I have a pretty stressful few weeks coming up here. The Super SEAL team triathlon is this Sunday, Tour de Cure is 10 days away, and work ain’t slowing down. Combine that with a few (VERY) early morning news appearances for Tour coming up, and I’ll be short on sleep and high on energy needs. Which is why I thought to myself on Sunday (after the most delicious berry crisp on the face of this planet): “I need to make sure I eat healthy these next two weeks, so I have the energy I need to get through them and stability in my blood sugars.”
The funny thing is, I’m not really sure what “eating healthy” means to me these days. As a person whose diet has major short and long-term implications to her health, I am more food-conscious than the average person. I know carb and calorie counts like the back of my hand, I generally choose nutrient-rich meals made from fresh, unprocessed ingredients, and I’m conscious of what any and all carbs can do to my body. So what changes would I make to “eat healthy” this week?
I’ve been hemming and hawing about my food patterns for a while now, because I’m troubled by the fact that I don’t have a “plan.” I don’t follow any super-specific rules, such as “I only allow 30 carbs per meal,” but instead I generally count my carbohydrates and try to eat healthy more often than not. But there’s no structure to that, and nothing that stopped me from killing a Nerf-football sized lobster burrito last Sunday. With my current “plan,” I allow indulgences because I’m convinced I eat healthfully most of the time. But I wonder what a logbook of my diet would truly reveal – am I really as healthy as I think?
Back in the day when I was first diagnosed (December of 1992, to be exact), there were specific meal plans outlined for people with diabetes, hinging off of the “exchange” method of food values. This practice gave way to the more accurate carb-counting that is taught today, but along with the freedom of carb-counting and covering with insulin came endless meal options. If diabetes management is simply counting the carbohydrates and using an insulin-to-carb ration to adjust, then whose to say any rules should be followed? Of course, people with diabetes know that restricting carbohydrates can help with diabetes management because small amounts of insulin = small errors = easier management.
The downside to all this freedom though, is it leaves me without a plan. I know the general principles of eating healthfully: lean meats, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, limit bad fat intake. But nothing about those principles addresses the diabetes and carbohydrate dynamic. An apple and a piece of chocolate can have the same amount of carbohydrate, and even though the apple has more nutrients, what does it mean for diabetes management if it affects my blood sugar the same way?
If this post sounds confusing, it’s because I’m confused. Should I have more of a plan – more rules to follow that will help me feel better and keep BGs more stable? Any suggestions or thoughts on this issue from you readers? What are your diet rules or guidelines?