Diabetes: Cooking for YOU and Your Family

you and

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

If your concern is managing your Diabetes, one of the things you have to consider is changing the way you eat some foods. Hard as that is for us, many of us also have to deal with the likes and dislikes of some pesky people, our families and friends. Some of us have it easier than others. One of the readers on Diabetes Support commented:

My hubby is set in his ways, (not willing to try new foods, recipes). He also likes to eat out. I would love to be able to prepare more of our meals so I can manage my numbers better. What do you suggest?

I am very lucky. I realized a long time ago, in a restaurant you have to try and please everybody, at home you (I) put it on the table and either it gets eaten, stored, or thrown away. It sounds easy doesn’t it? One of my nieces was the “picky” eater. Her parents used to make her sit at the table for hours, or until she ate some percentage of what was on her plate. I want to tell you that her father is an excellent cook. He and I only disagree on how well done a hamburger REALLY has to be. Whatever the issue was, it was not that she did not like the taste of the food….except mushrooms.

When she came to visit us, I handed her a box of her favorite cereal and a tin of tuna. I told her she could always have these items if she didn’t like the taste of my cooking. The TASTE of my cooking. This meant she had to at least try the dish. You already have guessed that by the end of her visit she ate everything in sight. She got so good at it that when we took her and her brother to one of my favorite restaurants back east, Ming Tsai’s BLUE GINGER, she was the most adventurous person at the table.
Lots of people have an inbred (sometime irrational) resistance to what foods we like and dislike. That includes me.

As for my friend with the “set in his ways” husband, what she has to remember that eating to manage your Diabetes does not mean anything has to be strange or unfamiliar. Steak is still steak, fish is still fish, chicken is still chicken. She has the choice to make two dinners or to make things that work for both of them. You can still make all of the proteins you have always made. You can still make most of the vegetables and salads as you always have. You can even make the higher carbohydrate dishes you have always made if you choose to limit YOUR portion size or not eat it at all. It takes a little adjusting, but aren’t you worth it?

I personally don’t believe in “sneaking” foods on to the table. If you want to make mashed cauliflower to replace your mashed potatoes great! Prepare a batch of it for you. It freezes like a dream. Make the cauliflower for yourself and make mashed potatoes for the rest of the family. It is more work but not as bad as making Beef Wellington for them and a chicken Florentine for you. Offer the rest of the group at the table a taste. My bet is that if you treat the cauliflower EXACTLY the way you do the potatoes, the rest of the family will enjoy them as much as you Bonus point: you get something delicious and with fewer carbohydrates.

The other choice is to make what is good for you and if the family is not willing to try it, don’t try to push them to eat it. Enjoy it for yourself. Remember not everybody likes or is willing to try strawberry ice cream.

It is not as though you are depriving them of essential foods. They can always go out to dinner and eat all the mashed potatoes they want. My grandmother cooked in the manner of her grandmother. That is what she knew. Her line was: “You want to eat American, go to a restaurant.” They did and she did. Everybody enjoyed the treat.
If you think this is unfair, think about what you have to do when you and the family go out to dinner. They have the full choice of the menu while you have to request extra vegetables or salad in place of the potatoes or rice.

It is perfect to try and manage your disease. It is also perfect that you think of others. Both are possible. It is a case of “let’s make a deal”. You do what works.
I will also bet that this reader’s husband would rather have her healthier, happier, and not in need of extreme medical measures and expenses.

In EVERY way living with others is a balancing act. You have to do what you can for yourself and keep in mind the needs and wants of other. You can either enter a partnership with the family or move to cave in the desert. My guess is the family would rather have you around to annoy.

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

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic