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Apr 15, 2012 11:52 AM

Feeding a new diabetic?

DH is going low-carb, not no-carb. We've entirely cut out the staple 'white' carbs. No potatoes, bread, flour, rice. Dessert is a complete no-no for now. Lots of vegetables and fresh fruit, and so on. His new favourite snack is hummus with carrot sticks. I'm pretty much following the same diet - I've got 90 pounds to lose if I really wanted to be healthy, so it sure won't hurt me! I love veggies, John thinks they're okay, but now he's got to learn to love them too. But I need ideas on what to cook for us!

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  1. Depends on what advice he's had from the health professionals. Mine said that, apart from being very aware of sugars, there was no need to signifciantly alter my diet. The general advice is to eat a normal balanced diet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      not altering your diet is often the advice if you want to "manage" diabetes with insulin.

      learn about carbohydrate counts in your foods. 1/2 cup home-made hummus has more carbs than a big slice of white bread. beans are not necessarily your friend here.

      although not yet diabetic, i had metabolic damage from a high-grains (healthy, right?), high-carb diet for years. since going low-carb, i have dropped quite a bit of weight and never felt better.

      embrace proteins of the animal sorts, and healthy fats, like good grass-fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil. avoid seed oils and junk dairy foods.

      besides the "white stuff", i don't go near processed foods of any kind, beans, grains or most fruit. berries occasionally. i will splurge on a fabulous in-season peach, but do not bother with crap supermarket fruit flown from who-knows where. all the sugar, none of the flavor.

      veggies are great, but stay away from the starchy root veggies like yams and beets for now. learn to love leafy greens. a few weeks off starch and sugar and you will be astonished how sweet a red pepper will taste.

      if you insist on boxed or convenience foods, become a label maven. sugar and grains of all guises are added to these foods.

      1. re: Harters

        That's really, REALLY bad advice. The only food that raises blood sugar in type 2 is carbs. Replacing starches and sugars with high fiber, colorful leafy veggies works wonders.

      2. Rearrange your thinking for meal planning to start with vegetables. Invest in a good vegetarian or veggie cookbook and cook your way thorough it. This means you'll probably have to suspend what you think you know about what you do and do not like in the veg department, and that you'll probably buy stuff that has previously been outside your comfort zone. Assume you're going to love EVERYTHING until proven otherwise. Embrace this as an adventure, but understand that your palate will take time to adjust if you are used to eating a lot of junk or even the SAD. Fill your grocery cart with vegetables first. Everything else should be either a whole-food pantry staple or a condiment. Stop buying anything with a marketing campaign and anything processed or convenience. Sign up for a CSA. Don't ever forget whole grains and legumes.

        Walk, walk, walk. It's easier to eat less and eat healthy when you know you're going to get up and go for a walk after dinner EVERY. SINGLE. EVENING.
        Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, not just an eating problem. Consider it an opportunity, not a burden.

        16 Replies
        1. re: splatgirl

          being a healthy low-carb vegetarian can be very difficult, unless you want to rely on soy, which presents a whole other round of issues. beans and grains are insanely carby and should not be a staple of a diabetic's diet.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I'm not suggesting it's necessary to become a vegetarian, just to start learning to think of and eat vegetables as the entree or what composes the bulk of most every meal. What I've seen with low-carb dieters is that they fall into the habit of way overeating meat and dairy because its familiar and seemingly easier than (thinking) rethinking and learning to be veg-centric. This may be low-carb, but it's not very healthy. Likewise the trap of processed and convenience foods that are marketed as low-carb.
            +1000 for a nutritionist. Also a diabetes educator

            1. re: splatgirl

              I've observed the opposite. Except for Atkins two week induction, (I've been one for over a decade, tightly controlling diabetes sans meds) low carbers eat boatloads of non starchy veggies in place of starches. I have meat/fish and dairy often, but my plate, by volume, is full of colorful, high fiber carbs.

              1. re: mcf

                mcf, am glad you finally turned up in this thread. you seem to be one of the few who shares my point of view, well borne out by us both from daily experience over years.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Considering that my kidney function is high normal and most diabetic complications progress, and I no longer have nerve damage and pain, I'll stick with my plan. Industry has bought medical consensus recommendations to sell drugs and dialysis for huge profits. People suffer from it terribly.

                  1. re: mcf

                    If anyone doubts this approach, you have the proof by checking your own blood sugars on and off this type of diet. We generally eat a little meat for dinner with non starchy veggies and a big salad, usually with a salad dressing based on 3 parts olive oil to 1 part acid. We eat nuts, berries and full fat cottage cheese. I use a little stevia but not too often as I don't like it but my husband uses it a little more. I have made a few things with almond flour and am going to try coconut flour. .I did find out that I can't eat raw nuts but can eat them cooked.

                  2. re: mcf

                    Re the above, I have not been an Atkins dieter, only a low carber for over a decade.

                  3. re: splatgirl

                    When you consider that protein does not raise bg at all in type 2 while still supplying glucose, and fat raises neither glucose nor insulin, and the damage is done by rising glucose, advocating veggies/carbs as the main entree is not wise. Protein and fat should make up most of a diabetic's caloric intake, if not food volume. After many years controlling my bg without meds and staying in low normal numbers, and using software to document my efforts, I've found that for *me*, 50% fat, 30-35% protein and the rest high fiber, non starchy carbs works best. YMMV. Eat to your meter.

                  4. re: hotoynoodle

                    I have to agree. After many years undiagnosed, I reversed long standing kidney and nerve damage and dyslipidemia by doing the opposite (eating vegetarian, restricted fat is how I got severely insulin resistant). Eat proteins, preferably from pastured, wild caught sources, lots of non starchy veggies and healthy, non polluted fats. Cut starches, and sugars of all kinds, including fruits, to condiment sized servings.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Can you specify which veg you eat the most of?

                      1. re: sandylc

                        I eat lots and it varies by season. Spring and summer I grill a lot of summer squash, peppers, eggplant and we eat them hot or cold. I grill most summer meals of chicken, meat or fish and serve over a huge salad of organic mixed baby greens, usually with nuts and olives and/or goat cheese. Winters, I love to roast cauli, turnips, broccoli, always with shallots or onion, to get the nice carmelization. I also make gratins with white turnips in place of spuds. Or fauxtatoes from cauliflower puree or white turnip. Mashed rutabaga. I snack on sugar snap peas, serve baked shrimp in feta over a bed of spinach... any veggie that's not starchy, we eat it, lots of it. One of our favorite fall dishes is a grilled pork tenderloin and spinach salad, frex.

                          1. re: dianne0712

                            Nope. A medium turnip has almost 8 gms carbs, over 2 of them fiber.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          I'm following a similar diet and the veggies I eat most are cruciferous vegetables:

                          It"s a staple of my diet and most of my meals consist of a cruciferous veg and a piece of meat. All I'm doing different is skipping the starch component of dinner, really.

                  5. Most insurance companies will pay for at least one visit to a nutritionist, go with him. I did and it opened up a whole new way to look at food and to plan meals. Good luck and do not get discouraged.

                    1. You don't need a completely vegetarian diet. It's ok to eat a modest amount of meat as part of your meals (no larger than the palm of your hand). You might like to (as you are) cut out potatoes, but may find you only need to limit bread and rolls. Ep if you veer toward whole grains. Lots of veg in your daily diet is a very good thing. Don't cut out desserts: you are more likely to "cheat" if you do that -- and in a not-good way. Instead, go for low or no sugar desserts like jello and fruit. I am writing this as dictated by my SO, who is also a diabetic, and managed to get his blood sugar under control. He believes that exercise is also very important, and bikes and walks with me all the time.

                      1. You should have gotten guidance from a dietitian already. If not, then see if you can arrange one, preferably through your insurance. One of our posters here recommends that a diabetic eat to his meter. If a meal elevates his sugar, he should cut back or eliminate. Beans might do that, or they might be OK. In my case I eat low carb. I disagree about adding a lot of fats willy nilly into the diet without the doc's or the nutritionist's OK. Not everyone loses a lot of weight by going low carb. I only lost a small amount.

                        For veggies, I recommend learning to roast or grill them for a taste he might prefer to steamed or broiled. However steamed veggies with or without a light sauce are very good.

                        Remember that some veggies are higher in carbs. You need to find out what your doc wants you to do about eating sweet potatoes, winter squash, English peas, and some other higher carb veggies.

                        Early on, he will be hungry; I like carrots and natural almonds for a snack. I also like organic celery stuffed with peanut butter or piemento cheese. But you have to be careful with the amount of those high calorie treats. Peanut butter should be all natural, with no added -ose or sugars.

                        Read labels, and make sure he is reading them too.

                        Good luck on this journey.