Food: the Final Frontier

Last weekend we were hiking with some friends — former colleagues actually, who haven’t seen us in a long time. Hoping to make it a “diabetes-free day,” I tried to give the woman an ultra-quick synopsis of what I’m doing these days.

“A diabetes blog? So you write about diet? ”

“Well no, hardly ever, actually.”

“What? It’s not about food? I would have thought that would have been the central theme,” she said.

Eggads… well, it isn’t. And of course, it is.

If it weren’t for the complex make-up of stinkin’ food, and the fact that we can’t live without the stuff, this disease wouldn’t be half so hard to manage.

I’m no certified dietitian, so I have no business telling anybody what they should eat.

But tips? Personal experiences? Well sure, I guess I could delve into those a lot more. I’ve been lucky that I’m not trying to lose weight in the last few years, but even weight maintenance has become a major challenge since hitting the Big 4-0.

A few things I’ve learned / discovered of late:Oatmeal_2

* Oatmeal is not the anti-Christ. Sorry for the term, but I kind of thought delicious, lumpy, carb-packed oatmeal was the devil’s work for diabetics. I have discovered that Quaker’s regular quick-cooking oats, along with several brands of instant oatmeal, are far less carby than you’d imagine. And yummy and filling too. Some people even lose weight on this stuff. Hallelujah!

* I’m trying to skip the cheese and munch on veggies and dip instead for snacks of late. I finally seem to have found a dip that’s both tasty AND low-carb AND low-fat. Anyone tried Trader Joe’s Cilantro & Chive Yogurt Dip yet? Yum.

* Mark’s Daily Apple runs a series called “Healthy Tastes Great!” that has awesome tips and recipes, with lots of snarky asides. Just my style! I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned that I love to cook. I friend recently recommended the Silver Palate cookbooks. You can get some of their recipes online HERE.


* Like many of you, I’ve got this peanut butter addiction. I try to avoid it, but with 3 kids in the house, that’s tough. Of course, some people will tell you it’s the ultimate low-carb snack. But lo and behold, those carbs add up. And it’s @#$! high-fat, too. Low-carb King Jimmy Moore recommends “Naturally More” peanut butter — with fewer carbs, less fat, and more fiber and protein than the regular stuff. Oooh, I so need to try this!


What else is new on the diabetes-friendly food front? Care to share your favorite sites or snacks?

[Editor's Note: Keep it real, please; commercial product solicitations will be promptly removed]


17 Responses

  1. Anne
    Anne February 21, 2008 at 7:36 am | | Reply

    If you like oatmeal and peanut butter then how can you resist peanut butter IN oatmeal? It slows down the absorption and is so delicious. Throw is a banana and have some milk for a delicious breakfast. Yeah don’t forget that peanut butter has carbs, too… YUM! (It helps to pre-dose this meal, but the PB really does help to reduce, or rather, drag out the post-meal BG increase.)

  2. mollyjade
    mollyjade February 21, 2008 at 7:36 am | | Reply

    My favorite vegetable dip involves peanut butter (what IS it with diabetics and peanut butter?) I mix together peanut butter, soy sauce, chili sauce, and garlic powder. It’s spicy, salty, and creamy.

  3. Ed
    Ed February 21, 2008 at 7:40 am | | Reply

    Switch to Almond Butter, much lower in fat than peanut butter.

  4. amber
    amber February 21, 2008 at 7:54 am | | Reply

    The Naturally More peanut butter is really tasty (I think I went through a crate full of it when I was pregnant!), but it’s got a different texture than regular peanut butter. The flax seeds in it make it a little crunchy/grainy, not in a bad way, but it was a little unexpected for me in peanut butter. I also like the Smucker’s natural peanut butter; it’s just peanuts and salt and nothing else. I can usually have +/- 2 tbsp of it without having to bolus.

  5. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth February 21, 2008 at 8:34 am | | Reply

    For snacks, I eat a handful of almonds usually. Trader Joes has great pre-measured packs of them which are easy to bolus for because you don’t eat too many. I also love that cilantro dip from them. They also have a taziki (yogurt and cucumber) dip that is fantastic with veggies.

    Another food that I love is spaghetti squash. When you’re craving pasta its a great alternative to the heavy dough pastas that spike blood sugars. Not really a snack food, but certainly worth trying if you have diabetes!

  6. Lyrehca
    Lyrehca February 21, 2008 at 8:48 am | | Reply

    Anne’s speaking my language. I eat oatmeal and a spoonful of Smucker’s natural PB every single morning. With a half cup of frozen raspberries and a packet of Splenda. And 8 oz of skim milk. It’s bliss.

  7. Dave
    Dave February 21, 2008 at 9:27 am | | Reply

    Couple of thoughts…first I’ve become completely adicted to Quaker Instant Oatmeal – the Maple & Brown Sugar lower sugar variety. I tolerate it really well and it’s mmmmmmmmm good. I know PB is high fat and high calorie but in general it’s the good kind of fat. And almonds? Sent from God himself!

  8. riva
    riva February 21, 2008 at 11:00 am | | Reply

    Amazing the oatmeal peanut butter connection. It’s my every day breakfast but I do the slow cooking oatmeal from Trader Joe, and add a spoonful of either Trader Joe’s peanut or almond butter, a spoonful of flax seed, low fat plain cottage cheese or yogurt and cinnamon. Breakfast never tasted so good. Satisfying on all counts – crunchy, creamy, healthy and sustains till lunch.

    As for almond butter having less fat than peanut butter, it only has 1g less according to my two Trader Joe jars here.

    My in between meal snacks are a handful of nuts, mushroom caps with anything: baba g’noush, salsa, humus (basically I use them instead of crackers) berries, which are low in carbs, fresh coconut. All the work you exert cracking open the coconut uses up any calories eating it. Or so I tell myself. Lindt 85% chocolate I love and it is low in carbs, fat and calories compared to all the others.

    I never eat diet products, just small slivers of the real stuff. I also use Stevia to get away from artificial sweeteners which it’s debatable whether they’re harmful, but I know they keep your sweet tooth searching for the next sweet.

  9. Elinor
    Elinor February 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm | | Reply

    Great ideas for yummy snacks! I’m off to Trader Joe’s. Thanks

  10. Kate
    Kate February 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm | | Reply

    LOVE Trader Joe’s for anything – - -but sadly they are not in Texas yet. I love their cashews, raw almonds, and cashew butter. I hold out the hope that eventually they’ll be closer to me than the west coast. I eat eggs every morning, but I shake it up between low carb toast (sometimes with PB or cheese), oatmeal (Whole Foods or Kashi brand), and bran pancakes toasted plain or with cheddar cheese (don’t knock it until you try it!) for my carbage allowance. Delicious!

  11. Scott
    Scott February 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm | | Reply

    Hmmmm, I never tried Trader Joe’s Cilantro & Chive Yogurt Dip, but then again, its only been a month since Trader Joe’s opened up about 2 miles from my place, so I’ll have to look for it the next time I go!

  12. Craig
    Craig February 21, 2008 at 4:56 pm | | Reply

    I recently started eating oatmeal to add some variety to the first meal of the day. My favorite is McCann’s Instant Sugar Free Irish Oatmeal/ Apples and Cinnamon. I throw in some walnuts or almonds and add more cinnamon. It does have Splenda (uh oh?), but the total carb count is only 18g per packet, 3g of dietary fiber. One serving hits the spot to get me going in the morning.

  13. Amanda
    Amanda February 22, 2008 at 10:38 am | | Reply

    My breakfast consists of either a half bagel (from a Jewish bakery in Vancouver BC, no added sugar) w/ vegan cream cheese and slices of vine tomatoes OR a bowl of Kashi 7 Whole Grains Honey Puffs w/ a sliced banana and Silk Origional soy milk. Both are super yum!

  14. None Given
    None Given February 22, 2008 at 1:01 pm | | Reply

    The best peanut butter is made fresh.
    Put into food processor:
    1 1/2 c dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
    1 T oil
    1/2 t salt or substitute (optional)
    Process until smooth. For chunky, reserve 1/4 c peanuts and add to the smooth peanut butter then process a few seconds at a time until it’s the desired consistency.

    I like to do macadamias, also. They need no added oil and are lower in carb.

  15. Rachel
    Rachel February 24, 2008 at 8:50 pm | | Reply

    I’m loving my Naturally More PB. It’s lower in carbs and higher in protein than other PB.

    I like a lot of Trader Joe’s products.

    Most oatmeal is good for you. I don’t know what it’s advised that people w/diabetes avoid it. :(

  16. chris
    chris February 28, 2008 at 9:26 am | | Reply

    I love Trader Joes food. They have recently opened up one in my town so I have been using it a lot for meals. One thing I have noticed, and I wonder if anyone else has, is that it seems the carb content of their pre-packaged meals is overstated. Maybe its a glycemic index issue, but I am consistently under target with their meals. hmmm…

  17. James
    James March 5, 2008 at 1:25 am | | Reply

    I know you don’t want product pitching here but it’s hard to avoid mentioning names … All Bran is *meant* to be diabetes friendly but it’s surprisingly high in sugar (and salt). I’ve been eating Fiber One (just the regular variety) instead and that seems to be pretty good. Zero sugar content and seems to be very low GI judging from my own results. Although zero sugar content is not necessarily a recipe for success … shredded wheat is a *disaster* and reportedly has a GI close to pure sugar, despite its being 100% wheat.

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