Living vicariously


This is in my kitchen pantry. I don’t eat it, but I’ m still ashamed of it.

I’m generally the one who does the grocery shopping in my family. Part of the reason is because my wife is clueless when it comes to the supermarket, but it’s mostly because I’m somewhat picky about the food I eat, and I want to make sure I’ve considered all the options.

Yes, I’m the guy who will stand for an eternity staring at two different packages of a nearly-identical product, studying the Nutrition Facts labels to determine which might be a better choice. (I’ll also hold two different size packages of a nearly identical product, studying the prices to determine which might save me three cents. I make the supermarket much more math-intensive than it needs to be.)

With me, diabetes is the single solitary consideration when choosing food. I don’t care about sodium or cholesterol, trans fats or monodiglycerides (whatever they are). It’s all about carbs with me.

But when it’s not about me, the carbs don’t matter There are no rules.  Anything goes.

I think the realization came when I was on the checkout line at BJ’s Wholesale Club and saw what was in my cart. My older son brings a snack to Kindergarten every day, and I save money by buying these easy-to-pack snacks in bulk. Stuff like Oreos or Rice Krispies Treats or Mallomars. In small packages, it seems OK. But seeing the enormous warehouse-club-sized boxes stacked one upon the other is concerning; then watching them empty out is disturbing.

Why do I let it happen? Because he can. Because my kids don’t have diabetes. Because nothing bad will happen if they eat an Oreo or a Rice Krispies Treat or a Mallomar every once in a while. They enjoy them, and I enjoy knowing that they enjoy them.

But every day? That’s what it’s leading up to.  This can’t be good.

My mother would be shocked and disgusted by the stuff my kids eat. She was always a bit of a health-nut, and it was rare that I got to eat “junk food” as a kid. It was always fruit and raisins and wholesome types of snacks — even before my diabetes diagnosis. Once, she allowed a box of Count Chocula cereal in the house — it was just before Passover and she decided she’d treat me to something sweet and tasty before a week of stuff that’s dry and pasty (again, before diagnosis). What makes it so memorable is that it was just that one time. She always believed that a “treat” should be just that — an unusual treat and not an everyday occurrence.

But I want the boys to enjoy their snacks — as much as they can — because they can.

I know it’s not healthy for them. It won’t give them diabetes — I know that much — but it still could lead to other health-related issues in the future. It also could lead to bad eating habits. Anyway you look at it, it’s just not a good idea.

As hard as it is to admit it, I know why I give this stuff to them. It’s the title of this post.

It’s something that I have to change. I just need to figure out how.

* * *

Am I the only D-parent who spoils their non-D kids like this, and makes sure they don’t take their fully-functioning internal organs for granted? If you’re like me (or not), I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a response in the comments.

Posted on May 7, 2013, in Diabetes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. xxlovelylizxx

    I’m a d-parent with a non-d child. I’ll admit that I do allow my daughter to enjoy the sweeter things in life because… She can. Just because I have to be mindful doesn’t mean she can’t splurge once in awhile. I also don’t worry so much about her because thankfully she is super active like most kids her age are. I’m with you, it’s okay to let them indulge that sweet tooth. Everything in moderation, I guess. 🙂


    • Moderation is easy to impose on myself, hard to impose on kids — who for the most part are good, well-behaved children. And I know that the super-active nature in kids usually subsides long before the sweet-tooth does. It’s more the development of bad habits or expectations that I’m concerned about.


  2. I am a type 1 and both of my kids are also type 1s….but before they were diagnosed 4yrs ago I used to make special night time snacks for them on the weekends….which consisted of major carbs! I have always paid attention to all nutrition aspects of food and have fed my family based on those choices….so no one eats differently from anyone else and our diet is pretty nutritious. When they were diagnosed I did not stop the weekend treats…just alteted a few choices of ingredients because I don’t want them to ever feel there are things the can’t have because of diabetes! We just do insulin to match and based on the foods I do get, it usually isn’t that much more! I say let them be kids and eat the ‘good’ stuff since they can! But maybe keep it ‘special’ but not doing it daily. Good luck!


    • That’s another concern of mine. Just because they aren’t T1 now doesn’t mean they never will be. Being food-conscious now would help if they have more of a need to be later on.


  3. I don’t have kids but live vicariously through my husband’s pancreas. Does that count?


  4. As a parent of a one D kid and one non D kid I manage them differently. The D kid gets her sweet fixes when hypo and probably eats more now than she did before dx but certainly a lot less than her friends. I don’t stop her from eating sweets at other times but she deal is she knows she has to bolus for them and as she’s on MDI she doesn’t want to.
    The other kid knows not to flaunt any snacks in front of the D kid, but of course doesn’t get ‘hypo-time’ snacks, so we make sure she gets her fair share when her sister isn’t about.
    This approach seems to work well.


  5. my non-D son gets treated to many spontaneous burritos and Heath Bar Flurries or the Whole Foods gelato bar or pizza or…so many fabulous choices. Pretty much whenever we are out of the house on our own, my brain gies in autopilot for carby possibilities. I have this weak line, “it’s not really a secret, but you maybe don’t need to tell B that we got ice cream.” B gets Lego sets and nerf bullets, and a Flurrie or similar maybe once every month or month and a half. We do have ice cream and stuff at home but in minuscule portions. Quarter cup of Ben and Jerry’s, etc.


  6. thinkbluewearblue


    I do not restrict my daughter from enjoying the snacks she likes to eat, but I allow her to enjoy them in moderation. I don’t want to punish my daughter, she does not have diabetes. But my daughter would rather have an apple and salad vs chips. So, she does enjoy things I can’t splurge on, but she does eat healthy 85% of the time.

    Change is hard, but you can do it. Good luck.


  1. Pingback: Damned if I do, damned if I don’t — Contemplating TrialNet | Rolling in the D


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