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South Beach Diet

When Everyone is Not On Board: The White Rice Wars

So there are five people in my family: myself, husband, two daughters (one away at college) and my mother. She is Japanese-American, in her 80s, and quite attached to her white rice.  For a long while, my husband was the only one who generally didn’t eat the rice (he’s been doing South Beach for almost 2 years, more or less). Then in January, after a big lunch with white rice almost threw me into a postprandial coma, and I started this New Lifestyle, I stopped.  Every night at dinner, my mother would cook up a big pot of rice and then ask, with an undertone of shock in her voice, “You’re not having any?” But my younger daughter loves her rice and would always keep my mom company on the white-rice bus.

But younger daughter appears to be changing her food habits as well. I have not wanted to pressure her in the least, but she is entering the competitive season with her novice rowing team, and I notice she has begun preparing and making salads, and believe me, this is new for her. She’s eating differently overall.

So last night my mom made the usual pot of rice.  My daughter declined, because I had also made pureed cauliflower which is our new stand-in for mashed potatoes. And suddenly my mother was alone with the rice. She BANGED the metal pot lid down on the counter and made us all jump. She was so mad. I think that this new diet is so so threatening and upsetting to her. People who don’t eat rice don’t deserve to be called Japanese, in her mind. The whole thing is intensely disturbing to her. She considers brown rice to be highly suspect and inferior (“hippy food”).

I was reading a profile somewhere (on the WW site, I think?) and a Latina woman was talking about how hard it is to deal with many traditional (Mexican I think) foods because to say no to certain things is like turning one’s back on one’s culture. I think that is what’s going on in our house.

It’s really hard when not everyone in a household is on the same page.

My mom is 86 years old. She doesn’t have diabetes. It’s totally fine if she has her white rice. But it isn’t totally fine with HER if we do not.


PS. If you ask me, the best rice these days is Free Rice, where you get smarter while feeding hungry people who really NEED the rice.

Food That Works

Today was overall a good food day, after my bad start with the scary numbers (I haven’t re-tested). But I did have a bit of an internal tantrum when I went grocery shopping later in the morning. I almost cried when I saw a magazine cover with a luscious photo of macaroni and cheese (“the comfort food issue”). I found myself gazing longingly at the bread. I ended up buying a loaf of artisan olive bread to go with the soup I was going to make for company.

I made Brazilian black bean soup for friends who came for lunch. It disappeared INSTANTLY and we all agreed it was the best black bean soup EVER.  I topped it with nonfat sour cream and it was just so good. I did have a slice of the olive bread with some olive/walnut tapenade I got at the farmers market yesterday. I have no idea if this was a terrible thing to do, or not so bad.

For dinner, I made this sundried tomato/goat cheese/basil chicken from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I was a bit nervous about trying something new, and a little worried about Picky Eating daughter, but everyone in my family LOVED it. I also stir fried some asparagus with lemon/artichoke pesto. It was gooooood.

So everything tasted delicious today. My only “slip” was the olive bread. I felt grateful to find things that I could really enjoy eating.

Scare Tactics

I love certain kinds of foods so much. Mostly carbs and dairy products. I could easily give up sugar, chocolate, alcohol, meat. But the combination of carbs and dairy – ie wheat and cheese – are like heroin to me. Macaroni and cheese. Grilled cheese. Quesadillas. Pizza. Any kind of bread-and-cheese combo is good. Potatoes and butter. And sour cream. Mmmmm.

I also love rice. My mother made steamed white rice nearly every day of my childhood, and continues now. It is hard to resist. How will I resist?

I’ll tell you how. I did not eat one simple carb today. I saw the bread sitting on the counter. I saw the rice cooker half full of rice, and the leftover phad thai in the refrigerator. How did I not even want to eat it? I scared the crap out of myself.

Everytime I looked at something that could possible raise my blood sugar at all, I visualized a needle. With insulin. Going into my soft, tender skin. When I felt the hint of a temptation, I raised the stakes and imagined amputated feet and legs. This was not hard because I used to be a physical therapist and was actually an expert at wrapping lower-extremity stumps. The cause for 99% of these amputations was diabetes. I could take it even further and visualize blindness, which is one of my greatest fears. I’d gladly give up my legs to save my eyes.

But hopefully if I can keep focused around these, none of these things will be realities in my life.

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