I like food. It is generally a pleasure. But because of the pancreas situation, food is never really just food, it’s also a mental obstacle course. For me, some foods trigger several thoughts before I even consider how they taste:
Pasta: so tasty, so comforting. My pasta thought process sadly often goes like this – that’s a lot of carbs on a plate, I must take a bucketload of insulin. Then I realise a couple of hours later that just because the packet said that much pasta contained 50g of carbs doesn’t mean it’ll affect my body like that. I should have bolused for 35g and then I wouldn’t be low. I then remain amazed for the rest of the night that there has been no late night spike from the pasta. For me pasta is never as carborific as it says on the packet, regardless of what I eat it with, so I must steel myself to be brave enough to underbolus.
Cucumber and carrot: go, go, go. I seem to have spent a lot of my childhood munching on chunks of cucumber and raw carrot. My parents claim it was an ideal low carb snack that shut me up when I was hungry but couldn’t have any carbs. I wonder if they’d simply confused the feeding farmyard animals book with the bringing up children one. I’m not too mentally scarred though, I still munch on it now.
Pizza: prepare for battle. This requires serious thinking – do I really want pizza? I know it will a bit of a rollercoaster. And it’s the humongous amount of fat that causes that rollercoaster which will just end up on my hips anyway so why am I bothering? Ah, I know all that but I still really want pizza? OK, all hands to the pump. Dual wave bolus on stand-by. 35% upon eating, 65% over 4 hours and maybe add a bit more after that. Monitor and celebrate when I stay below 10. Repeat exact process for Indian takeaway.
Fruit is friend: I’ve heard people say they struggle with fruit because it makes them spike, I’m lucky in that I don’t find that at all, for me fruit is quite predictable and something I eat a lot of.
Crisps: Crisps are a rare thing for me. If I bolus for exactly the number of carbs that are stated on the pack (having performed some A-level maths to calculate the carbs based on a label that refers to 100g of crisps or a portion size of 8 crisps, when I just want to eat a 37.5g bag of the things without having to count them), I get the expected result. Most things I have to tweak through trial and error, but crisps are honest little blighters. They say they contain 15g of carbs and that’s the effect they have on me. They should be highly commended for this rare and valuable trait.
Fruit juice in cartons: There is very little I allow the broken pancreas to prevent me from eating, out of sheer spite I manage to consume most things, but I admit defeat when it comes to fruit juice. That stuff is rocket fuel to me, no matter how early I bolus, how much I put in, the rise is supersonic after only a little glass. Fruit juice is my medicine, I take it when I need it, never for recreational use.
The saviours: fruit pastilles are not just food, they’re absolute medical necessities, second only to insulin in my quest for survival. In my mind, they’re completely separate from normal food, they are to be consumed at the speed of light, often in the dark and covered in fluff. It shocks me when I see people buying these powerful drugs as a snack. Do they not understand their potency?
Coffee: I drink my coffee black, no milk or sugar, so you’d think it would be a simple, no insulin transaction. For instant coffee it is. But proper coffee, freshly ground from beans that actually tastes of something requires a tiny smidgen of insulin otherwise I meander upwards for a couple of hours afterwards.
When I have the occasional flash of willpower I’ll cut down on carbs for a while, and that does help me. I need less insulin and the margins for error are much smaller – I’m putting in a couple of units for a meal rather than a couple of bucket loads to offset all the carbs. I tend to see fewer and smaller rises and falls. Sadly, my willpower isn’t as strong as my carb consumption reflex so I frequently brush up on my mental arithmetic and return to the carbs, aiming for a healthy balanced diet, that doesn’t spike me too much and is also nice to eat.
What are your food thoughts?