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Diabetes Recipes/Restaurant Suggestions in OC

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I was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I am 29 and a big time Foodie. I love Pho, authentic Mexican, all asian foods with lots of white rice, mounds of pasta, and I'm worried i won't be able to enjoy it again. Any ideas on restaurant recommendations in Irvine and the surounding areas...

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  1. Did your endo tell you to cut carbs? I'm T2, not T1, and honestly I don't know if the dietary recommendations are the same, but gladly I'll share my eating out tips.

    Mexican is probably my favorite food, and my biggest downfall (I adore chips, beans, and tortillas!). That said, when I'm staying on plan what I do is this: order tacos with meat of my choice, put lots of salsa and cilantro on them, and only eat the meat, leaving the tortillas behind.

    Asian is my second favorite. Most Thai and Chinese places are pretty low-carb friendly - skip the rice, and avoid anything obviously sweet (sweet and sour-, or honey-anything, is obviously out!). My go-to choices for Thai are tom yum goong, prik king, larb, satay, and pretty much any meat dish without noodles or rice. Chinese is trickier because there are so many sticky sweet sauces - it really depends on the restaurant. Vietnamese is also easy if you skip the noodles and order something like meat with lemongrass. You can have the meat, veggies, and broth in pho - just not the noodles.

    Indian food is another one that's doable, even though for me it's hard not to indulge in naan. Anything tandoori will likely be fine, as is saag paneer or saag with meat.

    The two hardest cuisines for me to navigate are Italian and Japanese. If T1 eating is at all like T2 eating, I'm afraid the "mounds of pasta" and "lots of white rice" will be a thing of the past. On a positive note, if your experience is anything like mine, you will feel so much better within a couple weeks of sticking to your new eating plan that you really won't miss it.

    Best of luck to you on your new culinary adventures!

    4 Replies
    1. re: garvanza girl

      Garvanza girl has really said it all for type 2s and as another type 2 I dont really know the dietary needs of type 1s. Hamburgers is a downfall of mine but fortunately most places do a protein style wrapped in lettuce leaf instead of a bun. There are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of a high carb meal, there is a product called insulow also apple cider vinegar right before a meal seems to help some and for me believe it or not a beer or a glass of wine helps when commit the high carb sin. But again as Garvanza girl said see your endo.

      1. re: garvanza girl

        Thanks - very helpful. Making another stab at eating low-carb and it never occurred to me that Mexican could work. But you are absolutely right - taco meat, salsa and cilantro should do it.

        I agree with you that Japanese is very hard. I love sushi, but I could eat $100 worth of sashimi without the rice and still not be full or satisfied.

        For the OP, unfortunately not one in the OC, but I had dinner tonight at the Breadbar in Century City, and ironically, despite the fact that it is part bakery, it was great place for a low carb meal. Cream of cauliflower soup (they swore no flour to thicken), bunless hamburger and a very tasty salad subbed for fries.

        Any salad place should work for you, although be careful because lots of places stick sugar in their salad dressing.

        1. re: omotosando

          I know alot of sushi restaurants now have Brown Rice as a Sushi option, thats what i"m going for. Sashimi is not my favorite, I need some rice under it.

        2. re: garvanza girl

          Thanks, for the help. Do you worry about sugars etc when eating curries in Thai food, they are generally loaded with coconut milk? Or do you just cut the main carbs, bread, rice, noodles and don't get too anal abou the rest?

        3. Sounds like you should request a consult to a Registered Dietitian (RD) from your physician. For a minimal charge (and it is generally covered by your medical plan), you will be able to get dietary advice from a licensed professional who has received substantial training on the needs of BOTH Type1 and Type 2 diabetics.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jlawrence01

            Now that the mods have moved this post, I will tell you what I do and worry about. But I am not a doctor, this is just what works for me. I try to limit my carbs to 40 grams or less a day, this includes both eating out and at home. Carbs are carbs whether its sugar, rice brown or white, bread or potatoes. I test myself 2 hours after each meal and try to eat in a fashion that keeps my blood glucose as close to normal as I can. Also like you said I dont get too worried about it either, I drink a little beer, a little wine, maybe a shot of single malt, I mean you got to live as well. Not sure how far the mods will let me go with this, so if you have any questions I can relate my experiences as far as I am allowed to. But to repeat here I am not a doctor these are just my experiences, your miliage may vary.

          2. Hi irishkevbo... you're one of the rare cases like me. I was diagnosed w/ type 1 10 years ago at age 28. I'm so sorry for you. It's a major lifestyle change. But once you get used to all the health care stuff, you really can eat quite normally. Thank goodness for insulin!

            I'm a total foodie and a very well-managed diabetic (last a1c was 5.7). My only suggestion would be go brown rice for white and eat it sparingly. White rice does evil things to my BS. You can still eat pasta... just need to take the appropriate amt. of insulin. That is you specific. I eat Trader Joe's whole wheat pasta (i'm italian too) and love it. Just try and substitute simple carbs for more complex ones and reduce the amt. you used to eat. Anything in moderation is okay, you just have to think ahead.

            Good luck. And remember, it's not a horrible thing... you learn to pay attention to what you are eating and you're eating healthier. Not such a horrible thing!

            1 Reply
            1. re: lynnlato

              Thanks Lynn,
              I'm not a big fan of whining and when I go to boards on other sites all I hear are over weight people with type 2 who ask "why me." I am already super healthy and plan on living longer now that I am forced to be even nuttier about my carbs etc. I just started on more of a complax insulin routine and can't wait to get everything dialed in.

              I am a total foodie and love all asian foods and Mexican with a passion. I think I saw another post on this page where someone said they ate 40 carbs a day, that is just ludicris, my dietician said 40-60 carbs at meals and 15 carbs minimum at snacks. I guess we're all different. Thanks for the suggestions, your A1c sais it all.

            2. This won't help at a restaurant but it works at home. When I make curry (beef, lamb, or chicken) I eat it with cauliflower with it in place of of rice. Pasta sauce (as in the tomatoey kind from a jar, possibly with added meat, onions, and so on) is very good with sauteed zucchini in place of pasta. Also, definitely see a Registered Dietitian (not a nutritionist, they're different). Essential.

              Hello Chowhound? May we please have a diet board?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Querencia

                I've already asked... they're not interested in providing it. Not too long ago I posted a thread asking for it. Here is their response:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/458891

                I'm not sure why those w/ restrictive diets aren't entitled to info about delicious food but
                maybe if enough folks ask for it they'll respond.

              2. you can eat the foods you want (not everyone agrees), but you have to learn how to count carbs, learn how different carbs mixed with different proteins and fats affect your blood sugars, and learn what your ratios are for insulin. It is different for different people. I personally have cut way down on white rice, and try to use brown rice when I can. But Mexican is my downfall and I cannot resist chips and tortillas, even 25 years after my diagnosis. Thai curries do have lots of sugar, and Chinese often has hidden carbs in cornstarch and sauce thickeners. Trial, error, and testing frequently are I think the tools you need to keep up with a varied and spontaneous diet.

                There are plenty of boards where you can get more specific advice, and lots of T1s. tu-diabetes.com, insulin-pumpers.org (you don't have to be a pumper), the ADA, are just a few.