Less Sugar

A little less than two weeks ago I started reading A Year Without Sugar by Eve Schaub. Of course I found it inspiring. Basic premise: Sugar is Poison. Fructose is bad for you because your body can’t use it, and it goes directly to your liver where your liver turns it into fatty acids, which then enter your bloodstream and prevent your cells from accessing glucose, which they need for energy. Then of course the book tells the story of how the family goes a year without sugar. Now I’m reading Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, but I didn’t like that his website is by subscription. It just seems like all the no sugar promoting books  direct you to websites that you have to pay for, which makes me feel like the book is just to promote the website. Still I want to read all of his books and maybe even buy the cookbook, although maybe I should subscribe to the website. I just don’t like things that renew automatically either because I’m not living that high that I never have to watch the balance in my bank account.

Anyway, for awhile now I’ve been wanting to do my own low sugar (not necessarily no sugar) plan, but I keep falling back on it. I finally have to admit that maybe I am addicted to sugar (although I don’t like it nearly as much as most other people). I also noticed that I’m eating for emotional reasons. I associate certain things with socializing, snacks and coffee and such. So maybe I’m lonely, and my quick fix is a cup of coffee. I’m exaggerating a little. Then of course there is the emotional associations just with something special or exciting or childhood memories. Or even though I know this stuff is bad for me, there’s still kind of an association with it being wholesome because you can read about the light house keepers and loggers and farmers back in the day being served up slabs of cake and pie (not as dessert) as part or their meals.

I also realized today that other people are not helpful. They will parrot the information, talk about it, but they aren’t really interested in making the lifestyle changes themselves. Some people aren’t interested period. Like: Don’t even talk about it! But for example my dad last week brought us a package of Girl Scout cookies when he came to visit. I didn’t even open them, but I don’t quite know what to do with them. My aunt brought us cupcakes, and even though I don’t really like her cupcakes (they are box mix and I don’t feel well after eating them) I ended up eating one anyway, and Baby helped herself to one. This week my dad and his wife brought brownies (now who isn’t tempted by brownies?) Actually, I was most tempted when I saw those nice big pieces of walnuts in them (can I just pick the walnuts out, and will it count if they have just a little brownie stuck on them?). The thing is, my dad knows that I’m trying to eat less sugar, and he’s still bringing me these things. People don’t understand. I feel guilty to throw it out (plus it looks good), but if I keep it I’ll probably end up eating it, and how many exceptions can you make?



Toddlers Require A Lot of Time and Attention

The parenting veterans will tell you, once you get used to your baby’s schedule, that’s when they will suddenly up and change it on you. Prior to our trip to Bangladesh, Baby and I had a pretty good thing going. She  would go to bed relatively early, and I would drag out my sewing machine for a couple hours of work, pretty much every single evening. I was kind of looking forward to our trip to Bangladesh, so that I could have a bit of a vacation. But now I haven’t worked on my business www.etsy.com/shop/SisterCraftHijabs  pretty much at all in over a month, and I don’t see that I will be resuming it in the foreseeable future.

At first I thought that Baby was just having a hard time adjusting to the time change from here to Bangladesh (that measly hour for daylight savings hardly signifies). But well, now she just doesn’t want to go to bed. Tonight for example, I spent two hours singing, rocking, bouncing, and nursing her. I assumed she was tired. She seemed cranky. It hardly matters. I don’t feel like I get anything accomplished pretty much the whole day while she’s awake. She pretty much spends her day plunking books in my lap for me to read (repeatedly) and screaming at me if I don’t start reading them immediately. My husband was awoken this afternoon by baby screams because I was trying to toast popped rice on the stove, and, well, babies and stoves don’t mix too well. I didn’t want to burn the popped rice while I was reading her a book, nor did I want to burn the baby, so well, there you go, screaming. I also take her out for playgroups and walks and visiting people pretty much every day just so she doesn’t drive me crazy, but I really don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I suppose that’s motherhood.

I started the business up again in 2015 as a way that I could stay home with her. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate that being home with her would also mean that I would be her caretaker 24/7 and therefore not really be able to work. Although my husband was encouraging me to get a part time job since before Baby was born, a few days ago when I suggested doing so (because I thought perhaps she’s old enough to be away from me a bit and the baby-free time might be good for me too) he said, “I don’t think that would be a good idea. That would be chaos with Baby.” Tacit appreciation for my role as stay-at-home mom. It doesn’t look like staying home with her will be a problem, so I guess I just have to embrace my role as mother.

The Satisfaction Factor

I don’t like to say too much about it because there are people who so strongly disapprove, but it is probably obvious to at least some people due to the ingredients in some of my recipes that we are WIC recipients. I started receiving a food package during the late stages of my pregnancy due to a lot of encouragement from a social worker that helped get us medical insurance. My mom had been a WIC recipient after unexpectedly having twins, and the general consensus is that it is a help. I received a very generous food package as a breastfeeding mother up until my baby turned one. Starting at 6 months, Baby started receiving her own package. I happen to think there are a lot of politics involved in what they give you, and many of the foods are from highly subsidized industries. Far from us ripping off the government, I happen to think that someone is benefiting economically because they tend to push foods on you that you don’t even want (and what’s with that rule that you have to take everything on your check or you can’t get any of it?).

As a pregnant and breastfeeding mother, I received a lot of milk, way more than we could ever use, and if you tell them that, they offer you tofu and cheese and yogurt, but you still get way more milk than you can use. I was only allowed to get low fat 1% or less. A while before this, our family had made the switch back to whole milk after learning about how the body uses saturated fat to regulate blood sugar, how fat slows the sugar from entering the blood stream, how most of the nutrients in milk our fat soluble. I brought this up at my first WIC appointment even though I knew it was useless to argue with the policy, and beggars can’t be choosers and all (although I don’t personally believe that, I think that we all should have at least some right to exercise choices about our health and diet). I was told that the government recommends low fat milk even to diabetics because they are at higher risk for heart disease (which also ignores the more recent  evidence that sugar, not fat is the bigger cause of heart disease). I was then (as if I hadn’t just expressed concern about the sugar in the milk) told that if I didn’t like the taste I could add chocolate syrup to it. Apparently, they are trained to tell people that. Do you know how much sugar is in chocolate syrup? I think it is more than is recommended to have in a day.

Anyway, I don’t actually dislike the taste of lowfat milk. It just doesn’t do anything for me. And that’s a big thing the “doesn’t do anything for me” because I think a lot of health ideas and recommendations are ignoring the “satisfaction factor.”  My sister and I observed the phenomenon some years back that when people eat something they find disappointing in some way or simply doesn’t satisfy them, they eat more of it, not less (For example: Gee that pastry wasn’t very good. I think I’ll have a 2nd slice. Nope still not good. What about a donut? The donuts are worse than the pastry. How about chips? I don’t even like chips. Why did I eat those?).

When Baby turned one, I lost my food package and she started getting the milk instead (and yes the people at WIC know that she is still being breastfed, so presumably they realize that she isn’t really the one drinking the milk). Babies between the age of one and two receive whole milk. Once they turn two, they also have to get low fat. When I was a child, we weren’t even allowed low fat milk in Kindergarten. My how the times have changed.  She also has to get whole milk yogurt. I wanted whole milk yogurt for years and couldn’t find it in the grocery stores. Now they have to carry it because it is a WIC item (offering yogurt is relatively new). Out of all the many many yogurts available in the grocery store, there is exactly one brand and one type of whole milk yogurt. The first time I ate this whole milk yogurt, my reaction was “Wow! This is good!” The first time I ate Cheerios with the whole milk, I had the same reaction. Now I think that’s a healthy reaction to have to food, a lot better than “that didn’t really do anything for me.”




Resistance to Change

Shortly before our trip to Bangladesh, my husband suggested moving the wall mounted TV to another place on the wall, a couple of feet away. I was rather resistant to the idea. I couldn’t see the point or going through the trouble.

At least in terms of our surroundings, my husband really seems to embrace change for change’s sake. I think I’m one of those people who’s stuck in her ways. I find something that seems to work, and I pretty much stick to it. Once the furniture is set in a comfortable way, it doesn’t even really occur to me to move it. My husband, on the other hand, wants to move the furniture just about every month. I used to get anxious about this, but I’ve pretty much learned to go with the flow, after all, it’s not as if it’s going to stay that way.

When we arrived at our home in Bangladesh, my father-in-law had made some “improvements” to the house. To me they weren’t all necessarily improvements, but just accept the change. They installed another Western style toilet in our “Bangladeshi” bathroom. There was already one in the “master suite” because of my mother-in-law’s arthritis, but she never used the other bathroom, and I liked the squat style toilet. A western toilet in a Bangladeshi style bathroom doesn’t really feel that great to me, but this is because I don’t like to get wet. When you squat on a squat toilet, it doesn’t matter that the whole bathroom is wet from the shower. When you sit on a Western style toilet that is already wet because,… well, everything’s wet, you get wet.  The 2nd change was that they replaced plain white tiles in the kitchen with tiles that were made to look like bamboo and big pictures of fruit, and a sign over the door that said “Bismillah.” Ok. I can’t complain about bismillah, and whatever they like, it’s their house. They also replaced a stone railing with a metal one. The 3rd change, they built a balcony off the kitchen where the stairs used to go straight down to the garden. In a way I have to be grateful for this 3rd change because it made it safer for Baby as the door to the stairs could be closed to keep her away. But I had so many happy memories of sitting on those stairs, looking down at the garden! The balcony doesn’t have the same view, it doesn’t feel the same. Sitting in a chair there doesn’t feel the same as sitting in the kitchen doorway, with my legs down the stairs. At least 3 or 4 times during our stay, I walked around the corner of the kitchen and went to sit down  only to abruptly realize the stairs were no longer there. All the same, glad I didn’t have to worry about Baby on the stairs.

My parents have told a story about a woman who was so resistant to change she got upset when her son replaced a mattress that was so old that anyone who slept/sat on it ended up in a big lump in the middle. Part of me understands. When people make changes, sometimes they are for the better, but they are still changes, still not the place of your memories.

Family friends made many improvements to a summer cottage. It’s nice. I’m sure it’s more comfortable for them. But it isn’t really the same as the cottage I used to be invited to as a child.

When we returned from Bangladesh, I looked at my Baby, growing up on me. I thought she won’t be a baby forever. She won’t want my hugs and kisses and snuggles forever. Someday, far too soon for me, she’s going to be a grown woman, inshallah. And that’s what I want for her, and yet… I love her just as she is, and I’ll miss that.

I can’t hold onto the memories and the feelings. I think this resistance to change, this desire to preserve things as they are, to hold onto the past, is all an insecurity. Fear of losing the present happiness. Fear of change is fear of the unknown, ultimately fear of death because we cannot hold life still.