Can you say beignet?

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I’m writing this from New Orleans, where my husband and I have been conferencing and eating nonstop for the past three days.

While I’m always up for a trip, the challenges of keeping my sugar even and energy high while off my normal exercise schedule and eating out of the box can be daunting. And NOLA is particularly tough on my traditional ‘no carbs while travelling’ approach, with jambalaya, shrimp creole, po’boys with loads of puffy white bread and rice, rice and more rice competing only with the number of shiny beads hanging from every lamp post and native neck.

It’s a place designed to give people type 2, and for those of us already affected, it’s a real challenge.

But I was doing well — picking the shrimp from the creole, slurping oysters (no carbs) and drinking white wine spritzers until I met my  first beignet.

A beignet, for the uninitiated, is basically a pillow of fried dough, served warm and dipped in a pile of powdered sugar. Accompanied by a steaming cup of cafe au lait, it is your basic blood sugar surge on a plate, and though I knew how awful it would be for me on oh so many levels, I walked into the famous Cafe du Monde determined to have my share.

It isn’t easy to give yourself permission to go high carb after months and months of low-carbing, and in many ways, I was a little scared. The number of people surrounding me downing these delights didn’t give me courage, but only wonder at how many people mindlessly approached the pastry without a second thought. Armed with my Byetta and blood sugar pills, to me it was an adventure, a foray into the unknown.

“Look at that!” said the woman beside me as a waitress left a platter of the sugar drenched pastries on a nearby table. Although she was a total stranger, I immediately felt the need to ‘fess up to my approaching sin.

“I’m have diabetes,” I told her with a note of desperation in my voice. “But I’m going to have one.”

“Really?” she said.

“I’ve saved up for it,” I said.

From a complete stranger, I craved absolution.

At the table, my husband looked worried, as though I were about to commit a crime.

“Are you sure about this ?” he asked.

I nodded, shot my Byetta, swallowed my glucophage and amryl, and gathering my courage, picked a beignet off the plate. Carefully, I dusted off the excess sugar, tapped the semi-denuded pastry against the table to loosen a bit more, and dabbed off any excess grease.

And then…Reader, I bit. And I have to tell you, it was sublime. Years of waiting and longing went into that one bite.  It was as delicious as I had imagined. I ate, I drank and felt, oddly, normal. Lightening didn’t strike. Darkness did not descend.

“How was it?” my neighbor asked.

I didn’t have to answer. All I could do was smile.

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Ilene Raymond RushJessica Apple Recent comment authors
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Ilene Raymond Rush

Hey Jessica! Well, the diabetes gods were incredibly kind. After a jaunt around the Garden District, about an hour and a half later I was at an insane 86. It almost made me want to do it again;). Loved the cat essay, by the way…

Jessica Apple

I’m glad you had that moment.  I need to do the same thing once in a while… I sometimes really crave baked goods with my coffee.  Forgive me, but I have to ask how your blood sugar was the beignet :). I hope you enjoyed New Orleans, despite the food challenges.

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