The Diabetic Ice Cream Social has been my baby for a few years now. It’s really been everyone’s baby. It’s been a special thing for me to fight misconceptions, and to spread a little bit of change in everyone’s mindsets as to what a person with diabetes can and cannot eat – as well as what moderation looks like. The idea that a person with diabetes gave themselves a disease is repulsive to me, as well as the idea that foods are ‘bad’ or ‘off limits.’ As a person with an eating disorder, as well as diabetes, I feel that moderation (and not deprivation) are key to managing our daily lives with a modicum of enjoyment and success.
So, in 2011, when a local Indiana chef wrote a poorly educated column on type 2 diabetes, he stopped my world. In his misguided crusade against people with type 2 diabetes, he sought to attack the local Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana for holding an ice cream fund raiser in order to help children with type 1 diabetes go to diabetes camp. There isn’t just something wrong with attacking children with type 1 diabetes trying to enjoy life as any other child – there is also something wrong with someone who tries to shame our food choices, and create food militancy. Food militancy is something we don’t need in our body image obsessed society. Food militancy is one of the triggers for disordered eating, and many of the common eating disorders affecting our current society – including diabulimia.
Food militancy is also creating a lot of shaming of people with type 2 diabetes and this has got to stop. NO ONE gave themselves diabetes – not a type 1 and not a type 2. People with diabetes are people who were predisposed to developing the disease, for one reason or another. No one knows what triggers type 1, and though obesity may trigger type 2, the fact is that millions of obese people will never develop type 2 diabetes. We all struggle making the healthiest choices for ourselves, and we all need to learn moderation… and we all suffer from bad luck. Life just happens. The #1 risk factor for developing illness is living. Being alive. But one thing is for sure: none of us need deprivation and shaming.
This is what we seek to spread with the Diabetic Ice Cream Social. We seek to spread a renewed view of the person with diabetes; a renewed perspective, as well as a healthier attitude toward food. I have had some pushback from a few folks with different perspectives – and that’s fine. I respect their life path for managing their conditions. But at the same time, I have had thousands of partners in this crusade – the crusade for freedom to make the best choices we know we can make in order to manage diabetes, without fear or shame from others.
The Diabetic Ice Cream Social is a celebration of life – and you may choose to celebrate it any way you want. You can have an ice cream scoop in any way you please: make it lactose free, fat free, sugar free, make it sorbet, make it wine. Make it whatever you prefer – but make it a statement that says you love life, and you appreciate living it, even with diabetes. Make it with family, with friends… or toast the full moon. Make it your own.
This year, 2014, I am very busy with many life challenges and responsibilities – so I won’t be able to lead the crusade as I always do. I won’t be too far from the fray, though. I will be right here, having my scoop, and cheering it on. My friends at The Blue Heel Society have agreed to take on the Social for me… perhaps for a year or so, we’ll see. But they are just as gung-ho about diabetes awareness as I am, so please know this event will keep going. Give them your full support, as I know I will.
This year, while you have your favorite treat… have it will wearing your favorite pair of blues: blue shoes, that is.