Constructing A Diabetic Diet on The Cheap

Having Type 1 diabetes means that, not only does my pancreas hate me, but that I have to eat a little differently from most people. Being poor means that I have to shop differently than most people. How, then, do I unify these two situations? How have I learned to deal with my condition and yet still be healthy and also stay within my budget? Well, read on!

Every time I go to the supermarket I have to be selective in what I buy, for three reasons. First, what I eat translates directly to how much insulin I have to use. Since I have to pay for insulin, what kind of food I buy directly affects how much money I spend on medication. I want to spend as little money on medication as possible, so I have to watch what I buy. Carbohydrates(complex sugars) are the main thing that I take into consideration when buying food. The less carbs the better. Secondly, I have to consider what I can afford. Some foods might be healthier (i.e. require less insulin) than others, but if they are really expensive, I haven’t really saved any money. Third, I have to buy stuff that I like and that will fill me up. Sure, eggs and veggies are good for me, but my entire diet cannot consist of just those. I have to have a well-rounded diet.

So, what then do I eat? Here are some of the foods in my diet.

• Rice. My parents were gracious enough to give me a rice cooker, and rice is a staple in my diet. It is rather high in carbohydrates, but it is so versatile as a food that I prefer it over other high-carb foods such as pasta, potatoes and bread.
• Eggs. I go through at least a dozen eggs a week. I go to Target or Cub and buy eggs by the two-and-a-half-dozen. Eggs are great because I can fry them, scramble them, mix them with cheese or salsa, and eat them raw over rice. Eggs have next to no carbs, so I can throw down as many as I want. A five-egg omelet for breakfast is not uncommon.
• Bread. I buy one type of bread - Country Hearth Cracked Wheat. At 15g of carbs per slice, it is the healthiest bread I could find. On top of that, it is cheap and tastes pretty good.
• Cereal. I buy boring cereal like Cheerios, Rice Chex, Honey Bunches of Oats, or SpecialK. Once you start eating these cereals exclusively, the they start to taste really good and even make other cereals that have sugar taste way too sweet. I am a fan of granola, but granola typically has over 40g of carbs per serving, while the cereals mentioned about have less than 23g per serving.
• Milk. I buy whole milk because I don’t enjoy my milk tasting like water. Whole milk doesn’t have any more carbs than 2% or skim(gross), and like all milk can be used for pouring over cereal and mixing with eggs.
• Canned Soup. Chicken noodle soup (or some variant) is always stocked in my cupboard. It only has 9g of carbs per can, so I usually have a bowl of soup for lunch. Also, chicken noodle soup is so healthy that it is routinely eaten by sick people. I’m not sick, so it should be really good for me!
• Cottage Cheese. At a mere 5g carbs in a serving, this is another healthy food that fills me up.
• Yogurt. I buy Dannon plain yogurt, because boring, plain yogurt has half the carbs (about 12) per serving of any flavored yogurt. Five packets of Splenda make 32oz. plain yogurt deliciously yummy.
• Carrots, bananas, and apples. I eat all of these plain, to get my servings of fruits and vegetables. I buy carrots by the bag, and just pull one out and start crunching on it when I want some veggie goodness. Bananas are awesome because not only can I eat them plain, but I can cut them up in cereal or slice them for a peanut-butter-banana-sandwich.
• Crystal Light. I used to drink this stuff all the time, until I found out that not only was the generic Target equivalent cheaper, but also tasted way better. I make it by the gallon in empty milk jugs, and sometimes drink over a half-gallon of it a day.

Other things I buy to eat: Canned tuna, orange juice, soy sauce, shredded cheese, sliced cheese (mozzarella), butter, peanut butter, sugar-free jelly, instant ramen(high in carbs but tasty), macaroni, fresh shiitake mushrooms(not cheap but very tasty), canned peas and green beans, peanuts, bacon.

That is pretty my whole grocery list, which equals out to about $150 a month for food. I eat well, stay healthy, and save money, all at the same time! You’ll notice that apart from the bacon, i eat very little meat. This has nothing to do with me not liking meat and everything to do with a) the price of meat and b) the fact that more greenhouse gasses are emitted by the met industry from the raising, slaughtering, producing, and transporting of meat than from all the cars in the US combined.


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How to Win any Girl's Heart, (Online)

I wrote this article back in 2006, in a hospital in Pennsylvania. I had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and needed to write something to lift my spirits. It's definitely not some of my best writing, but hopefully you can enjoy it for what it's worth. The piece is, of course, incredibly sarcastic, and as such should be taken with a grain of salt or two. Or six. _DZ

How to Win any Girl's Heart, (Online)

I am the funniest man ever (online). No joking. Give me some basic background on a girl, her screen name, some time, and I will be the man of her dreams (online). I say all the right things, am interested in all the right things, and am generally just on the up-and-up about everything in an online conversation (convo). "That's so cool," you say. "Dann, how can I be like you," you ask (if you're a guy, ideally). I get asked this all the time. In fact, I recently made a list because I get asked so much (really). This article is on a pretty tight deadline, so I'm gonna just paste my list below to fill up some space.

Dann's Semi.Secret. Wooing A Nice Girl - Online (S.S. WANG-O) List

Point No. 1 – Choose an appropriate screenname. Girls are much more likely to talk to you seriously and not take you as a joke if you have an unobtrusive, slightly mysterious screen name. This may sound silly, but it's totally not. It's a totally important point. Using that AOL screenname you made in 6th grade (sk8rde4thXXX) to get in on the cool kids group chat (7-9pm every weeknight) will not get you anywhere with the college ladies. For demonstration purposes I will model my not-real suave screenname that I've had for ages: freebluevalley87. This one is a sure winner. 'Free' has very positive connotations, as does 'blue'. (Blue is just a cool color.) Words like those just makes people feel calm and relaxed. The '87' is in there because it gives away my birth year without screaming I'M TWENTY-ONE. If she's clever, she'll guess the significance of the number. I threw valley in there because it really doesn't fit, and is bound to be a good convo starter.

Her: why valley??
Me: Why not?
Her: lol kk

This brings me to Point No. 2, – Try to follow basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This will make the girl that you're conversing with feel that you are serious. 'But wait!,' you say, 'usin correct spelin iz 4 lyke total chat n00bs MIRITE?' ...That is true. However, you're not 13 anymore so you don't need to talk like someone who just learned that E can be replaced with 3. ROFL. Feel free to throw in some (well-thought-out-beforehand) leetspeek into your convos, (sarcastic leet is always welcome) but for the most part, keep it to pretty good English ;). Phrases to avoid if possible: lol, mmmk, tite, kool, w00t, ur, u r, ttyl, enkay, frealz, !!!!(only one needed!).
Point No. 3 is to – Think out your responses ahead of time. Remember this is online, and, unless you're webcam-chattin' it up, she can't see you. Many people might think this is cheating but it's definitely not. Type up a witty response, think it over, erase it, and write a better one. Rinse and repeat if necessary. You don't want to sound like an idiot if you don't have to. Sure, she'll see the “freebluevalley87 is currently typing a response” message on her screen a little longer than your response would warrant, but that's ok. Remember, capitalizing and good grammar will theoretically take time. Plus you might be looking stuff up.

All people now-a-days have a profile page on a social networking site. It's a given. Chances are, the girl you're talking to will have such a page. Find this site. In fact, Point No. 4 – Have quick access to any digital information you have on your convo partner close at hand. I realize that that is a rather long Point 4 and that this is still bolded (oops) but bear with me here. Facebook, MySpace, Xanga(maybe), LiveJournal(not ideally), and Hi5(heaven forbid) are all good sources to get info on your chat partner. You should have an account on each of these sites (except Hi5). A certain gender tends to post a lot of personal information on these sites and then forget about it. Use this forgetfulness to your advantage, guys. Ladies, it is not stalking for a guy to know this info. The Internet is not your fuzzy orange diary in your desk. People can read your profile page, memorize it even, and it is not creepy. (Unless they're 30. Then it can get kinda creepy.) Guys, it might even be a good idea to record chat logs. Then in your spare time you can add them to a database for easy cross-referencing should you need to remember what your convo buddy thought on a certain matter.

Point No. 5 (Find and have useful resource websites at the ready while chatting) goes well with Point No. 4. Knowing sites that will quickly give you information on things you know nothing about is a must for a debonair online gentleman. Sites like Dictionary.com, Wikipedia.org, Urbandictionary.com, Google.com, and others will make you seem like you are all on the up and up. Nothing is more embarrassing than not knowing what your chat-mate means when they use a certain word or bring up an obscure topic. If you're using a Windows PC, the Trillian chat client made by Cerulean Studios (www.trillian.cc) combines MSN, AOL, Yahoo, IRC and ICQ messengers into one handy client. But that's not the reason why it's cool. It's cool because it allows you to right-click any word you don't know (or even one you do) and see the Wikipedia entry on that word (if it exists). I can't tell you how many times I've used this to eliminate an awkward online pause caused by having to go look up a word. That's a tip guys, write it down. Girls, don't read the above paragraph.

Point 6 - Avoid YouTube.com. This has nothing to do with attracting girls, but will save you a lot of time.

So there are all six of my Super Secret points. You can follow them to the number, or live dangerously and try to venture out on your own. Really, though, chatting it up online is not that hard if you follow these basic rules. Have fun, be safe, be attentive, and things will surely go your way every day. Eventually, you might be able to be as cool as I am. But don’t count on it. It took me a long time to come up with these and perfect them, so don’t think that you can do it all in one night.


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