Chew, Don’t Inhale…

Look, I totally understand that in the fast-paced environment we all live in these days, there’s a propensity to do everything quickly.  We live by the clock, and sometimes we’re moving so quickly that we fail to realize the consequences of being so rushed.  This is certainly the case when it comes to our meals.

There are a number of disadvantages to rushing your meal.  According to an article posted by Medical News Today, “eating too quickly may add an extra size to your waistline, as well as raising your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke”. Further, the article goes on to explain that studies have shown that eating too fast can contribute to insulin resistance.  Here’s the article, if you want to give it a read:

The big problem is that it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to signal that your stomach is full.  So if you rush your meal and stuff your face as though it’s going out of style, you’ll shovel in way more food than is necessary for you to actually be full. The problem is that you’ll overeat before you start realizing that you’ve eaten enough.  The additional calories will inevitably lead to weight gain and can contribute to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

That’s why eating at a buffet is such a problem; you rush through your first and possibly second plate of food in the interest of getting your money’s worth but you outrun your nourishment requirements before you can realize you’re full.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of the lion…  A lion will take the time to hunt its prey and kill it.  Then, the lion will settle in and take its time eating its prey.  And once the lion has had its fill, it will go lay in the shade, clean and groom itself and take a nap.  Doesn’t that sound WAY better than shoveling food into your face like a preschooler? Granted, very few of us have the benefit of being able to nap after a meal, but the message is clear: you should take your time while eating your meal.

There are a number of things you can do to help the process of eating at a slower pace: 

  1. Take smaller bites.  This will allow your brain the time to register and send the appropriate signal once you’re full.
  2. Eat regular meals at regular intervals.  It’s easier to slow your pace if you’re never hungry to the point that you’re starving.  Make certain that you never leave more than four hours between meals.
  3. Drink plenty of water.  It’s been documented in several different forums that dehydration can cause feelings of hunger.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day and include a large glass of water during your meal to prevent overeating.
  4. Skip second helpings.  Once you have your planned plate of food, avoid filling up on a second plate. Depending on your caloric requirements, the average person will never need more than one average plateful of food per meal, especially if you eat at regular intervals.

In a world where everything tends to whip by at break-neck speed, do yourself a favor and slow down your meals.  Take the time, whether it’s a 30-minute lunch hour at work or all the time you need at home, to enjoy the eating experience and allow yourself to eat and digest properly. You’ll avoid heartburn, indigestion and long-term complications.  Your body will thank you.  So will your stress levels! ☯


Power Of The Printed Word.

Books! Books are awesome.  And they’ve been around for a hell of a long time. Books can contain anything: information, stories, reference materials and more.  But little by little, books are becoming somewhat obsolete in favor of the digital frontier.  This makes me sad on levels I can’t even express.

Books have been around for longer than recorded time.  Although there are some articles out there that cover this very subject, the exact time that the printed word became a “thing” is mostly unknown.  And when it did become a “thing”, it may not have been in any form we would readily recognize as an actual book.  I’m talking printed tablets, scrolls and such.

It might seem counterintuitive for me to be bringing this subject up, considering your reading a digital blog as opposed to an actual book, but there are a number of benefits to picking up a musty stack of pages and reading a physical book:

  1. It exercises your brain.  I’m a big fan of saying that when you aren’t exercising your body, you should be exercising your mind.  Books do that very thing.  And through that development and sharpening of the mind, you help yourself to focus when doing others things that are important.
  2. You’ll learn new words.  Believe it or not, there are a s&*t ton of words out there that we don’t know the meaning of, or have never even heard of.  Reading helps you to expand your vocabulary and may even help you to learn new things in general, depending on the style of book you’re reading.
  3. It relaxes you.  Believe it or not, reading a book will help reduce stress and calm you.  Stories help transport you to a different world and take you out of the immediate moment; a step which can help people deal with the hectic routine of daily life.
  4. It helps make you a better writer.  Think about it: if you learn new words and are often reading sentence structures and seeing proper grammar (at least you hope it is!) then those aspects become routine and you transfer them to your writing. So for all you bloggers reading this, it can be a great help!
  5. It will help you sleep better.  Remember the reduced stress it provides?  Well, less stress means better sleep.  And if you choose to read for a short period before bed instead of staring at your phone or other devices, it guaranteed to help you get to sleep easier than having the bright back-lit screen messing with your body.

This is just some of the benefits of reading.  Don’t even get me started on how much information and learning one can do by reading about a specific topic.  Look, we live in a world where technology is progressing at a lightning-fast pace.  But we can still take time to slow the world down and pick up a good book.  

Whether it’s to learn something new, let your imagination run wild or simply to relax, nothing but good can come of it.  I always have at least three different books on the go at once. Usually a story of some sort, a martial arts book for study and something educational. you can’t go wrong! So kick back, grab your favourite beverage and lose yourself within some pages. ☯

Beware Of Diafeeties…

I got today’s title from a Twitter post I found that said, What idiot named them Diabetic Foot Ulcers and not Diafeeties? I found that pretty amusing.  The actual condition, however, is not.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a condition caused by a number of different factors including but not limited to poor circulation, bad blood sugar control and untreated wounds to the feet.  They can go unnoticed for a long time before pain and infection set in.  But there are lots of things that can be done to help prevent them.

First of all, any type of injury to your feet can be problematic if you have Diabetes. Badly fitted shoes, poor foot hygiene and even unrelated Diabetic complications can lead to foot ulcers. Poor circulation to your feet will not only contribute to ulcers but will make any injury take much longer to heal, which will potentially also lead to ulcers.  High blood sugars will also slow the healing process, but any loss of blood sugar control will be bad in the long run.

There are a number of little things you can do to help prevent Diabetic foot ulcers besides proper blood sugar control.  As usual, I’m a big fan of exercise as managing tool.  Ensuring your feet remain clean, warm and wearing shoes that fit your feet properly will go a long way.

If you start to notice any kind of fluid discharge from your feet or if cut, scrapes or wounds on your feet start to turn dark and/or black, it’s time to go see your medical practitioner.  Although Diabetic foot ulcers are a serious issue, they can be treated and reversed. But if you have developed sores or ulcers, try staying off your feet to relieve pressure that could make an infection worse, and see a health professional as soon as possible.

I was going to include a stock photo of a Diabetic foot ulcer but to be honest, it was disgusting enough to deter even me! With winter creeping in, it’s important to keep your feet dry and warm.  Wear proper footwear and maintain those blood sugar levels. A regular exercise routine will help with that.  Worsened complications or untreated foot infections can lead to amputations or worse. Be sure to take care of your dogs BEFORE they start barking! ☯

A Decade Of Blood, Sweat and Literal Tears…

Yesterday was an important milestone for me:  I celebrated ten years in my chosen career.  I chose to celebrate the same way as I have for the past ten years.  I did one shot of Fireball for every year of service!  The burning sensation reminds me of the pain I’ve endured.  The warmth of the alcohol reminds me of the benefits of peace.  The headache I get the next day generally reminds me of the occasional cost of that peace and the existence of suffering in this world!

And yes, before anyone gets in on me about the amount of alcohol that involves, I’m quite aware.  And in my defense, it wasn’t a big deal for the first few years!  But now that I’ve reached ten years, I’ll admit that it’s becoming a bit more difficult to keep up the tradition and I may soon need to find a different way of celebrating.  Especially since Fireball has a fair amount of carbohydrates per shot, so blood sugar control becomes a bit convoluted throughout the evening.

What made yesterday all the more difficult is that I celebrated by myself.  Since the birth of my son Alexander, my wife can’t partake since she’s nursing him.  I guess the only silver lining is that I likely won’t have to take eleven shots next year as this may likely be the last year I will have such a celebration…

I remember when I started this career.  I had a lot of hopes and aspirations for the future and the good that I could do.  I woke up every morning grateful for the work I did and went to bed every night grateful that I had survived another day. I can say with firm honesty that I’ve met some amazing people and seen some incredible (and sometimes ridiculous) things.  It’s been quite a ride.

As I nurse the headache I woke up with and take my first steps in my eleventh year of service, I consider it all bittersweet.  The career I committed my life to may be coming to an end because of someone else’s lies and destructive nature.  But the mindset, the mentality and the hard lessons I’ve learned over the past decade will stay with me for the rest of my life.  The values and discipline I developed will remain and hopefully be passed on to my sons.  It will be difficult to let go.

I have no regrets.  I can’t. Every event that has come to pass has brought me to the here and now.  And I would not be the person I am today without each and every single one of those events, good or bad.  And even if it sounds like a conceit, I like the person I’ve become.  I’m pretty awesome.  Since starting on this journey, I’ve become a role model, teacher, mentor, husband and father.  I have already gained a lifetime of wealth in only a decade.  Imagine if I could continue for another decade?  Who knows what good I might accomplish. Unfortunately, this won’t be so. Such is life.

I guess if someone were sitting next to me as I toasted last night, they would hear me toast the lives I’ve saved, regret the lives I couldn’t reach in time and weep for the lives I won’t be there to help in the future.  Such is the way of the protector and one such as I.  

I will begin another chapter.  Life won’t allow me to do otherwise.  Perhaps the next chapter will be filled with as much as this one has been.  Who knows?  Only time will tell, but I promise that I will continue to share the adventures as they come.  There are always stories to tell… ☯

“Love” Is More Than A Four-Letter Word…

Life is short.  Although the days often feel long, and the years can occasionally drag on, one has to acknowledge that in the grand scheme of things, a single life is but a flicker of the candle in humanity’s existence.  And that flicker can come and go without notice, often without warning, and we are left carrying the flame of life without those who mean the world to us.

We live in a world where complaining has not only become easier than praising and encouraging, but it has almost become a world-based pastime.  I would challenge any of my readers to go on their Facebook and post a status about their political, religious or social views and see what happens.  I can almost guarantee that if you leave the post there, someone will start commenting to the negative about it.  I got proof of this, months ago when someone who isn’t even a follower of my blog was able to comment and verbally attack me for the views I was writing about.

My point is that in a world where negative energy seems to be the norm, it becomes all that much more important to tell our loved ones how important they are to us and how much we love them.  Telling your family, friends and loved ones “I love you” can have a deeper effect on both you and the receiver than you can possibly realize.  But as a society, it seems to have become less and less of a habit than it should be and people seem to have difficulty speaking the words.

In our household, I’ve tried to instill the importance of following everyone to the door and seeing them off.  When I leave the house, my wife and my two children all gets hugs, kisses and told that I love them.  I think this is important.

Allow me to paint a morbid, albeit realistic portrait for you:  Your significant other is occupied in the house and perhaps your children are busy playing.  Instead of disturbing anyone, you decide to throw on your shoes and head off to work. While on route, you get into a deadly collision with another vehicle and you never make it to your destination. Yes, it IS a morbid image.  But it’s one I’ve dealt with all too many times through my work.

Ask yourself, what would your last words to your loved ones have been?  Were you correcting or punishing your children?  Were you arguing with your spouse over bills?  Were they words of affection of argument?  One of the most common things that family members have told me during deaths in their family is how badly they regret not telling them that they loved them one last time before their loved one died.

So, why not prevent this issue?  At the end of all things, the best words we can speak to anyone important to us is to tell them you love them.  After all, you never know if these could be the last words you tell them.  Don’t be afraid to say it.  Make sure you tell your family and those who are important to you how much you love them. Not only will it enrich your life and theirs, they are the best potential last words you could ever speak.  ☯

Remind Me, Who Called It A Wonderland…?

Well, here we are!  There’s snow on the ground.  Winter is upon us.  I’d like to say that I’m fascinated by the wonder and beauty of the crystalline layer, blanketing everything in a cold layer of clean white…  I’d like to say that, but it would be total bulls&*t!

The arrival of snow meant that this morning required dressing in layers, cleaning snow off my vehicle and sitting in the cold with my son at his designated bus stop. Winter brings a number of complications with it; some medical, some mere inconvenience.  So here are a couple of things to bear in mind:

  1. Cold weather will affect your blood sugar levels.  A1C’s and blood sugar levels will rise without notice once extreme cold starts creeping in.  This can be kept at bay by increasing the frequency of testing and adjusting your basal rate over the winter months;
  2. Most Diabetes equipment won’t function in extreme cold.  Your glucometer and insulin pump won’t respond well and in some cases, may shut down if exposed to colder temperatures for long periods of time;
  3. Insulin CAN and WILL freeze.  If you have an insulin pump hanging off your hip and openly exposed to cold for a long periods of time, it can and will freeze, rendering it useless.  Guidelines suggest never allowing your insulin to get colder than about 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (the average temperature of your refrigerator.  Frozen insulin should never be used, even once thawed.  The damage done to the insulin will render it ineffective and/or useless;
  4. Prepare for delays.  Winter loves to kick us when we’re down, and you never know what you’ll face when you’re out and about.  Delays due to construction, running out of gasoline or getting into a collision due to slippery conditions may put you in a compromised position, requiring you to wait for a long period of time.  Dress warmly, pack your vehicle with emergency supplies and carry a Diabetic bug out bag with fast-acting glucose, extra insulin and testing supplies.
The view out of my living room this morning. It Begins!

Despite the enjoyment that comes from snowball fights, hot chocolates and the holiday season, keep yourself warm, safe and healthy in the coming months to prevent unnecessary complications. ☯

All Good Things Can Still Be Bad…

There’s no denying that insulin therapy is hands-down the best advancement for the treatment of Diabetes since the beginning of last century.  Even the most recent technological advancements make use of insulin in order to function properly and make our lives as Diabetics that much easier.  Thank you, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best.

But like any other medication, there are a number of side effects and complications that could be associated with insulin therapy.  These risks associated with insulin therapy include but are not limited to, heart attack, stroke, eye complications and kidney problems.

Some associate insulin therapy with weight gain and this can, in fact, be true.  But normally this is only temporary until your body gets used to the absorption of glucose that happens through the use of said insulin.

Most of these side effects can be avoided or at least lessened by proper carb counting and following directions of your dietician or medical practitioner.  For example, did you know the average bottle of beer has about 20 grams of carbs in it?  That’s a hell of a hard lesson to learn if you’re learning on the fly!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do some personal research.  It can definitely go a long way towards helping you regulate your insulin therapy over the long-term.  I would have loved it, if my parents had known about carb counting back in the early 80’s.  Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered through as many Diabetic comas as I have… ☯