Vacation on low carb
I remember the first week of my daughter, Vindhya's diagnosis. We were drowned in despair and misery and no matter how much we looked for a solution (it was evident soon enough that there was no cure) the only thing we were told was to dose insulin, avoid certain foods, and take care. Blood sugars would shoot up to 300s in no time and come crashing down to 50s within an hour. I noticed my wife stopped smiling no matter how much I tried to cheer her up.
I stumbled upon Dr.Troy Stapleton's video on managing T1 and a reference to Dr. Bernstein. I still remember rushing to my wife and saying, "there is a solution!". That's how our low carb journey started and we have come a long way since, with the support and encouragement of other T1 families such as Dr Sarala's, Andrea and on TypeOneGrit.
Life is not just good but exciting, adventurous, and just as normal as anybody else's except the shots and finger pricks which are indispensable. We not only do low carb at home but are able to stick to it even when we travel to remote areas with some planning, scouting, and persuasion.
Recently we went to the beautiful Matheran and Malshej Ghat in Maharashtra and had a wonderful experience walking around and climbing mountains from one view point to another without a second thought. We let curiosity and adventure drive the trip and T1 was nowhere to be seen except finger-pricks and shots when needed.
We reached Matheran by late evening and carried some KFC style LC chicken and omelettes.
We set out for sight-seeing early morning and needed to carry breakfast and snacks for Vindhya. Most restaurants weren't open and the few that were didn't have eggs ready yet. I explained that my daughter is diabetic and needs the food. They charged Rs 15 each for a boiled egg, which is quite reasonable considering the remote location and lack of other food. At a food court I requested for a salad without tomato sauce or any sweetness but they still added some papad pieces. Vindhya ate the topping too and since it was slightly high carb, we dosed her 0.5 units of Lispro (Vindhya doesn't yet need to cover every single thing she eats).
We wanted to walk rather than ride horses so that we could stop for pictures wherever we pleased. We walked all the way down to the the first view point to catch the beautiful view and the smoke-like clouds just passing by. Vindhya kept us entertained with her non-stop commentary on everything that's happening.
Vindhya climbed all the way up the hill and down the waterfall without a complaint. There we found boiled groundnuts and I bought some for Vindhya which she enjoyed. A monkey came for the groundnuts and refused to go away without them. A dog came out of nowhere in our defence and shooed the monkey off. Vindhya was overjoyed and said, "Daddeeee, it's a good doggy". We asked the shopkeeper what the dog would eat and bought him some biscuits. Vindhya cuddled it a bit, we washed our hands in running water and were back on the trek.
Vindhya walked about 3kms by then and had a hypo due to all the walking and the 0.5units Lispro. She hit the lower 60s but wasn't complaining of any discomfort, was just a bit fussy. I carried her to the next view point and spent some memorable father-daughter time with her hanging on my back and telling me lots of stories.
On our way back, she walked again. She walked a total of 5-6kms on rocky elevation and descent and all that on low carb. We reached the main town of Matheran at 3:00pm and she was hungry. I went back to the original eatery where we had breakfast. There was nothing on the menu that was completely low carb. They had paneer and veggie momos so I requested for only paneer, without adding anything to it, no flour or sweet sauces. I was prepared to pay extra too. They agreed and made this simple yet amazing fried paneer with some bell peppers and a few pieces of onion and sprinkled chat masala over it with mayonnaise. Vindhya loved it so much, she ordered another serving and ate both!
We went with cousins and ordered chicken biryani. Vindhya enjoyed the 'dum chicken' pieces from the biryani. We usually order dum chicken pieces separately, they do sell them separately in Hyderabad without needing to buy the whole biryani.
The second day had a few surprises in store. We carried Vindhya's egg preparations : omelette, chicken and her favourite bhindi (ladies finger/okra) and gherkins fried in coconut oil. She enjoys veggies like a snack. The coconut oil/ghee fuels her. She eats when hungry and we don't ask her to eat at a particular time but she does eat 4-5 times a day (that said, fixed meals are the best for understanding dosing and one must try understanding the spike of any food for 3-4 consecutive days otherwise it gets difficult to dose correctly). We have stopped worrying about macros and the amount of food she is eating, now that she is growing well and feels great.
The second day was a trip to Malshej Ghat. We stopped at one of the less crowded waterfalls and enjoyed a dip in the waterfall.
Finally, we set out back home. I used to climb rocks as a kid and I wanted my child to experience the joy of climbing mountains too. We climbed the Shivaji Maharaj mountain and Vindhya surprised us by leaving us all behind. We had to catch up with her!
We checked her sugars and it was good, 100 mg/dl. She had some leftover chicken from lunch. The first trek was so much fun, we wanted to climb another one before the sun set. I pointed at a mountain and my wife, Pushpa was game. We went ahead. Vindhya was unstoppable.
This one was more difficult to climb and bigger, yet Vindhya was unperturbed and just cruising. I seriously had to catch up and watch out for her, just in case she slips but she didn't. I let her have a little fall, so that she learns to be careful. Nothing could dampen her spirit. She just loved it. We were all amazed at how she managed to summit so fast leaving us all behind. All this, with just some chicken to fuel her and on low carb through the day.
We spent some time on the top and enjoyed the view. I held her hand on the descent and she said, "Daddy, I know how to climb up but I need to learn how to climb down now".
We checked her sugars after reaching the base and it was above 200. I think it was the adrenaline rush due to the fall I orchestrated. We gave a correction shot and went home with loads of memories and learning new things about our strong little one.
With low carb, regular blood sugar checks, and insulin as needed, we had a fantastic holiday and enjoyed every bit of it without T1 coming in our way!
One last thing...
Four type 1 diabetics from Club 1 Diabetes are about to attempt a 100km trailwalker to raise awareness for diabetes and fundraise for those in need through Oxfam. Please give generously on the link below and consider how your donation can make a difference in the lives of people in India touched by Oxfam through their goals of gender justice, education for underprivileged children, social inclusion and humanitarian response during disasters and conflicts. Your donation will also help us smash stereotypes that diabetics are limited by their medical condition, where in fact we can do just about anything.
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