Stress, Rewards, and Managing Your Diabetes


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.

Man, am I stressed. Where have you heard that before? How many times have ALL said this to ourselves and others?

It has been a trying (stressful) time for me/you. We are looking to:

- sell our house
- get married
- quit our job
- get a pet
- have surgery

You name it there are a million things that happen in our lives that cause upset (stress). The other day, things got sooo bad that all I could think of was: “I want a cigarette”. It has been years since I smoked. In my head it seemed as though a cigarette would be the ONLY thing that would make it all better. Since I don’t smoke and had no cigarettes in the house, my next go to was….you guessed it…FOOD.

There had to be some spaghetti hidden somewhere in the pantry. Perhaps there was a package that I forgot to throw away or kept to make a small amount as a side dish. I was certain that a half pound of “sketti” would make it all better. No, no such luck. It was a bad day.

Could I just race to the “stupidmarket” and grab a little tiny pint of ice cream or an itsy bitsy bag of potato chips? How much could it hurt my eating regime? Just a wee little pint or small bag. This seemed like no time for one of those delicious “Greek” style yogurts with only 9 grams of carbohydrate. No way! It had to be a big ticket carb item, but why?

It's Not Worth It

I came to my senses and decided it was not worth it to get in the car and drive off to the market. Lazy can often win out over cravings. The yogurt (Key lime) was just sitting there, and it is delicious, and it does fit into my carbohydrate budget. I had to yell at myself: “man take charge of your senses”.

How much more stressed was I gonna be after I went wild for a high carb treat? Would the treat make up for a high reading? But the yogurt just seemed too good, too healthy, too reasonable, too every day. Life has its trials. Don’t we deserve a reward for simply making from day to day? If one day is worse or harder than others, don’t we deserve a bigger reward?

What I had to ask myself was which is the bigger/greater reward, the treat or my health. You know the answer even if you don’t like to admit it. So that day I went for the yogurt. Ok, ok, I found a few stray berries in the fridge, and I toasted some almonds and made myself a low carb sundae. YES, it was delicious. YES, I felt better about my choice. YES, a double chocolate something with a marischino cherry (which I only like in a Manhattan cocktail) would be nice too…. or would it?

"Count to ten..."

My take on managing MY Diabetes is to make things I can have taste so good that it is easier to deal with what I probably should not have or have often. That is not to say that there is any bread that works for my budget will ever replace a bagel. But for me to go the way of the bagel, the bagel better be much better than the alternatives. Why bother eating a Twinkie when you really want a chocolate cake. And if it is one of my Diabetic–Compatible cakes, who needs a Twinkie? Sure when you are in a state of distress the “at hand” Twinkie may seem better than the cake you are going to have to bake (and wait for it to cool?) but I will share some advice I got from my Aunt Kate about anger management: “Count to ten before you let your anger speak for you”.

I don’t always heed this advice, but I try. When the day deals you garbage… reach for the nuts, or the cheese or the yogurt or the berries. It does not have to be second best. And it will be better for you in the long run. Although……naw, too many carbs in a marischino cherry (3 grams for one cherry), ya think?

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

Click here for Ward's Versatile Tomato Salad(s) recipe!

Get more cooking tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Photo credit: storebukkebruse on Flickr