Six months ago my husband found out he has diabetes. His sugar was really high and we had to make immediate changes in the way he eats. I have always been known as a healthy eater, preferring a combination of whole foods, raw foods and what I call “happy” meats (animals treated fairly). But, after our six hour class on how to eat as a diabetic I have revamped my own eating as well as my husband’s. Seeing what sugar does to the body was an eye opening experience. It effects all of our systems. Sure, we need sugar, it gives us energy. But, too much of it is disastrous to our health. In a very small nutshell, these are the main changes in our eating habits.
-Cut out sugar, especially refined. Since I am not diabetic I can have some, but it’s very limited. I never realized how much sugar was going into my cooking. A spoon of honey or agave here and there was the norm. Now it’s stevia only for savory cooking.
-Carbs=Sugar. This was a revelation to me. instead of reading how much sugar is in a serving size, read the carbs. To your body, they are sugar.
-Beans, peas, corn...they are carbs. We no longer treat them as vegetables in this house.
-Last, but not least is portion control! This is so important. We are eating the delicious foods we love, but limiting the amount.
Six months ago my husband’s doctor wanted him to loose 30 pounds. He has done it, just by eating a little differently. I do find that I am cooking more meat than before, there must be a certain amount of protein at each meal. But again, the necessary serving size is much smaller than the typical American diet.
Here are some practical changes that I made to a few common meals.
Falafel, a favorite since our college days. Now I skip the pita bread since the chick pea balls are carbs. There is also rice in the stuffed grape leaves, so I am mindful of the serving size.
Chili used to be served in this house with rice or corn bread. But as I stated above, beans are carb. I replaced those sides with a low carb whole wheat tortilla with sauteed onions and eggplant. Cheese and basil on top. This meal gets a side salad too.
A meat and potatoes meal here. Sweet potatoes are better for your blood sugar levels than white potatoes. They are rich in complex carbs and fiber, so they help your body maintain stable stores of energy. This Curried Sweet Potato Salad is from Prevention's Sugar Solution Cookbook, the only diabetic cookbook I own because from what I've seen it's the best suited to my taste buds. I served this potato salad with grilled flank steak, snow peas and jicama.
This is what I do for tacos. More filling than shells. You can't really get enough filling into those little shells, so I break a couple and heap on salad and then everything else. This was so low on sugar and carbs I could even have a sweet something for dessert.
This is green pea risotto and basil shrimp. Okay, so this one's not exactly a common meal. But it was really good and I would never have found it if I wasn't obsessing over a stack of diabetic cookbooks from the library. Sorry, I don't remember what book this came from. I never have risotto rice on hand, so I use sushi rice and it's just as creamy and delicious. This one needs a vegetable and a side salad to be a complete meal.
Now that The Holiday Season is here I must tweak my Christmas baking. I will bake and I will make my traditonal family favorites. But, I am also experimenting with stevia, using fruits for sweetening and grain sweetened chocolate chips. Whole grains make a difference to your blood sugar, so I will be mixing up my flours and maybe replacing with ground nuts too. I'll still use some sugar, when it's really needed. I'll let you know when I come up with something good.