Six years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was in denial for about two years, but luckily my doctor gave me a wake-up call. Now I take long-lasting insulin at night, check my blood sugar at least four times a day and plan my meals and snacks. To keep me exercising, I got this great black Lab, Buddy; we walk as often as we can. Or, I make workout dates with friends because otherwise, who wants to go to the gym? For breakfast, I'll have a couple eggs and a piece of Ezekiel bread. (It's whole grain bread--less yeast.) Or I'll have a bowl of Irish oatmeal sweetened with agave, a natural sweetener made from cactus extract. I also try to drink green juice, made of kale, spinach and carrot, from a juice bar near my apartment!
As an actress, my days vary, so I have to plan my meals. This past season, we shot the first episode of The Sopranos in a desolate area in upstate New York, where there were no health food stores, so I packed lots of vegetables and proteins. On the Sopranos set in Queens, back in New York City, there was always a table of junk food, but I'd snack on wheat-free crackers. Lately, I've been traveling the country to speak about diabetes. I usually pack a turkey or tuna sandwich and a green like zucchini, spinach or asparagus. And I drink water, water, water. In the summer, I splurge once in a while on an iced coffee--that's my little treat.
Once a week, I head to a farmers' market in the city to load up on vegetables. Last night, a friend came over and we grilled chicken and sautéed some spinach, zucchini, shallots and tomato in olive oil. I do miss pizza and pasta. But it's not like I can never have a bite of cake again--if you're managing the disease, you can lead a healthy life. If you fall off the wagon, you can't beat yourself up--you just get right back on the next day!