There are few topics guaranteed to polarise and cause debate like food and what we are eating. Our choice of what we put in our mouths will always generate comments, whether invited (and welcome) or not. And add diabetes to the mix and it gets even worse. From ‘Should you be eating that’ to ‘Here, this is low fat, low sugar, high cardboard content’, we get it all!
I wrote a couple of months ago about how I had unintentionally started eating low(er) carb, and shared my thoughts on how that was going. I’ve also made a few comments on my social media feeds about some things I’d been trying. Interestingly, and as a result, I’ve been contacted by complete and utter strangers wanting to give me their thoughts. This in itself is not that odd; I frequently have messages from people I don’t know about my blog.
What is different here though, is the tone that is often used. And it is not always particularly positive. I’ve been accused from jumping on a bandwagon, loving Pete Evans (that one made me laugh for about four days straight!), letting down the team and being untrue to my Italian heritage. I ignored them all.
I’m a few months in now and couldn’t really care less what people think. I am trying something to try to improve my own diabetes management, not anyone else’s and I’m certainly not even considering suggesting that this is something others might like to try. The My Diabetes My Rules thing possibly applies here more than anywhere else.
The experiment has been continuing, and what I have been most interested in is not only the results regarding my diabetes, but I also really wanted to know if this change in my hearting habits is truly sustainable.
So, a couple of things I want to say to begin with. I have not adopted low carb high fat as a way of life for me. I am ad hoc at best. There are some things that I refuse to change and I have no problem with that at all. This lack of real commitment has drawn criticism from a few people who also thought they would message me to say that if I wasn’t doing low carb high fat properly that I was a fraud and should just shut up. I ignored them too. (That’s the beauty of writing your own blog – you don’t have to listen to people!)
The sustainability issue seems to have worked for me by muddling through the best way I can, making sure that I never say no to something I really want to eat. And perhaps, that was the ‘Aha’ moment for me. There is no right way to do this – except the way that works for me.
For example: I love bread. Love it. Adore it. Love. Love. Love. But there is bread and there is bread. When I eat bread, I only eat bloody good bread. Like a beautiful, chewy seeded sourdough from Baker D Chirico, bought fresh from the bakery and slathered with lashings of real butter – preferably French; always salted.
I’ve decided that there is no point eating a piece of highly processed square bread out of a packet that is not freshly baked and is full of preservatives. So I don’t eat it.
My breakfast most mornings continues to be a milky coffee. I’m nor cutting out the milk or the sugar, even though I know both do raise my BGLs. But I manage that as well as I can, hoping for no spike within half an hour of consumption. I am not good in the mornings without that first (and often second) coffee. And for the love of all that is good and those around me, it’s best that I just have my latte and get on with it.
Overcoming the mindset of needing to eat carbs has been a huge challenge for me. HUGE. It is possibly a combination of 18 years of conditioning about the need to include carbs in my meals and also generally loving carb-based foods.
But there are options. And as I work out what they are, meals are becoming easier.
Where I think I have been getting the biggest bang for my buck is adapting evening meals to be lower carb. This has resulted in far nicer glucose levels in the evenings, overnight and, subsequently, in the mornings. For me, it’s complete
ly and utterly undeniable that not loading with carbs equals diabetes that is far easier and nicer to try and manage.
So, here are just a few things that I’ve prepared recently to give you an idea of what I have been doing to lower my carb intake. Often, my evening meal is zero carbs which is generally what I have been aiming for as this offers the best post-prandial results.
For the colder months, the oven has been working overtime, cooking braises and stews for hours at a time. Or one pan wonders like this that combine chicken, chorizo, lemon, garlic and spinach.
I always love to serve them with mashed potatoes, but have tried mashed cauliflower instead. I refused to even entertain the thought of mashed cauli until recently, when I decided to try it and have found it it delicious. (I either steam or bake it first
and then pulverise it with a stick blender with salted butter (lots) and milk. Or cream if I have some in the fridge.) I can eat a huge bowl of it and my glucose levels do not shift a smidge. (I know this to be true because I have, on several occasions, eaten nothing but a huge bowl of it for dinner and then watched the flat line of my CGM.)
Actually, cauliflower has become a favourite food. And it’s insanely cheap at the moment. Roasted cauli has become another staple. My favourite way is to cut out the core and bake it whole, drizzled with olive oil, oregano and fresh garlic. But cauliflower is one of those veggies that simply soaks up flavours, so anything goes. I’ve also tried lemon, garlic and rosemary which works a treat. (I’ve worked out that steaming the cauli in the microwave for about 5 minutes first cuts the cooking time down, so usually I do that before shoving it in the oven.)
I made low carb gnocchi one night with hazelnut meal instead of flour and tossed them through a burnt butter and sage sauce, with tiny pieces of crispy fried pancetta sprinkled on top.
Do I feel as though I missing out on anything? Not really. Because if I want something, I still eat it. No foods are considered taboo, there are still no ‘good’ or bad’ foods. I still bake heaps and sample everything I make. (Case in point – these amazing squidgy choc-chip cookies I made the other day that are delicious!)
But what I do know is that minimising riding the blood glucose rollercoaster makes me feel better and this is by far the easiest way I have ever known to do that. It’s not perfect and there are still un-explained highs and lows. There is no name for this way of eating. But it is working for me, so for now, I’ll stick to it.