As anyone with diabetes knows, managing this disease well requires constant self control and denial — and if you’re diagnosed as an adult, the transition to diabetic living can be pretty shocking. Like, for example, going to the grocery store for the first time after you’re diagnosed. For me it was at a Shaw’s in Connecticut during college, a place I’d been in countless times before. But this time was totally different. There were now entire aisles that were off-limits to me — cereal, for example, or juice and soda. As I wandered past Enteman’s donuts and ice cream cakes, it occurred to me that I’d never look at a supermarket the same way again. This approach — evaluating every food by measuring the effect it would have on my blood sugar — was my new reality.
It was pretty fucking depressing.
Nowadays, I’m used to carb counting on my grocery trips. I tend to adopt a Michael Pollan-esque approach and “graze” around the edges of the supermarket, spending quality time in the vegetable section, dropping by the meats and lingering for too long in dairy (oh, cheese, how you weaken my defenses!). I try not to eat anything that is a total affront to my pancreas — like pasta, cookies, bread or most baked goods. But then every once in a while, I break down. A forbidden food catches my eye and despite my complete knowledge that two hours later, I will regret it, I can’t stop myself: I must have that cookie.
I bring this up because of what just happened in the cafe downstairs.
I just ate a croissant.
Yes, a croissant. A buttery, rich croissant from SemiFredi’s bakery in San Francisco. It might not have been up to Parisian standards, but it was pretty damn close — a flaky, crisp exterior melting away to delicate folds of butter-drenched pastry within. I haven’t even had a whiff of a croissant (a food notably bad for non diabetics as well) in months, but there was something about how it looked in that pastry case that made it impossible to resist. That, plus I had just come back from a spin class and was really really hungry. It is going to wreak havoc on my blood sugar in about 55 minutes. But in the meantime, I must confess the truth: it was delicious.