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Putting Food In Its Place

Putting Food In Its Place

Anyone who has type 2 diabetes should pay close attention to what they eat, maybe more so than anyone else. This can cause us to think about food… All. The. Time. While that might not sound like a bad thing, it can be exhausting and depressing because many of us have had to make significant changes to what we eat on a regular basis. Years ago, when my mom and I would head into town (35 miles away) we would always say “where are we going to eat?” Eating out was a treat and we looked forward to the chance to enjoy that. Now when my husband and I are heading to town we say “WHERE are we going to eat???” Navigating restaurant menus has become more difficult now that we are eating a lower carb diet. I used to blame diabetes for my distress but I’ve come to look at it in a different light. Now I blame food, and the food industry, for making these types of situations difficult.

Our society has given food too much power. Over the last few decades we stopped thinking of food as fuel and turned it into the life of the party! Food has become too convenient and filled with unhealthy levels of things we don’t need, like processed carbohydrates, too much sodium and added sugars. We have gotten used to eating too many things that are quick and easy, not to mention addicting. I dare you to think of one holiday or celebration that doesn’t revolve around food! So if we have given food too much power, what can we do to put it in its place?

  • Try to remember that food is fuel. We have to eat, but we don’t have to overeat or eat foods at every turn that has little nutritional value. Of course we can’t ignore the fact that eating is very pleasurable and it should be. Make your meals and snacks full of flavor without filling them with unwanted ingredients.
    • Add flavorful cheese, like feta, to a salad.
    • Use spices to ramp up the flavor in a dish.
    • Make your own lower-carb snacks and sweets using alternative flours and sweeteners.
  • Enjoy the people more than the food. One Christmas, I checked my blood glucose before we sat down to eat our big meal: 180s. (It must been all that tasting I did while cooking.) Instead of being upset, I sat with my family and sipped a glass of wine while they ate. I didn’t miss a thing and ate later when my blood glucose was happier. This is an example of how we can focus on the people around us and not on the food. It’s possible to enjoy a holiday or celebration without over indulging.
  • Indulge but don’t overdo it. This one is difficult for me. I’ve never been someone who could stop at one or two bites. However, in order to keep from feeling deprived when faced with Aunt Margaret’s famous peach cobbler, allow yourself a taste and not a full serving. I’ve read that the first two bites of any dish are the most pleasurable. Let yourself have the first two bites and then stop!
  • Take the time to cook. Whether you do all your food preparation on your days off or cook something each evening, it’s important for your health to cook your food from scratch as often as possible. Spend the cooking time enjoying your family or listening to a podcast or book. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore, in fact, crockpot cooking is a great way to eat healthy foods without slaving away after a hard day of work. Putting some effort into your meal preparation can be just as rewarding as eating the food.

Food should not rule your life, so don’t let it. Remember that your health is far more important than that bit of candy/donut/bread. The enjoyment of unhealthy food will fast disappear but the effects on your health won’t. Take control back and put food in its place. You’re worth it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.