Diabetes Blogs

Choosing to Make Diabetes-Compatible Choices

Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean you have to give up the pleasure of eating. 

A lot of work goes into making “new” food memories. Can you remember the first time you saw a pizza? All that oozing red and white glop sitting there in front of you. How did we ever choose to love pizza so much?

Living with any issue is about making choices. Do I give up eating, smoking, drinking, sitting on the sofa, or anything else we enjoy in order to live a healthier life? Is there a payoff? 

Is there any smoker who does not know about the dangers of smoking? They (I was one) keep smoking despite all the evidence that smoking it is not a good choice. Giving up anything you enjoy is difficult. When giving up smoking, you just don’t smoke anymore.

As a diabetic, you may choose to give up eating or limiting some of the foods you enjoy, but you still have to eat and are always reminded that there is stuff you shouldn’t eat as much of anymore, or perhaps not at all.

In many ways this choice was harder for me. What I did was to make what I ate have more meaning and enough weight on the plate and on my palate to keep me from dwelling on the stuff I was not eating. It became clear that leaving the table empty and unhappy, was not going to work.

It was much harder for my sister. She was diagnosed decades before I was. Her choice was not to eat things she shouldn’t very often, or at least not with anybody looking—if nobody saw her eating it, it could not harm her.

When she came up to visit me after my diagnosis, I was hell bent on sharing with her all that I had learned about eating. After more than two decades of being a diabetic, she looked at me as though I was speaking to her in another language. Somehow, she had not heard, or chosen to hear, anything about controlling the carbohydrates she took in every day. For her, as long as she took her medication and did not eat that strawberry shortcake (in public), she would be alright.

A few months later we went down to Florida. My sister had prepared hors d’oeuvres for me. Her face beamed as she pulled out some cheese and the low carbohydrate crackers for us to munch on. Some of what I suggested to her had sunk in. The hors d’oeuvres were all about showing me that she heard what I said, and cared enough about me, if not herself, to offer up a lower carb snack.

I later discovered that she was sneaking into the kitchen at night and eating peanut butter in the dark. That was also a choice. She and I were brought up with the emotional concept that food is love. Sometimes the love happens in the dark and out of the jar.

We went out for dinner that evening. My sister ordered a salmon with a potato crust. She sat there waiting for my approval. I chose not to say anything, no lecture from me that night. She was trying. When we left to go back to our hotel, my sister asked “what I ordered at dinner? Was that ok?” I said that it was an ok choice, if the potato crust added enough to the enjoyment of the salmon. It might have been better to have a salmon without the potato crust and use your carbs differently. She was trying so hard for my approval, and did not quite get it as enthusiastically as she might have hoped. The important thing is she made a choice, perhaps not my choice, but a choice. The biggest choice of all, and that was to give some thought to what she was eating, at least in front of me.

I don’t think that choosing to do what is best  is ever easy. Choosing to do it for someone else’s approval is a waste of energy.

My sister’s choices were her choices. My choices are my choices. Your choices must be your choices. The big choice for me was to be willing to think about every meal I cooked or ate. Making it taste and feel good just came with time. If I was a ”foodie” before, I am more so now. It is just a different twist.

There are a million little choices.  Do I have one piece of ARNOLD DOUBLE FIBER bread for 14 grams of carbohydrate, or two slices of SARA LEE “DELIGHTFUL” whole wheat bread for 13 grams of carbohydrates but much less fiber. Are two slices better than one? If you eat first with your eyes, does the extra piece of bread satisfy you more?

Is the DANNON LIGHT AND LIVELY yogurt at 15 grams of carbs and 6 full ounces worth it over the DANNON LIGHT AND LIVELY GREEK yogurt at 9 grams of carbs, but only 5.3 ounces?  Will it be enough?

 It is choosing to have spaghetti squash instead of risotto, having an ARNOLD SANDWICH THIN instead of a roll for your hamburger or for your Sloppy Joe. That little adjustment allows me to have the hamburger! Have the Sloppy Joe!

Having vegetables and cottage cheese instead of fruits and cottage cheese, or if I do chose to have fruits, which fruits are best? It is choosing to take the time to toast a few almonds and dress up a yogurt. Putting the yogurt in a great looking glass (which you are gonna have to wash later) instead of eating it out of the container. What can I eat in a restaurant?

There are millions of choices all the time to make eating healthier and fun for you again.

It is easy. It is hard. For me it gets easier every day. It is a lot of work. I am healthier, my numbers are beyond great. I enjoy eating. I am decadent!

Enjoy!, be healthy, be DECADENT!

 

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