For a long time, I put up a lot of barriers towards carb counting. When I was diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago, my parents and I weren't taught about the importance of knowing how much carbohydrate you're eating, and how much insulin to take for it. Instead of altering how much insulin I'd inject depending on what I was eating, I had set doses for each meal and that was that. It was only when I was about 15 years old that I was encouraged by my doctors to attend a DAFNE course but, as far as I saw it, there was no need - I thought everything was just fine the way I'd been doing it.
Thankfully, I eventually realised that carbohydrate counting not only made a lot of sense, but it's also essential to balanced blood-sugar levels. My lifestyle, and the amount of food I'd eat, would change significantly from day-to-day and administering the same amount of insulin, regardless of whether I was eating one piece of toast or a whole plate-full of pasta, was a recipe for disaster.
When I finally started to learn how to carb count and began to realise which foods had carbohydrate in them (it had never occurred to me that a lot of meat products like sausages and burgers are packed with bread-crumbs!), it took me quite a long time before I had the hang of it. The book 'Carbs & Cals' acted as a bit of a lifeline for me during this time. Each page has photos of different portion sizes for so many different carb-containing foods, and it tells you how many grams of carbohydrate are in each one - it is genius!
Although I either weigh my carby food, or look at the nutritional information on the back of packets to know how much insulin to give myself, I still find Carbs & Cals really useful. When I go out for a meal, when I can't find out the weight myself, I know that I can flick through the book and compare the portion size to the photos on the pages. I've also found that, nowadays, I don't even need to carry the book with me as I know instantly what 60g of pasta, or 70g of rice looks like on my plate, because I've seen it so many times in Carbs & Cals.
So if I could give one tip that makes life with diabetes easier (aside from not wearing all-in-one clothing, after my injecting difficulty when wearing my floral playsuit a few weeks back [read here]), it would be to buy a copy of Carbs & Cals. You'll never be left guesstimating again!