We’re having guests for dinner tonight. A group of friends are coming, and I’m looking forward to the evening. The only problem is that I really don’t know what to make.
I’m on the keto diet. That means no carbs—no fruit except berries, no carb-heavy veggies, no grains, and of course no sugars in any form. Instead, I am eating low-carb vegetables, some protein, and a lot of fat.*
On the other hand, Pete is on a “heart healthy” diet prescribed by his cardiologist, which eliminates saturated fats and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and high fiber carbs.
Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving. Did you eat too much? Are you still feeling full? I, like many others, often throw out restraint on our national feast day, but the day after is another story. As I munch on leftover stuffing and sweet potatoes, my conscience is beginning to intrude on my carb-induced lethargy. It’s time to climb back onto the healthy food wagon before my cravings take over my life.
At the same time, Pete and I recently restructured our budget. I’m excited that we can finally plan our spending—he hasn’t missed a paycheck for an entire year now! Still, we’re not exactly flush (I’m looking for flexible employment), and our food budget is one area where we can conserve. The average person in the U.S. spends $7 per day on food. That works out to $420 per month to feed two people. We set our budget at only $300. (This is what we already spend, so we know we can do it.)
I love the week between Christmas and the new year. All the Christmas preparations are over. We have enough leftovers in the fridge that I don’t have to cook unless I feel like it. The garden (and its weeds) is blanketed with snow. Chores are at a minimum. It’s a time to relax and reflect, to take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and clear my head of all to-do lists.
The end of the year is traditionally a time for assessing the year and resolving to better. (Have you ever noticed that we never seem to be satisfied with just maintaining the status quo?)
I’m impressed by those friends who have five, ten, and even twenty-year plans for their lives. I’m not that clairvoyant. But I do like to compare the ending year with the goals I made last January, and then look ahead to what I might accomplish in the coming year.
Due to a genetic tendency toward insulin resistance, I’m not supposed to eat certain foods… white flour, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, regular pasta, corn, and yes, sugar in any form. That includes brown sugar, molasses, honey, and agave nectar.
Most of the year, I’m pretty good at this. After all, my health is at stake. Eating these things leads to wild fluctuations in my blood sugar levels, headaches, mental fog, and ultimately diabetes. I really don’t want to go there!
However, as the fall approaches, it gets much more difficult to avoid temptation. Starting in mid-September, our family celebrates birthday after birthday, culminating on December 23 with our son-in-law Jeremy. All those birthdays include some sort of special dessert.