Insulin Pump Demystified

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Passover is coming...

In just over a week from now, I will sit down with my family to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover is one of my favorite holidays because of its rich traditions and the many opportunities for spiritual growth that come with this time. The essence of Passover is celebrating the tale of the Hebrew slaves' Exodus out of Egypt--that once we were slaves, but now we are free. Freedom is not to be taken for granted. Our experience of being oppressed should make us sensitive to the suffering of others; our tradition states that "all who are hungry" should come in and join us at our holiday table.

Some of the most interesting customs connected to Passover involve food. Throughout the holiday (which lasts over a week), we give up eating all products baked with yeast, as a way to remind ourselves--gastronomically--of the Exodus story. The Hebrew slaves rushed out of Egypt becfore their bread could rise. Instead of eating bread during Passover, we eat matzah ("the bread of affliction") and matzah products. Many Jewish people also give up other starches like legumes, corn, barley, etc., even though they don't contain yeast.

So, though I love Passover and look forward to taking some time for extra introspection during the holiday, I always feel a little nervous about how switching from my usual diet to a matzah-based one will affect my blood sugar control. One piece of matzah contains about 20 grams of carb, but in the past couple of years, I found that I needed to bolus less for matzah than I would for a piece of bread containing the same carbs.

One advantage of me reducing carbs of late is that Passover won't affect my diet as much this year...I can still eat my morning yogurt, all of my fruits & vegetables, cheese...and substitute matzah for the crackers or bread I eat. If I do a protein like fish or chicken for dinner with lots of veggies and a little matzah (which might be baked into a casserole or fixed in one of the thousands of creative ways that Jewish cooks have figured to make the stuff more edible), then I should be okay.

The challenge for me is that when a holiday comes, there's always extra of everything around--desserts that I wouldn't normally eat, for example. One Passover tradition is eating macaroons, since they contain no yeast. Eating the kind that comes out of a "Manishevitz" can is pure nostalgia for me...taking me right back to the Passovers of my childhood. One macaroon can easily become two, four or six. :(

So this Passover, I will try to keep my mantra to eat healthy right in front of me, calling to me when I get weak. I would like to use the days of Passover to focus on cleansing, on springtime, on renewal of spirit...

Diabetes can feel like an awful oppressor, like the worst taskmaster. We are not free of it yet, but we can stand up to this boss of ours, at least, look it in the eye and fight to gain control.


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