When my son was diagnosed with Type1 Diabetes in March 2016, one of the first things his medical team said to us was ‘things have improved now, we have super insulins. they can eat what they want as long at they bolus for it’.. Now, I’m a daughter to a T1D. I lost my mum at 15 to Type 1 Diabetes (she was 41), although my Mums diabetes was very badly managed, I do remember how little chocolates and treats she ate. Being told my son could eat what he wanted when my mum couldn’t yet she still suffered – terribly and then died very young, just didn’t add up in my head. No insulin is that good. is it?
All the family were like ‘yeah, wooo’ he can still have the food and went on a treat buying rampage. Food makes you better right? It’s kind and a sign of Love to feed a kid chocolate?
I rememer saying to Greg in the hospital ‘it doesnt seem right, they can’t eat stuff like that, lets just take it slow and go right back to basics, (remember, he was dying at this point – very sick child), lets get him under control and steady before we start with all that stuff’. My husband was very compliant, although he also clung onto every word the dr’s said (as I did), they were saving our boy’s life at this point – they were GODS!
I kept coming back to ‘eat what you want’ in my head and the math just didn’t add up.
I am so blessed with Greg, he’s 100% my soulmate, I told him all my fears and about my mum and why I was confused over why we could feed him anything he wanted. He agreed with me. He wanted him to have treats, didn’t want to steal his childhood, but he also wanted him to be healthy and safe. We agreed to take things very slowly. Nothing unhealthy until we found our feet, got our groove and had him safe and steady. It seemed a long way off at that point anyway.
When Carter had recovered and was home, he’d missed Easter (he donated all his eggs to the children’s ward whilst he was in his coma, the Easter bunny brought him a nerf gun to his bed as he slept – heart-breaking stuff).. People had wanted to get him gifts, we appreciated that and asked for nothing edible. He got clothes and vouchers and a football shirt – it was perfect! He loved it!
As the weeks went on I asked for no sweets or chocolates to be brought as gifts to my house for any reason. If they weren’t in the house, he wouldn’t ask for them and I wouldn’t have to feed it him. It didn’t feel right…But people would rock up with kit kats and dairymilk caramel bars so ‘evil mum’ had to take them away (or feed them him).. Each time people visited they’d bring Jaffa Cakes ‘to cheer him up’ or chocolate ice creams. Oh My God People – He is DIABETIC! I don’t care what the Dr’s say. I SAY NO! But, the Dr’s and Nurses had told us ALL that he could have them, so in everyone else’s eyes (they hadn’t seen my mum, or lost their mum at 15, spent their childhood in hospitals and then almost lost my baby to the same disease). In their eyes, I was evil and being too strict and cruel. Living in the old-times where Insulin wasn’t good enough. Insulin nowadays is better, the Dr’s said so… They told me that I was trying to make him different, and they didn’t agree. So, some of them just went against me and did what they wanted anyway (cruel). It pitted Carter and my husband Greg against me at times too. To hell with what Momma-B says, I want to buy him a treat and the Dr’s and Nurses said he can have it, so, I’m buying it. I love him and if I want to buy him a Kit Kat, I will’.. (thanks).. This did absolutely nothing for my living fears, my PTSD, my sleeplessness and worry and constant panicked fear that Diabetes was going to steal my son away from me like it did my Mum. Absolutely Nothing! It made things worse! It was a living HELL!!
Don’t get me wrong, for the first 6 months of Carters diabetes journey we followed the standard D.O.H eating plan to a certain degree. I did give him carbs because I falsely believed that children need carbohydrates to grow and for their brain development. It was what I’d always ben taught and what his medical team pressed into us. I didn’t give him as much as they recommended but he did eat potatoes and wraps, fruit and beans with some cereal and the occasional bag of crisps. It felt weird – wrong. BUT my husband heard it too; they’d say ‘eat what you want, eat the carbs and cover it with insulin’ and because they’d say his numbers were great. We thought we were doing ok, doing the right thing. Sometimes his blood sugars would be high, much higher than I thought was OK and I’d fight them back down (usually send him into a hypo for the whole process to repeat), but his medical team were happy things were good and they had saved his life. I thought they were, each of them GODS. I did exactly what they would say and because I was worried people thought me cruel and depriving him of a childhood by not feeding him the treats they brought in abundance; Carter would have some chocolate on a weekend.
I was embarrassed to be feeding it him, I’d write Facebook status’ like ‘because he deserves a treat too’ and cringe at myself. In my head I knew it was wrong but in my heart, by not giving it, I was cruel. So, I’d count and weigh out the CHOCOLATE (full sugar chocolate) and I’d bolus him for the carb content and he’d chow down on a Cadbury’s Dairymilk or a Kit Kat and then I’d watch him go mental, reaching for water to guzzle down like he was on crack! He’d literally unrazzle in my kitchen like a Tazmanian Devil, usually ending in bad behavour, complete exhaustion and restless sleep, sometimes after a vomiting episode. I knew it wasn’t right. But who was I to argue with the world?
I thought to myself, I just need to be smarter, It’s got to be possible or they wouldn’t say he could have it. I just need to get his blood sugars right. Give exactly the right amount of insulin and he will be ok. It will be ok.. I used to try feeding him meat and veggies with the chocolate to reduce it’s impact. Each time, justifying me feeding it him to the world I believed was judging me (I was judging myself more-so). I really did feel like I had to justify it, like I was doing wrong, but I was just doing as I was told (but now I know – it was wrong! So very wrong! And Cruel)!!!
I just never seemed to get it right. He was either too high or too low – it never worked! I tried everything and each week I’d watch his sugars sky rocket and knew that Saturday nights were just ‘no sleep’ night for me because I’d be up allllll night long administering insulin to bring his blood glucose levels down and then waking him up to correct the subsequent hypo’s he’d experience from taking such huge amounts of insulin to cover the crazy high spikes that chocolate creates. I could never get it right, he was NEVER in range.
I used to have to plan what days I would let him eat chocolate around what days I needed to work and sleep because I knew that if he ate it, I’d be up alllll night long and he too would be pretty sick.
I asked the family to STOP buying it and still, the kit kats kept coming. It was very frustrating!
When we found Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solutions Plan in August and started implementing his methods as Carters Diabetes Management, one of the first things I took pleasure in was throwing away the drawer of chocolate Carter had accumulated in my fridge. He would have never got through it all and because now we only eat max 30g carbs a day (from fibrous veggies) sugar is off the menu completely. And in all seriousness: in what world is it OK for a Type1 Diabetic to eat sugar like that? I have the evidence. Real, raw Blood Glucose readings. Trust me when I say: It is CRIMINAL!! Not in my world – I saw what only eating small amounts did to my mum long-term. It was not acceptable to me that this could also be the fate of my precious boy – not ever! I was so bloody relieved with Bernstein’s methods and that this did not have to be our future – my boy’s fate! It was like a Revelation. I got my boy back, our lives back! THANK YOU Dr Bernstein – the guy literally saved our lives! (I will talk about how I discovered Dr Bernstein and implemented his methods in a different blog, but for now trust me when I say: it will change your life, give you your life back. You MUST order his book – do it now)!!!
You can order Dr Bernstein’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bernstein+diabetes+solutions
He also has a website: http://www.diabetes-book.com/
He also has a very impressive YouTube channel where he has archived his entire life’s work to share with the world: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuJ11OJynsvHMsN48LG18Ag
So, the chocolate went.. As Christmas approached, I specifically asked all family members to NOT buy any chocolate or sweets for either of my boys. We are all on the same eating plan as Carter and all a lot healthier for it too!
We don’t eat Sugar, Starches, Grains, Gluten, Wheat, Corn or Fruit. We eat Proteins, Fats and Fibrous Veggies. The goal is normal, safe and healthy Blood Glucose Levels to maintain a safe and healthy – long life of good health, especially for our T1. I want to keep my boy alive and healthy and in my world, that boy (both of my boys) are far too precious and I love them far too much to feed them foods that will cause them harm – it just wont ever happen – ever again!
So, no chocolate or sweets please. And what happened? Chocolate and Sweets came in abundance. And then the family wondered why I was upset with them. Because I then had to take it all away again. Bad Mum! Again! Luckily by this point, we were well into our Low Carb lifestyle (>3months) and Carter was already feeling a million times better than he had since the 2 years before he was diagnosed. His blood sugars had stabilised, his insulin requirements reduced, he’d lost weight, felt healthier and looked amazing. He knew (from an error at school) that eating 1 small piece of a cake or bun or chocolate would ruin all his hard work and make him feel like absolute shit – for a good few days too. So, WHY would I give him ANY chocolate to undo all the good that he had achieved?! And what was better was Carter’s response: ‘WHY would I eat that?’ (Now that’s some going in anyone’s book, to be holding a kit kat, or a chocolate orange and choosing not to eat it for the sake of your health – at 8 years old)! I am so proud of him, his strength and his dedication to his health – he rocks my world!
So, I threw it all away. I didn’t even donate it to a food bank, I was so angry that people – my own family – who are supposed to LOVE him and not want to cause him harm. They had bought him something that would hurt him and would cause him harm. ‘Because all kids need chocolate at Christmas don’t they?’ I was so angry! Insinuating that I am bad and cruel and depriving my own son by keeping him safe and healthy. NOT IN MY WORLD! The chocolate went…
So, time passed and we continued on our journey, Carters health growing from strength to strength but I did often wonder how he would go through life without treats. Don’t get me wrong. I intended to start searching out treats once we had the main elements of Bernstein’s plan nailed. Once I was confident in our new routine and had achieved predictability and reliability. Once I knew I could accurately and confidently recover or implement change should I need to, I would be more open to considering treats as long as they fitted into the overall methods of Dr Bernstein’s Book. After all, this guy literally handed me my son back. Why would I go against what he was living proof of that worked?
During our Low Carb journey so far, I had become a member of an online community ‘Type One Grit’ where fellow Dr Bernstein Type1Diabetics and families of T1 Kids are members – almost like an online extended family (It’s seriously good). These people share advice, support, recipes, experiences, stories and ‘finds’ for shopping items like baking goods etc.
I started gathering ideas and recipes from them because I was ready. I started building a Pintrest page where I could refer back to ingredients and methods and building a plan for life that I could confidently navigate.
I felt confident enough that our machine was well oiled and running smoothly enough that I could begin to incorporate a bit of Low Carb cake and it not have any effect on his (amazing) results.
So I did, and it went well. We LOVE Cheesecake fluff, Low Carb Pizza’s, Poke Cake and a few other cool recipes that have become part of our staple diet. (I will share these in a later post and link to the original author’s too). For now, you can check out my PINTREST page here: https://uk.pinterest.com/InstagnesRose/
MY T1LC Food board is full stuffed with suitable foods that we eat.
Try this link too: https://uk.pinterest.com/InstagnesRose/t1-lc-food/
The only issues Carter would have and the only true times where he would show any resentment to our new way of life was at school. The kids at school get treats almost daily. Usually most days a kid has a birthday or the class gets a treat and it’s biscuits and donuts or ice cream. Carter takes ham or cheese or salami to eat at these times but I did feel for him, sat amongst the entire class (at 8 years old) whilst they all munched on donuts and he’s chewing on some cucumber. I didn’t want him to feel that way. He accepts that he is different – he is! Denying that is dangerous and how kids end up rebelling as they are older. We embrace the difference, it means he is special and strong and brave. He is different and that is ok, I wouldn’t change him. He is amazing! But, he also used to get sad, on Fish and Chip Fridays or Donut Treat Day.. I had to do something…
He’d had Lindts 90% coco chocolate a few times, he enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I’d class as amazing for a child. It was more MY kinda chocolate. Some friends in the states raved about Lillys chocolate too but I found it hard to source online and what I could find, I needed to re-mortgage the house to order. I continued my search..
One particular day I found myself on ebay searching random crap (as usual). I stay awake a lot at night and I like searching random crap on ebay, I find some awesome stuff, it’s rather entertaining. Anyway ‘sugar free’ was in my search and bugger me what came up? PUNDITS Chocolate! I quickly clicked on it, sure that I’d found it before and dismissed it. The picture was deceiving, it was just a bar of chocolate (no wrapper), not very appealing. But, I read more and I discovered they had a website – I clicked their link and then I discovered a whole new world. Their chocolate was 100% SUGAR FREE, sweetened using stevia. Well, was this real? I had to try it, even if it was a hoax. I’d try it myself if it came down to it.
I placed our first order in January 2017 and WOW! It was the best move ever. I’d not told Carter about it so when it arrived I got him to open the parcel and he didn’t have a clue what it was – until he opened it!
Oh his reaction! WOW! He was so happy and excitable, it was heart warming to see.. He didn’t believe it was possible. I explained to him that we had to be cautious, that it might not be OK and could spike him etc so we would proceed with hopeful anticipation. He had 2 small squares and as he has the Dexcom (continuous glucose monitor), I could watch his blood sugars and see exactly how they reacted..
I also have to add that Carter almost wet himself taking that first mouthful of incredibly creamy, rich, chocolatey chocolate. He was almost crying! He said it was heaven inside his mouth!
We all had a square with him and the whole lot of us; Carter, Morgan, Greg and I, all did a very happy chicken dance around my kitchen. It was a lovely moment, it was real chocolate – we had missed it! It was YUMMY!!
I expected bad things regarding Carters blood sugars. I mean, how can this be real? It was too good to be true.. So, I watched his Dexcom further. I watched and I watched in anticipation of reality kicking in and we would go back to Lindts 90% coco Chocolate (I’m not knocking it at all, it’s really yummy, but something chocolatier would be nice once in a while)… Anyway, his line never faltered. Never moved. I checked with a finger prick – no change. WOW. Was this real? I gave him another 2 squares and watched again. NO CHANGE! It Was REAL! WOW!!!
I did it! I found the sugar free, low carb chocolate that tastes just like chocolate (better to be perfectly honest), that does not affect my boys blood glucose levels, upset his tummy or rot his teeth. It shouldn’t be possible. But it is!
My boy thinks that the team at Pundits are Super Hero’s. We ordered more chocolate and when it came to his birthday I asked the family to buy him chocolate – PUNDITS chocolate. Unfortunately only my dad did, but still, he got his chocolate and his blood sugars remain safe and healthy and stable.
Thank You Pundits for making our lives that little bit easier and nicer! You’ll never know just how much these little things mean to people like us!
We Love PUNDITS! ❤
You can Buy PUNDITS online here: https://pundits.co.uk/
Look for the Rainbows and Find the Happy… Until next time,
Momma-B, Rose ❤