Solving the Mystery of Good Diabetes Eating


For many, eating deliciously well when you have Diabetes seems to be an unsolvable mystery. “I have Diabetes, how can anything taste good ever again?

If you have been reading along with me all these years, you know already that everything you really crave is available to you one way or another. Want cake? There are lots of cake recipes that taste outrageously good and still fit into our carbohydrate budgets. Same is true with ice cream. There are a number of lower carbohydrate brands on the market. For me, most important is good chocolate. It is all out there for you to find, if you are willing to play THE game.

You don’t have to play you can just minimize the amounts that you eat, of what you want. It works for many people with Diabetes to do exactly that. For those of us that want more substantial portions of great tasting food, I will quote Sherlock Holmes and tell you:

“The game is afoot.”

What I have learned to do over the past eight years is to both find foods that already exist and fit into my carbohydrate budget, and to invent, or create other dishes from scratch. The food detective in me is intent on deducing what ingredients are going to solve the mystery of: GREAT foods folks with Diabetes will love. The “Murder most foul” of our enjoyment of eating is in the process of being solved. Ok, I know I just mixed in a little Jane Marple with my Sherlock. Hey, I will take all the help I can get.

The choices may be either a very small serving of a great French bread or a larger portion of one of several other lower carbohydrate bread products. You need to test the evidence (breads) out for yourself to find those that are pleasing to you. Sometimes (and we deserve those times) ONLY the great bread will do. Other times the other choices are perfect for our needs…and wants. Even I don’t crave French bread and butter for every sandwich or an everyday breakfast. Every region has a few bread products that are lower in carbohydrates and DON’T taste like dried cardboard. If your region does not have a lot of great choices, look online for products that will fit you needs. I order my pita from back east. It tastes great and makes wonderful garlic bread and pizza.

There is always the red herring. Some of us simply do not, and will not, eat certain foods, red herrings or mushrooms for instance. It is ok. If we never ate them before, there is no need to eat them now. There are too many other foods in the sea for us to stumble upon without ever having to eat a red herring or in my case, a lima bean. Hmmm. Red herring and lima bean soufflé? One of the good (?) things about Diabetes is that there are no foods we HAVE to eat to keep us healthy. Cinnamon may, or may not be helpful in controlling our blood glucose, but we don’t have to eat it if we don’t like it. I love a sprinkle of cinnamon in my coffee, but I use it more for the flavor than the curative possibilities. Putting cinnamon on a high carbohydrate dish isn’t going to do much good.

Exploring new foods to enjoy that help you manage is somewhat like a locked room murder. There are these no way, no how foods that we never considered. as likely suspects for us to enjoy. They could not possibly be any good to eat. Then again…
spaghetti squash. Cauliflower was ok, but did not seem to be likely as a great substitute for potato, much less rice. I had to take out my imaginary magnifying glass and closer examine the properties of that humble vegetable. Turns out I was wrong…..again. They work wonderfully to add volume to a plate. Like the high carbohydrate alternatives, they take on the properties of what is around them.

Spaghetti squash was something I never thought of using. I had no reason to use it. I just didn’t. Both these items have the ability to be transformed into dishes that are much more delicious that one would suspect. The big reveal came when the innocent spaghetti squash turned into a glorious dessert. It was a way of enjoying a very old favorite taste and texture, rice pudding, in a way and amount that did not bust the carbohydrate budget.

I mentioned chocolate. It was the first food I asked about at my doctor’s office back in 2008. My doctor indicated that it might be possible to have a “little” from time to time. Eureka! How pleased I was to discover that dark coco powder was not a high carbohydrate food. I have several chocolate desert recipes that are as rich and wonderful as what I have always enjoyed. The portions are all people sized portions, not a quarter of a teaspoon of cake or cream. Occasionally I have a couple of squares of a 70% + chocolate bar.

If you have been to a Diabetes clinic or a specialist, I am fairly certain that you have been told to read labels. Make sure that as you read those labels you look not just at the carbohydrates but also the fiber. Most important, please look at the serving size. EVERYTHING is low in carbohydrates if the serving size is small enough. The thing is ONLY YOU can deduce if that serving size is going to satisfy you. Sadly, the manufacturers of most packaged foods work at confusing us as to how low in carbohydrates or calories the product actually is. My guess is that they are hoping we look at the nutritional information but not at the serving size. Like all mysteries, the clues are hidden in plain sight.

It may not seem easy to solve the mystery of great Diabetes-Compatible eating.
Just remember that the sleuthing can be a fun challenge in itself and give you something else to think about instead of worrying about Diabetes. Do I detect the scent of burnt almonds?

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!