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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eating Healthy - Learning about food


For the past year, I have been working on lowering my blood sugar.  I found out last August that my blood sugar was over the “normal” range.  My doctors wanted me to start taking medication to lower my levels, but I wanted to try doing it naturally.

When I talked to his office, the nurses were less than enthusiastic about me trying it on my own, and they had no problem telling me so.  Needless to say, I pushed, and was given three weeks to bring my levels down.

That night, I went to the grocery store, and I spent two hours there looking at every food label, trying to understand exactly what I was eating.  I found websites geared towards diabetics to understand what food was making my blood sugar rise.

This website – from Self magazine allows the reader to figure out what is in almost any food.  I found this to be extremely helpful.  I also went to the American Diabetes Association website.  While I haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, I thought this website would help me get a handle on how to not become diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

I realized pretty quickly that I was eating about 100 carbs before I left my house each morning (bagel, 56 carbs; banana, 30 carbs; and orange juice, 25 carbs).  I was totally amazed.  My ideas of healthy eating were totally blown away.  I had to revamp my entire diet.

One of the things my doctor’s office told me was that I was going to have to eat like a diabetic.  For someone who loves to cook, that sounded like a death sentence.  The diabetic web sites, on the other hand, stated that if a person ate according to the food plate, pyramid – whatever is the correct term – was fine.  I thought to myself, “I can do that.” 

I started changing what I ate, and three weeks later, my blood sugar was down by over 40 points.  I had also lost about 9 pounds!    This past year has been eye opening.  My blood sugar has stayed at normal levels with no medicine, and I have lost 50 pounds.  I feel much better. 

Here are some of the changes I made

Breakfast:  before I would eat a bagel, banana, and orange juice.  Now I eat a tortilla with 7 carbs, turkey and cheese, and V-8 juice.  Every other day or so, I still have a banana.

I used to eat crackers for a snack, but that is total carbs.  Now I snack on a serving of nuts – usually almonds. 

Lunch: I used to take leftovers, but now I take WASA crackers with Laughing Cow cheese and some lunchmeat.  For my fruit, I take blackberries and raspberries.

Dinner:  if I make pasta, I make sure that I am using a whole grain pasta with fiber – that means it will go through my system slowly.  I have lean proteins, vegetables and one carb serving.  Last night for example, I made tater tots for my family, and I ate one serving – 22 carbs.  That was the only carb in my dinner.  For the rest of dinner we grilled pork chops and brats, and I made some spinach.

I have found that my food choices have really affected the way I feel.  Prior to my diet change, I would get tired every day around 1:00, but now I usually don’t.  I just don’t get that afternoon slump any more.

More later.  Enjoy your day!