Swan Lake

Type 1 diabetes is a big deal. Many non-diabetics are clueless about what it entails to have to manage and integrate a chronic disease. Some get annoyed when the diabetic friend or loved one speaks too often about things ‘D’.

We feel alone.

I know only one other type 1 ‘in the flesh’. Thanks to the interweb, however, T1Ds the world over can search out each other and hang out, speaking esoteric language such as insulin, HbA1c, carbs etc. But it is a shared story understood in shared language.

I call it Swan Lake.

The basis of the entire mainstream Type One story can be captured in the axiom: carbs are bad news. Some avoid carbs and embrace protein and fat. Others carefully calculate the quantity of carbs in each meal and shoot up enough insulin to ‘cover’ said carbs. The carb avoiders need insulin to ‘cover’ the body’s homegrown carbs, as well as dietary carbs and protein.

‘All carbs are bad’ is like holding the theory that ‘all swans are white’.

Recently I joined some forums and immersed myself in Swan Lake. There is the convivial atmosphere that goes with shared pain, halved pain. Many diabetics have strongly identified with the basic axiom, carbs are bad, and have constructed a story that allows them to make sense of the chaos of having a failed pancreas, that creates order in the mayhem, and so gives hope.

I tell my story in Swan Lake: T1D, initially a carb avoider / fat embracer, good sugar control, shocking cholesterol, made me quite ill, fat is a killer. Then the good news: now a carb embracer / fat avoider, good sugar control, great cholesterol, very healthy, and as a bonus: insulin daily dosage reduced by a whopping 75%.

It needs only one black swan to falsify the swans are white theory.

Most people deal with it by saying something like: “Everybody is different, low carb works for me. Good luck!”

To a minority my story is like farting loudly in polite company. Fortunately a sweet smelling plant based flatus, not a putrid rotten egg, milk and meat one.😂


A sweet smelling flatus

Their first attack is the science one: “Where is the scientific basis of a high carb no fat plant based diet to manage diabetes?”, demand the white swans. “We want to see long term double blind placebo controlled studies in peer reviewed journals”. I don’t have the time in this life for that.

Next angle: ancestor myths. “We believe that our ancestors were hunters and meat eaters. We believe that agriculture and grain are the cause of all our diseases. We evolved to eat meat and fat, we reject carbs.” Sounds like religion to me.

Third attack: eating plants equals anarchy. “Dr. McDougall (the leading light of low fat plant based) is funded by PETA. His agenda is to stop cruelty to animals. Vegans are out to destroy society as we know it”. Thanks for the suggestion, fellers!

Fourth manoeuvre: you’re a wannabe swan. The diehard white swans try to explain my good results with factors other than my no fat plant based high exercise lifestyle. “It’s the honeymoon (my own homegrown insulin). I’ve been a diabetic for 40 years and I know all about it”, they say. Placebo controlled?

In conclusion, I’m not on a mission.  I’m happy for people to manage their disease the way they consider best. I do have a vivid imagination that supposes how to do things better. I then set up an experiment with a sample size n=1 (me). Through count, measure and weigh I test my hypothesis. That gives me knowledge that helps me.


About the author Rien

dutch by birth 🇳🇱 | australian by choice 🇦🇺 | type 1 diabetic 💉 | married ❤️⚭ | grandfather 👴🏻 | fujifilm photographer 📷 | boat builder and sailor ⛵️ | seeker no more 🚫📖

All posts by Rien →


  1. Reblogged this on balabhaska and commented:
    Just be sweet heart

    Liked by 1 person


  2. I’ve experienced life for close to 78 years, and there is not one day, that I don’t think about the things I could have done better. Progress can only be achieved by an open mind.

    Keep being a black swan Rien.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. I love this post. I’m fascinated by (and a little bit in awe of) the way you manage your diabetes. So nice to hear about success stories.

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Thanks, Alana. You are too kind!

      Liked by 2 people


  4. Happy to have a Black Swan in the family. In fact quite proud of it!

    Liked by 1 person


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