Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacation: Keeping To My Diet In Japan

I had the opportunity to go to Japan for the first and possibly last time this May. After prolonged wrestling to get my passport (nearly doomed the trip) we were off.

Ever tried to get through security with an ounce over the liquid limit? Now try that with lancets; tiny little needles that go in a spring loaded device. Fortunately I had a note from my doctor that I carried with me at all times in a pouch around my neck with my passport. I carried all my medications in their original boxes or bottles and brought plenty of snacks (keeping your carbohydrates consistent is key) to carry around.

I won't go into the fun of a fourteen hour flight in Coach but the flight attendants took good care of us and fed us well. Most airlines offer special diabetic and even vegetarian meals but be sure to request them ahead of time.

Once in Japan, I knew I was in trouble. Most Japanese food is very healthy; they have smaller portions, have less heavy sauces and even their sweets are less sweet. Plus there's lots of walking which translated into great exercise which made me glad I was wearing braces on my poor beleaguered knees.

But many Japanese meals are served with lots and lots of noodles and rice, the best rice in the world. How to eat without offending my host? Well, traveling in a group helped me not only avoid temptation but ensure the extra carbohydrates did not go to waste. Japanese soil is incredibly rich in its volcanic regions and the fresh produce was incredible. The seafood specialties were wonderful, just don't ask what you're eating. All in all the trip was a great experience culturally, gastronomically, physically. I lost another eight pounds from all the walking!

Diabetes can't keep you from international travel, just be prepared, carry extra supplies and proceed with caution. Keep a phrase book with you, learn the language or have a wonderful friend who can communicate with locals.

Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and my own opinions. I'm not trying to treat or diagnose anything and the opinions I express are my own. This is all conjecture. I'm learning as I go so forgive any inaccuracies. This is a way for me to cope and focus my emotions into something positive. If you read this and recognize yourself in anything I've written about, please, talk to your doctor. Read some books. And never be afraid to scream, cry, or yes, laugh about being a diabetic. I'm going to.

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