I’m Diabetic! What the Hell Can I Eat?!?!

by mratner

Me and my pups.

Me and my pups.

I remember the days following my diagnosis. I sat on my living room floor, pouring over articles and books and websites and pamphlets trying to figure out what in the world I could eat that would be safe. It was so frustrating to be hungry with a fridge and pantry full of food but feel like EVERYTHING was off limits. I found advice like “celery and peanut butter is a safe and healthy snack”. Okay? How much peanut butter? How many celery stalks, damn it?!

The answer to that question is:

two stalks celery (2 grams of carbs)

1 serving of peanut butter (2 leveled tablespoons – which is usually 6-8 grams of carbs)

Ta-da! A hydrating, protein-containing, tasty snack with 8-10 grams of carbs. So, go get that if you’re starving to death (no pun intended).

The first thing to remember is that you can eat. There is plenty you can eat. Personally, I am unable to consume wheat, dairy, pre-made frozen foods, anything fried, alcohol, food colorings, or red meat without catastrophic gastronomic consequences. And I don’t feel like I am missing out. Well…okay, an eclair would be nice once in a while but am I really missing out with that one?

So here are a few things I wish someone would have told me up front that I had to figure out on my own when it comes to diet & diabetes:

-15 grams of carbs is considered one serving of carbs

-It is recommended that each meal be between 45 and 60 grams of carbs

-Consistent carb counts meal to meal (always having about the same amount of carbs at meals) makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar

-As a Type 1/LADA/1.5, regular exercise and insulin therapy is a sure-fire way to manage your diabetes

-As a Type 2, exercise is your best medicine. And I mean exercise, man. Regular, consistent cardio will do more good for you than I can possibly express in a blog post. If you’re BGL is high, start runnin’!

-Always know your insulin-on-board (how much active bolus insulin is in your system) and sharpen your math skills!

Some helpful websites and info:

American Diabetes Association

Diabetes Basics

Think Like A Pancreas by Gary Scheiner

Common Food Carb Count – as a new diabetic you’ll have to do some experimenting. I have to use a total carb count vs. a net carb carb whereas other are able to use a net carb count

Did You Say Net Carbs?

Okay, okay. I know you’re head probably feels like it’s about to explode and you may just want to curl up into the fetal position and die right now but you can do this. Millions of people are living with diabetes every day. Millions of people carrying on and taking this disease with them. Educate yourself! Empower yourself! And remember that diabetes never takes a day off, so you can’t either. Stay on it. Do your best. And if you need help – ask!