Let me ask you this: should people with diabetes eat pasta?
A little more hesitant perhaps? You know, because I’m asking, the answer should be no. But what about all you’ve heard and all the advice you’ve gotten from health professionals?
I took a stand 2,5 years ago.
During my education as a nutrition coach, I was taught how the body digests different foods, what happens in the body as a result, and how to best avoid unwanted effects. And this was for healthy people, without diabetes or other chronic diseases. I was shown, and I swear I saw it in slow motion, how insulin reacts in a healthy body when you eat sugary and starchy things. When you use this process too much (aka eat too much sugar and starch), it puts a tremendous amount of stress on your body. I quickly transferred this into my own body, that happens to not even produce insulin. At all.
And there the fundamental question was born: why the hell am I being advised to eat 60% grains with every meal when I can’t even produce the hormone that converts it into energy?!
I felt cheated. I felt lied to. I felt sick.
I wasn’t even given the chance to respect my body enough to be able to take care of it as well as I possibly can. Because that’s what it is about for me, respect. Respecting my body and my disease and keeping it as manageable as possible.
So I drew the following conclusion that I still swear by to this day: if having diabetes means your body can’t process sugar and starches very well (if at all) and using common logic, you should stay away form something you can’t process properly.
That’s the moment I cut out all grains, sugar and processed crap (also known as “food” 😉 ) from my life. And I have rarely looked back.
When you feel like shit for a long time, it becomes your new “normal”. When you’ve been made to feel like shit for 25 years, starting to feel better feels crazy weird. (This happens when I do look back and “treat” myself to something I know I shouldn’t have. I feel like shit.)
Starting to feel better is a long journey that only you can do for yourself, if you have the willpower, the desire and are only a little scared of what awaits you. And in many cases you need to try out different things to see what works for YOU. But although you are ultimately responsible for your own transformation, you’ll still benefit from supportive people around you, perhaps even someone who has gone through this transformation themselves.
If we stick to the example of diabetes, although similar changes can benefit everybody, whether you have another chronic condition or are perfectly healthy, and we shouldn’t be scoffing down pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, grains, sugars and sweets, what should you do?
Go back to the roots. Go back to the pre-1970’s idea of not being afraid of good, healthy, beneficial fat sources. Because that’s what happened when the whole low-fat and light BS “food” came about – the fat was removed from the food and substituted by a bucketload of sugar. And I certainly can’t deny that things like avocado and olives impact my blood glucose readings differently than pasta and bread.
Cutting grains out of your diet is no miracle cure, as a diabetic you would still use insulin. I do too. But it makes it that tiny bit easier to manage. There is no magic formula to keep your blood sugar fully at bay. But there are ways you can minimise the bumps as much as possible. Does this mean my values are always perfect? Definitely not. Not by far. But mine are one heck load better than they were when I was still eating cereal and grains.
But hold up!
What about the holy grail of “health” – whole grains? Now that IS healthy and everyone should be eating it, right? Well. No. Not everyone. It still has a huge impact on your blood sugar, it just takes a slightly longer time.. So if you do have problems with elevated blood sugar – stay away from that too. In my world of number crunching and guesstimating, whole grain is the same as wheat – same shit, different name.
If it was as easy for me (and every diabetes is different. its a very individual disease) as to eat whatever i want, count the carbs and then inject insulin for it to have relatively stable numbers I would definitely do that (although because I know the science of what sugar etc does to you body, I’m not sure I’d do it every day. But i’d definitely treat myself to things more often!) But it’s not. And I can’t. Also, why should I add to the already numerous chances I take every day with adding some serious guesstimation work in terms of dosages and food choices? (A carb is not always a carb either, just like a calorie isn’t a calorie.)
It’s essentially all about finding smart substitutions for foods that you used to eat. I, for example, found an amazing recipe for a grain free bread that barely impacts my blood glucose levels at all. (Would you like the recipe?! Comment below!), I use zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of pasta. And you can see all of this in my virtual food diary over on Instagram. Or, you can get an idea of what I eat by signing up at the top of this page to get 11 recipes I frequently use!
When big pharma companies and nutritionists tell us to eat starches, grains, rice, bread and pasta with every meal, it is really like telling a lactose intolerant person to drink milk instead of water. And who would want to cause that pain on a person whose body can’t break down lactose?
What about you? Are you eating something you know you shouldn’t? Or would it be time to thoroughly go through your eating habits? Maybe you have questions about diabetes and carbs? Please leave a comment below!
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