Ten Ways to Take a Bite Out of Blood Sugar
Simple tips you can integrate into your daily life
By Wil Dubois
Let's talk about blood sugar management today. Sounds boring, huh? Not at all, really. Because done right, taking steps to lower blood sugar is highly empowering. Sweet numbers on a blood sugar log will bring a smile to your face faster than an ice cream cone in July.
I know a lot of you who take pills for your diabetes feel powerless to change a high blood sugar, so you'd rather not know that your sugar is high. But there are things you can do to lower your blood sugar that don't involve opening your medicine cabinet. Here are my top ten tips to lower blood sugar:
Tip Number 1: Test, Don't Guess.
Of course the first step, in the mantra of dLifeTV from the beginning, is: Test, don't guess! To master your blood sugar, you first must know where it is. And if you only check first thing in the morning you're cheating at solitaire. If you want to truly master your blood sugar you should fearlessly seek out your very worst, highest numbers. That means checking after meals. Don't let that high number flashing on your meter get you down. Rejoice that you've found it. It's just a problem to be fixed, and as you roll out the rest of these tips, those high numbers, like the walls of Jericho, are going to come a' tumblin' down.
Tip Number 2: No more monochrome meals!
While there's no such thing as a diabetic diet, there's only so much your system can handle at once when it comes to foods that turn into sugar quickly. Here's my advice: Deprive yourself of no food, but limit yourself to one carb portion per meal. Carbs tend to be white in color: things made of flour (including pasta); potato; rice; and sugar. Oh, and while corn is pale yellow, it's a white food, too. If you make sure every meal has only one white food, you'll lower the blood sugar impact of the entire meal. So if you want a baked potato, that's not the meal to have a dessert with. If you want some ice cream, keep the meal to a pork chop, some green beans, and some cottage cheese (along with cauliflower, the only white-colored food that isn't on the white foods list).
Tip Number 3: The "E" word
You need to exercise the dreaded E-word: Exercise. But don't freak out on me. I'm not saying you should go out and buy a treadmill or a gym membership. Rather, look for every excuse to exercise your body. Just use it whenever you can during the normal course of the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther from the door. Go fly a kite. On a calm day. At night, circumnavigate the couch during the TV commercials.
Tip Number 4: Totally lose it.
Lose a pound. Or four. You don't need to be super-model skinny to improve your blood sugar. If you lose 7% of your weight, you'll improve your insulin resistance. That will lower your blood sugar across the board, and dramatically reduce after-meal spikes. How much weight is that, really? Well, it depends on how much you weigh, of course. But if you tip the scales at 200 pounds, 7% is 14 pounds. You could easily shed that in six months by simply eating a few bites less per meal. I know we were taught as children to clean our plates, but it's far better to throw some food away than to eat more than we need to.
Tip Number 5: Pretend you're at a fancy restaurant.
When you eat out at a nice place, what comes first? Oh right. The so-perky-you-want-to-strangle-her girl named Brittany whose pleasure it is to serve you today. But I was talking about the meal itself. Most non-fast food meals start out with a good salad. What could be healthier? Salads are generally low in both calories and carbohydrates. That means they are good for controlling blood sugar and for controlling waist-line expansion. An added bonus: if you get filled up with salad, you'll be less hungry when it comes to the rest of the meal, so you'll eat less of the stuff that's "bad" for your blood sugar log. And eating less of that other stuff will help you with Tip Number 4.
Light Whipped Cream Mexican Red Rice Slow-Cook Spiced Turkey Black Bean Dip Salad Greens with Grapes, Pecans, and Blue Cheese Red and Green Mélange Salad Lime and Cinnamon Fruit Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Compote Catfish Cakes Asian Vegetable Salad
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...