Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Dog's Breakfast and the Diabetic's Brain

I have no idea what goes on in dogs' brains — and only a smidgen of understanding of the human version — but if Freddie has anything resembling a left-right hemisphere split (a misleading oversimplification, I realize), I can't imagine that the turbo-charged feeling/sensing, just-being parts of his doggy grey matter are in any danger of being overwhelmed by the logical/analytical abstract-thinking parts. Nope ... Freddie is a paragon of sensory awareness, body-mind connectedness, and in-the-momentness.

Witness a typical breakfast: 45 minutes of intensely focused gnawing, chewing, tearing, sniffing, grinding, savouring. I can guarantee you he's not estimating how many grams of protein are in his bone, or contemplating where he should go for his next walk, or psychoanalyzing the yappy dog across the street, or wondering if he's reaching his full potential as a canine being. He's on the bone mat, eating his bone — and that's all there is.

Now, I don't mean to diss logical/analytical thinking. Such thinking has led to remarkable things in our world; it's responsible for many of the things that I've come to view as my biggest accomplishments. BUT (of course there's a but) ... as someone who's inclined to spend a lot of time in the realm of the abstract/hypothetical/theoretical, I believe I have something to gain by emulating Freddie's hyper-sensory relationship to the world.

I'm not saying I'm up for rolling around in fly-infested seaweed or lapping at muddy puddles in the park. Ew. Nor am I necessarily ready to give up plates and cutlery at the dining table. That said, however, I suspect that my relationship to food — a relationship that's been, well, screwed over by diabetes — would most definitely benefit from some Freddification.

As most of my diabetic readers — especially those with clear pre-diabetes memories — know too well, eating in Diabetes Land is no picnic. Often it's closer to math class on a Friday afternoon. The process of adding up grams of carbohydrate and other nutrients, estimating the effects of recent and future energy expenditure, and adjusting for current glucose levels, all in order to calculate (ie. guess) appropriate insulin doses, has a way of seriously undermining the sensory pleasures of food and eating.

Even when I'm in the Diabetes Fuck-It Zone (the D-Fiz), I find that no sooner does the café-mocha mousse hit my taste buds than I'm already thinking — at least a little — about what all those carbs I haven't bothered counting are going to do to my blood sugar. To go back to that schematic conception of brain hemispheres, I end up feeding my left brain, which has only a rudimentary appreciation for the taste sensations of coffee and chocolate, while my poor right brain stays hungry (or conspires to make me sneak into the chocolate cupboard while Lefty isn't paying attention).

So. It's not as if I've taken no pleasure in food, lo these 26+ years with T1D. The phenomenon waxes and wanes. But I've been experimenting, the past couple of weeks, with prohibiting all so-called left-brain activity while I'm actively eating. Like Freddie, I can chew, sniff, savour, taste, etc. ... but Diamathematics and other abstract contemplations are verboten.

And ...?

I dig it. It makes a difference, I think (feel?). Obviously none of the calculating and other crap has disappeared; it just gets temporarily bracketed off, allowing me a few moments of something approximating the kind of pre-diabetes eating experience I still vaguely remember ... or even, at best, an all-encompassing "bone mat" kind of experience.

Bon appétit!

No comments:

Post a Comment

What say you?