Food Plays A Key Role In Proper Nutrition
How to find balance.
I always thought a lot about diet and watched what I ate. Yet today, I eat 100% differently than a few years ago when I thought I knew what was healthy and what wasn’t. I will not use the word healthy in the following text because it is a favorite phrase that sells everything, and at least what really contributes to our health. On second thought, a lot of what I eat today, I ate in my childhood as well, and later discarded for the belief that it would make me fat and make me sick.
In the last 2 years, I have been intensively researching how to feed the whole family. It is difficult to decide which “current” of dietary guidelines to follow, each has its pros and cons. Following the circumstances that befell me, my health problems and my child’s diabetes mellitus, I didn’t have too many choices. I had to change something to heal myself and to regulate my child’s glycemia more easily.
We choose foods that are Low-Carb, but we do not follow any strict guidelines on the amount and proportion of which types of foods in the meal. Calculating carbs in every meal made me quite tired and I managed to get rid of it. Now, I know by heart how much carbs each food we eat and I deductively estimate how much is in the meal. Generally, my goal is to maintain the same amounts of carbs per meal because that way I manage to maintain the predictability of glycemia after a meal. It is crucial to eat foods that will affect your blood sugar a little and slowly. Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution (p. 110).
In preparing meals and choosing food, I was guided solely by logic and feeling and Libre showed me with his curve after each meal whether I was on the right or wrong path.
So what does one of our LC meals look like?
There are quality, and extremely tasty substitutes for rice. When I say substitute, I am not comparing nutritionally, but I am guided by our customs and habits in preparing meals, and rice is certainly one of the foods that is often part of the main course. The food that I use to change rice and use it a lot in the preparation of meals is cauliflower. I have never considered this food to be delicious, nor have I prepared it before. Searching the sea of LC recipes on the internet, I saw that it is often mentioned, so I was encouraged to try it.
I tried the cauliflower rice and was thrilled. The perfect side dish for a whole range of dishes such as Bolognese sauce, “risotto” with meat, baked cutlets. The basic recipe is very simple. The cauliflower is mixed in a blender with water (to make it easier to chop), and the strain is grated on some fat until it dehydrates. And that’s it. The total process takes a maximum of 30 minutes. It can be seasoned with onion, bacon, or with various added spices to taste.
I served it to the children for the first time with Bolognese. I grated more cheddar cheese on top and added a tablespoon of full-fat sour cream. The meal flared up in an instant. Cauliflower made in this way resembles quinoa, so at first, the children didn’t even think of eating something new.
In one meal we would eat 150-200 grams of cauliflower per person, which is approx. 8-10 Carbohydrates. The same amount of rice has 45 Carbohydrates. I also didn’t have to restrict amounts, she can eat as much as she likes. Furthermore, with that meal, she doesn’t have to take a huge amount of insulin, which can lead us to hyper or hypo because of imprecise calculation or other circumstances.
You can really use cauliflower in many ways. I use it in various meals with meat and vegetables such as a casserole, mash it with potatoes, use it as a base for pizza. We eat it at least 3 times a week, in one of the meals I listed above. Thereby I emphasize that the quantity of cauliflower in one meal is roughly about 60%. So we mostly eat a lot of vegetables with the addition of meat and fats.
And where is the fat?
In this example, the fat is found in the bolognese sauce, then in the cauliflower because it is prepared on the fat, in the cream and grated cheese. So the fat present is from a source of animal and vegetable origin (coconut oil, olive oil). It’s the usual amount of fat I use in cooking, only it’s a little fortified with cream and cheese, which may not be the case in a regular kitchen. If we look at the official diabetic guidelines for an 1800-calorie-a-day lunch with 2 units of fat or 10g of fat, this roughly corresponds to the amount served for the child. By reducing carbs, I actually changed the ratio of carbs to fat, without significantly increasing fat.
Instead of High-Carb foods, I often use green beans as well, and now in the winter season sauerkraut. Green beans are great to combine with Bolognese sauce with the addition of grated Cheddar cheese or just lightly cooked and serve them prepared on a salad. Although beans are not LC food, they are regularly on our menu in combination with sauerkraut. Insulin doses for this meal do not exceed 1 unit of NR per meal. For this we actually give the highest doses of insulin per meal, and I always combine not to bolus more than 1 unit of NR. Our usual boluses are between 0.5 unit of NR and 0.7 unit of NR.
I mostly buy groceries at the farmer’s market, a very small part in supermarkets. I also buy dairy products at the farmers market: butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, sweet cream (I use it in recipes instead of cooking cream) then eggs, meat, sauerkraut, all vegetables, and fruits. We don’t eat a lot of fruit, it’s usually 1 fruit in the afternoon when I see on the Libre curve that the sugar is falling. We try to eat everything seasonally and as little industrially processed as possible and without harmful additives.
When I don’t have too much time to prepare dinner, we eat LC buns with a spread of cheese or peanut butter with Greek yogurt and with the obligatory addition of fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, or peppers. Full-fat cottage cheese and cream with a boiled egg or cheese and egg pancakes are also a great choice and we achieve perfectly stable glycemia.
One of the biggest misconceptions that certainly no longer fits the time where CGM or FGM devices for continuous measurement are increasingly used, is giving milk or low-fat yogurt before bed. Skim milk and yogurt in our case have an amazing effect on glycemia and keep sugars high (over 10 mmol / l) throughout the night. Children have dinner around 19:00 and go to bed at 20:00 so we do not need an extra meal before bed, but if yogurt is added for dinner then it is always Greek yogurt and we have excellent and stable glycemia with it and sometimes we do not bolus it at all. We expelled the milk completely because in addition to the fact that our blood sugar rises a lot, we have elevated glycemia 24 hours after consumption and we need higher doses of basal insulin than usual.
Our experience and findings of fats in the blood, show us that fats should not be afraid but carefully combined, because they help us maintain stable glycemia and prolong the feeling of satiety.