Over the past few months I have been making some changes to my usual Diabetic routines. Especially just in the last few weeks. I became really inspired by Dr. Bernstein’s book titled “Diabetic Solution.” I came across this book after reading many forums. The general consensus is that whether you follow Dr. Bernstein’s plan exactly or even just a little you will begin to notice significant changes in your health as a diabetic. I think I am more apt to listen to him than my own endocrinologist, because not only is he a diabetic specialist, but he is also a Type I diabetic and has been for most of his life. Most of the medical professionals I have encountered in my own experience have not been diabetic. The only diabetic I have come across is my minimed rep, who is also my pump specialist that I meet with every few months at my doctors office. She is great and has really given me new ways to approach using my pump and controlling my sugars. We have a great medical relationship and she has helped me out a lot over the last year. Combine her professional training and her own personal experience on the pump and she has proven to be very helpful and insightful .
With such a positive result from working with my pump specialist I am also eager to learn what Dr. Bernstein has to teach. I am far from being finished with the book, but I have already begun to apply some of his basic principles. I have to admit that the further I am getting into his book the more I am coming to realize that some of the things that I was initially taught were not necessarily contemporary principles. For example, I was taught to have no more than 60 carbs per meal and no more than 15 carbs per snack. I was taught to have a balanced plate of vegetables, lean protein and a proportionate carb selection. Pretty basic stuff when you get down to it, but I am not sure this type of diet is necessarily a good idea for a Type I diabetic. According to Dr. Bernstein, I should not be eating more than 30 carbs in an entire day. Most of my diet should consist of vegetables and protein.
This is shocking to a carb addict like myself! 30 carbs per day really! Are you kidding me?!?! I eat 30 carbs per snack! Regardless of what I think I am not one to judge or knock it till I have tried it. Especially since I know my current system is not working as well as it could be. When I eat a high carb meal I can feel my blood sugars begin to sky rocket quickly. I become very sensitive to light, I am tired and I become much hungrier towards the end of the meal than I was at the beginning of the meal. Where as if I eat a high protein and low carb meal or snack I do not have those same symptoms and for the most part my blood sugars are much more steady. My biggest fear about trying this low carb theory out is that I will not feel energized or full, especially since I work out on average 4 days a week. I averaged my total carbs I was consuming daily for the past month and I was around 170 carbs per day.
I decided to try out Dr. Bernstein’s theory, but with my own personal compromises. Just like you can’t take a crack addict and Alcoholic off their fix quickly I believe that you can’t get a carb lover like myself to go cold turkey either. Over the past two weeks I have been eating no more than 30 carbs per meal and skipping snacks all together if I can. My plate is filled with more protein and vegetables. I have stocked up my house and desk at work with low carb options and have trashed much of the higher carb choices so as not to tempt myself. My goal is to stay under 100 carbs per day. If I need a little something between meals I have been sticking to low carb snacks like raw almonds. I have even begun charting my results to see if this modification in my diet has made a difference and I have to say it has made a huge difference.
I have decreased my insulin usage from 40 to 50 units per day down to 30 to 40 units per day. My average BG has gone down to 148. I have had consistent and steady results, and I have been feeling pretty good. The first few days of kicking my carb addiction was tough, but it is getting easier. The hardest part has been the weekends, but I am finding ways to not cheat too much. I now know that I can’t use the excuse that I would not feel full, because I have actually felt pretty satisfied after meals. Once I have gotten used to eating under 100 carbs per day I am going to slowly try to wean myself down to 60. I doubt I personally will ever want to go as low as Dr. Bernstein recommends, but even just this little change has helped.
I know I do not know everything about battling this disease, because if I did I would be cured by now. I am a very flexible person and have become even more so since being diagnosed. I am still learning so much, but as the days wear on I am becoming more hopeful that we are getting even closer to finding a cure. One of the most powerful and inspirational paragraphs that I read recently in Dr. Bernstein’s book Diabetes Solution was:
Many people (including the parents of diabetic children) view having to use insulin as a last straw, a final admission that they are (or their child is) a diabetic and seriously ill. Therefore they will try anything else — including things that will burn out their remaining beta cells–before using insulin. Many people in our culture have the notion that you cannot be well if you are using medication. This is nonsense, but some patients are so convinced that they must do things the “natural” way that I practically have to beg them to use insulin, which is as “natural” as one can go. In reality nothing could be more natural. Diabetics who still have beta function left may well be carrying their own cure around with them–provided they don’t burn it out with high blood sugars and the refusal to use insulin.
Page 51, last paragraph
This statement alone was enough to inspire me to stay healthy for as long as I can, because I do not want to risk my chances of not being able to receive a possible cure one day. All because I decided it was much more important to be lazy, stubborn and to loose control. I believe that it is never too late to start over, or to try and form better habits. Thanks Dr. Bernstein for writing this book and sharing with the diabetic community your insights. Thank you Tudiabetes.org members for inspiring me to buy this book in the first place.
Okay I have a confession to make… I am and always have been a sweets lover. Kind of ironic wouldn’t you say since I am now diabetic… Life sure has a funny sense of humor. In the beginning it was hard to say no to a lot of desserts. I was used to eating a cookie or brownie or whatever without even giving it a thought. Since being diagnosed I definitely have cut back on the sweets and I am aware of everything I put into my body. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t still indulge within reason from time to time. When I get the craving I try to avoid any store bought sweets and stick to coming up with my own low carb, sugar free dishes at home. This gives you complete control because you have all of the nutritional labels at your disposal.
I have been working out hard lately. My blood sugars have been the steadiest they have ever been. After my workout I had a huge craving for something sweet. While looking through my kitchen I decided that those ugly, black and yellow bananas are not going to get eaten any time soon, and I really do not want to throw them away, so why not make homemade Banana Bread. Here is my favorite recipe. It is quick, easy, affordable and great for someone with diabetes.
Ingredients you will need:
- 3-4 Ripe Bananas
- 1/3 cup of melted butter
- 1 cup Splenda
- 1 Egg Beaten
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 1/2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your loaf pan with some cooking spray
Mash the Bananas in a medium sized bowl. Add in the melted butter. Mix together.
Add in the: Splenda, beaten egg, and vanilla. Mix together
Add in the: Baking soda, throw in a pinch of salt. Mix together
Add the flour and mix well.
Pour mixture into your loaf pan. I like to grab both ends and slam it a couple times on the counter, so the mixture smooths out evenly.
Bake for 1 hour exactly.
My Estimates put the entire loaf of bread at 194-218 carbs. You should be able to get at least 20 slices out of the loaf, so per piece you are looking at about 10-11 carbs per slice.
Last night I had a ladies night out with some really close friends of mine. We kept it simple with dinner and a movie. I had to start fasting at 11:00 p.m. for my A1C test this morning at 11:00 a.m. With that being said I probably over indulged last night, because about three hours after dinner my blood sugar readings were at 260! It got me thinking what was wrong with my dinner last night that my blood glucose was so high? Did I not bolus correctly, did I not count the carbs right? Then it dawned on me I am in carb denial!
What I mean by this is subconsciously I know I am overindulging in the carb department, but when I go to bolus I count up to the maximum I think I had, when in actuality I am way off! I bolus lets say for 60 carbs, but I actually had 90. Since I am in denial I end up under counting and under bolusing and viola my blood sugar is high. For example, last night I had chips, salsa and guacamole as an appetizer. For dinner I had french fries and a chicken, guacamole, bacon burger on a wheat bun. I definitely ended up under counting how many chips and french fries I ate. I should have skipped the appetizer and opted for veggies or a salad instead of french fries.
Which leads me to my next realization… I am still stuck in the mind set that I can eat whatever I want and it won’t effect my blood sugar, because I can just give myself insulin. The problem is that no matter how much insulin I give myself it doesn’t mean that my blood sugars are going to be as steady as I would want them to be. I have come to the conclusion that there are some foods and drinks that I have to learn to live without, because they are not worth the unstable effects they have on my blood sugar.
Here is my list of five foods that I am saying farewell to as a result of being diabetic:
1.) White Rice… I used to love white rice. We are now mortal enemies. After I eat white rice my blood sugars are on a roller coaster ride from hell. I am high, then low, then high, then low again.
My proposed substitute: Brown Rice. This is a good carb alternative, because it is lower in carbohydrates and it has a better impact on my blood sugar.
2.) Pasta… I LOVE PASTA, so needless to say this was/is the hardest thing for me to learn to give up. I personally loathe the taste of Wheat pasta. It is too chalky and the taste turns me off.
My proposed substitute: Dreamfield’s Pasta. It tends to be a little more expensive than regular pasta at $2.99 per box in your local grocery stores. However, the pasta tastes just like regular pasta, except that their are 5 net carbs per serving. My husband and I buy from their website because they have more variety than our local grocery stores. http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com
3.) French Fries… These are so tasty, but they do cause my blood sugar to fluctuate and they do not have any real nutritional value.
My proposed substitute: Sweet Potatoe fries. These fries are lower in carbs and higher in nutritional value.
4.) Pizza… I love pizza…my body and diabetes loathes the pizza dough.
My proposed substitute: Whole wheat pizza dough. If you want pizza many companies and stores now offer wheat crusts as an option. It may not taste as good, but I can assure you that your blood sugars will be much more stable.
5.) Mixed drinks: i.e. Pina coladas, Margaritas, etc. Before being diagnosed my drink of choice was a Malibu Bay Breeze. It is part malibu rum, pineapple juice and cranberry juice. It is a no- no for me now, because it is just filled with copius amounts of sugar and carbs and I am on an instant sugar rush after I drink it.
My proposed substitute: Light beer, or a liquor mixed with diet soda, or wine (preferably red). These don’t cause my blood sugar to go up. However, I do have to be careful as do all diabetics, because alcohol causes are blood sugars to decrease.
If anyone has any suggestions on foods you have learned to live without, and any substitutes you have found I sure would like to hear about them.
I am fortunate to have a husband that loves to cook! Though eating according to a diabetic diet can be a bit of a challenge he is always full of creative ideas. Last night our dinner was fairly simple, but definitely tasty and high in fiber. We had flank steak, black beans and brown rice. My husband started off by covering the flank steak in kosher salt. You let it sit for about an hour. I know as diabetics we are advised to watch out for our consumption of sodium, especially if we already have cholesterol problems. As an alternative I am sure Mrs. Dash would also have a similar impact on the flavor. Once the meat has cured somewhat you rinse off all of the excess salt, pat dry and season with pepper. You can cook in a skillet or on a grill to your liking.
He then made black beans in the pressure cooker and Instant Brown Rice on the stove. My plate consisted of a few thin slices of meat, about 1/2 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of beans. The total carb count was approximately 30 carbs. Since the carbs were high in dietary fiber I felt fuller longer and my blood sugar stayed steady after eating this meal.
Before dinner my blood sugar was: 78. After about 3 hours my blood sugar was: 164
I am looking forward to tomorrow nights feast!