Saturday, April 28, 2012

These I Have Loved - but don't eat any more - -

My mother's attitude to food is still rooted just after the war.  Anything you couldn't get whilst fighting Hitler, my mother now loves.  And a lot of that involved sugar.

So her idea of bread and jam is to take a small piece of bread, slather it in butter and then add as much jam as can be balanced on it without actually falling off.  No meal is complete without a slice of cake at the end of it.  No dessert is complete without a liberal helping of Instant Whip or Dream Topping.  No snack is complete without chocolate.

For my mother, none of this matters.  She eats lot of fruit and vegetables too, many of them home-grown.  She eats salad every day.  Mum was eating five portions of fruit and veg a day before the idea was invented.   She doesn't have a big appetite, because she was only five feet tall at her tallest, but she eats a little bit of everything.  The original balanced diet.  No fads, no funny ideas about food - - just a mixture of lots and lots of fruit and veg, a mixture of cheese and meat for protein - - and plenty of sweet stuff for dessert.

This diet has worked brilliantly for my mother.  At eighty-eight, she is incredibly fit.  She can still run, and does.  She is very flexible, with no trace of arthritis.  If there are more people than chairs, she'll be the first one to sit on the floor and thinks absolutely nothing of it.  She is out gardening for several hours every day, and not just a little bit of pruning, either - I'll see her with a spade.  "Just digging this bed over."

So, I'd guess it's her balanced diet that's done it.  Oh yes, and I suspect that the fact that her parents met when they were both members of a gymnastics team helps, too.  My grandfather was one of the men at the bottom of the pyramid and my grandmother was the little one on top.

Her father, my grandfather, was a machine-gunner in the First World War at a time when their average life expectancy on the Front was about twenty minutes - - and yet he lived through it all.  I'd guess his ability to shoot - - and then run like hell - - probably helped.

I have inherited some of Mum's flexibility - my joints seem as bendy as ever! - and I think my swimming helps with this.  Sadly, I didn't inherit her athletic ability.

But, unfortunately, I also inherited my father's genetic tendency to Type 2 diabetes.  He was diagnosed very late, after years and years of my well-intentioned mother providing an ending to every meal of jam and cake and chocolate and sugar in all its many enticing forms.

I was diagnosed much earlier, in my forties and have, (with a lot of effort it has to be said!) radically changed my diet.  And now I come to what this post was going to be about - - which is the sweet things I don't eat any more.  Thinking about it, there are lots of them.  All my childhood favourites.  Some of these that I loved I eat very, very rarely now:  some not at all.

Cake, chocolate, treacle toffee, toffee apples, custard, sweets of all kinds, sponge puddings (ohhh treacle sponge!!) chocolate cake, cheesecake, Instant Whip, Dream Topping (I still love it - - or would do if I ate it) fruit yogurts (LOTS of sugar in them), fresh fruit juice (LOTS of sugar).

Ahhh, glorious food of my childhood.  I think I deserve some sort of Government Award for giving it all up.


Blogger JeannetteLS said...

I bow to you. I would send you my paper crown, made for me by my kids thirty years ago, but I am far too selfish. It's MINE.

My mother fed us too much protein. LOTS of protein. POUNDS of it. It made me get heavy. She gave us balance in our diet, but far too much food, period. She was raised in poverty during the Depression.

There we have it. Mothers visiting plenty on their children, so we would not feel what they felt.

I love meat and sometimes I am ashamed of that. Sometimes I deliberately have vegetarian days, to find balance again. I have avoided Diabetes 2, unlike my sister, my mother, and one brother. I have my dad's constitution that way. And I dearly love activity and am at long last back to three hours a week on my recumbent bike.

But I am wary again of a love for sugar, and craving of starches.

So I award you, in spirit, a copy of my crown. And seriously? It is not easy to forgo the treats of life. Not at all. It's hard to say, "I care about my life more than pleasure." It doesn't feel at ALL right to say I care about myself so I think I'll deprive myself.

Good for you. And, well, we do happen to want you around here in Blogland, you know.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

You do deserve an award or a re-ward.... and you will get. You will get to live longer !!! Well done. Keep up the good work>

11:06 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

This may just have been the wake-up call I needed.

12:13 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

You have already received an award -from a big gentleman in the clouds. It's called the Beating Type 2 Diabetes award and though there's no monetary prize you get many more years of healthy living. By the way - treacle sponge is massively overrated. I had a bowl of it last evening slathered with homemade vanilla custard. It was disgusting.

1:51 pm  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

I'm T2 also. I'm not fond of sweet stuff, so have no problem with that, but in a perfect world I would eat fruit all day. My friends and family suffer more from my diabetes than I do, I used to bake them all sorts of goodies. I don't do that anymore, I don't even keep the ingredients in the house, I have no use for sugar or flour. There are some women like your mom in my water aerobics class. My favorite is Simone. She's 92, a very sexy French lady who puts the rest of us to shame. I don't think I'd like to be her, having to maintain that glamour for so long. No one notices when I have a bad hair day, it just blends with the rest of me. I just got a coffee cup that says "Queen of everything." If I find another, I'll send it to you.

12:42 am  
Blogger Beryl Ament said...

In the fifties I got the bus home from school near a Lyons Corner House. The best way to make my mum smile was to buy her a cream slice on the way home. Just a hang-over from rationing, I assume.

4:47 pm  

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