A PWD's bedside table book for life
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the how-to diabetes guidebooks out there. And oftentimes, while informative, these books do little to actually help us manage our diabetes on a daily basis. So when Adam Brown, diabetes life-hacker by way of his acclaimed DiaTribe column, Adam's Corner, sought out to write a diabetes guide, he made sure it wouldn't be just any old diabetes book. Instead, Adam came up with Bright Spots & Landmines, a brilliant, wonderfully interactive guidebook with insider tricks of the diabetes trade, meant for anyone, anywhere on their diabetes journey.
There are SO many diabetes books out there. What's so great about this one?
Simply put, Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me is the most actionable and helpful diabetes guidebook we've ever seen. Bright Spots is the kind of book that's a perfect introduction to diabetes for the newly-diagnosed, but it also serves as a great continuing education for others who have been living with diabetes for longer than they have without. So what exactly is it about this book that makes it the go-to in self-help diabetes literature? Adam's guide is all about finding those “bright spots” in diabetes management that consistently make our daily lives better, and replicating them. It's also about finding the “landmines” of diabetes that continue to make the struggle very real, and learn from them. With four detailed chapters focused on food, mindset, exercise, and sleep (all major variables in diabetes management), we get a super digestible and useful handbook on how to handle diabetes. So what are some of our favorite bright spots and landmines? Take a look below:
- At the very beginning of this chapter, Adam bares it all in his first Food Bright Spot: “Eat less than 30 grams of carbohydrates at one time.” Now, this is something we can really get behind! We are all about going low-carb (It's Carbs, after all!), so this is a message very near & dear to us at One Drop.
- Adam then does a major mic drop with this statement: “Eating fewer carbs is the single most important decision I’ve ever made for keeping my blood glucose in a tight range, taking insulin safely, reducing my diabetes burden and stress, and improving my quality of life and overall health.”
- With majorly awesome meal-plan examples (like cauliflower rice and, a personal favorite, a how-to-make-chia-seed-pudding play-by-play), grocery lists & real-life restaurant alternatives, Adam shows us how to score big with food bright spots.
- This might just be our favorite chapter :) While diabetes requires a lot, there are so many things WE can do as people with diabetes to ever-so-slightly alter a seemingly bad situation. This chapter focuses on just that: changing our diabetes mindset in whatever moment we're in. Many people with diabetes feel as if they've 'failed' day in & day out because of 'bad' blood sugar readings. In this chapter, Adam encourages a totally different way of thought that might just change our way of looking at diabetes forever.
- The landmines in diabetes mindset? Setting unrealistic expectations and obsessing about things out of our control. Instead, focus on gratitude. Take a step back from it all to be mindful and grateful of what other things in your life are going right.
- A major PRO-TIP fave: “The Behavioral Diabetes Institute actually recommends putting a sticky note on your meter that says, 'It’s just a number.' I love that!” We do, too! And don't just limit it to your meter - put them anywhere and everywhere. That constant reminder, that it's just a number, goes a long way.
- Consider all your BG readings data points — the more data you have, the more you'll be able to understand! Not to mention, these are “neutral data points to take action, not grades on my performance.”
- We can totally relate to the first and last landmines here, both of which (not surprisingly), are totally mental. Meaning? Easy to fix!
- First major landmine: an all-or-nothing approach to exercise. We are SO guilty of this one - that mindset of “it only counts if you're sweaty and exhausted.” Not the case! And as Adam points out, “five minutes of activity beats zero minutes.” Let that be your daily mantra.
- Second major landmine: focusing on the pain of exercise. Because let's face it. Working out is tough! But there are some very key ways to get past this, as Adam points out. Our favorite example of his? Smile. 😄
- Also hugely helpful in this chapter are his exercise:blood ratio sugar tables. He breaks down specific workouts (walking, biking, strength training) into charts, detailing BG change, pre- and post-meal food intake and insulin basals and/or boluses.
- An all-time fave bright spot from this chapter: the importance of walking, especially after meals. Adam spends 4 pages explaining how and why walking is so important to diabetes, and we could not agree more. It's an underrated therapy, a hidden gem! And such an easy way to maintain BG levels.
- So much greatness in this chapter, but there is one bright spot that truly stands out. KEEP GLUCOSE TABS NEXT TO YOUR BED. Not a genius tactic, but something people forget to do! And such a lifesaver (literally). When that low BG hits at 2am, you won't be stumbling around like the cookie monster shoving anything and everything into your mouth. Instead, you'll reach over, grab a sugar tab (or two, or three), and be back to sleep in no time. 💤