.What if you have Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you are not alone.  You are 26 million strong and growing at rates perhaps faster than the census can keep up with.  There are many reasons postulated for this increased prevalence of diabetes.  We have more environmental toxins and although healthy eating is being touted on every possible magazine and newspaper cover, we seem to be taken off course by eating foods that can increase the risk of obesity, and along with that, foods that can increase the risk of diabetes.

One problem with eating healthy, as so many of my patients point out to me, is that it is oftentimes more expensive to buy healthy foods.  With the economy on a downswing, fresh fruits and vegetables are not always in everyone’s budget.  This can be a challenge.  We also are lured into movie theaters with the rich buttery smell of popcorn and fast food restaurants with aroma of deep fried potatoes.  Life is about choice, however and making healthy choices goes a long way to a full and productive life.

One of the simplest ways I define a good diet plan to my patients is to tell them what foods NOT to eat.  Try to limit or avoid WHITE foods such as white rice, white pasta, white potatoes, and white flour.  For example, meals that would not be so healthy would be Mac and cheese, potatoes, corn, and white sheet cake for dessert.  This sounds like a meal I would eat in my “old” life, before I knew what healthy looked like.  Instead of this meal try baked fish, sweet potato, and fresh spinach salad.  Now that sounds good!

High fat, high carbohydrate foods not only make you fat, but they can make you tired.  Your blood sugar goes up too fast, you get a brief energy surge, and then you get a bout of extreme fatigue mid-afternoon.  This fatigue makes us want to go out in search of our next “happy meal”!

Changing behaviors is not an easy task.  We are creatures of habit.  That is why you should not try to re-vamp your diet plan all at once.  Take baby steps.  If you eat a lot of baked potatoes, for example, try switching to sweet potatoes.  They have more fiber, and are healthier.  You can also try scooping out the center of your baked potato and replace it with fresh vegetables for a healthier meal.  If you love pasta, use whole-wheat pasta and top it with some lean chicken or fresh fish and vegetables.  Mixing foods is a great way to get more fiber and variety in your diet plan.

If you love juice, but it wrecks havoc on your blood sugars, try one of the lower sugar products or just dilute your beverage.  I dilute most everything I drink with extra water.  Have fun with your food by trying new things!!  If you are able, a visit with a registered dietician will help give you guidance on how much you should eat if you want to lose weight or just maintain.  Remember you are not in this alone and everyone here is happy to answer your questions and help cheer you on!!

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