Via the comments, this inquiry:
John, would you be willing to consolidate all the changes you made to your diet together in one blog post, so that those of us playing the home game might try it ourselves? Thanks.
I will gladly share what I have done, and what I have learned, and since another close friend was just diagnosed with diabetes today (and blamed me for all the diabetes posts for his diagnosis), and I feel better, I will share what I think I know. Mind you, I phrased that the way I meant- I think I am starting to know some things, but I probably really don’t know fully what I am talking about.
When my buddy called me and told me he was taking me up on the offer to come for a visit, then told me about his diagnosis, the very first thing I did was try to break google for a couple days, and basically read everything I could, took notes, cross-referenced different sites, and read a shitload of comments on diabetes forums, which ingrained in me that no matter what I think I am “learning,” there is no one size fits all cure. For Shawn and new diabetics, basically you just have to be a food Nazi and test, re-test, and document everything you eat and when you eat it and what the resulting blood sugar result is. If your sugar spikes, try the meal the next day removing one part that you may think has been problematic, and see if it spikes. Note it, and move on. This is different for everyone, so you just have to be vigilant and learn more about your body and its relationship to food than you probably ever wanted to.
The very next thing I did, concomitant with the research, was sit there in a state of shock multiple times. Like the kind of shock and fear you have when you are ten years old and going to the Principal’s office- just going white and thinking “what the fuck have I done?” I’ve tried to eat healthier in the past, and approached things from a lower carb perspective, but after reading what I have read the past few days, I recognized how problematic our current food supply is.
The next thing I did was basically go through my kitchen and throw a bunch of stuff out. Should have given it to a food kitchen, but I just wanted it the fuck out. I threw out all the white flour because I read that a teaspoon of white flour has the same glycemic load as a teaspoon of sugar and learned all the sick chemical shit we use to process flour these days on top of how we have modified wheat so much that it fucks with our hormones, and kept only the quinoa flour and almond flour. I threw out every form of sweetener other than stevia, Splenda, and black strap molasses for rare occasions. I threw out every grain of rice I could find. I threw out all the potatoes. All the pasta. I went through the cabinets and threw out anything that was a processed food- taco shells, Bush baked beans, etc. There is nothing in my house that has sugar or HFS added. Nothing.
I read a couple studies that a chemical in the lining of canned food, bisphenol-A, has been linked to diabetes and obesity, so I threw out every canned product I had except for peeled whole tomatoes, because I can not think of a workaround in the winter. From now on, only fresh or flash frozen fruits and vegetables. Period. If I want beans, I will soak them and cook them the way they were intended. The science is not wholly conclusive, but I see no reason to add a chemical when it is unnecessary, the fresh and frozen taste better, and the FDA isn’t going to die if I and Shawn keep eating this crap, we are. So I just rolled with it and made a command decision.
I read that the sugars in skim milk were worse than the sugars in whole milk, especially since the whole milk has fats that slow the absorption of sugar. So I threw out the skim milk and bought organic, no hormone milk, and simply reduced the amount I drank. I am a milk lover, so now I am down to one cup a day, when it was nothing for me to drink a quart before.
Got rid of all soft and processed cheeses. Picked up hard cheeses. Got rid of every oil except olive oil and unsalted butter, which sucks, because you can leave salted butter out for a couple weeks, but have to keep the unsalted in the fridge where it is cold and hard to spread. Regardless, the salt just had to fucking go.
Got rid of the mayo and other condiments except for the Heniz ketchup that only has five ingredients, one of which is straight up sugar and not HCF. As a mayo substitute, mash an avocado with a dash of olive oil and a touch of sea salt until it is a creamy spread.
Swore off all fruit juices, which are basically just sugar bombs. If you need a fruit juice, drink it in moderation, and I would recommend the Knudsen organics, which taste great and are real fruit and not just sugar and other crap. Just be ready to taste real fruit and not sugar, because this is not your mother’s cranberry juice.
I will never eat another grape or yellow banana or orange juice. Might as well eat a snickers bar. They are just sugar bombs. Fortunately, I like my bananas very green to the point they are hard to peel and have a more plantain-like taste.
Cut out all red meat. When I am in the grocery, I just pretend the deli does not exist, because as delicious as some cold cuts are, they are all fucking poison. Using only organic and hormone free chicken, turkey, wild-caught fish, and pork loin.
Cut down salt by at least half. I don’t add near as much as I used to while cooking, and no longer brought a salt and pepper shaker to the table for meals.
Started planning. Planning ahead what you are going to make makes it so much easier to buy the right things at the grocery, and gives you time to think about what would be really tasty, rather than looking at the clock, seeing it is 6 pm, and just basically scrambling to throw something together. Use the internet and find recipes you like from the multiple diabetes websites out there, and then, go through every ingredient in the recipe, even though it is diabetic friendly, and check out the glycemic load of each so that you can decide if it seems reasonable or if you want to substitute something (either because it has been a problem for you in the past, or you just find it unnecessary, or whatever). Take notes.
Read a research article one of you all posted that suggested a little mild exercise after a meal could lead to lower blood sugar spikes. After every meal, Shawn walked the dogs and I hit the exercise bike for fifteen mins (cuz I still don’t trust the ice).
Radically, and I mean radically, increased the amount of leafy greens. Been eating kale, spinach, etc., with basically every meal.
Started snacking between meals. I know this sounds crazy for a fat guy, but I would routinely skip meals or just ignore hunger, and then eat a big meal. Basically, the worst thing you can do. Apparently, what you want is to continuously keep your blood sugar (and this is for diabetics and non-diabetics) stable, and skipping meals and binging is just the worst fucking thing you can do. It’s quite amazing how a handful or two of almonds in between meals can solve all hunger issues. Or an apple and a slice of white cheddar. Or an apple and a teaspoon full of organic peanut butter. Or a couple slices of pineapple and a handful of pistachios.
Again, I am no expert, and if there is stuff here that I am screwing up, please tell me. This is just where I am after about ten days of reading about this and trying it out. And while I am still feeling my way around this stuff, I still do not understand the relationship between dietary fibers and carb counts, so that has been hampering my label reading, and I do not understand yet type 1.5 and latent immune disease.
This is a work in progress, and so many of you have emailed me and I have shamefully only responded to a few of you, but this is a lot of work, and I have been reading your emails and comments. I think I might even ask Mistermix if it is possible to set up a wiki for this whole topic that we could help each other out with info. Obviously, there are lots of established sites on the issue, but what I really think is important is that this stuff is different for everyone, so personal anecdotes and work arounds could be a valuable research.
And while this might be TMI, but my bowel movements have been much better. Sorry to, ummmm, drop that on you, but this is a food thread. Also, my skin looks better.