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When someone you love eats forbidden foods

Mr. Spice is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Blood-sugar levels and weight are under control but his sweet-tooth is a monster. He insists on eating pastries, candy, sodas, etc. Artificial sweeteners give him a headache so everything’s fully loaded with sugar. He knows it’s not good and we've had numerous discussions about it. He’ll say, “I’m not gonna eat that stuff anymore.” Then two days later he’ll bring home a box of pastries.

I’ve been guilty of indulging him by making the forbidden foods but now I’m concerned about the danger to his health and decided to stop (except every now and then). If he buys pastries, etc. then there’s not much I can do. Anyone else have this problem? How do you handle it? Ideas appreciated.

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  1. I have celiac disease so cannot have gluten - EVER. Even two crumbs could get me very, very ill and trigger all sorts of reactions and auto-immune diseases. Nasty. But I absolutely refuse to have anything with gluten. And my husband is extremely dilligent as well, eating gluten free at home. Sure, it is difficult, but I am not risking my life over gluten-y bread. It really sucks when we go out, especially to foreign countries, trying to explain things. At restaurants it is like the Spanish Inquisition. Why? Because I care about my life (it is precious) and for those who love me. So, the only answer I have is you both MUST stop this behavior. One thing that prevents me from indulging is thinking of my future. My husband and family need me! I want to enjoy a long healthy life without complications that could have been prevented.

    It DOES become easier but you must develop the habit of just completing quitting. Treat it like you would treat rat poison. Gluten is poison to my body - why would I feed myself something that could potentially kill me? Maybe if you were to treat pastries, etc. as though they contain poison.

    Please, please for both of you stop indulging! It is SO not worth it. Your husband MUST come to the place where he realizes this is killing him. But he must come to that point himself. Hopefully that lightbulb will go on for him very soon!

    5 Replies
    1. re: chefathome

      Thanks for sharing your story, chefathome. You are absolutely correct, it's not worth the risk. Now I'm more determined than ever to turn things around.

      1. re: Spice_zing

        That is fantastic. All it takes is one step - then another, and another and suddenly a month has past and the habit has been set in motion.

        Though I have celiac and can get extremely sick I am actually quite asymptomatic which makes it doubly hard to be determined. The longer you are off gluten the more serious the "glutening" according to many experienced people. I am not about to find out!

        Regardless whether a person gets sick from ingesting the offending item or not, the fact remains that this can cause further difficulties later on. Good for you for wanting to get back on track! All the best of luck. :-)

      2. re: chefathome

        Great post- and so true. We have lots of celiacs in the family- 5 out of 6 of the oldest neices/nephews were all diagnosed in their early 20's. We are so careful when cooking for them. I do thanksgiving, and cook their gravy, make their stuffing and cook a separate bird to ensure no cross contamination. I have separate utensils to use as I cook. One of my SIL makes a ton of gf desserts. We have never had anyone have a reaction, and will be as careful this year as we were lst Thanksgiving.

        1. re: macca

          That is a high number of celiacs! Kudos to you for caring so much and taking the extra time to ensure they are all safe, including using separate utensils. That is wonderful. I would feel safe eating in that environment. Do you realize how rare it is to go that extra mile? Your celiac family members are so fortunate! That is awesome.

          1. re: chefathome

            It is odd- no one in any of the families involved can trace it. And all of them (2 families) were diagnosed with blood and biopsy tests. We are a family that loves to eat, and a lot of us love to cook, so it was an easy transition. There are still 7 younger neices and nephews, and we are all hoping they are ok. Just returned from Trader Joes- lots of gf stuff- and, to make it easier, I will only us gf crackers for the cheese tray. So great to see lots of choices for gf- though the prices can be crazy!

      3. Send Mr. Spice to do a few afternoons of volunteer work at the local dialysis clinic. If chatting with diabetics who are kept alive only by machines doesn't convince him that he shouldn't toy with his health, nothing will.

        Also, there are plenty of low-sugar recipes that don't rely on fake ass substitutes to make things taste good. Another tip for taming the sugar demon is paying attention to texture & maximum flavor in the savory dishes....if eating is entertaining and stimulating throughout the meal, we are less likely to seek out the "thrill" of sugar calories for stimulation eating.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          Good ideas, Hungry. He knows a few people who have lost limbs bec. of diabetes. It concerns him too. I think there's some denial since weight and levels are ok.

        2. I am the Grandfather to a Type One diabetic 5 year old and as long as Mr Spice doses for his carbs, again carbs not sugar and he controls his doseage of insulin he will be ok. I do not understand your problem if his blood sugars are under control

          1 Reply
          1. re: senortweedy

            This is not true of type 2 diabetes, they are very different diseases. The ACCORD trials proved that eating high carbs and using meds to compensate for the glucose response leads to higher complications and mortality.

            It's not how low our bg goes, it's also HOW we get it there that determines whether the disease harms us. Using high amounts of insulin also comes with complications, including increased cancer risks and insulin resistance.

            95% of diabetics are type 2 and have very different issues than type 1.

            It's not just sweets that you have to worry about, it's starches from grains and starchy veggies, sugars from fruits, etc. All carbs matter, but some are far more favorable than others, such as colorful, leafy, high fiber veggies. Cutting carbs greatly diminishes the cravings for sweets, too.

          2. I'm sorry, that is tough. The tricky thing with diabetes, unlike celiac, is that you can eat all the wrong things without necessarily feeling bad. At least at first.

            I'm a type 1 diabetic but do not have to deal with a sweet tooth nor an artificial sweetner reaction. Ideally, he'd be up for some experimenting to find sweet indulgences that are healthier, a poached pear with chocolate sauce, for example, rather than a pastry. Has he spend any time looking through diabetic cookbooks? There are quite a few interesting and creative ways to avoid sugar and processed carbs while still not feeling like you are depriving yourself. Or what about a cooking class aimed at diabetics? The Joslin Diabetes Center has a ton of online and IRL resources: http://www.joslin.org/care/patient-ed...

            If his A1Cs are normal, which is surprising, I assume he is covering his binges with extra insulin. Of course, that has its own negatives.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tcamp

              Thanks for this link tcamp--lots of great info. He eats more fresh fruit than before but a bit stubborn about not changing certain eating habits. I agree, it is surprising that his levels are normal and that's what's deceptive. All that sugar can't be good, especially when you're diabetic.

            2. Is he a type 1 or type 2 diabetic? Is he trying to control his diabetes solely through diet (i.e., is he a type 2 diabetic who is trying to get off insulin)?

              1 Reply
              1. re: biondanonima

                Type 2. He's not trying to get off insulin. He's successfully lowered his dosage a few times. But in the past year when he tried to lower his dosage he felt too shaky.

              2. Spice, hubby is type 2 and he has that awful sweet tooth, too. I haven't figured out what to do except bribe him with favors now and then to keep him out of the sweets. He sneaks them in the night after I go to bed. He has lost 25 lb and checks his sugar now and then so it doesn't go wacky high.
                If his sugar levels and weight are okay, don't get over-stressed about it. A talk with his doctor would be a good thing for both of you - he may scare Mr. Spice just enough to comfort you!

                1 Reply
                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  You know what I'm going thru jmcarthur8. I think I'll go with him to his next doctor's appt. to get some peace of mind.

                2. I am diabetic. Check out the thread I started on Tagatose and the links I posted. Wikipedia also has some info on this natural sugar. It sounds like it's too good to be true, so I say give it a try in small amounts and see how mr spice likes it. It may be a great substitute.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                    I never heard of tagatose before. Are your links at tagatose.com? This looks like it's worth checking out. Thanks.

                    1. re: Spice_zing

                      Never heard of tagatose.com No, my thread is on this board and I put a couple links in one of my posts. You can also Wiki it. I too have a sweet tooth for cookies, ice cream etc. and am hoping this is the substitute we have all been waiting for.

                  2. At risky of sounding wacky, consider hypnotism therapy. I havent tried it, but, I have heard really good reports about it helping with food cravings. It isn't a life long fix, it needs to be repeated but it's a thought.

                    Either way he could use some professional help with behavioral therapy to help change his habits. Having someone that he isn't married to to talk with and report back to could help. Someone to check in with when he is having trouble resisting. Maybe a weight watchers program to help get someone to buddy up with?

                    1. I don't know how you get someone NOT to do something he is driven to do. For me, I had to give up sugar, and most other carbs. I am trying to not get diabetes. I believe that the sweet tooth is an addiction. After over 2 years eating almost no sugar, I have to say I've almost lost the taste for it. I still struggle with other carbs, but normally sweet stuff (when I've tried to eat it) simply tastes too sweet.

                      If you could get your DH to go off sugar for an extended period of time, he might be able to do without it for good. However, getting him to do this would be hard.

                      Most type 2 diabetics I have encountered don't stay true to the diet they should be following. The sweet tooth is really their downfall.

                      A family member went perilously close to kidney damage before finally finding a followable eating plan that does not involve sugar. It is extreme but the condition was also extreme. I think stopping sugar is probably as hard as stopping nicotine.

                      It is possible that your DH does not understand the need to stay away from sugar and other empty carbs. If he could hear from his doctor what lies ahead of him if he doesn't stop eating the way he has, he might find the will to stop. You do need to stop enabling. And perhaps you need to tell him that you want to live a long healthy life with him, and you are afraid that isn't going to happen the way things are going. He might need to hear this from you.

                      Good luck!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        I appreciate your reply, sueatmo. You are right, the addiction is a monster. When I've made low sugar treats, he won't eat them bec they're not sweet enough. Like you said, the word has to come from his doctor to make an impact.

                        1. re: Spice_zing

                          After I went low carb, things that tasted not very sweet beforehand started tasting more sweet (like red bell peppers and carrots), so thats something that might help later on.

                          1. re: merrua

                            Yes, romaine lettuce was a revelation to me, tasting sweetness in it. Receptors become more sensitive to stuff that's in shorter supply, whether it's hormones, or salt and sugar.

                            1. re: mcf

                              I find romaine sweet now too - I had a salad for lunch today and I was thinking as I ate it that the romaine was almost TOO sweet for my taste. Funny what long-term low-carbing will do to you!

                            2. re: merrua

                              I notice it mostly in sandwich bread (I sometimes have an open-faced BLT for lunch). Now, maybe there's added sugar in it -- wouldn't surprise me at the least --, but yeah, tastes much sweeter now than when I ate bread on a more regular basis.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                Many of the whole grain breads taste sweet to me. I've gone to lower carb bread exclusively now though, and those--the low carb breads--don't.

                                I am also now able to drink tea without sweetener. I seem to detect a moderate amount of sweetness in green tea that I just couldn't before.

                                Its sort of like too much salt in food. If you get used to things being really salty, you feel that almost everything is tasteless without salt. If you wean yourself off so much salt, you begin to discover other tastes. IMO people tend to make things, even things like salad dressings, and casseroles, too sweet. And how processed food tastes is leading the way. Too sweet, too salty. A lot of healthy eating involves retraining our taste buds.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  I love salt, but I don't think I go nuts with it. Less than restaurant use, for sure, but generously.

                                  Too sweet, too salty -- both bad, when they could/should be *just* right.

                        2. HI Spice_zing,

                          My husband is a recently diagnosed Type 2 diabetic. He was diagnosed (having been asymptomatic for years) when he suffered a stroke due to atrial fib this past summer.

                          This stroke scared the beejeezus out of my DH and me. He's doing well in eating the right things, etc, and sloowly increasing his activity level as he continues with physical therapy. We never--ever--want to go through that ordeal again. My husband is 47, and was a very active golfer and carpenter.

                          Here's the thing. No partner in a relationship exists in a vacuum. And insulin has some not great side effects on the body (....because of that, one of our earliest goals was to get DH off of insulin), even if weight and BG levels are being controlled. You, Ms. Spice, are going to be the one who will have to take care of Mr. Spice if something really unfortunate happens to his vision, his extremities, his kidneys, etc.

                          There IS something you can do. You can control your quality of life 20, 30, 40 years from now as a result of his sweet tooth. No one can predict the future, but we can help our odds. I am as serious as death about this, because like you, my loved one is a diabetic. To me, Mr. Spice's consumption of sugary treats is like someone with asthma continuing to smoke and using a rescue inhaler, or someone with mild liver damage insisting on buying six packs.

                          My call? Insist on the two of you seeing a psychologist that can help with his addiction, and your enabling. This isn't a bad habit. This is life-threatening.

                          Sorry to sound so gloom and doom. The GREAT news is that you can do super things to stem the truly bad effects of diabetes through commitment to diet and exercise, but the key is commitment. I wish you both decades of happiness and health together.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pinehurst

                            Thanks for sharing your story and insights, pinehurst. Truly a wake-up call.

                            1. re: pinehurst

                              "My call? Insist on the two of you seeing a psychologist that can help with his addiction, and your enabling. This isn't a bad habit. This is life-threatening."

                              Very strong words, but the very best advice I've seen on this thread.

                              1. re: mcf

                                I agree, mcf. The best advice in this thread. That way Spice_zing's husband will know she is serious and committed to helping and a psychologist can call out the severity of the issue. Right not, it's just a little nagging here and there and it seems he's not hearing any of it.

                            2. Let him live his life.

                              Not one minute of pleasure for another year of life without (and a life with substitute pleasures is a life without.)

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: FrankJBN

                                The problem is that life drags on as you lose your vision, kidney function, limbs to numbness, pain and amputation. Living longer isn't the goal, living well is.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Amen to that! What prevents me from ingesting gluten is knowing that I could develop celiac-related cancer, diabetes, organ failures, malnutrition and so on very easily. Armed with this knowledge, how would I dare eat it? Just can't. Quality of life is what is important - not necessarily quantity when it comes to those with these and other diseases/illnesses.

                                  As much as I am obsessed with food (as most of us are), it is not the only thing in life that is important. Is that doughnut or piece of bread or ice cream really and truly worth it? To indulge in something "forbidden" can give ten minutes of pleasure but the guilt that would follow would be painful, not to mention health problems. There are ways to get around sugar, gluten, lactose...there really are.

                                  1. re: chefathome

                                    The problem with diabetes is that the ADA gives life threatening dietary advice, at the behest of their cereal, sugar and drug company sponsors. They recommend a high carb, low fat diet for diabetes. For real. That diet causes diabetes, high post meal glucose and carb cravings, instead of shutting them down the way carb restriction does.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Seriously? Oh, my. There are no words...

                                      1. re: chefathome

                                        It only took one generation (or less, actually) for the low fat, grain based food pyramid to turn what used to be called "adult onset diabetes" into a pediatric disease. :-/ Yes, if you're a hospitalized diabetic, you have to demand protein and fat. All they bring you is juice, cereal, pancakes, waffles, pudding, toast, pasta rice and low fat or fat free dairy otherwise.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          I was unaware of that. Wonder whether it's the same here in Canada?! Probably. Celiacs have trouble in hospitals, too. They are served toast post surgery! Unbelievable. Those I know have had to get someone to bring in food so they didn't starve - nice, especially in a hospital.

                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            Yes, it's the same guidelines. And in Canada your misguided review committee decided that there is no benefit to providing enough test strips for non insulin using type 2 diabetics to control bg by testing after meals each day.

                                            I was able to advocate for myself and to get protein and veggies, no starches, no sugar. So instead of sandwiches, they sent me sliced cold cuts with mixed salad greens, just the way I eat at home... but it took some doing.

                                  2. re: mcf

                                    As always, mcf, you've said it well. It's easy to throw around a "let him live his life" statement without looking at the reality of his decisions. The OP will be the one left caring for this man if and when his health takes a serious turn for the worse. It's not a doomsday mentality, its reality.

                                    I admire the OP for her genuine interest in helping her husband. That's such an important part of good diabetes management.

                                  3. re: FrankJBN

                                    OH my such a shortsighted view. Life is very pleasurable without sugar and the ensuing effects of diabetes. It isn't as if you just die all of a sudden. You could suffer pain, go through kidney failure, suffer the effects of excess weight on your joints which exacerbates or leads to arthritis, lose vision, become to0 disabled to walk--on and on. And all the while your mate has to cut out activities to deal with your physical condition. Or worse, has to become full time caregiver.

                                    Mr. Sueatmo says this to me frequently. The most important thing we can have is our health. And frankly eating healthy and getting exercise is a struggle for both of us. But you have to carry that long term view with you.

                                    And, besides, there is plenty of food in life's banquet to enjoy that isn't full of sugar.

                                  4. He can't quit cold turkey because it will change his need for insulin. Work out a longer range plan with the doctor to reduce consumption of sweets. I don't know how long to spread it out--and of course, we're approaching a major eating season. Practice conscious eating so he REALLY enjoys every morsel.

                                    1. Here's the best lay site I know for accurate info. I don't agree with all of it, but as someone who has used diet alone to reverse kidney damage and severe neuropathy and to stay in non diabetic normal bg range for over a decade, I know who valuable it is. www.phlaunt.com/diabetes

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: mcf

                                        Thanks for this link. Lots of good info.

                                        1. re: Spice_zing

                                          I hope it helps. The Test Test Test advice is the single most valuable tool anyone with an interest in diabetes self management and damage reversal and prevention can get.

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          mcf, thanks for the link. I forwarded it on to the hubster. Mr. Self Control, he is not.

                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                            It takes much less self control when the cravings go away due to carb restriction. People aren't fat and/or sick because of a character flaw, it's biochemistry that drives appetite and cravings. It can be manipulated so that will power isn't required.

                                            I hope he tries it.

                                        3. As someone who's in love with a significantly overweight person who has a father who died of heart disease in his 50's, I understand completely. Sometimes I lie awake at night with my head on his chest, crying and wondering how much longer it will beat for. Two weeks? Fifty years? Would I even want to know if I could? It isn't easy for me not to nag. But the fact is, my life has shown me over and over that guilt, fear, and shame don't make people change. And nagging makes him unconsciously feel like he doesn't need to expend any effort, because oh she's obviously handling the issue. The goal is for him to commit, and nagging invites the opposite. The nature of addictions is that they manipulate our brain in ways that make us think we're special and won't face the consequences, and that we can't change anyway. Lots of people tow the willpower line, but the fact is it's finite. I think addressing the underlying physiology and dysfunctional thoughts works much better. I think the best thing for me to do is make an effort to cook healthy, love him no matter what, and build him up. 'This should be easy. You should be able to do this' is not encouraging. 'I've seen the power of your full effort, and when you set your mind to something, you are a force to be reckoned with' is. I'm not even remotely claiming I'm always able to be this positive. But I can at least recognize when I'm wasting my breath, even if I can't stop myself from doing it.

                                          I think insulin resistance and the blood sugar roller coaster play a HUGE role in sugar cravings, and it's probably doubly true in diabetics. What I would do, if it were me, is start cooking lower carb and higher fat at home. You can do it in a natural way, like serving steak and roasted brussels sprouts or chicken and broccoli bisque, or eggs and bacon for breakfast rather than cereal and toast. Focus on naturally low carb foods rather than substitutions, which would probably just make everyone feel deprived right now. Spaghetti squash is like pasta in name only, and lettuce wrapped burgers are not for everyone. It also may be good for him to have a small high protein snack between meals, like string cheese, nuts, or beef jerky. I don't think it's overbearing to ask what high protein snacks he prefers, buy them every week, and stick them in his car. Logistics are usually about 90% of the problem with stuff like that. I would especially have him do the snacks if he can identify that he didn't eat much or ate a lot of carbs or not much protein earlier in the day before he felt the urge to bring home the pastries. I think it's good to keep in mind that the goal is real change. Sudden changes and rash promises tend to amount to nothing before long. Instead, aim for baby steps, like having him make sure he doesn't go more than 5 hours (or whatever number seems to work for him) without eating and then get overly hungry, and only indulging in sugary foods that he would rate at least 8/10 on the pleasure scale. Confidence builds success, and the thought of never eating your favorite foods again is too unpleasant. Adapting to something like that is a very personal thing, and often stepwise. I had to learn to make a few of my favorite foods gluten free before I was willing to consider that I might have Celiac. That gave me ownership and confidence, and it started to feel a little more like a fun challenge and a little less like a shitty turn of fate and huge pain in the ass. Then it was another mental hurdle to stop eating questionable foods, like coated fries and soy sauce. I'm still working on feeling comfortable asking people to accommodate me. Most people probably thing that's stupid, but it was important for me. It was a totally different mental process having it by my choice and my way than if someone had shoved it down my throat. Not being so caught up with being pissed off allows you to notice how good you feel. So, even though it's painful and difficult to feel helpless, try to be compassionate when you can. Remember that it hasn't even been easy for you to let go of eating desserts and comfort foods together, even though you could still eat them on your own. (Which I TOTALLY get). And he is mourning a bigger loss than that. Remember that it's a process.

                                          *disclaimer: not a psychologist or medical professional. Just my opinion. Take it or leave it :-)*

                                          10 Replies
                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                              Good ideas here. I am all for baby steps in this lifelong journey. And both people in this marriage have to change eating habits. And, it is hard.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                It took me ten years of carb control, increased restriction and trying inferior substitutes for the starches I used to eat for my diet to evolve. For years, I documented all my foods, calories, macronutrient breakdown and nutrients, all while testing my bg one hour post meal to make sure new foods and meals didn't make it move more than a few points above 100-110. I no longer miss or crave anything I could not have imagining living without years ago, it took all that time and my taste evolved to where I prefer a meal of veggies salad and proteins and fat to anything starchy. If I think about them, I mildly miss everything bagels and pizza, but not enough to lose my health and feel all woozy and bloated after eating.

                                                My ideal diet, the one that keeps my bg in normal, non diabetic numbers without meds after more than a decade, is 50% fat, 35% protein and the rest non starchy carbs, mostly veggies. When I splurge, it's on something special, a fabulous dessert, but I never pig out, and I don't do it often, and I don't miss it as a regular part of my routine. I always have a stash of high quality, very dark chocolate, and it lasts for weeks at least, no cravings. Others may find, by testing and using free nutrition software, that some other dietary breakdown works best for them, but that's where I ended up after a lot of changing things up and testing my results for years.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Agreed on the dark chocolate.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    It's crazy - your 50/35/15 breakdown is almost exactly the same as my "maintenance" routine. When I was actively trying to lose weight on low carb, I found that my numbers were closer to 65/30/5, but 50/35/15 is way easier to maintain and allows for a lot more variety in eating.

                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                      I'm a believer now too. I don't do low carb, but doing moderate carb has been really powerful for me. I find it pretty amazing the difference between how I feel in a few hours if I've had a high carb, low protein meal vs. a low carb, high protein meal. The trick for me has been not to make it a 'lifestyle' or a big commitment. Now I probably eat something like 4-6 servings of carbs a day vs. 9-11 or whatever before. For most people, a change like that isn't going to cause any kind of deprivation or cravings, especially if you use your carb servings for something you love and replace the missing carbs with fat. I'm happy to have broccoli with butter instead of boiled potatoes. I still have sweet coffee and/or dessert every day. I don't really limit fruit, although if I find myself going really nuts, I'll make myself eat some protein. Buying good quality vegetables has also been key. It feels like my brain and my body are finally talking to each other. A lot of times I would be standing in the kitchen, knowing I was consuming vastly more calories than should be in one meal, beginning to be physically uncomfortable but unable to stop. I think the worst effect of that was not the extra calories, but the anxiety it made me feel about food. It's terrible to feel like there's just something wrong with you, you're lazy or biologically miswired and are doomed to be unhappy with your body. And overeating at one meal seemed to lead to overeating at the next. Now I think that I had insulin/ghrelin signals that were outcompeting my stomach feeling full or feeling guilty. These days, I notice that if I have a big meal, I'm less hungry later. I'm better at unconsciously balancing my intake. I also notice that I don't feel like I'm starving to death if I go longer than usual without eating. I think being too busy to eat on a schedule was a huge factor in me gaining weight. I ate every three hours in college, but in the real world, I didn't manage to do that. So I'd be starving and raid the vending machine. The best part of lower carb has been feeling like I'm not fighting my body anymore. Sometimes I eat something healthier than what I really want, but Ignoring hunger is not something I have to do anymore. I don't think I'll ever do a low fat, high carb diet again. If I wanted to get into super shape, I would probably cut out the pasta and stuff but still have a couple servings a day of sugary stuff and fruit. It probably sounds counter intuitive, but it seems to work for me. Maybe just because I like it so much, and not for blood sugar reasons.

                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                        Yeah, it took a lot of trial and error, and my weight wasn't my issue, my diabetes was... using those results as a guide made everything better, ultimately.

                                                    2. re: sueatmo

                                                      Thanks for the support, y'all. I always feel mildly insane engaging in emotional disclosure with faceless strangers on the internet, and it helps to be well received.

                                                    3. re: jvanderh

                                                      Jvanderh, I appreciate your heartfelt and thoughtful reply. Many great insights and suggestions.

                                                    4. Have you thought of having him carb counting? If he doesnt have carbs/sugars all day. Then one home made (healther) sweet treat in the evening. Not certain if that would be a help. Also what about having healter snacks in the house for him to have, foods that he loves that are ok for him. When he is going to break, give him something else he likes so he feels too full for it?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: merrua

                                                        One per day, and it can be sugar free or very low sugar. Desserts that translate extremely well to low carb are puddings, custards, cheesecakes and flourless chocolate cake, truffles, etc. There's also almond flour, carbalose flour, CarbQuik, xylitol, liquid sucralose and more than plenty useful low carb web resources to make this an adjustment, not a life of deprivation. Feeling better, looking better and having more energy are so rewarding that folks who use these alternatives (such as moi) find no will power is necessary. I rarely even bother with desserts any more, I just don't miss them.

                                                      2. I have a friend and her husband was supposed to be dealing with diet issues but he didn't. Their daughters kept ragging on their mom to "make dad eat better." Eventually, she told them "Your father is a smart man. I can be his wife or I can be his mother, I can't be both. I'm choosing to be his wife." Six months later he died of pancreatic cancer totally unrelated to his diet.

                                                        1. I have a sweet tooth and I have blood sugar & candida-type problems. I managed to go sugar free for awhile, but at this point the best approach for me is to compromise.

                                                          Every morning I have a green smoothie with banana. No juice, but I put in as many dates (or honey/agave if there are no dates) as I feel it needs. Sometimes I add raw cocoa powder. Parsley is actually one of the super healthy greens, yet the taste disappears in a sweet smoothie.

                                                          If I'm having a sugar craving later on in the day, I may have another green smoothie like above... more likely to be a chocolate one. However sometimes I want something that's more of a sweet snack, or else it's late and I don't want to be trying to digest the fiber from a smoothie while I'm sleeping. I've had nut butter mixed with lots of cocoa powder on slices of apple... somehow the sweetness of the apple is enough, and it tastes like mild chocolate fondue. I've made chocolate-date-nut-banana sauce and poured that over bananas. Never got that one completely right, but it still basically hit the spot. Another concoction I never got completely right was taking leftover porridge and blending it with dates and cocoa, but it still saved me while I was having cravings. ETA: A reliable sugar fix is chocolate milk from the blender: 1 cup milk (dairy, or nut/seed/rice), 2 dates, 1 tsp cocoa powder. I think that is a bit higher sugar than the more solid stuff, but it's reliably tasty.

                                                          My general idea is to add more healthy whole foods into my diet (check out the book "Super Immunity" by Joel Fuhrman for ideas... not when it comes to most of the recipes though!), and to make my sweets whole food based as much as possible. When it comes to regular sweets... I've become a lot more picky. I don't plan to phase them out entirely, but they have to be *really* delicious to be worth it. Otherwise I can satisfy my craving with something healthier at home.

                                                          I'm also hoping that as time goes by I can gradually decrease the amount of sugar I eat overall. At this point I'd say my cravings are less than before, but still considerable. BUT--I almost never eat more sugar than I actually *want*. You know how it is, even when you desperately want a sweet, even most of the sweets sold out there are *more* sweet than you actually wanted. In this case I control the sweetness myself.

                                                          This won't help much if your husband has weight issues as well, but I've been told that if you want to slow the absorption of sugar in your body, to make sure you have a lot of fats at the same time. To a certain point, you might consider giving him sweets with a lot of nuts. They're high calorie, but very nutritious and health promoting... and they promote satiety... although that will be diminished if sweets are eaten at the same time... but it's gotta be better than refined flour-based treats.

                                                          Another idea... keep a secret stash of whole food based sugary stuff that's a little extra indulgent. Things like those nut/granola/etc bars, whole wheat pastry type things, whatever works for you. Take some of it out when the health nut sweet treats aren't doing it for him.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Ornate

                                                            Good tips Ornate. Nuts are a great go-to snack always on hand.

                                                          2. Try reading a book on co-dependency. If that doesn't work, get a competent counselor. The problem is not knowledge of nutrition so a nutritionist won't help. He's addicted to certain foods and you're aiding and abetting a miserable slide into death.

                                                            Or, pay up his life insurance policy and prepare yourself for cognitive decline and neuropathies and possibly even amputations.

                                                            You might consider a trial period of low carb primal/paleo eating.

                                                            Good luck to you both.

                                                            1. when i went low carb, i must have eaten about a million red bell peppers! they REALLY helped my sugar cravings. also organic carrots, which i find much sweeter than conventionally grown. I'm also a big fan of mineral water (with lime or lemon essence) for sugar cravings - don't ask me why, but it works for me sometimes!.

                                                              also, coconut oil REALLY works for me for sugar cravings - any thing coconut. if it's ok on his diet, i highly recommend a product called coconut manna or coconut butter which you can find at whole foods. a spoonful of that and i'm good to go.. not sure of the sugar level, but it's great for my sugar cravings, but i'm not a diabetic. when i'm craving sugar like crazy, i tend to find it's actually a healthy fat that my body is after, and am fine after i get something like coconut or nut butter.

                                                              1. This is probably one of the reasons why I cook for myself and eat alone - I'm allergic / intolerant to so many things that the risk of cross contamination making me ill is too great. Even just sharing my home kitchen (the rest of the family has no restrictions at all) is dicey at times, I'm a little OCD about sanitizing. It makes it awful to eat out or have family dinners though, while my mom seems to understand (most of my issues occurred later in life), the rest of the family and our guests treat it like a choice and not a requirement. "Oh, why not just this once? It won't hurt!" Well, OK, but you're taking me to the ER in about 20 minutes