Diabetes Alert Day is in March and I have Type 2 Diabetes, so I want to share some great resources I use for living with Diabetes. Diabetes runs in my family and when I was 25 years old, I was diagnosed with Hypoglycemia, so I knew for many years that I was at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. I let my weight get away from me and made bad nutrition decisions that put me over the threshold for getting Diabetes.
When I was young, I was not impacted by how many other health factors are affected by Diabetes, like heart health, certain cancers, kidney disease, blood pressure, stroke, and even leg amputations. If not managed, complications from Diabetes can even lead to death. Using the Diabetic Diet resources below, I helped my brother get off insulin injections after eight weeks. Now, I am taking control of my Diabetes.
Over 25 million Americans suffer from some form of Diabetes and seven million of those Americans have diabetes and do not know it. What is even more alarming is that 79 million Americans are prediabetic and are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. The good news is that if you are prediabetic, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting Diabetes. If you have Diabetes, there are things you can do to manage the severity of the disease.
While the Diabetic Diet resources I use are helpful, the ONLY resource that is best for any diabetic patient is consultation with a physician. There are so many health factors that are affected by Diabetes that only a physician can help patients plan and monitor the success of a Diabetic Diet. I have regular blood tests done by my doctor and I have frequent discussions with my doctor about managing my Diabetes along with my thyroid disease, psoriasis and high cholesterol.
My main goals for managing Diabetes are weight loss, limited salt intake, limited gluten intake and lowering cholesterol through diet. I also quit drinking alcohol and I am trying to quit smoking since both affect Diabetes. I am not yet on Diabetes medication or insulin, but some of these Diabetic Diet resources allow for monitoring results of taking Diabetes medications. Here are some of my favorite tools for managing my Diabetes.
Diabetes Diet Free Apps
Diabetes In Check – I use this app from EverydayHealth.com available at the Apple Store to individualize my meal plan, my exercise plan, and manage my blood glucose levels. This Diabetes Diet app has some great recipes that balance the right amount of proteins and carbs to keep your body in a fat burning mode all day. Eating the right food combinations and eating 6 times a day also helps boost my metabolism and keeps my energy level up during the day. There is also a really good food guide that gives substitution suggestions for things I like to eat that are not necessarily the best nutrition solutions for my weight loss goal.
The Snack App – this is one of my favorite free apps from the Apple Store for helping to lose weight and be able to have healthy snacks on a Diabetes Diet or any diet. It is offered by EverydayHealth.com and has 50 calorie snacks, 100 calorie snacks and 200 calorie snacks. It also has a Burn It! feature that gives you different exercises for how to burn the calories for each snack category. Healthy snacking helps keep me from binging on junk food when I get home from work or while watching TV at night.
Calorie King – I love this app from calorieking.com at the Apple Store because I can search for calorie counts of items at fast food chains and chain restaurants. Now most diets, including the Diabetes Diet plan will highly discourage you from eating out, but I still love the occasional Arby’s or Taco Bell stop on my way home from work. Using this app, I can make better decisions about what I order from a fast food chain and still not blow my weight loss goal. I can also search for calorie counts by food brands and food categories.
Diabetic Diet Brand Name Product Substitutes
There is one Diabetic Diet brand of products made by Walden Farms that is delicious and has no calories, fat, carbs, sugar, or gluten! It is available at specialty grocery stores or online. I dip strawberries in their chocolate dip – YUM! Walden Farms uses Splenda to sweeten their products and sometimes if I eat too much, I get temporary stomach aches, but most of the time, these products are great substitutes for my favorite foods.
I also use Sweetleaf Stevia as a sugar substitute because it is made with only two ingredients: stevia leaf extract and a soluble vegetable fiber called inulin. I love Soy Sauce and found Bragg Liquid Aminos as a great substitute product. It is made from soybeans and has no added sodium or MSG. I use both these products in recipes that call for marinades, salad dressings, and anything with sugar.
Best Diabetes Nutrition Guides and Diabetic Diet Education Programs
American Diabetes Association
This was the first resource I used when I learned I was a Type 2 Diabetic. I did not want to use diets like Atkins or South Beach Diet because they were too much of a radical difference in my eating habits. This site provides Diabetic Meal Plans, Shopping Lists, Recipes, Nutrition Guides, and Tracking tools to begin your life changing event. It made me feel like I could still eat some of my favorite things but less of them and with substitutions like 100% whole grain bread instead of white bread.
National Diabetes Education Program
This site is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has a Diabetes Risk Test you can take to see if you are at risk and whether you should talk to your Doctor about the results. It also has information about getting Health Care coverage for Diabetes treatments. This site has a lot of good information about the importance of managing your Diabetes to avoid more serious health problems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This Diabetes web site provides free Diabetes resources for different age groups including kids, different ethnic groups, and in different languages. If you or a family member is new to Diabetes, this is an excellent place to get educated about living with Diabetes. I even used this web site to learn more about preventing Diabetes when I was diagnosed as prediabetic and hypoglycemic. At this site, you can use the BMI Calculator to determine if you are at risk of developing Diabetes.
Best Diabetes Diet Recipes
Tasty Recipes for People with Diabetes and Their Families
This Diabetic Diet recipe book is a 31-page downloaded PDF from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is also available in Spanish. Mexican food is my favorite food and I had to give up a lot of those dishes when following a Diabetic Diet. This recipe book has delicious Diabetes-friendly dishes with a Mexican food flare.
I love this Diabetic Recipe web site because many of the recipes use ingredients that I already have in my pantry. It also has thousands of Diabetic Diet recipes for holiday cooking, low-sugar snacks, sugar-free desserts, and ideas for Diabetic Diet party foods. One of the most challenging things I found with Diabetes is passing up certain foods at a work pot luck, a holiday party, and birthday dinners at restaurants. This recipe site helped me find Diabetic Diet dishes I could take to special events.
This is another one of my favorite recipe sites because all the recipes are easy to make and the reviews are all really good. I love the Apple Coleslaw and I use the Walden Farms mayo to make it even more diabetes friendly. I also signed up to get weekly meal plans and shopping lists by email. The meal plan email option costs $22.95 for a two-year subscription, but it is really worth it! One of the hardest things for me to do to stick with a diabetic diet is planning and shopping for all the special meals.