Connecting the dots of Midsummer – things to note as a diabetic

Midsummer or “Juhannus” as we call it here in Finland, is my favourite holiday. For many, the summer really starts from Juhannus. The reason for this is that while it can be cold and rainy, it is the most popular time to start one’s summer holiday.

 

 

Traditionally Juhannus is spent on summer cabins by the lake. The fest often means having a lot of food and spending time with friends and family. Sauna (and beating each other with birch twigs while in sauna) and swimming are common pastimes of Juhannus.

Midsummer festivities and maintaining a steady BG trend

For diabetics, there are a few things to take into consideration while enjoying midsummer’s eve.

  • First, you are eating a lot or there is food to be had. Grilled meat, sausages and vegetables plus early harvest potatoes are among the classics of summer foods. It means that a diabetic has to factor in increased amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It is hard to keep BG levels steady!
  • Second, if you are consuming alcohol (like it is tradition on Juhannus), you must be careful with insulin. Alcohol has a tendency to first raise your BG levels and then in a few hours, bring them crashing down. You do not want to go low in the middle of the night.
  • And third, swimming and sauna can have an effect to your insulin absorbtion.

Lot of greasy food with carbs, alcohol and sauna can make for a great evening, but for a diabetic it will be a challenge to maintain good BG levels. I find it easier to easen up a bit on my BG goals and just go easier for this one magical night.

I like sharing pictures and bg values from my evening on Dottli’s messenger. It’s fun to see that my over-the-top BG levels are not that uncommon among diabetics on midsummer’s eve!

– Miika

The writer has had t1d for 15 years and feels like his health is better because of diabetes and the more strict lifestyle it demands.

midsummer's bonfire

Bonfire is an important part of Finnish midsummer festivities.