The Easter holidays just passed and I hope you had a great time with family and friends. I enjoyed it very much – my family is strong, tight-knit and loving. We support each other and we genuinely like to be around each other.
As a young child I used to love Christmas and Easter for those very reasons, (1) I would see my grandparents, (2) my Dad would have time off work, and (3) we would do things like skiing, playing tennis or watching movies together. However, I cannot lie, and one of the reasons I loved those particular holidays, was also the food and especially the sweets.
I had a notorious sweet tooth – LOVED chocolate and ice cream, and with my very high metabolism triggered by competitive athletic activities, I never suffered from being overweight, although my entire life, since the age of 7, I was aware of the notion that being thin was better than being fat
Add another 9 years and I was diagnosed with diabetes and now I was not ALLOWED to have chocolate as I wanted, and not because I wanted to maintain or lose weight, but because I was SICK.
For 20 years I cut out treats and high carb foods in a systematic way and for the first 10 of those years I achieved fantastic glycemic control, a very lean body but it was a tough life to constantly be in control, deny myself what was so abundant and so available to others. I felt strong, but the decisions I had to make every day to maintain this approach, especially as a teenager and a young adult, were tiring. Easter and Christmas became terrors instead of happy times. I was constantly feeling left behind and became tense due to my choices and the abundant offerings I had to reject. I felt like the party spoiler and it did not help that most people did not know that I had diabetes, therefore they kept offering me things that were not good for me and I had to reject over and over again. For the following 10 years with diabetes I continued on my strict diet, but lost my measuring and dosing routines to avoid the risks of going low because when you maintain a healthy, low-carb diet but you are giving yourself insulin, you always have the risk of going too low in blood sugar which can be catastrophic. Living a life in the fast-lane, working on Wall street and in a start-up biotech company going public on NASDAQ was anything but relaxing. routines were hard to come by and the men I worked with were hardly accommodating.
Fast-forward to 2016 and I am healthy, with a functioning transplanted pancreas and my diet is still strict. Perhaps even stricter than before the transplant because I have experienced the consequences of high blood sugar and there is no way I am repeating the mistakes of letting my control go again. I owe my donors, my doctors and my family too much to disappoint them.
Easter and Christmas still pose a psychological problem for me. I cannot easily participate in desserts and happy moments of gluttony, since I literally picture my body falling apart in front of my eyes.
I am so scared to lose what I have achieved and what I have been given, that I tighten up in those moments and I am unable to participate.
For some reason, with family it is worse. I freeze up, cannot enjoy and just shut down. I do not blame my family for enjoying what I choose to avoid, but I cannot either pretend to be casual about what has happened to me, and what I see could happen to those I love the most.
The horrific pain and despair of feeling your eyes, kidneys and whole system break down due to the effects of sugar will never vanish from my memory, and the people I love the most are the ones I want to protect from that.
I do not have the same issue when I am in company of friends or strangers – they can happily enjoy in front of me, but when I see my family consume – I get upset.
This is one person’s reflections and very honest story about her relationship with the holidays and sugar – but in my mind, sugar is evil, it is worse than crack and if we do not fight it, we will all slowly but surely be destroyed from our insides to the outside. Several scientific papers (referenced below) have shown that sugar exacerbates aging, it is a culprit in Alzheimer’s disease, various kinds of cancer, and obviously diabetes with all its complications. Yet we allow our children to consume chocolate with up to 90% sugar and fat content and drink chocolate milk and sodas on a daily basis. Imagine if we allowed them to smoke, drink or do drugs? Sugar is at that level if not worse and I am determined to make it known to the world how addictive and destructive it is, and how the manufacturers are aware and directly participate in this crippling and killing of our youth.