Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures .
-Anthony Machado, “Last Night as I Was Sleeping”
Sweetness and honey: two words that might elevate bloodsugars of diabetics everywhere just by imagining them. Yet I love this poem and these lines in particular. Because even though the old failures are there (and always will be), there’s comfort there, too.
Machado’s bees remind me that this is how we learn. We learn to change not by getting it right all the time, but by getting it wrong. More often than not, we learn what to do by learning what not to do (reason enough to read this and other SharePosts ). Of course, I can’t help but look at Machado’s poem through the eyes of a diabetic…a diabetic who has gotten it wrong as many times as she’s gotten it right.
Honey is a sweet food made by bees from the nectar of flowers. This substance is composed of a complex mixture of water, carbohydrates and other minor compounds such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. It has been used for thousands of years by humans and for many good reasons.
Cortes, Vigil, and Montenegro (2011) looked at the benefits of honey to human health and their findings are enough to make anyone want to hug the nearest honey bear. For example, honey can help us with the aging process by improving our defenses against oxidative stress. Consumption of honey can help stabilize the free radicals in our bodies that cause cell damage and death.
Honey can also help the immune system. Honey has been known to trigger a response to infection and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Its antimicrobial capacities have even caused some to recommend it for wound care.
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So, summer is here. Sunshine. Flowers. Yada. Yada. Yada. All that good stuff we miss all winter long. With the sunshine, however, often comes a bit of change in blood sugars and insulin needs. I once met this incredibly athletic teenager who found herself in the hospital at the start of every new sport season from episodes of hypoglycemia at its most extreme. She and her mother seemed baffled…I was baffled as to why the severe lows were so mysterious to them. For any diabetic (especially the new ones) and her parents, it’s really important to realize that simple changes in activity and diet can have a major impact on the amount of insulin your body needs. If you’re starting a new sport that meets for practice every day, you will inevitably have to adjust your insulin levels. And when the sport ends — guess what — you may need to increase them. Endocrinologists are great for suggesting how much you should increase or decrease your insulin —but you have to a...
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