My late friend Diane used to bake a large pan of baklava for me each holiday season. The dessert was one of the special treats she prepared for her family and friends. She understood that I rarely eat sweets due to diabetes, so she always delivered my gift to the radio station to share among my coworkers. The office manager usually reserved half-a-dozen pieces for me to bring home to enjoy later.
The winter holiday season is beset with carbohydrate hazards to people who cannot or choose not to ingest sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Friends prepare and offer treats with good intentions and out of traditional habit. The goodies are so tempting that my resistance usually breaks down; causing me to nibble a few along with my friends.
Unfortunately, I regret it the next day. I awaken with a mild sugar hangover which includes feeling dull and headachy. During the rest of the year, I completely swear off of anything sugary. Doing so decreases neuropathic pain and increases overall well-being.
According to my physician, our bodies’ inflammatory reactions are necessary in their physiology to heal injuries, rebuild muscle tissue, and ward off infections. On the negative side, too much inflamation increases the risk of cancers, chronic pain, yeast infection, atherocsclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious health problems. Add to these, tooth decay and gum disease. Sugar being an inflammatory food, means that consuming excess sugar exposes our bodies to continuous inflammation. Sugar addicts are at higher risk of coming down with chronic health problems.
Personally, as someone who has always been sensitive to sugar intake, I’ve spent the lion’s share of my total, personal meal planning time calculating the proper mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for each meal and snack. I discovered early on that eliminating simple sugars wherever possible is a shortcut to healthy eating.
Meantime, I do not proselytize the anti-sugar gospel. When my friends chow down on carbs, I’m not bothered at all. Whenever we dine out, my pals indulge in starchy and sweet dishes. Some of my friends like wine or beer with their meals. As they’ve grown older, a few of them have learned to cut back on high-carb treats as a matter of health worries. My friend Jorge used to overindulge on tortilla chips and sweet salsa. The intake of his favorite snack began making him feel tired and out of it. Because he’s a commercial truck driver, a tired state of mind is dangerous. Jorge claims that ever since he’s mostly eliminated sugars from his diet, he is a safer driver.
Regardless of my own personal dietary needs and practices, I know that my loved ones and friends will continue to enjoy the winter holiday season by eating foods containing plenty of carbohydrates and too much sugar. Meanwhile, I’ll keep munching on savory snack foods.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes English author, humorist, and satirist, Terry Pratchett. “Too much alleged ‘fantasy’ is just empty sugar, life with the crusts cut off.”