I wrote a couple of prior “The state of my art” posts about how I eat, but none of them to the intranet blog that I write to coworkers for the Start Walking program. So today I wrote one. While the Start Walking program is devoted to exercise, it seems important to me to talk about food too.
Today’s Start Walking blog:
Tuesday, 18 July 2006: The state of my art [food]
Well, guess what? Despite my whines about not doing food prep the night before for Monday, I didn’t do food prep last night for today, either.
But, I did get enough salad made to cover tomorrow as well, so that’ll drastically cut down on food prep tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, tonight I intend to make up the dancing + weights… which I will need to do if I want my 10,000+ steps (or equivalent), since I won’t have enough steps otherwise, despite my morning bus stop walks. I notice I haven’t been doing many lunchtime walks since I earned the Level 4 windbreaker incentive prize — that was just over a month ago, on June 16. But I will soon be doing more lunchtime walking again pretty soon, if only because the highbush cranberries are slowly turning from green to red, & soon I’m gonna want to go out & pick some.
Meanwhile, I am mostly keeping to the basic 10,000+ thing, & getting both weights & cardio. Those — weights & cardio — are two of the three legs of my health/fitness program. But it seems worth it, since I’ve got this blog, to talk a little about the third leg, which is food.
Food was the first thing I changed about my lifestyle after my mom’s death from diabetes-related complications last November. Back in late December & in January, February, March, I did a lot of reading, a lot of adjusting, a lot of monitoring my blood glucose to see what was worked & what didn’t, & pretty much standardized my diet (as in “what I normally eat every day,” not as in “I’m on a diet”) back then. Since then, I’ve come to believe that much of what applies to me, as a person who is insulin resistant to the point of being prediabetic, & who is working to prevent myself from getting Type 2 diabetes, applies to lots of other people too. People who have high blood pressure, or high triglycerides, high blood cholesterol readings, too much LDL & too little HDL… people at risk for heart disease & cancer… people who are clinically obese. Because so much of all of those problems has to do with metabolisms messed up through eating poorly, particularly through eating & drinking large amounts of highly refined carbohydrates, & eating lots of unhealthy & damaged fats (as opposed to the good fats).
Here’s how I eat now:
- Usually five small meals each day. Eating smaller & more frequent meals, or three small meals with healthy snacks in between, is often recommended to Type 2 diabetics, because it helps to space out the day’s carbohydrate load, & hence the load of glucose (which carbs turn into) in the blood, & hence the insulin that the pancreas must synthesize to handle that glucose. Blood glucose & blood insulin levels are kept more constant, instead of jacking up & down like a rollercoaster.
- Carbohydrates are low on the glycemic index (GI) & are in moderate portions. The GI measures how quickly various kinds of carbohydrates turn into glucose in the blood after eating: the higher the GI, the higher the blood glucose spike (& the more insulin will be needed to take care of it). In practice, eating low glycemically means avoiding “white” foods — refined flour, refined grains, & most varieties of potatoes (that’s why I shouldn’t have been eating so much potato salad last weekend!), because those foods take very little time to convert into blood glucose. Instead, I eat whole grains — but only in moderate portions, as I found with my glucometer that large portions even of low glycemic foods will still send my blood glucose too high. I also avoid fruit juice, in favor of whole fruits — oranges, apples, berries — which have lots of fiber plus all kinds of great vitamins & phytochemicals. I discovered that virtually all boxed cereals are high glycemic — including shredded wheat, that standard of the American Diabetes Association-recommended diet. Sorry, ADA, if that’s what you’re recommending, I don’t think I want to listen to you anymore.
Many diabetics & insulin resistant people I’m in contact with eat low carb diets, a la Atkins. I don’t. I find that if I eat too few carbs in a day, I have big problems with depression. But I do eat moderate carbs: about 100-125 per day, spaced out through my five meals. This compares with the Standard American Diet (SAD) level of somewhere up around 160+ grams per day, & most of that in the form of junky highly refined carbs, including the massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup found in soda pop & just about any other packaged food you can name. Bad stuff!
- For each meal, I match my ~20-25 grams of carb with protein, healthy fats, & lots of nonstarchy vegetables that cover the color spectrum. Some people count nonstarchy veggies as carbs, but others don’t, including me, even though they have some carbs. They have a lot of fiber, a lot of good vitamins & phytochemicals. For protein & healthy fats, I eat fish almost every day. I avoid fried foods like french fries etc. which have unhealthy & damaged fats.
What I ate today:
- First breakfast: Half a cup (cooked) of steel-cut oats (lower GI than rolled oats or quick oats) with a little butter, frozen raspberries (they thaw under hot oats!), & walnuts. Plus two eggs scrambled with onions & crimini mushrooms.
- Second breakfast: Another half a cup of oats prepared as above. Plus half of my salad, which was made with garden-grown green leaf lettuce & spinach (thanks to one of my coworkers!), red cabbage, onion, pickles, nuts & seeds, tuna, & a tablesppoon or so of extra virgin olive oil.
- First lunch: More salad, & a Fuji apple.
- Second lunch: A can of kippered herring with two Wasa multigrain crackers, plus a large carrot, a large celery stick, & two large radishes.
- Dinner: I don’t know yet.
I find that eating this way, I seldom have big hunger pangs, & I’m never tempted to go down to the vending machines. Or even to eat the sugary goodies that coworkers bring in to the office. My blood glucose seems to be stable & under pretty good control, though I haven’t been checking it for awhile (since I’m not actually diabetic, my glucometer strips aren’t covered by insurance, & I haven’t been able to afford to buy them lately). My partner feels my mood is a lot more stable too than it used to be. And from someone who as of last December had to take baking soda or Alka Seltzer sometimes every night against acid stomach/heartburn, I never have problems with acid reflux anymore. I used to think my acid reflux was caused by fats in my diet… but now I’m pretty sure it was the excessive refined carbs.
Well, the best laid plans of mice & (wo)men, I guess. Didn’t get much exercise done
in the evening after all, other than the walk home from the bus stop (around 1400 steps), as I was too sleepy. I took a bit of a nap on the couch while I waited for Rozz to get home. I had a few Finn Crisp (whole grain rye) crackers with cheese curds & a couple of sardines in tomato sauce (Rozz had picked some up from an Asian grocery: really good!), so that was dinner. A small dinner, but yes, with five small meals a day, dinner is no longer the major production I was taught it should be. Then we went to the Barnes & Noble café to meet up with a friend, & I had a coffee — Americano, not latté — just to keep myself awake. And ended up staying way later than we should have because we were enjoying visiting so much. But it’s getting me to bed quite late. I’m not getting enough sleep.
However, our friend did tell me a bit about the gym she goes to, which is quite close to the apartment we’re moving to, & might be a more convenient place for me to go than the UAA gym. So that was good.
Day total: 7,390 steps.
[See also "State of my art" (27 Jan 2006) & "State of my art 2" (15 Feb 2006), which document the best I knew about how to eat at the time. See also "Nutrition or training — which is more important?" (7 Jul 2006) which discusses the "three legs" of a good fat loss program, & how I've experienced it personally.]