food

Swerving Without Braking

Given the title of my blog, I kind of thought it was time to make a post that played off of it a little at least. In my neck of the woods, literally speaking, we have a lot of potholes that begin developing this time of year. Trying to avoid them can seem, indeed be, impossible to accomplish. One of the worst things you can do when avoiding (or trying to) an object while driving is to swerve, especially a hard, fast maneuver, without braking. That fast gut-reaction cut of the wheel on its own can lead to terrible consequences, including loosing total control of your vehicle, fishtailing, and even a crash that can cause serious injury to person and property. Controlled avoidance, deliberate steering with the proper braking action, is the correct way to miss the pothole (or deer, dog, person, vehicle, etcetera) in your path. The same theory applies to life and its challenges, in my experience at least.

Over the holiday season I allowed myself some dietary freedoms that I thought I could handle and would save me from feeling “deprived” and lesson my enjoyment of these times. For the most part I was successful with this theory and strategy: for the most part. Unfortunately as the holiday season departed the bite of winter really began to take hold in my region. And my ailments don’t get along with winter weather very well. I also seek comfort in foods that are, well, comfort foods! But those foods aren’t really comfort foods for me: they are kill-me-slowly foods.

The success I’d had in my small indulgences led me to the false impression that I could take in more of these “treats” on a regular basis without negative backlash from my body. Soon I was seeing a spike in my blood glucose (BG) levels, some small, others too large for my target. And I also began to realize that I wasn’t feeling as well as I had been, of course I initially laid that blame on the weather solely, which wasn’t true. Then the scales began to reveal more bad news: the number was not steady, let alone going down, but climbing! I was swerving to avoid an obstacle in my path without methodically applying the brakes to control my trajectory, like the car and the potholes I began this post with.

About a week ago is when this reality clicked – and I’ve been applying the brake and controlling my path much better since then. The good news is the scales and the BG meter confirm that my path is getting back on course. The bad news is that my body still doesn’t tolerate winter weather changes well, and likely never will again: my ailments are not likely to get better and my body is going to continue to breakdown with the aging process. But I can do something about how I react to the situation: I can apply reason, caution, and experience to my decisions. While having those tools are an advantage there is no guarantee that I will always use them when I need to. Hopefully I will grow as a “driver” on this “road” as I have over the years operating a motor vehicle: with experience and time an almost muscle-memory style of driving has been “born” making my actions and reactions more consistent and with much less thought needing to go into them. On both the road of life and the roads of asphalt we all need to be solid, defensive drivers.

Temptation

Today I was faced with my biggest temptation since my diagnosis: church potluck dinner. Everyone jokes about Baptists and their dinners and love of and for good, even us among ourselves. And it’s true, for good reason I might add- in my experience most small churches like the one I attend are, more or less, “country” churches with “country” folks who really know how to make comfort foods! Today being our annual Homecoming service made it all the better – or worse in my case – with higher attendance and more selection on the buffet: mashed potatoes, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, potato and cheese casserole, and much, much more. But then there’s the dessert spread, too, with more than I can tell you about (since I steered clear if it all together). But I will tell you about two dishes there: “Aunt” Bertie’s apple spice cake and Odaline’s peanut butter pie.

Let me start with “Aunt” Bertie; she’s not really my aunt. She is related to half the small congregation, and is a founding member of the church, so (almost) everyone calls her aunt ad I picked up it by habit, which she likes. Bertie’s apple spike cake is delicious and it reminds me of my grandmother’s. In the past he has made them, extra, just for me, a token I greatly appreciated. Until today I had never not had a piece (or two) at any of the dinners we have at church. But today I passed on it.

The story is almost identical for Odeline’s peanut butter pie; a frozen pie that is rich and creamy and so yummy. Many times she has made me one of these extraordinary treats, including today; the look on her face when she realized I “couldn’t eat it anymore” was actually so adorable: the genuine concern because of my health was obvious. (Bertie showed her care, too, when she scolded a couple of the kids {to my ears only, not theirs} for tempting me with their large plates full of rich sweets. Of course they didn’t mean anything by it; just kids playing around I’m sure.) I passed on the pie as well, also for the first time.

Now, it’s not that I can’t eat these foods anymore, rather I chose not to indulge in them today. I know that my choice will have consequences – bad choices equate bad consequences, good choices mean good consequences. I’m sure there will be days when I choose the bad option; I’m human and will make bad decisions. But the key is to make good choices much more often than bad ones, as is true in all aspects of life. A good analogy is that I’m in a war and sometimes battles will be lost; but the war will be won.