We have now turned an important corner in learning about diabetes. Although, for many people, diabetes has been very troubling indeed, leading to all manner of complications—not to mention the annoyances of having to keep track of your blood sugar and watch your diet—a new approach makes everything much easier.
We’ve started with a very different look at the disease itself. For Type 2 diabetes, our goal is not simply to try to hold our blood sugar steady. We’re actually aiming to rejuvenate our insulin production. We’ll make it work more efficiently, so that we can reduce our reliance on drugs—perhaps eliminating them completely. For Type 1 diabetes, our goal is to prevent it or, when it has occurred, minimize our need for insulin. Over time, this will help us stay in excellent health. For gestational diabetes, our goal is to keep it from recurring to turning into Type 2 diabetes.
We can accomplish these goals with a new and very different take on diet. Instead of rigidly adhering to old-fashioned exchange lists and counting every last carbohydrate gram, we will choose foods that jump-start our insulin sensitivity, help us slim down (or stay that way), and keep our heart and blood vessels healthy. In the process, we gain the freedom to enjoy foods that are tasty, familiar, and filling. With a few simple but important changes in our diet, we can control our blood sugar much better—to the point where, if we have Type 2 diabetes, it can even go away.
If a major diet change seems like a challenge, try this: First, make major diet changes, rather than minor ones. Really give it a chance to work, so you can see results. A minor adjustment in the diet here or there will not give you any reward, but to make it doable, focus on the short-term. Try it for just three weeks. If you like it—if you feel better and your energy improves—you’ll want to stick with it. But, in the beginning, focus on making major changes with a short-term focus.
In the process, we’ll not only trim our waistlines, cut our cholesterol level, and lower our blood pressure. We’ll also have a healthy effect on those around us. The fact is, your good eating habits will rub off on people around you. When they try the same foods that are helping you tackle diabetes, they’ll get healthier, too.
Good luck as you embark on your new, healthy life!