Dealing With Diabetes – The Food I Eat

Here's a typical meal of chicken with lots of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, green pepper, parsley and shallots

Before I get to the pic above, I need to talk about my diabetes.

So I have diabetes.

To be honest I had already been suffering the symptoms for awhile. The problem is diabetes symptoms aren’t terribly life altering and what I had been suffering from, (ie. worsening eyesight, fatigue etc.), I attributed to other things. But sometime early August my situation was worse than ever. I suffered from unquenchable thirst (and as a result, frequently had to pee), my pee would be covered with ants, and worst of all had severe cramps every night, sometimes waking up 2 to 3 times in extreme pain.

We finally went to a Doctor who prescribed a series of tests. A week later and the results were dire: my fasting blood sugar (FBS) was three times the normal level and had a fatty liver. As a result my bad eyesight could worsen to blindness if I let it, and my cramps were complications leading to nerve damage. The Doctor said however, that she was going to give me a month to lose weight which along with medication, should be able to control it. Her challenge was clear: lose at least 10 lbs., and improve your diet or else she will recommend a lifetime of insulin.

I’ve seen diabetics. I was vaguely familiar with the hassle they have to deal with, injecting themselves every so often. I do not want to live that way. So for a full four weeks, I ate right and ran or played basketball 6 out of 7 days a week. I now weigh 9 lbs. less, have controlled my cholesterol level, and have lessened by half the fat in my liver. My Doctor has finally loosened up and smiled at me (I think they reserve their affection until they see proof that you’re doing your part), and has lessened my medication.

I would like to share my experience with anyone who’s interested, particularly those who are in the same boat. I’m the laziest most seriously unmotivated exerciser in the world. If I did it, so can you.

Let’s start with the food I eat. Here’s a bunch of pics I’ve taken of lunches and dinners I’ve had these past few weeks. You’ll notice I use either two pieces of equipment: the all – powerful rice cooker with a steamer implement, and the electric grill with food wrapped in aluminum foil.

The food itself is simple. I was required to eat a lot of greens so at any given time I use a lot of pechay, carrots, potatoes, green peppers, chives, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, etc. etc. In other words, any greenery I can put in there (including at one time, ampalaya, but for the life of me I can’t stand it so that didn’t last long).

I’m not allowed salt, but I can bring on the spices. I use the Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper and especially Italian Dressing and Olive Oil a lot. The garlic, not so much.

Here’s a sample bunch of stuff about to get steamed, with the corn in the boiling water for 20 ~ 25 minutes. I place the pechay ten minutes before I stop boiling otherwise it’d wilt too much.

Here’s a kilo of Cream Dory I bought fresh from the market the other day for P240.00. It’s the fish used in fish fillets.

Although expensive, I chopped it up in several pieces and placed them in separate containers so I can pull one or two out to defrost when I need them.

cream doryHere’s some of the fish ready to get baked with green pepper, spices and olive oil.

Added some tomatoes and more greens:

Baked it in an electric oven for 20~25 minutes.

My favorite though, is to bake chicken.

It looks like this after dumping all the vegs and spices:

But the food I eat most often, involves using the rice cooker, which (supposedly) maintains the foods nutrients best, and is actually the easiest to do. All you need to do is dump the food into that aluminum steaming gadget, shut the lid, turn it on and you’re free to do other stuff for 20 ~ 25 minutes.

It looks like this on the plate. Sorry about the mess:

Finally I always have corn:

And whatever fruit in season, usually these days, lanzones:Some caveats:

  • In the mornings and after I take Jill to her bus and run at Nuvali (every other day otherwise I get bored), I have breakfast at an eatery near the wet market. There, I have plain rice (which I usually don’t finish), plus a fried egg and usually whatever fish dish they have, otherwise some vegetables. I asked the lady cook there for the fish dishes, and since she noticed I come nearly everyday she made special arrangements for me. I honestly owe her a lot. When I told her my condition improved she was just as happy as I was I think.
  • Since I go there everyday, I buy fresh vegetables, some fruit and either fish and chicken daily. I know that’s nearly impossible for city dwellers, so I recognize it’s nearly impossible to enjoy the same type of freshness I enjoy. But if you can spare the time I think it’s the only practical way to eat fresh daily.
  • I hardly eat rice anymore, but this is borne from convenience more than anything. Cooking rice just for two people results in a lot of wastage, as anyone who cooks rice in a household will understand. Besides, I do not believe the ‘half cup of rice lang’ philosophy works. Counting rice intake is almost like counting beans, it’s just too time consuming and the more you think about what you’re denying yourself, the more you’d just end up pining for it. So I stopped cooking rice at home altogether and only eat rice when outside. I think that’s a fair rice diet.
  • The key to preparing your own food and sticking to a diet is to think a meal in advance or even a day’s meal in advance. If you fail to prepare you will end up hungry and eating anything in sight. Also I get to buy just enough from the market to avoid spoilage resulting from buying too much, or having to go back often from buying too little. I just imagine any of the pictures of food like the ones above. If I have all of the ingredients enough to produce 3 plates of that, then I have enough for a day.
  • I’ve stopped processed foods altogether. A wholesale approach is best when it comes to these things. You cannot say ‘ok lang ang hotdog pero no MaLing’. Just like what I think of the ‘half rice’ idea, just give it all up altogether instead of counting calories. It’s just less complicated that way and you don’t think about what you’re missing.
  • Not eating rice and exercising regularly I noticed produces constant hunger. I have either Quaker Oats Oatmeal Cookies or SkyFlakes to tide me over. Just having something in one’s stomach is usually enough.
  • Finally, I owe any success to my loving wife, who will (well intentionedly) nag me towards the proper path should I dare stray in any way. It’s pretty unfair for her really, considering I cannot cook her favorites (menudo, adobo and sweet and sour pork or chicken) as often as I could. Diabetes or any sickness forces one to be selfish, and I know I am with the diet I’m determined to follow.

So that’s it. There’s no way, of course, that what works for me would 100% work on anyone else, particularly because of the part where I go to the market 6am everyday, but if you can pick up a tip or two or make up your own variation writing this would’ve been worth it.

5 thoughts on “Dealing With Diabetes – The Food I Eat

  1. Gabriel Mercado Post author

    ngayon mo lang nabasa to? wait ill make a new post i’ve discovered new stuff to steam :D

  2. chel

    dati pa, ngayon lang ako nag comment! hehehe! share ka pa!!! I need to win this battle against cholesterol too!

  3. Jamal

    You should incorporate brown rice. It helps with weight loss since its a complex carb and it also helps regulate blood sugars more steadily over a long duration unlike white rice which is really nutritionally void after its been stripped of its nutrient rich hull.

    I am also diabetic and suffered similar unquenchable thirst before I diagnosed myself.
    When I reached the doctor, he only confirmed my belief, put me on insulin instantly since my fasting was a whopping 667.

    I was lucky to be alive. I remained on insulin until I cut the weight and improved my
    A1C to normal levels. I maintain with pills, and exercise and most importantly diet now.

    My eyes are fine and have no nerve damage.

    Good luck to anyone who was diagnosed and if you have not been tested please get tested it will not hurt to see where you are at. This is a silent killer.

    -J

  4. Gabriel Mercado Post author

    I’m so grateful you took the time to share what happened to you, thanks! Re diet I’ve mostly stopped eating rice of any kind altogether, which is also good because cooking rice for 2 almost always produces a lot of wastage.

    I had been tested already many months ago and should probably go back to the doctor more regularly, you are right. Since I changed my diet I’ve felt much better and have started to play ball more often.

    Thanks again for your comment.

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