Friday, April 25, 2008

Homeward Bound

I'm on my way over to eastern Washington this weekend to see family for the first time in about 7 months. No one has seen me since I started the new eating plan. They're aware I've lost weight, but that's about it. This should be fun!

Eating Grain
Reader Gail left this comment the other day: "I thought complex carbs (whole grain bread etc.) broke down slowly and so don't cause the sudden upswing in blood sugar. I heart my brown rice and whole grain bread, and need some good reasons to say goodbye to them."

This refers to the Glycemic Index (GI) which measures the speed at which different foods containing carbohydrates break down to glucose. The faster the food converts to glucose the bigger the spike in your blood sugar. For a diabetic, the goal is to have a fairly level and optimal amount of glucose in the bloodstream during the course of a 24-hour period. One way of managing diabetes to eat foods that are low on the GI to meet this goal. And yes brown rice and whole grain breads are lower on the GI than white rice and wonderbread.

I stopped eating grains as part of managing my diabetes. It's not for everyone. Bread, cookies, pasta, etc. are all trigger foods for me so I had to remove them completely from my diet.

I loosely follow what's called the Paleolithic diet. "Diet" here means the food that comprises what we eat, not diet as in eating to lose weight so you can go back to eating the things that made you fat in the first place. This is pretty much the way I'm going to eat for the rest of my life.

My friend/trainer Kristn has a great post on her blog about this way of eating. I've stolen a little bit of it to share, with her permission. I recommend going over and reading the rest of what she has to say about the thinking behind eating this way.
  • Every meal or snack should include protein, fat and carbs.
  • Protein sources should be mostly meat, poultry and fish and whole eggs. The less processed the better.
  • Kristn's hierarchy of carb sources:
    • Non-starchy vegetables (most of your carbs should come from these)
    • Brightly colored starchy vegetables (yams, carrots, winter squash, beets)
    • Fruits
    • Whole grains & legumes (if your body can handle them). Be very careful with wheat, it is not tolerated well by many people.
  • Eat an ounce or two of nuts and seeds every day.
  • Dairy (if you can tolerate it):
    • Cheese 1-2 ounces/day
    • Yogurt (unsweetened)
    • Milk
Foods you should absolutely avoid whenever possible:
Sugar (in all forms like honey, maple syrup, etc.)
White flour, pasta, white rice
Processed Foods (anything pre-made or in a package)
Breakfast cereals

Note that she doesn't say not to eat whole grains, just try not to make them the primary source of your daily carb intake.

The bigger challenge for me than giving up bread (and that one was hard), was not eating processed foods any more. It's a hell of a lot easier to heat up a frozen dinner (or, let's be honest, eat cookies) than to prepare a comparable meal from whole foods. And since I'm sort of a workaholic, I tend to eat a lot of my meals while I'm working. It took some serious retraining as well as learning to cook extra portions and eat leftovers (which I've never liked) at subsequent meals.

The processed food industry is a topic unto itself, along with that most-favored-by-food-processors additive, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). For now I'll just say HFCS is bad mojo. I plan on talking about that next week. If you're at the store this weekend, look at how many things contain HFCS. It's in everything. (Okay, okay—MOSTLY everything.)

And on that note…I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. I've heard rumors that the sun might be out in Seattle tomorrow!


Marianne said...

HFCS... the worse kind of bad mojo.

I've been feeling for many many years that the 'food' industry is out to kill us... that and they must have enormous investments with the pharmaceutical companies.

I really did write all that. :^D

Patience said...

For your friend wondering about the whole grains -- Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) is a very common phrase around the DM world. Congratulations for 1. having figured out they give *you* trouble and 2. taken steps to come up with an alternative.

Personally, I find pizza so hard to manage that I will eat it only in shear desperation, if there are no other choices. I have yet to come up with a bolus size and shape that doesn't both cause me to raise unacceptably high on the front end and then send me so low I lose speech and cognition 6-8 hours after. Not worth it.

Good luck visiting family!

Rabbitch said...

My ex was allergic to wheat, dairy and eggs. Do you know that there is wheat in EVERYthing? I think if they could find a way to put wheat in toothpaste they would.

I became a compulsive label-reader, and then a compulsive cooking-from-scratch-er during those difficult years. Not the same as managing diabetes, but equally difficult (as the results of him eating them were disastrous).

He's long gone (alive, just not with me) but I still don't buy processed stuff all that often.

I feel your pain, dude. It takes some serious reading and planning to change from the "frozen pizza" to the "fresh food" world, but once it's all in place I've found it to be pretty easy to stick to.

Kristen said...

The hardest thing for me to give up was pasta. And then there's beans... I'm a vegetarian (15 years) and beans were a dietary staple. Bean and vegetable soups, bean and vegetable stir fries, bean and vegetable burritos, etc. I love beans: black beans, pinto beans, trout beans, chick peas, kidney beans, cranberry beans ... {sigh} I still eat beans and sometimes pasta, but I'm much more careful about measuring and making sure the veggies far outweigh them.

I have found, like you and Patience, that much of it is experimentation and what works best for your body. For example, if I have a bagel I'll be up in the stratosphere. If I have an egg or a good slathering of peanut butter (i.e., protein) on that bagel, I'll have hardly a blip in my blood sugar.

I hope you had a good trip! (We have rain here, but I'm trying to remember how much my garden wants water.)

Gail said...

"Trigger" foods? I'd never even considered that!

So, whole grain bread is ok, but I guess this means that wolfing down a half loaf at a time is not good, no?

Another mystery explained...