"I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!"

| Mar 31, 2010

I do not conceal the fact that I love dessert. I believe that it is something that I deserve, a reward for working out that morning, keeping my blood sugar in check, monitoring my carbohydrate intake, going to work, and taking care of household duties. 

After a long day, my husband and I put the baby to bed, curl up on the couch, and flip on one of our television shows. Then, predictably, I ask, "Do you want anything?" He responds, "Like what?" I shrug.  He smiles.  Both of us know what's coming next.

I get off the couch, head to the kitchen, and begin to pull out the staples:  ice cream, two brownies or cookies, and occasionally some nuts, chocolate sauce, or a banana.  I set two small glass bowls on the counter and proceed to create parfaits.

I place the warmed chocolate baked good at the bottom of each bowl and then layer on scoops of ice cream. I drizzle on the sauce or sprinkle banana slices or nuts on top and then carry the bowls into the living room, where my husband eagerly waits to see what small variation of our favorite dessert will land in his hands. 

I make these evening parfaits as healthy as a dessert can possibly be:  all natural ice cream, homemade cookies or brownies, and added protein or fruit. But the fact of the matter is, dessert is still dessert, and this nightly ritual has long been a barrier to good blood sugar control.

I did try a few solutions.  First, I shrank our portion size, moving from small bowls to extra small bowls.  Second, I tried splitting a parfait with my husband, but the layers were piled so high that they would fall out of the bowl and onto the couch.  Third, I tried eating dessert only every other night, but then I ended up craving more sweets throughout the following day.  I even seriously contemplated giving up parfaits for Lent. Rather than seeking spiritual insight, however, I was kidding myself that a religious ritual would somehow cure my ice cream addiction.

Finally, bravely and with mounting reservation and resistance, I decided to stop buying ice cream until our vacation, which was a few weeks away.  I reminded myself that according to weight loss experts, if it's not in our home, we won't be tempted to eat it. Sure.

I know a few things to be true when it comes to craving sweets.  First, eating excessive sugar leads to more intense sugar cravings.   Second, on the flipside, ignoring a sugar craving leads to even more sugar consumption.  Later, when the temptation is so overpowering and has festered for hours or days, one ends up consuming far more than just a single candy bar or a few cookies.  Third, over-consumption of sugar isn't healthy for anyone, and it's obviously a nightmare for those of us with diabetes.         

People with diabetes are always lectured by professionals on the importance of "balance" and "control."  These are the holy grails of a healthy life with diabetes, and they are seemingly impossible for many of us.  We are surrounded by people making bad (but oh so tasty!) choices and advertisements promoting unhealthy foods. To top it off, we are fighting the strongest warrior of them all, ourselves.  

After nearly four years with this disease, I am recognizing the importance of small everyday changes.    Many of my attempts to change fail, but a few of them lead to success.   And those changes make a difference.  My last A1c dropped by 0.2%.  That is a victory to me, and I'm encouraged to keep trying.  

I have accepted that I will never master diabetes, for it never ceases to throw me a new curveball just when I think I've got it all figured out.  Likewise, I may never break my addiction to a nightly bowl of gooey dessert.  However, I can make one small change at a time, which will, hopefully, lead to a longer and healthier life.

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Categories: A1c Test, Blood Sugar, Community, Desserts, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 1 April 2010

I too love a nightly dose of ice cream or desert as well. I just remember it has to be in moderation and that it is a small reward for eating well. If I have a day where I have already had a desert or very "unhealthy" meal I will skip the evening treat. I know if I starve myself from my sugar/desert fix I will end up overeating in the end. Good article and thanks for sharing.

Posted by Anonymous on 1 April 2010

My blood sugar jumped to 300 by just reading your description of the delicious dessert. Stop it!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 1 April 2010

"Life Is like a Bowl of Tempations... You Never Know What You're Gonna Get!"
The struggles with diabetes is a tough one....you never know exactly how what you eat will affect your levels. I love that you find joy in the moment of each and every day making small changes for the quality of life as you can! Cool article!

Posted by Anonymous on 1 April 2010

Great article Rachel! Fixing myself a bowl in a few minutes - you've encouraged me to cut down on the amount (but never the dessert!)

Posted by Anonymous on 2 April 2010

Look, there are ways of decreasing the glucose hit. (This is being written by a 40 year type 1) !). Reduce portion size. This is always a good idea anyway. 2). Ose fresh fruit for your parfaits. Ain't nothing better than sliced fresh peaches over one scoop of vanilla ice cream topped by an oatmeal cookie. 3). Use a parfait as an exercize reward. In other words, walk a mile first and then enjoy your dessert. Unfortunately diabetes does not go away. The consquences of a few minutes of pleasure can be horrific. It is possible to live as a type 1 and still have fun! Take care, and have pleasures too. We just have to accomodate them.

Posted by Green Lantern on 2 April 2010

I love ice cream, and for a while we bought the no sugar added kind from the grocery store. But the list of 30+ ingredients was daunting. Finally, I figured out that a small dish of strawberries or raspberries with a tablespoon of real cream and a packet of Splenda or PureVia was just as delicious--and MUCH better for me (not to mention cheaper).

Posted by Anonymous on 2 April 2010

Delicious dessert! What would life be without them?! Savor dessert AND your vegetables (probably not at the same time though...)

Posted by Anonymous on 2 April 2010

How sad. When your children are old enough to witness your nightly ice cream bouts, they will learn to be addicted to ice cream too. Then you'll be jeopardizing their health as well as your own. I, too, have a sweet tooth. But I assuage it with fruit. Give it a try.

Posted by angivan on 3 April 2010

I'm a dessert devotee myself, and I have something every night. Usually it's sugar-free pudding with a healthy squirt of whipped cream. That satisfies me most nights, but once a week or so I need "real" dessert, so I share something at a restaurant with my hubby. I usually do OK as long as I keep it under about 60g of carb, and I extend my bolus far into the night to cover all the delicious fat!

Posted by Anonymous on 3 April 2010

When your baby is old enough to learn your addiction, you'll be condemming him/her to a life of addiction and obesity. I, too have a sweet tooth. I have retrained my palate to enjoy fruit when I want sweets. It doesn't happen overnight. The first time I tried diet soda and skim milk, my reaction was, "Yuck." But if you persist, you can change your taste. Now sugary soda and whole milk are as repulsive to my palate as the diet version once was. If you won't address your addiction to ice cream for your own sake, do it for your baby's.

Posted by cjensen61 on 3 April 2010

Good for you for acknowledging something that EVERY ONE OF US WITH DIABETES has had (or currently has): A struggle with sweets! I have talked to many who try to condemn others for eating something with sugar in it and then I have talked to many more who say that moderation in all things is the key (which it truly is!) The old advice to avoid sugar at all costs is no longer the advice given to those newly diagnosed with diabetes. That has loads to do with the fact that the professionals finally realized that all carbs turn to sugar eventually. Whether one chooses to eat simple or complex carbs is NOBODY else choice: it is theirs! As long as you are striving to do all the other things that this !@^&*!! disease requires, I don't see that it is really anybody's business but your own! I want to say a big thank you for having the courage to admit that a craving for sweets is a hard thing to have when you have diabetes. I have cravings for sugar a lot and I hope I can impart that as well as you have.

Posted by Bob(TimeForType1Cure) on 5 April 2010

For the anonymous poster ("How sad" and "When your baby")... A related thought: your misguided and inappropriate judging of others is probably addictive; so, woe to YOUR children.

Posted by Anonymous on 5 April 2010

So-called "diet" foods are not healthy. They are full of fake stuff that our bodies cannot use or digest. A bowl of real ice cream isn't health food; however, it's far healthier than a can of chemical-laden diet soda. REAL foods are better for everyone, including people with diabetes. I mean think about it, with all the "diet" foods we have today, why is it that Americans are so much more unhealthy?

Posted by Anonymous on 11 April 2010

I do limit my carbohydrates and sweet desserts a great deal. There is nothing nutritious or healthy in any of these desserts that I can see. A fresh apple, or orange or some cheese and crackers is what I prefer. I have had Type 1 for almost 53 years.

Obesity is also caused by over-loading the system with the amount and the type of food. Living with any type of diabetes ought to teach us all to be careful.

Psychology 101: If we avoid most sweets our system becomes accustomed to this and... if we repeatedly have sweets then our system demands more, also.

What if some day in the future living with diabetes a person finds that something is terribly wrong; the daily test results are more than a bit disturbing; not just a hiccup or an occasional high or seriously low. Or complications begin to occur.......

My concern is that others will find their system rebelling later in life perhaps for several reasons including over-loading their system that is already weakened by diabetes. I hope it does not happen to anyone with diabetes -- but is ice cream really worth the chance?

Sugar free or reduced colories - really? Read the small print.

For me the answer is to not over load my system. Just as we would not over load any moving vehicle to arrive safely at our destination.

Posted by b. on 20 April 2010

do you guys realize that the "fake" sugars are toxic?

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