Diabetes meal planning is a breeze if you follow Toby’s Mix n Match strategy. As she described in chapter 13 of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), you just pick three of these, two of these, and…..why not watch Toby’s video demonstrating how simple and effective this strategy can be.
A study by researchers at Michigan State University brought some good news about vegetables and money to those of us managing diabetes. Those researchers found that canned vegetables are as nutritious, sometimes even more nutritious, than fresh (and more expensive) options.
Vegetables play a very important role in diabetes management. Of course, vegetables are nutritious, and your Mom was correct when she said “vegetables are good for you.” But, there’s another role that vegetables play –specifically nonstarchy vegetables- in a healthy diabetes eating plan, and that’s filling you up. (Yes, a healthy diet doesn’t have to leave you hungry)
The diabetes advantage to filling up on nonstarchy vegetables is in their low carbohydrate content. Canned vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, green beans, asparagus, carrots, beets and many others will offer a portion size of 1 ½ cups to equal one “carb choice” (15 grams carbohydrate). Compare that to an equal amount of carbs in starchy vegetables like potatoes (3 ounces), corn ( ½ cup), beans ( ½ cup) or peas ( ½ cup). When our focus is managing blood glucose levels with nutritious food, nonstarchy vegetables fit the bill perfectly. And, they work pretty well for filling us up too.
So, where does money come into this picture? Fresh vegetables can be costly. An article at CDiabetes.com titled Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank by Amy Campbell, MS, RD, CDE refers to a study from Harvard University which found that “healthy” diets can cost $550.00 more per year than “unhealthy” diets. Canned vegetables can go a long way in solving this cost problem, and keeping your appetite satisfied on healthy nonstarchy vegetables instead of excess carbohydrates. Just look for vegetables without added salt or fat, and keep them handy for every meal.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina reported, in a study published in the journal Science, that stimulating certain cells connecting the amygdala and the hypothalamus of mice could stimulate impulsive overeating- “voracious feeding behavior”- even when the mice were well fed. These particular areas of the brain are a part of what’s called the “limbic system”, responsible for insuring that survival instincts get top priority.
As early as the 1960s neuroscientists electrically stimulated the lateral hypothalamus and saw that it played a key role in feeding behavior, and in the reinforcement of feeding behavior. This current research focused on the hypothalamus as well, one of the brain’s most primitive structures, and a crucial part of brain circuitry that drives us to eat and drink, to seek out sexual partners, and generally to crave more of what makes us feel good. The lateral hypothalamus is connected to the amygdala, where basic, powerful emotions like fear, anger and love are processed.
This connection between eating behavior and powerful emotion is consistent with other research suggesting that stress and overwhelming exposure to food triggers overeating. Moreover, the study results may identify a target for intervention in the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes associated with overeating.
Finding time for leisure could be just what the doctor ordered. It turns out that freeing time for enjoyment and relaxation of body and mind can have impressive benefits to your health, and especially to your diabetes management.
Here’s a trailer for the video on leisure.
Stress is difficult to avoid, but chronic stress is a barrier to effective diabetes management, and a drag on our overall health. However, participating in regular leisure activities can go a long way toward relieving stress….it’s so important, in fact, that Toby considers it part of her essential commitment to diabetes management, priority. But what counts as leisure? Check this clip and find out.