Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Retrospective #172: “Everybody knows that…”

Have you seen the Geico commercial that begins with two people and one sees an ad on a billboard and reads it aloud: “Did you know that you can save 15% or more in 15 minutes by calling Geico?” Then the other person says, “Everybody knows that.” This comment implies that the message is oversold.
Well, “Everybody knows that” is what the waitress told me in a lunch place in New Orleans once when I told her I was diabetic and wanted to know if there was breading on the Oysters Bienville. It turns out there was, and I changed my order to raw oysters, but it made me wonder if everyone who is diabetic, pre-diabetic, or overweight knows that they are “carbohydrate intolerant.” And if so, why do they ignore this simple precept of healthy eating?
Of course, even those of us who are totally “carbohydrate intolerant” will allow ourselves some indulgences. At Christmas, my wife bakes a double batch of a dozen types of cookies for gifts and for the Christmas Eve table. I will wait until then to have a few, always making sure the plates are outside my reach on the table. And I’ll have enough cheese beforehand to “count” as an entire meal. My stepdaughter and her husband always bring a nice cheese board. Another stepdaughter and her husband will bring homemade aquavit and pâté, and I’ll drink and eat more than my share. My third stepdaughter and her husband host with a true smorgasbord (a Swedish heritage).
So, how can anybody be a Grinch during the holiday season? It’s just that… everybody knows what “healthy eating” means. Of course, it can mean different things to different people. People with healthy metabolisms can indulge without much ado. Others can just skip dinner for a day when they need to lose a few pounds. Kids will turn a sugar high into hyperactivity and maybe a growth spurt (hopefully a vertical one). Old folks will take a nap when their blood sugar crashes. And people like me will return to “normal” blood sugars (<100mg/dl) in just a few days.
But I am haunted by the Type 2 man I met in Louisiana a while ago whose doctor said it was okay to eat bread with breakfast, and who had spaghetti for lunch, and takes oral diabetes meds plus basal and mealtime insulin and walks with a pronounced limp. I can’t help but think of what his doctor’s dietary prescription portends for him.
I am haunted by the 52-year old 30-year registered nurse (!) whose obituary I read this week and whose family suggested memorial donations be made to the American Diabetes Association. I lot of good that will do her!
And I am haunted by the memory of my pharmacist whom I had known for many years when I went to buy my first blood glucose meter. That’s when he told me that he was an insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetic. We were the same age, and when he died an early death quite a few years ago now from one of diabetes complications or one of its many co-morbidities, his death shocked and saddened me. It was then and remains now the impetus for me to write about my Type 2 diabetes and my weight loss/health benefits experience.  My very low-carb WOE lifestyle change produced, besides the intended effect of weight loss, the added unintended and unanticipated salutary effects of vastly improved lipid (cholesterol) health and blood pressure. It “cured” my Metabolic Syndrome.
These people – even the man in Louisiana, and certainly the Registered nurse and the pharmacist – knew better, or should have known better. Everybody knows, or should know, that carbs, when you have Insulin Resistance, are what make your blood sugar go up and stay up. This damages your body, invariably leading to premature death.
Everybody knows that…so don’t be self-destructive. If you have to indulge,” eat too much fat and protein, or wine! That’s what I plan to do. You should have a plan too. It then becomes a matter of personal integrity; you are accountable to yourself for keeping your resolution. Be reasonable, though. Allow yourself some indulgences.
This was my holiday message at the end of 2013. January 1st will come soon enough, I said, and you can reset your resolve to “fly straight” thereafter. I will. I will set a goal to lose the weight I will have put on over the holidays. January always represents a fresh start for dieters. And the super bowl doesn’t come until February, so there’s plenty of time to get back on track, if you wandered off during the holidays. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

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