Choosing a Diet

What we eat is such a personal decision. Everyone has different tastes: some enjoy savory foods and others crave sweets. The media definitely holds sway over what we want. Being bombarded with food images through the TV or Internet makes it hard not to wish we could have that! It always looks so good. (Think about how you always wanted that new toy you saw on TV when you were a child.)

Regardless of how healthy our current diet is, there is probably room for improvement. Having type 2 diabetes means we need to make changes to what we eat. I don’t care what “people” tell you, we simply can’t eat anything we want, unless you use basal insulin as part of your diabetes care plan. But choosing how/what to eat is daunting at best. How do you choose what to eat with diabetes?

People with diabetes are bombarded with ideas on how we should be eating. There are diets from the mainstream organizations, dieticians, doctors, your neighbor, your great-aunt once removed…too many choices. One of the things that can make a diet (or food plan as I prefer to call them) successful is that it’s sustainable. If you can’t stick to it, it won’t work. It’s important to remember that, regardless of the food plan, sacrifices will need to be made and sacrifices take some getting used to. In other words, no major change in diet will be easy. You have to get past the “induction phase” in order to determine if it will be a sustainable way of eating for you. Example: When I first attempted to eat a low carb diet I had little energy, I constantly craved my beloved processed carbs and it was hard. However, after a couple of weeks things began to change. I actually enjoyed what I was eating! I won’t lie and say that I never crave chocolate cake, but it is so much easier to avoid it now after a couple of years of my new lifestyle. My food plan is sustainable for me.

Now, let’s talk about your meter. According to the American Diabetes Association, there were 29.1 million Americans with diabetes in 2012. That number has only increased in the last three years. The idea that there is one way for all of those millions of people to eat and attempt to control their diabetes is ridiculous! It’s up to you to find the best way for you to eat, and you need to use your glucose meter as your guide. Checking your blood glucose before and after new foods is the only way you can determine if that will work for you. Can you eat sweet potatoes? Ask your meter. Is whole wheat bread something your body can tolerate? Ask your meter. Should you eat low-carb, vegetarian, Vegan or Paleo? Ask your meter.

It’s really up to each individual person with diabetes to determine the best food plan to follow. You can get advice from a dietician or nutritionist but nothing says you have to eat exactly that way. Tweaking is allowed! If you are eating a diet that is filled with more whole foods and less processed foods you’re well on your way to a healthier future. Make those changes sooner rather than later and let your meter be your guide.

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