She CAN Eat Cookies

by Leighann on January 21, 2011

Girl Scout CookiesAs thousands (millions?) of other young girls across the country are doing this month, Q is peddling Girl Scout cookies.

Since she is a Daisy and this is her first year, I decided we weren’t going to go overboard and set too high a goal for ourselves. The troop leaders decided to set the goal at 42 boxes per member because that would be enough to have a pretty nice reward if reached. Maybe camping, roller skating, a movie, or the like.

Little did I know that we would reach 89 in one afternoon just by selling to grandparents and my coworkers. That’s right, we doubled that goal in a couple of hours. Q is a good salesperson (winning toothless smile). And honestly my office was a bit quiet on that Friday afternoon, so we will likely rack up a few more sales.

So I’m thinking we’ve done our part and can relax.

No.

Q wanted to sell door-to-door in our neighborhood because that’s how she envisions cookie selling.

So I told Q we would hit up the neighbors on our street. As we headed out I began to wonder who’s brilliant idea it was to encourage girls to go door-to-door in JANUARY! Though it was a balmy 24 degrees.

Remember, we only recently moved to this neighborhood and don’t know anyone too well.

First neighbor bought three boxes.

Here’s the conversation on the second neighbor’s doorstep.

Q: Hello. My name is Q and I am one of your neighbors (points towards our house). I’m selling Girl Scout cookies today. Would you like to buy some?

Neighbor: I can’t eat cookies. I’m diabetic.

Q: I’M DIABETIC TOO! Look. I have an insulin pump (pulls up coat and shirt to show her).

Neighbor: Oh, you’re diabetic too. You are so young.

Me: She has Type 1 diabetes.

Neighbor: I just found out that I’m diabetic a few months ago.

Long story short, the woman does home daycare and invited Q to come over and play with the kids the next day since there was no school.

So there we have it, we can’t even go door-to-door selling Girl Scout cookies without somehow encountering two misconceptions about diabetes: (1) that you can’t eat cookies and (2) that only old people get it.

So you might be wondering, did she buy any cookies?

Uh, no.

From the Girl Scouts website:

Q: Should people with diabetes buy or consume Girl Scout Cookies?

A: For consumer convenience, each of our two licensed bakers lists dietary exchanges on the cookie box and cookie order form so people with diabetes and adults with children with diabetes can make informed choices. The amount of sugar and carbohydrates is also listed. Dietary exchanges should always be consulted, even if a product is labeled “sugarless.” “Sugar free cookies” or “sugarless” are not synonymous with a “diabetic cookie” labeling because of the carbs.

My Answer: Yes!

Eat them, have insulin. If you don’t want to eat them, pass them along to someone who will. And if you really don’t want to eat them, you have the option of buying cookies and sending them to the troops overseas through Operation Cookie Share. That’s a win-win situation: you support the Girl Scouts and you do something nice for someone who might enjoy a little piece of home.

*Image from the Girl Scouts website.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy January 21, 2011 at 6:09 am

Here’s something I’ve actually been meaning to blog about. Can you eat cookies etc etc if diabetic. Isn’t the answer really yes and no. I mean, technically, you can eat whatever. But, you have to watch the sweeter it gets, because even if you take insulin — esp. if you’re someone who has to do insulin after you eat — like a preschooler — cookies may not always be the best choice. Right? Then you may get spikes, even though insulin will bring down that sugar eventually, and the spikes aren’t good?

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2 Leighann January 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

The short answer is “yes.”

All things in moderation (which was our philosophy even before diagnosis). We usually let her have treats like this with a meal.

Some of the best advice we were given by the CDE at diagnosis is “let her be a kid.” I have no problem letting her eat cake and ice cream at birthday parties or be included in class parties or indulge in Girl Scout cookies. After all, GS cookies only come around once a year.

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3 Sarah January 21, 2011 at 8:35 am

And see, time as I saw that she was a girl scout, I immediately thought of the Mint Girlscout cookies (gosh, I can taste them now!). I’ve eaten them all through my growing-up years and only recently haven’t because I don’t know of any troops around here selling them. I’ve never let my diabetes stop me from enjoying a few of their wonderful cookies.
I really do wish the “outsiders” could be informed properly about what diabetes really is and how it’s really managed and what we really can eat. Most of all for the CWD now… they don’t need to be fed all the lies or deal with what people like me and the grown-up CWD had to deal with. Times have chnaged, medicine has had advances – now the rest of the world needs to be caught up on it.
And tell Q if she’d like, I’ll buy a box from her! 🙂

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4 Leighann January 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

(As I said in the above comment) the best advice we were given by the CDE’s was to let her be a kid. She had three birthday parties to attend within two weeks of her diagnosis! The CDE told me not to worry, that’s it more important for her to enjoy life, let her go and have fun, and give insulin.

I think this type of attitude will go a long way in helping these CWD’s be well-adjusted and not rebel as much because they aren’t denied every little thing.

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5 Sylvia White January 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm

That’s what I tell the kids and parents I work with as a dietitian, that they are still a kid and let them have fun and enjoy it, just cover the carbs with insulin. And that’s what the CDE and endo told us when both my kids were diagnosed with diabetes. It’s stressful enough without restricting things!

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6 Becky January 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

I am a gs leader and mom of a 8 year old with diabetes. She sells them and eats them in moderation. I love that gs headquarters addressed the topic so well. It is up to the family if they want to sell or eat the cookies. We have a mom in our troop that just donates money as she does not like the cookies (her daughter is not diabetic but she buys organic, healthy snacks). I my daughter should get the experience and we let her have some cookies in moderation.

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7 Leighann January 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

I agree. I actually thought the GS statement was well written and was pleasantly surprised to see it addressed on their site.

And I’m with you that it’s important for these T1 kids to “get the experience.”

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8 Kristen January 21, 2011 at 9:35 am

Yes! Yes she can eat girl scout cookies, however some Type 2’s are really vigilant and just don’t do sweets. PERIOD. They don’t get the whole insulin thing and that kids need carbs to grow. My own grandfather is Type 2 and was suggesting that we eliminate all carbs from her diet. I had to tell him she needed them to grow, but he just did not get it. We were told and are still told to follow a healthy diet like a normal 8 year should and have treats in moderation. (Just like every other 8 year old!!) If you know your child gets spikes from a particular food you can bolus accordingly. We do!!! Kailyn is selling them too and will be happily munching on some when we get them. 🙂

ps: We are not going door to door. Just doing it via friends and my husband and sisters work. Kailyn never envisioned door to door sales though. 😉

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9 tmana January 21, 2011 at 9:38 am

There’s more to the “yes and no”: those of us with Type 2 who are not on insulin need to be more vigilant about our diets than those who require insulin; also, those who are on a basal-only regime need to choose foods to maintain as stable (and as close to nondiabetic) a blood glucose level as possible.

In short, it is possible that your neighbor can’t eat cookies — perhaps “at least for now”, perhaps “forever”. YDMV.

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10 Amy Scheer January 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

In December, my paper ran an article on diabetes in which they both promoted healthy eating and never distinguished between type 1 and type 2. I wrote a letter the editor that apparently won’t be printed by them, so let me stand on my soapbox here and tell you what I wrote:

“Your recent article on diabetes promotes the type of misunderstanding that interrupted my seven-year-old’s enjoyment of the holiday. “You’re eating that?” people would exclaim, thinking this recently-diagnosed boy shouldn’t be allowed his share of Christmas cookies.

With no distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, articles such as yours lead the uninformed to believe that if only type 1s would exercise and eat right, they wouldn’t have to fuss with all these meters and needles. Too, they think, maybe my son contracted the disease by our lack of attention to these areas, confusing his condition with type 2 and its most common causes.

As a parent, I work diligently at promoting health in my household for the diabetic as well as those without the disease.

But in reality, my son’s pancreas is always going to let him down, and he may eat a variety of foods as long as we count the carbs, divide this number by 20, and give him a shot of insulin. No matter how healthy a lifestyle he practices, he’ll always need to follow this cumbersome routine. So let him eat cookies.”

Whaddya all think?

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11 sysy January 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’m a type 1 and I can’t eat cookies. I think my digestion has slowed due to all those years with higher A1c levels.

I try to tell people that I can’t eat cookies or pizza or other “white” foods, BUT I explain why it’s that way for ME and not other type 1 diabetics just so the misconceptions don’t keep circulating. I think we should all be open minded to those type 1 diabetics who may not want to expose that they have gastroparesis or something and are saying they can’t eat something. I just happen to be very forward but it is a sensitive subject.

I was told at 11 I couldn’t have any sugar (back then that’s what the doctors said) and honestly it did cause rebellion so I appreciate parents of children with diabetes out there giving their children as much healthy balance as possible. You’re all right, they are after all, children.

The thing is that if as people with diabetes get older and find they no longer tolerate certain foods so well, they should find support in saying, “i can’t eat that” for their health’s sake. There is nothing to be ashamed of and the best thing to do is stay healthy instead of end up in the hospital like me at age 18 for stomach issues.

I’ve been writing a post about this subject to be up soon.

Much love to all you parents of diabetic children, you’re my heroes!

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12 Amanda January 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Why yes, she can eat Girl Scout Cookies, just not cookies with poison. Haha, I was surprised it was addressed on the GS website as well. I do think it’s a shame that there are so many misconceptions about Type 1, but I do agree that some Type 2’s just can’t eat those types of things. My grandma is a Type 2 and she cannot eat alot of things, that being said, when my daugther was diagnosed with Type 1 (about 10 years after my Grandma’s Type 2 diagnosis) my Grandma was very vigilant about researching and learning the differences between her and my daughter’s diseases. It’s okay to be frustrated with your neighbor, but maybe you and Q can try to build a friendship with her so you can educate her about Type 1 and she can educate you a bit more on Type 2 or in the least you can support her in these early stages of her diagnosis.

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13 Karen January 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I’m really impressed with the answer from the Girl Scouts website!! It’s always great to see correct information out there. 🙂

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14 Michael Hoskins January 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

Loved her response, showing off her pump with pride right there on the doorstep! Of course, then there’s the whole misconception part…. Grrr. Aside from the general public misconceptions, I think a large part of it is the medical community that still very often goes with the “avoid sugar” train of thought. Especially with the newly-diagnosed and older diabetics, and those doctors who went to school so long ago and haven’t kept up with the changes practically. Bad habits are hard to break, but we try… In the meantime, we enjoy some great GS cookies! Like those yummy chocolate covered ones… Mmmm. Great post, and nice job on the cookie-selling front!

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15 Christine January 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm

LuLu is also a Daisy, and we have been selling cookies all week. Her troop has been so supportive of her, and we even gave a talk to the Daisy Troop about Type 1 with LuLu demonstrating all of the things she does to stay healthy. Several of the girls even walked with us this year. I love that they are learning about diversity, and seeing through my daughter’s example that you can do amazing things, even if you sometimes have to stop and check your sugar. I have to admit that I do struggle a little bit with the idea of my Type 1 selling cookies, but then I remind myself that she can eat anything in moderation. They are a great thing to have in the freezer to have as an occasional super special snack. I love the experiences she is having with her Daisy Troop, so selling a few cookies is worth it.

It sounds like your Q and my LuLu have lots in common–she also loves ice skating!

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16 marie guidice May 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My question was is it OK for children to eat sugar free cookies? Someone told me there is something in the cookies that is not good for children. Please answer.

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17 Leighann May 12, 2011 at 1:26 am

Because some sugar-free products include sugar alcohols, I personally read labels and make decisions about which ones to give my child. Sugar alcohols can make stomachs upset and cause diarrhea, and this is especially true for small children. Most of the time I would rather my child have a food with real sugar and give the insulin to cover it, than give her a food with lots of artificial sweeteners and/or sugar alcohols.

Here’s a post on artificial sweeteners: http://www.d-mom.com/artificial-sweeteners/

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