The Conundrum and the Experiment

a cross-post from my other blog

Having 2 children with a rare type of diabetes and a history of Type 2 diabetes in both mine and my husband’s family, you would think we would eat a very healthy diet.  Wrong!  It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s just that I haven’t really made it a top priority.  When our son was an infant and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, we watched every morsel that went into his mouth because we had to.  But in the beginning, he was still nursing and then we gradually added baby food.  As he grew, I added the prepackaged toddler/preschooler foods because it was easier to carb count.  I was a working mom.  It was just the easier thing to do.

When we found out he had a different type of diabetes and he came off of insulin, we didn’t have to count carbs anymore.  It was at the age where he was just beginning to add what I dubbed “real people food”.  However, as we began to relax around meal time, we began to forget about what we were feeding him.  For a while, he wasn’t too picky and ate whatever we gave him.  But, like most kids, he turned into a picky eater.  Every time I would try to serve a “healthy” meal, he would refuse to eat.  It was easier to just make him chicken nuggets and fries.  Needless to say, we have not had the most healthy diet.  Oh, we go on kicks every once in a while where I try to shop for healthy food and only make healthy dinners, but life gets in the way and I make excuses and fall back into the fast food diet that most Americans adhere to at least a few times in their lives.

Fast forward to today.  I am, as I said in a previous post, at my heaviest weight ever.  My husband has gained some weight since the kids came along.  I am forced to revisit the healthy diet.  The conundrum?  While I need to reduce the fat and sugar in mine and my husband’s diet, my children have a different problem.  For the last few weeks, we’ve been fighting low blood sugars.  For some reason, either their bodies are metabolizing the medicine they take too quickly or they aren’t absorbing enough of the nutrients from the food they eat.  After a discussion with one of the expert doctors in their field, he suggested trying to increase the amount of fat they are eating.  You see, they are very skinny to begin with so they can stand to put on a few pounds, and adding fat could possibly slow the absorption of the carbohydrates they consume.

Yes, I did say “possibly”.  You see, everything we do with our children in regards to their diet and medicine is a total science experiment.  While the medicine they are on has been studied extensively in adults, there is no precedence for using it with children.  Our children, along with about 400-500 other patients worldwide, are part of a relatively new treatment for their rare type of diabetes.  We all share our stories, experiment, and report our results to the doctors and other families.  We learn from each other.  There are no clear cut answers.  Every child reacts just a little bit differently from the next, even in my own children.

So the experiment begins.  I will do some research and try to find healthy ways of adding fat to their diet while also limiting the fat in our diet.  How to do this without making totally different foods will be difficult, but I’m nothing if I’m not determined.  I love to be presented with a problem and will persist until I find an answer.  Must be the scientist in me.  Wish me luck in my search.  I will report the findings as we go along.

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About Christy

Christy Vacchio is a former teacher and now Science Instructional Coach in Cincinnati. She is an avid reader and researcher. While she has her bachelor's and master's degrees in education, she plans to get her PhD in Neuroscience in the future. She hopes to participate in research on Neonatal Diabetes and Developmental Delays one day.

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