With the weather changing, I find myself starting to rethink what we are eating at home. The delicious and warming braises and casseroles that have been a staple of the cooler months are replaced with lighter options such as salads and grilled chicken or steak. The oven is rarely turned on – instead we need to think about buying a barbeque for the back garden so we can grill and eat outside.
My trusted and well used Le Creuset heavy-based casseroles seldom come out from their cupboard. But large salad bowls and platters are on frequent rotation, piled high with lighter food.
Fruit is no longer stewed, instead cut up and eaten fresh. The selection in the fruit bowl and in the fridge moves from mostly citrus and apples and pears, to stone fruits – nectarines, peaches, mangoes. Grapes get popped in the freezer; melons are cut up in Tupperware in the fridge for easy-reach snacks and we start to count down until cherry season hits.
And fruit is also thrown into salads – mango mixed with chicken, avocado, walnuts and rocket; white nectarines sliced and sprinkled over platters of cooled freekah, fresh tomatoes, herbs, artichoke hearts and prosciutto.
If only I had a green thumb, I’d get into planting vegies too. Alas, an overflowing pot of basil is usually all I can manage – meaning an easy meal of fresh pesto stirred through pasta is never more than 10 minutes away!
Mimicking the change of seasons with a change of our menu is one of the most wonderful things about food. It reinvigorates meal planning which can get in a rut and helps keep things interesting. And it’s easy for me – with easy access to farmers’ markets, fresh food stores and the Queen Victoria Market just across the road from work.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently because, as many of you may know, the IDF’s campaign for World Diabetes Day this year centres on healthy eating and, more specifically, access to fresh and healthy foods.
Because the food we eat does impact on the ability to manage our health. And diabetes is part of our health.
Some people with type 1 diabetes are a little pissed off at this message. They are banging the ‘type-1-has-nothing-to-do-with-what-you-eat-and-this-is-mixing-up-the-messages-and-what-I-ate-had-nothing-to-do-with-why-I (-my-child) –got-type-1’ drum and have been annoyed that the IDF is daring to suggest that there is a link between food and the wellbeing of people with type 1 diabetes.
But the food we eat does impact on our diabetes management, something that sometimes does get lost in our ‘but-I-can-eat-anything’ protestations.
Of course we can eat anything. We have tools to help us to do that and to do it safely. We can bolus for the doughnut we choose to eat for lunch, just as easily as we can bolus for the sandwich we eat.
But that’s not the point. No one is saying that. What this campaign is about is how the food we eat contributes to healthy living. We need insulin to survive, tools to manage our BGLs and access to food to treat lows, sustain energy and be healthy.
In just the same way that there are people in some parts of the world who do not have access to insulin or diabetes consumables, there are places where there is no access to affordable, fresh, healthy food. Of course all of this impacts on a person’s ability to live well with diabetes. It impacts on their ability to live well. Full stop.
The IDF is strongly suggesting that healthy eating is a right, not a privilege. And no one can disagree with that. Surely.