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Humans

Bridget, on diabetes – Editor and writer of The Sweet Life

How long has Sweet Life been up and running?
We started the magazine and website in November 2011 to show that it’s possible to live a happy, healthy life with diabetes.

When did you find out you were diabetic?
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in October 2007 when I was 25. It was an extremely late diagnosis – I was 3 days away from a diabetic coma – purely because I didn’t know the 5 common symptoms of diabetes:
1. Extreme hunger
2. Extreme thirst
3. Needing to pee a lot, especially at night
4. Constant exhaustion
5. Blurry vision

I had all of those symptoms and more, if I’d just gone to my local clinic for a finger-prick blood test, which takes less than 5 minutes, it would have been far less dramatic.

How has your life changed?
Completely. On a practical level, I now need to inject myself every time I eat and when I wake up and go to sleep (about 5 times a day) and test my blood sugar numerous times a day. I have to be aware of everything I eat, all carbs need to be injected for (carbs are everything from the expected bread and pasta to all fruit, some vegetables and dairy).

Emotionally, I had to adjust to living with a chronic condition. No matter how well controlled I am, I will always be diabetic. And that’s not always easy to accept…

But there are plenty of positives, too. I’m living a far healthier life than I would have been if I wasn’t diabetic, I’ve come to accept that no matter how hard I try, life (and diabetes) is unpredictable, and I am far kinder to myself than I would have been if I wasn’t diagnosed. In many ways, diabetes has taught me to be a better person, I think…

Do you find that there are many people who don’t take care of themselves properly after being diagnosed because of lack of understanding and nutritional education?
Absolutely, that’s what we’re trying to dispel with Sweet Life: to give people the basic information they need about diabetes and support them in the day to day struggles that all diabetics face. Our Facebook page has weekly diabetic chats on Wednesdays at 8 pm where you can connect with other people living with diabetes.

There is a misconception that a sugar-free life is a fun-free life but as demonstrated by the recipes posted on your site, this is not the case…
Sweet Life is all about balance: we don’t say that you can’t ever eat sugar again, because it’s a lifetime condition and nobody can stay on a diet for life! But there are plenty of ways to eat food that is both healthy and delicious which is what we’re all about!