Food for Thought and a Happy, Healthy Life
Note: By providing a place for the community to share real life experiences we hope you find inspiration and new ways of thinking about management. We encourage you to approach these offerings as you would a buffet—review the options, maybe try a few new things and come back for what works best for you. Bon Appetit! Check out our library of resources on Food.
As a 20-year-old girl, my life plans and dreams seemed just around the corner until my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes during my junior year of college. Those first months that followed were miserable beyond belief. After going on insulin, I quickly gained 22 pounds in two weeks. I found myself crying in the Anthropologie dressing room one day because nothing fit. I didn’t recognize myself, both physically and emotionally. I was desperate and hopeless.
As a young female, weight gain that drastic is completely humiliating, especially when you have no control over the pounds that keep accumulating. I was reaching for peanut M & Ms and Hershey kisses multiple times per day just to keep my self from fainting at my job or in public. My legs, arms and stomach were black and blue from giving myself shots too.
The doctors told me I would be fine, they told me I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I was counting my carbs and taking the right amount of insulin.
I knew there had to be a better way of living and started reading and researching everything I could! This lead me to discovering a grain-free and Paleo way of eating, and I jumped whole-heartedly into this lifestyle and have never looked back! By eating this way, I saw results instantly, both in the way I looked and the way I felt.
This way of eating has allowed me to have very steady control over my blood sugar, normalize my weight and have endless energy! Being diagnosed with diabetes gave me a passion for all things food and nutrition related. It also inspired me to share my story to help others. After graduation, I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and eventually started my blog, Colorful Eats, to encourage people that healthy eating can be a fun, tasty and a joyful process!
There are times when life is tough, when the loneliness creeps in that I am not good enough, strong enough or am constantly that person who can’t eat certain foods.
But this past year, I have realized something—something that has changed my life and the way I view this disease. I am perfectly and wonderfully made—comparing myself to others who may be able to run faster, lift more at the gym or have the ability to call and order pizza on a Friday night doesn’t get me anywhere in life.
My shape, my body and my needs are my own. As soon as I stopped comparing myself to others and I realized that I am exactly the way I should be, it was completely liberating! Being healthy isn’t about being the skinniest person or the person that can run a marathon, it is about feeling confident in your own skin, and that is something that shines through from within!
Living with type 1 diabetes has above all else taught me to choose joy! With this motto in mind, I aspire daily to be the best version of myself, constantly challenging myself to live better, eat better and find the joy in daily living.
I truly can say I am thankful for my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes as it has opened so many doors for me that never in a million years I would have imagined. This past fall, I wrote and photographed my debut cookbook, All American Paleo Table, filled with recipes that recreated many American classics as well as my childhood favorites but simply without the grains, gluten or refined sugars! This book not only celebrates life at the table but it also is more personal to me, because it celebrates the fact that I did not let my life-changing diagnosis bring me down, but rather I used it to shape my dreams and passions!
Caroline’s Tips for Choosing Joy in Daily Life with Type 1 diabetes
- Stay true to yourself and your needs
- Strive to choose joy in daily life, even if it doesn’t always come easy
- Eat real food, food that tastes delicious and makes you feel good
- Experiment and get creative in the kitchen
- Find something you are passionate about and reach for your dreams
- You are unique, don’t compare yourself to others
- Be confident in who you are!
Read more from Caroline: 5 Foods to Always Keep Stocked in your Refrigerator and get Caroline’s Morning Butter Biscuits recipe HERE.