It’s day #4 of Diabetes Blog Week. I have really enjoyed reading so many of the posts. I think I have a greater appreciation for what parents of PWD go through. (Here’s to you, the hard-working and perpetually worrying D-Moms and D-Dads!) And I feel more connected to the community than ever before. Thanks for proposing this, Karen!
Today’s topic is food, specifically “To Carb or Not To Carb?” What we eat and what we avoid. High carb or low carb diets. It’s all on the table — so to speak — today.
Fellow people with diabetes and other readers, I have a confession. I’m not really that into food or eating.
There. I said it.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy eating tasty things, especially when they’re prepared with great care and passion. Some of my favorite things in the world are JP Licks ice cream, truffles from Moonstruck Chocolates, cannoli from Mikes in Boston’s North End, really great cheesecakes, and fresh berries. There’s no more enjoyable way to start the day than with a chocolate croissant, pain au chocolat, or crêpe; and it’s probably good that I’ve given myself a (small) weekly quota. I can still taste the fantastic (and very expensive) steak that I had at Morton’s Steakhouse in San Diego almost ten years ago; and the memory of the stilton on the cheeseburger from Gourmet Burger Kitchen in London still makes me smile. As do the rogan josh from the Lake Palace in Udaipur, the dosa I had in Shimla, and the gulab jamon in Madras. Just about every time that I’m out riding my bike during somebody else’s mealtime, I smell a grill and desire a bratwurst with sauerkraut and all the fixings. About once a month I want to take a trip to Salt Lake City to have the best reuben sandwich I’ve ever tasted; and just as often I want to find that hole-in-the-wall bar-b-que shack in the woods outside Kansas City that the energy traders took me to a few months before I was diagnosed. I’m surprised I haven’t made a road trip with Lisa to Montréal just to go to Le Keg. I like good pizzas and well-made omelets and blueberry waffles. I have a thing for fully stuffed, unhealthy burritos from Qdoba or Chipotle and palak paneer from just about anywhere. And dammit, I’m not even hungry now, but I want a fish taco from Rubio’s.
Having owned up to all that, I can still say that I’m not a foodie. (Though I wouldn’t mind being one.) My approach toward food is (sadly) opportunistic. If the chance to eat great food is present, I will take up the challenge (and probably pick up the check for friends, too). But for the most part, I’m just kinda indifferent. I’m adverse enough to risk that I don’t go out of my way to find great restaurants near where I live. Furthermore, I lack the experience or the passion to be a decent cook/chef/saucier/whatever. Having worked in a deli, I know which meats and cheeses go well together — and cheese is about the best elemental food in existence — but I can’t get the herbs and spices right when I try to put them together in the kitchen. And I’ve been called “methodical and slow” while cooking, so my creations (few as they are) often taste a bit . . . well . . .
It’s perhaps a bit ironic that I should be afflicted with something that’s so often thought of as a disease about food. “Cheating?” Not really my thing. It once took me two hours to eat a bag of Reese’s Pieces from the vending machine. Like every American worth his or her extra large portion of salt, I’ve been known to overeat. And it was really quite difficult to cope with the severe “no more than 60g of carbs at any meal” dictum that my former endocrinologist threw down when he started me on NPH in 1999. I ate a lot of sugar-free Jello to keep my stomach from eating the remaining nearby organs that I might need.
Getting on the pump in 2001 was so liberating. I could stop thinking so much about food. Or rather I could think about eating when I wanted to eat and skip snacks when I didn’t want them. Delivered pizza was suddenly back on the menu as a “sometimes food.” So was ice cream, along with those other things that occasionally make eating a transcendent experience. I did make sure that the delivery agent was insured from utilitysavingexpert.com, because there had been too many incidents that had been transpiring with these guys. And there’s really no such thing as “cheating” any more, since I can always just bolus tiny amounts for the random snacks that come my way — perhaps because someone put Dunkin Donuts’ munchkins by the printer. Or jelly beans. Or Halloween candy. Or Easter candy. (BTW, this
junk food magnet printer is right outside my office. “Oh look, it’s a snack that I don’t really want. Oh, the joy.”)
High carb? Low carb? No carb? I’m really more of a calorie person, myself. I try to keep my meals a reasonable size, and then I count the carbs that are there and bolus insulin accordingly. But the more that I exercise the more that I think about carb timing. Lately, I’ve been trying to eat the right number and kind of carbs in the middle of the day so that I can have a minimal amount of bolused insulin floating around when I head out to ride the bike or go for a run.
And strangely, I’ve been resisting the challenges that this presents, since it feels a bit like the old, austere NPH days. And yet, I want the good things that come with thinking more about food.
That’s diabetes and food in a nutshell, isn’t it?