clipart-aiga-no-smokingThose of us who grew up Adventist think of “temperance” as abstinence (from the word “abstemiousness”) from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. We were also taught to think of it as abstinence from coffee and tea, chocolate, carbonated beverages, baking powder/soda, mustard, vinegar, and spices. Many Adventists still adhere to these 19th-century prohibitions, but not everyone does. In Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics, you are free to use coffee or not, to eat totally vegan or not, to have an occasional glass of wine with dinner, to avoid all medicines and mouthwash with alcohol, to eat low-carb high-fat, high-carb low/no-fat, or simply be ADA-compliant. You are welcome to share what works for you, but you are not allowed to condemn or criticize the choices of other members in this group. And here’s why.

“Temperance” for a diabetic is abstaining from any foods, beverages, or practices that will harm your body and make your diabetes worse. For me, that includes most chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup, GMO foods, most artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame, as it’s a trigger for migraines), and MSG (also a trigger for migraines). For the lactose-intolerant, it would be dairy products. For those with celiac disease, it would be gluten. For some diabetics with arthritis, it might include nightshades. Some people have other specific food allergies, such as to nuts, or have made choices to abstain from specific foods, such as soy.

But I would like to suggest that real temperance for a diabetic is “portion control.” You do need to be aware of what constitutes a “portion” or “serving” of every food you eat. If you don’t know, you should consult a reliable food database. For accountability and motivation, you should keep a detailed food journal. (If you need a reminder, re-read my blog post, “Start with Portion Control.”)

One of my pet peeves is the cliché, “Everything in moderation.” Is domestic violence okay in moderation? How about bank robbery in moderation? Absolutely not! We diabetics would like to think we can eat anything as long as it’s “in moderation.” But that is simply not true!

Temperance actually affects all areas of one’s lifestyle—getting the right amount of sleep, water, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine—as well as the right nutrition and in the right amounts. For you.

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