Owning YOUR Diabetes, Your Gift to YOU

BLUE GIFT of health.jpg

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.

How many events and holidays are out there tempting you to break with your Diabetes eating plan? Thanksgiving feasts and football games, eight days of Hanukah, twelve days of Christmas, a week of Kwanzaa, the Luna New Year, and then there is Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, BIRTHDAYS, all waiting in the wings. Is your wallet empty? Is your intake of carbohydrates pushing all limits?

The nice thing to know about these “food” and gift holidays is that you can be in control. YOU have choices.

The best thing I can share with all of you (other than that my favorite color is green) is to OWN YOUR DIABETES. You have ABSOLUTELY nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. First of all, your Diabetes is NOT your fault.

If you have an allergy to peanuts, you will not hide that from your friends. You will speak up to save your life. The same can be said of any disease. One tells their friends about their restrictions and makes it easier for both themselves and others. I can not tell you how many times I have invited people to dinner only to be told that they:
Don’t do fish-Don’t do mushrooms-Don’t do meat-Don’t do dairy-Don’t do garlic.

As long as they amuse us, they are all welcome at our table with maybe the exception of the garlic thing. Unless you are allergic to it, there WILL be garlic….and onions!

Sometimes it is tough. Partly because of my ethnic background and partly because of my training, and partly because it is low in carbohydrates, I use a good amount of meats and dairy in my cooking. But I try and accommodate my friends as best I can. Sometimes it isn’t easy. My friend Barb doesn’t eat meat OR dairy. She is NOT following a fad diet, she feels physically uncomfortable after consuming these two food groups. I am working on a menu that will suit her needs and mine. I bet your friends would do the same for you.

Now to the gift part, give a gift to the person you SHOULD love the most, YOU. Since your wallet may be empty after all these giving holidays, may I suggest the PERFECT gift (one size DOES NOT fit all)…Good health. Don’t you deserve it? Find what works for you and wrap it up in the spirt of the holidays and love. Be the best little Diabetic boy/girl you can be and keep that appointment with the eye doctor; get the medical assistance you need. Get your blood work done even if you “dread” the results. Manage your eating with fun and flair.

For those of you that are new to tracking your carbohydrate consumption, I have pictured a VERY simple carbohydrate chart that I used when I started out. It got me in the habit of knowing when and how many grams of carbohydrates I consumed for each meal. It forced me into reading labels until I just KNEW, without looking, how many grams of carbohydrates were in everything I ate. You can get more elaborate with it and also chart your BG readings. I made a batch of them and hung them on a magnet on the fridge. Filling them out religiously made it an easy and useful task.

Have dinner like we do with music playing, flowers and candles on the table. It makes every dinner special even if you are wearing your sweats at the table. The flowers and music are pretty, the sweats….not so much.

I want to remind you that no matter how poorly you THINK you are doing, you are doing SOMETHING. You are here reading along with me, unless of course you have already skipped to the recipe. It is so much more than nothing. When the time is right for YOU, you will take control of YOUR Diabetes. That is just the start of taking control of as much of your life as one person can.

Sometimes I think that quitting smoking so many years ago paved the way to my taking control of my Diabetes. I did that after more years than I am willing to admit here at THE Decadent Diabetic. Yes I knew that smoking was a poor choice, but did not succeed at stopping until I FINALLY did. I got that if I didn’t do something about my smoking (and years later, my Diabetes) I was going to choose to sit around with poor health. Each of us gets to it in our own time and in our own way. Until then enjoy the holiday(s) you want to celebrate and remember there are many more on the way, if YOU choose to celebrate them.

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, and BE DECADENT! –w

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic