This is a scary thought but yesterday I learned how telemarketers have to feel. They spend countless hours on the phone and accomplish nothing. That was my day yesterday, talking to people who do not want to listen.
Thank you again, Skype, without you, I would have to mortgage our house (anybody still lending?) or forgo food (maybe a diet would do me good). So we had conference family discussions about my mother in law; 'to tell her or not to tell her' that was the question. OK, this is a difficult subject so I understand why it needs to be carefully considered. We did not agree on anything yet.
But then there was the topic of nutrition, something my brother in law really needs to address if he wants to keep the rest of his limbs, his eyesight, and life. And this is where the frustration comes. All around us there are many conflicting opinions about what is healthy and what is not but for diabetics the message is clear and constant. Forget sugars, forget white flour, limit fruit but increase veggie servings especially leafy ones. Eat small portions. It is not OK to have 'treats' once in a while and then a shot of insulin to correct the mess. This is like telling a drug addict that ever so often he can indulge his addiction and be fine. So it happens that the other day there was a very interesting talk on KQED Forum, a program of our local public radio station. It was about food addition. They focused specifically on sugars since this is the research area of the people invited to present the findings. It so happens that sugars (does not matter which ones, cane, corn syrup, you name it and possibly even artificial sweeteners) elicit the same brain response as ethanol. Yes, we are sugarholics. They were very careful not to say that we were addicts but this is what they very strongly suggested. If by any chance you will listen to this podcast, just skip the Buddhist lady. She was not the best choice for the program. Her long rants were repetitive and unfortunately did not bring much information in.
This is not the first time I encountered food addiction topics. Kessler's book helped me sort out things in my mind about my own food addiction experiences. He is the guy who as FDA commissioner under Bush 1 and then Clinton went after tobacco companies. A yo-yo dieter himself and a scientists he wanted to understand what it was that makes him and so many others fall off the wagon. His findings are that it is not only sugars but also a combination of sugars, fats and salt that makes us want more and more. Food industry has very extensive research about what we find palatable and they cater to our tastes. The problem is that our tastes have been shaped by what was available in forests and savannas and not on the supermarket shelves. Till quite late in history certain ingredients were very rare and precious. The word salary comes from 'sal', salt that Roman soldiers received as part of their payment for services. When a king of France, I think, visited Poland in the 16th century, he was presented with a sugar head. Yes, that was a royal present. Now we buy 5lbs bags of sugar for just a few $.
My own food struggles taught me that it is very difficult for me to control my cravings after I slip. Going out, even if I make 'good' choices very often makes me double hungry for the next few days. I suspect that some additives restaurants use to enhance flavors trigger 'I want more' mechanism in my brain. So I end up with cravings even for what I ate at that restaurants but for simple carb smothered in grease with salt.
I try to learn as much as I can about nutrition and then try to see if it all makes sense from the perspective of where we came from. To me it is trying to imagine if theories I read would make sense in the natural world. After all, no matter how much we try to get out of it, we are still a part of nature. Our agricultural history is relatively short. Our industrial history even shorter. In the world we came from there are no sugars. Even apples are not as sweet as the ones we have now. There is no white flour. There are no salt shakers (for me that's a major oversight on nature's part). There is a lot of plant material and animals that we need to work very hard to catch.
My telemarketing skills are very poor. My husband's are not much better. The knowledge we have amassed over the years of learning is falling on deaf ears. It is as if the perspective of losing another foot was less scary than the vision of changing one's eating habits. I know it took me years of making empty promises to myself to finally get real and do something about my diet. I don't think my brother in law has years to toy with ideas.
My running yesterday had to wait till late in the evening. I ran barefoot in the neighborhood and I think I squished a snail. They are coming out now but for some reason they think they are going to be safer in dark, shady parts of the sidewalk. Wrong. So I heard this quiet crunch of what I think that must have been a poor snail's house. No, I did not stop to look. When I run in shoes I slam my foot down much harder and if there is a snail underneath I know for sure I crushed it. Maybe now I only made a crack in it's house. I hope snails can rebuild their homes. Can they?