Friday, October 15, 2010

My Soap Box

Generally, I don't use my blog for negative things, like gripes and complaints. But today, I just have to get this off my chest.

As some of you know, my Little Man is a Type 1 diabetic. He was diagnosed when he was 6 1/2 years old, and they immediately whisked us away to our local hospital to get medical care and necessary training on how to best manage this disease that he would now be living with for the rest of his life. One of the main things we were taught was in regards to his food. My Little Man is allowed to eat pretty much anything he wants, and can eat just like a normal kid, as long as we count how many carbohydrates are in each of the foods he eats. The amount of carbohydrates he eats determines the amount of medicine, insulin, that he gets. If he gets too much insulin, his sugar could drop too low and he could pass out and go into a coma. If he doesn't get enough insulin, his sugar could go too high and he could end up very sick or passing out and going into a coma. Neither is an acceptable option for me. So counting his carb intake is very necessary to be sure he gets the right amount of insulin and stays healthy. All that sounded simple enough. But...

As we very quickly realized, counting carbs is not as easy as it may sound. Oh yes, I know how to count, and most foods have their nutritional value clearly posted on the package for my convenience. If I buy any pre-made foods from the grocery store, it is right there on the label. The only problem is, we don't eat too many pre-packaged foods for me to take advantage of that option. Our nutritionist sent me to a fantastic website, Calorie King, where I learned how to add up the carb contents of each ingredient I added to a recipe, and then I could simply divide it by the number of servings the meal made. It was and is very time consuming, but I refer to it often and it is a very valuable and reliable resource. So now, when I cook at home, I have no problem adding up the carbs my Little Man is eating, and we can give his insulin accordingly. Sounds simple enough. But...

One day, after church one Sunday, we decided to go out to eat. We picked Applebee's, because we like the food and we were SURE they would have the nutrition facts for each of the foods on their menu. They are, after all, a major food chain. But when I asked the waiter about it, he looked at me like I was speaking another language. Apparently, not too many people care to look at the facts about their food. Generally, when people are going out to eat, they plan to indulge and deal with it later. But I HAD to deal with it NOW, and I was unable to. He told me I might be able to look online to find the info I needed, but, DUH, I wasn't at home with my computer and, at the time, I didn't have a cell phone that had data. I did try to look up what I needed on Brient's phone, but it was so slow, and, by the time I even found the web site, our food had already been eaten and we were asking for the check. UGH! I was so aggravated by the time I left Applebee's, because I honestly thought that a major restaurant such as that would be able to provide the information that I really needed to be able to eat there. So, I don't take my son there to eat anymore.

I soon found out that my problem wasn't limited to that one restaurant. It happened again and again and again at large chains and small mom-and-pop places. It has become such a problem that Brient and I rarely eat out if we have kids with us. Since I have no idea the ingredients in food prepared by someone else, I have no way of knowing how many carbohydrates are in it. There are three restaurants that we frequent: McDonald's, Subway, and Taco Bell. Subway is a great place to eat. But, McDonald's nor Taco Bell are my favorite places to eat, and they both lack in the way of healthy foods. However, ALL THREE of these places clearly display the info that I need, and, because of that, I will continue to spend money at their places of business.

I am so absolutely angry that my family is unable to just drop everything and go out to eat anywhere we want. Before I can plan to have dinner out somewhere, I first have to sit down at home, find the restaurant online, and hope that they have what I need on their web site. And most of the time, I can't even find it there. (Like tonight, for instance, when I tried to find the nutrition facts for a local pizza place - Johnny's Pizza House. They have nothing online.) Many restaurant foods are listed on Calorie King, and for that I am thankful. But not everything is available. It is so frustrating and tiring to have to plan every single detail of my days before I can make a step.

Restaurants need to clearly post the nutrition facts for each and every food that is offered on their menu. There are many, MANY Type 1 diabetics out there, along with many other people with special food needs, that need to have facts about their food before eating it. I am not the only one out there who needs this.

So, until I am able to get what I need out of these major chain restaurants, I will be spending my money elsewhere, like McDonald's, Subway, and Taco Bell. These other restaurants will not get my business until they earn it back by providing me with some nutrition facts.

I'm getting off my soap box now...

1 comment:

  1. Amen! You know I understand this. The other thing that burns my booty up is when they will include all nutritional info BUT the carbs!!!!


“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess