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Ch-ch-ch-changes....turn and face the strain.... ch-changes



Is there a song for everything in life, do you think? Changes are in the wind. Big ones, small ones. This post doesn't have much to do with budget stuff.... just stuff I need to get out of my head so I can process it better. =0)

Week one.....DH was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with Type II diabetes. Went to the ER with a blood sugar of 460. For those that are interested "normal" blood sugar is between 80 and 130. What does that mean? Who knows? It meant my savings from shopping last month went to low-carb snacks for that last week.... without sales or coupons (hard to do when you don't know which of similar items has the lower carbs)... last minute shopping the day of diagnosis. It meant that I spent a LOOOOOOOOOONG time in the grocery store this week. Like HOURS!!! I haven't spent that long in a grocery store in a long time.... I think I was setting up my price book the last time I spent that long. Takes a long time to look at the Nutritional Label on 10 different kinds of fruit cocktail. Then yogurt. Then ..... then.... then.... It meant that I had a hard time figuring out dinner for that week. *L* Oddly enough, it appears that other than pasta and potatoes, I was doing a pretty good job otherwise. But when you are looking at what you had on the menu pre-diagnosis, and knowing very little about what you are supposed to be having now, or what the carb count is of that stuff.... well it's a bit like I imagine what the "deer in the headlights" feels... so many options, but what is the RIGHT one? It means we have salad with dinner EVERY night. Which is ok.... I like salad. =0) It means that there are no more sodas. Yes, I know there could be diet soda, but I don't care for the taste, and neither does DH, so no more soda. Means finding other things to drink... water is great, but it's water, and sometimes you just want a little something else.... like flavor, and if your water has flavor... well you might want to check the source! =0) It means lots and lots of reading and questions and reading some more.

On the up-side, herbs and spices are "free", so that means I don't have to deal with bland food. Which is how I've always thought about "diabetic food". And I'm not willing to make two dinners every night, so we're ALL eating the healthier foods now. =0) The girls don't like it much, it means I get to add fish into the menu at least once a week.... they'll learn to like it. =0)

Week two....Turns out that one of the smaller changes was the food (at least from MY perspective.... DH is the one who had to make most of those changes at work). Although I now have to shop for produce EVERY SINGLE WEEK. That's kind of a pain. I've never eaten so much salad in my life. His blood sugar is now within the "norm" range....low 100's. Like less than 110. Which is great.... But now I'm finding that I hope it STOPS going down. It's still dropping by about 5-10 points a night... the first week it was closer to 15-20. SO I have hope that soon we will know what his new normal range is.... I don't really want to change his meds until we have that answer... although the doctor wants to up the dosage on one of them. When we went for a walk this weekend his blood sugar was LESS than 70 for a minute.... had to eat something to get it back up. The walk wasn't anything outside of the norm for us, but apparently, with the changes, it's something we now need to pay attention to. And we learned to test his blood sugar BEFORE the walk, and carry his tester with him.

I must say that I'm impressed with him. He went from several sodas a day, interspersed with several trips to the vending machines, and a breakfast biscuit, and something fried for lunch.... (I think the only "good" meal he had was at home!!) to eating breakfast cereal at home before leaving, packing snacks and lunch, and drinking water (and those little sugar free drink packets). And his blood sugar has dropped 350 points in less than 2 weeks. And although he said he doesn't really want to "exercise" anymore, he went walking with me 2x last week, and one of those he planned out (and was more than a mile, maybe 2)!! So maybe not exercise, but moving, and that's enough for me right now. He is amazed at the end of the week, when he has money in his wallet still. He hasn't adjusted to NOT buying those overpriced snack foods yet. =0)

I am counting calories, carbs, sugar and fat for the first time EVER. It's enough to make a person crazy. And now I'm finding that I think I need to incorporate more calories.... and I have no idea about the rest! The carbs are lower than "recommended" and that's OK (so says the doc).... DH is satisfied with the amount of food... which was the big thing for me. I don't want him to be hungry, because then he will go looking for something else to eat... and the options at work aren't the best. So today we're off to see a nutritionalist.... or a dietician.... I'm not sure which one they are. We'll find out this afternoon. There are obvious questions like.... How many calories, carbs, sugar, fat, and salt should we be eating each day? There are not so obvious questions like..... What the heck is the deal with beans???? They are high in starch, but they are also an alternate protein.... So how do I count chili, for example? Or burritos? Because I can't eat meat every day. I think the first doc freaked me out a bit when she said "no beans because they are high in starch".... and I was in overwhelm so I didn't say... "But there are so many other great things in beans".... so today, I get to! *LOL* The overwhelming panic is slowing.... things are coming together slowly, so slowly.

I am really concerned about the amount of calories though. Yes, he needs to lose weight, but I'd rather he do it healthily. But he says he's happy and not hungry with the food we've planned. So I just don't know. Maybe I'm counting it wrong or something. Like I said, I've never counted them before. And weighing out and measuring food is a little weird.... DH hates it. I've tried to tell him that it's just so we can see what a "serving size" looks like, and we won't do it forever.... but it's just one more thing he has to change right now, and he's not happy with it.

We've investigated artificial chemical sweeteners...ditched most of them, found one that he likes, and one that he prefers (though that one is plant based and not available everywhere yet, thus the alternate). Looked into all different kinds of meats.... Looked briefly into alternate meat sources.... other than my normal meatless meals, that is SO not happening! *LOL* Though my mom says that "nutritional yeast" makes a pretty good white sauce, and tofu has it's uses, though not as a main course. And she's a vegan!

I'm still looking for a book that lists "real foods" and all their nutritional information. I'd think that this would have been much easier than it's turning out to be. I mean I don't care what the nutritional information of a bunch of processed foods are, we're not eating them much (and besides it's on the box!)... but things like potatoes and tomatoes and apples don't come with serving sizes and a nutritional label. I suppose that I could buy refrigerated potatoes, and that would tell me, but they add salt and other things to make them able to keep them, and I don't when I'm cooking them, soooooo..... It's my PITA thing right now. The books I have found have a lot.... a LOT of "name brand" things, and a LOT of restaurant menus... And I'm sure that we will venture out into that world again at some point..... carefully.... but for now, I just want to know the nutritional value and serving size on real foods.... like the UNprocessed stuff. That's one thing that I hope this appointment helps with.... and we bought a "food diary" so that we could track these things for a little while that says it has a few pages of this in the back of the book, though it won't be here until tomorrow.

I'm a bit ticked at the doctors for not at least trying diet and exercise before dumping meds on him.... but from what I am reading about these meds, one only acts when he needs it to, and the other hasn't reached an "effective" dose yet.... And those numbers really needed to come down, so I can't be too mad. But I don't want to raise the dosage (which they want to do) until his blood sugar stabilizes to his new "norm" with all the changes he made. I figure then we can SEE if he needs more. Sometimes when you make changes your dosage needs to be adjusted downward.... because if the meds are still working on lowering blood sugar, and your life is working on lowering blood sugar, then you can lower it too much. And that's just as bad as having it too high. *sigh* So I figure we need to see what the actual numbers are before we up the dosage to an "effective" level. And if it's not at an effective level and he's meeting his blood sugar goals, maybe we need to lower the dose and/or get rid of it.... but that's still weeks away yet.

So lots of changes.... Not sure what effect this will have on the budget yet. I'm able to start looking for sales on some stuff now... I have the names of the low carbs snacks he likes.... and I'll start incorporating those into my pantry rotation. =0)

So that's my last two weeks of overwhelm. Hope yours was much calmer!!

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Check out MyFitnessPal.  They have a web-site www.myfitnesspal.com or you can use the app if you have a smartphone.  It has a really good list of foods with the nutrition information.  If you use the app, you can scan the barcodes of any food you have and it will track it for you.  It's pretty eye opening.

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I'm so sorry!  I remember when my ex-husband was diagnosed with Type II DM.  It was definitely a lot of new things to adjust to at once.  It'll get easier, and less scary, and less stressful as you go on.  

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Look into a paleo diet or atkins diet...maybe that is what you need to help get recipes for this new change. Also South Beach Diet. My mom lost 50 pounds following a combination of the paleo and south beach diet.


You are a good cook, and make most things from scratch. So, know it's learning to incorporate more veggies/fruits/meat into the meals. Salads should be a new go to meal. Also soups, chicken breasts, fish, and eggs. It's good that your kids are older so there should be no temptation to buy sodas or other convenience foods.


I would take this as a great opportunity to live healthier. 

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Good luck with all these changes.  I hope your husband's health gets back to a normal level.  If you have a smart phone, check out the Lose It app.  They have nutritional info on whole foods, including fruit, glass of milk, etc., as well as brand names.  If you don't have a smart phone, you should be able to add it to your computer.

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Hi NickleRuth... I'll have to see if I can get that on my tablet.  No "smart" phone here.  =0)


Thanks Meredith and Nicole....I'm trying to stay away from anything that says "diet" in it.  We're changing the way we eat, and it will never end.  I think most folks figure that a "diet" will end at some point.  And just the word "diet" seems to imply that you are doing without something.  I'm not to the point that I'm saying that we are "doing without" much.  Even soda could be had if his blood sugar was too low.  I'm stressing portion sizes over "not having" something right now.  On the other hand, if he wants something junk foody, he has to go out and get it, because I'm not bringing it in the house either.  *L*  I'll take a look at those "diets" to see if there's anything to incorporate into our regular meals though.  I've just got to figure out how many of what is in the foods I normally cook.... I'm sure there was a recipe once.... Or figure out what to put in meatloaf that's better what I've done in the past.... (like using oatmeal all the time now instead of bread or potatoes) those kinds of things.  He's a bit resistant to "new" things.... so figuring this out will take a little time.


And yes, we are taking this opportunity to live healthier.  =0)  

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Did the doctor talk about meeting with a nutritionist or dietitian? Your hospital should also have a support group for diabetics (unless you live in a really small town).

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I don't think "diet" should be in the vocabulary. Diet makes it seem like it will end, eventually. Instead make it a life time choice to eat healthier. Much like budgeting, once you see it as you telling where the money goes, instead of the other way around, we get a firmer control over the money. Same with food. You are telling food what to do, instead of food controlling you.


And it will take time to find better, healthier foods that both of you like. My mom had to wean herself off pasta before she went cold turkey. She will still get carbs out at restaurants, but it's strictly a treat now, instead of a everyday occurrence.


It took us awhile to figure out what veggies/fruits we will eat and with what meat. It took us a while to figure out good snack options...nuts, popcorn, veggies with ranch, smoothies. Everyone has different food preferences and so it will take time to figure out a new healthy meal for your family. But, I can assure you, it's very worth it.

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So much time and stress!


That sounds pretty great that you've been able to get him away from sodas and the vending machine! And the fact that his blood sugar is no longer sky high is fantastic. 


I hear you about the junk food, etc., but wanted to say that my brother who is Type 1 diabetic likes to have a few treats once in a while. He has tried a number of different sodas and while doctors have told him diet coke is the best tasting, he prefers A&W Diet creme soda. When everyone else is drinking something fun (like once a year) it's nice for him to have something too. 

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I generally eat fairly low carb.  I eat lots of raw veggies and salad.  I also enjoy the 100 calorie packs of nuts.   I like slim jims.  I quit soda and really enjoy decaf green or black tea with just one teaspoon of sugar.  I don't do artificial sweeteners, but if I am really looking to treat myself I sometimes have half diet lemonade/half unsweetened tea from Chick-fil-a.  I also buy the chicken salad to go from Zoe's Kitchen and put it in a Flat Out wrap.  The salted caramel Skinny Cow ice cream bars taste great and don't have too much sugar in them -- they don't have artificial sweeteners  -- most "diet" ice cream is disgusting. Good luck! 

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I agree with a previous poster--instead of "diet" call your new normal your "eating plan"--same as we do with our money, we now will do with our caloric "budget"--only spending on what we decide ahead of time is best for our overall health. Incorporate nutritional "baby steps" and celebrate when you master them. Make the transition seem like fun. :)

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Sparkpeople is a good website/app resource that will tell you all the basic nutritionals of any food, including all the real foods that you eat.

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Fruit cocktail - skip the canned stuff and just eat fresh fruit then you don't need to read the label.

Soda - iced tea sweetened with stevia.  I like the taste of the KAL brand the best but only the organic version doesn't have fillers.  Also, water with a little frozen fruit helps to get more water down.

Calories - Nuts & seeds are good proteins.  Avocado, EVOO, coconut oil are good fats.

Potatoes - most diabetics I know steer clear of potatoes.


Yep big changes but you'll get it.  It is so important though.  I spend a lot of time in a dialysis waiting room and see the disastrous effects of diabetes.  Too many people think they can eat anything they want and offset the effect with meds or insulin.


I track with Sparkpeople too.

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Nickleruth....  I checked out (am still checking out) Myfitnesspal.  Turns out I CAN put it on my tablet, AND also on the computer.  So that's kind of cool!  It has TONS of info!!!  I'm still looking around on it, and thinking about buying the "premium" one, since we can set the levels on that one, but will probably see how we do on the free one for a few weeks, to see whether or not we'll use it long term.  =0)  So thanks!


Thanks GLG, I'll check it out!
gmarie... we met with the "nutritionalist" yesterday.  I think it was a total waste of time.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I walked out of there feeling more confused than when I went in.  She did answer how many calories he should be eating, but didn't answer why it was important that he get that many (I looked it up later), or let us know how she came up with that number (looked that up too and got a range)....And didn't help with the "how to get to that many calories without eating more, since he's happy with what he's eating now" part.  *sigh* still another thing to figure out.  But we're starting with measuring EVERYTHING.... I think he may be being a bit more generous with the pouring than he thinks he is.  *L*  There is a diabetic support thing at the hospital, unfortunately the hospital is 45 minutes away from home, sooooo...... we'll see.
Nicole.... I agree, "diet" is all about denial.... and I don't want to put that thought into his head... I'm trying really hard to get it out of his head.  I think we're leaning more vegetarian than meatitarian.... but maybe even more "flexitarian".... some meat and dairy, but mostly plant based.
Glacierbear, He is doing a fantastic job staying away from the processed stuff at work.  He says that he doesn't miss the junk at the moment.... I imagine that it will appear at some point, but right now, he's doing well.
Boothannie, thanks!  I'll take a look at those treats!   I know he's going to miss ice cream.  Maybe not when it's cold outside, but when the weather turns hot... he's going to want some ice cream!
fpmomma, If he wasn't the free spirit, that may work.  The myfitnesspal thing counts down on a whole bunch of categories, and puts that at the top of the page. "You have xxx calories remaining" type thing.  I think that it'll help for him to see what is there and how much of what each of his choices has.  WITHOUT it having to be ME saying anything.  =0)  And at the moment I'm calling it a "lifestyle choice"... it makes him smile, which is a win in my book!  *L*
Thanks Zaga!  I'll check it out!
Thanks Plinda.... I prefer fresh as well, but it's not always available or desirable for DH, so we work with what we have.  =0)  This year I anticipate doing a LOT more canning than I have in the past, simply because I can control what all goes in things.  =0)  On the upside for us, he wants to get off and stay off the meds, so I think he'll pay attention to his diet more than the average bear.  There's no denial here.  Could be because I told him that it was all up to him and if he was going to mess around with it, please make sure that his life insurance was kept up to date so that the rest of us would be ok.  He didn't think I was funny.  =0)  But I wasn't trying to be.
Thank you all for your support.  It means a lot and I really appreciate it.  =0)
His morning sugar level dropped another 20 points, and so now we're getting concerned going the other way!!  He's still within the "norm" but only by 10 points on the low side now.  *sigh*  It's not even like it's a yo-yo.... it just keeps dropping!!!  Which is good.... but it would be good for it to stabilize now.  Like RIGHT NOW.  If it drops another 20 points, we could be in trouble.  I guess it may be time to start looking at the meds no matter what!
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As a celiac I know it took me a month or two to really get it and another six to get over the grief.


Good luck!

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I think you are off to a good start.  To avoid him being hungry and having the insulin response that ultimately lowers his blood sugar, he has to eat fewer carbs and get more of his calories from fat and protein.    Very few in the dietary community are willing to say that the establishment has wrong about the role of fat in our diets.   Forget eating low-fat.


Don't worry about the fat, worry about the carbs.  Eat broccoli with cheese or butter.  Creamed spinach, awesome.    Breakfast cereal with skim milk?  The poor man will be starving in a hour because of the insulin response to that.  So don't trigger the insulin response.  Give him a ham and cheese omelet.  Or boiled eggs.  Or veggie quiche.  Bacon-wrapped asparagus.  Cashews, avocado.


Our powers that be have told us fat (especially saturated fat) was killer and we have replaced fat with sugar and carbs over the last 50 years trying to be "healthy" and that is why we have this epidemic in our society.  A wonderful book on the chemistry of it is "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubes. 

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It sounds like you are both doing an amazing job coping with this massive lifestyle change! I hope things continue to stabilize and improve in the blood sugar department, without going to far to the low side!


I'm not sure why beans are "bad" according to the first doc... if you select a bean with lots of fibre, that should help offset the starchiness... but I am no Dr, so take that with a grain of salt. Perhaps his blood sugar was so high, the doctor was just being cautious?

Have you heard of the glycemic index (GI)? It essentially ranks foods (carbohydrates) based on how much they cause insulin to spike. It might help you and your husband stabilize things if you try to select foods that are low on the GI, such as sweet potato (yams - the orange ones), whole grains, etc. Here is a link to some information for you:




I know there are comprehensive lists online that include a *ton* of foods and their glycemic index.


Good luck to you as you work through this!

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