Refusing to Accept "Not Bad"

Even with diabetes, good food can be a delicious part of life!

By Travis Grubbs

travis_grubb_profile_page_90x90January 2009 — When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a well-meaning friend was trying to be helpful when she said, "I tried a piece of [particular brand] of diabetic candy and it was not bad."  So I tried it and a found that not only was the candy not only bad, it was down right awful. I have come to loath the statement "not bad." Why would I want something that is described as being "not bad," instead of being described as "good?"

The same goes for other products and experiences. Try telling your significant other:

  • Sex last night was not bad!
  • How do you look in that outfit? Not bad!
  • Do I like your new hair style?  It's not bad!

I can guarantee that you run the risk of serious harm to your emotional and physical well-being when replying in such a manner.

Now let's talk about diabetes, good food, and healthy options. I am very fortunate to be married to a woman that refuses to accept canned or packaged food, or even recipes, at face value. She has no problem improving them.

Case in point: For at least twenty years, my wife Tanya would serve me green peas with sliced mushrooms and dried minced onions. They are delicious! I thought they came from the store that way. It was only after I began helping with the grocery shopping that I learned that Tanya added the mushrooms and the minced onion to the peas. (They really are good. You should try them.)  

Tanya does this with other healthy choices such as canned black beans, kidney beans, soups, etc. She "jazzes" them up with black pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, basil, onion powder, etc. You can spice up your own side dishes as well. All you have to do is be willing to experiment.  

In my quest to eat healthy and manage my diabetes, good food that tastes delicious is important. I periodically check out the recipes on the dLife website. This normally starts with me looking at the featured recipe in the dLife Newsletter, and then browsing some of the other recipes on the site. I recently found two soups on the dLife website that are definitely not "not bad," but in fact are very good, tasty, and satisfying. I am referring to the Two Tomato-Soup and the Three-Onion Soup with Mushrooms.

You can prepare these two respective soups as they appear in their recipes, or you can add your own personal touches. As for the Two-Tomato Soup, we add more black pepper (we like black pepper a lot). The recipe calls for a "pinch", but we add enough pepper from our pepper grinder to cover the surface of the soup in the pot. One of the ingredients for this soup are sun-dried tomatoes. Helpful hint: Tanya and I almost needed marital counseling before eventually finding the sun-dried tomatoes in the produce section of our grocery store. Be sure to check there first (they come in a sealed plastic container).
As for the Three-Onion Soup with Mushrooms, we couldn't find any mushroom broth (as called for in the recipe) so we used chicken broth, which worked out very well and also kept us out of marital counseling. We also added garlic powder (we like garlic a lot). The next time we make it, we are going to add about four cloves of garlic to the soup.

Meeting the dietary demands of managing your weight and type 2 diabetes can be challenging, but no one said that the food had to taste bad, or "not bad." Don't be shy about adding your own personal touches to recipes, canned goods, etc., and let's all band together and kill the "not bad" description when it comes to healthy eating.  Food can be good!

Read more of Travis Grubbs' Turn the Page columns here.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: June 10, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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