Sue Schaefer

Smithers diabetes clinic a hilarious success

Mrs. Pudding visited Smithers last week to share tips on living with diabetes.

Sporting an outfit that was all the rage in 1950’s Kiev, the kielbasa-loving, butter-toting  “Mrs. Pudding” visited Smithers last week to share tips on living with diabetes.

“I spent a long time living in a place called ‘Denialbetes,’” she told the crowd of 30 gathered at the Smithers Healthy Living Centre.

“Any of you know this place?

“Might be closer to Telkwa, I don’t know.”

“Mrs. Pudding,” otherwise known as Sue Schaefer, diabetes nurse educator, won a lot of laughs with that line and several more, occasionally un-printable jokes.

But Mrs. Pudding also delivered a lot of “easy-peasey” ways to keep diabetes at bay, most of which involved simple tips on diet and exercise.

“You know who they send you to first, don’t you,” she asked those in attendance.

“The dietician.

“The dragon lady.

“What do you wanna bet she’s gonna be skinny like a rake?”

Mrs. Pudding said when she was diagnosed with Type 2 or sugar diabetes, she was surprised to find sweets weren’t the only thing her dietician wanted her to watch.

In fact, she learned rice, bread, potatoes and other carbohydrates can also raise blood sugar.

“You know what ‘carbohydrate’ means? Sugar—that’s it,” she said.

“So simple.”

To give people an easy way to prepare meals for someone with diabetes, Mrs. Pudding had everyone raise their hands and try what she called the “hand jive.”

Make a fist and chop your hand off at the wrist, she said, and that’s how many carbohydrates you should eat in one sitting.

Take just the palm of your hand, she added, and that shows how much meat or other proteins to eat.

“Now, here’s the kicker,” she said, giving a single thumbs-up.

“That’s the fat.

“My doctor said, ‘No, no Mrs. Pudding—it’s one to two teaspoons of added fat per meal, not per perogi.”

Finally, Mrs. Pudding said two open hands, or half a plate, represents how many vegetables you should eat on a diabetic diet, while one cupped hand represents the recommended amount of fruit.

Coupled with regular exercise and blood-sugar testing, Mrs. Pudding said people with diabetes can stay healthy and prevent some heart and circulation problems associated with the disease.

After the talk, Schaefer said she had great feedback as she tours Mrs. Pudding across northern B.C. and the Yukon.

“One lady said to me afterwards, ‘You know, this is the first time we’ve actually been able to laugh and have some fun around diabetes.’”

“Laughter makes the message stick.”

For more information, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association at


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