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. 

Next, read The Diabetes Code by Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist.  Blood Sugar 101 is a great intro into the critical importance of low carb eating and frequent checking of blood sugar levels.  Dr. Fung introduces intermittant fasting as a way to manage your Type 2 diabetes (together with low carb eating/feasting). Below I have some comments about my personal experiences with intermittent fasting.

Linda’s Low Carb Recipes   If the low carb movement had saints, Linda Genaw would certainly be 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.

Active Low Carbers Discussion group. Online bulletin board format discussion group with 344,000+ threads, and 167,000+ members.

Divaliscious low carb recipes

All day I dream about food —

If you are on FB, I have a small group for Oklahoma diabetics —

Low Carb Diner — a great resource loaded with low carb comfort food! Blogs at

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.

Intermittent Fasting.
Read the Diabetes Code by Dr. Jason Fung and listen to what he has to say about the utility of intermittent fasting for diabetics. This is simply eating less often.  For example, I rarely eat breakfast. Generally, breakfast if I have it is a social affair where I go out to eat with friends.  Otherwise, lunch is my first meal. 

I also occasionally fast for 24 hours.  I eat dinner, and then don’t eat dinner until the next day.

And I have done some 42 hour fasts.  I eat dinner, then I don’t eat anything the next day, and don’t again until lunch the second day.

I manage hunger pains with tea, coffee (with milk but no sweetener), and what is called these days bone broth, but which used to be called stock. Hunger is less of a problem than thought. 

When I was first diagnosed with T2 diabetes in 2010, I weighed 270 pounds.  Now I am weighing between 215 and 225.  My first dietary change, after I figured out that what I was told to do (eat lots of high fiber carbohydrates) just wasn’t working for me. The diabetic educator actually told me to stop eating eggs and bacon for breakfast and start eating oatmeal and whole wheat toast.  And my blood sugar went up and up. Then I discovered the Blood Sugar 101 site, and began to embrace low carb eating.

That helped me lose down to 235-245, and I was on that plateau for several years. Now with the addition of intermittent fasting to my personal medical practice, I have lost down to the 215-225 range.  I am headed for the range of 180-190.

Any change in your dietary habits should be discussed with your doctor.  I am not a doctor, I am your cyber neighbor and this is a chat over coffee on the front porch.

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.

And I know, this is tedious advice, but “not knowing” the consequences of the food you eat is a recipe for diabetic disaster.  So invest in some tedious record keeping and reap rewards of health and longevity and avoidance of diabetic complications.

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. With the right combination of diet and intermittent fasting, you can reduce your blood sugar to non-diabetic levels.

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?

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.  Don’t go for fast weight loss.  In my case, I seem to move from plateau to plateau, but that’s fine as long as the plateaus are at lower levels. You want to avoid losing a lot and then gaining a lot. That’s a prescription for heat disease which no one needs. Slow but steady is fine. 

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.  Look for the grams of carbohydrates and the grams of fiber. We like fiber grams.

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. They take out the fat, which removes a lot of flavor, so what do they do? Add sugar! Everyone loves sugar! 

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 and increasing the amounts of health fats.  Many people speak of “Low Carb/Healthy Fat” as a description of their “way of eating.”

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 a side dish at any meal, by shredding it and frying it in bacon fat, then I scramble my eggs in it.  I shred it and use it in place of rice to make an Asian fried “faux rice” dish.

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 some fiber in it — like chia seed, ground flax seed, or psylium powder.

Regarding the chia seed, I mix it with the yogurt, and let it set overnight in the refrigerator to make kind of a low carb pudding.  Add a little stevia and some cocoa powder and voila, low carb chocolate pudding.  Vanilla extract? Low carb vanilla pudding. 

Regarding psylium. . . when you mix it with the yogurt, eat immediately.  Stevia and cocoa also improve the experience.

Since life indeed is short, many people suggest that we should “eat dessert first.”  This kind of yogurt/fiber/flavoring pudding is a great dessert to eat before your meal. 

Dietary fiber is totally essential for diabetics. It helps regulate your blood sugar. Psylium is a way to add some fiber to your diet.

Take some vinegar before meals.  Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 pint or more of water and drink in the half hour before a meal. Vinegar has a long history as a folk treatment for diabetes, and the scientists say there probably is something to the association.

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. Practically any vegerable except corn would work. Green beans are nearly universal in the restaurant world and they are a low carb treat.  Get something grilled, baked, or pan fried. Avoid breadings and batters unless you make them at home, tweaking them for low carbiness.  Most kitchens can do some grilled veggies as a side.  When I eat out for breakfast, instead of hash brown potatoes I ask for a side dish made of grilled onions, jalapenos, and tomatoes, smothered in brown gravy.  And then I order a salad instead of the bread. So for a restaurant breakfast I might have fried eggs and bacon, the jalapeno/onion/tomato/brown gravy side dish, and a nice salad with ranch dressing.  (Restaurant vinaigrettes are usually too sugared up for my taste.)

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. Tell them the more diabetic friendly they can make the restaurant, the more likely you will be back for more of their great tasting food!.

If you must eat at 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. They may have a low sugar sauce.

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 means avoiding enchiladas and that kind of Tex-Mex food. 

The talk advising diabetics to “eat whole grains” is not actually good advice for diabetics.  If you are going to eat something like bread, it is marginally better if you eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread.  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.

Each slice of 100% whole wheat bread has 12 grams of carbohydrates and only 2 grams of fiber, so that’s 10 grams of carbohydrate. . . which is TWO and ONE HALF TEASPOONS OF SUGAR in every slice.   A slice of white bread has 15 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber.  That’s THREE and ONE HALF TEASPOONS OF SUGAR per slice.  So going the “whole grain” route saves you one teaspoon of sugar. Big whoop.

If you fast, you must also feast.  The rhythm of every year has times of celebration, and if you are going to indulge in some non-low carb foods, the holidays and celebrations of our annual turn of the calendar are the places for that. Just make sure that every day doesn’t become a holiday to be celebrated with a food feast. So yes, there will be a place for cornbread stuffing, hot rolls, chocolate cream pie, and dumplings.

Low-carb prepared products are a mixed bag.
 There are a lot of low carb/high fiber flat breads on the market these days, and some of them are pretty good.

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.  Low carb snacks are actually building blocks of low carb meals.
boiled eggsnuts (pecans, almonds, peanuts, etc.)TunaChickenBeef jerky (watch out for sugar as an ingredient)Pork rinds (yes, it’s really true, these are low carb)Greek yogurtSandwich 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 cheeseCheeseA 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