Eating Well with Diabetes

Cooking with a Pot

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

Six years ago I got the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It felt like I was forced into a shot-gun wedding. Whether or not I liked it, I was stuck. There would be no divorce until medical science came up with a cure. So I guess I am in this for the long haul. I intend to make the best of it.

I do

With the history in my family I decided to make the changes that will assist me in living a healthier and I hope, longer life. It did not happen all at once but over time. I got easier and easier.

I don’t

I certainly don’t want to get sicker, and I most certainly don’t want to lose a limb or have vision problems.

I do

I actually enjoy good food and cooking. I love to “wow” people and myself with some new concoction.

I don’t

Giving up the foods I like is simply not in the cards. I had to decide how important they are for me. I don’t want to feel so deprived that I won’t stick with a plan, (not just for a few weeks until I lost some weight), but for life and the good quality of that life. From time to time (for me) I at least think about a cheat.

I do

The “suggested” serving size for so many of the higher carbohydrates is so small that I push away from the table sad and unhappy. What I learned to do is make the small portion taste so good and fill my plate with other things that taste so good, that I hardly notice what I am missing. For example: I still make “Fish and chips”. I do it in the oven with only one side of the fish coated with crumbs and make oven “fried” potatoes to go along with it. The simple trick (for me) is to fill the plate with Skinny Slaw. I have always loved it and I can have a plate-load of it with very few grams of carbohydrates. Full plate, great taste, happy face! I never forget the tartar sauce made with a sugar free pickle relish.

I don’t

I love savory foods and I like sweet treats. I don’t see a need to give them up. For me, and it is MY choice, I am fine with using a sugar substitute. I won’t recommend one to my readers. It is your choice to use what works for you. I don’t get caught up in the argument that this one is bad, this one is good. All I will do is suggest that you look at the science and NOT get caught up in anyone else’s hysteria.

I do

If it doesn’t taste good, you are not gonna eat it. Eating foods you like will help you stick to your eating plan. My household is wackazoid for fish. Yours might not be. My suggestion is to look at why you don’t like a food. Is it really the taste? Or is it the texture or the odor. Is it because you never had it before? The other day I was talking about a Gorgonzola cheese I like. I asked my friend if he liked Gorgonzola cheese. His immediate response was NO!!! A minute or so later he said: “I never had that kind of cheese”

I don’t

Why close your mind to new foods or spices? As a kid I hated pizza. I managed to do this without ever trying it. It looked yucky to this 6 year old kid. Give it a shot. If you really don’t like it, you never have to eat it again.

I do

Settling for less than the best won’t work. Buy the very best product your budget allows. Also remember that because it is inexpensive does not mean it is not good. That gorgonzola cheese I like so much far less expensive than most, but tastes like it cost a bundle.

I don’t

I try very hard not to let having Diabetes get me down. It is not the worst disease one can have, but it is serious and like us, needs to be treated with care and respect.

ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!

Click here for Ward's Margarita Tart recipe!

Get more cooking tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Photo credit: Nick Abalde on Flickr