The first, and perhaps most important, question people asked when they are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes is:
WHAT CAN I EAT?
As a physician, I know that I can’t possibly teach a patient everything about good nutrition in the 30 minute doctor’s visit. So I came up with a couple simple rules to get people started.
1) No more regular soda, no more juices. Juices may sound healthy but they are loaded with free sugar. And with the sweet tea craze going on right now, sweet tea is definitely off the list as well.
2) Limited portions of the white foods: pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread
3) Make sure your plate has color: unprocessed fruits and vegetables bring lots of color to a plate, make your plate pretty! If everything is white and yellow, you have a problem.
4) You can have the occasional cookie or slice of cake, but only if you are dressed up for a special event. Women must have hose, heels and hats, men must have suits, ties and shiny dress shoes.
And then I send people to the nutritionist and dietician for the more extensive discussions.
But I agree with Chef Karl….telling people substitutions is so unsatisfying. Anyone who tells me to substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese in my lasagna or use low fat cheese for my mac n cheese, has clearly never tried it!
Finding new patterns of eating is important and a continuing life-time challenge.
Everyone remembers the old advice “Drink 8 glasses of water a day”.
And while experts may disagree on how much water the body really needs over the course of a day, water is a essential part of a diabetic diet.
First, sometimes when the body is thirsty for water, your body sends a signal that your hungry. So people are eating calories when what their body really wants is liquid.
Second, diabetics are at a higher risk of kidney damage, keeping well hydrated helps lower the stress on the kidney.
And for those days when you may over do it with the sugar, water helps get the blood sugar down faster and replenishes fluids that you may have lost from the high sugar load getting removed from the body through urine.
Finally, water helps you lose weight. Even a modest amount of weight loss can provide major benefits for diabetics and water is an easy way to help you feel full.
Wine and Chocolate
I’ve noted that Karl has had a glass of wine on a couple of days. And he must of known we would notice the piece of chocolate.
It seems like every day I read about a new study touting the benefits of wine and chocolate!
Wine and sweets can be integrated into a daily But just remember, everything in moderation. One glass of wine, not a goblet, but a glass. One small square of chocolate, not a whole chocolate bar and dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate which has more sugar.
But it is important to remember as a diabetic that both alcohol and chocolate contain a significant amount of sugar and should be used sparingly as part of a diabetic diet.