November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and for people who suffer from the disease, what to eat can be a daily life or death decision. Super Bowl champ Tom Crabtree of the Green Bay Packers is a National Spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and his wife, Chelsea was diagnosed with the disease when she was four years old.
Together, they share some great information, tips and recipes for parents and kids whose lives are affected by juvenile diabetes.
Tom Crabtree: It is part of everyday life with my family, so I’m fortunate enough to have a stage where I can raise awareness.
Eatocracy: How is juvenile diabetes different from other types of diabetes?
Chelsea Crabtree: J.D. is Type 1 diabetes and can be hereditary or autoimmune - not caused by bad eating habits. Type 2 Diabetes can be linked with lifestyle choices such eating habits or lack of exercise.
Eatocracy: What are some of the things you do to raise awareness?
Tom: Through Twitter @Tcrabtree83, I have raised awareness with my fans and I have a personal website tcrabtree83.com where fans can buy merchandise and part of the proceeds go to JDRF. And we have future plans with our local chapter.
Eatocracy: How important is education? There are so many myths such as sugar causing diabetes.
Chelsea: Education is really important. Many people don’t realize there are two types of diabetes and that Type 1 is becoming more prevalent.
From jdrf.org: Each and every day in the U.S., about 80 people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Eatocracy: How did you find out you had juvenile diabetes?
Chelsea: I was diagnosed when I was four. My parents didn’t recognize the signs but I was very thirsty, I was urinating a lot and being very hostile with others. They took me to the doctor who checked my blood sugar and I was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed.
Eatocracy: How did you get through childhood events such as birthday parties and holidays?
Chelsea: I would bring home what was served and I would auction it off to my sister and my parents and the dinner table and the highest bidder would win. So I got something out of it without the temptation of eating the sweets.
Eatocracy: How would you suggest a parent go about supporting their child who is diabetic, when it comes to food and feeling different?
Chelsea: I think it is important to acknowledge they are different and empower them about food - what they can and can’t have. I went to a camp for children with diabetes and they stressed how we were in control of making good food choices.
Eatocracy: Do you have any suggestions regarding diet restrictions and food substitutions to help a kid still feel like a kid?
Chelsea: You do have to watch sugar, fats and carbohydrates but I have still have fun recipes that substitute for kid friendly foods. [Chelsea's recipes are below]
Eatocracy: You are new parents. Is your son genetically predisposed to diabetes?
Chelsea: We will have him tested but they don’t think mine is genetic because nobody else in the family has ever being diagnosed.
Eatocracy: We all know that most processed foods carry loads of sodium which is a trigger for diabetics. Being a busy person, how you navigate fast food restaurants and those quick fixes that may be harmful to your wife’s health?
Tom: Life is really fast-paced and you can’t always avoid fast food. But you have to be smart and make good choices, and that comes back to the education side of it and doing research to see what foods you can eat at different restaurants.
Eatocracy: You’re a tight end, I’m sure that comes with a hearty appetite. How has your wife’s disease affected how you eat and your awareness of the contents of your food?
Tom: It has been a positive for me. In my line of work, a healthy diet is necessary. So I eat a lot but together we make good food choices.
Sugarless Pumpkin Pie
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Mix filling ingredients in order given. Pour into pie shell. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
***If using a store-bought frozen shell, the recipe fills two. Bake on cookie sheet in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
***If using a store-bought deep dish shell the recipe fills one. Let shell thaw for 10 minutes: then pinch edge so that it stands 1/2" above rim of pan. Bake on cookie sheet in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 50 minutes or until done.
Sugarless Apple Pie
6 medium granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
Place apples and undiluted apple juice in large pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in a small amount of water. Gently stir cornstarch into apple mixture.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until apples begin to soften and mixture is thickened. Gently stir in cinnamon. Fill pastry shell with apples. Use a 10" pie plate with slices about 2" deep. Dot margarine over apple mixture.
Cover pie with a top crust which has been pricked with a fork or with a lattice-type crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown