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Grappling with food on the road and a sunny Christmas in Sydney

Posted Dec 23 2008 5:06pm

I can't complain about a vacation that's taking me from Queenstown, New Zealand, to Sydney, where we are now, to Singapore, Tokyo and San Francisco before I arrive home. Yet one thing that's tough, beside the jet lag and time zone changes and more frequent blood sugar testing, is eating almost all your meals at restaurants where you can't control your food, let alone half the time knowing what it is--well that will come in Singapore. 

Then real life comes flying in to the idyllic lull. Just today a friend back home sent me this article from theNew York Timesabout how low GI foods (non-starchy, non-sweet foods that raise blood sugar less and more slowly) are better for diabetics than the highly touted whole grain diet. In other words, your blood sugar will rise less and more gradually if you trade in your whole grain bread for nuts, beans and certain high-fiber crackers. 

I've known this for quite some time having tested my blood sugar about a zillion times to see my reaction to different foods. So, for me, every day (when I'm not traveling around the world) begins with slow-cooking steel cut oatmeal, to which I add ground flax seeds, cinnamon, low fat yogurt and peanut butter. If I eat bread or ordinary cereal my blood sugar goes off the charts. 

Luckily here in Sydney we're staying with friends so I've stocked the larder with my healthy foods and gotten the expected grimace when I offer to share my yogurt and peanut butter combo. I still don't know why Danon hasn't produced such a flavor but no one seems to share my enthusiasm for it. So yesterday my day began with my usual oatmeal and then I had a salad with toasted almonds some raw broccoli, a few slices of ham and a spoonful of hummous for lunch and most nights here it's fish and greens, since my friends are healthy eaters too, and there's nothing Bruce can't sear on the Barbie and make delicious. Of course, Singapore and Tokyo will prove to be problematic again because most dishes are rice-based. And so I will need to stick to grilled meats, miso soup and sashimi. God knows when I first lived in Tokyo 20 years ago the rice was always my menace.

But, back to Sydney. Soon we're off to the ferry for a 15 minute ride over to the city to buy some Christmas gifts. Still having a little trouble reconciling Christmas carols with bright sunshine and 80 F temps. Guess I'll just have to force myself to get used to it. 

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