what's the deal then, you ask? how the heck am i supposed to figure out what to eat?
listen to michael pollan, a food activist i'm going to blatantly steal from here:
eat real food. mostly plants. not too much.
if you have diabetes and can make that your food mantra, you will live a long, healthy life.
(i do want to point out that he's not promoting vegetarianism, he was just trying to point out what to fill most of your plate with when you eat, and to make it what truly 'fills' you.)
think of all the frankenfoods and over-processed foods we've been taught are normal: cereal, snack bars, crackers, cookies, sports drinks, muffins, pasta, chips...the list is endless. there's a reason you feel tired and hungry after you eat these foods: your body is having to work way too hard to process them. they are fillers. they confuse the human body and make it spill waaay more insulin than it was designed to. it doesn't matter if you have type 1: you are your pancreas now and will only have to take more of the blessed hormone. this is where the term glycemic load comes in and why it's more important than glycemic index: you never want the foods you are eating to be a 'heavy' load on your pancreas' output ability...hello type 2 diabetes! where do you think we get the terms "carb coma" and insulin resistance from? why do unhealthy type 1 diabetics begin to resemble unhealthy type 2's over the years? don't give your body more than it can 'carry.'
the key to low glycemic eating is just real food. i eat a lot of fruits and veggies (very few are high glycemic, here's a list i used to start learning after my diagnosis) and when it comes to grains and legumes, i eat just that: grains and legumes in their most basic form. that means you just do your best to stay away from any real food that's had the life processed out of it: fruit into juice, wheat into white flour, sweeteners so refined they resemble nothing of their former plant self. call it bad-cosmetic-surgery-on-food.
when in doubt, ask yourself:
- is it real food? (in as close to its natural state for me to consume?)
- is it an 'old' food? (how long have humans been eating it? real food is old food.)
- did you make it? (how many ingredients did you use: less is more.)
- does it have its own rich color or one that is dyed? (naturally dark pigmented foods are vital nutrient sources.)
- has it been sweetened? (does it really need to be?)
- did i break it down more than it should be? (i.e., potatoes with skin turned into peeled mashed potatoes)
- what 'kind' of sweet is it? (fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose: the larger the molecule, the longer it'll take your liver to turn into glucose: this is gentle, this is good.)