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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Keeping it Real in The English Kitchen, my first Lesson in Controlling Diabetes

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Hello everyone.   Last Friday I was diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes.   I don't know how someone goes from being normal to Type 2 overnight, but that's what happened.   I only know that I had not been feeling really well for a long time.  I was very tired and experiencing blurred vision from time to time.  In the Spring, I experienced an Posterior Vitreous Detachment, or PVD, in my left eye, which was somewhat worriesome.  When I had the first scan of back of my eye,  the Opthamologist told me that there were signs that I had experienced an aneurism at the back of my eye,  and that an artery was blocked had probably been so for some time as it was all white.  But then, magically . . .  when I went back a few months later for  a re-test, it had fixed itself.   Still worriesome, but not as bad I suppose.  I was also experiencing periods of giddiness or feeling faint if I went overlong without eating, etc.

In any case, I didn't exhibit any of the usual symptoms . . .  excessive thirst, frequent loo breaks,  acidic fruity breath, and I definitely had not suffered from weight loss!  (More's the pity!)

When I went for my yearly check up a few weeks ago and had fasting blood tests done I was completely shocked to find out that (after two conclusive tests) I am now a Type 2 Diabetic.

Also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes melitus (NIDDM), this is  more common than Type 1.   Being overweithg is a risk factor for developing this type of Diabetes, along with poor diet and lack of exercise.  Heredity is also a factor.   (My father is diabetic as is my middle son, but I did not know until last Friday that, almost all of my father's siblings are also diabetic and some of my cousins as well.  Knowledge is key.  I wish I had known this sooner.)

With this type of diabetes, insulin production is reduced (not ceased), so the rise in blood glucose levels is more gradual.  Some insulin is being released, but not enough to process sufficient glucose for the system to function normally.

The bad news . . .  I will always have it.

The good news  . . .  with a change in diet and exercise it can be managed.  I have also been put on a low dose (to start and hopefully stay with) of metformin, one 500mg pill a day.

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I confess . . .  after the diagnosis and talk with the nurse, when I got back to the car, I cried a little bit.   I love food and I love to cook.  I also love to eat, which is probably what got me into this mess!  Too many treats!!  My life changed in an instant.  I am only 60 years old, which to you youngsters might seem pretty old, but I conceivably should have another 20 or so years of life left in me, maybe more . . .  and I want them to be the best and the healthiest they can be.  Obviously something has to change, and with that in mind I will be changing the focus of The English Kitchen to healthier food and options in the future.   Diabetic friendly options.  Along the way I will be learning and I am hoping that you will all come along on the journey with me.  The old recipes will still be here, and of course there will be the occasional treats.  What would life be worth, if not for the occasional treat!!! For the most part, however,  we are getting down and dirty with healthy eating here from here on!

It's going to be fun actually, as I am going to be trying to revamp my old favourites into something I can eat, coming up with new favourites and hopefully getting healthier along the way.

I haven't cooked anything new in the house since I got the diagnosis as I have been trying hard to figure out what I should be eating and what I shouldn't.  But you can look for some new things soon.

In the meantime, here is what I have learned thus far!

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This is my dinner plate from last night.  This is a 9 inch plate.  For portion control this is what is recommended and actually what I have been using all along.   They recommend that you use a 9 inch plate, and a 1 cup glass (225ml) for milk, a 1/2 cup dish for fruit or desserts (125g approx.) and a 1 cup bowl for cereal or soup. (225ml)

If you look at my plate, you can see it is roughly divided this way . . .  one whole half of the plate is non starchy vegetables ( green beans, broccoli and cauliflower) , then in the top right hand quarter of the plate, I have something starchy (a kid sized baked potato with a dollop of plain yogurt on top, instead of sour cream.)  You could also have a whole grain rice or pasta or some other whole grain starch.  Corn, peas and beans also count as a starchy food.  Beans are also protein. (Fibre is important). The lower right hand quarter is reserved for protein.   I have a half of a pork cutlet, which is protein. (DON'T look at the breading!  It's all I had until I went shopping and I had to eat!  I could have eaten a whole one, but only ate a half, so it's not so bad as it could have been.)  Ideally you should choose lean meat.   I was told by the nurse to eat red meats sparingly, so the wisest choices would be chicken or fish.  Tofu, eggs, cheese and nuts also count as proteins.

In addition to the full plate, I could enjoy a cup of fat free milk or light yogurt (plain) and a small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup (125g) canned (in juice) fruit on the side.

Keeping to low fat choices, a meal with these sides and each of the three plate components totals 55 to 60 grams of carbohydrate and approximately 350 to 400 calories, just so long as you don't pile the food up to make up for the smaller sized plate.  No more than about the thickness of your index finger should do the trick! Non-starchy vegetables should be the tallest section.


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Don't panic.  Eating to control your diabetes doesn't have to be boring.   You can use the same plate method with mixed dishes such as casseroles, pizza, tacos and sandwiches too.  You just need to think in terms of the ingredients separately, which isn't such a stretch really.

  • A salad with grilled chicken and croutons, could easily cover every section of the plate:  greens, carrots, and tomatoes for the non starchy vegetables, Chicken for the protein, and croutons/pasta/rice/etc. for the starch or grain. 
  • In casseroles, you can assemble them in layers first, so that you can see how much protein versus vegetables and starches you are getting.  So if you layer the casserole with 1/2 non starchy veg, 1/4 protein and 1/4 starch, you should be okay.  And a low fat milky sauce, etc. could be counted as one of the extras, so long as you keep the proportions right, ie.  for four servings, only 2 cups of sauce would be ideal.
Anyways, I think that is enough to digest for today and hopefully you have learned something along with me.   I'll be back tomorrow,  ideally, with a new recipe!  I do hope you will all come along on the journey with me.  I promise you it will be as delicious a journey as I can make it!



64 comments:

  1. Aw dear the best is you can control with little changes dear Marie :)
    You are right you can make delicious meal and healthy Im sure.
    I trust you will do.This post is really interesting and your recipes will be delicious.
    All my love dear Marie.

    Gloria

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    1. Thank you so much Gloria! I sure hope so! xoxo

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  2. What a shock it must have been.....but on the good side not terminal! As someone once said "Tomorrow starts the rest of your life"... onwards and upwards with new challenges. Looking forward to following your new recipes.
    All the very best
    Paul

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    1. I know Paul! I keep telling myself it could be so much worse than what it is! I am happy you are hanging in for the ride! Thanks for your best wishes! xoxo

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  3. Merhabalar, öncelikle çok geçmiş olsun. Üzülmeyin aynı hastalık (tip2 diyabet) bende de var. Zamanla insan neler yiyeceğini alışıyor. Sizin yazılarınızı bekliyorum.

    Saygılar.

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    1. Çok teşekkür ederim. Ben bu destek için teşekkür ederiz. Maalesef bunu çok var! Biz de birlikte sağlıklı yemek öğrenebilirsiniz! xoxo

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  4. I was diagnosed 10 years ago at 50 and have been toying with it since. But hitting 60 and developing some worrisome side effects has me cleaning up my act. I will be interested in how you incorporate this disease into your life style and looking forward to the recipes.

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    1. Sorry to hear that Jane. The side effects do worry me a lot. I have an Uncle who is losing his left leg one chunk at a time. I don't want that to be me! Thanks for sticking around and supporting me! xoxo

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  5. Hugs darling. I wasn't even 50 but I am surviving. My family is riddled with the disease.

    I love the look of your dinner. I don't like many starchy veg and have grown to loathe potato. I am looking forward to seeing how creative you will become and learning some recipes I can use. God bless you on the journey.

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    1. I had not realized so many people had Type 2 Diabetes Suzan! This has been a real eye opener to me! I am grateful you will also be sticking around and hopefully learning something with me! xoxo

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  6. I'm sorry you've received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. I can't imagine what a shock it must have been. I am looking forward to your journey of discovery with cooking and baking. I love reading your posts and will be supporting you by making some of the recipes you come up with. I'm sure they will be fabulous. Sammie www.feastingisfun.com

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    1. Thanks so much Sammie! I really appreciate your support! xoxo

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  7. "one 500g pill a day"

    Wow, that's one hell of a pill ;)

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    1. haha mg. Oops! That would be one heck of a tablet!

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  8. Dear Marie...I really enjoy your blog, although I don't comment very often...and sad to hear of your diagnosis. There's a blog you might enjoy? It's written by Robin Ellis, who played the original Ross Poldark in the 1975 series...he has type 2 also, and writes some great recipes. He has also written two books on diabetes friendly Mediterranean cooking (he lives in SW France now) The blog is here: www.robinellis.net and although we're not diabetic, we love using his recipes! Really tasty! Anyway, wishing you much luck and better health xx

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    1. Thanks so much for that link Rachel! I will be checking it out for sure! Thanks also for the luck and best wishes! xoxo

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  9. Good morning Marie, sorry to hear of your diagnosis but your faithful readers will be with you every step of the way on this new journey. Sending love and hugs.............Mam

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    1. Thank you so much Mam! That means the world to me! xo

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  10. KUDOS to you Marie for trying to keep calm and chin up... and make all of this fun! I learned so much today reading this. There is some diabetes in my family. And my brother-in-law has been struggling the past couple of years with it--dietary changes have been hard for him, but he's doing better. It's just great information to have. VERY much looking forward to see what you share here--be it recipe, or more info--as well as seeing how you re-vamp your favorite recipes! Cheers to you, my friend... be well, be happy!! :o) ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))



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    1. Thanks so much Tracy! I am looking at this as a new adventure! Or trying to anyways! xoxo

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  11. you'll do great, I just know it, with your knowledge and skill it will be smooth transition, Garry was at the doctor yesterday,, he also starts metformin today, same dosage,, looks like we are all in for a change,,..

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    1. Oh dear Laurie! I do hope he is okay with the medication. I find there are some side effects, but nothing I can't live with. Wishing Gary all the luck! Hoping he can get a handle on it also! xoxo

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  12. I have diabetes on both sides of the family and was diagnosed with type 2 at 52 with a very high initial reading. Almost 3 years later I have controlled mine by diet alone with fairly consistent reading. I do have the occasional sweet and have converted to dark chocolate but simple and gradual adjustments become second nature as does reading food labels.

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    1. Hi Dee, I am really reading the labels this day, although in all honesty I am not sure what I am looking for. Just trying to keep the carbs down and the sugars low. I still need to go to my class on it! It is taking me a bit of time for me to get my head around it all. Thanks for your support. xoxo

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  13. I am looking forward to the new recipes. Sorry to hear about what is behind them tho.

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    1. Thanks Jacqueline! We can enjoy them together! xoxo

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  14. Bravo..this is so you..to make a positive change to improve your quality of life for the future..
    Theeis no shame in having cried about the diagnosis.
    I am the same way.
    Your dinner looks perfect to me..
    It will be wonderful learning even more from you.
    Kudos Marie!

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    1. Thanks Monique! It should be fun. At least that is how I am looking at it! xoxo

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  15. I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis, Marie! It seems that diabetes is in nearly every family nowadays. In mine, too. I will follow you to this challenge. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Helen! I need and appreciate all of the support I can get! xoxo

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  16. I was diagnosed today. Am crying as I type. Love to you x

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    1. Julie, I am so sorry to read this. (((Hugs))) we can do this together! Xoxo

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  17. I'm sorry to hear this Marie but I am looking forward to seeing your recipes and to trying them myself too. I have been type two diabetic for some years now and struggle with my diet. I take four Metformin 500mg a day, so need to behave and knuckle down to some serious dieting. God bless! Jeanie xx

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    1. For now I am just on the one Jeanie, and God willing I can keep it at that. I am determined! God bless you too. Xo

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  18. My husband officially became diabetic last week, so this post is especially helpful for us, I look forward to more, THANKS Marie!

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    1. Christine, I am just super amazed at the number of people who have been impacted by this disease. So sorry about your husband, but we can take this journey together and hopefully end up a lot healthier for it! Thank you so much for sharing! xo

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  19. If your middle son is diabetic what have you been feeding him? it is not a death sentence compromises have to be made. It should not be all doom and gloom think of us in the blogsphere who are insulin controlled. Think positive.

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    1. Hi Unknown. My middle son is 35 years old and has been out of my kitchen and control for a very long time now! But with diabetes both on my side and on his father's side he just drew the unlucky straw. He is on insulin and five metformin a day. I am sorry to read that you also have diabetes and are on insulin? (((hugs))) I am trying to be very positive about this and do the right things! xoxo

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  20. Forgot to say with my previous comments do not go to the GP for advice on diabetes their knowledge is not good enough find yourself a good Encrinologist, I did and it made a world of difference to my condition, lower readings a general feeling of well being etc. etc.

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    1. Thanks for that Lesley. I am supposed to sign up for a course at the hospital, which presumably will be taught by an expert. (Here's hoping!) In the meantime I am reading all that I can and doing as much research as possible! xo

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  21. Looking forward to your future posts! Although there is no diabetes in my family, I think that plate looks like a healthy meal for just about everybody. I am concerned for my husband who is overweight and has some diabetes in his family. He would be happy with that plate and then come back for the other 2 1/2 pieces of meat and the potato's twin (minus the yogurt, slathered with butter). :(

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    1. Thanks Laura! If you can slip some healthy eating into your husband without him knowing it that could help. Also if there are only two of you only cook what you need and should eat for one meal. No leftovers if possible, unless it is the healthy stuff like the vegetables! So just enough meat and just enough carbs for two. Fat is not unhealthy, a certain amount is needed within reason. He could still have a small pat of butter instead of the yogurt. xoxo

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  22. You are not alone, I am on the borderline for this and I needed to change my diet. Plus I have high blood pressure. I found this out just last week when my vision went double. I have a right eye palsy that hopefully will right itself with better eating and pressure meds. Stress and family history do contribute. You are going to do wonderful and I can already see you making your amazing recipes into low fat, low sugar delicacies.

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    1. I also have high blood pressure Mary. Which is kept under control by meds. I've been on meds for it since I was 40 so a very long time. Thank you so much for your comment! We can do this together. I welcome you along on my journey towards health! xoxo

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  23. My heart really went out to you when you said you cried. Something I would do as well. Hang in there. There are many people who have gone ahead of you to pave the way.

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  24. Very sorry to learn of your diagnosis, Marie. You were incredibly lucky to have your eye condition to reverse itself. Your dinner looked fine, but, could you have no butter, sauce or dressing with the veggies? I do love vegetables, but not plain. I hope you can find an acceptable solution! Paula Deen in the States was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I believe, and there are lots of diabetic recipes on her website. I am looking forward to your new recipes. At age 62, I have been trying to convert to a mostly vegetable and bean based diet for my teenage daughter and I, but finding staple recipes has been a slow process. We have occasional bacon lapses, lol. I'am looking forward to what you come up with! Hang in there.

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    1. HI tigerlille! I still have the PVD, but no blocked artery. The PVD will never correct itself unfortunately, but I keep a close watch on it and was discharged from care for it. I have always eaten my vegetables plain and been fine with that, but if you are struggling to enjoy them plain, then sprinkling them with a few herbs can make a difference. Garlic and thyme go really well with beans and carrots. Mint goes fabulously with peas and carrots. Experiment and you may find you can lose the butter and sauces all together, but having said that a teensie weensie bit of butter would probably be okay. xoxo PS - I will check out Paula Deen!

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  25. DEAR MARIE,

    YOU HAVE SUCH A GOOD ATTITUDE. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR NEW RECIPES. I HAVE BEEN LIVING WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS. I AM NOW 57 YEARS OLD. I REGRET TO SAY I HAVE NOT BEEN VERY GOOD AT KEEPING GOOD CONTROL OF MY BLOOD SUGAR. AS A RESULT I HAVE NEUROPATHY IN MY FEET AND LEGS. I HAVE HAD ONE TOE AMPUTATED. I HAVE HAD TO GO TO THE WOUND CARE CENTER MANY TIMES FOR WOUNDS ON MY FEET THAT WERE NOT HEALING. I ALSO HAVE SLEEP APNEA AND HAVE TO USE A C-PAP MACHINE WHEN I AM SLEEPING.

    I TAKE 4 5MG GLYBURIDE PILLS DAILY, 1 100MG JANUVIA PILL DAILY, 3 30 UNIT INJECTIONS OF NOVOLOG DAILY AND 2 80 UNIT INJECTIONS OF LEVEMIR DAILY. THIS IS ALL TO CONTROL MY BLOOD SUGAR.
    I ALSO TAKE 2 BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS DAILY AND 6 PILLS A DAY FOR MY NEUROPATHY PAIN.

    YOUR GOOD ATTITUDE HAS GIVEN ME RENEWED DESIRE TO TRY HARDER TO IMPROVE MY DIET. I WILL BE HERE CHEERING YOU ON AND PRAYING HARDER FOR EVERYONE WITH THIS DISEASE.

    I TOO HAVE FAMILY HISTORY ON BOTH SIDES OF MY FAMILY. MY GRANDFATHER, SISTER, AUNT, UNCLE AND 6 COUSINS ALL HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES,

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    1. Neuropathy in my feet and legs is a fear of mine Honey Bear. One of my Uncles has been losing his left leg one chunk at a time. I really hope that you can take this journey with me and that you will be able to see an improvement in your own condition! I thank you for your prayers and have added you to my own prayer list. We CAN do this together! xoxo

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  26. I was diagnosed 12 years ago and, after I cried a bit, determined to make a game out of meal planning, recipe collecting, and exercising. The disease progresses, but my numbers are always good,.showing good.control, so I applaud your decision to change the focus of your meals, and am happy I will find new ideas from you.

    Also, no matter how you try, you will still get frustrated and sad. Have a cry, something terribly unhealthy and then get back on track. Otherwise you will go crazy!

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    1. Thanks Marguerite. I am trying to look at it as a challenge and I do so love a challenge! You are right about the frustration however. I am feeling a bit that way today. I would so love to have a chocolate biscuit! xoxo

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  27. Hope you do OK on the metformin. I was on that while we were trying to get pregnant (side effect makes you ovulate). Wow did that make me nauseated all the time! It was worse than the morning sickness :)

    Good luck with the changes and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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  28. Oh dear I do hope I don't end up pregnant! ;-) haha
    I have a bit of nausea. Thanks so much for your good luck wishes and support Paula! xoxo

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  29. So sorry to read about your diagnosis. But, on the up-side; as many already had said, this will give scope for re-inventing your eating habits with a new twist. Best of luck with this and I shall be reading new recipes with great interest.
    Just a quick note on eating starchy foods. Try avoiding normal potatoes and change to sweet potatoes/yams instead as they have much goodness and are better for diabetics.

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    1. Thanks Sarina! I will try to remember about the Sweet Potatoes. I do love them! xoxo

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  30. I have to join everyone else in welcoming you to the PWD club (Persons With Diabetes). Our numbers are legion! In the US, diabetes case are being diagnosed at alarming rates, mostly because of our diets The good news is that if you keep eating healthier and can exercise regularly, you will lose weight which in turn will help bring your blood sugar down, as well as just improving your health in general. You can still have a treat now an then, just don't make a habit of it! There's a lot of info on the web and in print. We have the American Diabetes Association over here and there's probably something like it in the UK. I know that with your experience and ingenuity in cooking you'll be able to tweak your diet. I think it's important to have a buddy or a support system to help keep you on track, and help when you're feeling low about it. As someone said, it's not a death sentence but it's definitely a challenge!

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    1. Thanks Marty. It's very early days for me now and I am on a very steep learning curve. I will be taking a course as well as having frequent visits to the nurse. I will be joining some online groups as well! Thanks for your confidnce in me and my ability to conquer this latest challenge! xo

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  31. This may help a little bit. My dad is diabetic and has been for a LONG time. One thing we discovered is when he ate normal pasta, noodles, etc., it would seriously raise his sugar levels. However, if my mom would make the very same thing but use whole wheat pasta, which at least here in the states is very readily available in supermarkets or just about any place that sells this sort of thing it barely raised it at all. What it is that the whole wheat has or the regular doesn't have, I don't know. It's something you'll have to try on your own.

    Next item: For 15 years I did cardiac research for Johns Hopkins University. They're world famous so you may have hard of them. One thing that I noticed very early on in doing the work is that sooner or later a good many people who have diabetes end up with some cardiac disease and vice versa. It was so much so that the Principal Investigators added a diabetic portion onto the study. Made me feel good that they listened to and took my word on things. Anyway, it may very well not happen for you but you want to make sure you begin to watch your cardiac health very carefully. Have your cholesterol checked often. Pay attention VERY closely to any FEMALE cardiac symptoms - which can be VERY VERY different than typical stuff we think of that men experience. If you have more questions about this please feel free to write back at my email address which you should have. If you don't reply to this comment and I'll write you. Good luck to you. If you "behave" and listen to the doctors your life need not change much at all. THE most important thing is keeping it under control. My dad is now insulin dependent but when he is VERY VERY strict with his diet he needs none or little at all.

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  32. Thanks for the information Pam! It's very helpful! I don't have your email address. 😕

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  33. I have been gone from this site for about 6 months.....I started Weight Watchers and your recipes were too tempting for me!!! :-) For some reason I decided to revisit and was sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I was pre-diabetic a year or so ago and the nuritionist on my case told me to be careful of carbs - especially those in white foods. I'm happy to say that my latest blood tests have been normal, but I am careful and still following the WW Program. I am looking forward to your new, healthy recipes.
    Best of luck to you.

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    1. Thank you very much Sharon! Welcome back! xo

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  34. Hi Marie,
    Don't feel too down about your situation. There are a lot of diabetics out there now, so there are a lot of resources available to help. My entire family is diabetic, and I am what is called pre-diabetic. I am not going to make the mistakes my family has made....of course I don't have the sweet tooth they had, either, so that makes things much easier for me. While the doctor offered me medication to help, I'm a little on the....chubby side, so I decided to change me diet instead. I have lost 30 pounds by cutting out refined carbs. Yep, no bread, rice, pasta, etc., the pasta being toughest of all. It hurts, but I still allow myself a couple of corn tortillas here and there as part of my regular diet, and if there's a day where I eat a bowl of spaghetti bolognese, I forgive myself and move on.
    Since I am strict about my carbs, I don't really worry too much about the other things I eat. Rib eye steak with mushrooms? Yes, please. Mexican lasagna smothered in cheese (substituting corn tortillas for the noodles of course)? I'm so there. Bacon, sausage and eggs for breakfast? Oh yeah. Giving up carbs is no fun, but it allows you to play with other food categories so you don't feel quite as deprived.
    Best of luck to you Marie, it won't be easy, especially given your occupation (your delicious, delicious occupation), but stay strong girl, you can do it!

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    1. Thanks so much for this unknown! I will certainly take your suggestions on board! I need to find a happy balance for sure! xoxo

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