Two Teens And Their Mama: Dad and Me and Diabetes

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dad and Me and Diabetes


This is my dad.  He just turned 71 and last month he was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. He's not alone.  29 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 73 million have pre-diabetes.  Very scary numbers.

For those who know my father, it won't come as a surprise that he's not the least bit concerned.  Somehow, he's lived his entire life one step ahead of disaster.  No matter what he does, he always manages to land on his feet.  He's not going to change a darn thing, and whatever happens, happens.  Sigh.

I, on the other hand, am very concerned - not just for him, but for myself as well.  When I was pregnant with my younger son, I was just on the cusp of having gestational diabetes. Changes to my diet kept me from full blown GD, but my doctor informed me that I have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.  With my dad's diagnosis I now add a genetic component.

So I've been doing what I always do when I'm worried about something - lots and lots of research.  I want to share what I've discovered because the information is massive and overwhelming.  If you or someone you know is concerned about diabetes, I hope you'll find this helpful.  The greatest news is that prevention is proven and possible - if you keep your weight down, exercise, don't smoke, and limit alcohol intake. For me, that's done, done, done and done - and fairly obvious.

The most interesting information I've learned has been about the food that goes into our mouths.  When I think of diabetes, the words that come to mind are "no sugar".  But there's so much more to it than that.  The key for diabetics and those who want to prevent the disease is to eat high fiber, slow release carbs that digest slowly.  This keeps the body from producing too much insulin, and allows any sugars to be absorbed more slowly into the blood stream.

Which honestly reads like a lot of what? to me.  I know that I need to limit my intake of white rice, soda, sweets, fats, red meat, and processed snacks.  But what exactly should I eat if I want to slow or prevent a future with diabetes?  It boils down to this:



Five small meals throughout the day rather than three big ones, and they should include the following:

  • Lean protein like chicken, fish, beans and lentils, and greek yogurt.
  • Grains in the least processed state possible.  Think whole grains, barley, steel cut oats.
  • Greens like asparagus, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale and collard greens.
What about snacks?
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
  • Whole fresh fruit.  Apples, peaches and cantaloupe are fine.  Juice is not, since squeezing the fruit releases more sugars.
  • Peanut butter (it's very high in fiber) with whole wheat crackers or low fat cheese.
  • Hummus with veggies.
And perhaps most importantly, especially to me - can I have dessert?
  • It's best to eat sweets with a meal, rather than by themselves.
  • Berries are considered nature's candy, and they're good for you too - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.
  • A little bit of dark chocolate (yes!!!).
  • Frozen bananas blended in a food processor are a great alternative to ice cream.

I brought all of this info to my dad, and he answered as I expected:  "I'll get back to you on that".

I plan to keep working on him, and in the meantime, incorporate more of these foods into my diet.  I really don't want to join those 100 million Americans. 

16 comments:

  1. So glad I found you at #growingcircleshop. I feel your concern. I have a few members in my family with Type II Diabetes. I have been trying to cook for them, encourage them to cook rather than eating out all of the time. It is a struggle to help. The best information came from a class they attended, but it is still a lot of work. Your tips are really appreciated!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I figure the more information I have, the better!

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  2. I love eating berries for dessert. So tasty.

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    1. Me too. Especially blueberries! I tried growing some last year but our dog kept eating them right off the bush!

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  3. Great information Lana! My daughter in law has diabetes and I worry about my two older grandsons. It's a very serious disease. One if my best friends had diabetes and it was very scary sometimes. I know what you mean about your dad. Parents never want to be parented by the chikd no matter how righf you are.

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    1. That's a very good point Rena. I will probably back off for awhile and let him get used to the idea, and then see if I can help.

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  4. I think the best thing we can do Lana is arm our selves with knowledge as you have... I hope your dad comes around and really listens to you... I know people with this disease and it is pretty scary... Keep doing what you are doing and I think that will be helpful xox

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    1. Thank you Launna. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I need to remember that.

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  5. This was a very timely post for me Lana as Mr. D was recently diagnosed as pre diabetic. He has it on both sides of his family.
    Have a lovely weekend dear one.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm sorry to hear about your husband - it seems the genetic component is pretty strong. Good wishes to him!

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  6. A well-researched and informative post Lana! I'm sure many people will find this very helpful.
    It may take your dad some time to adjust to the idea of his diagnosis. Perhaps you can encourage small changes at a time. A lifetime of eating habits is hard to change all at once. Good for you for being pro-active about your own health!

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    1. You're right Susan - I need to take it very slow with him because he's pretty stubborn!

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  7. We don't have it in our family but I do think of it a lot. I don't know why. I don't have any of the markers for it but it seems like most of us will get it eventually. And I don't know why!

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    1. I think you're right Tamara - if we don't take care of ourselves, I think we're all susceptible.

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  8. Our commonalities just seem to grown! I had gestational diabetes with my first daughter. So was put on high-risk with my second pregnancy but never had a problem. Brennyn, my first daughter, is not a sweet eater. Lauren, my second daughter, is a HUGE sweet eater. Probably just crazy coincidence. I am having kidney problems now that are commonly associated with diabetes but I am grateful that my sugar levels are very good and I don't seem to have it. Your father has a great attitude but I hope he will be a little more aware of what he should and shouldn't eat. Glad you are keeping an eye on your diet to keep diabetes at bay.

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    1. I'm sorry that you're having kidney troubles Leslie. I'm hopeful but not very optimistic that my father will do what he's supposed to - but we'll see!

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