Friday, January 01, 2016

Day 1/31: NO ADDED SUGAR for me

First of all, Happy New Year to you! 

Now, here is my plan for the next 31 days. Why 31? Welllll, it's exactly 31 days till my birthday on February 1. So that gives me a real goal to work toward. And if I can do it, it'll only be another 29 till the end of the leap year month. And if I can do that, it'll only by 31 days till my baby Subhadra's birthday on March 31. 

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks but the important thing that gave me a kick in the rear was my doctor calling me to discuss the results of my annual blood work. She gave me the good news first - my bad cholesterol is low (a good thing); my good cholesterol is high (a great thing); my cholesterol ratio is excellent; my hemoglobin and all the other markers are excellent. So far, so good. Then the not-so-good news: my A1C levels are creeping up - that is, my blood sugar is going up and with a genetic disposition from both parents and almost every extended family, she suggested that I should consider starting metformin. That was a definite NO! as in NO WAY. I told her that I was not as faithful to my diet and exercise routine over the last few months so I pledged to clean up my act. 

This was the day before Christmas Eve which was timely because it meant that I either indulged in Christmas baking and start watching my sugar intake starting today or start on December 23 and work my way into a full-fledged "No Sugar Added" month. So here I am on New Year's day, and I am now at the end of a successful Day 1. 

Now, can I tell you what a challenge it was? I started the year off at midnight with a plate of good at the New Year's Eve party we went to. There were two salads, peas and rice, chicken, Guyanese fruit cake and Guyanese sponge cake. I took a small amount of salad, a piece of chicken and some rice. That was it. I drank water with a piece of lime all evening. I felt I could indulge because I was dancing during the night. No fruit cake. No sponge cake. 

When I woke up, I had a serving of almond milk which I made yesterday (no reason for that except that I heard it was good but I did not love the first glass). I mixed a tablespoon of chia seeds and let it sit for 30 minutes. I added a splash of vanilla and some ground cinnamon and had that at 10:30am It was better today but I am getting used to it. It's great in coffee though. The picture below is actually my concoction for tomorrow's breakfast with some oatmeal added. It still has to swell so I'll see what it looks and tastes like tomorrow. 

Then it was off to Government House for the Annual New Year's Levee. There were a variety of finger sandwiches including salmon, eggs, meat and veggie. There was also shortbread and fruitcake. I had a couple of sandwiches which was less than a regular whole sandwich but I had no shortbread nor cake. There was fruit punch, coffee, tea, and wine but I had some Perrier water with a twist of lime. Everyone around me was saying how good the cake and shortbread was but I don't like fruitcake and the shortbread was dipped in chocolate (don't like that either) so it was rather easy not to eat it.

Not feeling like a regular dinner tonight, I had some hummus and plantain chips, and an open-faced tuna melt on a half of a ciabatta bun with grilled mozzarella cheese on top. A nice cup of matcha tea was all I needed later. 

Day 1 was successful. There's only another 30 days and I now have a buddy - Beatrice - accompanying me on this journey. 

I told my doctor I will be back to see her in exactly three months by which time my A1C levels will be within an acceptable range. If it is not, it WILL NOT be because I did not do all I could with my diet. It will be the part I cannot control - my genetics. 

A little more about A1C. You can have normal fasting blood glucose levels when you wake up but that doesn't mean that your blood glucose is normal. The A1C test gives you the blood glucose readings over the last 2-3 months and it does not depend on fasting blood glucose but throughout the day. So I may be doing fine in the mornings but not doing so well during the day. If I am not exercising as much as I normally do and if I don't pay attention to my diet, then the levels will rise. Now that I am super vigilant, I am finding that there are many healthy things that are high sugar - like some fruits. I eat an apple a day and often grapes too but they are highest in fructose which is the bad kind of sugar as are cherries which I love to eat in the summer. Fortunately, I like berries and they are the best fruits to eat that are lower in fructose. Ah man! Here I thought I was eating pretty healthy with lots of fruits, veggies, fish and low to no red meats but this no-sugar-added month is making me work hard at figuring things out. 

Join me on Day 2 and I am sure the journey will be easier.  

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