"You shouldn't have that in your basket. That's too sweet."
I was in a supermarket across the border in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I do research twice a year, so I probably did have something sweet in my basket. No high-fructose corn syrup.
I looked down and realized I had just put in a box of Canadian Twinkies and King Dons (don't think King Dons exist in the States). Or she could have been speaking of the Fruity Cheerios — naturally flavored with fruit juice.
She was perhaps in her late 40s-early 50s. She told me she was recently diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic.
I explained that the Cheerios was supposed to have natural fruit juice and that fruit sugar was a good thing. She held up her Raisin Bran as a better choice. I only grabbed the Cheerios because I couldn't find the Raisin Bran.
"Raisins are fruit sugar, so that's okay."
"Yea, but they put sugar on the raisins." I was impressed — she had done her homework.
"How long ago were you diagnosed?" "About a year ago." She was still in the excited stage. She did feel bad about chastising me for the contents in my basket. I reassured her it was fine.
I explained that the contents in my basket didn't reflect my normal habits — I stocked up on foods that would last awhile that didn't have high-fructose corn syrup. She sheepishly pointed out that she wasn't perfect since she had ice cream in her cart.
I remember back to being in her shoes, with that puppy-like excitement. The ice cream was something she didn't feel like where she could let go. That wasn't ice cream for me; ice cream was fairly easy to let go, but my body gave me no choice.
"Have you lost weight since you were diagnosed?" She said "some." She liked my frame. I mentioned my 25 pound loss back then.
Many people would feel upset about being chastised over their grocery contents. But I knew where she was coming from, and so it was OK with me. And the incident reminded me that we don't do this alone.
Like her, I know I'm sentenced to do this for the rest of my life. It was part of why I do these biannual trips to Canada, to see what works for me.
We wished each other good luck. And I went over to the section where the Raisin Bran was and switched cereal boxes. Turns out the fruit juice in the Fruity Cheerios was orange juice concentrate, a rather sweet product. The Raisin Bran was free of high-fructose corn syrup and was fiber-laden with its real raisins and bran flakes.