♦ No Big Deal

Dear Shaina,
Another revelation for the apparently clueless mother…I had no idea of your anticipated diabetes diagnosis. There were many things that rolled around in my head in regard to the impact of my disease on the inner workings of your child mind, but that one eluded me.

I have always worked very hard to not burden anyone with my disease. When I was first diagnosed, your Bubbe and Zayde were devastated. My illness took on the magnitude of all the tragedies they had endured in their lives. I became to them the sick child. It weighed heavy on their hearts. I somehow knew that the only way I could ease their pain was to stay alive and live my life as if this diabetes thing was no big deal.

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I started baking sugar-full desserts when I had friends over because I didn’t want people to feel like they had to deprive themselves in my presence. I baked sugar-free apple crisp and always had fresh fruit for myself so people wouldn’t feel sorry for me or feel bad for eating sugar in front of me. Managing the food part is the relatively easy part of living with diabetes, but it’s the most obvious concern to the non-diabetic world.

I learned early that people had a lot of misperceptions about this disease and I intuitively knew that it was my job to protect them from feeling responsible for my diabetes and, in turn, protect myself from their stereotypes. I made it look like it was no big deal. It worked for me…most of the time. I have only recently come to appreciate how big a deal the past fifty years have been. I can finally allow myself to feel some of my sadness without fearing that it will weigh heavily on the people I love or dampen my own spirit.

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I am truly grateful that you didn’t feel my burden as your own. I am truly grateful that the worst fallout you have had to deal with are your enormous grocery bills and your obsession with fresh foods and cooking for yourself and everyone else you come into contact with. I am truly grateful to be very much alive and able to finally figure out what was really going on in that child brain of yours. I pray every day that I will live another twenty years (at least) so that I can be fully enlightened about what is really going on in your brain today. By now, I realize that cluelessness is a natural state of parenting in real-time.

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In the meantime, the full force of summer in Birmingham has hit…hot and humid. The kale and cucumbers are thriving. The tomatoes are just beginning to get red and all the herbs are flourishing. A bluebird has decided to take up residence in our little birdhouse in the front yard and she has hatched a noisy little bunch of chirping baby bluebirds. So much for our summer entertainment…

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I look forward to hearing about all of your adventures and I look forward even more to being clued in on the whole story twenty years from now.

Love,
Mom
xooxoxoxoxooxxoxo

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Savory Herbed Potato Salad

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This is my go-to summer Potato Salad. It has no mayonnaise which makes it a little less scary to take on a summer picnic. This recipe takes full advantage of all the herbs growing in our garden. It is very flavorful and everyone seems to love it. For those of you who have asked for this recipe, here it it is!

  • 3 pounds red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 3-4 scallions sliced in small pieces
  • 3-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Black kalamata olives (optional)
  • Coarse kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Boil potatoes with skin on until just done (easily pierced with a knife or fork). Overcooking can cause potatoes to be mushy.

Rinse with cold water and cut into bite sized pieces. I leave the skin on. Put in a large bowl.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare the fresh herbs and onions.

Whisk together oil, mustard,vinegar, shallots and salt and pepper. IMG_6243

Pour mixture over potatoes and toss until potatoes are covered.

Add remaining ingredients and toss together. The amount of fresh herbs can be varied based on your taste preferences

Add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is best if prepared the day before serving.

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◊ Your Sweet Life

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Dear mom,

When I was young, I expected a diabetes diagnosis. Bubbe had it, you had it… it seemed only a matter of time before I’d be sticking needles in my tush too. To your credit, I was a-ok with this self-predicted future. Your health, fullness of life and energy levels were well above average – you worked and played harder than any of the moms I knew. Among all the possible illnesses out there, I thought, diabetes would be doable.

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I know better now. I no longer anticipate a diagnosis nor think about where I’d position an insulin pump when I dress up. I know that living with diabetes is not as painless as you make it seem.

People ask me how I got into food and if I’ve always eaten so healthily. I think I inherited my health awareness by watching you manage yours. Not everyone has the opportunity to see how powerful a half cup of juice can be on a person’s ability to function. The active role you took in your health rubbed off on me…  growing up, food in our house food was, literally, medicine.

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10 things children of diabetics learn early:

  1. Candy or juice? They’re pretty much the same.
  2. Always always always carry snacksIMG_7735
  3. Needles aren’t scary
  4. Vitamin-e oil is good for scars
  5. White and brown food is almost always mostly sugar

    SUGAR!

  6. Make a fuss at bars and restaurants – it’s worth it
mom martini

When you want a low-sugar margarita, don’t trust the bartender: order a shot of tequila, a shot of fresh lime juice, a shot of fresh orange juice and soda water to make a perfect drink

7. Health is everythingIMG_7127

It feels strange to celebrate this 50-years-with-diabetes thing. I know it’s a big deal to live for 50 healthy years with diabetes, but I never considered an alternative for you.

I’m honored to celebrate your sweet life by supporting ‪‎UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center‘s search for a cure.  We’ll party hard when I get home, but for now let’s drink some kale to your health!

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xo,

Shaina

L’chaim – here’s to finding a CURE in your lifetime!

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Kale Coconut Smoothies

Serves 2

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  • 1/4 c unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 1 frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/4 c frozen mango (or pineapple, orange or other citrusy fruit)
  • 5 – 7 leaves of fresh dinosaur kale, trimmed
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of salt

Place all ingredients into food processor in order listed (always put liquid in first to give the blades some room to work their magic). Blend until smooth. Add ice if you desire a thicker consistency.

Kale harvest at the farm

Kale harvest at the farm