A diagnosis of Type II Diabetes brings with it a complex mix of new caregivers, lab tests, emotions and lifestyle changes. One of the most challenging of these new changes is changing our lifetime of dietary preferences and choices. Our relationship with our food is practical, emotional and social in nature. We have established food preferences, dining habits and cultural influences that have taken a lifetime to develop. Changes to our dietary habits can occur quickly such as when we discover a wonderful new flavor and it becomes our ‘new’ favorite. More often, however, dietary changes are infrequent, met with resistance and can be very slow to change.
We more easily tolerate healthy substitutions for less healthy, traditional ingredients IF they are part of a dish we love and eat frequently. Some examples may include using: Low-fat cheese and whole grain bread for a favorite sandwich or pizza; Whole grain pasta and a no-sugar added tomato sauce for pasta night; low-fat mayonnaise in salads and real fruits instead of sweetened ‘juices’. The modification of our favorite foods to familiar, yet healthier versions of themselves can result in dramatic changes to the quality of our meals and are easier to…umm..digest.
The vast array of dietary choices, plans and recommendations to help ‘control’ diabetes require quite a bit of learning- the ADA, Glycemic Index, ‘Exchanges’, etc. diets are well researched and are worth learning more about. Yet, as with many things it seems, we can realize many of the benefits from these dietary changes by adopting some of their recommendations. We are all constantly bombarded with information and a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes comes with an avalanche of new learning. Relax, YOU can make easy, S.I.M.P.L.E changes, with big effects, TODAY!
With Type II Diabetes low insulin production and/or insulin resistance causes an decrease in the ability of the body to deal with the sugars in our foods. Simple carbohydrates such as refined sugars, white flour and ‘liquid sugars’ like soda, juice and milk are the main culprits in diabetic diets and should be our main priority. Many people with Type II Diabetes also carry some excess weight so our diet will also limit high calorie, unhealthy fats and encourage smaller portion sizes. These changes can be started TODAY with this very S.I.M.P.L.E diet.
S – Substitute whole grain alternatives for white bread, pasta and cereal;
Good fats (nuts, fish & avocado) for Bad (butter, lard, oils)
Safe Drinks (water, tea, ‘real’ juice) for Liquid sugar (soda, juice, milk)
I – Increase intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and fiber
M – Moderate intake of fats, sweets, desserts, soda, alcohol and calories
P – Portion control- smaller portions help control blood sugar and weight
L – Low-fat options- especially with dairy products
E – Experiment! Eat what we like! and Explore! Fresh food is FUN!
See! It really can be S.I.M.P.L.E to change the food options for ourselves, our clients, or our loved ones with Type II Diabetes. With a basic understanding of the changes needed, and a little creativity, we can eat our ‘old favorites’ all the time and be healthier for it. Start with the foods we love and introduce healthy additions such as whole wheat pasta, low-fat cheese, freshly picked vegetables and fruits. Consider liquid sugars and refined white flour to be your priorities for decreasing and/or eliminating from your diet. Work with your healthcare providers to learn more about diet, follow your agreed to treatment plans, monitor your blood sugars and weight, and you are well on your way to managing your Type II Diabetes. Now… don’t even get me started on exercise … 😉
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About the author:
Matthew Browning RN, MSN, APRN is CEO of YourNurseIsOn.com a healthcare staff communications company. Mr. Browning is a frequent speaker, contributing author, tireless change agent and fierce advocate for Health 2.0, Patient’s Rights, Healthcare Technology, Aging at Home and Nursing. Matthew lives in New Haven, CT with his wonderful wife, Phoebe, and their energetic son, AJ. He can be contacted by email at Matthew@YourNurseIsOn.com or on Twitter @MatthewBrowning .
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