Wednesday, 11 December 2013

empowerment, exercise and "devastating diseases"

Today i rode my bike for 210k, i rode with guys who've won world championships, worn leaders jersies of grand tours (this year). I got up pretty early to make the ride, i had to leave mine at 6am to make it to the start by 8:15 so I didn't have time to open my e mails. I didn't touch any work stuff until after i was done riding a very long way and consuming my bodyweight in pannakin muffins.

Had i opened my emails before i set off pedaling i would have found out that i wasn't capable of doing so. you see the ADA informed me that I have a "devastating disease".  That i will carry a lifelong burden of "suffering and danger and fear."  That without a cure for diabetes my life would be limited by my condition and that those close to me would live their lives in "that terrifying, gut-wrenching place." 

Fortunately i didn't read this, i checked my blood glucose and went about a normal day, without being arrogant i did things that most people, diabetic or not, couldn't do. I was told when I was diagnosed that I couldn't race my bike any more, I didn't take no for an answer and i educated myself, i used myself as an n=1 experiment, i taught myself how to manage my diabetes, what to eat and when and how to use my insulin to make myself the best version of myself i can be. 

In my work with AYUDA and with the Pascua Yaqui I have tried to share my message that my diabetes doesn't hold me back. A lack of supplies or medications would hold me back, a lack of available education would hold me back but I have the great misfortune to have been born in a country where the state takes care of my medication needs and where i have access to education which has empowered me to take the best possible steps towards controlling my diabetes. I'm immensely LUCKY to be in this situation, diabetes has made me friends and taken me around the world, without it my life wouldn't have the meaning and the direction it does. 

Our goal at AYUDA is to empower people, to give them the tools they need to make the best of their situation with regard to their access to supplies and their diabetes. Whatever their situation we give them the invaluable tool of education which allows them to make the best of their resources and to live happy, healthy and productive lives with diabetes. Most of all we give them a community to belong to, a network to rely on, and a positive attitude for them to go on and empower themselves and others and serve as agents of change in their own communities.
In sharp contrast the ADA has told me i'm disabled (i'm not) that i am a burden on those that love me (i hope i'm not) and that my life is worthless without a cure for Diabetes (i couldn't care less). Their language is neither empowering nor educative, it's upsetting and offensive. Perhaps,a s they have no people with diabetes amongst their officers they don't understand this. Perhaps they do but they don't care. I'll likely never raise as much as this one email will but I would question the real value of what is being done here. My goal is to help people to live healthy , happy lives with diabetes, i need to raise funds in order to do this but the goal is what's important. What the ADA has done is put the cart before the horse, the money before the people and the cash before the cause. 

 My diabetes doesn't hold me back. What i do want is access to insulin for those who need it. I have said and will keep saying that i am fortunate to have the insulin and education that I need, what I want for diabetes is for my brothers and sisters not to die from a treatable condition for want of cheap supplies. I won't go into the why's and wherefore's but please investigate the 100 campaign who aim to achieve 100% access to insulin within 100 years of the creation of syntheic insulin. People in Mali can expect to live just 12 months post diagnosis, this IS something worth crying about, living with diabetes in the USA, with access to medication, is not. 

please take the time to contact the ADA and let them know how this makes you feel, even if you do not live with diabetes. Please think carefully and give generously, especially at this time of year. 

here's that link again:

here are some pictures of the last two weeks with my devastating disease and my life burdened by suffering and fear.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

ride a lot, eat a lot, smile a lot

It may not have escaped your attention that i quite like bikes, I'm also not averse to pastry and, on occasion turn my hand to the culinary arts as a way to fill an empty stomach from an empty wallet. It has been a fair while since I've written a blog about food, not even about nutrition but just about food. Sometimes we confuse the two and we lose sight of both things in the process. Food is beautiful, delicious and something we are designed to enjoy. Over time our relationship with food has become somewhat unhealthy. We fear it and we overindulge in it. Food should be a pleasure, especially good food, real food, food which takes time and effort to prepare should be given time and attention when we eat it.

I love this time of year, big miles, a bit less stressful racing/ travel, beer and bakeries, coffee and cookies and of course the turkey dinners. I see a lot of riders who seem incapable of enjoying a good cookie or croissant only to consume innumerable quantities of semi solid goop as soon as they don lycra. at this time of year the lower intensities and longer rides allow for digestion of slightly more "real" foods and I personally enjoy the break from foil wrapped rectangular calories. oh and did i mention that cookies and coffee are also warm which makes cold days that much more  enjoyable (remember the old "central heating for kids" advert?

I've been experimenting with some new pocket nosh recently. First off thanks to the opening of a new Korean market near my house I've been introduced to the joys of ho-tteok whicha re delicious cold and MEGA DELICIOUS warm. I've been munching on mochi balls as well, those are some FAST acting but yummy sources of carbs.

Whilst recently cat sitting a friend's house i was overcome by my genetic predisposition to enjoy meat wrapped in pastry and made myself some pasties (i don't have an oven so I took full advantage of theirs. Having made my pasties it occurred to me that these were the original pocket food  (the crust allowed miners to carry them with hem down the mine) and, in a  flash of brilliance the POCKET PASTY was born. using a basic dough (there are a few good ones in Allen Lim's book) and everything in the fridge i came up with the following combos:
apple, raisin, cinnamon
mashed potato and cheese
mincemeat (which isn't really meat at all ) anyone know where i can get this in the US?
couscous, curry spice and raisin
mozzarella, basil and tomato

but really you could go a million directions and not go wrong. The important thing is to take ingredients you like and cook yourself something special, and if your riding buddies are putting the hammer down, there's no better way to ingratiate yourself with them than via pastry wrapped goodness. Not only are they not 1 cent a calorie like some of the more heavily marketed sugar water out there they're also better for you and more delicious and you don't have to eat sixteen of them to feel full. Oh and you don't get to see your blood glucose climb like Pantani either.

Pro tip, warm these bad boys in the microwave and foil wrap them, put them in your innermost layer and they stay warm for a fair while AND they help keep the old lumbar spine nice and toasty. double win!

oh and when even these go wrong, there's always the Taco shop stop