When your doctor tells you, “I’ve looked at your blood work results, you have diabetes,” you can be sure the rest of the conversation will include the word “diet.” Did you know there is more than one diet that is considered “diabetic?” For example, you can choose from low-carb, keto, vegetarian, vegan, carbohydrate counting, or macro counting. Your doctor may have a specific plan in mind for you or he may have you meet with a diabetes educator to help you choose a diet.
You may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the choices available, but diabetic diets are useful as references. They can be followed by everyone because they are based on whole, clean, nutrient-dense foods.
My personal belief is there is a perfect diet for everyone, but no one diet is perfect for everyone. I did not come by this belief easily it took me many years of trying every diet that hit women’s magazines and bestselling book lists. Sadly, I was never able to find the perfect diet for me by following only one set of rules given by the authors of said “diets.”
I now realize, more than 30 years and hundreds of dollars later, that in order to find the perfect diet I had to first pay attention to the signals my body was sending me and seriously consider the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. It has been a lengthy, drawn-out, and expensive experiment.
Diets for Diabetics
Every opportunity is available to us to find and build the perfect food plan with massive amounts of information and access to registered dieticians, nutritionists, and other professionals to guide us along.
The “diet” that works is the “diet” you can follow for a lifetime. It is well worth the effort to find a plan for you now and for the future. When you have the basic macronutrients in place, (the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber, and water), you can then choose the foods that supply them, those you like and will eat.
While my particular food plan works for me, I do not presume it will work for everyone. A nutrition specialist can be a valuable member of your health care team. A food plan that allows for the freedom to make small changes if and when necessary is important and will make it an easy and enjoyable lifestyle plan.
Diets and Celebrations
Food is linked to celebrations and hospitality. Many cultures equate food with love and generosity where refusing a host’s offer of food is considered rude and an insult. And some people just won’t accept your very polite “no thank you,” even if you explain your refusal is due to a medical condition.
How often have we been told, “Oh, a bite or two won’t hurt you!” followed by, “Oh, I made this just for you! You have to at least take a bite.” Since these phrases are usually spoken by a loved one, is it any wonder that we give in? Unfortunately, the “one bite” forced on us leads to more bites until we’ve eaten it all. When you’ve committed to your food plan, it’s wise to have well-rehearsed “refusal” phrases for such occasions.
Creating a food plan that allows you to fully participate in celebrations and hospitality while maintaining a healthy balance is worth the work and comes with the benefit of better health. Remember, creating a food plan that helps reduce your daily blood sugar levels and eventually your A1C, is a task you don’t need to do by yourself.
Don’t be shy about reaching out to health and wellness professionals who can help you build your perfect plan. The right person for you is the one who takes the time to learn about your food preferences including any allergies or sensitivities you may have, your current lifestyle, your family, and the celebrations that are most meaningful to you.
Your main prerequisite should be the desire for better health and the willingness to make the necessary changes.
Keep in mind that the changes you make to improve your health often have the added benefit of improving the health of those around you. And while change may not be easy, it is necessary and will pave the way to better health and wellness.
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