Smack dab in the middle of July, I was struck with the flu. Not a stomach flu, thank goodness! For two days, my comfy, soft, lovely bed became my death bed. Whenever I’m sick, I either lose my appetite or the only foods that "sound good" aren’t the most nutritious like a grilled cheese (with like white bread and Kraft singles) or a pot of macaroni and cheese. I know deep, deep, deep down that these foods aren’t the way to help me fight off whatever malicious virus is taking over my body. So this time around I worked very hard to find meals that I wanted to eat and tasted as good as food can taste when you’re sick. Though I kind of had to drag myself out of bed when I was due for a meal, I found my own kind of comfort foods that kept my stomach full and immune system JUICED. Whoa that was aggressive, I just mean got it ready to fight.
Being sick is one thing, being sick with Type 1 Diabetes is another because our Blood Glucose (BG) levels are harder to keep at a homeostasis while our body is fighting the sickness- it is under immense stress. The hormones our bodies release when under stress to fight off the illness tend to interfere with the insulin and raise our BG levels. When those sugars aren't in range - our immune system isn't at it's optimal strength. I think this is why I fell victim to the flu because the night before, I had a night of very high BG's when I forgot to give my night time dose of long-lasting insulin. Having my body so far from homeostasis, allowed some walls to come down and the virus to enter. This is just a theory! But it goes to show why it's important to keeping sugars stable and pay extra attention to the diabetes while being sick.
Antioxidants are the players you should have in your diet while battling a virus because they help you bounce back faster so you can get right back to work and fall back behind on your T.V shows. Vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene are some fun antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and are prettttty easy to get. Luckily a nice cold smoothie felt really good on my tender throat and tasted really good.
¼ c. frozen cauliflower - Vitamin C, babyyy
Pawful of berries; strawberries, blueberries, blackberries!
1 scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood
1 tbsp. Almond butter
Just a splash of water/nut mylk - get that hydration!
Don't forget to pre-bolus for any smoothie with a good amount of fruit because all the sugars from the fruit hit you fast in liquid form. I started using this Amazing Grass Green Superfood blend when I was working at Whole Foods (they have little single packets to try!). I love this mixture because it has all the vitamins and minerals from greens condensed into this scoop of powder that’s easy to mix into smoothies or just plain nut milk! It’s a large boost of greens that are great for that immune system.
2. SOUPer Excited to Hydrate
I know this is the first piece of advice for basically anything. Want clear skin? Hydrate! Want to learn how to fly? Hydrate! But really, consuming fluids is important for a Diabetic with a virus. By staying hydrated, the kidneys are able to balance electrolytes as well as filter out waste efficiently. As diabetics, we already need to keep hydration a priority as it helps blood flow and keep sugars stable so when our noses are running and mucus is constantly leaving our body from coughing, sneezing, we need to replenish as. much. as. possible.
When I was sick, I made sure my water bottle was always filled and took one Nuun tablet a day. Nuun has an immunity tablet with vitamins for when you’re feeling sick, stressed or on the go. I also made soups for dinner- well not made, I’m too lazy for that. But Amy’s has some great canned soups like Lentil Vegetable and Black Bean Vegetable. Soups get those liquids in ya system!
3. Beans and Toast
One of my favorite comfort foods. A fried egg sandwich used to be when I was younger. Wild. Amy’s at it again with their white beans in tomato sauce that are lovely when heated and put on some buttered toast. I really liked this combination with Beckmanns’ German Style Farm Bread loaf toasted and buttered up. I don’t like to hold back with extra fats and proteins when I’m sick because I know I’m not eating a lot so I try and fit them in when I can. Beans provide some solid sustenance when sick. They’re filling and bring some magnesium and B vitamins to give your body some energy. Although the appetite has left the building, pushing yourself to get this meal is so worth it and fulfills that crunchy, salty grilled cheese craving for me.
It's hard to say if these meals sped up my recovery but there's no doubt they benefited me more than just surrendering to my lack of appetite or eating junk food. I hope nobody has to deal with the kind of virus I had but unfortunately, as Type 1 Diabetics, our immune system can weaken easily depending on our management. Stay healthy, my friends!
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