“I started thinking not only about my health but, above all, my children’s health.”
Tayna Cabrera has been living in the United States for 22 years, but she keeps her traditions as she wants to pass them on to her children, who love traditional Yucatecan cuisine. “My name is Tayna; I am a widow and the mother of two children. I have Mayan ancestry on my father’s side (Yucatec Mayan). My maternal grandmother was Cuban. I love my culture and the typical foods from my village. That is why I cook the things that I like almost daily,” she says. Her youngest daughter has an inclination for cooking, so Tayna is teaching her to cook—but she is also teaching her to use less sugar and more seasoning in her recipes. Tayna’s favorite hobby is writing, and she dreams about doing it at a professional level soon.
“I used to drink a lot of soda—if I didn’t have one to go with a meal, something was missing—up to two 12 oz. bottles per meal. If I was thirsty, I would drink a soda (with sugar). If my energy was low, I would drink a soda. I drank up to 8 cans of soda a day, and each time I wanted more. I paid no attention to my health because I was too busy, anxious—I always had a gut feeling—and sometimes I had a headache. One day I ran out of decaf coffee and had no choice but to have regular coffee. That’s how I realized that caffeine was also harming me,” Tayna recalls.
She was not aware that diabetes is hereditary until she became informed. This scared her. She started evaluating sugar consumption, particularly that of sodas, and stopped buying it. This is how she realized that not only her but also her children were getting used to sugar consumption, so they stopped consuming it. Lately, Tayna has suffered from high blood pressure, which is connected to the overweight that resulted from consuming sodas in excess. Now she consumes mineral water or sparkling water (without sugar). She has also increased her physical activity; she goes for walks with her little dog and uses the car less, which she had to sell due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“One day I was eating traditional panuchos (stuffed tortillas) from my hometown and I craved a soft drink; a soda. Someone told me that soft drinks that come in glass bottles have less sugar; that the ones that come from Mexico are healthier. But when I tasted it, I felt repulsion for the sugar content in the drink. I have had long days at work preparing food. Back in the day I would have kept my energy consuming these sugary drinks—but this time I just prepared lemonade without sugar, and it was refreshing and gave me enough energy to get through the day,” assures Tayna, who shares a healthy refreshment she regularly drinks with her family.
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