't made it to the grocery store.  I had it on my TO DO list for today, my first day and only day off for a week.

I haven't really talked about the fact that I had been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes a year and a half ago.  I keep it firmly in the closet, keeping it private.  Sadly, I took it hard and a sign that my youth and vitality may be failing and a sign of imperfection, almost embarrassment.

I worked with a dietician referred to by my doctor, who said that I already had the basics of a good diet that just needed tweaking.  Basically, like any good nutrition plan, you have to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables and scale down sugar (obviously) and surprisingly carbohydrates.  

Stress and lifestyle can also impact your health dramatically.  My job is shift work and it seems to have impacted my blood sugar levels.  Before, I would get up by 7am, have a yogurt with fruit or a muffin with my Metformin and then another pill with lunch of usually a sandwich full of veggies.

Unfortunately, my schedule is really off kilter.  I can work from 1pm to 9pm, then the next few days 10am to 6pm, followed by 12:30-8:30pm.  It doesn't lend itself to a diet routine.

I'm not stressed by any means.  My kids have all left home and are smoothly sailing into adulthood with one moved to Vancouver, employed, nice boyfriend and living with my brother, safe and sound.  My other is starting her second year of university, a little turbulent because she was working 3 jobs to help fund her love to travel.  My stepdaughter is into owning her own condo, engaged and to be married next summer.  I do worry about my son and his lifestyle, with alcohol as a companion, a bit more than I'd like.



Overall, life is pretty balanced.  I've doted on my garden with my best friend, Buddy by my side.  I've been decompressing with painting and self-expression by blogging.

BUT, the big BUT.  I can't fool the meter that tests my blood sugar.  It has been higher than normal for the past few weeks.  It stands out to me that it is my diet that is causing things to go amuck.  I realize that it takes discipline to have a routine on your eating, not just what you eat.  Surprising, but revealing.

I've known and been aware, that when you don't take the time to plan your menu or have the proper supply nearby, it is easy to lean on a greater amount of carbohydrates.  Those are an enemy of balance.  

It takes me an hour to get home, so it's peanut butter toast for dinner.  Not a whole lot of calories yet mostly carbs.

I still am going to go crazy wondering who dropped off this huge box of goodies?  Is there such a thing as a guardian angel?  Or is it my karma:  what I've been thinking and saying lately?

Regardless of its origins, it emphasizes how important one's routine AND nutritional balance is.  Not many of us have the wakeup call a diagnosis like Diabetes is to realize that we have to watch what we eat and take the extra effort on balance.  




My dietician emphasized that I have the misfortune of genetics against me.  My father had diabetes and so had my younger brother and older sister - so that compounded the likelihood.  As she pointed out, I was pretty good at recognizing and following a balanced diet.  Her best advice was to visualize my plate where the carbs are balanced by vegetables.  So it isn't like you are going without anything in particular, it is more about offsetting it with more vegetables.

It was like a wake up call, that when you hit 50, it is more than ever important.  What was further surprising, was that my older brother recently had been diagnosed.  Similar to us, he and his wife follow a pretty disciplined diet.  The curse of genetics fell on him too.  He doesn't know that I know, my mother told me so I would feel better.  

I hazard a guess that my brother took it the same way I did:  a stroke of misfortune that is taken with embarrassment.  Especially to those consciously watching what they eat, how much.  He plays hockey every week with guys half his age.  Heck, his wife makes his lunch every day because she knows he is a bit of a junk food junkie and if she didn't, he'd be going through a drive-thru every day.  

We're of a generation now where so many are baby boomers hitting their 60s.  I'm a fair ways off, yet the reminder hit me flat in the face.  If I want to continue to be the vibrant, energetic person I'm reputed to be, I will have to pull up my socks and put any excuses aside, forget the blame on genetics and just get to it.

I realized writing this that one very important matter is exercise:  with the shift work, it hasn't leant itself to my walks with my dog for exercise.  You know, what they keep saying balanced diet + exercise = health.

I may take care of my appearance, love fashion, proud of my newling garden skills, and emphasis on balance.  I have to admit that I've slid some and need to smarten up.  My life depends on it.





"The best doctor gives the least medicine."
~Benjamin Franklin

p.s. my neighbour, who was my next culprit on my list of thoughtful, caring people who would have possibly dropped the treasure trove of goodies off on my doorstep, just came by with her wonderful homemade apple jelly (positive karma again!) did not give us them.  The plot thickens.  She did say I could make kiwi jelly.  Time to get off to get some fresh basil to make some bruschetta.  I'll share the recipe later.  Good times, good eats, good friends.  Lucky me!

p.s.s. It turns out that the fruit came from my lovely daughter and fiance.  I had pondered with hubby, neighbour, other daughter (while I was going through process of elimination), after wracking my brain, considering my sister.  I did think of her and her fiance but strongly considered that they don't each much fruit.  Never striking me that they would have gotten the fruit from someone from work, and BECAUSE they don't eat fruit, they'd give it away.  It wasn't meant as a surprise.  They simply dropped it off on their way from work, meaning to text us or tell us next time. It was a wonderful, beautiful gesture cloaked in mystery, landing squarely on fits and giggles.  All good for the soul.