The DX regularly features The DX Diabetes Dish, a profile about life and life with diabetes. This month, we dish with director and video producer Lathe Poland, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010. Poland learned that a proper diet was essential in helping manage his diabetes and was inspired by his own experiences to produce a documentary about America’s food culture called Carb-Loaded. He has been traveling the country interviewing doctors, researchers, nutritionists, economists, and many others in a wide variety of fields for the film, and expects it to be released in 2014. Poland is the co-founder of The Scene Lab, a media production company, which has taken him all over the world.
What is your state of mind today?
Focused. I’m really determined to stay on track and not lose my focus on the project I’m working on.
What three words would you use to describe who you are?
Curious, restless, creative.
How does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?
I’m more in tune with my body now. I now realize that the way that I feel and the way that I’m thinking might sometimes be the result of the diabetes. I’ve learned to listen to my body better.
What inspires you to do what you do?
The fact that we can see results by changing our diet. That was a big one for me. Because I can see actual physical results and data, because I can change the way I eat and think, it inspires me not to give up.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
Patience. They are very, very patient. I tend to be pretty intense about things, and I can wear people out. So I greatly appreciate the patience my friends have.
What would you pack for your favorite vacation?
Every time we go on vacation, I bring a video camera. I’m always filming when on vacation.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
I may need to go to the store. Let me check. Kimchi. Some fermented beets. Macadamia butter, almond butter, gallon of capers, organic bacon, almond milk, lots of veggies and zucchini, and stuff like that. Lots of stuff to make salad with. Goat cheese. Just about every cheese you can imagine.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
I love chopping wood. I love going in the yard and cutting down a tree and getting ready for the winter.
What is your idea of happiness?
Waking up rested. I’ve been having nights with lots of vivid dreams. To me, waking up rested is divine.
What do you most dislike?
I dislike blind faith.
What words do you try to live by?
The Golden Rule: Do to others the way that you want to be treated.
What is your greatest fear?
As it pertains to diabetes, a big motivator for me is the prospect of losing my eyesight. As a filmmaker, my whole world is visual. Just the thought of losing it is horrible.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I love equipment and tools. I cut firewood, and I have a log splitter, a chipper, and a tractor.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I’m using poor judgment. I would like to think that is the only time I lie is when I am making a mistake.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything. My family is amazing.
Who are your heroes in real life?
I would have to say my wife is my hero. She is a very upbeat, positive person. When I got the diagnosis, she said we should change our diet and said, “I’ll eat what you eat.” She is always positive and smiling, and is totally my hero.
What would you choose for your last meal?
A really thick rib-eye steak with steak butter and pomme frites (French fries).
What are you looking forward to right now?
Interviewing the author Marion Nestle. She is a total rock star in the food world. It’s pretty intimidating how intelligent and well respected she is.
Any last words of wisdom?
Be open to new ideas. And don’t just stay in your little realm of belief. Make sure to challenge your own beliefs from time to time.
All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience