The Takeaway Dilemma – by Ben Rolfe

Ben is the father of Alice who has Type 1 diabetes. Here, Ben and Alice share their views on Sunday night family curries..


Sunday nights are always fraught with three children. With the thought of Monday Morning looming, school and work, has everyone done their homework, practised their instruments, relevant sports kits (is it rowing or gymnastics tomorrow???!) washed and packed, work shirt ironed, and so on. By the time 7pm comes around, and all the last minute letters from the teachers have been signed, history test practised for, everyone is frazzled and exhausted.

It is often the practice in our house to lighten the burden with a Takeaway – not every Sunday, but more often than not in term time. Something that should help ease the stress of a Sunday evening, something to look forward to, to lighten the mood, a shared family meal and experience with no preparation time and minimal washing up. Of course there is the usual debate about what to have – Chinese? No, where we live the options are limited and very poor. Thai? No, too far away, too slow, and too expensive. Sushi? No, someone had that on Friday with their mates. Curry? YES!

Apart from Alice. She loves curry. But hates it at the same time. The reason being that her blood sugars go sky high and remain that way until at least morning. We have tried the no rice, no naan bread tricks, but it still does it (and she can see her sisters enjoying rice and naan and of course feels hard done by). But she hates being high and waking up with a dry mouth and a stinking headache, and who can blame her? Certainly not me. It must be something to do with the salt content and / or the high fat content in the curry sauce that has this effect.

Which brings me on to the next point, if it is visibly doing this to Alice’s blood sugars, visible only due to the fingerprick checks, what is it doing to the rest of us where it is invisible? The answer of course, is the same thing. We have had many discussions within the family since Alice’s diagnosis, and if I am honest our diet has changed, to help Alice control her sugars in the night, but also because it is the healthier option. Of course, there is no way to really address the Takeaway Dilemma – last Sunday Alice had tandoori chicken (dry) and a salad. Although she did dip in and have a spoonful of everyone else’s curry as well, as one is wont to do (apart from Mrs R, what’s hers is hers!). But it is about making consistently healthy choices with the odd special treat every now and again. Like the odd Sunday evening.


Ah, curry. One of my worst enemies, along with pasta, pizza, bread, rice etc…. Why are all the delicious things bad for my blood sugar? I used to love having curry on a Sunday evening, in front of a good movie, before I was diabetic this was. Now, I dread it. From the moment I have a look at the menu, I’m already thinking about the next morning. I love eating curry, but I hate the aftermath. Why don’t my mum, my dad, my sisters, have to carb count, bolus, set an alarm to check in the middle of the night, and wake up feeling groggy and thirsty on a Monday morning? How come they can eat to their heart’s content without having to do any of this? Even if I don’t eat rice or naan bread, I’m still high. The worst time to be high is a Monday morning, before a ton of tests. But, I’ll still continue eating curry because it’s just so tempting, even though it’s, irritating at the same time!

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