The Mint: Diabetes Made Me Appreciate Foods I Would’ve Never Eaten

I am 25 years old, and I can honestly say my palate has definitely matured. But do I credit my getting older? Or my diabetes diagnosis?

It wasn’t until 2020 when I officially called myself a “foodie.” Yes, I am aware that was the start of the pandemic. My “old self” was completely carefree and thought she was invincible and indestructible. It took a positive COVID test back in October and a recent hospitalization to realize that would never be the case — not just me, but all human beings alike.

Although there were certain foods I just couldn’t bring myself to eat (e,g., artichokes, mango, oranges, cooked onions, tomato). I know some folks my age who would never eat nuts, not because they are allergic, but because they’re just “picky.” I can now say I used to be one of those (picky eaters).

Just this past Sunday night, I ordered a flatbread pizza. Pro tip for diabetics: if you’re going to order a pizza, make sure the crust is thin and you resist the temptation to order extra cheese. I had my eyes (and mouth) set on a chicken pesto flatbread pizza with spinach and grape tomatoes. An hour earlier, I had planned on writing in the special instructions box, “no tomatoes, please!” but in the heat of the moment of ordering, I forgot to do so. But then I remembered, tomatoes are actually a diabetic superfood. I don’t have to be a dietician to know that tomatoes are low-carb and a fantastic source of Vitamins C, E, and iron.

About a week ago, my parents had made an AMAZING chicken cacciatore with mozzarella and artichoke-stuffed squash. With my mind preoccupied with exhaustion and my blood sugar measurements, I chose to eat this dish. And in hindsight, even if my mom put tomatoes in the chicken cacciatore recipe instead of the tomato sauce, it still would’ve been good! I wouldn’t be such a wuss about it.

So, the question still begs: is it my growing maturity? Or my diabetes diagnosis. As I write this, I’m beginning to think that my diabetes diagnosis made me more mature than I already was before. This is one of those times where I thank that diagnosis for happening, no matter how scary and painful it was.

Gratitude is the attitude, my friends!

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