In January this year I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I was dismayed and shocked, but mostly childishly infuriated. After all, AFTER ALL, I whinged to myself, I've never had a sweet tooth, and haven't eaten a slice of cake, a bun, a biccie or a pudding for at least five years. What's more: I was maddened with my own mulishness in ignoring signals from my body that something was very wrong.
In October 2013, a spectacularly stressful time career-wise, I embarked on a punishing low-carb regime, after a slow transition over the course of two years to an eating plan that cut out most processed carbs. The weight peeled off, and after a few weeks my appetite had all but disappeared. Excellent, I thought!
A month later, I had the confidence to hoist myself onto a scale, and I was extremely pleased to find I'd lost 8 kilograms. By that time, I was on a diet so low in calories that it bordered it on starvation, and I was exhausted and demotivated. By December 2013, I'd shed 15 kg, and I was mildly interested to note that I'd lost a fair amount of muscle mass on my thighs and arms. But, hey ho! Who's complaining?
It was only in January 2014, after a dramatic weight-loss of another 5 kg, that I finally went to see my doctor, and then only because I noticed my hair was thinning. When I mentioned to her that my vision was a bit blurry, my tongue was crisscrossed by deep cracks, and my toes, feet and shins were feeling tingly and numb, she insisted on a fasting glucose test, and that came back with very bad news. A few weeks later I was hospitalised for a few days, on the advice of a thorough and caring endocrinologist, and I came home with a panoply of drugs, including slow-release insulin that I have to inject into tummy rolls every night.
I have to admit that I'm feeling downhearted about this. But there is also much to be grateful for - my blood sugar has stabilised thanks to medication, a stringent diet and a brutal fitness regime. I'm 22 kg lighter than I was five months ago, I've lost four dress sizes and I'm as fit as a fiddle thanks to daily workouts. I've had great support from a nutritionist, a specialist diabetic nurse and kind friends who are also diabetics.
The biggest challenge of all has been working out what to eat. You can't cut out all carbs when you're a diabetic. It's tempting to do so, when in a panic, but then you run the risk of depriving your body and brain of essential fuel. So you have to figure out just how many carbs your body can tolerate.
Another big shock - perhaps the biggest fright of all - has been learning to read labels on food packaging, and discovering that almost everything is packed with sugar. I didn't realise how pervasive sugar was before I came down with diabetes, but I have to tell you that my jaw is on the floor. You will find gazillions of low-fat foods out there, but virtually no sugar-free options.
So how does this pertain to my blog? From now on, I'll be featuring many more low-carb and diabetic-friendly recipes, and I hope you will enjoy my suggestions. But, because my family needs puddings and sweet things occasionally, I won't deprive you of these treats.