Can I make a Cheeseburger with a side of mac-n-cheese with under 20 carbs? I don’t mean some crappy bun that isn’t bread, or some crumbly dry burger and I definitely don’t mean zoodles and cheese (though zoodles are pretty awesome).
No, I mean a burger that tastes and feels like a burger on a pillowy soft bun with macaroni that tastes and feels like macaroni covered in a rich cheesy sauce. Yeah, that.
With my latest health news (for those who didn’t know… I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, fun times), a lot had to change, and it has! For one, I walk 5 miles a day now. We are completely revamping and rethinking our food. Some changes (and our changes are subject to change as more research is done!):
- No more Beef or Pork
- Chicken will be very limited for the time being
- More fish and seafood in general
- No salt added to food and choosing low sodium options whenever possible or avoiding sodium laden products
- No sugar added and commercial products with high sugars are avoided
- Lower carb intake… this is a big one. Instead of white flour and rice, we’re using whole grains and even with that limiting portions and how many times a week it’s eaten
- High fiber! This is so important it will have it’s own article at some point
- Much more fruits and vegetables. If you think you eat enough vegetables, eat more, you probably need it. Seriously.
What’s this got to do with the photo of a burger and mac-n-cheese? Well, that’s my food goal. To make that exact scenario, but make it healthy AND taste good.
Now I know many are saying it can’t be done (psst, it totally can!) and some are saying, “If you’re changing your food, change the way you think about food and you won’t need to recreate things.”. They are absolutely right. But, it’s an experiment, and it gives me a goal and something to work toward. You see, I’m a tinkerer in the kitchen. I love testing this or that to see what happens. I know I can create a decent bun that’s low in carbs. I know I can make a decent pasta too. Burgers are a little more demanding, but I think I’m on the right track. To me, the puzzle and challenge of creating these things is almost more important than the eating and enjoyment of it. Just to know I can do it is what I’m after. Will we eat that sort of thing all the time? Oh hells no. But it’s nice to whip that out once in a while just for fun or to blow the minds of carnivore carblovers.
The one thing I was going to miss was ravioli. I feared that pasta, really good texture and flavor, wasn’t going to be possible. I’d read the nutrient content of whole wheat flour vs white wheat and was shocked that it was really just a few grams of fiber that separated them for carb load. Well, there’s more than that. Carbs don’t exist in a bubble. All the nutrients that are removed by the process of making white wheat make up for the carbs in whole wheat. If you’re gonna eat carbs, make them count. Whole wheat flour does that. That was one shocking revelation that happened just today.
We do a lot of research and are finding contradicting information. For example, some doctors and studies say some red mead is fine, and poultry is totally good for a diabetic heart healthy diet. Others say ALL meat is bad. There’s more to that story. Eating a lot of meat IS bad for diabetics and everyone in general. I’ve found my acid reflux is worsened by meat, so that’s a big impetus for us to cut out meat. I love meat and the texture though, so I’m working on meat replacements to make up for that. so far, so good!
Other doctors and studies say oatmeal is GREAT for diabetics. Well, it’s carbs, almost pure carbs. How is that good? Fiber and nutrients. The problem with oatmeal is… who eats it plain? Put fruit in it and BAM, sugar. My glucose tends to be higher in the morning for some reason (seeing the Doc soon) so for me, having oatmeal and/or fruit in the morning is a bad idea. Glucose on high glucose is bad, so we opt for proteins for breakfast. Eggs for example.
Even eggs get demonized and the information is contradictory! One will say eggs are GREAT for diabetics due to no carbs, but others will say they are animal proteins and BAD for diabetics. It’s all very confusing. The best information I’ve found says 6-12 eggs per week is fine, more is bad. By the way, the idea that eggs are bad for cholesterol is mostly debunked. Dietary cholesterol from food isn’t what raises cholesterol in your blood, that’s your liver. The liver creates cholesterol and it’s necessary in certain quantities for proper bodily function and repair, but things like trans fats trigger the production in the liver, not eating high cholesterol in your foods.
So, while I might not be craving burgers and steaks and pasta and pizza, I can still eat some of those things in moderation and with some tweaks to the recipes. Food just got even more interesting.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
4 thoughts on “Food Goals – Not what you think!”
Hey Brian. It will be interesting to see your results and if you can stay with the lifestyle. I feel everyone is different, including in how our bodies process food (genetics). I had a similar diagnosis to yours many years ago and went on the standard diabetes diet. My result was hunger, increased BP, poorer cholesterol numbers and lethargy. Four years ago I went to Keto upon a doctors recommendation and after doing a ton of research. I no longer worry about how much red meat, salt, eggs or any of the traditional ‘bad’ stuff is in my diet. i count Carbs and keep them way down. Now I’ve reversed my type II diabetes without drugs. My BP is much lower and I’ve reduced my BP meds to the minimum available. My cholesterol dropped, though still considered a little high, and my ratio of HDL/LDL is much better – off the meds for cholesterol. My triglycerides went from 580 to 130 in a week and have never gone up again. More importantly I have more energy, a better outlook on life, and love what I’m able to eat. Good luck and I hope what you’re doing works. But if it doesn’t don’t be afraid to try something different because we are all different. Kurt
My uncle passed away because he preferred to ignore his diabetes rather than taking care of it. My SO’s father is a diabetic and my SO is at high risk of becoming one… so I delved into the matter. A lot of sources (including the dietary departments of hospitals) tend to say there’s no reason to cut out animal protein completely when suffering from type 2 diabetes. From what I found, first and foremost the medication schedule must be stabilised (and it will periodically need adjusting for the rest of your life). According to the majority of the literature I found stabilised diabetes patients shouldn’t delve into veritable meat fests, but animal protein and even small amounts of red meat are allowed especially if it’s lean protein. If you include fish in the list of animal protein, fatty fish is, apparently, perfectly acceptable too and a lot of sources even recommend it.
A lot of meat substitutes pose the problem of carbs. Soy poses the problem of GMO soy and should be used in fermented form if you want to avoid fun stuff like phytoestrogens.
No idea how you’ll manage to cobble together a tasty and diabetes-friendly burger but perhaps waiting until your numbers settle a bit might be useful? And perhaps the magic is in the mix: a bit of cooked chopped egg, a bit of raw egg as a binder, some meat substitute and if allowed, a little bit of meat?
Note: asked my doctor about eggs for diabetics. He’s all for them. Turns out he’s a diabetic himself. I realise it.s just one opinion but still…
Hey guys. Love the post. Navigating the food world is an impossible task. I found that the results of any study truly comes down to who is paying for it. My family and I have been SLOWLY modifying our diet to reduce meat. I lookd at the Impossible/Beyond meat alternatives and while really delicious…astronomical amounts of salt. I had a recipie for a meatloaf that was about 90% mushrooms. If I find it I will post it. Good luck you guys!
Just thought I would weigh in on this with my experience as my wife has the same issues you do.
What we have found, through both research and experimentation, is that you have to find the diet that is right for YOU. While one doctor may say you should go vegetarian, and another would tell you to go ketogenic, the thing to remember is that not everyone responds the same to every diet.
For example: My wife and I get sick and feel like garbage when we try and go vegetarian, but when we follow ketogenic dietary guidelines, we do very well. On the other hand, I know diabetics that find that meat exacerbates their problems and get more out of a vegetarian diet. I know a couple that moved to a Mediterranean diet and have had great results, but fared poorly as vegetarians or on a keto diet.
Unfortunately, I have had to argue this with several dietitians who seem programmed to push towards a modified version of the Standard American Diet (the SAD Diet as I like to call it) or a vegetarian one, and discount the possible benefits of other types of diets almost instinctively. Even when shown NIHS studies that prove what they just told me wrong.
In the end, what I really recommend is trying different types of diets and foods, keeping notes on how you react to each, and working with your doctor to ensure your needs are met.
Thomas C McElearney, Jr.