Justification and Diabetes Eating


Once in a while, every one of us really craves eating something that we know we want - and we know/think is not the best choice for us.

There was a customer of mine at the Diet Gourmet Shoppe in Manhattan. She came in every day and had a sample taste (the size of a grape) of our low calorie frozen dessert. This lady had a severe eating disorder and was far too vigilant in watching her calorie intake. When she discovered that the sample had more than 1 calorie, she stopped coming in for it. In her mind she could not justify 1 calorie even for something she wanted.

Can we justify having what we truly want by saying, “Well, every once in a while we deserve a treat/cheat?” I think we can, as long as we are honest with ourselves about it.

My sister had a problem with this concept. For her, every once in a while became every month, then every week. Then two or three times a week. She thought that is was ok if she was “good” most of the time. I have no idea if she was right or not. What I do know is that she was not really willing to try to manage her diabetes.

Food was a big issue for us growing up. Food was a direct expression of love. Love from the cook (our parents and grandparents) and love from us to the cook. Sure, we could get away with complaining about one or two dishes every once in a while, but we had to express our love and appreciation most of the time, and that meant a clean plate.

Last week I wrote about dealing with stress and eating. There is a reason they call it “comfort food”. My concern is that we get too comfortable and start to neglect our health.

My basil is still in full strength even though it is later in the year than I am used to seeing it grow. How can I ignore this bounty when for years the basil was long gone from the garden back in Maine? So I said that I would make a Caprese salad. The thing is, I don’t live in isolation or in a camp for people with diabetes There are others to consider. It is fine for me to use a low carbohydrate pita bread to sop up the oil from the salad. But why should I deny my spouse the pleasure of a good hunk of crusty porous French or Italian bread? The answer is that I shouldn’t.

The next question is: how can I resist the good bread and eat the bread that is good for my diabetes-compatible eating plan? How can I justify just having one or maybe two itty bitty pieces of the crusty bread? The label on the package has a serving of 1/9 of the bread with 20 grams of carbohydrates and a grand total of ZERO grams of fiber. For me, for a regular meal, that is too many carbohydrates to waste on just the bread.

I made this salad a few weeks ago. I DID have a piece of French bread. Half of the loaf still wound up in my freezer. Now I can’t use up the rest of the loaf. In the “old” days, I would pop the remaining bread into the food processor for fresh bread crumbs. But I seldom use bread crumbs. How to I justify wasting the bread? You know the adage: “waste not, want not”. However, my continued health, and my pride in managing my diabetes, will give a good justification for tossing out the last bit of bread.

Over the years it has become my practice to have something special to honor or celebrate an occasion. I have no trouble making my King of the night cake for my birthday. Interesting here, it is NOT the carbohydrates (11 grams per people sized slice) that I am justifying, but the amount of time it takes to make this amazing cake. I do have sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, and a bagel on the days my A1C results come in. I celebrate my hard work three times a year with something I really enjoy.

Now, that is not to say that when I visit NYC I won’t have a “real” bagel. It is not a problem to justify it. They are far and away the best bagels anywhere and to deny myself would simply be cruel. My justification for that extra bagel in NYC is that if I didn’t have it, I might just feel too deprived and have a harder time sticking to a diabetes-compatible plan.

For me it is the reward for creating all of the other dishes and making them so good that eating with my diabetes is not chore at all. I also don’t visit as often as I would like to, so that NYC bagel becomes a once every few years treat. Before you ask me why I don’t have them shipped home, the answer is simple, they don’t ship well. By the time they get here they are hard as bricks. See, I am saved!

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

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic