My Carbs, Her Carbs, Our Carbs

I am in charge of the kitchen in our house. This makes sense for a variety of reasons: I love to cook; I love to try new recipes; I grew up with parents who cooked and parents who ran a deli/restaurant; I’m the most nutritionally savvy in my little family; I do the grocery shopping; after 25 years of translating every part of a nutrition label, I can understand a balanced diet upside down and backwards; and, of course, I am the one who has to count and calculate everything that goes into my mouth.

Being so in tune with every calorie I intake makes the way “normal” people eat seem strange, insane, disgusting, awe-inspiring, and weird to me. It also often makes me nauseous or brings on a pseudo-high-blood-sugar feeling, For example, when my husband enjoys a giant plate of pasta and sauce, with garlic bread on the side, I swear I get cotton mouth and a headache. It blows my mind when I see the high school students I teach eating an entire hot pretzel for lunch. Again, insta-headache and thirst. And is it even enjoyable to put a giant, sticky, cloud of sugar in the form of cotton candy in your mouth? I mean, I can’t wrap my head around lollipops either–sweet, sweet, sweet, headache, headache, headache…

I know the way I have to eat is healthy. I know the way I have to eat will benefit my little family as well in  the long run. But I want to be better about stopping and remembering that my husband and my daughter are NOT me. They do not have to count carbs. They CAN have an entire plate of pasta, no meatballs necessary, and not feel anything but full, and maybe a little sleepier than normal, when they are done. They can occasionally enjoy (ok, it does seem possible even if I don’t understand it) a lollipop or cotton candy treat at a summertime fair. But I am VERY bad at remembering this.

On a daily basis, I count not only my carbs, but my 2-year-old daughter’s carbs too. Why? 1) It’s my normal. This is how I eat, so this is how I feed her. 2) I’m scared. Yes, I am educated enough to know that too many carbs has absolutely NOTHING to do with developing Type 1 diabetes, but the non-logical part of my brain worries. This is why when my husband gives my daughter a sip of Kool-Aid, I freak out.

Ok, but I am getting better, I think. I want to get better. She is NOT a diabetic and she CAN enjoy an occasional sugary treat without life-or-death consequences. I mean, she can, and I of all people know that that is a gift, so I  want her to. I want her to experience all the great things in life, the not-so-healthy ones in moderation of course. I want her to learn to appreciate and enjoy everything, and that some things are treats, not necessities. But treats are OK.

Because someday she may have health restrictions too for any number of reasons–maybe physical limitations, nutritional limitations, or any other type of limitation. Or maybe she won’t. I have no idea. But right now, she is healthy. So I let my husband give her the Kool-Aid, and I try to only freak out a little, and only on the inside.


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