6 Ways to Celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month

My Story:

That’s right – we said CELEBRATE National Diabetes Awareness Month because why not? When else do we get to acknowledge the daily ups and downs that this disease presents and embrace the warriors we’ve become? This disease has shaped who we are, and this is our month to share how it challenges us on the daily. 

Let’s celebrate together by participating in events, helping educate others and/or becoming better advocates for ourselves. Here are a few ways to do just that. 

Make a Donation

If you have the means to do so, what better way to help advance research and resources than donating to great causes that support our community? We’ll start! We chose to donate $20 from every sale made on our website in November to The Diabetes Link (formerly The College Diabetes Network). Visit TranscendFoods.com now, and your purchase will help contribute. The Diabetes Link is an amazing nonprofit organization helping teens and young adults navigate their diabetes through peer support, expert resources, scholarships, and more. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this month!

Other organizations we love:

  • JDRF is the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research. Through its many events, educational resources, and advocacy work for government action, no other organization does more to fight T1D. You can make a donation to JDRF here.
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a network of 565,000 volunteers, 16,000 healthcare professionals, and 250 staff members — powerful numbers fighting for those affected by diabetes. You can make a donation to the ADA here
  • Insulin for Life provides insulin and diabetes management supplies free of charge to those with diabetes who otherwise would go without these life-saving provisions. This is an amazing organization fighting for those who can’t afford the high costs associated with this disease. You can make a donation to Insulin for Life here

Be an Advocate for Diabetes Education

Let’s face it, most of our friends and family members don’t really “get it.” Raising awareness of the diabetes epidemic is important to keep this disease a focus so that one day we may find a cure. According to the ADA, there are 133 million people living with diabetes or have been diagnosed as prediabetic. Each of us plays a role in furthering education (our own and others) and building awareness of this disease. There are many educational programs for healthcare providers and those who have been recently diagnosed. While those are critical, we wanted to share a few topics and resources to help start or reinforce conversations you may have with inquisitive friends and family members. 

  • Food education is both annoying and important. Ever had a party host ask what you can eat as they prepare their party menus? Of course you have. Helping them understand that we can eat just about anything as long as we correctly treat with insulin, is step one. However, there are resources you can direct them to if they’re eager to develop the perfect menu. Did you know EatingWell magazine has an entire section dedicated to Diabetes? It’s called LivingWell with Diabetes and is focused on teaching how to eat better and live healthier with recipes, meal plans, and articles. This is a great resource to share if someone is truly interested in diabetes-friendly recipes.
  • Need a primer to help others understand how to behave? That may sound harsh, as we know most intentions are good but aren’t there things you just wish people knew? BeyondType1 offers family members and friends a list of the top 10 questions/comments to avoid when talking to a T1D. Can we get an Amen? 
  • Helping your child tell their friends they have T1D. This isn’t easy for kids. Depending on their age, no child wants to be labeled “different,” and that can often lead to anxiety and frustration. Finding a local support group through the ADA or JDRF for your child will help surround them with people like them. These groups also often provide advice and guidance on handling situations including what works and what doesn’t when sharing a T1D diagnosis.  

Lean on Your Diabetes Care Team

Don’t have one? You should. Studies show that a team approach to your care that offers access to education can result in improved glycemic control, a better quality of life, and a decreased risk for complications and healthcare costs. That’s because your doctors are working together and are informed when a complication arises, and they can work as a team to coordinate care. 

Not sure where to start? November is a great month to organize and develop a team so you can start the new year off right. Here are the professionals to consider adding to your team:

  • Primary Care Provider (PCP). It may be recommended that you see your PCP more than once per year so you (and he/she) can stay on top of your overall health and make adjustments as needed. 
  • Endocrinologist: These professionals focus on diabetes and other endocrine gland disorders. This person is key to better managing your diabetes.
  • Optometrist/ophthalmologist: Focusing on eye care is important. This professional is a vital part of your team to prevent vision loss and blindness.
  • Podiatrist: Foot care is also critical. Your podiatrist will address any feet issues (big or small) and screen for peripheral arterial disease or neuropathy.
  • Pharmacist: Your pharmacist is a great resource for medication education, guidance, and questions related to the drugs you’re using to treat your T1D.
  • Dentist: High blood sugar can weaken white blood cells. Good oral hygiene and gum disease prevention will help improve blood sugars. Seeing your dentist regularly is critical.
  • Registered Dietitian: This person may come and go, but they are helpful when navigating dietary routines or concerns, especially when first diagnosed. It is important to note that registered dietitians are certified to treat clinical conditions, whereas nutritionists are not always certified. 
  • Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES): These professionals can be vital to your success. They not only provide diabetes self-management education, but they may also provide mental health support as your treatments change and decisions need to be made. 
  • Mental Health Professional: Experiencing depression and anxiety are common issues you may face. Having a mental health professional on your team will help you develop coping skills and overcome specific challenges related to the disease. 

Find Peer Support and Inspiration

Take advantage of the spotlight that National Diabetes Awareness Month puts on diabetes. It’s an excellent time to seek support and find peers you can lean on and organizations you can join. JDRF holds TypeOneNation Virtual Summits, offering one educational session on the first Thursday of every month. 

Interested in meeting someone just like you? There’s an app for that. It’s called MyDiabuddies and it will match you with people living with diabetes to connect and provide mutual support. Of course, always use caution when using apps like this, but it might connect you with a lifelong friend and support system.

Attend an Event

Want to find an event to celebrate with like-minded T1Ds this month? There are many to choose from. The ADA has an entire month of highlighted activities. JDRF holds sponsored walks throughout the year or you can take things a step further and sign up to be an advocate to help secure Federal funding and inform health and regulatory policy until we find a cure. There are also amazing local and regional organizations like Touched by Type 1. This one is in Florida and hosts bowling, dancing, golfing events and more. Find one in your area to join.

You can also look for events held on World Diabetes Day (WDD), which is November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin (more on this amazing person below). WDD was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization. It is the largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. You can follow them on Facebook and share posts on the big day (or any day) to help raise awareness and education.

Give Thanks to Science

Did you know insulin was discovered over 100 years ago? Before then, there wasn’t much doctors could do for people with T1D, and they didn’t live long. The important — some say miraculous — feat was in 1921 when a young surgeon named Fredrick Banting and his assistant Charles Best figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas to keep another dog (with diabetes) alive. From there, a more refined and pure form of insulin was developed. Just one year later, it was injected into a 14-year-old boy dying from diabetes. He was the first person to receive an injection of insulin and immediately saw his dangerously high blood glucose levels drop to near-normal levels. Truly, remarkable! You can read about the full history of insulin on the American Diabetes Association website (it’s quite fascinating).

Since then, so much has happened in the world of diabetes research, and while there’s still more work to do, it’s important to look back and understand how far we’ve come. To celebrate the 100-year mark of the discovery of insulin, the weekly journal of science, Nature, produced Nature Milestones in Diabetes to highlight key discoveries which have laid a path to the elusive goal of finding a cure for diabetes. In all, the journal highlights 24 milestones starting with the discovery of insulin. We truly have these scientists and researchers to thank for the quality-of-life T1Ds now experience. 

We couldn’t be more excited to share ways to celebrate this month. We hope this sparks some ideas and interest in spreading awareness about diabetes. Don’t forget, make a purchase on our website this month and $20 will go directly to The Diabetes Link. What better time to stock up on your Transcend gels!

It’s Halloween Month: Eat All the Candy

If there was ever a month for sugar to shine, this, my friends, is it! October brings pumpkin everything, cinnamon-sweet baked goods, and, of course, Halloween candy — all the delicious Halloween candy.

With the scariest day of the year just around the corner, I’m here to tell you: Don’t hold back. Don’t be ashamed. Steal the candy from the kids and enjoy it!

At Transcend, we’re all about living life to the fullest because, in moderation, you can!      

Here are 4 ways to savor the flavor and make sure your blood sugars survive Halloween night:

Have a Plan

Think about how many pieces of candy you want to eat on Halloween night. Remember: most are bite-sized. If you really want to get specific, you can download Beyond Type 1’s handy candy carb chart.

Bring Enough Insulin 

If you take insulin, make sure you bring enough with you so you can eat candy on the fly. Why wait to get home when you can enjoy it at a party or while trick-or-treating with the kids?

Drink Water 

Why drink your calories and carbs when water will keep you hydrated? And, let’s be honest, drinking water will leave room for more treats. You’re here for the candy and nothing else. 

Lower your Expectations

Be willing to lower your blood sugar expectations a bit on Halloween night. After all, guessing exactly how much candy will affect your sugar is hard to do. Take it easy on yourself and enjoy.

At the end of the evening, when all that’s left is a sea of empty candy wrappers, savor the moment and know that you did your best. We’re human, and we deserve to splurge on Halloween, too.     

Enjoy, my friends!

Ethan, Founder + T1D

Disclaimer: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A MEDICAL ADVICE. For those with existing medical conditions, those who are taking medications, or are uncertain about any information we share, proper consultation with your trusted physician is strongly recommended.

What Type 1 Diabetics Should Eat Before and After A Workout

Physical activity makes your body more sensitive to insulin – a positive side effect that can help you better manage your diabetes. But how much exercise is enough for a diabetic, and when are you in danger of “overdoing it”?

A general rule of thumb is to aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, according to WebMD. Regular aerobic exercise for diabetics has been demonstrated to improve insulin efficiency and lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, exercising lowers your risk of developing diabetes-related health issues, such as heart disease.

Understanding the right foods to eat before and after exercise is also important in ensuring your safety and regulating your blood sugar levels. Keep reading to learn more about diabetic-friendly foods to eat before and after working out, as well as what types of workouts are best for T1D’s!

Diabetic-Friendly Foods to Eat BEFORE Exercise

It’s important to understand what you should eat before your workout to prepare your body and not feel deprived of nutrients.

First, check your blood sugar, especially if you take insulin! (CDC.gov) If your levels are under 100 mg/dL, you’ll need a healthy snack or ideally 15 grams of glucose which is precisely formulated in a Transcend glucose gel pack to prevent your levels from dropping too low while you’re exercising.

If your levels are normal, it’s still a good idea to fuel your body about an hour before your workout. Smart options are:

  • Sliced apples with two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 4-5 whole grain crackers
  • Low-fat yogurt with ¼ cup of unsweetened granola

You might ask your doctor about lowering your mealtime insulin dose if you know you’ll exercise right after eating. How much less insulin you require with that meal depends on your chosen activity (walking or running vs. lifting weights), the time you’ll be exercising, and the intensity.

Diabetic-Friendly Foods to Eat AFTER Exercise

After exercising, you’ll want to check your blood sugar several times over the next few hours. Exercise affects each person’s blood sugar levels differently, so it’s essential to work with your doctor to determine where your levels should be before, during, and after a workout.

Exercising pulls from your sugar stores in your liver and muscles, so if your levels are low after working out, eat a small snack such as crackers or fruit, or pull out one of Transcend’s tasty orange glucose gel packs.

Different workouts call for different post-exercise snacks and meals. If you take insulin, you might need to lower your dose for the meal you eat a few hours after working out, depending on how strenuous your workout was.

Your insulin requirements for exercise can still vary depending on several different things. To find out if and how to modify your insulin dosages before and after exercise, speak with your doctor.

Short workouts may not require a snack afterward, but for more strenuous exercising sessions, here are some excellent options to try:

  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • ½ of a medium-sized sweet potato, cooked
  • A handful of nuts
  • String cheese

Remember, the more prolonged and more strenuous a workout session is, the higher your chances of raising your blood glucose levels. Be sure to check your blood sugar before eating a hefty post-workout meal!

Best Types of Exercise For T1Ds 

Several types of exercise are excellent for people with type 1 diabetes. Here are a few that the ADA lists as beneficial.

  • Aerobic exercise – Increases insulin sensitivity and cardiorespiratory fitness and improves immune and lung function.
  • Resistance exercise – Improved muscle mass, strength, and overall function, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced risk of exercise-induced hypoglycemia.
  • Stretching – Increases joint mobility and overall range of motion.
  • Tai Chi – Improved glycemic control.

For anyone with diabetes, exercise is essential! The majority of aerobic and cardiovascular exercises will drop your blood glucose levels. However, weightlifting and high-intensity training will increase them.

Exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels once you understand your individual patterns (frequent blood glucose readings and a consistent schedule for mealtimes, snacks, and time spent exercising). And as usual, always talk to your doctor to create an exercise plan that works for you and adapts to your condition and needs.

Be sure to check out the blog for more T1D-related content and to stay up to date on the latest information that can help you better manage your condition!