When a family member with diabetes was told her diet adjustments weren’t working and that she needed to both change her diet and starting taking shots, she, understandably, worried. Not so much about the shots, but about the dietary changes. It seems, for the first time, she really considered how the foods she’d been eating impacted her life.
She realized that many of her favorite foods, from her morning bagel to snacking-favorite saltines, were contributing to her problem. And she started wondering what in the world she could possibly eat. Sounds familiar.
Obviously, I’ve been there, done that, and came out the other side with a strong understanding that while my food choices will be impacted for the rest of my life, there is nothing about a gluten-free diet that stops me from eating fantastic food. Sometimes hard? Yes. Sometimes annoying? Yes. Sometimes unfulfilling? Yes.
But am I deprived? Absolutely not.
The funny thing about recommended diets for those with diabetes and/or elevated glucose levels is the food choices are exactly what I’d recommend for someone with celiac, non-celiac gluten intolerance, or even gluten sensitivity, minus the whole wheat flours/grains.
Focus on real foods, whole foods, proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Avoid highly processed foods, including too much “white” foods, such as rice, pasta, and potatoes (my dear, dear friends!). Everything in moderation, but focus on whole, healthy foods.
And remember that specialty foods, be they targeted toward gluten-free customers or diabetic customers, tend to cost more. Because there is so much variety when it comes to everyday grocery items, specialty items are the foods that you should reserve for “on occasion”, not every single day. You don’t need to spend a fortune to eat well on a gluten-free (or diabetic) diet.
This news has us rethinking our own diets and making small changes. I’m making batches of buckwheat, which is *not* wheat, and lentils to mix into my lunches during the week — less rice, more grains and legumes. Preparing them in advance reduces the number of excuses I have for ignoring these foods. My husband is adding eggs and greens to his breakfast instead of sweetened oatmeal and cereal.
Good food is essential for our overall health, but it’s also a critical component of a happy life. Our relative will be making tough dietary choices as she relearns how to eat, but I believe, in the long run, she’ll discover that there is an exciting world of food to explore. I know I did!
Tip of the Week
As always, learn the ins and outs of your new diet before spending a fortune at the grocery store!
Meal of the Week
My favorite way to add more lentils to my diet is by serving a delicious mix of rice and lentils called mujaddara (spelling may vary from country to country). This Middle Eastern dish also features seasonings and a bunch of caramelized onions. Because the onions take so much time, I save the effort for a weekend afternoon, and I saute extra if I’m cooking them for another dish.
Serve the mujaddara with meat skewers (I like chicken thighs marinated in yogurt, lemon, and spices) and cauliflower tabbouleh. The cauliflower mimics the wheat or couscous found in traditional tabboulehs, and melds perfectly with the parsley, tomatoes, and dressing.
- Chicken Skewers
- Mujaddara (note: I grind my spices and saute them in a bit hot oil before adding the rice to the pot)
- Cauliflower Tabbouleh