Better Times Type 2 Diabetic Resources
These sites have been very useful to me in coping with my own Type 2 diabetes.

Blood Sugar 101   Read this site first.  It is the most useful site I have come across for accurate, practical knowledge on managing type 2 diabetes.  It is a lay person's site, not written by doctors and others with a vested interested in the Diabetic Industrial Complex.  Yes, it is true.  Diabetes is big money and one of the things I've learned is that money can distort the advice people give diabetes.  That's why we need to test our blood sugar regularly, not just in the morning, but also after eating. This site recommends testing one and two hours after you eat, and recording that info so that over time you can learn what to eat and what not to eat.  So all dietary advice must be tested, literally. 

Low Carb Friends   This is a popular online meeting place for diabetics and others who are interested in carbohydrate restriction diets like Atkins and South Beach.  It is a friendly place and people go out of their online way to welcome newcomers. It is a great place to ask your beginning questions. You can also find a lot of info and get advice on cooking and recipes.  I have become a much more creative cook since being diagnosed with diabetes.

Linda's Low Carb Recipes   If the low carb movement has saints, Linda Genaw is certainly one of them. This site has the most amazing collection of low carb comfort food recipes. How about Low Carb Lemon Squares?   Mashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions?   Cheesy Hamburger and Broccoli Casserole?  She includes reviews with the recipes. My impression is that she has prepared every recipe there. Each recipe includes nutrition info.

Divaliscious low carb recipes http://divaliciousrecipes.com/

All day I dream about food -- http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/

If you are on FB, I have a small group for Oklahoma diabetics -- https://www.facebook.com/groups/okiediabeticstype2/

Low Carb Diner -- a great resource loaded with low carb comfort food! http://www.247lowcarbdiner.com/ Blogs at http://247lowcarbdiner.blogspot.com/

About.Com Low Carb Super Site   This is a very rich collection of articles and information about using carbohydrate restriction diets to lose weight and also manage your diabetes. Recipes!  I particularly recommend Focaccia-style Flax Bread -- which is actually more like a low-carb corn bread, imho, and Miracle Brownies -- which taste better than any brownie I ever made with flour, yet it is a very low carb treat! Ingredients alas are pricey.

A few comments for those newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Which I wish someone had told me when I first was diagnosed.

It's OK to have an emotional reaction to this diagnosis.  Your life has fundamentally changed forever, in a way that was not your choice nor was in your control. Disbelief is fine so long as that stage doesn't last long. Maybe allow one day to disbelieve your own ears, but no more than that. It's important to immediately begin to adapt your life to manage your diabetes. 

Net Carbs -- this is a concept you will run across often in the carbohydrate restriction movement.  Net Carbs equals Total Grams of Carbohydrates MINUS Total Grams of Fiber.  Fiber isn't digested, so even though it is a carbohydrate, it "doesn't count."  You sometimes hear the phrase "Effective Carbohydrate" as a reference to net carbs.

Keep a food journal.
The most important thing to learn about managing Type 2 diabetes is that people and their blood sugar react differently to various foods. 

So while advice from others is fun and useful, it is no substitute for figuring out what works for you. The best way to do this is keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat, when you ate it, how much of it you ate, and what it's net carbohydrate content was.  One hour and two hours after you eat, test your blood sugar and record it in your journal.  Do this for three or four months at least, so you get a good idea as to how your diet impacts your blood sugar. Over time, you will learn what you can eat and what you should never eat.  Some people never stop doing a food journal, as it is very helpful tool for a weight loss/management program.

After three of four months of keeping your food journal, you can scale back your testing.  My endocrinologist suggested testing at 90 minutes after eating (this is for people who are not on insulin).

If you eat something new, though, test at one hour and two hours and record that info.

I use an Open Office Calc spreadsheet for my journal.  Excel or Quatro Pro would also work or you could just use a spiral notebook or a 3 ring binder and some paper.

Diabetes is not an infection, where you can take a drug for a certain number of days, and be cured.  As far as I know, there is no cure per se for diabetes, but you can manage it, and have a healthy, fun, and interesting life that includes lots of very tasty food to eat. 

There are very real consequences to not managing your diabetes.  You don't have to look far on the internet to find very sad stories. Is a foot amputation really worth a diet of jelly donuts and sugared drinks?

Start Metformin as soon as possible.  Metformin helps. Besides helping to control your blood sugar, it enhances your immune system and helps you resist some tumors and cancers. It's cheap and available as a generic.

Losing weight really does help.  You don't have to lose all the extra weight so that you are finally down to your "ideal" weight.  Every pound you lose will help your body and lower your blood sugar.

Exercise really does help.  If you just can't resist that visit to the all-you-can-eat Asian buffet, walk to the buffet, walk home, and then go for a half hour brisk walk.

Don't drink any carbs. None. Period. End of that discussion.  No soda pop, no milk, no fruit juices.  Of course, no one does this 100%. There is, after all beer, and wine (although wine is typically low carb).  But if you are guzzling a liter or two of full sugar soft drinks every day (not hard to do in just one visit to a convenience store beverage bar), that's like swilling poison.  "Sugar-free" drinks are nearly as bad for diabetics as their full-sugar cousins. Gatorade is soda pop.

Read ingredient labels for all prepared foods. Don't eat anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it.

Prepare meals from basic ingredients. It won't take much time reading ingredient labels to understand that buying prepared foods is often a matter of buying and eating unnecessary sugar, typically in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup.  It will eventually be easier for you to make your own meals than deal with the deadly "convenience" of many prepared foods, boxed dinners.

Avoid so-called "Low Fat" products.  Most low fat products are high carb products. So eating low fat products may make it harder for you to manage your diabetes. Carb restriction diets do not generally go for harsh reductions in fat consumption. Diabetics can and do enjoy treats like bacon, eggs, sausage, real butter, real cream.  We need to lose weight, but the carb restriction diets achieve this goal by reducing carbohydrate consumption.  When farmers want to fatten their cattle, they don't feed them fat. They give them carbohydrates, mostly corn and soy. 

Use cauliflower, a low carb vegetable, in place of potatoes.  I make mashed cauliflower (steam and mash with real butter). I make "hash brown cauliflower" for breakfast, by shredding it and frying it in bacon fat, then I scramble my eggs in it.

Replace wheat flour with almond or pecan meal.  You can buy almond flour at some stores, but it may be cheaper to buy almonds and grind them with your coffee grinder. That's how I make pecan meal, grinding it in pulses.  If you go too far, you end up with pecan butter, but that's a pretty tasty treat.  There are recipes all over the internet for tasty foods like almond flour pancakes, biscuits, "sweet" rolls. Any almond flour recipe can be a pecan flour recipe by a one to one substitution of pecan meal for almond flour. Or, take your favorite recipe for pancakes and make it with pecan or almond flour instead of flour or cornmeal.  No added sugar, please!  Pecan meal is already sweet.  Almond meal makes a great breading for chicken or round steak (to make chicken fried steak).  I season the flour with salt, black pepper, and some powdered chipotle pepper. I dip the steak or chicken in a mixture of water and cream,  roll it in the almond flour, and then pan fry it.  I think it tastes better than corn meal or flour breading.

Greek yogurt is a low carb treat.  It has only 7 or 8 carb grams per cup.  In the morning, I eat a quarter cup of Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of psylium powder in it.  Psylium is a natural fiber, it's what's in Metamucil, only this doesn't have that sickening taste that Metamucil Corporation seems so fond of. I never liked it mixed with liquid, but by mixing it with the Greek yogurt, and adding a little Truvia or some DaVinci sugar-free syrup, it is part of a healthy and tasty treat.  Mix and eat immediately.  Don't mix and set aside to eat ten minutes later, as the psylium will absorb water from the yogurt and then you will notice a certain grittiness to the texture.  But if you eat it immediately, it goes down sweet and smooth. Lately I've been adding a half teaspoon of amla powder (a/k/a Indian Gooseberry's). It's available at very value prices at Asian grocery stores and markets catering to East Indians and Pakistanis. I do it again in the evening before dinner, and in advance of any big event dinner like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or eating out in general.  Amla powder has a long history in India as a treatment for diabetes.

Dietary fiber is totally essential for diabetics. It helps regulate your blood sugar. Psylium is a way to add some fiber to your diet.  I eat the yogurt-psylium mix just before I eat breakfast.  I follow this with one tablespoon of vinegar in a pint of water.  Vinegar has a long history as a folk treatment for diabetes, and the scientists say there probably is something to the association.  Then I eat breafast.  I eat less breakfast because of the yogurt, psylium, and water "aperitif". 

Eating out is hard but possible.  Always ask for nutrition info. It won't always be available. Chances alas for nutritional info are greater with national chains/franchises than with locally owned. In such cases, use your common sense. Ask for a substitute for the potatoes, rice, or pasta. Get something grilled, baked, or pan fried, not breaded or dipped in batter.  Most kitchens can do some grilled veggies as a side. 


Do your part to help educate restaurants.  If a place you go doesn't have nutritional info, as you leave tell the cashier that not having nutritional info is a problem for their diabetic customers and you are perhaps less likely to come back because they don't have that information readily available.


If you go to an Asian buffet, go to the "Mongolian Barbecue" and load up on veggies and meats.  Tell the cook "no sugar". Depending on what they have, they will cook it in water, or maybe a soy based sauce. I add soy sauce back at the table and it tastes great.

Tex-Mex restaurants will often substitute salad for rice.  The beans on the side are good for diabetics.  Get something like meat, chicken, or shrimp sauteed in a sauce, cheese is fine. Beans, salad, maybe some guacamole (avocados are great for diabetics) and pico di gallo on the side.  Sometimes they will bring you pico di gallo as a setup in place of tortillas chips and queso.  The salsa would be fine. Pour some of it on your pico di gallo. Don't eat the tortillas (corn or flour) or the tortilla chips. So that mans avoiding enchiladas and that kind of food. 

The talk advising diabetics to "eat whole grains" is big-ag propaganda. It's not actually good advice for diabetics. OK, I admit this much, if you are going to eat something like bread, it is marginally better if you eat whole wheat bread instead of white flour.  But we shouldn't be eating breads made with flour, corn, or rye in the first place. You might as well just eat spoonfuls of sugar. It is the same impact once it gets inside and into your digestive system. You can get the fiber you need from a low-carb diet. You don't need whole grains and shouldn't eat them except on rare special occasions, like some cornbread stuffing on Thanksgiving or a piece of pumpkin pie at Christmas.  You can make low carb almond flour biscuits and they will taste really good with bacon or sausage gravy. So why not do that instead of whole wheat biscuits?

Low-carb prepared products are a mixed bag. The only way to know if a low-carb product will work for you is to try it and then do the one and two hour post-meal blood sugar tests.  Some work for me, like Braum's carb smart bread and La Fortilla Factory low carb wraps.  Other's don't, like some other brands of low carb wraps and tortillas I've come across.  Your mileage may, and likely will, differ on this.  The Braum's , high fiber, low carb bread called "Carb Smart" is available at their storeshere in Oklahoma City. It is priced at $2, tastes like bread, and it tastes like good bread.  It has too many ingredients. But nobody's perfect.

Read the labels!  Look first for the total grams of carbs then the total grams of fiber.  Subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carb, that's the net carbs.  You probably want to keep your total carbs each day at or around 60-65 grams of net carbs/day.   You can do more for special occasions, like Christmas, as long as you don't go overboard, and as long as every day isn't Christmas.

Low Carb Snacks.  Don't let yourself be hungry for long.  If you are hungry, eat something.  There is no virtue in going hungry unless you are fasting for religious or health reasons.  Low carb snacks include --
  • boiled eggs
  • nuts (pecans, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Beef jerky (watch out for sugar as an ingredient)
  • Pork rinds (yes, it's really true, these are low carb)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sandwich meat roll-up -- roll some sliced turkey or chicken around a dill pickle, an olive, and a slice of cheese. Dip in mayo.
  • Peanut butter, with or without the celery sticks. I lick it off a spoon like a lollipop. One tablespoon at a time, no more.
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • A few bites of salad.
  • Lunch meat and cream cheese with some mustard, with or without a celery stick.  Only eat organic celery; non-organic celery is one of the worst supermarket products for pesticide residues, pay extra for the organic or go without. 
Use the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce for information about which vegetables should always be bought organic and which have little or no risk for pesticide contamination and thus conventional is OK.. 

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  You'll find most of what you need in the produce, meat, and dairy sections,  and bulk food for items like nuts, almond flour, etc.

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City

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