31 July 2012

P & P

In all seriousness, this has CHANGED MY LIFE.

Produce and Protein.

**** This post is lengthy, but I'm telling y'all, this dietary change has helped me to be fuller, feel better, and have MUCH more stable blood sugars. {Beneficial to the endocrine system of non-diabetics as well.} ****
Now, let me be clear:  I am not a nutritionist.
I am not an endocrinologist.

But, here's what I am: a diabetic who's been fighting with carbs her whole life and spent countless hours trying to understand how my body deals with them.  

More specifically,

1) CARBS ARE NOT BAD, but some of them are worse than others regarding how our body breaks them down and how our endocrine system handles them.

Per my acupuncturist's suggestion, I started eating protein frequently (every 2 hours) and limiting carbs to primarily fruit, vegetables and carb-containing dairy, which also contains protein (organic milk and greek yogurt, for example). 
All other non-produce carbs {grains} are eaten maybe 3 times a week.

I hardly ever eat straight sugar (candy, regular soft drinks, cake, pie, etc)

The result of limiting "non-produce carbs" and eating more protein and produce instead? 

* I am not starving around the clock.
* My blood sugars are A.MAZ.ING. (I still battle monthly fluctuations presumably due to my cycle, but the "effects" of meals on my blood sugar have been much, much milder.)
* I feel full, but not stuffed before I quit eating. Food seems more like fuel now than something that is constantly on my mind (because I always felt hungry before).
* It has also become blatantly obvious to me how much "junk carbs" were making me have cravings for more junk.

For one thing, the "traditional" food pyramid we all grew up with, in my experience, is horse shit. Unless you are a serious athlete, who burns tons of extra calories a day, nobody needs that much grain/bread/rice. Again, these carbs aren't awful, but we don't need that many in a day.

Let's not forget, America is awesome, but sometimes the goverment is not the brightest. And who knows what their motives are when creating these nutrional guidelines.
Anyone remember butter being a food group?


Uncle Sam has come up with My Plate, which is an improvement, nonetheless, over the Food Pyramid I grew up with.

By the way, there are studies supporting the fact that neither low carb nor low fat are ways to keep weight off (if that is your goal). The most effective is the low glycemic index diet.

So, basically, here's what I do and what has worked for me and the diabeetus ...

* meals usually have < 30g carbs total (overall, I rarely go over 100g carbs per day)

* I don't ever eat any carbs without having some type of protein as well.

I try to eat these the most:
* garden products (fruits, veggies)
* tree products (nuts, fruits)
* fish
* lean meat 
* eggs
* protein-heavy dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) 
* beans heavy in protein/fiber

If I'm hungry between meals I eat protein to tide me over:
* eggs
* lean meat
* nuts
* sometimes Greek yogurt 
* peanut butter

I eat "anything else foods" maybe 3x/week:
frozen yogurt

* note: bread/rice/pasta isn't "bad", but being diabetic, they aren't "worth" the sugar spike. I'd rather have fruit, which affects my diabetes less.

My personal, main reason for doing this is the positive effect on my hunger and diabetes regulation.

Why it matters:

I can eat the same amount of carbs - 30 g - of  "non-produce carbs" (pancakes, biscuits, fries, fried food, potatoes and gravy) and my blood sugar spikes and stays high for 2-3 hours afterward, no.matter.what.i.do.to.my.insulin.before.or.after. as to where eating "produce carbs" like fruit, with the SAME AMOUNT OF CARBS, has virtually no spike on my blood sugars.

Life. changing. I'm tellin you.

Of course, sometimes I "cheat" and eat fries (carb + fat). But - I pay the consequence of a blood sugar spike, and I'm hungry not even 2 hours later. 

Also important:
I don't deprive - for example, I love bacon, so I'll use it to sprinkle on a salad, or eat two thin slices with some eggs. 
I also don't avoid fat. I actually don't think about fat at all except try to eat healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, fish, nuts. 
If I want a meal that is going to go over my 30g I allow myself, I go half and half: a sandwich with one slice of bread instead of two, and a small serving of fruit. Then, I can have both. Maybe I want stir fry. So, I eat it, but it's 85% meat/veggies and only 15% rice. Spaghetti? 85% sauce (made with meat for protein) and 15% noodles, and I'm still full, and my blood's not high as hell. Win-win.

If you like hummus, it's easy to make at home, and you can dip it with cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, instead of pita bread or chips to get more produce, and less "non-produce carbs". Beans are usually good for protein and fiber, and although they are carbs, they are "produce" and have a bigger variety of nutrition to offer than bread/rice/pasta. There are also zillions of hummus recipes so that you can tweak the flavor - lemon basil, spicy, etc.

Going out to eat: I often order salads, because I like them, but I also do a lot of "sandwich/burger without the bun" because the meat (protein) and flavor is still there. The bread a) has gluten, which I don't eat, but it's also b) carbs that aren't very fulfilling. Sometimes I order it with the bun just so I have an easy way to hold the sandwich if I don't want to use a fork, but I eat around the bread, pulling it off as I go. Also, ordering a meat dish (parmesan chicken, steak, etc with a side salad, or veggies instead of fries).

** Also - if you are a diabetic reader, a couple things that have also helped a HUGE AMOUNT:

1) I bolus 20-30 mins. ahead, and eat no more than 30g of {preferably produce} carbs in a meal and I hardly have a spike in sugar at all. 

2) I try not to eat until my blood sugar is in target range, at like 100. In other words, if my blood were say, 210, I'd correct that, plus the insulin for the food I'm gonna eat, but give it time to come down, and not actually eat until my sugar is about 100. A lot of times I'm so hungry while I wait for my blood to go down, so I'll have a carb-free/very low carb protein, like cheese, or some slices of turkey, or some nuts.

FOR YEARS - I ACCEPTED that my blood sugar had to spike every time I ate. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!!


Hopefully, someone will find this helpful. I know I've spent YEARS trying to figure out WTH the deal was with my body freaking out about some foods and not others and this is the closest I've come to diabetes making sense. And, I've NEVER known what it was like to not be hungry all the damn time until now.

good luck! please don't hesitate to holla!

Note: post has been updated to link up with Kristen and Raven:

All In My Twenties


Tracy said...

I've been eating like this for 5 yrs except was cheating w/ trail mix once a day. I have cut that out a week ago. Also, I occasionally eat small amt of bread or potatoes. I got off of it for about a month & gained 9 lbs.

Kristen @ All In My Twenties said...

This is so educational! Thank you so much for sharing and for linking up!!


Amanda said...

Great food advice to anyone! Thanks for sharing!

Amanda @ Cut the Crap

kristen said...

This is really informative! I saw a nutritionist for about the first year of my diabetes, but she was the most unpleasant/unhelpful health professional I've ever seen, so I stopped going. I appreciate the tips!