Celebrating the Holidays with Diabetes?

Celebrate ! 4.jpg

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper exclusively for Information About Diabetes. He writes frequently on his website, The Decadent Diabetic.

I have never met a holiday that I didn’t want to celebrate. Food is a big part of the celebration. Diabetes won’t stop me!

It is NOT about pitfalls

How tired are you of seeing articles headlined: “Surviving the holidays by…” “ 199 tips to make it through…” “How to…” “The do’s and don’ts of….”.

Life is tough enough and having Diabetes makes it tougher. People with Diabetes are smart enough to know what they should and should not do. We certainly are math wizards if nothing else. Do we need negative reminders that make it sound like we are navigating a mine field? Look out below there’s a cupcake. What I find interesting is that so much of the advice is the same as it is for people on a diet.
It has been re packaged (re-gifted?) to fit some of our needs.

Just as good, maybe better and different

Hanukkah is over. Do you think I made it through without a latke (traditional Hanukkah pancake)? No way. Years ago (pre diagnosis) I found a way of making these delights without frying them.

I called the recipe: “Fry me NOT a latke.” In those days it was frying not carbohydrates that were the enemy. This year, as I have done for several years, my latke was made from zucchini instead of potato. Was I depressed or deprived? How can you ask that as I wiped the sour cream from my smiling face and made sure there was not a morsel missed on my plate.

We can make scrumptious concoctions to please any palate. I, and therefore you, can make a Christmas Trifle. It is made of my lower carbohydrate sponge cake, berries and creams. It looks and tastes as good as any I have ever had. It is rich and creamy and a labor of love to make.

Going for what works…for you

We were invited to a Christmas carol party. Must we quake in my boots about the foods that were going to be there to lure us into doing something food- dangerous? There was no reason to worry. One guest made stuffed mushrooms, the hostess made a local and traditional Christmas soup. I brought cucumbers stuffed with smoked salmon. There was turkey and cheese and ham Oh MY. Yes there were cookies in the shape of elves and all sorts of sweets. My take on the sweets (and I love desserts) is:

  • I have never liked fudge. I love chocolate but fudge is too much of a good thing.
  • Only once did I have a gingerbread cookie (homemade) that I liked. Is all that clove really necessary?
  • My tongue always got scratched by candy canes.
  • Fruit cake. Don’t get me started. My late mother–in-law made fruit cake every year. Some years even SHE knew it was too much and made “modified” fruit cake. We would thank her and toss the brick. I always felt bad about throwing out food that she worked so hard at making, so one year I set it out for the birds. Even they would not eat it.

I have managed my Diabetes very well and share some of what I do with others. I celebrate every holiday I know with great foods and some common sense. If there is something that I ABSOLUTELY must have, I balance it out. Some of us can do that with extra insulin, some can balance their carbohydrate intake for the rest of the day.
Some of us do just exactly what we want and start over the next day.

Tradition and Symbols

My family tradition stresses food for the holidays. The holidays can be so much more. For most of us it is a time to reflect and enjoy our friends and family. It is for some a time to reconnect with their religious beliefs. As for Santa or the big red jolly Hanukkah giant, those guys are there to help us rejoice and smile. Who was mommy kissing last night?

Another shot at success

New Year's is a time to leave the baggage of the past and attempt to make our lives better than it was. A little food along the way just makes it all more fun as long as we don’t get upset or feel threatened by it. Look at it as something to challenge your creativity and amaze those around you.

As for gifts – (My favorite color is dark green)

Give yourselves the gift of better health. Give to others the gift of real kindness. Smile at the checkout and thank the cashier by name. It may make their day and may just come back to kiss you on the cheek.

And in the jollity of the season, remember that many of us are not surrounded by friends and family. Your expression of kindness may be the best thing to happen to someone this or any season.

REMEMBER TO CELEBRATE all you have accomplished and all that you will accomplish. It is a long road and you are not out of gas.

Enjoy, be happy, be kind, be DECADENT! –w!

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic