Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Diabetes Management Class

What I learned in my diabetes class - managing diabetes blows. Seriously. I should be all Biggest Loser about it and how this is an adventure of a lifetime of healthy living but really, thinking about portions sucks. I will also have to say that the instructor blew. She was smug, condescending and happy to shame people about their choices.

"What do you mean you don't have your monitor on you?"

"Do you even know where the stairs are?"

"Why don't you have any hard candy on you in case of hypoglycemia?"

The main thing I am learning is that you need carbs, for me, 210 grams of them a day. Not more, but certainly not less. You see, if your body isn't getting enough carbs, it will just dump glucose into the bloodstream, thereby increase your glucose level. The good news is nothing is off limits. It's just you have to have food in moderate (read SMALL) portions).

This was massively depressing as I calculated the grams of carbs I had the day before and it came out to 350 grams. And I wasn't eating crap. My breakfast consisted of yogurt and pomegranate seeds with a large nectarine. Lunch was a green salad, a bowl of pasta, and a cauliflower mash. Dinner was a turkey burger on a whole wheat bun with a side of broccolini. I did have a PBandJ and a bowl of cereal for snacks. But seriously, I was floored to see my day of healthy eating was still blowing my carb allotment.

The one revelation is that diabetics should only have six ounces of protein a day. You see fat and protein is hard on your kidneys. Diabetes compromises your kidneys so things like protein, fat and alcohol should be limited. This makes me wonder what the Aktins diet was doing to all of those people's kidneys.

The hard thing about living with diabetes is the thinking. Hopefully, after a while the portion control will become second nature but in the meantime, it will be struggle. The one plus of the class was that there were all types of bodies there. Tall skinny folks, short big folks and everything in between.

On the plus side here's a list of vegetables I can eat with abandon:

Green leafy vegetables
- salad greens
- collard green, kale, swiss chard and the like

So for Stef, here's my first recipe for you. I highly recommend making a balsamic reduction. Because it makes the vinegar all thick and syrupy, you don't need oil at all. Take a good amount of balsamic vinegar (I would say at least 1/2 a cup) and let it simmer on the stove until reduced by at least 1/3. What I do is add some chopped garlic to it. Use the fan in your stove because it will be stinky. Don't worry if it looks too liquid at first, it gets thicker as it cools. Use as a dressing on salad or on top of broccoli or tomatoes. No oil or salt needed, there's plenty of flavor there already.


Stef said...

Thanks for sharing, T. I'm surprised about the protein thing - I've never heard of it before, but it makes sense. How are you measuring your grams of carbs? Are you weighing or estimating?

I'm sorry about the smug teacher, that can't make any of this easier.

I am definitely going to make a shopping trip this weekend, so I'll pick up some balsamic and some fresh garlic for sure!

DC Food Blog said...

I just measuring using this chart and guestimating. I cook enough so that I know what a cup, half a cup, and a quarter of a cup looks like. I learned how to use the meter and I am pretty smack dab in the middle for diabetics in terms of my glucose. I am seeing fairly huge spikes after meals.

Michashell said...


I'm a friend of Stef's.

I read, with great interest, about your Diabetes Management Class. I had Gestational Diabetes, which is the same but sooo different. It is definnitely a learning experience that should be positive. The last thing you need is a condescending instructor.

I didn't have to worry about protein - actually they encouraged me to eat more meat and cheese if I was still hungry after a meal. It was frustrating finding that right combination of food. For example, I could eat strawberries as a snack but if I had them with a meal my numbers would be high.

Oh, those numbers. My fasting needed to be below 90 and my 1 hour glucose below 140. I love my digital scale and weighed and measured my food compulsively.

I have never been more obsessed about anything in my life. Every high number made me feel like I was poisoning my baby.

Another difference that I noticed was that I was told not to eat more than 1 tomato per day, because it could effect my numbers.

Good luck. I found Diabetes Today magazine to be have some really good recipes.