Food, Glorious Food (Continued)
To be abundantly clear, sugar is easy. We know that most sweets have a ton of it. It's found in candies of all colors, cakes, pies, and more. Fruit, too, is full of sugar. Flour is used to make breads, crackers, pastas, and many breakfast cereals. Potatoes are baked, fried, diced and dried. Rice ranges from stir fry to Rice Krispies, and corn is hiding everywhere!
The White Foods Rule tells us not to eliminate these foods, but to simply moderate them. Not too much of them, and not too many of them at any one time. White foods serve a purpose for your body. They are quick food, while all the things that used to crawl, walk, run, fly, swim, or slither are slow food. Your body needs a balance of both.
I want you to take an honest look at your plate at your next meal. Unless it's your last meal—because if you are about to be executed, your diabetes is really the least of your problems—only a quarter of your plate should be made up of white foods. Another quarter of the plate should be one of those things that used to crawl, walk, run, fly, swim, or slither. The remaining half should be stuff from the plant kingdom. Green and leafy are the best, and remember that most veggies that grow underground are usually members of one of the white foods groups.
By the way, if you are overweight, your plate is simply too large and you should get a smaller one. It's not what you eat that makes you fat, it's how much you eat of it.
And that's it. That's your diabetic diet. Eat what you've always eaten. Eat what you want. But think about how your meal is built. Jonesing for a baked potato tonight? Don't have desert. (And I bet half a baked potato would be enough if you tried it). Craving a scoop of ice cream? Better start off with a small steak, some green beans, and a salad. See? Beef is what's for dinner, after all. Oh, but it's cheating if you take something that used to crawl, walk, run, fly, swim, or slither and dip it in batter and deep fry it. That turns meat into a white food.
Once you get the hang of it, this approach to food and diabetes is actually pretty simple. It's also healthy. But what I like best about it is that it's sustainable. You can do this for the rest of your life and not suffer food cravings. You'll be making baby-step changes to when you eat various foods, and what foods you eat together, rather than trying to do without something you love. You won't be getting on a wagon you are destined to fall off of.
So much for food. But before we go, we need to detour onto the subject of drink as well. Your body is built to digest food into sugar. It wasn't engineered to have liquid sugar pumped into its tank. You can still eat, drink, and be merry, but ya' gotta drink diet soda. This is the one and only thing you must forsake for life. No liquid sugars. No soda. No bottled tea. Use those little packets of yellow stuff, pink stuff, or blue stuff in your coffee. I'd even take it easy on juice, if I were you. Oh, hey! I almost forgot, they've got this amazing yummy new drink. It's healthy, free of nasty chemicals additives and color dyes, has no calories, and is very satisfying. It's called water. You should try a glass or a bottle, you might be surprised how good it is.
So there you go. Food for diabetics simplified. No diets. No lists. It's simpler than that. The best diabetic diet is to eat the foods you like that taste good, smell good, look good to you. The ones that feed your body and your soul. You just make sure the "white" ones are kept to a quarter of the meal.
And what could be more simple than that?
Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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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...