Does the person in your life have diabetes type 2 and you do not? I am not here to preach or suggest you are not doing your part, but what part are you taking?
If you believe this is their problem and you are not changing your culinary and activity lifestyle, stop reading! Ok, that was harsh, I do want you to read and appreciate your support. Did you only sign up for the good parts? What are the good parts? There have been more times in my life that I have found when I have tackled a problem or accomplished something, those are my good parts! If you are in a position to influence a child with your lifestyle choices, think of the people that will need to support them in the future. Whether you had a good role model or not to learn from, Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world!”
Your person may have been destined to this disease by genetics, but it is just as likely that your choices have contributed to the problem. If you have a sweet tooth and commonly have sugary snacks lying about, others may indulge too. If you don’t put any effort into providing nutritional meals, people will eat what they have available. If you can find more reasons to put off a walk around the block than just walking around the block, you will influence your person to be a procrastinator.
What can you do? Learn. The simplest and best way for a person to deal with anything is to have support from the people they care about. Remember the food pyramid that shows the portions of food groups we should eat? This has changed from what I remember but I believe it is easier now. According to the American Diabetes Association, half of your plate should be vegetables. Have some fun with it, I have been trying either a new vegetable or a new recipe each week. One quarter of your plate should be your protein. It can be meat or a protein alternative. Our dietician suggested choosing beef and pork cuts that say “loin” in the title. They are usually leaner. The last quarter of your plate would be for the starch. The evil carb infested thing that probably caused most of the problem. Suggestion from my side, try a fruit instead of potatoes. They will give you a sweet taste and a better digestion. I have also learned recently the benefits of including whole grains to your diet is significant also. Soluble fiber can be beneficial to lowering cholesterol and blood sugars. What you choose should be within the total carbohydrate count that your medical professional or dietician suggested. Mr. Solberg has 30-50 per meal and 15-20 per snack.
The culinary change + 30 minutes of activity per day can make a difference to your significant other and yourself.
When Mr. Solberg was diagnosed with the dreaded “diabetes, type 2” world epidemic, we started experiencing the 5 stages of grief. We have coined it DABDA. The first thing that we did was make jokes which immediately landed us dirty looks from the medical professional or how I like to think of her, Pez, to imitate a pill dispensing automaton who has the power to prescribe medications but lacks the ability to cure the patient.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released data
in 2014 that shows 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, that is 9.3% of the population. It is listed as the 7th leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
Although there is no specific information available from the reputable sites, such as the CDC, American Diabetes Association, Mayo Clinic, etc., stating why some people develop this disease and others don’t, the overwhelming statistics show being overweight and inactive are the common thread. The pharmaceutical companies have provided many pamphlets on the pills they can provide and the doctor’s can prescribe them. In the meantime, the insurance companies can decide what they will pay toward these things that only treat the symptoms.
We were handed a pile of prescriptions and told to make appointments with a diabetes education professional which included a meeting with a dietician. We have asked, “Can this be cured?” But it falls on deaf ears.
In 5 months from being diagnosed, Mr. Solberg has lost 40 lbs. and his A1C went from a dangerous level of 11.5% to a safer 6.2%. He still takes his pills and checks his blood, but we have made a big change to following a low carb diet that includes 30-50 carbs per meals and 15-20 carbs per snack as well as at least 30 minutes of activity (walking) per day.
What is your story? I would love to hear your successes and where you may need improvement.
First of many recipes to be “re-invented” during our journey is my family’s classic comfort food, Casseruola di Spaghetti or as we know it, Spaghetti Casserole. This has been a staple in my life and I refuse to let it go. But we know that pasta is definitely “carbful”. If we use spaghetti, obviously the focus of the meal, 1 cup of this cooked wonder = 38 carbs. Picture the size of your fist and ask yourself, is this amount that I will eat? Is there any other carbs in my meal? The picture is actually my fist and generally this measurement refers to one cup, but I couldn’t squeeze it down enough. How can I include a slice of bread to sop up any sauce? What about a simple lettuce salad on the side with dressing? Never mind the actual sauce that includes carbs too.
If I made this recipe with the standard ingredients in a 9×12 baking dish, the servings would be separated into 8 lasagna-looking squares. Each of these delicious squares have an estimated, 883.5 calories, 48.5 total fat grams, and 58 total carbs. Cholesterol and sodium have their place too. I based the calculations on all of the total ingredients and divided it by 8 servings. If you have paid attention to your diabetes education, you should limit your carbs to 30-50 per meal. Never mind the calories and fat that have contributed to the diabetes type 2 epidemic. This meal is potentially deadly. Especially if a slice of crusty garlic bread and a lettuce salad are added. So long to the glass or two of wine to wash it down.
Compromise is a nasty word with notes of sacrifice and blandness. Mr. Solberg’s view on anything diet is to remove the taste and get used to the hungry feeling. My challenge is to prove him wrong with a culinary adventure! See my interpretation of the classic Casseruola di Spaghetti.
Preheat oven 375°
2 Pkgs. Tofu Shirataki Noodles, Angel Hair or 1 medium Squaghetti
1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey or 93% lean Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Italian Turkey Sausage or Ground, Italian Sausage
1 cup Onion, Diced
1 jar Pasta Sauce, Arriabbata works well
1 cup Pepperoni, diced
1 pkg. Cheese, Mozzarella or Italian mix, Shredded
Open noodles and drain liquid. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. Brown ground turkey or beef with onion, and Italian sausage. Add pepperoni to ground meat for a minute to release juices and drain to remove excess grease. Combine meat mixture with the noodles and sauce in a 9×12 baking dish. Sprinkle package of cheese on top and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese in melted.
How long do you spend in the fresh produce section of the grocery store? If you are like we used to be, pre-diabetes, broccoli and lettuce was about the only fresh produce that found it’s way in to my cart. Besides, a place where you can buy a steak that was riddled with fat, a nice loaf of crusty French or Italian bread to be loaded with butter, and beautiful Yukon gold potatoes for baking, frying or boiling, vegetables were just not a high priority. Pasta in any form was preferred over something leafy green, and the color orange is not in my kitchen. I actually have a wall hanging that says, “Never Trust a Skinny Cook”. The wall hanging stays, the rest has changed.
When Mr. Solberg was diagnosed, I didn’t realize that my culinary preferences could potentially be the cause. The more investigating that I did, the harder the facts were to swallow. The potential for heart and blood vessel disease, nerve and kidney damage, eye, foot, and skin problems, and even Alzheimer’s is linked to diabetes type 2 according to the Mayo Clinic. Time to get to work!
I have found some greens and oranges to put in my kitchen now. Please stay tuned for some incredible recipes and I will also share my tricks for turning our old favorites into nutritious and diabetes-friendly meals.
So you have been diagnosed with diabetes type 2, now what do you do? Your alarm is going off and instead of buzzing, you hear it playing “Taps”. It doesn’t have to be like that. Time to make a change! You didn’t get here overnight, and the pills are not designed to cure you. It is time to pull up the big girl, or boy, panties and get to work!
This is not a food death sentence, it is the beginning of an new adventure where you can start to adapt to the things you should have been eating all along but no one told you.
Follow me on our journey to thumb our noses at diabetes and lower numbers will be coming to you before you know it! I will post recipes, information, and how my husband and I have been dealing with our lifestyle change.