You can always spot me at a party: I'm the lady hovering at the edge of the buffet table, muttering to herself as she counts and recounts the strawberries on her plate; I'm the one clutching her purse maniacally when the host says, "you can put your stuff in here" —- cause I'm too paranoid to be separated from my monitor, pen, and glucose tabs, ever; if dinner gets delayed, I'm the one looking peevish and perturbed, piling my plate high with tortilla chips in an angry sort of way. Buffet

Actually, the whole "what can I eat?" thing is right up there on my Top 5 list of things that rocked my world when becoming diabetic: the idea that I would never, ever again be able to pop the slightest little snack or tidbit into my mouth without worrying about it, counting its carb content, doing the math and dosing for it! What a way to kill the fun of Yum.

Luckily, I've never been a problem eater (unless you count starving myself for a few years in college on the unfounded belief that SKINNY = HAPPY). But this whole "balanced meal" concept was new to me, nonetheless. I found out this means part-starch, part-protein, part-veggie or fruit -- not too much of anything at one sitting -- which should have been obvious, I know, but let's face it, what we KNOW and what we DO don't always coincide.

Even now, knowing what I do, I sometimes eat those evil ALL-CARB meals (like granola and yogurt, pasta followed by fruit salad, or chili with crackers). I often kick myself for not eating an apple instead of the bread, but naturally fruit itself is a major a dilemma, since it's healthful and delicious, but makes glucose levels spike. Some diabetics have given it up cold turkey. Man!!

In a way it's poetic justice: I was always so impatient with those nitpicky people at parties who wanted to know, "what's in the sauce?" before they'd touch it. (I was rolling my eyes in lieu of "Geez, just shut up and eat the food!"). And now here I am checking for traces of gluten, fussing about sauces and dips and dried fruit and God knows what...

What I have learned is that I can't count on anyone or any group, any book, paid program, or course to make me eat right. I have to do it MYSELF -— at every party, picnic, get-together, at every meal, and every moment when someone offers me food. If I deem it worthy of my efforts, I have to worry about it, count its carb content, do the math, and dose for it!

The new June issue of Diabetes Forecast, which arrived on my doorstep already two weeks ago, is all about "Fabulous Food Tips." As I opened mine, I first came across the note from the publisher Peter Banks talking about the ADA's new food guidelines and how they've now barred advertising from the "wrong" food companies. This whole issue is packed with good-looking recipes, actually. But how long have they been publishing that mag? More than 50 years, according to the cover. And how long have we known that certain advertisers' food products are wrong for diabetics (if not for everyone?) So I'm assuming someone's turned up the heat on them, no?!

Evidently there are some other experts out there doing something truly proactive to help diabetics enjoy "normal" food. See "Doctors Want Diabetics to Eat Pizza Without Guilt." Yeah, right.

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This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.