Food is the single biggest influence on blood glucose levels when you have diabetes. The topic of food and diabetes will come up in every conversation. It is a massive minefield with so many people offering advice and so many people who are passionate about a single way of eating with diabetes. DISCLAIMER; I'm not a nutrition expert or anything even close but here are the food choices I've made over my 24 years of living with type 1 diabetes.
One of my personal pet peeves is the assumption that diabetes is only about avoiding sugary treats and not the whole carb-boodle. In case you haven’t heard this before PEOPLE WITH DIABETES CAN EAT SUGAR!
When I was diagnosed with type 1 in 1993, I was told that sweets were mostly not allowed. I remember being told if I had a craving for something sweet to drink Diet 7-Up?!?! I very quickly learned what a load of nonsense that was - thank goodness!
More than one way to do food and diabetes
Over the years, I’ve experimented with ways I want to eat, with the many different ways to eat healthy (there’s more than one way) and I’ve read about all the different ways other people with diabetes eat. I used all of these resources to determine what food plan works best for me and my diabetes and I'm happy with what I ended up with.
How insulin works
I have also learned a lot about how insulin works in my body, a little about the glycaemic index of food and how the food is likely to affect my glucose levels. With this knowledge, I can create a “designer” dose of insulin such as pre-meal bolus and extended bolus. I can also “sugar surf”, Micro-bolus and Super Bolus.
What works for me
My overall approach is that I eat healthy but also in keeping with what worked best for our family of four. Sometimes the microwave dies on leftover night and Fast Food is just about fast enough to get us out the door for extracurriculars!
Most days, I eat what’s best for my glucose levels this might be low-medium carb and some days, it might be a carb load. But when the occasion calls for it I eat what looks good and what’s going to taste amazing.
Find what works for you
There are so many food choices. Loads and loads of them.
- What type of food do I eat?
- Do I eat what I feel like eating?
- Do I work the insulin around my food or work my food to my insulin?
- Do I research something new and foreign to what I’ve been used to? Such as low carb, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach (is that still a thing?), the 5:2, mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, cabbage soup, fat flush, and lots, lots more.
As people with diabetes, we all live completely different lives and there is no one size fits all diabetic diet. So, you get to choose what you want to eat, the way you want to eat and then you come up with your own plan: the one that works best for you.