that time of year when this Irish-descended nutritionist
paints her toenails green and makes sure she has currents and
caraway seeds to make Grandma Quinnís famous (in the Quinn
family, anyway) Irish soda bread. I also look for funny
limericks, like this one from www.pun.me:
once was a farmer from Leeds,
swallowed a packet of seeds.
came to pass, He was covered with grass,
all the tomatoes he needs.
I start thinking about Tom, a cheerful Irishman I met several
years ago when he was in the States visiting his daughter,
met, he shook my hand with a smile and announced, "Iím
Oh..! Glad to meet you, Tom.
smiled some more. Then he told me that he had recently been
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and could use a bit of advice.
At that point, he had only had one round of nutrition
counseling in Ireland with "a wee girl in her twenties
who sent me off with a bit of paper."
shared a cup of tea, he explained that, after his diagnosis,
his vigilant daughter put him on a strict diet when he came to
America for a visit.
was 11 and half stone," he said.
stone is 14 pounds," she explained. We did the mathÖ161
when I got back home from America, I was a waif. I had lost a
stone (14 pounds). I had to tell the girls in the chemists
shop who I was."
shop? I looked at Avril again.
you usually eat for breakfast? I asked.
plate of porridge."
sometimes bacon and eggs. We use potatoes a lot...and
not surprised. Do you check your blood sugar with a glucose
monitor? I asked.
produced a familiar-looking meter with numbers that had me a
wee bit confused. We finally figured out that in Ireland,
blood sugars are measured in millimoles per liter. To convert
that to American milligrams per deciliter, the Irish values
need to be multiplied by 18.
eat any sweet foods? I inquired.
I donít eat sweets," he said.
daughter eyed him sternly. "What about the apple
yes, the apple tart," he smiled. "I thought you
talked to Tom in a while. But according to Avril, heís doing
just fine in Ireland, riding his bicycle around the
countryside, generally staying away from candies and cutting
his helpings of soda bread and potato bread to just a
"bit of a loaf."
health to ye, Tom. Happy Saint Paddyís Day.