Humorous Suggestions for Managing Diabetes Over The Holidays
Somehow (I'm not sure how, as it was summer just a few days ago) the holidays seem to be upon us. And the holiday season is always difficult when you're on a strict diet, as most of us are.
It's especially difficult if this is your first holiday with diabetes. Last year you could eat anything you wanted. Now you can't (well, you can, but there can be consequences). But I've had this wonderful disease for close to 11 years now, and I'm accustomed to dealing with it and thought I'd pass along some of the useful holiday-eating secrets I've discovered.
Here's what you can do when your friends invite you to holiday parties:
1. Bring your own. My low-carb diet allows me to eat reasonable amounts of meat, so last year I showed up at a party with an ox. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone to butcher him, and he wouldn't fit through the front door, so I tied him to the mailbox and yelled, "I'm here. Who wants to build the fire and roast the Yuletide ox?"
This year I was spared the trouble, as I wasn't invited back.
2. Tell them what you can eat. Not every host or hostess is willing to spend all evening digging a pit, building a spit, and roasting a Yuletide ox, so it's easier if you just contact the hosts ahead of time and tell them what you can eat, so they can have some suitable food on hand.
I explained that I was on a low-carb diet and I couldn't eat breadsticks, fruitcake, and cookies, but I could eat shrimp, lobster, brie cheese, oysters, caviar, and champagne.
The next time I saw that hostess, she mumbled something about taking out a second-mortgage on the house to pay for the holiday food, and strangely, I wasn't invited back this year.
3. Bring your treadmill to the party. This technique avoids having the hosts prepare special food for you. All you have to do is set up the treadmill by the refreshment table and eat whatever you want while doing some brisk walking. You could even ask the other guests to define "brisk walking" for you. Everyone endorses it; no one defines it.
The advantage of this setup is that it tends to keep other guests away from the refreshment table, so you have more choices for yourself.
More coincidences. This year, I think my invitation from these people got lost in the mail.
4. Have all the parties yourself. If you have all the parties yourself, you can fix healthy foods and share them with all your closest friends. I did that last year and served cardboard-flavored rusks with minced cauliflower topping, puree of broccoli with some vile cholesterol-lowering butter substitute, fake eggs scrambled in tasteless oil, and sugarfree gelatin with celery slices.
This year everyone had a previous engagement on the day I scheduled my party.
5. Decline Aunt Lucy's fruitcake. This is perhaps one of the best things about having diabetes. You have an excuse to decline horrid foods you've never liked anyway, like Uncle Mortimer's elk jerky and Aunt Lucy's five-year-old fruitcake. Unfortunately, this year Aunt Lucy made her fruitcake from rice bran, sugarfree, with no fruit added, but I declined it anyway explaining that I had a serious allergy to fiber.
Aunt Lucy isn't speaking to me now.
6. Don't have friends. This is absolutely the easiest way to deal with friends' holiday parties. If you don't have any friends, you don't need to worry about going to their parties. And if you follow tips 1 through 6, you'll be well on your way.
7. Laugh. Maybe we can't eat fruitcake, well not very much anyway, but if we keep our sense of humor and focus on all the things we can enjoy -- like the company of family and old friends, a drink or two of holiday wine (alcohol in moderation keeps blood glucose levels down), even a small portion of our favorite desserts (higher blood glucose levels for just one day aren't apt to cause a lot of damage), enjoyment of the snow (if we're in the right part of the country) and all the beautiful lights, plus the realization that the days will soon be longer and spring will be on its way -- then we can enjoy the holiday despite a few pesky restrictions.
May your own holiday be a joyous one!
For more holiday tips, see our Holiday Guide.