Monday, December 18, 2017

Positive changes

I posted the photo above to Instagram today, and I wrote the sarcastic caption because I always think it’s kind of funny how something that was a childhood staple for me is now so very different. But, it turns out, it’s been good.

The truth is, despite my sarcastic dig at doctors (which isn't serious), I’d made most of the general changes that sandwich represents without a doctor’s encouragement: I’m smart and I can read, so I made some dietary and lifestyle changes that when combined with medication, that stent, and refinements suggested by the doctor (and my own research) have paid off for me.

For example, I just got my latest routine blood test results, and one test’s results “likely excludes diabetes” and doesn’t need to be repeated any time soon—just as part of my routine cardio vascular disease assessment, something they do maybe a couple times a year.

But some of the changes I made on my own help with all that. I watch what I eat in the sense that I try to get enough fibre and fresh fruits and vegetables, and I’m doing much better with both. In addition to that sandwich, I had All Bran with fresh blueberries for breakfast this morning, and chicken and vegetables for dinner. I use very little salt, opting for the “low salt” variety when I just HAVE to have some, I don’t generally eat anything with sugar (like baked goods, which are a treat), and I stopped using white sugar in my coffee years ago.

On the other hand, there's debate around any number of choices I’ve made, with scientists making arguments for and against those choices, as well as for and against other choices. It’s all very confusing.

But I figure that if I feel well, and my various tests indicate I am well, then it’s pretty much full steam ahead, even if that means a (modified) peanut butter and jam sandwich. Adaptation can be pretty tasty, it turns out.


rogerogreen said...

Good on you!

Sherry Schultz said...

I gave up fake sugars.. specifically diet pop, three years agi, and I'm no longer in the danger zone for Diabetes! Artificial sweeteners are the worse thing for Diabetics!

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yep, and that's one of the debates I was alluding to.

Some experts say that artificial sweeteners cause the same spike in blood insulin that real sugar does, and that it can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which, in turn, can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. I've also read research that seems to suggest that it's sugar-free carbonated drinks specifically that do this, not artificial sweeteners used in other ways (like hot drinks, sprinkled on food, etc).

Still others say it's all nonsense, all artificial sweeteners on the market are perfectly safe, and some even say (admittedly mostly for ideological rather than scientific reasons) that all artificial sweeteners (or just aspartame) are poison.

Like I said in the post, it's all very confusing.

I gave up sugar in my coffee many, many years ago, switching to artificial sweeteners (I first tried using nothing first and failed). Nowadays I usually use a saccharin/cyclamates blend, which would drive some food fascists around the bend (the USA is, I believe, the only major market in the world that still bans cyclamates). Other times I use Stevia, which is highly refined and processed, but not artificial (I use the sprinkle kind on my oatmeal).

I started all that before I started avoiding sugar merely as a way to cut calories (maybe one calorie instead of maybe 32 calories per serve). Then I began to read about how damaging white sugar is (that metabolic syndrome again!) and started to avoid it as much as possible. If I buy a 1.5kg bag of sugar (about 3 US pounds) for baking, it could easily last us a year, if not longer.

Point is, there's no clear consensus from science, so we all have to do what works best for us. Usually our bodies tells us what to do, I think. Clearly my method is working very well for me, and I'm glad yours is working for you! 🙂