Phytonutrients and Diabetes “M”

I love nutrition and the thought of nutritional healing for many ailments. I am currently listening to a college level course on nutrition for the 2nd time. Every chapter is beneficial but I'm specifically fascinated by phytonutrients – the benefits reaped from the color of the vegetable or fruit. For example, a dark red berry like acai would have the same nutrients as say, a cranberry or pomegranate. Each week I try choosing from the colors of the rainbow.

My salad toppings…red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers, fennel (from my garden this year) and carrots. I put a sprinkling of walnuts and cranberries on it as well and always look for the spring mix salad with its red and green salad leaves.

Earlier this year, my husband received the disappointing news that he can add diabetes to his hypertension and high cholesterol. At first he was depressed then angry. Now he has settled into acceptance but I have to say I still see resistance. He longs for "all the things he can never eat again" … pause to roll eyes. I have termed his diabetes type "M" for "man". Not unlike the "man" cold, everything is an ordeal. Having to check serving sizes and calories, sugars and fat, sodium and fiber. To counteract the drama, I spend one day every weekend preparing take and go containers of things he can eat.

Serving size nuts (low sodium) and cups of fresh fruit. Grab and go. I like doing this. He still whines. But at least I don't worry about him not eating at all.

Not funny anymore

I pride myself on finding humor in everything.  You have to to navigate successfully in this crazy world.  But I can’t find the humor in the recent situation.  My husband just had a wheelbarrow full of medical issues dumped on him…knee, back, cholesterol, diabetes, to name a few.  As with everything in my life I jump in 110%.  Researching healthier eating, calling our local endocrinologist to try to get us a family appointment with the registered dietician to work on nutrition (keep in mind, we weren’t really all that unhealthy to begin with).  My husband bitched and moaned that he can’t eat anything ever again and was ready to have his limps amputated and commit himself to a nursing home. So add to my research “how to be a cheerleader/motivational speaker”.

First wall I hit was the endocrinologist.  My husband can go…with referral from his doctor (three weeks later and we are still waiting for someone to make that call), but they won’t see me.  I call my doctor to request a referral.  I didn’t realize that was asking for a pot of gold.  I’m not diabetic, hypertensive, or suffering from any other metabolic issue.   I get a referral to a weight management clinic.   Kept smiling tho.

Second wall I hit was funding this new healthier eating.  Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.  Lots of fresh produce, low fat dairy products, etc.   Well apparently less processed, healitier food costs a lot more.  Time in the grocery store has doubled so nutrition panels can be read.  (*note: I had to forego this year’s corned beef for a London broil — 1210 mg sodium vs 55 mg sodium).  But we are making it work.   My weekends are now filled with creating portion-sized servings of fresh cut up fruit, single serving size grab-able containers of dry roasted unsalted peanuts, meal planning over the protests and whines to include sweet potatoes instead of russet, lentils and quinoa instead of rice, water with lemon instead sweet tea or Gatorade.  I bake chicken breasts for his lunches (and mine), instead of the convenient deli chicken salad.

It’s been three weeks since the emergency visit to the doctor with his very high blood sugar ready and he has lost 15 lbs and has kept his sugar to under 120.  I’ve gained .5 lbs.  The weight management doctor, in anticipation of my first appointment has ordered me to meticulously monitor my food…keeping a food and exercise diary.   I am consistently 200-300 under the allotted calories.  I’m eating the same healthier, smaller portion size meals he is, and walking the dog, taking a self defense class, so the exercise is there.  But yup…he’s down 15.  I’m up .5.

Where’s the humor in that?  Seriously.