“Why Are You Here?”

When you joined the Facebook group (Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics), you were asked to answer three questions: 1) Are you a diabetic, pre-diabetic, at risk for diabetes, or have a diabetic family member or friend? 2) Do you understand that Seventh-day Adventists may be dietary vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, or non-vegetarians who eat only “clean” meat/fish as described in Leviticus and Deuteronomy? 3) Are you willing to comply with the basic group guidelines?

Once you are a group member, what are your expectations from the group as a whole? We recently took a poll to find out the reason(s) why you joined our group–and why you stay.

Recipes

So it should come as no surprise that the top reason (20%) for being in this group is to get diabetic-friendly recipes! Yet, only 7% want to share their own diabetic-friendly recipes. And this is pretty normal. Maybe you’re just not sure if a recipe that you like is diabetic-friendly or not. But 16% want to learn how to alter recipes to make them diabetic-friendly. And we help each other do that! One strategy we recently implemented is the “Today’s Plate Challenge,” with a picture of a food or combination of foods to first identify the food(s) shown and then to answer questions: What is it? Is it diabetic-friendly? Is it vegan? Would you eat it? If not, how would you change it? We feel that participating in this activity helps prepare us for eating in the real world, at home and away from home.

Success Stories

Sixteen percent (16%) want to hear success stories of other group members, and 11% are willing to share their own success stories. It is always heartwarming when a member excitedly posts about lowering her A1C or reversing neuropathy in his feet! Above all, stories of others’ successes help inspire us to work toward our own successes. We recognize that “success” does not mean the same thing for everyone and is always relative to something. When members give us permission, we add their stories to our website at https://adventistvegetariandiabetics.wordpress.com/testimonial/.

Information About Diabetes

Another 15% want more information about diabetes and related health issues, but only 9% are brave enough to ask specific (or general) questions about a diabetes topic. Frequently, members don’t really know what questions to ask. Or they may be afraid of sounding “dumb” or naive. We want to assure our members that there is no such thing as a “dumb question”! When the Admins and members share articles, it’s a good chance to learn to read with a critical-thinking mind. “To be thinkers and not mere reflectors of other [people’s] thought.” Members understand they don’t have to agree (or disagree) with everything they read. And that the ultimate test of anything is to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Community

Finally, 5% expressed their appreciation for the encouragement and fellowship they feel from being in the group. When someone takes time to mention this, it’s always a compliment on the group as a whole. It means that we are truly here for each other. We can empathize with others’ health issues and share our own experiences, if applicable. Because many of us grew up in the same faith tradition, we also understand cultural Adventism and how it impacts our approach to diabetes management.

We Admins are so pleased to have all of you together in this group!

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