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Let’s Take a Look At What’s The Best Diabetic Diet Meal Plan and What Are The Best Foods
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Hey, Yuri Elkaim here. Welcome to another episode of the SNA Health Class. Today is going to be a brief one and very important one. We’re going to be talking about diet for diabetes. Basically what foods are good for diabetics.
The reason I want to talk about this today is because diabetes, as you’re probably aware of, is a rampant, it’s out of control, it is a very, very, very big problem in North America. It’s very closely linked with overweightness and obesity and even not. Even if you’re not obese, you still have risk of diabetes depending on the quality of your diet.
In this episode I want to give you some action steps, some specific foods, and things to consider with respect to diabetes. Actually, before we go any further, I actually have a very special report called “The Diabetes Debacle,” which you can get at DiabetesDebacle.com. You’ll discover how type 2 diabetes really comes about and what we can do to reverse it—what you can do to reverse it—in, really, a matter of a couple weeks, couple months maybe.
The thing I don’t understand about type 2 diabetes is that as out of control as it is, it’s 100 percent lifestyle. One hundred percent. There is a very, very, very small and insignificant portion that’s genetics.
My dad had type 2 diabetes when he was in his early forties, and the reason he developed that was simply because of his lifestyle: stress, alcohol consumption, lots of meats, lots of refined sugars, blah, blah, blah, and he obviously was packing on some weight in his midsection. Those are all correlated with development of type 2 diabetes.
It’s very easy—easy in theory, tougher in practice—to really make this stuff go away. If you think about why diabetes develops, it really comes about mainly through our diet. If you eat a diet that is high in refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, those are the main two culprits. Anything that’s going to set your blood sugar out of whack is really going to be the main cause over time.
And the more you do that, the more you continue to eat refined sugars, what that does is sends your blood sugar through the roof, insulin is then released to take the blood sugar out of the blood and into the muscles to be stored. So, the more often insulin is present in your bloodstream, the greater the probability of your muscle cells and your cells, overall, in your body, the greater the likelihood of them becoming more resistant or less sensitive to insulin.
Because if insulin’s always present, your cells say, “You know what? Man, I’m tired of this already. You’re knocking on our door every single day, dude. Come on, really? We don’t want your stuff.”
It would be like having cold callers call your house every single day. What do you do eventually? You stop answering the phone. The exact same thing happens in your body with insulin. If there’s too much insulin all the time as a result of eating too much, eating the wrong foods, specifically sugars—and when I’m talking about sugars, I’m not talking about fruits; I’m talking about refined sugars, the stuff in packages, the sugars that are added in processed foods, and then, obviously, white breads and most grains.
When we have these constant levels of sugar in the blood, insulin is a necessary hormone that takes the sugar and stores it. But, if it’s constantly circulating in the blood, your body gets insensitive to it. It says, “Okay, you know what? I’m not going to respond to this anymore.” And that basically leads to the first stage to developing diabetes or insulin resistance; you become resistant to insulin.
How do we set that right? How do we get that back on track? Well, the first thing is, you need to look at ways to minimize the levels of insulin in your body. The first thing you want to think about is reducing foods that spike your blood sugar, so move away from the foods I just mentioned: refined carbohydrates and sugars. Do not eat those foods.
Even when it comes to fruit, if you have type 2 diabetes, I would not recommend eating a lot of the high-glucose types of fruits. The tropical ones, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, all that stuff. They’re terrific but initially, I wouldn’t really recommend eating too many of them.
Instead, focus on the berries. Berries are tremendous because they’re very high in antioxidants, which will help restore the health of your bloodstream and a great source of fiber. They’re a very low glycemic index of foods. We’ll talk about glycemic-index foods in a moment.
You also want to look at pears and apples. They are lower in glucose, a little bit higher in fructose, but if you eat them in their whole state, there’s really no problem because they’re very low glycemic index, again, and you’re not getting these surges in blood sugar that you would get with bananas or dates or grapes or watermelon and stuff like that.
Let me define what a glycemic food, what makes a food high-glycemic or low-glycemic. When you eat a food, how quickly it is broken down and how quickly it spikes your blood sugar is essentially what determines if it’s a high-glycemic food or not.
A great example of this is if you have a cracker, like one of those white crackers, we’ve probably all had them at some point in our life—the Premium Plus crackers, I think—if you put one of those on your tongue and close your mouth, it’ll dissolve in about 30 seconds. That is the epitome of white, refined carbohydrate.
You can do the same thing with white bread. Do the same thing. Take a piece of white bread, put it in your mouth, close your mouth, and it will dissolve in 30 seconds tops. And those are great indicators of how foods can quickly be digested—through salivary enzymes in this case—and when carbohydrates like that are broken down, they’re broken down into what? Glucose molecules.
And when we talk about blood sugar, we’re really talking about blood glucose, because glucose is the sugar that circulates in the blood. So, if you eat a lot of those foods, just imagine how quickly your blood sugar can get spiked. Candies, sweets, chocolates, all that kinds of stuff. Coke, sodas, they all are mainly formed around those types of sugars, and they’re very easily digested and very quick to increase your blood sugar.
Those would be known as high-glycemic index foods. Examples of that would be like white bread, white pasta, even potatoes are actually considered a high-glycemic food. I’m not a huge fan of potatoes—white potatoes, at least; sweet potatoes are a different story. But anything white: white bread, white pasta, even many cereals. If you think of a lot of kids’ cereals that are high in sugar; those are going to be high glycemic index.
Any food that’s a little bit closer to its natural state so that it contains the fiber and it contains maybe a bit of protein or fat to buffer how quickly that carbohydrate will be digested is going to be considered a lower-glycemic-index food. So, white bread is high-glycemic; whole wheat or whole-grain bread would be lower-glycemic-index because it has more fiber in it. The fiber slows down how quickly that bread is digested and how quickly a blood sugar response initiates as a result of it.
From a glycemic perspective, your dietitian will tell you move away from white bread and have whole-wheat bread. That’s fine but the best thing would actually be to not have bread at all, because we’ve mentioned that bread really has no nutritional merit at all in the human diet.
If you focus on eating things like if you have meat, for instance. Meat has very little carbohydrate in it, so it has a very, very low glycemic index. Now, this isn’t to say that you should go eat a lot of meat, but you want to start looking at foods that are lower on the glycemic index, and when you have your meals, you want to have a meal that has a lower glycemic load, which means that the composition of your meal, if you look at your plate, when you add all the components together, it has an overall low-glycemic load. The glycemic index of the individual foods add up to make a glycemic load.
Let’s look at an example. If you have pancakes with maple syrup, that would be a very high-glycemic load breakfast. If, as an alternative, you had, let’s say, an omelet with black beans and avocado on the side, that would be a lower glycemic load because the omelet is higher in protein, you have the fat from the avocado, and the beans are a really good carbohydrate, and they have a lot of good fiber in them. It’s a complex meal and it’s very, very good for mitigating the blood sugar response. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, more satiated, and it provides those different buffers, the protein and fat, to really minimize how quickly the nutrients are leaving the stomach in terms of their ability to impact blood sugar.
Does that make sense? I hope it does. Really, when you understand how diabetes works and how blood sugar response works, it really becomes a very simple equation. We want to be looking at things like…any vegetables are fine. Other than white potatoes, maybe carrots, to some degree, are a little bit high-glycemic, but any other vegetables are great. Think about all the green vegetables, the cruciferous vegetables, the green, leafy vegetables. All that stuff is awesome. You can eat that ’til the cows come home.
The fruit, as we talked about, focus on berries, apples, and pears. Those are nonsweet fruit, they’re low-glycemic-index, and they’re much better for you in terms of the overall nutrition they provide than some of the other very, very sweet fruit.
Grains, move away from the glutinous grains like wheat. Whether it’s whole wheat or white bread or 12-grain, it doesn’t matter; just get rid of it. Throw it in the garbage or burn it. Focus on the nonglutinous grains. Quinoa; quinoa is, like, 20 percent protein, so right there you know it’s not going to spike your blood sugar because it’s very, very high in protein, very high in fiber, very high in all these amazing nutrients. Quinoa would be an incredible grain for someone with diabetes. Amaranth, millet, those are also good examples. Buckwheat; these are all examples of grains that do not contain gluten, that are closer to their natural form. They have more fiber, they have more nutrition, and, therefore, they’re going to be better off for the diabetic.
And, remember, when I talk about diabetics, I’m talking about anybody. If anybody follows these recommendations, then you will be much healthier, much better off than about 95 percent of the population. So, instead of going to Starbucks and loading up with a caramel Frappuccino, mocha whatever that has 50 grams of sugar in it, just think about how all this stuff adds up, all these drinks, all these coffees, Red Bulls, sodas, premade fruit juices, all this stuff.
All these sugars add up and, over time, they take their toll. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, but we’re seeing diabetes occur in kids as young as eight or ten years old now. As parents, it’s our responsibility to not only eat cleaner for ourselves, but to eat cleaner and choose better foods for our households so we’re better examples for our kids and so they don’t have garbage to turn to. Candies, snacks, all that garbage, it should not come in the household. The only snacks that should be available as far as I’m concerned are ones that are made from scratch.
If you need a little bit of sweetness, you can look t things like, I’ll just give you a couple ideas of stuff that we’ve made recently. We made a halva, a raw halva, which is from the Eating for Energy program. Essentially, you can use pistachios. We used almonds in this case. We had soaked almonds, took about a cup of it, threw it in the food processor along with tahini, about a cup and a half of tahini. We threw in probably about a quarter cup of honey.
Here’s where you want to, if you’ve got diabetes, you don’t want to go crazy on the honey, because honey is obviously high glycemic index. Here’s what you do. You add a little bit of honey in from a binding perspective, so the honey will kind of be like glue, and then you add in a bit of stevia. The stevia will give that sweetness without the blood sugar glycemic stuff to it.
The beautiful thing there is that the walnuts—the almonds, in this case—or any other nut that you’re using has high amounts of protein and fat, and the tahini as well, is going to help buffer the sugar in that little treat. It has a nice sweetness to it, but it’s also a very nourishing snack. It’s just an example of stuff you can do when you’re eating clean and eating properly instead of croissants and all the pastries and stuff that taste great, but, unfortunately, they really do damage to our bodies over time.
And then meat. Obviously, with meat, don’t go crazy with it. As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, clean meat, free-[range], organic, grass-fed as much as possible, maybe two, three, four times a week. I don’t think every single day is necessary.
And pastas, if you have to have pasta, move away from the white pasta, and move toward a rice pasta. Nonglutenous, a little bit higher in fiber, a little bit lower on the glycemic index. But also remember that you don’t want to be having a pasta by itself. Put in some meat if you need to; put in something, whether it’s meatballs or whatever, to mitigate the blood sugar effect. If you just have straight up, whether it’s rice pasta or not, it will break down rather quickly, okay?
Those are some additional, very simple guidelines for diabetes. Simple things like avoiding to drink orange juice. My dad, his type 2 diabetes was under control. He did everything through diet when he went to see his dietitian, and then he kind of just let himself go. Recently, when I was visiting him, he was drinking orange juice first thing in the morning. That’s one of the worst things you can do as a diabetic, is have orange juice first thing in the morning or at any point of the day, because you’re just simply drinking sugar.
With that said, also looking at smoothies, green smoothies and stuff, you want to make sure that you’re getting in things like hempseeds or almond butter or walnuts or some type of healthy fat like coconut oil or avocadoes in the smoothie so that it’s not pure, straight-up fruit sugar. Those are really important considerations.
With diabetics, food combining kind of goes out the window a little bit. I talk about food combining in the sense that you generally don’t want to combine starchy carbs and complex proteins because they require different digestive environments, and if you have them together, their digestion is compromised. In the case of people with blood sugar issues or diabetes, those are scenarios where you actually want to have a bit of a combination of those foods because they will slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
If you want more information on this, go to DiabetesDebacle.com. Download the free report, watch the video on that page—it’s actually just really information in and of itself—and you’ll learn a ton more about type 2 diabetes and what you can do to really reverse the whole thing, because you can reverse diabetes. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s easy in theory; making the changes are obviously up to you.
That’s why, unfortunately, we tend to take action only when there’s a great amount of pain. Until something really happens, like you’ve got diabetic retinopathy or neuropathy, you lose your foot, or you can’t see anymore, there isn’t much motivation.
I want you to know that if you do have type 2 diabetes or if you know anyone who does, I want you to understand that you do not have to lose hope. There’s always a way back. And you can do it; you just have to find the motivation within or find people around you to support you, to help you make those necessary changes. It’s amazing what a couple weeks of eating clean and exercising will do for you.
I’m going to just say one final thing about exercise. Exercise has the exact same effect at the cellular level that insulin does, so when you exercise it allows the cells to uptake glucose; exactly what insulin does. So, with diabetics, they’ve shown that a ten-second sprint at the end of your workout can help reduce blood sugars and improve insulin sensitivity. One ten-second sprint. That’s it. At the end of your workout. Pretty awesome, right?
You can even do things like sitting in your chair and contract all your muscles isometrically. Doing so will make them more responsive to insulin. Exercise is very important. Go for a walk, go for a workout, go for a run, surf. Whatever it is that you like to do, make sure you do it on a daily basis, okay?
That’s all from me today. Hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Again, go to DiabetesDebacle.com, grab the report, watch the video. If you know anyone who has type 2 diabetes, make sure you forward that information to them. It’s very, very important. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
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