The hardest part of having diabetes for me has always been, “What do you eat when you have diabetes?” This is my biggest failure, and the worst part of diabetes for me.
This is the reason I created my “Meal Tracker Plan” — an extremely simple to use checklist for diabetics like you and me to keep an eye on what we are eating so we will know if we are eating a healthy diet or one that is not good for our diabetes. You don’t need to count carbs to use this plan. You don’t need to write down what you are eating. You just put a checkmark into a box next to the type of food you have eaten, each time you put something into your mouth during the day.
Check out my free Meal Tracker right now!
Before we go any further, though, I have to be very honest here, and tell you that I’m an extremely picky eater. It’s VERY hard for me to find foods that are good for me that I like and will eat.
Probably the main reason for me being such a picky eater is because when I was 25 I had a major emergency surgery for a ruptured fallopian tube from a six-week pregnancy. The fertilized egg had lodged in my tube instead of the uterus and fallopian tubes don’t stretch to accommodate growing babies. They explode instead, which is exactly what happened to me.
After a week in the hospital following the emergency surgery to repair my broken insides, I came home with a major case of IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They didn’t call it that, back then, they called it Colitis. Later they changed the name of my condition to Spastic Colitis, and then still later to IBS. But no matter what they called it, it was the same thing – major upset to the digestive system, causing extremely painful cramping and alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation every time I ate anything.
Everything that was spicy (such as onions, garlic, chili, pepper), or had roughage in it (like nuts, beans, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, and raw fruits or vegetables) tore me to shreds. If I ate one bite of a raw apple or ate a little bit of an artichoke, I would be stuck in bed and in the bathroom for DAYS, writhing in pain. I had a very severe case of IBS!
And it was especially painful when I ate foods that would be considered “Healthy” foods, like green salads, fresh fruits and raw vegetables. The only foods that didn’t make me extremely ill were carb-filled — like rice, noodles and soft white breads. I could eat candy, all the sweets I wanted, milk and some cooked vegetables without too much distress. So that’s what I ate. Always.
For about 25 years I lived on soft, bland foods — vegetables cooked until no roughage was left in them, cakes, cookies and pies, milk, hot dogs and hamburgers and lots and lots of potatoes, noodles, rice and soft, white breads. I was still miserable, but not nearly as miserable as I would have been eating “healthy” foods!
And then <insert spooky, dramatic leading-up-to-a-major-crisis-in-a-movie soundtrack here> I found out I had diabetes.
Major Hysterical Crisis point in my life!
I could no longer eat sweets. Or starches. I could only eat vegetables (soft ones like green beans and zucchini and they had to be fully cooked for my IBS). I could only eat a few cooked fruits – no raw ones except bananas. The only meats that didn’t tear me up were hamburger and hot dogs, but what good are they without the buns? Add in the fact that I’m allergic to cheese, and you can see that I definitely have a real problem finding foods that will work for me with both my IBS and my diabetes.
Talk about being in the dumps! It’s no wonder that for years I refused to believe I really did have diabetes! <See my post about Diabetes Denial for more information> And when I did finally accept the fact that I’m a diabetic, I was unbelievably frustrated because there were so few foods that I both liked and that were compatible with my IBS and my diabetes.
Are you frustrated, too? Does the very idea of keeping track of what you eat make you want to run screaming from the room? Do you need to lose weight or control your carbohydrates for your diabetes? Fear not — I have some ideas that might help you.
There is a free Meal Tracker download on this website that I’ve created just for people like me. The Meal Tracker is an extremely easy way to log your meals — without having to count calories or carbs. All you have to do is print the Meal Tracker list out once a week and every day put a checkmark in the boxes for that day next to the kind of food you eat, each time you put something into your mouth.
At the end of the day, look at your checkmarks. If most of them are at the top of your list, you are eating well. If most of them are at the bottom of your list, you need to eat more healthy foods and less sweetening, carb-filled foods. If most of your checkmarks are in the middle of the list, you will want to improve the overall quality of your foods if you intend to be as healthy as you can be. That’s it. It’s that simple.
Too many diabetes diets contain foods that I cannot or will not eat. When I try to follow those diet plans, I get tense, frustrated and soon give up. Does this happen to you, too? I’ve finally found a “system” that works for me and I’m going to share it with you.
First I thought about all the foods that would be good for me as a diabetic, then the ones that are “okay” to eat and finally the ones that aren’t good for me at all. Next, from those lists I made another list of foods that I love and WOULD eat and that I could eat with my IBS. This new list became my personal diabetic diet.
Foods that are good for me (as a diabetic) are:
- Water (many glasses every day)
- Meats such as fish, chicken and lean beef
- Nuts and seeds
- Cheese (I can’t eat this because I’m allergic, but most diabetics can, so I’m including it for you)
Foods that are “okay” in small amounts to eat are:
- Whole wheat breads
- Milk & other dairy products
- Butters & oils
- High carb vegetables such as carrots and corn
Foods that are not good for my glucose numbers are:
- Fruit juices (especially pulp-free juices)
- Soft white breads
- Sugars and sugary foods – desserts like ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies and candy
From those category lists I wrote down specific foods that I can and will eat — concentrating on the healthiest food category. I listed things like meat loaf, meatballs, grilled white fish, cooked green beans, avocados, zucchinis, canned peaches (in unsweetened juice), bananas and unsweetened applesauce. Once my list was complete, I knew which foods were going to be the “staples” of my new diet plan. A plan of healthy foods created just for me – foods I will ENJOY eating that will keep me healthy and happy and that won’t cause my IBS or my diabetes to destroy me!
And then I created my Meal Tracker program to help me stay on target. And it’s working! My stress levels are down and my glucose numbers are much better, too. I hope the Meal Tracker free download file will help you, too. Try it out today!
Until next time,