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Chapter 12: Staying the Course


I’m in contact with a lot of diabetics, and I have learnt something interesting. It’s not the decision to follow the low-carb diet that is the main issue for my friends. It’s that following such a diet without interruption is a difficult task.


As more people become aware of the truth, and the low-carb diet steadily wins the argument, low-carb friendly meals will become more and more popular. I keep my ear to the ground within the diet industry, and so I anticipate that there will be more and more health and nutrition institutions helping diabetics design their own low-carb diet plan.



So, diabetics know what and how they should eat,

but can they get low-carb food whenever they want?



You can reduce your blood glucose level to normal in three to six months and achieve an initial victory. But can you hold your ground for the long term? If you are in a situation where you can't get low-carb food, you will have to choose between the damage of hunger to the body and the damage of sugar to the body. Then it is no longer an issue of whether you can hold your ground because no matter what you do, there will be damage to your body. I have faced such a situation, and it was an unforgettable experience.


With the Spring Festival of 2020 approaching, like a migratory bird, I returned to my hometown at the foot of Taizishan to spend the Chinese New Year with my family. This is an old habit of mine, almost like the homework to be done every year. For one thing, my relatives are there, from whom I can never be cut off; for another, every time I come back here, I can hear a calling voice that seems to have come from a noble place.


If you hadn't seen it with your own eyes, it's hard to believe that the local roads where I used to walk when going to school, play and go to the market have become broad and flat highways over the years. These roads feel alive to me and full of passion, winding flexibly through the mountains.



They seem to be asking me: What have you contributed to our vigor and prosperity?

Should you contribute now?



As someone who has been living overseas for decades, such thoughts always make me feel a little guilty. But I keep returning to the thoughts, just like when you have a pain, and you consciously keep touching it instead of avoiding it.


Because the voices on the road are correct: I didn't contribute to the earth-shaking changes in my hometown. I fled when it needed me to help it grow, but I couldn't escape to a place far enough where I could forget about it. To be honest, my conscience would not allow me to do so.


I never regret the past. Without the past, I would not be who I am today.


So, when I touch this pain, I can feel a voice calling me to do something for my hometown. But as for what that may be, I still don’t know.



Before I returned home in early 2020 my mother's blood glucose level had become unstable again. She is also a diabetic. Every year when I came home, I would help her design a diet according to her condition, so her blood glucose level has greatly improved in recent years. In addition, I gave her an ambulatory blood glucose meter to track her blood glucose level, which makes things easy. Most of the time, her blood glucose level is normal. However, there had been a problem in the previous months. After all, I can't be with her all the time, and the meter can only tell your blood glucose level after you eat. Sometimes she is confused and misled by the overwhelming information around her.


For example, normally, her fasting blood glucose level was somewhere between 5 and 6. She learned on TV that buckwheat noodles could help control the blood glucose level, so she ate buckwheat noodles one morning. As a result, her fasting blood glucose level increased to over 10, which was completely due to the misleading information.


I don't know what those people on TV based their theory on. They said that cereals and coarse grains could help stabilize blood glucose levels. Obviously, this is not scientific. Cereals and buckwheat flour are mainly starch. If you eat starchy food, it will be turned into glucose after digestion, causing your blood glucose level to rise.


It is easy to verify the process of transforming starch into sugars. However, knowing this process does not necessarily protect you from harm. It won't be much of a problem for people like my mom. She can always eat at home and has the freedom to choose what to eat. Even if she goes out for a short time, she can carry her own dried fruits, eggs, and other food. However, most people must run around to make a living. And for people who often must eat out, especially when they encounter unexpected situations, whether to stick to the diet or not will become a conundrum.


The Spring Festival in 2020 has been engraved on my heart. That year, the Chinese people were deeply impressed by the fact that the COVID-19 knocked everyone's life off track. If it had happened in 2012 instead of 2020, the Mayan people's superpower would be among the trending searches. Unfortunately, my hometown Hubei was at the center of the global pandemic at that time.


Because of my work, I had to return to Canada quickly. The whole city of Wuhan was locked down. At that time, I think no one could get in except the medical staff, and flights were impossible to find. I had to return to Canada by taking the evacuation plane sent by the Canadian government.


As much as my heart wanted to stay and support my relatives, I could not abandon my company, especially when I had just agreed to a huge contract with a game company for a global roll-out of their most recent game. This job could not be delayed for them or me. It was a matter of business reputation, as well as my own reputation.


As the plane took off, I looked out of the window at the lights in Wuhan, Hubei, and China as they faded away. I didn't know what the future held, either for this place or the home I was returning to. Flying amongst the vast sea of clouds, I had a deep feeling of being small and powerless. My eyes gradually blurred, and I fell asleep.


But it was on this very flight that I faced the most severe test for my low-carb diet. Because all transit points along the way were on guard for all possible risks, and each stop took a much longer time than usual, I soon ran out of the dried fruits I prepared in advance before I took off. To make things worse, on the plane, the only things available were snacks such as sugared yogurt and fruit.


Such long-distance flights generally have a pre-registration process, including any dietary requirements you might have as a passenger. Of course, I had mentioned that I was diabetic and that I needed low-carb food, about a thousand times. It was obvious that many people did not understand what a low-carb diet is, because they did not prepare anything close to low-carb food at all, and I got the same food as the other passengers. When I questioned the flight attendant, she looked at me strangely, as if I was just being awkward by having a health condition!



Did I eat or not? Of course not.

For me, those foods were no different from drugs

when I considered the damage they would do to my body.



We took off at two o'clock in the morning, flew to Vancouver first, and then flew from Vancouver to Ontario. The whole journey lasted more than 20 hours. I was very uncomfortable. The psychological feeling of hunger was not the worst thing. What was terrible was the physical reaction. It was so real, unlike the false hunger on a ketogenic diet. I can tolerate that kind of hunger psychologically because I know my body is getting enough nutrition. If I keep fighting it, this feeling of hunger will soon be gone and replaced by an even better feeling.


But real hunger is different. The various organs of the body can't operate properly without energy; The electrolyte balance in the blood cannot be kept without minerals. I started to feel the gradual process of chaos and collapse within the systems of my body.


On top of this, the seats in the evacuation plane made me feel pinned down in a tight space. The sense of oppression came in waves, slapping my weak body. I broke into spasmodic cold sweats, and in the second half of the journey, I was almost delirious because of my extreme weakness.


Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story. After arriving in Ontario, the passengers needed to be quarantined for two weeks. Once again, there was a form to fill in regarding your medical history and dietary requirements. Full of hope, I mentioned my diabetes and asked to be provided with a low-carb diet. But again, this did not work. I was given the same food as everyone else.


For two solid weeks, because of the quarantine, we couldn't go out to buy any food by ourselves. Neither could we have anyone run errands for us. We had to accept what was offered. Although I was completely willing to buy what I could eat at my own expense, in this extreme situation, I had no choice at all. Of course, it was better than when we were on the plane. I could at least eat some eggs, vegetables, and meat. They were not enough, and I felt dizzy every day, but I managed through the quarantine.


Although there is some basic level of knowledge in society, public services, do not have enough information and have made no preparations for the low-carb diet. As a diabetic, if you decide to follow a low-carb diet, you must be very careful when you go out, and you should be well prepared.


And if I am honest, it is very difficult to follow a low-carb diet completely by yourself, with no support from others. Just like my experience with my flight and quarantine, diabetics can face life-or-death decisions. On a plane, in a hospital, on a ship, in the office, and in many other scenarios, they must suffer one kind of injury to avoid another kind of injury.


This should not be happening at all.


Society should be able to provide food that meets the requirements of the low-carb diet in different ways, including pre-packaged and ready-to-eat food, for the sake of public welfare or for business.


A low-carb diet package is not difficult to create but it is much needed by many people. Producing a kind of low-carb food like instant noodles or other fast food isn’t complex, and the potential market is large. So, from the perspective of social wellbeing, and business revenue, this idea should be supported. Then those of us who have already won the battle with diabetes will no longer painfully lose our progress but will be able to stay the course for our whole lives.

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