I see many people in my practice, often in tears, who have been referred by their doctors with newly diagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes. 30 years of research and practice have led me to one inescapable conclusion – most people can bring their blood sugar levels into the normal range within two months without medication. Many clients tell me that their diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes was one of the best things that ever happened to them – it gave them a forceful wakeup call to get their health in order once and for all. Here are some key tips.
Increase protein and fiber. Protein and fiber at each meal must become your new friend. Both are necessary to keep the blood sugar stable and prevent feeling hungry all the time. Protein for breakfast means having eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt , sliced ham, Canadian bacon along with 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins, Sandwich Thins or other breads. For snacks it can be hard boiled eggs, apple or celery with peanut butter, or even beef jerky. For lunch it is very important to not skimp on protein, a prevalent problem I see with clients. A large soup or salad is not going to be substantial enough to keep your blood sugar stable unless it has at least 4 ounces of protein. It is best to avoid the large traditional high protein meal for dinner which will definitely raise your blood sugar.
Fiber must be added to all meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar stable. Veggies are the best source of fiber. For breakfast, veggies can be added to eggs or try Kashi Go Lean which is the best cereal on the market. For lunch you must have at least a cup of veggies and at snack time maybe sliced meats wrapped around pickles. At dinner half of your plate should consist of veggies.
Small Frequent Meals. You can no longer skip meals and healthy snacks, eat skimpy lunches and consume too much at dinner. Your insulin will not accommodate this haphazard eating style. You must learn to eat small, frequent balanced meals that are yummy which most clients find they wind up enjoying.
Desserts. Yes, you can enjoy a dessert as long as it is not eaten on an empty stomach or in between meals. Desserts are meant to come after a meal and not eaten as a meal. If you are hungry and start eating sweets you will not be able to stop. I tell my clients go backwards – if you would like to have a dessert after dinner then avoid starches with dinner.
Alcohol. My clients are shocked when I tell them they can have alcohol. When people are exercising their blood sugars are fine in the morning even after having vodka with light cranberry juice or wine the night before. When alcohol is desired it should replace the dessert of the day. So yes, you can have a drink as long as it planned along with a balanced meal. I always tell clients when they do intense exercise for 40 minutes they may enjoy a couple of drinks.
Beverages. Avoid beverages that have sugar. That includes juices like Jamba Juice, milk, Skinny Vanilla Lattes, Chai Lattes, or Light Frappacinos. Always look on the back of the beverage to make sure that next to sugar it says zero. The proliferation of tasty non-sugar drinks should result in you saving your sugar consumption for other treats. Sparkling waters spiked with lemon or lime, unsweetened teas, sugar free Sobees, sugar free Snapples, Crystal Light are best for you.
Losing Weight. There is no doubt about it – losing 10-20 pounds will get your blood sugar slowly back into the normal range. The pancreas will not have to work as hard to produce all the insulin for those extra pounds you have.
Exercise. You will need to start becoming more active compared to where you have been. Walking at least 30 minutes twice a day, once in the morning and once before dinner, is the best “pill” you can take. You will find consistent exercise will bring your blood sugar down 50 points.
If you are committed to making change I believe a knowledgeable and caring nutritionist would help do the trick where 1-2 initial education sessions would be followed by frequent (even daily) email/phone communications to track progress and plan specific meal events. The good news is most insurance companies wisely pay for nutritional counseling for diabetes.
Feel free to call me at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail me at Lifeweight1@yahoo.com with any of your nutritional concerns.
LindaRD is available through Skype, e-mail or phone if you live in an outlying area.