Monday, August 5, 2013

Snacking at a party with diabetes

It's a lot easier to control what we eat when we do our own shopping and cooking at home. But when we go to a party, the temptation to "just have a good time" can get in the way of not eating the foods we know will make us sick. So here are some thoughts on snacking at a party.

In short- don't eat the stuff you know will not help you! Are you actually hungry when you pick up that brownie?

 It seems like having some beers or munching on chips and salsa is a good way to have fun, but if we think about the real reason for a party/ get together, it comes down to interacting with the friends or loved ones we are meeting up with. If we expend some effort, we can teach ourselves how to let go and have a good time without alcohol or unnecessary foods.
       I was talking with a friend, and we both agreed that the most enticing thing about drinking alcohol at a party is its time-stripping effect- when drinking, it feels as if time doesn't really exist and you forget your temporal obligations. I proposed that this suspension of concern for past or future events can also be conjured consciously without the use of alcohol and other drugs. He concurred, but we both agreed that that kind of mindset takes time and effort to train. So my advice in that realm- get started!

When it comes to eating food at parties, it more likely than not becomes a means of escape the same way as recreational drugs and alcohol. The sensations that occur when snacking on brownies or ice cream are certainly drug-like, though more subtle and fleeting. But the fleeting nature of all these sensations is exactly the reason to avoid the snacking. The momentary benefit of a pleasurable sensation is not at all worth the trouble it will cause in controlling blood sugar. Aside from that, there is the fact that all sensations are fleeting! They will all come, and they will all go. In essence, they are all empty and have no inherent meaning other than that we prefer some over the other. If we can alter our perception about which we want and which we don't want, we can remove our attachment from them. This does not mean that we do not experience them in their entirety- we are still engaged with what is happening, and do not deny either presence. But what such an attitude does allow us to do is to engage with the more important things.

Practically speaking, we might, especially at my age in college, want to go to gatherings that are all about drinking and eating. But this doesn't mean you don't go. You can go and strip yourself of all judgement, go and suspend your worries, and go and have a good time without any of that. You can be silly, dance ridiculously, and do things your mother wouldn't want you to do all on your own accord.  Sometimes I bring seltzer water and celery if I feel like I'm going to want to snack and not reach for the cookies or booze, but I always bring an attitude of silliness and my reediness for fun. If you so desire, you can even play flip-cup, Kings and beer pong and have one of your larger friends drink for you.

It doesn't really have anything to do with a moral abstention if you don't want it to be that way, but more with the question: Do I need this? Is this actually useful? 

Instead of gorging, or "having fun" with something that will ultimately cause an un-fun situation, we have more of our consciousness to focus on the people we are with. If having a meal together where food is freshly prepared, we have the chance to come together and share nurturing our minds and bodies with healthy food and meaningful interaction. That's not to say that if someone does make something out of their consideration for their guests that is not something you should eat, that you shouldn't eat it. Perhaps you can have a very small portion to show your appreciation and reciprocate their concern for you. It's a compromise that might be worth making, but its a compromise. It doesn't mean forget and ditch the entire effort to put only things that will help you in your body. In a way, your friends concern and consciousness in their creation might outweigh the strictly nutritional components, and you consuming it together is an act of mutual appreciation. With adjustments in outlook and in cooking nurturing food, eating together can take on another level of significance when it is not simply about the pleasurable sensations created by the drug-like effects of sugar, but pleasurable on a whole new level when friendships are deepened and the soul nurtured.

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