do carrots have carbs? and other vegetable mysteries

So here’s the deal. I have type 1 diabetes. (Shocking! If you need to stop reading for a minute to process this new info, I understand.)

One bright day in May 2004, my pancreas went on vacation and never returned. Now, said pancreas is a squatter in my body, just hanging out and not paying rent. Since this lazy organ doesn’t do its job, I do all the work, which means every time I eat I have to give myself insulin. I’m lucky to have fab insurance that pays for this snazzy pink insulin pump. The pump means that instead of giving myself a shot every time I eat, I push buttons on this beeper/ipod thingy and insulin travels down the clear tubing and into my body through my pretty pink infusion site, currently attached to my leg. One shot every three days to change the site, and voila! insulin on demand, anytime. I am part woman, part robot.


Skin looks super weird up close. Ignore that part.

In order to know I how much insulin to give myself, I have to tell my pump how many carbs I’m eating. Sometimes this is easy, thanks to fast food nutrition guides and labels on things like Michelina’s Pizza Rolls and Zapp’s Voodoo Chips (aka crispy flavorful heaven). Sometimes I practice the ancient art of SWAG bolusing, which stands for Scientific, Wild-Ass Guessing.

When I was filling my body with delicacies like easy mac and cupcakes and pizza and Doritos Locos Tacos , I never thought about the carbs in vegetables. I treated veggie carbs as negligible because, honestly, I wasn’t eating enough of them to really count. I might add a little insulin to cover them, but I’ve never really thought about how many carbs are in a single mini carrot or the 3/4 lbs of green beans I ate with dinner two nights ago.

How was I going to deal with this new dilemma? Where oh where could I find the carb counts of foreign substances like zucchini and red lettuce and spaghetti squash?

Enter calorieking. This is a great online database of every little vegetable my heart desires! It’s full of fun facts, like  “one raw mini carrot has 0.8 grams of carbs” and “one two-inch tomato has 3.6 grams of carbs” (yes, a tomato is a fruit, but fruit is on there too! hurray!). And that mountain of green beans I ate the other night? 24 grams of carbs. Like NBC used to say, the more you know [the better equipped you are to tackle diabetes and clean eating and not die of starvation or high or low blood sugars. Win-win all around]. I’m not going to count out every stem of broccoli I eat, but at least now my SWAG-ing is a little more S and a little less WAG.

All this robot talk naturally led me to get “Let’s Go to the Mall” stuck in my head (don’t ask how I got there.) The video features every Canadian pop star’s favorite sidekick, a cute little robot. This has absolutely nothing to do with diabetes or paleo, but enjoy.

And finally, if you want to learn all about infusion sets, check out this video of a French lady putting an infusion set on a piece of styrofoam. I have no idea what she is saying, but it is the shortest demo video I could find.

And here is a very-excited Animas actor explaining more about infusion sets. Diabetes video fest!


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