This content was sponsored by two of Canada’s leading pharmaceutical research-based companies, but opinions are my own.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us aren’t as healthy as we used to be. We’re working from home more often, juggling even more responsibility than usual, and developing unhealthy habits just to get by. But when you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, there’s a lot you need to be aware of to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. The great news is, there are two tools out there that hope to make type 2 diabetes management a little easier—My Heart Matters and Cart2Table. Let me tell you all about them!
Type 2 diabetes doesn’t happen overnight — it’s important that you look for the warning signs!
Here in the Palmer family, we have an annual tradition of taking a family portrait to help freeze our moments in time because as parents, we know that while the days can be long, the years go by quickly, and our kids will have their own lives before we know it. Usually, our photos come out amazingly—with a photographer who’s from a mixed family herself, she understands how different skin tones need different lighting and finds the balance that complements us all. But this was 2021, and we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic—a pandemic where I gained more than a little weight.
And then enter… the COVID-19 pandemic.
It feels like it was forever ago, but when the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic in March 2020, fear sent us all scurrying to our homes, trying to protect ourselves from a virus we knew so little about. It had us wiping down our groceries before we brought them inside and hoarding months’ worth of toilet paper because everything was suddenly so uncertain. We found ourselves fully realising everything we took for granted because it was all unexpectedly taken away, and we grasped for anything to help us feel normal again.
And for me, that meant indulging in snack foods for comfort way more often than I used to.
I was ordering candy online by the hundreds and taking liberal advantage of the home delivery services that my newfound friends—Toronto’s many breweries—had set up to serve a clientele now shuttered in at home. While Sarah would try to get everyone out every day—ever the outdoor enthusiast—I’d usually just keep working to distract myself from the struggle, staying in my office for days at a time.
Like many, I’d lost my way, to the point that it started affecting my health. And for me, that’s a problem, because my family has a history of type 2 diabetes.
What’s the big deal about type 2 diabetes, anyway?
Now here’s the thing about diabetes—there’s no cure for it, and prevention is always the best approach before you get it, but type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence—there are more resources available than ever to help you manage it. As a Black man, I’m part of a community that’s much more likely to get diabetes, so it’s even more important that I keep a close eye on my health while prevention is still an option.
That said, with type 2 diabetes, you don’t have to feel deflated. You don’t have to feel like there isn’t any hope. With the help of tools like My Heart Matters and Cart2Table, you can get a leg up on type 2 diabetes and manage it!
Type 2 diabetes is directly linked to cardiovascular disease—it can reduce life expectancy by as much as fifteen years, and 80% of Canadians with diabetes will die from heart disease or a stroke. And if you have type 2 diabetes and a history of heart disease, diet and exercise may not be enough to protect your heart! There are medications that—along with diet and exercise—have been proven to lower the risk of dying from problems related to your heart and blood vessels.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important that you take an active role in protecting your heart by speaking with your healthcare providers about treatment that may help prevent early death from cardiovascular disease. And with the My Heart Matters website, you can do exactly that.
My Heart Matters
My Heart Matters is a free resource for people living with diabetes and their caregivers, chock-full of information on diabetes and diabetes-related conditions. Canadians can find a number of different tools on the My Heart Matters website to help support them with diabetes management, like:
- Information on diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with it
- A self-assessment wheel to help you reflect on your diabetes self-management
- A customizable doctor’s discussion guide to make sure that you’re having the right conversation with your doctor the first time
- Resources on diet, lifestyle, mental health and support
- And caregiver resources if you need to help others with their diabetes management.
So if type 2 diabetes is affecting you or someone important in your life, there’s no need to feel complacent—get motivated to get on My Heart Matters and take simple steps that make a difference!
Knowing how to deal with diabetes is only part of the puzzle—it’s important to make changes in your life to go along with that knowledge. That’s where Cart2Table comes in—an extension of My Heart Matters that focuses on helping people with type 2 diabetes rediscover the joy of food while still making heart-healthy choices.
Nutrition is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for people living with type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating is an important part of the type 2 diabetes treatment plan—to help balance blood sugar levels and manage health-related risks.
Finding the right foods to eat is already difficult even without type 2 diabetes—so imagine how much more overwhelming that can be when you’re trying to avoid major health impacts! Cart2Table helps answer questions about what foods to eat.
Being mindful of what you eat doesn’t need a complete overhaul or mean that your meals need to lack flavour—simple food swaps can make many of your favourite dishes “diabetes-friendly”!
This in mind, Cart2Table offers things like:
- Grocery guides to help you shop for the foods you’ll need
- Nutrition label guides to help you navigate foods when you have questions about how they’ll affect you
- Healthy swaps so you can make healthier substitutions without sacrificing the flavour in your meals
- Guides for meal planning, eating out and portion control so you don’t need to let your situation dictate your choices
- Recipes to inspire you to take the necessary steps to protect your health
Don’t let type 2 diabetes stop you from living your best life—try My Heart Matters and Cart2Table Today!
So, all things considered, living with type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be impossible. Yes, it takes a little more planning and a little more awareness to make the choices that are right for you, but if those give you a shot at a lot more life, isn’t it worth it?