Monday, December 31, 2012

Make a Plan and Stick to It

This was my first Christmas since my diabetes diagnosis. I'll be honest . . . I was worried about it. I had to make some decisions. It seemed there were four options:

Option 1) Do no Christmas baking - no sugar cookies, no cinnamon rolls, no pies - and refrain from fixing other high carb dishes, such as potatoes, pasta salad and breads, so there will be no temptation. 

This option was quickly eliminated. This disease is mine. Why should a whole family be obligated to eat on my restricted diet? How fun would THAT be? I couldn't help thinking about our son, Chris. He's the one who is "King of Allergies" in our family. From the time he was very little, he had to say "no" to so many foods that everyone else ate - poultry, fish, nuts, CHOCOLATE!, to name a few. I was always very proud of him. He never complained or pouted about the things he couldn't have, even at birthday parties, where everyone else was eating German chocolate cake. If there was an alternative available, he'd eat it; otherwise he just did without. He is a great model for me. I refuse to make everyone else around me, especially my grandkids (they are the true "sweets" in my life), miss out on the joys and traditions of holiday foods.

Option 2) Bake as usual and eat whatever I want. 

This one was even more ridiculous. Sending my blood sugar into a dangerous range is foolish and self-destructive. That's the kind of thinking that could get me into serious trouble.

Option 3) Bake as usual, for everyone else, and totally abstain, myself.

The abstinence method, sounded good, initially. But upon further consideration, it was flawed. To begin with, I knew I'd feel sorry for myself and would probably rebound with some sort of furious eating binge when no one was looking. But even if I kept that reaction under control, how fun would Christmas be for everyone else, with a "martyr" looking on from the end of the table? Nah! Bad, bad choice.

Option 4) Bake as usual and plan ahead to eat a small portion of a few selected items.

By a process of elimination, this seemed like the smart and family-friendly way to go. Before the kids came, I baked the reindeer cookies and froze them so they wouldn't tempt me. While they were here we baked sugar cookies, and Clara got to decorate them; after all, we HAD to leave a plate of sugar cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve (the kids always leave a carrot or two for the reindeer, as well)! Christmas morning I baked cinnamon rolls and served them with chilled canned peaches. Christmas dinner included potatoes, our traditional pasta salad, hot baked bread and, for dessert, both cherry and pecan pies. Everyone was happy, and the family traditions were maintained. I planned ahead to eat half of a cinnamon roll for breakfast (no peaches), half of a baked potato with dinner (no bread), and a small slice of cherry pie for dessert (never even tasted a cookie); and I stuck to my plan! My blood sugar levels rose to 155, following dinner, which is higher than I like, but not too bad. And by the next morning my fasting level was back to a super-low (for me) of 107 - success!

And, if there was any doubt left in my mind, Clara's Christmas gift to me, a handmade bookmark, clinched it. Here are front and back photos:

Cookies, cake, measuring cups (?)

"Thank you for letting me bake with you! : )  I did (do) miss you."  Awwwww. I miss you, too, Clara!

It appears that "Grandma" and "baking" are strongly connected in this little girl's head, and I would NOT want to mess with that!

I survived my first Christmas with very little stress or drama, and now I'm confident that I can handle future "foody" celebrations.

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