Finding the “cheese” in your Diabetes meals
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered a cheese omelet, and when it was served there was very little cheese inside? I bet you either turned it back, demanded more cheese, or never stepped foot in that restaurant again. There are few things where you feel more cheated than when your cheese omelet or your life has too little cheese.
We are people with diabetes, not mice! However, we can learn something about our own behavior from the common lab mouse.
Laboratory mice are taught to run through a maze. The incentive is that piece of cheese at the end of the course. When you take away the cheese, the mouse loses the incentive to get to the center of the maze. Hey, he must think, “No cheese, why am I running around this maze like a crazy mouse?”
Now the interesting thing is that you can reduce the amount of cheese at the center of the maze and the mouse will for a time continue running through. You can also replace the cheese with peanut butter and that old mouse will speed right through to get to the peanut butter. It may not be cheese, but the mouse likes it just as well, perhaps more. Yum, peanut butter!
We are not mice, but like mice and dogs, cats, and children, we want a reward for all our hard work. No “cheese,” then why am I working so hard? We are programmed from infancy to expect a certain reward for a certain behavior. But with a little reprogramming we can substitute one reward for another. It helps if you think about the new reward as a reward and NOT as a punishment. Like the mouse thinking, “oh boy, peanut butter.”
When I was first diagnosed 8 years ago, I made a big effort to take control of the diabetes. I took my meds and cut way back on the carbohydrates. I wanted to be in control. I found the first bit of “cheese” in knowing I was doing something to benefit my health. The second bit of “cheese” was some weight loss. But the low carbohydrate meals got caught up in a boring routine. For some inexplicable reason, I decided that lower carbohydrate meals were bad meals. If the meals weren’t bad tasting, I was making them boring. Was this my punishment for “getting” diabetes? It took no time at all to become bored and ANGRY with my diabetes. There was not enough reward (cheese) in my efforts. I was ready to give up the ship.
I write for you to assist you in getting to your “aha moment,” when you start to know what works for you. Mine came when the steak and salad on my plate didn’t look at all different from the steak and salad I ate before my diagnosis. It was really good steak and really good salad. I did nothing different to prepare them than I did before my diagnosis.
The next step was to start looking at some of the other foods that I could still enjoy post diagnosis. Then on to finding preparations and foods that I liked that fit into my diabetes-compatible menus. The rest, as they say, is history. Learning to use new things combined with the old things not only made my menus better for my diabetes health, they made my menus better for my taste buds. My auntie Sylvia said she admired my “will power.” It is not a matter of will power but rather finding a way of enjoying both my foods and my health.
It was a quick hop, skip and jump from eating decadently for myself, to talking about it with others and, with a little push from my friend Cassie, sharing it online with you. We can go from not bad to really good and keep running the maze of life while finding cheese in delicious and sometimes unexpected places.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT!