What should I eat now I have diabetes?

I was at a diabetes information evening last week and we listened to an extremely eloquent and knowledgeable dietitian give a presentation on the most commonly asked questions from people with diabetes.

I started to think about how much focus there is on food when you have diabetes and why this question is always asked, in multiple forms, so many times.

It’s one of the first questions a person asks themselves, irrelevant to what type of diabetes they have, when they get home from the hospital or doctor’s office after being told they have diabetes is “What should I be eating now?”

The answer to this question is different for everyone because each one of us lives very different lives. Some of us work outside the home, some of us don’t, some of us have children and some of us don’t.

So when you ask a dietitian “what should I eat?” The answer will be very general, long and contain a huge amount of information. (S)he loses our attention on sentence three because  it’s not the quick fix/easy answer we were hoping for.

My point is that I don’t think asking this question benefits anyone with diabetes. I think we should be asking “what am I eating every day and how do I modify it?’ Thus, taking control of the situation ourselves and not looking to others for answers. AND not believing that we are going to lose all of our treats.

To find out what we eat every day, we need to keep a food and blood sugar diary for, at least, two weeks. We should do this because when you sit down at the end of the day and list try to remember what we ate we inevitably forget a number of things.

And we shouldn’t just record what we eat but how much of it! This is hugely important because we could be eating all the right things but if you eat more food (healthy or unhealthy) than your body uses up in the form of energy, you will gain weight or be overweight.

Once we have our two week diary, then we can take it to a dietitian and go through it together. (S)he will help us figure out where we fall down on our healthy eating plan and decide what small changes we can make that will benefit us most and smooth out the troughs and peeks in our blood sugars.