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Tips for New Diabetics During Thanksgiving

Published by Lena Shifflette

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Always Be Aware

As Thanksgiving approaches, most of us start to think of food. Food, food, food. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, green been casserole, mystery stuffing from Aunt Betty, and turkey to name a few. Then comes the sweets – cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes, apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chocolate cake, brownies, ice cream…you know, all the things that make you heavy. But what about those who have to worry less about gaining weight from sugar and more about dying from it?

Did you know that according to the World Diabetes Foundation more than 230 million people worldwide (roughly 6% of the world’s adult population) suffer from diabetes? If you are one of those people, that’s the reality facing you. How do you handle that reality? How do you take care of yourself? If you’re not sure, or you haven’t thought about, maybe it’s a good time to do so.

The rest of you may be thinking, “That’s silly, of course they’ve thought about it and are taking precautions if they have this disease”. I say no, it’s not silly. And there’s a good chance that they haven’t thought about and aren’t taking the proper precautions for themselves. I say this from personal experience. People I know – people who have diabetes – didn’t take care of themselves. Fortunately now they have changed their ways. Some seem to have changed in time to save themselves; others may die an early death from it. So for all of you who suffer from diabetes and have not thought about ways to protect yourself during Thanksgiving, here are a few tips that may literally save your life.

1. Let People Know

Let people know that you are a diabetic. You don’t have to make a big deal about it by tapping your glass and standing (unless you want to for some reason). Instead, make a casual comment as the food is being passed that you are diabetic. You can also let the host know in private before dinner that you are diabetic. This will do two things. First, it will remind you to keep an eye on what you are eating. Second, it will let others know to keep an eye out for those sugar laden foods and give you a heads up if necessary.

2. Check Yourself

Check your blood sugar levels before sitting down to eat. This will give you an idea of how much danger you are in. Never go into a situation blind. It’s like driving at night without headlights.

3. Ask

Ask the host which dishes have sugar in them. They should have a pretty good idea what is in each dish. Sometimes it’s not very obvious to guests if a particular food has extra sugar in it. For example, some people add sugar to their already carbohydrate laden rolls. Again, knowledge is the key. If you know ahead of time you can avoid these things.

4. Watch Your Drinks

It’s easy to get caught up in which foods to limit or avoid and then forget about the drinks. Almost all drinks have sugar, so ask your host if they have any sugar-free drinks available. Also, when coffee and tea come around, make sure to use sugar substitutes to sweeten them.

5. Watch the Carbs

Carbohydrates, as you probably know, are easily turned into sugar by the body. They are only slightly better than taking in sugar directly. Most starches are high in carbohydrates. Watch out for breads, potatoes, and things that contain whole milk.

Finally, get out and exercise. Take a walk after dinner. It will help you burn the calories you just took in and also help to even out your blood sugar levels. Remember, staying aware of your situation is the best weapon to protecting yourself. Enjoy the holidays and stay safe.

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