It's always exciting to see a member of the D-OC accomplish a goal, so we're thrilled to announce the release of Ginger Vieira's self-published book, Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger has lived with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease since 1999, but she's most recognized for being a powerlifter (she's set 15 records in drug-tested powerlifting) and owner of a life coaching business called Living in Progress. Ginger is powerfully committed to motivating and encouraging folks to live their best life with diabetes. We were very excited to receive a complementary book from Ginger for review.
The first thing you should know about Ginger is that although she devotes her life to exercise and her motivational business, she's also an extremely eloquent and engaging writer. Which is actually no surprise, once you find out that she got her degree in Professional Writing. Many people might assume that a self-published book means a mediocre product. But Ginger is talented, and her publishing team has put together a very professional-looking publication.
Do note, however, that while her book is very thorough and intelligent, Ginger is not a Certified Diabetes Educator nor a healthcare professional. Most of what she writes is gleaned from either personal experience or from research (which she records in her Works Cited section).
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What makes her book is engaging is the fact that Ginger really brings herself into her instruction. Unlike a lot of diabetes educational materials, which are dry and collegiate, Your Diabetes Science Experiment is like a cross between a memoir and a really fun self-help book. The book is rooted in Ginger's devotion to powerlifting, which she began her senior year in college. As she became more and more committed to fitness, she began seeing her diabetes management as a "science experiment" (which I think is a very relatable feeling!) She's the best kind of amateur scientist.
Ginger's thesis is that "there is a reason behind every number and you are capable of understanding those reasons." Although she admits that there will be times when you experience a "mystery high or mystery low," she says that, for her, those mysteries have become few and far between. Personally, I think that mystery highs and lows are a fact of life with diabetes, and that it's important to not dwell on them as perceived failures when you encounter them.
However, Ginger presents a very convincing case for why we all need to take a close look at our lives. She gives a thorough run-through as to why insulin sensitivity is important, and how exercise, diet, stress, etc. play a role in that fluctuating sensitivity. Because of Ginger's background as a powerlifter, her emphasis is clearly on exercise. Although we all know exercise is important for our overall health, Ginger gives some very detailed explanations as to how exercise actually impacts how our body uses insulin and how it changes blood sugar trends. She also uncovers the facts behind several other mysteries, such as why we need insulin while we exercise, why we sometimes go high after exercising (don't you just hate that?), and why we need to eat after exercising. As I was reading, I noticed myself nodding at certain sections, or raising my eyebrows in surprise at learning things I did not know before.
Besides several sections on exercise and diet, there are also three chapters devoted to analyzing the amount of insulin you take for meals, for correcting high blood sugars, and for your background insulin. Each section is adaptable to multiple daily injections and insulin pumps. Blank worksheets are included at the end of the book to help you make adjustments, with extra ones available on Ginger's website.
For the most part, I couldn't find any real flaws in Ginger's science, though I'm not really an expert on that end. Gary Scheiner, famous CDE and author, fellow type 1, and founder of Integrated Diabetes Services, writes the forward to the book, so having his OK on the material gives me confidence in the book. Gary writes, "I'm not sure what I expected to find when I picked it up for the first time. Like so many books about diabetes self-management, it contains countless fragments of wisdom and insight designed to enhance your skill set. But there is so much more: There is inspiration to find the answers, and not just sit idly by and let things happen." I definitely agree!
It's easy to be overwhelmed by diabetes. It's emotional and confusing. But there are, as Ginger shows, biological reasons for why our bodies behave the way they do. Although I'm not sure all diabetes mysteries can ever be fully resolved, I do think that Your Diabetes Science Experiment is a really great start.
For a paperback, the book is not cheap, but it's money well spent. You can pick up your own copy of Your Diabetes Science Experiment for $27.99.