Sam Talbot, Living Beyond


SamDiabetes is a driving force that I’ve lived with every day for over half my life. Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12 was a hard blow. My supposedly formidable teen years were spent with juice boxes always within reach and my mother following me to practice, always ready with my meter and finger pricker. Not ideal for a teenager, and certainly not something I was thrilled about—at all.

But one day it clicked. I knew that living with type 1 shouldn’t be looked at as a hindrance, but as something that makes me strive to live my best life. After I drew this conclusion, I stopped letting diabetes be something that consumed me. Instead, it helped form the determined person I am today.

To live my best life, I knew I would have to become a pro at understanding my body and most importantly, what goes into my body.

Everyone should be knowledgeable about the food they eat, but especially those with type 1 diabetes (T1D). I’m fortunate to have a beautiful kitchen where I spend my time finding new ways to make everyday food not just tasty, but accessible, and its preparation less intimidating. I’m not talking about drastic dietary changes, but about being informed of the way your life can fit with the disease.

Here are some quick tips I’d like to share with you:

  • Everybody thinks juice is an easy fix for low blood sugar. I’m personally a fan of grabbing organic fruit leather. They have no added sugars or preservatives—basically it’s an organic fruit roll up.
  • Every farmer’s market has organic honey sticks. I take one or two everywhere. Honey is a great way to balance blood sugar.
  • Starting the day with something green, be it a green juice or smoothie, can help regulate blood sugar. Especially when your morning greens are spiked with cinnamon or turmeric.
  • If you find yourself with high blood sugar midday, go to a secluded place and do as many jumping jacks as possible in five minutes. (As long as your blood glucose isn’t too high!) This is a great way I’ve found to break a sweat and lower my blood sugar.
  • Processed sugar is a toxin. My go-to substitutes are coconut sugar, date sugar, beet sugar, granulated maple and honey.
  • A great way to start the day and help regulate blood sugar is scrambled egg whites with blueberries and cinnamon. This combination is full of antioxidants, protein and blood glucose stabilizing spices.
  • Yoga has given me the key to deep breathing, which has helped me during stressful low glycemic episodes.
  • Planes, trains, or automobiles? Pack your “Oh shit!” backpack. Mine includes fruit leather, electrolyte packets, apple cider vinegar, honey sticks, anti-nausea meds, syringes, insulin, test strips, water and hand sanitizer.

I invite everyone to join me as I continue to push the boundaries of what it means to have T1D. Come along as I continue to explore the relationship and balance between the disease and the food we eat. Live beyond!

Read Pantry Swap—Chef Sam Talbot’s Healthy Alternatives + Talking with Chef Talbot about his Culinary Outlook and Inspiration. 

WRITTEN BY Sam Talbot, POSTED 05/06/15, UPDATED 09/17/22

Beyond Type 1 co-founder Sam Talbot was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 12. A star in the culinary world, he has turned his love for food into an innovative career, opening several restaurants and participating in Season 2 of Top Chef, where he was named “Fan Favorite.” He serves as a role model to adults and children alike by applying his “all-natural” style of cooking to every recipe.