These days, when I stand in my kitchen, I often find myself wondering what my next meal should be. Since being diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve had to wave a sad goodbye to some of my lifelong favorites, including carbs, sugar and starch. I used to love those ingredients, but my doctor told me I had to choose between them and my good health.
It was a no brainer, but it’s been rough. And, if breaking up was hard to do, moving on has proven even more challenging.
If I’m 100% honest, I admit my former relationship with food was not all that great. Who knew that my “wholesome” food choices were, well, less than sterling?
Don’t misunderstand me – I was never one to stuff myself with fatty fried foods or sugar-laden cakes and cookies. But, it turns out that even some of my more artistic creations were far too rich for my metabolism. Still, I miss those impressive gourmet dishes that were so much fun to cook, serve and enjoy.
So now what? While I’ve reluctantly begun to accept that my fancy eating days are (mostly) behind me (sigh), I also know I’m not the only food-obsessed chef on the planet faced with learning new and better ways to cook and eat.
In the interest of developing a culinary repertoire that nourishes my body and mind, I’ve started learning as much as I can about what’s in the food I eat. (Did you know that a salad at your favorite fast food joint may deliver more fat and calories than a double burger and fries?)
I’ve also begun clipping and collecting recipes that feed my needs. And, just to keep things interesting, I’ve learned to experiment with a great array of exotic herbs and spices.
I will admit I still find myself occasionally craving my old culinary loves, especially late at night and in those pre-dawn hours. (Just the thought of my old loves – the burger and fries – fires up the longing.)
At first, I tried to be strict with myself and never ever cheat on my diet. But now I take a gentler approach; sometimes I give in to those cravings and allow myself to enjoy the occasional guilt-free epicurean delight. I think of it not so much as cheating, but living. We can’t deny ourselves all the time. If we don’t indulge in the occasional side of fries or scoop of butter pecan, we could find ourselves frustrated, discouraged and even defiant – a sure recipe for failure.
All in all, it’s a matter of keeping things in perspective. By surrounding myself with the right information, foods and habits, I’ve begun to feel good about supporting my metabolism, boosting my energy and keeping my blood levels in balance.
And, by allowing myself the occasional rich dish, I stay … well, pretty darned satisfied.