Diabetes: Eating in Moderation (How is that working for you?)

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We had lunch last week with our friends Gerry and Violet. We did a lot of catching up. It seems that Gerry had some health issues. No, not involving Diabetes. Had to remember but there are a lot of issues out there. Because I relate to my health issue (Diabetes) and how I have to eat, I asked Gerry about his restrictions. The response was that he was told he could eat anything…in moderation.

This included seven (7) potato or corn chips. For me it is seven grapes. My hat is off to him. Rather than giving them up completely, he chooses to follow medical advice and have ONLY the allotted amount. I, on the other hand no longer eat grapes. It is ok. I never like grapes THAT much.

While potato chips may not be a big deal for you, and they certainly are not for me, that small amount would make me unhappier than just not having them at all. The reason for his restriction is for the salt content and the fat content. My choice might be to have more of something else, perhaps roasted (unsalted) pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. Gerry does not go out of his way to buy the chips. He does not live alone. Sometimes Violet needs HER salt fix. When she does, they have worked it out so she doesn’t have to hide them or eat the whole bag. Gerry gets his seven chips, and for him, that works.

The choice of being as healthy as he can be was a simple choice for him. The choice to be as healthy as I can is a simple choice for me. He and I go about it in very different ways.

He likes good food well enough, but he wants to live a healthier life even more. So to save his health he has given up the bag o’ chips. We did not discuss the psychological effects of his choice. This was a friendly catch up lunch after all.

When I learned what foods I needed to watch and control, I looked for alternatives to fill in the blanks. When pasta, potatoes, rice, and other carbohydrates needed to be restricted for my health, I found other things to fill my plate. Filling the plate is important for me. I am the big salad person, not the kiddy sized or side salad portion. With salad this is not much of a problem. To make it work for my personality it was/is important to find many things (like Skinny Slaw) to make up for what I think I am missing and to make the salad as interesting as possible. Who says you can’t have snow peas on your salad?

I am not the half of a banana or quarter of a bagel guy. That simply does not work for me…at this time. I can live my life without the banana and when the bagel, the whole bagel, maybe a half of a bagel is all I want or all there is, I have it. I work hard to balance out the rest of the carbohydrates in that meal and on that day. All I / we have to do is think about it.

The occasional indulgence is not the same thing as two doses of arsenic. Unless your body won’t take it, it probably won’t kill you. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t do you any good (other than psychologically) either. .If you can handle it, sometimes you need a treat. Unless you are like Gerry.

We talked about eating restrictions a little more. He misses a few things like peanut butter cups and beer. I hope not at the same time. This is all new to him and like a lot of us he is being very strict with his eating.

I did the same thing at first. It can be too easy to over compensate. If you can have half a cup of something, you can convince yourself that a teaspoon is all the better. If the teaspoon works for you…great. If not, figure out what will satisfy you. Remember sometimes that tricky little mind of ours tells us it is all or nothing. Then we have to decide do we have all of it, none of it, some of it, only on special occasions.

Decisions, decisions, decisions … options. We have to work harder, but it is not impossible, not if we choose to live healthier lives.

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! ….or not.–w!

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic