Changes in Thinking and Diabetes

thinking-small-FreddieAlequin-flickr.jpg

It is pretty clear that if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there may have to be some changes in your life. What changes, and how much, are up to you to decide.

Epicurious, the Greek philosopher said: The real key to human happiness, in his view, didn’t involve the pursuit of luxury or excessive pleasures. Rather, it involved the absence of bodily pain and mental distress.

Could this be a good way for those of us with diabetes to look at what and why we eat what we eat?

So we have diabetes and have to make changes. The good life is not over. A lot of it has to do with just how we look at it. Sure, there are foods we need to limit, but there are rewards both of flavor and better health.

Most of us have traditions involving food changes and limitations. Food and eating is my deal and I want to look at change from that viewpoint.

In many religions, giving up something is considered good for the soul. Think Lent, Passover, and Ramadan. During each of those times of the year, people are asked to give up something or limit something from their eating.

How many of your friends have given up, say… jelly beans for Lent? Are they any the worse for it? Probably not. They followed the tradition of their religion for forty days and were closer to their belief system. During Lent, the church also suggests giving up meat on Fridays. I grew up with friends that observed every Friday being meatless. I have to wonder how many wonderful fish and vegetarian dishes were created because of “giving up” meat. Think macaroni and cheese - or better yet “almost” mac & cheese made with spaghetti squash.

My family’s tradition was Passover. For eight days we gave up breads and foods made with leavening. Some of the restrictions I understood, some not so much. How bad was that restriction on breads? The purpose was to remember the sufferings of our ancestors escaping from Egypt.

In my case, those eight days were not so much about eating matzo, but about all the dishes that my grandmother made ONLY during that holiday. I may have been envious of my friends chocolate bunnies, which had to taste better than the chocolate covered matzo, but the special holiday foods that came out of both grandmother’s kitchens were a delight. In hindsight, I would not trade them for all the chocolate bunnies in the world.

During Ramadan, the tradition is not to eat from sunrise to sunset. Not eating all day frees your mind to see other things and become closer to your spirituality. Beside the spiritual rewards, there are wonderful (often sweet) dishes to reward you for your devotions.

Well, diabetes is not a religion - although some of us follow eating plans that border on the religious. For me, cutting down on eating carbohydrates, which at first seemed like extreme deprivation, has proven to be a great experience in eating.

The other “reward” is in knowing that I have taken charge of the progress of my disease. I am a healthier man than I was eight years ago, and dishes un-thought of back then are a celebration of my life with diabetes.

You too get to choose how you look at it. For me and many others, deprivation and change has its rewards.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT…be open.-w!

Source:Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic