When J was first diagnosed I really had no clue the extensive list of foods that contained carbohydrates, so much so that if I would have had to take a test on that subject I would have failed it MISERABLY! We are talking a 20%....F-.......completely and utterly bombing the subject completely LOL. Obviously that quickly changed with T1D barging into our lives.
To make it simple for those not living in our world, pretty much everything that goes into your mouth has carbohydrates in it! What is the significance of a carbohydrate and diabetes? Well the easiest way to explain it would be that carbs are broken down by the body, converted into sugar and used as a fuel to power the body or stored for future use. A more technical explanation can be found here Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar
For a diabetic or a person that is managing diabetes your head is constantly swirling with carb counts, thinking about the glycemic index, fiber counts and figuring out the amount of insulin that is needed to counter act those carbs.
When a food is not pre-packaged and labeled with nutritional information then you are left to measure, weigh or count your foods. We use a book and smart phone app called Calorie King. This allows us to see the carbohydrate counts when you have to measure or weigh your foods and also helps us in the times that we are somewhere with no access to measuring cups/spoons or scales and we have to guess. We look at the average count for that item and the serving size options so we are as educated as possible in our guess, then we just have to pray that we made the right decision and wait to see what happens.
When J is not home I often find myself in a panic because I forgot to measure or weigh the food that I gave to E, and then I remember that I don't have to do that for him. You become such a robot, reading labels and measuring/counting foods. I am now even building a memory bank of the carb counts to the foods that he eats on a regular basis.
When we are out to eat at a restaurant we have to count every chip that he puts in his mouth, every fry that he steals off of your plate, every taste of your food that he wants. It completely consumes your life and yet becomes so second nature. My husband and myself are so much more aware of how careless we were with eating and just how many carbs we were eating pre-diabetes.
*For those who don't live with T1D themselves or manage it, I challenge you to start reading your labels and counting your carbs for one day. I promise that you will be shocked and probably start to make healthier food and drink choices with that knowledge. (for example: if you eat a PB&J- You count the bread and the amount of PB and J you put on the bread which are usually calculated by the tablespoon or if you are eating a Hamburger- you count the bun, the toppings, your fries and every tablespoon of ketchup that you dip your fries into)
*For those newly diagnosed, the carb counting does get easier and it will become less fearful when you have to guess. Just keep staying strong and using your resources like Calorie King (there are also a lot of other carb counting apps available).
*For those veteran carbies, what are some of the tricks and short cuts that you use when measuring, counting or guessing your foods??