What to Eat?

As a diabetic, whether you eat vegetarian, vegan, keto or a plain old omnivores diet, you should be eating clean, whole foods. 

“I eat whole foods all the time. Whole pizza or a whole bag of chips!”  

That’s not what I’m talking about. Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed or have had very little processing and in my books, should be organic or clean whenever possible – but more on that later. 

Processed foods are stripped of nutrients and then pumped full of preservatives, food dyes, and other unhealthy ingredients like sugars, fats and fillers. When we consume processed foods not only are we losing most of the nutrients that food naturally contains, we’re also getting many additives and hormones that are not natural and that are essentially toxic to our bodies.  These foods are also higher in unneeded calories that can lead to weight gain and various health problems.

Where to Start

Almost all convenience items are out. Menu planning is in. 

Eating well is more expensive, no question, but you will soon notice that you’re probably eating less food because of the better quality and nutrient density will be more satiating. Also, because it’s unprocessed, it has less hidden carbs and sugars that will spike your insulin and then make you feel hungry when it dips and triggers hunger pains. Some whole food lists on the internet only contain vegetable based items but there are also animal proteins that you can include.

Here’s a list of whole foods that you can fill your pantry and fridge with – and a couple of points to consider. First, this list doesn’t include canned and usually not even jarred foods but you can find some great fermented items that are sold in jars at local markets or health food markets. The important thing is to read the label and if it has more than a couple of ingredients (or ones you can’t pronounce!) then it probably is not whole or clean. It is a great idea to know your food sources too, so go meet a farmer or two and learn where your food comes from. Once you do, you may want to get involved with CSA (Community-supported Agriculture) in your area.

Proteins should be as wild or organic and Non-GMO as possible, whether it’s grass feed beef, wild caught fish or even feral animals. These should be your first choice. Words like Natural or farm-raised are not government regulated and can be very misleading. As one whole food advocate said to me: “Uranium is natural but doesn’t mean it’s good for you!” 

VEGETABLES: 

Organic Ideally in their whole state. Free of pesticides and herbicides. Artichokes, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Green Beans Eggplant Salad Greens, Kale, Cabbage, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Broccoli, Cauliflower Butternut, Zucchini, Acorn Squash Pumpkin, Yams Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Rutabagas, Celery, Rhubarb, Radishes, Corn, Mushrooms Red, Russet, Sweet Potatoes Onions, Chives, Garlic Bell Peppers, Jalapeños.

LEGUMES:

Not canned but dried. Pinto, Black, Navy, Garbanzo, Kidney, Lentils, Edamame, Split Peas. 

PROTEIN:

Organic, wild-caught, grass fed finished. Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Beef, Tofu, Tempeh, Salmon, Tuna, White Fish, Crab, Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Shrimp, Milk, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Soy, Almond, Rice Milk (Note: avoid dairy products that contain carrageenan), Eggs. 

WHOLE GRAINS:

Brown, Jasmine, Basmati or Wild Rice, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Couscous, Millet, Multi-whole grain or sprouted-grain Bread and Pasta, Barley, Farro, Bulgur Wheat, Wheat Berries, Buckwheat. 

FRUITS:

Organic (Note: As a diabetic these should be portioned). Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Oranges, Tangerines, Lemons, Limes, Papaya, Mango, Banana, Persimmons, Kiwi, Pineapple, Apples, Pears Grapes, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Tomatoes (yes it’s a fruit).

HEALTHY FATS: 

Organic Grass fed Butter, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Seeds, Nuts and Nut Butters, Flax Seeds, Organic Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder. 

*I know I’ll infuriate a lot of dieticians and nutritionists but please avoid vegetable fats, especially Canola.  New studies have linked it to all kinds of problems in the body, especially as a precursor to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  See the following link for more about it.  https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/27/canola-oil-health-effects.aspx 

Finally, the important thing to remember is that when you’re shopping in the supermarket, most of the whole and healthy items are on the perimeter of the store so avoid the middle aisles. 

As a Person With Diabetes (PWD) you know how important food is to your life. Eating clean, whole foods is a good start. This article doesn’t address carb counting, portioning or the many other things to consider as a PWD – but it’s a great beginning.

What are the must haves in your pantry? Come join the discussion on the T2DXX Facebook Page.

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2019-05-23T22:11:14+00:00May 23rd, 2019|Food, Patient-Centered|

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