Amy Barczy is a brand journalist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and writes for AHealthierMichigan.org and MIBluesPerspectives.com. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan member Safiyah Basir begins every day with an affirmation: “I am perfect health.”
Basir has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was diagnosed at the age of 7. Her mission now is to live as healthy as she can and change the narrative about what it means to have diabetes.
Basir, who lives in Ypsilanti, is the American Diabetes Association Ambassador and hosts the podcast “Diabetic Loving,” where she encourages individuals with diabetes to learn to approach the disease from a place of love instead of fighting it.
She’s also writing a children’s book about positivity and diabetes. For too long, diabetes has been viewed as a sickness – and the common thought about sickness is “you only get sick if you don’t take care of yourself,” Basir said. That type of mindset can be damaging, and lead to bad habits that make diabetes more difficult to manage, Basir said.
“I never want anyone to feel sorry for me. There is nothing I cannot do,” Basir said. “I just need to check my blood sugar first.”
As a strategic growth manager for Home Partners of America, a licensed real estate broker and a mom to twin four-year-old boys, Basir has a full calendar. She manages her diabetes by checking her blood sugar and taking insulin each day – and by living the healthiest lifestyle she possibly can in more ways than one.
Growing up with type 1 diabetes, Basir said she struggled with finding the right diet. For a while, she ate whatever she wanted – but it didn’t help her health. Now, she focuses on following a whole-food, plant-based diet, exercising regularly and her mental health.
“Diet, exercise and state of mind,” Basir said. “You can try things and do things a certain way – but if you don’t get your mind right, you’ll fall back into what you used to do.”
For Basir, her lifestyle choices have helped her lower her A1C (a blood sugar test) to below the threshold considered diabetic. Her A1C has been under 5.7% for several years. It’s an accomplishment that’s driven by not just her own health needs, but from the memories of her family. Basir’s father passed away this year from type 2 diabetes and other complications, and her maternal grandmother passed away at the age of 29 from type 1 diabetes.
“I have made it a mission to live the absolute healthiest life that I can,” Basir said. “It’s really up to me to live a healthy, full, limitless life.”