How Does Your Culture Impact YOUR Diabetes?

by | Mar 18, 2019 | Blog, Dealingwithyourdiabetes, Ownership | 0 comments

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  One of my favorite holidays!  Not only am I named after St. Patrick (my Dad wanted a boy…..that’s another story), but according to my DNA, I am 63% Irish.  The other 37 percent is a stone’s throw away in England and France.  You might say my ethnic origins are not very diverse.  My people are from a relatively small part of this big blue planet!

Celebrating Culture

As we donned our green yesterday and I cooked a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, I took some time to ponder how much culture influences our beliefs, habits, expectations and lifestyle.  My family has a fun tradition of making Leprechaun milk!  There is nothing better than watching a child’s eyes light up when their morning glass of milk magically turns green.  (Don’t tell them a secretly placed drop of green food coloring caused the transformation!)  On St. Patrick’s day, the Leprechaun’s did it!  These family traditions pass from one generation to the next.  As are so many other things.

What makes up your culture?

According to Google’s dictionary, culture is defined as the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.  My culture is impacted by  the Catholicism , the Irish Potato Famine, farming, large families (I’m one of 7 kids), a small town upbringing and a meat and potatoes midwestern diet.   We spent leisure time at the lake water skiing and camping or travelling the US in a camper that fit on my Dad’s pick up truck.  All these events, memories and traditions shape how I see the world and what I believe about myself.  Your culture influences you as well.  So many tiny little things, that you may not remember, impact what you believe and how you behave.

Diabetes and Culture

If you live with diabetes, your culture plays a major role in your diabetes care.  If it doesn’t,  it SHOULD!  Diabetes care impacts nearly every aspect of your life.  If your cultural needs, traditions, and norms are not factored in, sticking to any plan will be like swimming upstream.   Cookie cutter diets, exercise plans and testing schedules force you to push your life into a framework that can be restrictive.  Your plan must allow for dietary restrictions, religious holidays that require fasting, family celebrations, work schedules, finances, and a million other things that make you..YOU!


The trick to including your cultural needs into your diabetes plan,  may not be what you think.  The trick is COMMUNICATION!  No one knows how you see the world  or what is important to you, except YOU!  Make sure your provider has this information.  Modifications are creative ways to manage diabetes and maintain your values.   It may take some trial and error, but once you figure out a few options that work, it gets easier. Don’t assume your educator or provider will cover everything you need.  Speak up!  They will welcome this insight into how your world works (if not, maybe time to do some doctor shopping!).

Bottom line when your diabetes plan aligns with your cultural values, it will be MUCH easier to follow.  There is no perfect plan, so keep flexibility in your back pocket.  Not sure how to take the next steps or what to stay?  Contact me for a FREE 30 minute introductory call.

Peace and a Pot ‘o Gold,
“Patty” (only on 3/17!!)

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