We asked our Twitter followers to help us identify a number of strategies, tips, and recipes to avoid potential land mines that people with diabetes encounter during the holidays. We were so grateful to be joined by so many who were so willing to share and add to the conversation.
To start off this chat, we wanted to get right to one of the dangers of the holiday season: throwing out your healthy eating plan on holidays.
@neeljadeja started us off with a little sarcasm that summed up much of what we heard about managing diabetes on holidays. She said, "Q1. I don't throw it out the window. I kindly show it the door. #dcde"
But on the other hand, Jewels and others expressed the drawbacks of disregarding healthy eating even for one day.
@mnazladdie added: "Q1. I try not to let holidays change my diet, but I am def a "none is easier than one" when it comes to bites of carby foods. #dcde"
One of our favorite CDEs, @amypcampbell chimed in with some great advice: "Q1: Planning ahead can take away some of the stress/anxiety about "cheating" or "going off your diet" #dcde"
Staying in your target blood sugar range can be especially challenging on Thanksgiving. With our second question, we were hoping for practical tips for managing the day. We weren't disappointed.
Jewels had her own advice: "Q2. I start my day with exercise, fill my plate with greens first, and leave some spare carbs to enjoy dessert. #DCDE"
@cowcockeygirl pointed out some key techniques too. "Q2. In all honesty we don't really change what we eat, but when we do I carb count every plate and don't graze #DCDE"
@t2dremission, who had been a valuable contributor to all of our #DCDE chats continued to share his wisdom.
Part of what we've loved about these chats is the real honesty that people with diabetes have shared with one another. Such as this real advice from @pavedsilverroad: "I admit I graze on Thanksgiving. But I bolus for everything and rarely have problems. #grainfree #lchf #dcde"
And Chris (@Brizeater) talked about the importance of paying attention to how you feel.
For people with diabetes, one of the keys to successfully managing Thanksgiving and other holidays is finding good substitutes for high-carb dishes. Together, we shared a number of great options.
@jennmamabear substitutes butternut squash for sweet potato.
Jewels pointed out that "Q3. Nut flours (almond, coconut) are higher in fat but have minimal impact on blood sugars when baking. https://t.co/EQGS2UAovZ #DCDE"
@pavedsilverroad shared tips about modified dressing and substituting cauliflower for potatoes.
From @DiabeticConnect: "Skinny Crisp crackers are very low carb and amazingly delicious. http://t.co/l5Npjug1F3 #DCDE"
And we kept coming back to cauliflower and potatoes. This from @amypcampbell: "Q3: Cut the carbs in your mashed potatoes by using a mixture of half potatoes, half cauliflower. #dcde"
In fact, here's a great potato substitute recipe that has been tried and approved by our staff: Cheesy Cauli Mash.
Another CDE weighed in with a caution about substitutes:
And @ronelhentschel offered a recommendation of a great cookbook: "I invested in a GREAT Low carb recipe book of Maria Emmerich - loads of great choices for thanksgiving #DCDE"
Here is some honest feedback from @kitekid about the cauliflower/potato substitute:
And another great tip: "Q3. Skip the bread basket - there's a plentiful amount of carbs to budget for without it. #DCDE"
From CDE Amy Campbell: "Q3: Add more veggies, like celery, onions, mushrooms, to your stuffing. #dcde"
And for the dessert table, here's a great gluten-free pie crust option: "Q3. This 4 ingredient GF pumpkin pie crust from @elanaspantry is spectacular and super low carb. http://t.co/q9pyEEZIHz #DCDE"
Portion control when it comes to holiday desserts and treats can be so challenging.
One idea from @pavedsilverroad was to only make a dessert that you don't like.
@mnazladdie wondered: "Q4. Portion control is my nemesis. Is it because of lack of amylin or just dysfunctional eating? #dcde"
@rachelheadcde shared her personal experience: "Q4. Binge until you permanently lose your sweet tooth. I'm pretty sure that's what happened to me at least. #DCDE"
@ronelhentschel offered her perspective as the mother of a young child with diabetes and how her creativity lessens the need for portion control:
If you'd like to see what the Diabetic Connect community has to say about the Low-Carb, High-Fat diet referenced in the tweet, click here.
More great tips from Rachel Head: "Q4. Choose a favorite. Pick one. Practice moderation. Test often. Take it slow. Use a food buddy. Set parameters. Be smart. Enjoy. #dcde"
And Amy Campbell helps us understand how to use psychology to help everyone eat healthier at the Thanksgiving table: "Q4: If you're hosting, serve higher kcal foods in smaller bowls, lower kcal foods in bigger bowls. Psychology at work! #dcde"
@strongerthant1d gave us a whole new way to compare the "cost" of what we were about to eat. "Q4 I think about whether or not I really want to take all of that insulin for what I am about to eat and if it is really worth it. #DCDE"
Which lead to another interesting idea:
Thanks @rachelheadcde, we'll get to work on that.
For those on insulin pumps, @pavedsilverroad offered another great way to avoid binging during the holidays. "My max bolus on my pump is set to 5 units. Helps with carb binges, because overriding is a PITA. #dcde"
Do you serve your holiday meals with a heaping side-dish of diabetes guilt? Here are some great suggestions.
As Jewels pointed out: "Q5 It doesn't take diabetes to have guilt associated with food choices but it certainly accentuates it. #DCDE"
Laddie shared her gentle wisdom about diabetes guilt like this: "Q5. Self-blame & guilt are just an iota away from willpower & good choices. They're all there for every decision & bite of food. #dcde"
@t2dremission used a little psychological reframing to put guilt into perspective. "Q5. Hmmm. I think lately, when I abandon what works, I don't feel so much guilty as stupid. #dcde"
Amy Campbell, CDE, reminded us about another guilt danger: "Q5: Also, beware the Food Police! They can add to your feelings of guilt. Be prepared for how to deal with them. #dcde"
And as a follow up to Amy's point, we shared a great resource: "@amypcampbell Great point. Love this piece about dealing with Food Police #DCDE http://t.co/TVBmmYi7Sm
While Chris pointed out that diabetes guilt is not always a bad thing. "@DiabeticConnect To some degree the guilt helps me choose wisely. #DCDE"
Dr. Gary is always so helpful when it comes to the emotional side of diabetes. He shared: "5. I encourage my clients to focus on the big picture of the holiday: fun, friends, family… and oh yeah, food. #dcde"
And in response to Rachel's thought, John shared: "@rachelheadCDE Found a stat that said avg American eats 4500 calories and 229g of fat on T-giving. Couldn't find a carb count #DCDE"
Thanks to everyone who made these chats a highlight of our Diabetes Awareness Month. We hope that you've learned a thing or two by tuning in. And please continue to check in on Diabetic Connect and on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We're taking December off from #DCDE, but looking into options for 2015.