The Diabetic’s Christmas

Sugar Plums – yes, really! (Photo by Larry Crowe-AP)

Ah, Christmas! The very idea conjures up visions of sugarplums – whatever those are – to accompany the smells of cinnamon and pine that many enjoy every December.

As a child, one memory that stands out is making Christmas cookies. Baking was some mysterious alchemy that mom and grandma took charge of, but oh what fun to decorate those cut-out confections with pure sugary icing! (Icing recipe: one mound of confectioner’s sugar, a little water to get the consistency you want for applying with a small artist’s paintbrush, and food coloring of your choice.)

Back in those days – when dinosaurs roamed the earth – the connection between high sugar intake and blood sugar disorders like diabetes were not well understood.

But now,  Standford Medicine says that such a link does indeed exist:

“Researchers examined data on sugar availability and diabetes rates from 175 countries over the past decade. They found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Whether diabetic or obese, when faced when with that seemingly unrelenting onslaught of all those tempting, edible Christmas goodies – trays upon heaping trays – what can you do to cope with having to Just Say No (instead of Ho! Ho! Ho!) to Sugar?

Never fear, help is here! Diabetic Living has kindly provided a lower-carb recipe for classic Gingerbread Cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies (Diabetic Living)

Speaking of low-carb, many people know that lean meats are, by their very nature, South Beach or Paleo Diet friendly foods. But this recipe for Braised Turkey Roulade with Pancetta, Shallots, and Porcini Gravy from Cooking Light looks absolutely fabulous!

Braised Turkey Roulade with Pancetta, Shallots, and Porcini Gravy (Photo by Charles Masters)
Of course, turkey is popular this month, especially around the 25th day. Check out this mouth-watering roast turkey recipe, with sage and thyme from Carolyn Casner for Eating Well.

Spatchcocked Turkey

What’s a turkey without stuffing? Diabetic Gourmet offers up a scrumptious recipe for Fresh Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffing.

The Diabetes Council recommends a way to lower your fat intake with a high-starch vegetable we all know and many love, this time of year:

“Roasted Potatoes: Keeping your fat total to a minimum during the holiday season is important in maintaining balanced blood glucose levels. You can keep the fat on your potatoes lower by roasting them instead of making mashed or using an oil spray when cooking.”

Did you think I had forgotten about those Christmas cookies? No Ho Ho! Kelli, the Freebie Finding Mom shares 13 Diabetic Christmas Cookie Recipes. The peanut butter cookies are to-die-for!

Peanut Butter Cookies (Kelli the Freebie Finding Mom)

If you have a low tolerance for high blood sugar levels, allow yourself a few indulgences – you know your body, after all – but always remember that the fall-back position, for everyone concerned about overstuffing with gratuitous calories at a holiday party, is to stick close to the raw vegetables, mixed nuts or dried fruit plates.

As for beverages, try alternating one alcoholic beverage (they are very high-carb) with a glass of water. This cuts your sugar intake in half.

The most important action you can take is to give yourself permission to turn down offers of sweets. Above all, don’t feel guilty. Remember, people who don’t have diabetes often refuse, when offered the same snacks.

Here’s a great tip, in closing: ease in a few walks when the food starts piling on. You know how people excuse themselves to go outside for a [yuck] cigarette? Why not say, “I’ll be right back, just going out to stretch my legs a bit.” Not only is it the truth, you’ll feel better getting your blood moving.

‘Tis the season to “lighten up” and have some fun! Be safe, and treat yourself well for the rest of this year!

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