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.