I realized this morning that my deadline for this article was looming on the horizon! Somehow the weeks slip by and then BAM, it is the third Wednesday again! So this month, I am going to give a synopsis of an informative and inspirational field trip that a small group of us took to the Diabetes Expo in Seattle a few weeks ago.
This annual free event is organized by the American Diabetes Association and features vendors from numerous companies, ranging from food preparation to educational aids to self-care aids that enhance your independence. There were many free items handed out but I was drawn to two areas: the food demonstration booth and the main stage featuring well-known individuals who successfully dealt with the challenges of diabetes.
The intriguing aspect of the food demonstration booth was that each entrée was created with healthy ingredients, with an emphasis on the creative use of spices and seasonings.
No sugar substitutes, no exotic additives or items that are not readily available, but “Mother Nature food” that had everyone standing in line for a small taste.
As each chef created a specialty, the fact that people with diabetes can (and need!) to eat real food was confirmed.
The main stage offered many inspirational speakers. We arrived too late to hear the presentation by Olympic gold medal swimmer Gary Hall, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after he had won two gold medals, but I met him later at one of the vendor booths.
After being diagnosed, he continued to swim competitively and added more Olympic medals to his resumé despite being told that it could not be done. He has become a national advocate for people with diabetes and yes, he is as handsome as he appears on TV!
Another speaker was actor Ben Vereen, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and candidly shared his depression and denial of diabetes until he realized that he needed to control his diabetes and not allow diabetes to control him. A third speaker was Matt Hoover, from the TV show “Biggest Loser.” He shared his daily challenge to exercise but confessed that the benefits of daily exercise with the resulting weight loss essentially had saved his life.
The honesty and candid sharing of personal experiences from each of the speakers reminded everyone in the audience that there are no secret bullets to dealing with diabetes. Healthy food, daily exercise and taking one day at a time seemed to be the common thread.
So start each morning with a goal to do the best that you can for that day and mark your calendar to attend the Diabetes Expo in 2012. I guarantee that you will come home recharged and remotivated!
Susan Sorensen is a registered nurse who does diabetes education in the community and can be reached at www.starladydiabetes.com.
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