Christmas is over. The Sugar Plum Fairy has pirouetted into the sunset for another year. Candy canes can come down from the mantle and fruitcakes, pies, puddings, frosted donuts, chocolate-covered everything and cookies, peanut butter cookies with a dollop of jelly in the center are officially over. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Yikes.
Like my maternal and paternal grandmothers, I’ve got sugar. I’ve got what my grandmothers called “sugar diabetes.” And, despite taking the sophisticated medications now used to treat the condition, until a year ago I mostly ate anything that appealed to me. Cookies. Peanut butter and jelly cookies. I made dozens of them last Christmas. My medication mitigated my transgressions of diet just enough to keep me on the edge of management of the condition. But last year’s dozens of pb&j cookies and the Entenmann’s donuts and the ice cream and that pretty bowl of red and green M&Ms caused a sugar shock for my husband that threatened his eyesight. We had to confront our sugar crush.
For a diabetic, Christmas isn’t easy in the grocery stores. I’m comfortable with my diet. I’ve had great results and I feel good. But it is a principle of food retailers that candy is shelved, displayed alongside the lines to the checkout. That way, all shoppers have the opportunity to linger and consider purchasing the most addictive, unhealthy and generally more expensive offerings they sell. After Christmas I tell myself, they’ll take some of this temptation away until Valentine’s Day. We’re in this seasonal sugar celebration from Halloween, to Christmas and Valentine’s Day and Easter, then Mother’s Day. What is a diabetic to do?
Celebrate Kwanzaa, a harvest festival created to acknowledge African culture in the Americas.
December 26 – January 1
There are seven principles of Kwanzaa called Nguzo Saba and each day is dedicated to one of these principles:
Umoja (unity) to maintain unity in the family and community
Kujichagulia (self-determination) to be responsible for the community and to speak for oneself.
Ujima (collective work and responsibility) to build and maintain a community.
Ujamaa (cooperative economics) to help build and maintain our own businesses.
Nia (purpose) to build and develop goals to benefit the people of the community.
Kuumba (creativity) to make the community more beautiful and beneficial for the future generation.
Imani (faith) to believe in our people, parents, teachers, and leaders.
more: What is Kwanzaa
No need to stuff yourself with sugar. Consider this the time to explore lower sugar, lower carb, higher fiber, higher protein options for your diet.
Kwanzaa greeting: Habari Gani?
Today’s response: UMOJA, Unity.
The First Principle of Kwanza is Umoja, Unity. The past year of Trump trauma has tested the idea of Unity in our nation. Paradoxically I’ve made community with a wider array of people because of the traumatic events of the Trump presidency. I’ve talked a lot about health and fitness, “sugar” diabetes and communities of color. And I’ve reflected that the people of the African Diaspora are particularly, uniquely, and peculiarly connected to sugar and the trade in sugar and slaves and rum and the wealth it created.
The Triangle trade in American History is a pattern of colonial commerce in which
people were purchased on the African Gold Coast with New England rum, then
the enslaved were traded in the West Indies for
SUGAR or molasses, which was brought back to New England to be manufactured into rum. for a fuller understanding of the Atlantic Slave Trade: http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_43.html
Compared to the general population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes:
- 13.2% of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes.
- African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.
Over-consumption of sugar has been implicated in the occurrence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. And diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, and CERTAIN POPULATIONS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED. And because good diabetes diagnosis and management can be expensive for uninsured or under-insured people, many are unaware they have diabetes until they develop one of its complications.
African-Americans are significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes-related blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. from American Diabetes Association website.Living With Diabetes
So this is about how to celebrate Kwanzaa in 2017.
Light a candle tonight and reflect on UNITY
Let’s think about the historical impact of sugar . . . or NOT. Let’s celebrate our triumph over that moment and resolve to push back against King Sugar. Make this cranberry cake/pie that I adapted for my diabetes-friendly diet. It satisfies my sweet craving and gives me the wonderful benefits of cranberries cranberry 411
and the usefulness and flavor of walnuts and some whole grain.
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour & 1/4 of all-purpose white flour & 1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of Truvia baking blend – a combination of the stevia leaf and a small percentage of granulated sugar.
A dash of salt
2 cups of fresh cranberries (frozen is a-okay just not canned/jellied)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts – a healthy fat
1/2 cup of canola oil or oil of your choice
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring (optional – can use almond)
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with a cooking spray of your choice. Combine flour, sweetener, and salt, add cranberries and walnuts and stir to coat. Stir in the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix and spread into pie pan. The mixture will be thick-ish. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.