A New Approach to Eating, Mindfulness is very “in” and could just help your A1C and your waistline

How many of us eat dinner in front of the nightly news, or lean over the newspaper while we sip our coffee at breakfast? How many of us walk, talk or drive while eating? The answer is almost everyone. And when we’re finished eating, all too often we realize we ate more than we’d planned. Diabetes or no, overeating is not good for blood sugar control or weight management. But how do we make a change — from mindless eating to mindful eating — when our lives are too busy to stop and smell the risotto?

Read more of my first dLife article: A New Approach to Eating.

Feeding my Children

I wrote the blog post Sweets for Diabetes Sisters 3 years ago, and it’s amazing to me how patterns in life are repeated. I wrote about how my son Miles, who is now 7 1/2 years old, was a sugar fanatic.

My son Miles loves sweets. He loves doughnuts, ice cream, cookies and candy. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he asks for is chocolate milk. The only way I can get him to eat his vegetables at lunch and dinner is with a promise of dessert. Mealtime with Miles is a source of constant frustration and sometimes, after I put his plate of lunch in front of him, I leave the room to give myself a “time out.” There have been too many meals that end up with me yelling and wanting to scream because I can’t get him to eat.

Now it’s my youngest son Reid who is a sugar freak. Like Miles, he loves doughnuts, lollipops, cookies, chocolate Goldfish and even my dark chocolate. He’ll eat a banana every now and then but I can’t get him to eat a vegetable to save my life and it makes me crazy. I feel like a bad mom. I worry about his future (rotten teeth, obesity etc.) and I have no one to blame but myself. I do the grocery shopping. I am the one who drives my boys to Krispy Kreme. I am the one who asks for a lollipop at the bank drive through. Reid is our third child so why didn’t I learn anything from my experience with Miles?

It’s because food is more than just food to me. It’s because after living with diabetes for 26 years, sweets equal (some sort of warped) freedom. I can’t say yes to doughnuts, cookies, lollipops, ice cream and chocolate Goldfish so I say yes to my boys.

(From 2008)

I’ve been trained to believe that sugar is bad. For 23 years, I’ve denied myself sugar, I’ve buried my enjoyment of sweets, ice cream, cookies and chocolate milk, because it’s easier to say no than to risk a high blood sugar. I lived for years thinking about food as a science, a system of rewards and punishments rather than a source of pleasure. Whenever I was low, I could “reward” myself with a glass of chocolate milk or a couple handfuls of Skittles and when I was high, as a result of eating pizza, or not giving enough insulin, I was “punished” and had to give an extra shot or wait to eat even when I was hungry.

I remember one time when I was first diagnosed at 14 years old and some kid at school telling me that I got diabetes because I must have eaten too much sugar when I was younger. That’s what his grandmother had told him, she had the “sugar diabetes.” I knew he was wrong but still, it stayed with me. I thought about it every time my friends drank a milkshake while I drank a diet coke, every time they grabbed a treat from the candy aisle after a field hockey game while I stood back and watched. Restricted, deprived and punished, that’s how I felt about food. So it scares me when my youngest son refuses to eat balanced meals, begs for sweets and doesn’t seem to understand the word, “no” a word branded in my brain when it comes to food. I know I probably sound uptight to many of you and I hope that years from now I’ll look back on this stage and say, “remember when….” I hope that the web of this disease does not stretch its arms out into my children. I hope I can learn to put aside my own complex layers of food issues so that food can remain a source of both nourishment and pleasure for my children.

Obviously I have not learned to put aside my own complex food issues when it comes to feeding my children. I’m closer, but I don’t know that I will ever have a easy relationship with food. Ironically, Miles declared himself a vegetarian this year. When I explained to him that vegetarians ate mostly vegetables, he rethought his decision and said maybe he would be a “fruititarian.”

We still have plenty of sugar in our house but we also have a lot of fruit, and a lot of veggies (thanks to the local CSA). Miles still likes sugar, but he is the first one to finish the broccoli and carrots on his plate. There is hope for Reid.

Boost your ‘good fats’ to help fend off diabetes

What can I eat that won’t mess with my blood sugar? Isn’t that an onoing question for all of us whether we are diabetic or prediabetic? Here is a pretty solid article From Prevention Magazine and MSNBC about eating right with diabetes….

What can I eat? If that’s not the first question you ask after a diabetes diagnosis, it’s probably a close second.

You figure fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list (they are); lean meats, some fish, and healthy whole grains make the cut too. Those you expect; these you may not: oils, olives, nuts and seeds, avocados, and dark chocolate. These five foods are packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs (moo-fahs) for short.

Incorporating “good” unsaturated fats into a fruit-veggie-lean-protein-whole-grain diet helped people with prediabetes reduce their risk of developing full-blown type 2 by almost 60 percent, according to a landmark government study. And now, emerging research points to MUFAs in particular as potential superheroes for controlling blood sugar, reducing insulin resistance, and fighting belly fat specifically visceral belly fat, the dangerous kind found deep in your abdomen and strongly associated with prediabetes and diabetes.

Recipes are included, some are better then others so beware. Balsamic Roasted Carrots looks great but I’m not sure I’d ever recommend chocolate chips pancakes (49 grams of carbs) to a diabetic.

Read More: Boost your ‘good fats’ to help fend off diabetes.

How do I manage a good diet during the holidays?

Great tips from Diabetes Sisters on eating right during the holidays:

How do I manage a good diet during the holidays?.

  • Try to stay physically active throughout the holidays.  You’ll feel better and have more energy.  And it will balance off some of those extra treats, whether your chief concern is blood sugar control, weight management, or both.
  • Keep your appetite under control.  Skipping breakfast in preparation for the office potluck leaves you so hungry that you could overdo it.  Instead, eat regular meals that include carb, protein and a little fat.  It spreads food throughout the day and keeps your appetite and blood sugars controlled.
  • Balance holiday treats with lower fat, lower carb foods instead of filling up on only “goodies.”  Turkey with the stuffing, raw veggies with the real mashed potatoes, green salad with the fruit ambrosia.  This works on your own plate and when planning a holiday menu.  Every dish does not have to be a major production.
  • Learn the carb values of the holiday foods you love.  Make a plan to fit them in, so you do not feel deprived on the holidays.  Remember it’s a give and take when it comes to the meal plan.
  • Think about your choices.  When offered a high fat or high carb holiday treat, consider whether you really want it.  Are you hungry?  Is it something you love?  Or would you just be eating it because it’s there?  If you save those choices for the things you really love, it will help keep things merry and moderate.
  • If your chief concern is weight or you must limit the amount of carb eaten at a meal to keep your blood sugars under control, use the “plate method.”  Set aside half the plate for salad and vegetables.  Use about a quarter for protein foods and the rest for carbs.
  • At a buffet, preview the whole thing before making any choices.  This helps you fit in the things you want most instead of already having a plateful when you see something you really want.
  • Drink lots of water.  It’s filling and good for you.