Embracing Change is Good for Us Diabetics!


This article was written by Ward Alper, a type 2 diabetic and chef who lives and eats decadently in Portland, Maine. Since his diagnosis more than five years ago, Ward has refocused his recipes and eating to support his diabetic health.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago. These are some comments I received from that article:

It is hard to change and I thought I never could but I am adjusting to it and loving trying new recipes...

Trying new thing is not one of my favorite things to do but now I have to.

I'm just used to eating large "working man" lunches and dinners, mashed cauliflower, and bread so thin you see through it just isn't getting it done.
I'm trying...

We all get it. Change is hard. We all also get that once we are diagnosed with diabetes, change is necessary. As a “foodie” and a diabetic, I want to tell you change is good, unless you try to put ketchup on MY turkey burger!

From childhood, we are all resistant to change. That first step from milk or formula to cereal caused a lot of ugly faces when we were “forced” to change. It got worse with the strained foods. How many of us spit it out all over our bibs? The first chewable foods might not have been so bad. Maybe that was because we saw our parents eating them. Then there were foods WE WILL NOT EAT! Where did we ever come up with that list?

Sure, I get it. There are some foods that even I won’t eat. Usually it is because the spicing numbs my tongue. But sometimes it is just the thought of it. Pickled parsnips, even with the promise of dessert afterward, are not on MY menu.

Never Say Never

My sister was a great one for the “I DON’TS.” She had no reason for them; she just got it into her head that they were “yucky.” My favorite of her don’ts was sausage. Never in a million years would she eat that. She had so many “I won’ts” that I forgot about sausage and innocently made her my company-is-coming chicken (recipe below). That is chicken breasts double-stuffed with onions, mushrooms, nuts – and sausage.

My sister was never one to be polite; if she did not like it, she would tell you so in no uncertain terms. She cleaned her plate. When she asked me what I used to stuff the chicken and I told her it was sausage, she looked very embarrassed and said, “Guess I don’t hate sausage after all.” But she did hold it against me for the rest of her life!

Reconsider Foods You (Think You) Don't Like

It is not my intention to force or trick you to eat anything that you don’t like. I would, however, like you to think about why you don’t like it. Is it because you hate the texture? Does it look bad to you? Does it smell bad to you? Is it because somebody else didn’t like it? Is it because you never tried it before? “My mother NEVER made THIS!”

It seems very funny to me now that, when I first saw pizza, I thought it was too ugly to eat. Times have certainly changed. The same thing is true of broccoli. When I first saw it, I thought it looked alien. The first time I ate broccoli, it was overcooked and mushy. Then, in a pasta primavera, I had the broccoli, crisp and crunchy, in a wonderful cream sauce. I have been a fan ever since.

After my diagnosis, my food world seemed very small. Once I started experimenting with new foods, like spaghetti squash, and new ways to prepare old foods, my world got a whole lot bigger and more delicious.
A lot of it is “all in your mind.” Change can be good. As a person with diabetes, change has made me healthier and, most important, happier. Or is it the other way around? I have even tried using ketchup on my turkey burger, not bad. But, bottom line, keep the ketchup off MY turkey burger!

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy and BE DECADENT!

Click here for Ward's Company-Is-Coming Chicken recipe!

Get more nutrition tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Image credit: InspireHappy