I’ve had Type 2 diabetes for 14 years. Finding the right combination of low-GI foods and living a “normal” life has been really trying. A few months ago, I decided to start eating “clean.”
How do I define clean?
No processed food.
I also don’t eat carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, rice, bread and sugar of any kind. I eat very little fruit, and I stay away from sodas, even diet sodas.
So what’s left?
A lot. Thanks to this diet I no longer take medication for Type 2 diabetes.
These are the top 10 foods that help me manage my diabetes:
- 85% Dark Chocolate: When I was a kid and tried my very first Hershey’s Special Dark from the bag of mixed mini chocolate bars, I was horrified at how bitter it was. I picked all of them out and (gasp) threw them away. As an adult, I grew to enjoy the subtleties of dark chocolate. I learned to appreciate that it’s not a treat that’s meant to be chewed quickly and devoured. It’s meant to be savored and allowed to melt on your tongue. A single 1-inch square after dinner is my regular treat at the end of the day.
- Sparkling water: I used to drink a 6-pack of Classic Coke every day. Sure, that was back in college when we all thought we were invincible, and I haven’t binged to that extent in 20 years. I never drank diet soda but I know that there are studies that show diet sodas cause insulin resistance. Nowadays I get my soda “fix” with zero-calorie sparkling water. I drink it ice cold in a fancy glass with a twist. I discovered it’s the fizz I like, not the sweetness.
- Cauliflower: As a vegetable, it’s okay. But as pizza crust or mashed “potatoes,” you can’t beat it! . In a nutshell, for faux potatoes, steam the cauliflower until it’s cooked. Drain. Mash with a potato masher or a stick blender and add whatever seasoning you like. For pizza crust, you just need cauliflower, eggs and cheese. Whiz the cauliflower in a blender or chop finely by hand. Add the eggs and grated cheese, then bake with your favorite toppings. You can also make “breadsticks” this way.
- Frozen pomegranate seeds: I’m one of those people who will sit in front of the TV and de-seed a pomegranate by hand, even if it takes two hours. I store the seeds in gallon-size zip-top storage bag and lay it flat in the freezer. The seeds turn into tiny frozen flavor bombs that are a perfect pick-me-up with no added sugar.
- Sugar-free ketchup: I know some folks can be sensitive to Splenda and other artificial sweeteners, but I’ll throw this out there anyway. (There are ketchup brands that are made with stevia/other natural sweeteners.) To make a dipping sauce I use my grandma’s recipe: two parts ketchup to one part reduced sodium soy sauce. You can adjust these ratios to your liking. You can also add a touch of vinegar, a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of pepper flakes. It won’t take a lot of sauce to flavor your dish, either! I now just dip the tines of my fork into the sauce before I go for the piece of shrimp or chicken.
- Zucchini: I am not a fan of zucchini, but when it’s transformed into noodles with a spiral-cutting machine, I don’t really taste it as the zucchini you’d find in a vegetable medley sauté at a steakhouse. I add them to Japanese ramen broth with shiitake mushrooms and a hard boiled egg or pan-fry the “zoodles” in a little butter or olive oil and add salt and pepper.
- Eggs: Remember when I mentioned cauliflower breadsticks? I love to dip them into a soft-boiled egg. For the perfect soft-boiled egg, bring water to a boil then reduce to a rapid simmer. Add the eggs and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Grainy mustard: Yellow mustard has its place for sure, but there’s a nice tanginess to grainy mustards that don’t “bite” as much as yellow mustard. I use it for marinades and for dipping. A little goes a long way. You can coat chicken legs with it and roast them in the oven.
- Celeriac: This is also known as celery root. And guess what? It makes incredible baked “French fries” or fauxtato chips.
- Full-fat Greek Yogurt: You can’t really top this as a breakfast staple: “FFGY” with a few walnuts or pecans, (even a tiny drizzle of honey) and some fresh blackberries. Or sometimes I go with the savory route and mix in some horseradish for a rich, creamy condiment for steak or pork chops. I’m not afraid of “full fat” foods. They fill me up quickly and overall I end up eating less.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet.
I am going to try this – thanks
Pomegranate seeds are a very high carb item as well. One cup of the seeds has 24 grams sugar which is not good for my diabetes at all. If one eats less, the carbs go down obviously but the % of sugar remains the same at 67% of the carbs are sugar and 33 grams are carbs of other kinds. Too expensive for me and not that much nutrition in them as well. I like a lot of your other ways you have been able to manage your diabetes. Congratulations.
Celeriac is almost pure carbs (88% of its calories are carbs) so I never eat it. When I want a strong veggie type noodle, I use jicama because 52% of it is fiber with prebiotic inulin as well. I don’t cook my jicama to retain the prebiotic inulin but just add them to warm them up. I also like them spiralized in a salad because it has such a fresh crunch and high water content. I get them either at my local Mexican grocery or oriental groceries.