What I’ve Learned from the Big “D”

It’s almost been a year since I started this blog. I know…its hard to believe! One of the first subjects I tackled was my health, and the fact that I had been diagnosed with diabetes. I attacked that one because…well, at the time there were a lot of people reading from my Facebook page, and I wanted to be open with it right away with everyone. That way, I got all the questions out in the open, answered them right away, and didn’t have to repeat myself over…and over…and over…

It wasn’t that much of a surprise. I am overweight, had been for years, and there is a family history of diabetes. I knew my grandfather had it; I didnt’ t know his mother had it as well. In fact, she was insulin-dependent. But then, we didn’t know so much about it then.

I am fortunate. Before I’d received the diagnosis, I’d already made some important lifestyle changes. My diabetes was under control before I started to control it! Just cutting out fast food and soda was a huge factor. That wasn’t enough for me, however. I don’t want to just control it; I want to beat it into submission. My numbers were close enough to “pre-diabetic” that I figured, with a little work, I could get there eventually. The longer I can stay there, the less likely the more tragic effects of diabetes will be.

As a result, I am always thinking about food. Always. Every bite I put into my mouth is conscious. I’ve had all sorts of weird thoughts about food, and here are some of my realizations:

I actually now enjoy drinking water. I never thought I would get to that point, after fighting soda addiction for so long! But its true. I like it. And although I haven’ t noticed any of those other changes you’re supposed to have when  you’re being healthier (like more energy…where is this fabled energy I’m supposed to have?), I can truly tell when I haven’t had enough water.

Bigger bites do not mean more taste. As a matter of fact, bigger bites means that the food isn’t going to last as long. Smaller bites are better because the flavor is going to be in my mouth much, much longer. No more wrapping as much spaghetti as I can around the fork and shoving so much in my mouth that I have a hard time closing it, let alone chewing.

I can have a piece of fudge. I cannot have a half pound.

Eat when you’re hungry. Because if you eat when you’re ravenous you will eat so much more, and randomly shove things in your mouth that have no right being there. Like a half pound of fudge. Because it’s there. And you can’t wait to cook something.

I used to think I loved potatoes. Now I realize I never really knew what they tasted like. It was the butter, cheese, sour cream, and whatever I was covering them with that I liked. Now that I know what they taste like without all that…I’ve decided I can live without them.

If I don’t like the way my mouth tastes after I’ve eaten something, why am I eating it? There are some things that I can’t stand the after taste of. Pointless.

There’s a negotiation process. I can have ice cream, but I can’t have ice cream and spaghetti. Which one is more filling? Would I rather skip a meal and be hungry and have something sweet…or would I rather have a filling meal and not whine all day about being hungry? Food usually wins over dessert, believe it or not.

I’m only supposed to have so many carbs at once, so you know I’m being a lot more particular about that. If I’m spluring on chocolate, it’s not going to be any of that nasty mostly wax stuff they sell dirt-cheap around the holidays. If I’m gonna have ice cream, you can bet your ass it’ll be Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked not some hideous, pointless generic vanilla “ice milk.” Ugh.

Speaking of ice cream, it is pointless to eat more than a little of it. After the first few bites  your mouth is too cold to taste it anyway.

Damn, now I want ice cream.

Here’s the weirdest one: The global responsibility theory. See…if I eat more, I’m raising demand for whatever it is I’m eating. Following the law of supply and demand, that means that I am contributing to the raised prices of whatever that thing is. What does that mean? It means that I’m contributing, indirectly, to making that food substance more expensive for the poorer people who already have trouble affording food. That’s not fair, now is it? It also means that I’m very selfishly demanding more than my fair share of other resources: water and fertilizers to feed the plants that create the food and gasoline to transport the food products to the stores I buy them from. I’m also contributing more than I should to the pollution of the planet by using more things that are transported with fossil fuels, increasing the demand for produce in regions that are hard-pressed to keep up, destruction of rainforests to farm, and of course increased chemical fertilizer and pesticide use. Bad hippie. Bad.

I warned you that was the weirdest thing I’ve learned from the Big “D” didn’t I?

There are other things, of course. I’ve almost completely eliminated processed food. No more hamburger helper, canned ravioli or that sort of thing. (I now make soup that puts Campbell’s to shame.) Hubby still gets his mac and cheese…but honestly, I don’t even want to eat it. Which is good because it’s on my “absolutely not” list for a number of reasons.

I’ve even been relying on my bread maker more and more. Yes, I can make bread from scratch. No, it’s not that hard to do. I’m lazy, I admit it. It is healthier in the long run…very little sugar at all, and all of a teaspoon of salt in what amounts to two loaves of bread. (I only use the dough setting on the bread maker…then I let it rise a second time in pans and bake it in the oven. I hate the crusts on bread that’s baked in the bread maker).

I’ve also started making peace with vegetables. I’ve always been okay with salad…but salad now means more than just a plate of lettuce. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers (love those in salad), celery, carrots, peas, pea pods, cauliflower, orange peppers (like them better than green)…all of it finds its way into my cooking (and salads) now. Even got hubby to eat broccoli which is a major accomplishment! Of course, I still don’t care much for vegetables by themselves…but I’m finding I like them in other things (soup, salad, etc.) and I’m getting pretty creative about adding them in.

It has been an interesting experience. And I don’t mean that sarcastically, for a change. ‘ve learned a lot. I’m going to learn more, I’m sure. But I’m not afraid. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.


About Camylleon

I don't need gurus, and sure don't want to be one. I'm not here to buy stuff or to sell it. I am just another spiritual wanderer, trying to figure it all out. My blend? A little Santeria, a little Polytheism, a little Spiritism and shake gently. Comments are closed...because I detest drama. I'm not completely anti-social though. If you've got questions, shoot me a email. Camylleon at hotmail dot com...
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5 Responses to What I’ve Learned from the Big “D”

  1. ljwitch says:

    Wow! You’ve done a great job at managing diabetes! I wish more people who had the disease would take more pride and more time and put more effort into eliminating it. It can be done. It just seems like people don’t want to.

    I am like you, but for another reason. Mine is celiac disease. At home I don’t think about it very much, anymore. But, when preparing to grocery shop, or planning an outing somewhere that involves being gone longer than 3 hours, food comes to the center stage and stays there until I get home.

    Can I eat that? Should I eat that? What could the repercussions be from me eating that? Should I eat there? Are they clean enough? What if we go to that person’s house to eat and they don’t have anything I can eat?!

    What’s more annoying is explaining the disease to someone who doesn’t have it. I’m constantly explaining to my freaking in laws that I will never again be able to eat at their house or what they’re making.

    I gave up most carbs completely. I still eat some, but definitely not in the quantities that I used to, so I’ve noticed I also have less hypoglycemic spikes like I used to.

    Again, good job! Keep up the good work!

    • Camylleon says:

      Thanks, LJ!

      I was tested for Celiac…way back in the day. See, I’ve already had my first colonoscopy. Yeah. I was 35 when that happened, and they usually tell you not to check those things until you’re like 50 or so.

      Food is constantly in my thoughts now…just like you. Its gotten easier in some ways because I know what I need to buy to have around the house…but here’s the punchline. I have diabetes, hubby has gout. Yeah…that’s right, we’re Jack Sprat and Wife…so he can have all that lovely mac and cheese…and I get the steak. Life is not always fair.

      Oh..I understand the in-law thing too well! I almost cried when we went to my inlaws for Christmas dinner. Here’s the menu: Polish sausage, potato pierogies, mushroom pierogies, stuffed cabbage, and creamed corn. For dessert? Purchased pecan pie (yuck), chocolate silk pie, a huge box of cookies, and some sort of coffee cake thing. To be fair, hubby hadn’t told her about the big D. However…this is the standard meal for them. I don’t expect any changes except maybe diet soda (which I will not drink), and that sort of pre-packaged dietary crap. I would simply rather not have dessert than eat cheesecake made with splenda…y’know? If she did throw a bag of salad on the table, it would no doubt be accompanied by fat free salad dressings…which I’m supposed to avoid (sugar alcohol).

      I’m just going to avoid the problem altogether. If we ever eat at her house again, I’m bringing pre-packaged salad and a bottle of salad dressing I enjoy. At least I’ll be able to eat something…and I don’t really give a shit if I somehow offend her. Its fine by me if we never eat there again.

      The other side of hubby’s family is much easier…Step Mom in Law is a practicing Jain so they’re both vegetarians…and she cooks some very interesting, very tasty, very healthy food!

      Thanks for the support, LJ…it means a lot! 😀 We’ll just keep on fighting, won’t we?

      • ljwitch says:

        Coke Zero. Take it everywhere you go. My hubby is a big man, he has tried for years to lose weight and just can’t. he’s always been big. He can only eat Atkins diet, or he blows up like a balloon and is borderline diabetic with one heart attack under his belt.

        Get this, his family (my goofy in laws), still don’t even take HIM into account when they invite him for stuff. They are some of the most oblivious people I’ve ever met in my life! He’s already had one heart attack, and they still want to fill him full of fattening refined carbs. He takes Coke zeros everywhere, now. Because he knows he can’t eat anything hardly, and especially can’t drink hardly anything, now.

        • Camylleon says:

          Seriously? That’s HIS family, right? Wow. I’m guessing smarts skips generations in his family then…?

          I can’t do anything with artificial sweetener, unfortunately. My own problem; I had a psychological addiction to them in collge. SERIOUS PROBLEM. I was going through at least a six pack a day…at work. Probably another six at home…and I would panic if I didn’t have enough in the refrigerator…

          I realized what was going on and broke the habit pretty much cold-turkey. I went back to sugared soda…but at least went to non-caffeinated. When I was diagnosed, my biggest fear was being told I had to give that up, but I’ve been alright with water…for the first time in my life! I can’t stand the taste of those things now. I’m even sensitive about the sweeteners in my toothpaste, believe it or not. If I ever have to go back to it, I will. When its all I can do and it won’t matter if I’m addicted anymore! 😉

          See…Atkins. For how many years has meat been getting the bad rap? Here I am now…and meat is the one thing I can enjoy. Well, within reason. Still gotta watch the fat but…really…makes me shake my head. A lot.

  2. ljwitch says:

    Totally serious. That’s his own blood relatives, there. They call him up on the phone, “hey! Whatcha doin?! Yeah, we were calling to tell you we’re deep fat frying some overly beer battered and corn breaded catfish and downing a case of Budweiser, why don’t you come out and have some!” Not kidding. They never call when they’re having steak and veggies or a salad. Always when whatever they’re eating is swimming in gravy, breading or peanut oil. These are the same people that for 3 years after I moved down here insisted on deep fried turkey (that requires peanut oil) for Thanksgiving regardless of the fact my son, Mouse, can’t eat it because he’s allergic to peanuts. They’re not dumb people in reality, they’re intelligent by any standards, they have no common sense and they give little thought to other people.

    I hear ya on the artificial sweeteners. I can’t do them either. Only they make me shake like I’ve got Parkinson’s or something. In all honesty, I really think it’s the fat that has the bad rap. If you think about it, all hypoglycemics and diabetics have to watch carbs, not really fat. I actually don’t know a single person that’s done very well on low fat diets as a whole. If I don’t get enough meat in my diet, I’m one sorry sack.

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