What is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, what are the signs, and how can we manage it with small children?

There is a lot of attention given to Type 2 Diabetes these days but not nearly as much awareness is raised around Type 1 Diabetes. I have partnered with Americord to talk about what this type of Diabetes is and the symptoms and signs to watch for in case your child is affected.

There are three types of Diabetes: type 1 (DM1), type 2 (DM2), and Gestational Diabetes (GD). Type 1 DM has also been labelled as Juvenile Diabetes as it usually is diagnosed before the age of 18. However, this alternate title has faded in use as we have more and more children and adolescents diagnosed with DM2 and DM1 can be diagnosed in adults, although rare. DM 1 has a strong genetic link but may also result after certain type of viral infections.  When someone has DM1, it means that their immune system has mistakingly attacked the beta cells in their pancreas resulting in little or no insulin available to help their bodies use the glucose consumed. As a result glucose builds up in the blood stream which can lead to low energy and damage many areas of the body.

So how can you tell if your child has DM1? The main signs/symptoms are:

  • excessive thirst, especially for juice
  • frequent/excessive urination
  • weight loss/trouble gaining weight
  • low energy/asking to rest or sleep all the time
  • frequently sick
  • cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Remember that any one of these in isolation may be related to other causation factors, but it is always worth a conversation with your pediatrician if you are concerned.

If your child is diagnosed with DM1 then they will need insulin provided for all carbohydrates consumed. The frequency and amount will be determine with your child’s health care team and eventually your child may be able to move to an insulin pump instead of injections. One of the biggest challenges with small children who have DM 1 is determining how much they will eat at a meal. A diagnosis of DM1 does not exempt our child from “food jags” or fussy eating. In fact, these normal developmental stages may be even more extreme. If you are struggling with this, please remember that the Division of Responsibility still applies. However, you may need to alter it slightly. If you have given your child insulin for a certain amount of carbohydrates and your child is refusing supper, it will be tempting to offer juice or candy to ensure their blood sugar does not go low. However, this can lead to development of poor habits. Instead try to always add a nutrient-rich and carbohydrate-rich food to the meal that your child likes along with exposure to one they don’t love. Also don’t be afraid to talk with your child to to help them understand how they might feel if they don’t eat enough. Setting them up for success and offering the “why” behind nourishemnt can reduce meal time stress and battles and leave your child developing habits of choosing nutrient rich foods over quick fixes like juice. If you find that this is a daily challenge then be sure to speak to the Registered Dietitian on your child team for more strategies that are specific to where your child is at.

DM1 is a lifelong disease and the best approach is to teach and guide your child to make healthy choices that support their overall health and blood sugar balance as best possible. Also remind your child that this disease does not define who they are. They are 100% whole and able human being with the potential to do anything they put their mind to! If you have any further questions on this topic, feel free to comment below or speak to your local health care team.

Advertisements

Heart Healthy Pasta

My boys LOVE pasta but I often worry that the meal will not offer enough protein and vegetables so I have come up with several blender pasta sauces so all their nutrition needs are met in one simple bowl. Here is one I developed last weekend that was a huge hit so I wanted to share.

The tomato base offers lycopene which is a cancer fighting antioxidant.

The hemp hearts offer a source of complete protein which means all essential amino acids are present and a source of omega 3 fatty acids which are wonderful for growing brains in children and promoting heart and mental health in adults. They also act as an anti-inflammatory.

The feta cheese is a lower fat cheese that offers a creamy texture and taste and a source of complete protein.

Nutritional yeast offers a cheesy flavour as well and a great source of vitamin B12.

Spinach and kale are packed with nutrition!!!

Ingredients

1 jar low sodium pasta sauce (any flavor is fine)

1/3 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1-2 large handfuls of spinach or kale

Instructions

Blend in a blender and pour over pasta. I have a vitamix and blend my sauces on the soup setting to warm them up but this is not necessary if you don’t have a blender that heats.

Hope you and your family enjoy this as an easy meal sometime soon!

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

Mother’s Day Pancakes

I absolutely love pink…it just makes me smile. And my kids love pancakes. So for Mother’s Day brunch I decided to create a pink pancake recipe that everyone would enjoy. The best part…they helped me make it and kids in the kitchen is the best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it too.

Ingredients

1 and ¼ cup milk (any milk is fine…buttermilk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk….etc.)

1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts

¼ cup chia seeds

¾ cup unbleached white flour

1 and ¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. baking powder

Instructions:

  • 1) In a mixer of your choice (Vitamix, Blentec, Ninja, etc.) blend together 1.25 cups milk of your choice (I like to use coconut milk), 1 cup frozen berries, ¼ cup hemp hearts, ¼ cup oil, and 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites). Set this aside
  • 2) In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, and chia seeds) together.
  • 3) Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together…but don’t overmix.
  • 4) Cook pancakes on a frying pan of your choice. I prefer an electric one as I find they are less likely to stick or burn.
  • 5) Serve with your choice of yogurt and fruit for a delicious and nutritious meal for mom!

Until next time….stay healthy!

Peanut Chicken

I had a few girlfriends over for Thai food last weekend and it reminded me how much I LOVE peanut sauce. I also realized that since my kids love peanut butter they would likely love any dish made with it. So I decided to work on a recipe this week for a “kid friendly” (aka not too spicy) Peanut Chicken. So for any of my readers who do not have a peanut allergy in your home…I hope that you enjoy it too!

Ingredients

6 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts

2/3 cup peanut butter (this can be crunchy or smooth)

3 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. avocado oil (or for a coconut flavor addition, you can use coconut oil here)

1 tsp. pureed garlic

1 tsp. curry powder

Instructions

  1. Slice or dice chicken breasts and place into a baking dish.
  2. Mix all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Add sauce to chicken. You may wish to add water at this time to thin it out as well.
  4. Bake at 375 Degrees F for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The smaller the pieces, the faster the chicken will cook.

Variations and Serving Suggestions: 

  1. Diced up peppers, onion, mushrooms, and other veggies could also be added into the chicken dish while it cooks.
  2. This could be served over rice or rice noodles with stir fried or steamed veggies.
  3. This could be served with flat bread and a large salad.
  4. This could be served with potatoes or sweet potatoes and your choice of vegetable.
  5. Make a lunch for the next day with any leftovers.

As always, feel free to add a twist that will make it perfect for your family.

Until next time….stay healthy!