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The Path to the New Year is Paved with Goodies

Jan Chait

December 1, 2009

It’s here. The beginning of the eatin’ season. Is it only coincidental that the opening sound of the season is “gobble, gobble”?

Eatin’ season, or ES, began last Thursday with a groaning, overloaded table, loosened waistbands, and football comas. Did anybody go for a walk after turkey and the trimmings, as is recommended? Or did you just sit on the sofa and belch out cheers for your favorite team as you munched on leftovers? It ends at the dawning of a new year.

For me, the next big affair occurs this Thursday, when our synagogue hosts a dinner for an Israeli deputy vice consul who will be in town at the university that day. I’m using the visit as an opportunity to give my religious school class the chance to learn about preparing a kosher meal by doing it. Frankly, it would be easier (and faster) to just do it myself, perhaps with my grandchildren helping, but learning needs to take place at every opportunity.

That will actually be a healthful meal, since we won’t be cooking anything. We will be setting up a salad bar, some herring, tuna salad, and boursin cheese, and ending with fresh fruit for dessert. I even have to make the boursin — basically cream cheese mixed with herbs — because…well, frankly, kosher hard cheese is expensive.

December 12 marks our second annual latke tasting. We make up eight different kinds of latkes, with the appropriate accompaniments, and chow down. Patty the Sisterhood president and I did it by ourselves last year, but can’t do it all this year.

You know about my foot. Well, Patty fell off a stool while changing the battery in her smoke alarm and broke her heel in five places. Recent surgery to remove the hardware in her foot didn’t go well, so she’s dealing with some complications. A couple of weeks ago, she had a skin graft. I told her she was just jealous because I had one and she didn’t. Copycat. We’re in about the same shape as far as mobility goes. I took a stack of recipes to religious school and asked the parents to choose one to make and bring.

After that Saturday evening event, I immediately turn around and host the religious school’s Chanukah party on Sunday morning. That’s jelly doughnuts. Simple, right? You just order from the doughnut shop and pick them up on the way. W-e-l-l…we have two mothers with celiac and one child with a wheat allergy. So, in addition to ordering jelly doughnuts, I will make gluten-free jelly doughnuts. (I can’t stand to leave people out.)

For those of you who are confused because you’ve heard potato latkes are the traditional Chanukah fare, I’ll let you in on a little secret: jelly doughnuts also are traditional.

And then I stop, halfway through ES. Since I work at home, I’m not tempted by cookies, fudge and other goodies brought to the office to share. As far as New Year’s Eve celebrations to, we went to a party one year. Then we went back to our preference: a quiet evening at home with champagne and hors d’oeuvres for a late dinner. If we get a little tipsy, no matter: We don’t drive inside our house.

It can be difficult dealing with diabetes during the holiday season. I remember my endocrinologist going over my blood glucose log and saying: “What happened to your numbers he…? Oh. The holidays.” (I’m glad I go to a place where it’s accepted that PWDs [People With Diabetes] are going to indulge a bit — along with everybody else.)

On the other hand, I remember colleagues asking, “are you supposed to be eating that?” when I dared nab a cookie or a piece of fudge during my newspaper days.

I swear, you can explain how diabetes works until you’re blue in the face, but some people just don’t want to learn. They just know that PWDs can’t eat sugar and that’s that. “Oh, no!” a friend of mine used to say. “You’re going to go into a coma and die!” I think he was serious, too. I hesitated to tell him that a plate of pasta and a brownie topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce had the same effect on blood glucose. If he knew that, I wouldn’t be able to eat anything around him.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s OK to indulge on special occasions. My CDE thought so, too. And when my glucose goes up, I can exercise it down, take insulin to bring it down, or do a combination of insulin and exercise.

Enjoy the holidays, but do so in a way that allows you to maintain some modicum of control. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel well when my glucose is high, and that lessens my enjoyment of events.

Don’t cause yourself to be a party pooper.



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