Well, all of that chocolate and Cuban bread pudding and Grenache caramel have finally caught up with me. I admit, I really let myself go a few years ago. I could probably blame it on grief and the need to fill the gaping holes left behind by so many people dying so close together. Food was one of the few comforts in those in-between days…after the intense grief of the first few “firsts” (birthdays, etc) and just before the real healing felt tangible. Food helped bridge me over those days when I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to keep going.
Unfortunately, once I reached stable ground again, I just kept on reaching for those comfort foods. I did try to cut down, and succeeded quite admirably for a stretch of time. Then we went to Cuba. We’ve been going to this same hotel for about 10 years. We know all of the staff, and many, many of the people in the surrounding villages. This past winter was different. Tourism was down and the hotel was suffering. Many people had been laid off work, and those who still had jobs were noticeably worried who was going next.
When we arrived, there were not many other tourists there. For the tourists who WERE there, it was wonderful. Peaceful, quiet…we had the beach and the pool – and the snack bar – all to ourselves, no fighting over lounge chairs, no pushing and shoving at the bars and buffet table (yes, sadly, it has been a pathetic reality there in past years, which could explain in part the drop in tourists to that hotel…).
At first we were worried that the food would suffer (it has received poor reviews in the past), but to our delight, the opposite happened. Perhaps it was because we were such a small crowd and they were able to experiment more, but the end result was a buffet table laden with some of the tastiest food we’ve ever seen offered there. And on top of that, one of the head waitresses found out that Cuban bread pudding was my favourite dessert. In past years, it was only available one, maybe twice a week. But this year, once she found out, she made sure it was available at EVERY dessert, not only supper but lunch as well.
I tried to resist. But resistance was futile. At first, because we didn’t know it was going to be available in such profusion for the rest of our vacation (4 weeks), I took 2-3 pieces…it’s the Cuban way…when it’s there, you enjoy it, because tomorrow it might not be there. So, you know, when in Cuba, do as the Cubans do. And so I enjoyed it immensely…the first night, then the next night, and then the next night…on and on and on. I sort of felt obligated to eat it because she had gone to the trouble of making sure it was there for me…and she took obvious delight in my delight. So I didn’t want to disappoint her. But at about the 3rd week, I knew I was in trouble. I had never eaten that much dessert before in my life. And I could feel the difference, and it didn’t feel good.
And then we arrived home just in time for Easter…well, I’ve always made up a little Easter basket for whoever is here, and did so again. But this year nobody else came, so guess who had to eat all of that chocolate – including the 10 Lindt gold bunnies that were on sale at the pharmacy for $1.00 each!!! Not hubby, because he’s already a diabetic.
I’m such a wimp.
I could feel my sugar rising. Getting up 5-7 times every night, drinking tons of water yet still feeling dehydrated…both my Mom and Dad had Type 2 diabetes, so I knew that the risks were higher…and knew the signs. So it was no real surprise when my yearly checkup showed the highest blood sugar level I’d ever shown before. The doctor gave me a stern warning – get my sugar down or else she would send me for the dreaded glucose test at the hospital.
So we’ve been taking long walks every morning, and I’ve been running (or limping at times) up and down our two flights of stairs several times a day, I’ve taken over the vacuuming (hubby’s so disappointed), and severely cut down on my sugar, fats and overall intake. My follow-up blood test was yesterday…hubby took it with his home tester before we left for the lab, and it was still a bit high, but we walked a bit and then waited in the waiting room for about another half hour. Hopefully it will be within her acceptable level.
In the meantime, while waiting for the results, I’m hungry. But the fear of developing diabetes is trumping my hunger, so I’m doing well in sticking to the diet. It’s a new lifestyle, one that both hubby and I have been wanting to switch to every since our return from Cuba (he overindulged there too, and already has type 2 diabetes, so has to watch his diet and exercise as well).
A friend of mine, another frequent tourist to the same hotel in Cuba (we repeat tourists go back as often as possible to keep bringing much-needed items to our friends there) begged me to go with her a few days ago. But I knew I couldn’t afford to – it was too big a risk right now healthwise – because I know all too well that the moment I would have gotten there, the Cuban bread pudding would have been out on the dessert table.
They say that what happens in Cuba stays in Cuba…unfortunately that didn’t prove to be true for the Cuban bread pudding – it definitely came home with me!!!!
Sigh. And it was so good while it lasted.
Update: June 12, 2012…the doctor called and is sending me for more tests…sugar’s still too high. Sigh.