Oh Sugar!

Flickr Photo: Sugar Sticks by Trilli Bagus
SUGAR. What a loaded word. It's always fascinated me when people use it instead of sh*t as a swear.

It's also a term of endearment. Two songs from my childhood immediately come to mind when I think of the word: Sugar, Sugar by The Archies and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, by The Four Tops.

Of course sugar is a main ingredient used in baking. It's a staple in my house. But it's also something I fear. Sugar is a slang term meaning diabetes. Diabetes runs in my family. I do NOT want to get it.

After reading the news about Paula Deen recently, I couldn't help but think about it. Considering her recipes, I can't be shocked that she's diabetic. Do I think she should have admitted to having it before she started promoting a new diabetes medication? I'm still not sure.

The recipes that she is most famous for never would be considered healthy. When my dinner club decided to cook some of her recipes I was rather nervous. Not all of her recipes are so over the top and it was just one meal, so it all worked out okay.

Would I buy one of her cookbooks? No. Do I think that she is being genuine about her desire to promote healthy eating for diabetics? Not particularly. It seems to me that she's doing it for the money. Otherwise she would have been promoting healthier cooking and eating as soon as she was diagnosed. She was probably concerned about her ability to continue selling her brand of food and cooking, because it would have to change. Would her fans continue following her? Well, we'll never know, because she waited.

As much as people are outraged by her conduct, I don't feel it. Maybe because I was never a huge fan and don't feel betrayed. But even then I don't understand how if I were a fan I would feel betrayed. Recipes for butter fried marshmallow dipped lard coated chocolate filled triple cream everything eaten on a regular basis are bound to have negative health consequences.

She didn't have to admit to having diabetes for people to know that those foods could lead to it. If she was willing to sell these types of foods to people why wouldn't she be willing to sell them the antidote?

Well, enough about Paula Deen. I hadn't even planned to write about her. It's just that after all the talk about her having diabetes, I heard about a one-woman play called Sugar, which recently opened at ArtsEmerson in Boston. The interview on Radio Boston includes a conversation with Yvette Cozier, who is co-investigator on the Black Women’s Health Study, which I've written about here before.

The play is by Robbie McCauley, Obie award-winning playwright and professor of performing arts at Emerson College. In the play, McCauley documents the African-American experience with diabetes. It sounds like a really interesting show.

All this thinking about diabetes has me thinking that my cooking and some of the focus on this blog has to change. Overall I'm a healthy eater. I don't eat huge portions or fast foods. I cook from scratch. I don't eat meat except for poultry and seafood. But I have a major sweet tooth. The older that I get, I see that I just cannot get away with what I could when I was younger. I need to exercise way more and make it an integral part of my life and this blog. There is room for improvement and change.

A study that I read about recently did give me something to smile about. It seems that coffee can protect against diabetes. I don't drink the four cups a day that the study mentions, and I don't plan to, but it's something.

Mostly though, I will just have to do the hard work even though it was never hard for me when I was younger. I'm starting to plan my meals better with menus. I'm focused on increasing my intake of vegetables and protein-rich grains. Yes, I'm slowly warming up to quinoa.

I'm also coming to the sad and painful realization that yoga might not work for me, at least in a formal class. As much as I love it, the forward bends are killing my back, even modified versions. There are some poses that I can do at home, but in a class, even with an amazing instructor, I feel pressure to do more poses than may be good for me. So I'm figuring out which exercises will work best for me.

It's all a process. Life seems to require that as soon as we think we have things somewhat figured out, something changes and we have to learn to adapt to a new situation again. So I'm trying my best to adapt. Adaptation seems to be the key to a good life. And making friends with uncertainty.

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SharleneT said…
I'm a salt person but have come to enjoy the sweetness of Stevia, now that I have it growing in my garden. I don't hold Paula Deen responsible for any of my eating habits or my health issues. I firmly believe that everyone is responsible for their own food decisions. Until they take Starbucks off the planet, I refuse to listen to any of the pundits telling me what is good and what isn't good. There was a time when you were told not to drink coffee because it gave you cancer – but that didn't stop them, and the world flocks to their doors. I say leave Paula alone – buy her books or don't – but she has as much right to earn a living as anyone else. I think, as long as you stay away from fast food, you are doing just fine.
Lisa Johnson said…
sharlene - I've never tried freshly grown Stevia. Interesting. I remember when everyone was saying how bad coffee was for us. Basically I decided to choose my poison, because I've tried to give it up many times and it's not worth it. I love coffee and Starbucks! I have started decreasing the amount of sugar in it though. : )
dmarks said…
My favorite sugar song is Sugar Mice by Marillion.
Lisa Johnson said…
dmarks - Thanks for the link! I guess there are are a whole lot of sugar songs. Hmmmm. That would be an interesting list to compile. Like the top 10! : )
Nichole said…
If you're a fan of hot cereal, try quinoa cereal. Not bad at all. Also I find that soaking and rinsing it (overnight ideally but at least for 15 minutes) gets rid of that bitterness that I didn't like when I first tried it.
Lisa Johnson said…
nichole - I'm warming up to it slowly and I do love hot cereal, but I tried soaking it before and I just don't like the feel of quinoa. To me I don't really taste it. If I eat it just plain, the feel is too much, so I need to hide it in something else that has a good mouth feel. I'm just quirky like that! : )

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