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We come from an island known for its sugar. For more than a century, sugar was the lifeblood of our island. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was connected to sugar some way, somehow. Plantation owners. Field workers. Factory workers. Truckers. Pastry makers. Oh, do we have pastry makers.

Everything we ate had sugar, even the most unlikely things (think spaghetti, adobo, tinola, etc.). All throughout my life there it always seemed as if we put at least a little bit of sugar in everything we cooked (perhaps for good luck?). There are also times when some people in my family would go overboard, as in, equal-amounts-of-cream-and-sugar-in-the-fruit-salad overboard (yes Vru, I’m talking about you!).

But one can live on such sweetness only for so long. Is it a wonder that so many families I know, including my own, have diabetes?

Yeah, I thought so too.

I’ve seen grandparents, uncles, and even siblings struggle with diabetes. I’ve seen the injections, dialysis, foot wounds, and all those complications that go with the disease. I’ve also seen the opposite in my brother, where there is never enough sugar, and one missed meal could mean a collapse, or worse.

Hence the conscious effort to lessen our sugar intake. But it can be hard, avoiding all those pastries back home. At least the Shnufflebubby reminds us often: “You’re one-half diabetic, you’re one-half diabetic, so I’m one whole diabetic!”

DNA plus fractions gone haywire. I have my mother-in-law to thank for this.

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