Alissa's Fitness Blog

Alissa's Diabetes and Fitness Blog


Discussion of Diet and Fitness as a tool to manage Diabetes

 Brad Slaight
(photo from

Diabetes is not funny. Yet, through the frustrations we find humor – which empowers us to be the victor and not the victim. The old adage is true: Laughter is the best medicine! 

Social media has revolutionized our ability to share, joke, discuss and live through our diagnosis … together. On Facebook, I often use the diabetes hero squad as an outlet. As I said, diabetes is not funny. However, you can’t help but chuckle at Meter Boy. I revel in his motto, “Be your own personal diabetes hero.” He emphasizes the uplifting power in our ability to take charge, control of our own lives. 


Alissa:  Take me back to your early diagnosis. How old were you? Tell me about the challenging, dark moments. How did you channel your energy towards turning a negative into a positive?

Brad:  When I was 5-years-old, I became housebound after breaking my arm. While other kids were playing, I was stuck inside … which resulted in me eating and subsequently putting on a lot of weight. My parents took me to doctors and had me try different diets. But, I just kept getting bigger and bigger. I was the fat kid in school – albeit I was never unpopular or bullied. I developed a sense of humor to compensate, which later paid off for me.

Teachers would say, "Quit clowning around. You're smart, but you're never going to do anything if you keep being funny." They were wrong!

By the time I was in college, I weighed 320 pounds. I did try to lose weight, but like most dieters – I’d lose 50 and then gain 60 back. After college, I moved to California. One day, I was complaining to my neighbor that I didn’t’ feel well. Admittedly, I confessed that it might have to do with the dozen donuts I ate every day. My neighbor ate a vegetarian-strict, grain based diet. He invited me to eat with him for a few days to see if would improve my health.

This lifestyle change resulted in losing weight. I was thin for about three years. I quit smoking. I started exercising everyday. And, next thing I knew – I was shooting a TV pilot in Colorado. It was during the shoot that symptoms began to pop up. I remember that I couldn’t drink enough water to quench my thirst.

I was initially surprised when the doctor advised that I have diabetes. I hadn’t eaten sugar for more than three years. It was then that I discovered several of my family members had diabetes, including a cousin who was diagnosed at the age of five.

Alissa: How did you get into the comedy?

Brad: Before I moved to California, I taught high school for two years in Michigan, but realized that the classroom was not for me. I was pretty young, only three years older than my students – and, honestly, probably less mature than some of them.

It was time for a life change. My brother and I moved to Los Angeles where I started to work at comedy clubs. It changed my life.

Alissa: How did you get your foot into the door to become a successful comedian?

Brad: I think everybody needs to have a certain amount of talent to get into comedy. I had already dabbled into comedy while at college. I knew that when I moved to Los Angeles, there would be stiff competition. California is a hub of talent attracting the cream of the crop from every city around the country. So while talent is extremely important, tenacity is what will sell you. In show business, you are one phone call away from something really big happening or vice versa -- one phone call away from disappointment.

Alissa: What is your greatest accomplishment?

Brad: Longevity, I've been in show business and I've made my living. I'm a renaissance man. I write, I act, and I do comedy.

Alissa: Have you ever experienced hypoglycemia during a comedy show?

Brad: I always test my sugar before I go on stage or begin to shoot a television show/movie. I admit that I get irritated when I hear a person who doesn’t have diabetes say, “I need a candy bar. I have low blood sugar.” The reality is that person doesn’t even know what low blood sugar feels like.

Knowing that there are times when I do suffer from hypoglycemia, I’ll have juice onstage with me. I make a joke out of it – telling the audience that it is just a cocktail. One time, I didn’t have juice on stage with me and my sugar began to drop. I made it part of my routine. I went into the audience and asked a person, “What he was drinking?” If it was a margarita or some other alcoholic drink, I wouldn’t chug it. But if it was juice, down it would go and then I would joke that that the person was a lightweight and clearly we know who was the designated driver for the night.

Alissa: What is a typical eating day for you now that you have lost all this weight?

Brad: I credit the vegan, macrobiotics, green-base, whole, brown rice diet that I started on all those years ago to being the impetus to change me. But the diet is restrictive because you have to cook a lot. And the nature of my job and the ‘real world’ doesn’t allot the time to be in the kitchen all of the time. So, I've adapted. I'm pescatarian – I eat fish. I used to crave a dozen donuts, now I'll have a bran muffin.

Alissa: How are you able to count carbohydrates in a restaurant?

Brad: I have studied all of the exchanges, and I am a creature of habit. But, if I am ever in an out of the ordinary situation like a dinner party or buffet – I eyeball the food selections. I do have a meter with me, but I don’t usually whip it out to test everywhere. If I am really unsure, I will discreetly test under the table. I also know that if I do try something new, I check my sugar an hour later and make adjustments to my insulin.

Alissa: Are you on a pump, or do you use syringes?

Brad: I choose to stay on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections), for my own personal reasons.

Alissa: You recently said that people have a false impression about what a diabetic can or cannot eat. Tell me about that.

Brad: When someone asks if "I can eat that?” I advise yes – but then state, “that maybe neither of us should.” Just because you can eat garbage doesn't mean you have to eat garbage. The truth is, diabetics can eat the same thing as anyone else. I choose to eat a little better quality food. There are times I drink beer. Once in a while, I'll eat something a little crazy. I can order a huge bucket of popcorn at the movies, if I wanted to. I choose to eat what I want to eat and when I want to eat it.

Alissa: Tell me about your cartoon

Brad: About 15 years ago, a friend of mine reached out to me after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He suggested that we do something for the diabetes community. Relying on our talents, we created two characters named Captain Glucose and Meter Boy – the Diabetes Duo, modeled after Batman and Robin. We had costumes made and shot a live-action video. It even had a cameo appearance by Alan Thicke as the Commissioner of Diabetes.

Over time, we decided to animate the show in an effort to empower kids and adults. We discovered that the word “superhero” is protected by a trademark. We had to completely revamp the Diabetes Duo to be less like Batman and Robin.

Thus, the Diabetes Hero Squad was born. We added D Girl, who's a type 1 with a pump, and the Amazing Endo, as well as a hypo dog and a hyper aware dog named D-Doggie.

The cartoon is professionally done. We hired artists, wrote the scripts and shot videos. Our vision was to have DVDs on the market and employ corporations/organizations to promote the Diabetes Hero Squad. Unfortunately, many were hesitant to try something different. If you look at the commercials that air – most are informational for type 2 with depressed people who complain that they can’t eat the food they want. We believe that the Hero Squad should be positive, empowering.

Alissa:  What are your upcoming career plans?

Brad:  I will do what I always do –write plays for world audiences, work on television projects as either a writer or performer. I also have a web series called, The One Minute News Hour, which is on Funny or Die. I am a news anchor, broadcasting current news stories with a comedic twist. I plan to just continue being me. It's like swimming to an island. It's too late to swim back to the boat, and do something else.

(From  Brad recently has been starring in the critically acclaimed web series  “The 1 Minute News Hour” and you can see all of the episodes on “Funny or Die”.  Brad is an actor, writer/producer, and comedian.  You can read Brad’s complete bio and keep up with him at his website

Showing 1 Comment

Nina 8 years ago

great article

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