Earth Day with Diabetes (Vegans, beware!)

April 22nd, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I’m always frustrated that I can’t recycle my pump supply packaging, nor can I recycle my strip vials.  I know there is some sort of sterile reason for this, but knowing that doesn’t help so much on a day like today: Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is a day to focus on our impact on our environment.  I was reading an article about how much of an impact eating meat and dairy has on the environment, in a substantially negative way.  One of my reactions as I read was “do you want to take protein away, too?”

I think living with diabetes makes me feel like my carbohydrate choices are somewhat limited, and I’m curious if you can relate.  I don’t mean to say my choices ARE limited, and I certainly cannot keep up my fitness and running without some serious carbohydrate support, but it’s more of a mental thing than literal.

I have to watch my carbs.  Literally: I need to count every gram I eat!  But I don’t do that with my grams of protein in the same way.

(Sure, I have counted all of my foods in various ways for various reasons, most notably counting Weight Watchers Points for a few years as I worked to get myself to a healthy weight.  It’s an important skill to have, but it isn’t something I enjoy doing all the time.  If I think too much about the food I’m eating and if I try to micromanage the eating experience more than I have to, I’ve noticed my life becomes generally less enjoyable.)

I appreciate having some things on my plate I don’t have to care about, or count.  It used to be vegetables for a long time, until one CDE said to me once a very long time ago “I don’t recommend diabetics eat carrots on their own as a snack” and that shifted the way I see vegetables a little.  (It was a sad day.)

But so far, lean protein has remained a respite from my food counting, and I appreciate it if only for that reason.  I like eating a stick of low fat string cheese and not touching my pump for that.  I like snagging a few almonds and not touching my pump.  I like grabbing a hardboiled egg and only bolusing for the fruit or toast I have with it.

So, while I am happy to applaud efforts to minimize our carbon footprints, I’m happier still if I can minimize any counting when it comes to animal protein. 

I may take this idea into consideration, though, as it isn’t like I really enjoy eating a lot of meat:

Substitute a vegetable protein source for an animal protein just one day per week, and over the course of a year, you’ll shave off the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles per year.  If every American did this, we would save 1.7 billion gallons of fuel annually.*

As long as I can still have something on my plate that I don’t need to count, I’ll be happy.

What about you?

Happy Earth Day!

*Go Green Get Lean by Kate Geagan (Rodale 2009)

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