Real food is actual food, food that comes from nature and is not refined, made in a factory or tampered with by humans. And no matter of what way you choose to eat, be it keto, paleo, vegan or otherwise, we can all agree that real food is what is the best for our bodies, health and blood sugars.
But why is eating real food so important? And especially so if you live with diabetes? In this week’s episode, I outline a few quick points. Watch the video, or read the transcription below, and let me know your thoughts!
Ps.If you do like the concept of eating real foods, why don’t you join me and an amazing group of people at The Low Carb Universe 2019 in Mallorca, Spain in November? Incredible international health experts, amazing views, movement, joy AND 100% real food! You can book your ticket here!
Today I have quite an exciting topic, if you ask me, because my background is within nutrition. My topic for you today is the importance of eating real food.
I am so happy to hear your comments and ideas and thoughts about this topic or any other topic, actually, I’m easy that way! Jot them down in a comment below and I will be happy to chat with you there anyway, about real food.
If you ask me, that is the only topic where we can actually agree on, no matter what kind of diet we choose to follow or eat. I don’t really like the word diet, but I choose to use it anyway, as it’s normally the one used. The thing is, whether you are keto, paleo or vegan, or, well, maybe not the Standard Western Diet, actually, because the importance of real food may not be so, so big there. In any other diet that you may or may not be following, I think real food is the one thing that we can agree upon, that it is very good for us.
What I define as real foods is foods that don’t have a label. Real foods actually comes from nature, which is quite rare, if you think about the standard Western diet. It is foods like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, vegetables, and all these things that actually come from nature and from the earth and not through a factory, or from a factory or has been tampered with too much with by human beings. They’re just as clean and natural and real as possible. That’s my definition of real food, so that we’re all on the same page throughout this discussion.
The main point of this is that real food has no additives. What additives often do, is that they mess with your blood sugar. For example, maltitol is a classic example of this! It is a sugar substitute that still affects your blood sugar. Don’t be fooled and eat that, although it’s supposed to be great and “diabetic friendly”, can be labelled whatever you want to be labelled with whatever health claim. They still include things that are really not good for your blood sugar and really not good for your health. In effect, you’re not doing yourself any favours by buying these “health foods”. No additives, so that they can’t mess with your blood sugar, in this case, if you are diabetic, or live with a blood sugar problem.
If you are going to venture into that kind of a sphere with pre-made foods, I have as a rule of thumb for you. The food item can include five ingredients, and those five ingredients all have to be recognisable to me, I need to know what they are, without googling, because that’s cheating. Then, if I approve all of those ingredients, then yes, absolutely, I will buy it and consume it and enjoy it. But if that is not the case, it will most likely go back on the shelf! “I see it, I love it, I want it, I checked the carb count, put it back”, is pretty much like going to the grocery store with me. My poor husband, I mean, seriously… Anyway, 5 ingredients that are recognisable otherwise, to me, it is not worth the gamble of a possible really high blood sugar or a possible low blood sugar, because I’ve overdosed insulin. It’s just not worth the hassle for me.
What are the top my top three “watch out” ingredients for additives in food?
If you do live in the States, or a similar kind of an environment, high fructose corn syrup. Just stay away, that can really mess up so many metabolic markers within you, so much of your metabolic health can be ruined, because of the consumption of high fructose corn syrup. It’s just so highly refined and so highly tampered with that it’s not really worth it to consume in my opinion. It’s no longer food, it is just factory made.
Number two, trans fats, man made oils, trans fats, are really not good for you. They add a lot of unnecessary strain on your body and your metabolism (that you can just actually fix with eating real food). Adding real fat such as butter, avocado, olive oil, things that are actually not man made, but is made by nature, is a lot better for you than highly refined and processed fats.
Number three, and this can be a tricky one, I do admit it. So bear with me before you slam down the lid of your laptop or turn off your phone, but it’s artificial sweeteners. And with that I really mean the artificial sweeteners, the ones that have been made in a factory. Maybe stevia is fine for you, if you enjoy the the flavour of it. And monkfruit can also be fine. Erythritol to a certain extent, absolutely. But things like aspartame and things that we don’t really know what it’s doing with our bodies yet. It’s definitely not natural in any way or form, and that I would be careful with. I remember growing up, this was a huge thing, as long as there were artificial sweeteners, then, hey, this product is a go! I was raised in the 80s and 90s, when it was still a little bit more controlled what people with diabetes should be eating. I had to eat a lot of terribly sweetened things. It’s been shown in studies since that for example, fructose, which we thought back then was the holy grail for diabetics, can actually clog up your liver, so that it can’t do its job properly. Then your whole metabolism might be damaged.
There’s a lot to be said about this stuff, of course! These three things impact your gut health, they can have an impact on anxiety levels, they can, as I said, clog up your liver, so that can do its job properly. And other things like your skin and other things that are really important for us to work properly. These additives can make an impact on our health, and that’s not very good, is it?
I do want to sort of give a special warning, I did touch upon it a little bit at the beginning of this. For example, “keto foods” some of them or “vegan food” or whatever it’s labelled, heart healthy, don’t even touch this stuff is not healthy for you at all. Don’t trust the labelling on the box! Look at the ingredients, does it have five ingredients? Do you recognise them? Buy it, if you think you’re going to enjoy it, if it doesn’t, maybe you should rather leave it alone? “Foods”, such as salad sauces, sauces, spice mixes, soups, ready made things that you don’t think will have an impact can actually contain a bucket load of sugar and will impact your blood sugar. Stay with the real food is my opinion! It’s better for us, it’s healthier for us, and we’re going to feel a lot better.
If you’re just starting out from, for example, a standard Western diet, to going to more into the real food way of eating, then I really suggest you adopt the 80/20 rule, so that 80% of the time, on work days, you eat real food, and on the weekends, you can still have a bit of what you still think is fun.
I would love to hear from you. Do you eat mostly real foods? Let’s talk in the comments below and I can’t wait to see you next time.
Is eating at restaurants difficult while trying to maintain normal blood sugars?
This is my little guide of how to eat at restaurants while maintaining the normal blood sugars all Type 1 Diabetics deserve and should strive for!
I share my top six tips for successfully dining out, what to focus on and how to build a meal. Check it out here:
What are your best tips for dining out with Type 1 Diabetes (or if you’re mindful of your sugar consumption over all)? Let me know in a comment!
If you prefer to read, here’s an unedited version:
Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of type one Thursday with me Hanna which is one of the founders of The Low Carb Universe. We organize Europe’s truly healthy hundred percent real food events. But that’s not what we’re here to talk to you about today.
Today is, of course, another episode of Type 1 Thursday, where we discuss all things, type one diabetes, and low carb and healthy food and healthy eating and all of that stuff that may not be talked about as much in other places. So I thought, hey, why not? Let’s do it.
I am a type one diabetic since 34 years this year, which is yay, you know, alive and stuff. Today, I will be sharing with you you how to navigate restaurants, and eating outside of your home with type 1 diabetes, and how to maintain normal glycaemic blood sugar levels throughout this. And do stay tuned, because I will be revealing my top six tips on how to actually make this happen properly, after a bit of an introduction and stuff like that.
Why are normal blood sugars so important?
This is I don’t know, like the 13th video I think I’m making in this series. So if you watched any of my previous stuff, I think you know why normal blood sugars are so important. And so also, of course, whether you are either treating yourself or don’t have another option, but to eat at a restaurant, where it is more difficult to figure out what they have added to your meal, which you may not have added at home. Yes, healthy normal blood sugars. All diabetics are deserve them. All diabetics should strive for them. And we should not be content and happy with anything else but normal levels.
That’s my opinion. And I’m sticking to my guns. And that’s why I’m making all of these videos. And of course, why it is so important is of course that you have to, well, I assume if you’re anything like me, you want to live a long, happy, healthy life with diabetes, despite diabetes, thriving in your life. And then normal blood sugars will keep you there for longer. Let’s just keep that as at as a baseline.
I am very, very happy now because this wasn’t the case before. But healthier options at restaurants are becoming more available more readily available. Just things like for example, a big normally very pasta focused chain has recently brought out noodles as an option. And that is great, of course for us who are trying to mind our glucose and trying to mind the sugar intake in our foods. For example, there’s a lot more vegetables on the menus, there’s a lot more that you can get sauces on the side and no one looks at you weirdly, you can substitute a lot of the the sides with vegetables, and no one looks at you weirdly, and side salad is a huge thing, which you can also of course, when you are fueled by other things but sugar in your body, then you can have that too without a problem and not feel deprived or anything.
So there are three things: first of all, when you see go to a restaurant, that is important that is of course, as always, no matter where if you’re all at a restaurant, but focus on the protein and vegetables, which can be solved, they can be changed. All the pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, all of these things that you know, don’t leave you feeling your absolute best when you eat a restaurant, substitute them for different types of vegetables. Here is a great tip actually, that I found out a couple years ago is that when you look at a restaurant menu, and you see, let’s take an example, a sirloin with mashed potatoes. “okay, well, the mashed potatoes aren’t great for me, but I see here with the with the seven on this menu, you serve asparagus, do you think I could swap the mashed potatoes for these asparagus?”, for example. Check what they have on the menu in other dishes, and what type of vegetables they have there. And maybe you can find your favorite there or something that is at least better for you than mashed potatoes that are currently being offered. And of course, then number three is keep all or most sauces on the side. Make sure that you get the source in a little couple of sites so that you can first of all taste how much sugar there’s in there. Even if someone tells you that they’re Oh no, it’s completely sugar free, there’s no sugar, you can taste it very quickly. And you can make your choices after that.
Easy restaurants to go to when you are minding your sugar intake and you do not have the metabolic capability of breaking these things down as effectively as maybe other people do.
This includes but is not limited to, for example, steak houses, burger places. Seriously burgers without buns with all the good cheese and bacon and maybe an egg on top and a side salad, you’re going to be full four hours. When your friends who ate a normal burger menu starts going on about “I could go for like a coffee and cake”, you know, just fueling up again, you’ll still be full, “I am winning at this game”.
Also, Italian places are fantastic for low carb you wouldn’t think it but and very very little of the Italian cuisine is actually pasta, pizza, all these heavy things. It’s more like fresh meats, fish, seafood, and a lot of vegetables. Italians eat a lot of vegetables, and the yummy yummy olive oil, of course. And that is a great tip for if you are out and about and see an Italian restaurant, if it is authentic enough, and hasn’t zoomed in on the pizza thing, because then you can just scrape off the toppings, but it’s not a great experience for anyone. So let’s not go there!
You can also go to salad bars, that’s a given. Or deli places, maybe somewhere that makes sandwiches and you can ask to have the sandwich feelings on a salad or on a plate instead.
Brazilian steakhouses are fantastic. You won’t be lacking protein after going to a Brazilian steakhouse, I can assure you that. French places are great, not as much bread as you would think. And also Greek places are fantastic, all the Mediterranean really Greek, Italian, Spanish, of course with all the tapas, and it’s fantastic. And then of course Italian as I mentioned before.
Mexican is also surprisingly good, because there you can have things like fajitas without the bread and the beans and all this stuff and the rice. You can have all of these things that are really, really yummy that people don’t quite realize are yummy, because they cover it up with all these carby things so that they don’t actually get the flavor of the real thing, which is the protein of course.
Even sushi places actually are quite great for low carb because, and bear with me, you can have a few edamames and you can have a whole plate of sashimi, which is of course the sushi without the rice, so if you’re minding your sugar intake, don’t despair if you only have sushi place at hand. There’s always always things that you can do. And I’ve seen now actually sushi places who make rice out of cauliflower rice, there is one place for example in Stockholm. I think it’s spreading, too, and this trend of maybe not wanting sugary rice is becoming bigger.
Alright, I promised you my six top tips on how to manage restaurant but the restaurant visit with type 1 and wanting to keep your blood sugar’s at a normal level, because this is what we’re striving for.
As I said before, number one, if you can do research the menu online so that you want you know what you’re handling, you can already make a couple of choices, you can have an overview of what the actually have, you can check the starters, the mains, the deserts, but seriously don’t have too much hope for the desert, because you probably won’t find much apart from maybe a cheese platter, which also is a fantastic dessert. This also helps you if you are a bit conscious about your spending.
Number two, of course, stay away from the starches. If you get offered a bread basket and you know you can’t resist it, ask them to take it away. Make sure that your dish does not contain rice, pasta, potatoes, fries, or mashes if you know you can’t navigate around them. And I’m not saying that you always have to be 100% – you do what works for you. And if tasting a bit of these things works for you, then good, keep doing that. But if you know that you can’t keep away from them, make sure you stop them from the beginning.
Number three, which I already mentioned in the beginning, but it’s very, very important: focus on the protein and the vegetables. That is the easiest thing that you can do. Even at a restaurant or at home or anywhere you are. If you’ve been invited to a dinner somewhere at a friend’s place, that is sometimes a little bit tricky. But always focus on the protein and the vegetables, and then don’t pay so much attention to the things that you can’t have. Of course, this is as much a mind game for you as anyone else. Instead, pay attention to things that you can have. Take it as a positive thing that you are doing something good for you, your body and your health. Because you want to stay healthy for as long as you of course, possibly can.
Number four, which is something I struggled with a lot. In the beginning, when I first went low carb, I’m often said, “oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry. Just bring this and this and whatever else. Like, take everything out of it. It’s fine!” No, no, no, actually, the proper way of doing it is Dare. To. Ask., make sure that you do find the option that works the best for you. Because no one else is going to be looking out for you. Dare to ask “what do you put in that sauce?” “Oh, is this gluten free?” (If gluten is a problem for you.) “Oh, is this sugar free?” Waitstaff should know this. If they don’t, they are very welcome to run back to the kitchen and check with their colleagues. It’s really important for you to know what the food that you eat actually contains. “Oh, is this thing breaded?” “Do you have bread crumbs in your Parmesan Melanzane?” There are so many ways of cooking food that should be “free food”. Not everyone does it the same way. Dare to ask. As I mentioned before, if you see a vegetable in some other dish, maybe you know they’re willing to swap that for the thing that you don’t want in the dish that you want, or with the protein that you have chosen. Dare to ask what’s in your food. How can you swap it? What can you do to make this work for you? At the end of the day at a restaurant, you are a paying customer and they generally would very much want happy, healthy customers that keep talking about their wonderful establishment and the fantastic service that they got. They will very rarely rarely be snarky about your dietary restrictions, because they want repeat customers too.
Alright, number five, you know what, if it doesn’t go perfectly fine, if something goes wrong, like you have a glass of wine too many than you expected, or if you’re eating a bit more of the starch than you expected – just don’t panic. It’s alright. You’re not going to die from screwing it up once, but it is a learning curve. So don’t panic, make sure that you remember it so that you know next time what not to do and what didn’t work for you. Work with the things that do work for you, and what you leaves you feeling the healthiest, best version of yourself.
And then number six, which is actually something that I did for myself, in the beginning. Now it’s just second nature, but in the beginning, I made every restaurant menu a game for myself. Everywhere I went, whether it was Chinese, (that is a tricky one, though, because they mix everything in sauces), or a pizza place, or Italian or burgers or whatever. Wherever I saw a menu, I made it into a game for myself to make a nourishing, sustainable dish for myself from any menu. That is my tip number six, make it a game. Oh, what can I eat at this restaurant? Uh huh. Okay, but if I swap that, with that, and then, instead of that I have that, and then I get a meal that works for me and leaves me healthy, happy and feeling fantastic. Even after my restaurant visit.
Those were my quick tips for you. Actually, let’s call it the little guide of eating at restaurants with Type 1 Diabetes. I hope you have enjoyed this video!
I want to know from you what your best restaurant tips are with type 1, or even without. If you’re just minding your sugar intake, what are the best tips that you have figured out they’ve seen someone else do that you’ve heard someone else do?
Share them with me in a comment and I’ll be happy to chat with you. Until next time!
https://hannaboethius.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/T1Thursday.png10801080Hanna Boëthius/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/HannaDiabetesExpertLogo@2x.pngHanna Boëthius2019-05-10 15:53:212019-05-16 09:22:35Type 1 Thursday – How to eat at restaurants
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