When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes I was in denial for about a year afterwards. I was given the news that I had a chronic condition and then just turfed out onto the pavement with no useful information. I was told that I would need regular check ups and that it was very important to look after my feet. That was literally all the information I was given. I went home in a daze, clutching a prescription for Metformin. This is the standard drug used to treat Diabetes and for many people it works fine. It is also relatively cheap. I stared into my cupboards and wondered what I was supposed to eat. I kind of knew I needed to cut down on sugary foods but other than that I was in the dark. Once I started to read up about my condition I realised that it was just as important to monitor my carb intake as it was to avoid sugar. I used the Diabetes UK website for lots of information and I signed up for an online course with them which helped a little. I took the Metformin for two weeks and suffered horrendous side effects. I have an irritable bowel anyway and the medication had a catastrophic effect on this. I went back to my doctor who tried half-heartedly to convince me that the side effects would pass, but eventually she agreed for me to try an alternative, a new drug which is apparently kinder to the digestive system. It is also more expensive than Metformin! It works in two ways, one tablet is taken in the morning after food and mimics the body’s insulin to regulate blood sugars, the other, taken with the last meal of the day channels any sugars made in the body straight to the kidneys so it can be passed in the urine. I literally pee out the sugar my body produces! Sorry for sharing but my urine smells sweet!! The obvious downside to this drug is that I tend to get more UTI’s than normal due to the sugar in my bladder, but so far it hasn’t affected me badly. I also have to take a statin every evening before bed. My cholesterol has never been high but because I’m diabetic the doctors want it to be as low as possible. Last time I had a blood test it was 2, pretty low.
I have two check ups during a year, the main one includes full bloods, a through check up all over and a foot check. They use a hand-held sonograph machine to check the blood flow in my feet and look for any cuts or bruises. I have to be very careful with new shoes because even a little blister takes ages to heal and can become infected easily. I also get a flu jab in the winter. Thankfully I have not had any serious illness for a good few years now and my HB1AC levels have remained stable, even dipping into normal ranges if I have been actively losing weight. I tend to diet for a while then my weight loss hits a plateau and I fall off the wagon for a while, before starting all over again. As I get older it is harder to shift the weight too, but I do what I can and sometimes I get stressed, so my eating gets more erratic, but I try my best.
One of the recipes I found on the website course is really easy and tastes amazing. I make one of these every few weeks and, because I am easily tempted to devour it within a few days, I cut it into slices and wrap them individually in cling film before freezing them. I can make a loaf last about ten days like this and it is a lifesaver if I need something sweet in a hurry. It has no added sugar and is made with just four ingredients. I make a jug of strong black tea, with about four or five teabags in a pint of boiling water and soak 500g of dried mixed fruit in the tea overnight. You don’t need luxury dried fruit for this recipe, the basic own brand stuff is fine. The following day mix two eggs and 300g of all purpose flour into the fruit mixture and put it into a greased, lined 2lb loaf tin. Bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. It makes a dense, rich cake with very little fat and sugar, just the natural sugar which occurs in the fruit and tastes amazing on its own or with a little butter.
Thanks for reading. xx