Friday, September 19, 2008

Advice from Dr. Nicole

The official Naturopathic doctor of this blog is Dr. Nicole. Her site, Kitchen Table Medicine, is a must read for me. You can find a link on the sidebar. One of her articles is about eating to control blood sugar. Doc could easily have put this in a book, thrown in a few anecdotes, maybe a chart or two, along with a few recipes, a picture of a fat guy, and charged us $29.95. But no, she is kindly sharing this information gratis. Look for more from Doc Nicole in the future, as she is planning to put together some recipes, with ingredients proven to control blood sugar, and will help spread the word that better health is right at your kitchen table. Visit her site, and learn how to be healthier.
And the doctor is in:

Welcome to my favorite diet!
Eating your meals with a “Low Glycemic Load” means that you are going to stay fuller longer and thus less likely to go out and binge on a bunch of junk. Staying full is as simple as eating foods with a high protein, fiber, and water content. Keeping yourself feeling satisfied is the most important aspect for success with any weight loss program. Regardless of it you have diabetes or not, you are in the right place when it comes to learning the basics on how to eat correctly to stabilize your blood sugar. Stabilizing your blood sugar translates long term in to weight loss, ridding yourself of that jittery, irritable, faint feeling associated with hypoglycemia, improving energy and mood, as well as providing the foundation for an anti-aging program!

Wow all that from just one diet!

How exciting.

I bet right now you really want to buy whatever I am selling. Well I am not selling anything, except healthy diet and lifestyle.
I am simply here to teach you how to change your eating habits permanently over the long term, and field any questions or concerns that come up as you start this new adventure to a healthier you.
The most exciting thing about this diet, is that I can sum up how to do this diet in one simple sentence:
Every meal you eat should be high in protein and fiber.

Yes, it is that simple.
Memorize that.
Make that your new mantra.

Fiber is your new best friend forever!!!

Lean proteins are your new favorite friends.

The next step is to memorize what high fiber foods are and what foods are healthy sources of protein and to stock your cupboards with all these foods.
Trust me we will get fussy about the numbers later. But you need to get the basics down before you will be ready for anything like.
Most foods high in fiber are either fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Begin to make best friends with vegetables now as for diabetics and those trying to lose weight they are essentially “free foods”, meaning the calorie count is relatively insignificant, with of course some occasional exceptions.

Here is a list of good lean protein choices: Chicken, fish, white cheese, plain nonfat yogurt, beans, and whole grains.

Now let’s keep in mind that certain proteins high in saturated fat like beef, bacon, and cheddar cheeses are just not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Especially for those of you with diabetes we want to be on the look-out for heart disease and kidney problems. If you are having a hard time giving these up then simply treat them like the garnish for your plate. Instead of a pile of bacon you get just have one little piece.

Over time you will begin to feel so much better on this diet that it will be WORTH it for you to get rid of the offending foods. Remember “nothing tastes as good as being healthy and looking good feels”.

Be sure to drink plenty of water in between your meals. A high fiber diet will naturally require more water. Water will also help keep you feeling full. Sometimes we feel hungry when really we are thirsty.

Now most patients that have Type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent) have it because they already have a very unhealthy relationship with food, if not engage in compulsive eating patterns, and use food as a drug. For my patients having a hard time making these necessary dietary changes, I recommend counseling. Counseling may help treat the underlying problems of anxiety or depression.

While they are trying to make the necessary changes to change their emotional relationship with food, I recommend that they keep chewable fiber tablets on hand so that if all else fails they can at least lower the Glycemic Load of the binge. Now you have to be careful not to get the chewable fiber tablets high in sugar! But sometimes a glass of Metamucil or your favorite fiber supplement can help offset the huge quantity of sugar consumed. Yes this is a quick fix tip, and no it is not addressing the root cause of the problem, it is simply offering a solution to a common problem and trying to approach it realistically while we work towards a permanent solution.
Now that you are eating lean proteins and high fiber foods, the next question is…

“Can I have carbohydrates on this diet?”

Most doctors agree that in most cases a “Slow” carbohydrate diet is better than a “Low” or “No” carbohydrate diet. Personally I am not a fan of the No/Low carbohydrate diet unless it is for specific therapeutic purposes.

“So how do I know if my Carbs are “slow” or not?”

Well that is where the magic of the low glycemic index diet and the numbers assigned to certain foods come in to play. This usually is a bit too complicated for me to just start patients out with right off the bat. I prefer to have my patients on a whole foods diet of lean proteins and fruits and vegetables before playing around with various carbohydrates.

Glycemic Index numbers are determined in a laboratory by measuring how quickly a test panel of humans blood sugars rise after consuming the food. The higher the blood sugar rises, the higher the glycemic index number is as a result. For instance a piece of white bread has a high index number as it will raise your blood sugar rapidly.

Interestingly enough after analyzing the numbers on the Glycemic Index chart one can conclude that not all carbohydrates are created equally. Some will release more rapidly in to the system than others. This might explain why you have a half cup serving of pasta at dinner and your numbers are different than when you have a half cup serving of corn.

The take home message with all of this, is that if you have diabetes…especially type II, it is sincerely in your best interest to get off all the “white” refined foods and stick with the healthier choices of carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables and whole grains as they are high in fiber as well as packed full of vitamins and minerals which will not only protect your system from long term damages associated with diabetes, but will also keep you younger and feeling more fabulous as part of an anti-aging program.

Switching to this diet can be challenging and require a great deal of support, feel free to leave your questions in the comments of this post!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Diva speaks again

My favorite Diabetic Diva

The last time we were together I mentioned that I may or may not talk about exercise in my next discussion on diabetes. I've decided that I wanted you to know about something else.

So, please bear with me as I give you a descriptive reflection on my daily injections.

I'd like to meet the person that said my body was to be used as a human pincushion.

No, I'm not into acupuncture.

I'm not one of the carnival people that like to put needles all over their bodies.

I don't have an tatoos.

I'm one of the lucky people that rely on a needle to give my body insulin to keep me alive. I don't think I worked very hard for this honor. I surely didn't want to be the best in my field. Who wants to stick needles in their bodies? Not once, but four times a day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's a lot better than the alternative, if you know what I mean. But sometimes, you just get tired of doing it.

Depending on the time of day a typical injection can go like this:

Locate syringe for the injection and decide which insulin you will be using. Locate area you will be injecting and cleanse with an alcohol pad. Pull desired amount of air into syringe for injection into insulin bottle. Depress air into insulin bottle and then draw desired amount of insulin into the syringe. Hold needle up to the light and tap the side to release any air pockets. Pinch up the skin and insert needle into your desired locale (stomach, thigh, arm, hip, butt, or anywhere you can reach) scream like mad when you hit a nerve and depress the plunger until all of the insulin has been successfully transferred from the syringe into your body. Withdraw needle and discard properly.

I do this four times a day. I begin my day with a shot to the stomach and end my day with a shot in the ass.

For now, I'm the Diabetic Diva, and kids, don't play with the needles.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What doctors don't tell you

So, you were just diagnosed with diabetes. If you are like most people, you are given a prescription for some pills, and maybe a sheet with a diet on it, and then sent on your merry way.

Now what?

The best thing you can do is find a dietician, or at the very least follow the diet you were given. About the worst thing would be to continue what you had been doing that contributed to your becoming diabetic to begin with and asume the pills would take care of your sugar problem.

What the doctors do not stress enough is that the pills, whether they are Metformin, glucophage or any of the various medications, are only a supplement to diet and exercise.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Diabetic Diva Is Back

I'm trying to eat the diabetic way—which is a diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, small amounts of proteins and even smaller amounts of carbohydrates. It isn't working very well.


I'm glad you asked. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I don't like all of those fancy vegetables like peppers, onions and sprouts. I like beans, peas, corn, and my favorite, potatoes.

I love potatoes cooked any way. Fried, mashed, steamed, baked, au gratin, boiled; I'm beginning to salivate just a little. Anyhow, mashed potatoes with brown gravy are my favorite food.

There's only one problem: Potatoes are very high in carbohydrates, and, as you know, carbs break down into sugar which your body then uses to provide you with energy.

Wait! Slow down! Hold up a minute! I know what you're saying. Aren't diabetics supposed to avoid sugar? After all, the term sugar diabetes has been used to describe Diabetes Mellitus for many years.

You would be correct. But, it just isn't potatoes; it's also rice, bread and grains, everything that I enjoy. I was raised on a farm and we didn't grow bean sprouts; we grew potatoes, corn and beans. I really think it's hard to change a way of eating that I grew up with.

Shoot, I gave up the desserts! I once had a doctor tell me that he would rather I ate a piece of cake instead of a baked potato. Go figure!

All the Diabetic Diva is saying is that I don't mind altering my diet in some ways to keep my glucose levels low, but, leave my taters alone. That's one food I'm not giving up!

Tune in next time when the discussion may or may not involve exercise.