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Diabetic and Confused

A discussion about diet and diabetes

By Mellie MillerPublished 3 years ago 6 min read
One of my daily walking routes.

Let me say right up front that I may not be the brightest bulb in the hallway, just so we’re all clear. I’m not claiming to be an expert in anything, all right? Just your average American woman recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Since I grew up with several diabetics in the family, I thought I knew a few things about this condition.

The first thing I knew was that paying attention to my diet was essential to managing this disease. I mean, who doesn’t know that? Well,not as many people as I thought, obviously. When I grew up it was fairly common knowledge among friends and family.

My doctor put me on a diet which baffled me at first, but it worked out really well for me. It was basically a vegan diet to begin with, until I could get my blood sugar and weight back under control. No added salt or fat, and of course, no sugar. No liquid calories. And nothing processed. No flour of any kind, including cornmeal and grits. If it isn’t in its natural form, don’t eat it. \

Yes, this leaves out a lot of things you might be used to eating. Breakfast cereal, bread, tortillas, chips, pasta, white rice, and the like.

But I followed the diet and it worked! As well as getting my blood sugar under control, I lost 30 pounds, and was never hungry.

As time went on, I was able to add some meat back into my diet. And always careful with the heavy hitters in the carbohydrate department--grains, dried beans, fruits, and starchy vegetables.

I will admit, the first few weeks were difficult as I began to figured out how to put together vegan meals without starches. I had trouble with beans and grains, which I was supposed to include as possible in my diet. What was possible at first was about a teaspoonful of either one sprinkled over a salad.

Now I’m eating a more normal diet, still nothing processed and no liquid calories. But I do add some meat into the mix and I have graduated up to between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of some grains and dried beans. It has been a journey, but I’m making it.

The other must do of this program is half an hour of exercise everyday. It doesn’t need to be radical. I generally walk down our road and take in the scenery. On nasty days, I put on some lively music and either dance or use my step aerobic bench for half an hour.

My fasting blood sugars have been under 110--even as low as 85--for the past year, with diet alone. No medication of any kind.

So control with diet and exercise is possible.

I understand when people say it is difficult. It can be. But the alternative--taking insulin shots every day--is not acceptable to me. I see it as something I would only do if all else failed.

Our daughter is a nurse, and whenever my blood sugar seems a little high to me, she just laughs. Because a little high to me is a fasting blood sugar of over 102. It drives me crazy.

She has diabetic patients who are on daily insulin shots several times a day, and then need enough to cover their rise in blood sugar after they eat. To the tune of blood sugars over 200! Some are much higher than that.

Why would you do this to yourself?

These people are eating cookies,--yes the regular kind--snack cakes, pancakes with syrup--brought in from their favorite restaurant--,and biscuits and gravy for crying out loud.

It doesn’t help when family members bring meals in for them because Mama just loves her waffles and maple syrup, or her chocolate chip cookies. This saddens and angers me. Your family and friends should be making it easier for you to manage your diet, not helping you break it with every visit.

If you're a family member of someone who is diabetic, talk to their doctor and find out what they should be eating and what they can snack on. It will be better all the way around.

When I was five years old and watching members of my family figure their daily diet and insulin, I knew those things were definitely not on the menu. And if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor or dietitian has explained the importance of diet to you.

Yes, you can control your blood sugar and your disease with ever increasing amounts of insulin. You can choose to do that to yourself. And you will gain weight and develop more health conditions related to diabetes because that is not a solution.

It is a fix to throw at something when you won’t follow your diet plan.

I know you miss your favorite foods. So do I. I still miss having a big bowl of oatmeal with berries for breakfast, or eggs and toast, or waffles. But I’ve found new favorites to enjoy. I refuse to dwell on those things I miss. There is a lot of wholesome and tasty food out there in the world without them.

I hear you arguing with me now. You’re right. It’s your life and you can live it any way you’d like. I’m just saying I would rather live a healthier life without being tied to a syringe, especially with the cost of medications these days.

Is it really better to subject your body to the huge swings in your blood sugar caused by overeating high glycemic foods and then dropping it down again with another dose of insulin? Is it better to fight the weight gain caused by doing this to yourself?

I realize some people are going to be insulin dependent not matter what they do on their own. I get that. But even then, you can help by following a sensible diet, and slow the progression of this disease. You just have to choose to do it.

How do I feel?

I feel great! I have plenty of energy to do those things I need to do around the place and more than enough to go for my daily walk. I usually walk around a mile, sometimes farther, depending on weather. Some days I just feel like a good long walk, so it may be three miles by the time I get home. I have my mobile with me in case of trouble, or in case my husband gets worried and calls.

I just don’t understand what our daughter calls the “normal, non-compliant diabetic,” who won’t follow any kind of meal plan, yet expects the nursing staff to fix the problem when they eat all the junk they can get their hands on.

I don’t understand the mind set. How can these people face their doctors knowing they are going out of their way to break every rule in the book?

Isn’t it time we took control of our own lives and did what we could first, before having to rely on medicine? Not only is it cheaper, it’s better for your health than the yo-yo blood sugar route.

I could be way out in left field in my thinking. It has been known to happen. But it makes sense to me to do what you can to help yourself, even with medicine.

What do you think?


About the Creator

Mellie Miller

Wife, mother, animal lover, musician, martial artist, writer of fantasy romance with a touch of magic, with seven books up on Amazon. I do a little bit of everything these days.

The cat approves.

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