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Positively Type 1: A Holistic Perspective for People with Diabetes




The following is an interview with Nick Kundrat - Holistic Diabetes Educator & Author of "Positively Type 1," adapted from https://diabetesed.net/blog/


 

In the realm of diabetes education, where deep struggles often cast shadows on hope, one holistic diabetes educator has embarked on a mission to illuminate a different path—a path that embraces positivity, resilience, and a profound understanding of living with Type 1 diabetes. Join us in this exclusive interview with Nick Kundrat - Holistic diabetes educator and author behind "Positively Type 1," as we delve into a refreshingly simple and optimistic approach to diabetes care.


Nick Kundrat, a beacon of inspiration in the diabetes education community, didn't arrive at this revolutionary approach by chance. It was forged through personal experiences, a deep empathy for those navigating the complexities of Type 1 diabetes, and a relentless belief in the transformative power of a positive mindset.


As we navigate the pages of "Positively Type 1," we discover a manifesto for individuals with Type 1 diabetes seeking a brighter, more empowering point of view on their diabetes diagnosis. In this interview, Nick takes us behind the scenes, sharing the insights, anecdotes, and strategies that have the potential to redefine how we approach diabetes education.


Get ready to challenge preconceptions, embrace a holistic perspective, and embark on a journey that goes beyond the textbooks. "Positively Type 1" isn't just a book; it's a paradigm shift—a beacon guiding educators and individuals alike toward a positive, resilient, and fulfilling approach to Type 1 diabetes.


What inspired you to write "Positively Type 1"?

My book writing journey actually began at a very young age when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes myself. At age 4, after becoming terribly sick, my parents and I were told to head to the emergency room. We expected to be checked in, seen by the doctor, then be checked out with some antibiotics. But instead, a terrible nightmare ensued…. Being diagnosed with an incurable, life-long chronic illness: Type 1 Diabetes.


Growing up with a fantastic support system, the daily struggles of diabetes were outweighed by a very happy, healthy childhood filled with sports, school, activities, family and friendships. Yet still I spent lots of time with doctors and educators who helped me navigate my complex chronic condition.


Naturally, as an adult, I was led into the healthcare field, where I soon became the educator (instead of the educated). After spending countless hours around diabetes educators and endocrinologists as a patient, and countless hours on the other side of the coin, educating patients myself in hospitals & clinics, I arrived at a startling conclusion….


There is lots of negativity in the diabetes space. A LOT.


When I (and nearly everyone else I know with diabetes) was diagnosed with type 1, I was never given a pep talk and was never given much hope. Instead I was told:


“Your body is broken” 


Your pancreas doesn't work”


“Your body turned against you” 


 “You wont get to be like other kids” 


While there is some truth in these statements, telling a 4 year old child these things can (and will) drastically shift their beliefs about their bodies and about themselves.


As an educator, I noticed most practitioners are approaching Type 1 diabetes through a similar lens. 


“Well, it's just something you have to manage”


“You'll be stuck with this forever”


Which again there is some truth to, but statements like these lack a vital ingredient in the recipe of health and healing… HOPE!


If I've learned one thing as a diabetes patient and educator… Sometimes all it takes to drastically change someone's life is a little dose of hope. 


This was the inspiration behind writing Positively Type 1. 


Tell us a little about the book itself. What can readers expect to learn?

Put simply “Positively Type 1: How living with a chronic illness can be your most powerful motivator for an extraordinary life” is a lighthearted guide to seeing your type 1 diagnosis through a positive, optimistic lens. 


In each chapter, I explain a different skill or character trait you learn living with Type 1. Allow me to share a few examples: 


A person with type 1 diabetes makes on average over 180 more decisions per day (between insulin dosing and carb counting) compared to someone without diabetes. Through this, we become INCREDIBLE problem solvers.


With type 1, you learn to be extremely tuned in to every little shift and change in your blood sugar levels. This helps us build incredible levels of self awareness


Having to endure countless needle-sticks and finger-pricks helps you cultivate a mental and physical toughness unlike any other group of people I've ever met. 


And many more!


Plus, so that you aren't just hearing from me, I sat down and interviewed amazing young type 1 warriors whom I’ve worked with as patients. So you get to hear from inspiring young voices who are doing a kick A** job with their diabetes mindset and treatment.


Overall, it's an easy, lighthearted, humor filled read that will hopefully leave you smiling and filled with hope. 


You mentioned being a “Holistic diabetes educator” - what does that mean?

Diabetes education technically includes a myriad of different topics related specifically to diabetes treatment, as well as nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle interventions. Yet in my experience, most diabetes education stops at the first one…. diabetes education. Now arguably, diabetes educators focusing on diabetes education seems like a good thing, right? Well...


While diabetes treatment is an important piece of the puzzle., it's really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a person's health. Your blood sugar balance is NOT just reliant on your insulin dosing and carb counting. Every other area of your life and health can affect your diabetes treatment in big ways. How you sleep, how you eat, how you think, how you rest, how you move, even how you relate to others are really the foundations of proper blood sugar control.


So, in my opinion,  patients are being done a disservice when their health professionals focus solely on their diabetes. Besides… They are working with people. They aren't working with diabetics, they're working with people who just happen to also have diabetes. Unfortunately, many doctors and educators are just seeing numbers on a page rather than a whole person. 


The holistic approach to diabetes is exactly that. A people first approach to diabetes care. Addressing the foundations of health (sleep, stress, nutrition, hydration, exercise, emotions,  detoxification) along with your traditional diabetes care is the only way to cultivate true wellness, rather than just staying stuck in the loop of disease treatment. 


In my wellness practice, I utilize a variety of different modalities to help my patients heal at a deep level. We always begin with the health foundations (as mentioned above) as well as optimizing diabetes care. With some clients who want to go even more in depth with their health, we utilize nutritional testing and manual therapy approaches to help rebalance the body at a deep level. I'm blessed to be able to share my experiences in both clinical and holistic health to help my patients feel good and cultivate true wellness.


How does your book tie into the Holistic Diabetes Education model? 

Well as I mentioned previously, holistic diabetes education means looking at the WHOLE PERSON. What many professionals believe that means is: Diabetes education + exercise + nutrition only. What it really means is taking into account EVERY PART OF YOU… This includes the parts you cannot see. Emotions, feelings, psychology, stress, behaviors, choices and spirituality are all important parts of you that cannot be “seen” but are nonetheless very real, and very important factors in your health journey. 


Your beliefs are a very important part of the “unseen” parts of your health puzzle. What you believe about the world, about your body, about health in general, and about your diabetes set the stage for how you will act in the world (and how well you will do actually treating your diabetes!


Beliefs determine our thoughts, which determine our feelings, which determine our actions. In other words, what you believe, determines how you act. So if you believe:


“Well my body is broken, I cannot get any better, and nothing ever works in my favor,” you will continue to run yourself in self limiting circles, keep making poor decisions and keep struggling with your health and diabetes treatment. 


But if you believe:


“My body is strong and resilient, I can always make positive change and get healthier, and my struggles are opportunities to grow and change,” you will be able to make choices that lead you in a positive direction with your health and your diabetes treatment.


If you can shift someone's beliefs, you can shift their entire lives. This was the goal for Positively type 1 - to shift the negative beliefs (that most of us living with type 1 diabetes hold) in a more positive, optimistic direction. 


Who is your book for?

Positively Type 1 is for anyone with type 1 diabetes, or those who love someone with type 1 diabetes. It's written for all ages, but many of the “Type 1 Interviews” at the end of the chapters are with young adults, so it may particularly resonate with the preteen/teen age group.


In Conclusion…

As we conclude our exploration of "Positively Type 1" with Nick, it's evident that the book is more than words on paper—it's a source of inspiration for both educators and individuals with Type 1 diabetes.


The insights shared today emphasize the transformative power of a positive mindset and a holistic approach. Whether you're a seasoned educator or someone living with Type 1 diabetes, the message is clear: positivity, understanding, and resilience pave the way for a brighter future.

Let Nick’s words be a call to action. By fostering positivity and empathy, we contribute to a more hopeful journey for everyone touched by Type 1 diabetes.


Thank you, Nick, for guiding us on this empowering path. May "Positively Type 1" continue to inspire positive change in the diabetes community.


Learn More:

To learn more about Nick’s holistic wellness practice, please visit: 


To purchase a copy of Nick’s book from amazon, please visit: 

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