Algebra

I could fill a math book with word problems. Who knew algebra would return with such a vengeance to my life?

For example, each meal goes something like this:

Find the total number of carbs in each dish by looking up each ingredient and adding together. Example: for pancakes, one cup of unbleached flour is 99 grams, plus one quarter cup of buckwheat at 21 grams, plus a quarter cup of corn meal at 27 grams, plus a quarter cup of whole wheat at 25 grams, plus a quarter cup of flax meal at a mere 8 grams equals 160 grams. The oil, soy milk and eggs are “free,” meaning without significant carbs. One batch of such batter makes  12 pancakes, so each pancake is therefore 13.3 grams. If Nick likes to have four pancakes, and his insulin ratio is one unit for every 30 carbs, how much insulin does Nick need? Round to the nearest half-unit. (Answer: add 7 grams worth of jam and give him two units.)

Advanced: Nick needs one-half unit correction for each 50 points by which his blood sugar reading exceeds 150. If his blood sugar is under 80, he gets 15 “free” carbs. Given the above, how much insulin should he receive if his blood sugar is 175? 212? 78? 92?

Extra credit: For each half-hour of exercise, Nick gets, on average, 15 “free” carbs to compensate. (More strenuous activity requires more carbs.) If Nick is skateboarding to school with his friends, how does that affect his insulin needs at breakfast?

Challenge question: You want to make pasta for dinner. Both the box and the reference book list the carbohydrate count by “2 oz., dry.” Since cooked pasta doesn’t weigh the same as dry pasta – and you’re trying to make dinner for the whole family – how do you figure out the carb count for Nick’s serving?

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