There’s something no diabetic wants when they’ve got diabetes, and that’s a sweet tooth. I’m part of the one half of the population that would choose sweet over savoury. I’m the person who
gets would get excited about Starbuck’s flavoured lattes at Christmas. I’d be the one dipping biscuits into my sugared tea, and finishing every meal with desert. I would sit and devour a giant bar of chocolate washed down with a big glass of milk. And I’d love every minute of it.
Alas, my love affair with all things sugary was rudely interrupted by diabetes after 25 sweet, sweet years and that would mark my End of Part One. With my pancreas well and truly munted, I made the decisions to break up with carbohydrates. The decision itself was an easy one, based not only on my long term health but because of the immediate unpleasant effects of carbohydrates on my body. However, the adjustment to a low carb diet from a high carb one was mother-flipping hard. I’m not gonna sugar coat it (haha). Carbohydrates are addictive and breaking addictions are tough. But I’ve always been up for a challenge, and as far as I’m concerned, this is a fight for my life.
So what do I eat?
The most important meal of the day. I love breakfast. Lucky for me and my fellow diabetics, bacon is completely carb free. You can look high and low for the carbohydrates in any of these nine delicious, standard breakfasts and you’ll struggle. As you can see, I eat a lot of bacon and eggs (I substitute milk for avocado oil in the scrambled eggs)
For lunches and dinners, I’ve had to be a bit more inventive than I used to be, but it’s not been impossible. There are many low carb alternatives out there..it’s just finding and creating them. Instead of rice, I put cauliflower in a hand food processor (or grate it) and fry it in salt and pepper. Instead of pasta, I make courgetti (vegetable peeled courgette, lightly boiled or sautéed). Instead of regular noodles, I’ve found a brand of Japanese noodles called Shiritaki (or Yam) noodles, and they only have 3 grams of carbs per 100g serving. Instead of regular pizza, I make it with a cauliflower base. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…
If I’m working, chances are I’ll get myself a burger without the bun. So instead of a gigantic carb filled bun, I get all the goodness wrapped in fancy lettuce. It’s always super delicious, not to mention the marginal impact on my blood sugar levels. Win-win.
Eating out is
slightly much more of an issue. There are carbs in almost everything. A salad is the safest option – and sashimi is delicious. One of my favourite places to go for lunch in town is a place that does the best ribs and chips for only $15 – I just substitute the chips for salad and ask for the ribs to be lightly basted. Also on a Tuesday a place does a kilo of chicken wings for $10 which is awesome.
…And that pretty much wraps up what I eat these days. It’s not always plain sailing though. Sometimes I want what other people have, but I deal with that better than eating something and finding out afterwards that it was full of sugar.
Tea and coffee
I’ve always been a big fan of a strong soy flat white coffee (I can’t drink New Zealand Milk, and for those of you in America – a flat white is kinda like a latte but with next to no foam)… but now I have a long black (hot water topped with a double espresso). When I’m making so much effort to eat low carb, it just seems silly to bolus for something as simple as a coffee. I’ve also tried making ‘bulletproof coffee’ at home (coffee blended with grass fed butter and coconut oil), which is actually pretty yummy and filling. I also used to drink a lot of English Breakfast tea with milk and sugars… so I’ve made the move towards Green and Peppermint tea instead, which doesn’t actually bother me anymore, and I enjoy them.
As a 25 year old living in a ski resort town full of backpackers, I spent my first Winter drinking…a lot. Nobody really goes on a night out without having a few Jager Bombs (a shot of Jaegermeister dropped into Red Bull), but now I have Coconut Tequila instead. Instead of beer or cider, I drink vodka and diet coke, or the occasional wine. I don’t drink half as much as I used to – partly because I don’t enjoy my ‘new’ drinks as much, and partly because I’m scared of the effects of alcohol on my blood sugar (usually they spend an evening slowly declining until I eat before hypo-ing).
So there you go! That’s what I eat, and drink, in a day. Every day. I don’t have the cravings for most carbs anymore, nor do I have any desire to eat them when I see them. Things like bread, pasta and rice are just something to have the tasty stuff with anyway. So why poison myself with food I can find an alternative for? I do often want chocolate still, so I need to cut that out entirely to eliminate cravings (I often buy sugar free), and occasionally I’ll crave a sweet, milky, tea, but I tell myself the same thing every time: it just isn’t worth it. I’m not depriving myself of anything eating this way, I’m giving myself a healthy body and life – my last HbA1c was 5.4%, and I have stable blood sugars with very few hypos and even rarer hypers. That’s why I do this.