Beyond Diet Program – Go Beyond The Concept Of Diet

Managing Diabetes Through Low Carb and No Sugar Diets and a Great Dessert You Can Eat

ADVISORY: I am not a doctor or certified nutritionist. The information presented is the result of personal research and experience. Before making any changes in your diet, especially if you suffer from any medical condition such as diabetes or heart conditions, you should discuss your plans with your doctor. Drastic changes in diet and lifestyles can have adverse effects on your health, so take proper precautions and do your own research.

Cooking for a family member with diabetes can be a Herculean task. I know. After I remarried I was introduced to the restrictions of a diabetic diet for my father-in-law. This was an extremely difficult time for me because I am a very traditional, scratch cook who is devoted to making breads and desserts to accompany almost every meal.

Our first holidays together became a nightmare of learning how to accommodate Pop so that he wasn't left sitting on the sidelines while everyone else feasted on all the traditional dishes adorning the banquet tables. The thought of Pop sitting in front of the television with a cup of sugar-free pudding made me cringe. My quest began.

I learned that somewhere around 23.5 million children and adults have diabetes and that about another 6 million are undiagnosed. What surprised me was that about 57 million people are what is called pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetics are people who are at risk of diabetes and in the very early stages of developing a full-blown diabetic condition.

It was also surprising to learn that almost 1/4 of people over the age of 60 have diabetes. Why then was it so difficult to find products with no or low sugar. I spent many hours in the grocery stores reading labels. Perhaps I am luckier than many because I have a good background in cooking and food preparation so when I was reading labels that said no added sugar, but listed high carbohydrates and things like sugar alcohol, red flags went up. That is sugar! At least when it enters the body it is converted to sugar.

The role carbohydrates play in your diet is possibly one of the vital considerations, yet often the focus is totally on the sugars in foods. Carbohydrates fall into two groups. Simple carbohydrates are sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and lactose. This is the focus of many new diabetics. Cut out the sugar, cut out the problem, right? Wrong!

Yes these are carbohydrates that cause problems, and when your doctor tells new diabetics to cut out sugars and carbohydrates they are not being redundant. They mean these simple carbohydrates AND the complex carbohydrates found in foods like potatoes and other vegetables, breads, and cereals. No wonder people panic when they hear the word diabetes. This list covers over half of what we base our diets on.

During digestion carbohydrates are converted to sugars, their simplest form, in the intestines. The body responds by producing insulin to combat the spike in blood sugar. Those with diabetes have problems with this production of insulin. Their insulin response does not work properly. They may not produce enough insulin, or what is produced does not do the work properly. This may be the result of family history, a sedentary lifestyle, excess weight, and / or eating a diet filled with foods that cause big spikes in blood sugar.

Well, there is not much we can do about family history, but the other causes can be managed so that a diabetic condition is less likely to occur.

CARBOHYDRATES AND THE GLYCEMIC INDEX.

You have probably heard about the Glycemic index lately in television commercials and infomercials for diets. The Glycemic index is basically a new system for classifying carbohydrates and it has received a lot of attention lately and for good reason. The Glycemic index measures how quickly and how much blood sugar rises after a person eats food containing carbohydrates. One of the most important factors in determining a food's glycemic index is the level of processing.

Highly processed carbohydrates have the outer bran and germ layer removed from the original kernel of grain. This causes bigger spies in blood sugar than would occur without this processing. Using whole-grain foods is one of the ways you can continue to eat foods you love while cutting out the excess carbohydrates. Eating fresh fruit is another. For example. White rice is highly processed and has a high glycemic index. Brown rice, on the other hand has a lower index and although it still converts to sugars in the body, the levels are lower.

Depending on the severity of your diabetes and your weight, you may be able to eat up to 100 grams of complex carbohydrates per day, but remember, this does not mean you can eat these in the form of sugars and starches. Counting carbohydrates is necessary but you should not lose sight of the bigger picture. You need to become sensitive to, and aware of, what makes up your daily food intake. The type of carbohydrate,type of fat, and then shoot for a realistic standard such as 20 carbohydrate grams per meal. If your total carbohydrates per meal becomes greater than you are comfortable with, then make substitutions of ingredients to create a good balance. In addition to watching your simple and complex carbohydrates, it is important to remember that replacing carbs with a lot of proteins is not a good choice either. A high-protein diet puts additional strain on the kidneys and carbohydrate restriction also affects the body's water balance.

SUGAR-FREE CAUTION.

Just because a product is labeled as 'sugar-free' does not mean it is safe for a diabetic to consume. Sugar free cake mixes, snack cakes, and cookies especially, should be avoided because even though they may not technically contain added sugar, the starch that is in them will quickly convert to sugar before absorption into the bloodstream. Also, the 'no sugar added' items such as ice cream, pies and some candies may be loaded with sugars in other forms as well as carbs. The 'no-sugar added label' means only that the manufacturer did not add any additional sugar beyond what is naturally present and it does not, usually, address carbs at all.

SO WHAT CAN YOU EAT.

There is quit a bit of food remaining that you can safely eat when you are on a sugar and carbohydrate diet. Depending on the severity of your condition.

Fresh fruits – apples,grapes,bananas and other low sugar fruit add fiber as well as a little natural sweetness. Using unsweetened apple juice in place of sugar in baked goods provides a low-sugar alternative that is suitable for many diabetic diets. Check out the apple cake below.

Fresh Vegetables – most vegetables are good choices. The dark green vegetables like broccoli and green beans, leafy greens such as used in salads as well as spinach, collard and mustard greens if you are from the south (even if not, give them a try), and other vegetables that are not your root vegetable varieties.

Root Vegetables – such as carrots, potatoes, and turnips can be high carbohydrate choices, but in moderation there should be little cause for avoiding them all together.

Desserts – yes desserts. Desserts do not have to be eliminated when dealing with diabetes. There are many alternatives to the processed options at your grocery store. By using some smart substitutions you can satisfy that sweet tooth and still remain faithful to your low or no sugar and low carb diet.

Nuts and beans- nuts are a good option, just watch the salt. Salt can cause different issues you don't want to address. Beans are high in protein and high carbohydrates,but you can eat beans if you do so with care. Limit quantities and ensure they are fully cooked.

A good resource for more information is the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association. The information there includes recipes you can try, just remember to talk to your doctor or nutritionist to find out what levels, or how many grams per day, you should be consuming. Here is that apple cake I mentioned earlier.

ALMOND APPLE CAKE – a light spicy apple cake with a bit of a crunch. You could serve it filled with pudding if desired. You could also serve it with a purchased whipped topping. Read the labels to find one that is 0 sugar.

You will need.

Beat together the apple juice, oats, butter, eggs and extracts. Sift together flour, soda, powder, and spices. Stir in ground almonds. Add to the butter mixture. Stir well. Add the applesauce beat until well mixed, about 2 minutes.

Into two 9 inch cake pans that have been oiled and floured,place a layer of thinly sliced apple and slivered almonds. Spoon cake batter on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Serve with APPLE PARFAIT PUDDING is desired.

You will need.

Put about half of the apples in a blender and blend with cornstarch. Combine with lemon juice and spices to taste. Pour into the top of a double boiler and cook over medium heat, stirring as the mixture reaches a boil and thickens. Add remaining chopped fruit and cook just until apple pieces are tender. Cool. Serve with whipped topping and garnished with the chopped nuts.

You can use this as a filling between layers of the Almond Apple Cake above. Leave out the apples and almonds layered in the bottom of the pans. Cook the batter as directed and let layers cool on a rack.

Spoon about half of the pudding mixture onto a cake layer. Sprinkle with half the nuts. Place the second layer on top and spread just the top with the remaining pudding. Garnish with the additional chopped nuts.

This is just one sweet dessert you can have on most diabetic diets. There are many more and as you learn more you will be able to adapt many of your favorite recipes to suit your dietary needs. Just remember that carbohydrates count, almost as much as sugar,so monitor the amounts of these foods that you eat.

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