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Friday, December 17, 2010

What on Earth Can I Eat? - The Book

Life is full of unexpected surprises. There is no way in the world I could have envisaged ten years ago that one day I would publish a book. Even less credible was the possibility that it would be a book to help people with type 2 diabetes find a way of eating to assist in individually managing their condition.

But that is exactly what I have done today. If you look at the side-bar, there it is. I can hardly believe it myself. How on earth did that happen?

A little over eight years ago I was just like many of the people who are reading this right now. I had just left the doctor's surgery with a handful of diet brochures, a new blood glucose test meter and a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes to add to my various afflictions. But, unlike many newly diagnosed people, I was determined to conquer this one. I hit the ground running. I started seeking information and I haven't stopped since.

In the eight years since then I have learned from every source I could, commencing with my doctors, dieticians and educators but not limited to those and continuing with usenet and the web. I turned my affliction into my hobby. I learned to use the various medical search engines on the web and subscribed to email alerts from sites such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Diabetes Association, Journal of the American Medical Association, Heart, Endocrine Today, Diabetes in Control and many others. I read everything I could find. I learned to understand “Medi-speak” and how to pick a valid research paper from a poor one; and believe me, there are far too many poor ones.

I started on usenet's misc.health.diabetes, back when it was very active (usenet is fading these days), and later added more diabetes groups and web forums. I learned a lot from many good people who helped me. Over time I started trying to help others as they arrived, shocked and scared, on those forums. If their situation sounded like mine and I felt I could suggest a way to help, I did. And slowly, over time, I found that many people started to experiment for themselves using my suggestions and they worked for them too. Often we both learned from the mutual feedback of advice and experiment.

Over time I found that I am a good coach. Like many coaches, I found that some of those I helped achieved better results than the coach. I respect them but I do not envy them, because we each have to choose the right balance for ourselves. I could work harder and achieve tighter goals, but I balance that with my enjoyment of life. My signature on the web is “Everything in Moderation – Except Laughter”. I keep that in mind when making lifestyle decisions. But I never forget that the laughter may become a bit strained if the terrible diabetes complications start to appear in my life. So I try to make sure I work just hard enough to ensure they do not. That can never be guaranteed but after more than eight years they have not arrived yet.

After a while I added other forums and groups to my morning and the number of new arrivals I responded to started to grow, especially on the American Diabetes Association Forum. I found that I was repeating myself daily. So I looked for a way to store the “standard” suggestions and discovered blogging. This blog started in 2006 as a type of archive; a way to give a new person a link to more information without typing it several times daily. Then it started to grow, as I answered more questions and posted some of those answers to the blog.

The book I have published today grew out of that experience, partly to help those who are more comfortable with a book than a computer screen. I finally made the decision to write the book when many of those who had followed my suggestions over the years urged me to write it for their relatives and friends.

That is the story behind the book. I'm a good coach, but not much of a salesman because I tend to be too honest and "tell it like it is".

I do not promise a cure. I don't have a magic bullet. I don't sell herbal mixtures, special potions or promise reversal of your diabetes in 30 days. After buying the book you don't get follow-up mail to buy anything or join a program or start a business. All you get is a book that is easy to read, easy to understand and offers clear and simple ideas to help you take control of your diabetes.

What I can promise is that following the suggestions in my book will help you understand much more clearly the relationship between the foods you eat and the consequences for your long term health. I can teach you a way to find an enjoyable way of eating that suits you. My hope is that this information may help you take control of your own diabetes management, just like many others who have reported back to me, and may help you delay the progression of your diabetes towards those terrible complications.

If you're really quick - you might even get delivery before Christmas :)

Seasons greetings to all. I just received my Christmas present; I hope you receive what you wish for.

Cheers, Alan, Australia