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Old Yesterday, 10:00 AM
 
8,581 posts, read 4,301,632 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post
Rant first: She tends to take an "all-or-nothing" approach to healthier eating, wanting to eliminate virtually all carbs one moment, snacking on cookies, cake, and candy the next. For example, she frets about the sugar and fat in Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit, then has an egg and sausage biscuit for breakfast instead, and follows it up with whatever sugary snack someone has brought to the parish hall on the days she has Bible study. When she does try to change her diet, she attempts to cut out carbs altogether, and speaks dispairingly of never having pizza or pasta again.
I know it's frustrating to you, as her support system, to see her all over the place like this. I can get where she's coming from though. In a lot of ways, cutting something out completely (all-or-nothing style) can seem easier than cutting back. For me, it was easier to go completely gluten free than to embrace the "cutting back carbs" lifestyle. They're both really tough, but it was more cut and dry with eliminating gluten. Dealing with carbs and keeping glucose levels stable takes a lot more thought and work ... a lot more grey areas.

It seems sort of silly to say, but it makes sense when you have to go through it ... there's a degree of mourning going on. Mourning for a lifetime of favorite foods and ingrained eating habits. And in this mourning process, it's not always easy to think logically instead of emotionally. We're very emotionally tied to food. It's not an easy shift to make, especially when it's so easy to lapse back into old habits.

I'm still mourning pizza, to be honest. I had a hard time over that when I went gluten free. But then I found GF crusts and still continued to indulge. Now that I have to manage carbs, pizza is pretty much a no-no for me. I literally cried when that realization hit me. Recently in a fit of frustration and laziness, I decided to go get a pizza. It was small, GF, and pretty healthy with regards to toppings (olive oil and garlic, spinach, chicken, artichoke hearts, light on the mozz). But boy oh boy did I see it in the next morning's glucose reading.

By the way, you're a good friend for supporting her like this. She's got a big learning curve, and she's going to mess up a lot. When she messes up, just remind her not to be too hard on herself, not to give up, and to resolve to try better next time.

Last edited by hertfordshire; Yesterday at 10:22 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
7,016 posts, read 7,873,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post
I have an elderly housemate, for whom I cook. She has numerous health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. She recently had a mini-stroke, and we are going to have to make some changes around here, when it comes to food.
Did you know that diabetes can be reversed? That blood pressure and cholesterol issues are correlated with diabetes? I think your housemate should be informed of this, because the whole thing can be reversed. Let her know that something called the ketogenic diet will greatly improve her health issues - including some that she'd never expect.

Try not to demonize natural animal fats. They are very healthful, and do not cause cardiac or stroke issues. Whole milk, butter, eggs, and meat fats are delicious and healthy. If she follows the keto diet religiously for 3 months, she will be so pleased with how she feels and how her test results are trending, that she will be encouraged. And once she's feeling better, she can sneak in a dessert now and then, without detriment.
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Old Yesterday, 10:48 AM
 
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Quote:
I think the starting point needs to be dairy. Not interested in skim milk, as we both hate it, but can anyone suggest specific non-dairy milks for specific uses? One might be good on cold cereal, another might make the best creamy soup, right? I'd like to find a couple of things I can use every day, reserving some of the dairy items we don't want to sacrifice as a special treat.
Almond milk is good with cereal. Look for an almond milk with as little additives as possible.

I have made creamy soups two ways. One, using coconut milk. (No, your soup won't taste like coconut. And you don't need much of it.) When buying coconut milk, by only full-fat canned coconut milk. Not cartons. Not fat free. You may be able to find canned coconut milk in the Asian section of your grocery store. If you can find some without guar gum, that would be a bonus, but I find that hard to find. When you open the can of cononut milk you'll see a thicker portion of milk on the top of the can. You can dump that part only in your soup and leave the rest of the more watery milk, or stir it all together first and add a little bit at that point.

Another way to cream soups is to use an immersion blender to cream the contents. I'll cook up the soup, then either remove the meat if it's in big enough chunks at this point, or pour a good portion of the soup, minus the meat, into a bowl and then use an immersion blender to cream it up. I'll usually add a few extra vegetables at the beginning to give more for the immersion blender to chew on. So, no need to add any cream at all, dairy or otherwise.
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Old Yesterday, 10:58 AM
Status: "Fighting stupidity, one post at a time." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Here and now.
11,758 posts, read 3,288,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
I know it's frustrating to you, as her support system, to see her all over the place like this. I can get where she's coming from though. In a lot of ways, cutting something out completely (all-or-nothing style) can seem easier than cutting back. For me, it was easier to go completely gluten free than to embrace the "cutting back carbs" lifestyle. They're both really tough, but it was more cut and dry with eliminating gluten. Dealing with carbs and keeping glucose levels stable takes a lot more thought and work ... a lot more grey areas.

It seems sort of silly to say, but it makes sense when you have to go through it ... there's a degree of mourning going on. Mourning for a lifetime of favorite foods and ingrained eating habits. And in this mourning process, it's not always easy to think logically instead of emotionally. We're very emotionally tied to food. It's not an easy shift to make, especially when it's so easy to lapse back into old habits.

I'm still mourning pizza, to be honest. I had a hard time over that when I went gluten free. But then I found GF crusts and still continued to indulge. Now that I have to manage carbs, pizza is pretty much a no-no for me. I literally cried when that realization hit me. Recently in a fit of frustration and laziness, I decided to go get a pizza. It was small, GF, and pretty healthy with regards to toppings (olive oil and garlic, spinach, chicken, artichoke hearts, light on the mozz). But boy oh boy did I see it in the next morning's glucose reading.

By the way, you're a good friend for supporting her like this. She's got a big learning curve, and she's going to mess up a lot. When she messes up, just remind her not to be too hard on herself, not to give up, and to resolve to try better next time.
I don't really think she is at a point where she needs to scrupulously limit all carbs, but mostly to limit those that are overly processed: white flour, white rice (seems to be the worst offender for her), etc., and of course, added sugar. I'm trying to find whole-grain alternatives to replace some of these foods.

You are probably right about the emotional attachment. It's the only thing I can think of that someone would worry about the sugar in an apple, peach, or cup of plain yogurt with berries and a tiny drizzle of honey, but not about the sugar in a slice of cake.

Honestly, I am as concerned about the cholesterol issue as I am about the carbs. We both love cheese, butter, heavy cream, sour cream, mayo, which is why one of the things I asked about was good alternatives to milk or cream. I can easily cut back on the butter by using olive oil instead, and use guacamole or some other condiment on sandwiches, instead of mayo, but right now one of the main things I want to find is some acceptable replacement for cream and milk in cooking. That, to be honest, will be my learning curve, as I use a lot of both.

The thing I really want to try is more whole foods - whole grains, less processed or refined stuff - and a bit of a shift to more plant-based entrees. I am not vegan, nor am I likely ever to be, but I think there would be some serious benefits in eating at least some vegan meals, and not only for her.
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Old Yesterday, 11:05 AM
Status: "Fighting stupidity, one post at a time." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Here and now.
11,758 posts, read 3,288,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoSomething View Post
Almond milk is good with cereal. Look for an almond milk with as little additives as possible.

I have made creamy soups two ways. One, using coconut milk. (No, your soup won't taste like coconut. And you don't need much of it.) When buying coconut milk, by only full-fat canned coconut milk. Not cartons. Not fat free. You may be able to find canned coconut milk in the Asian section of your grocery store. If you can find some without guar gum, that would be a bonus, but I find that hard to find. When you open the can of cononut milk you'll see a thicker portion of milk on the top of the can. You can dump that part only in your soup and leave the rest of the more watery milk, or stir it all together first and add a little bit at that point.

Another way to cream soups is to use an immersion blender to cream the contents. I'll cook up the soup, then either remove the meat if it's in big enough chunks at this point, or pour a good portion of the soup, minus the meat, into a bowl and then use an immersion blender to cream it up. I'll usually add a few extra vegetables at the beginning to give more for the immersion blender to chew on. So, no need to add any cream at all, dairy or otherwise.
Thanks, coconut milk was one of the things I was thinking of for soups. I think coconut is gaining some traction as an ingredient in savory dishes. I know I love it in Thai food.

I don't have an immersion blender. Could I do the same thing in a standard food processor?
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Old Yesterday, 11:10 AM
Status: "Fighting stupidity, one post at a time." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Here and now.
11,758 posts, read 3,288,529 times
Reputation: 12578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
Did you know that diabetes can be reversed? That blood pressure and cholesterol issues are correlated with diabetes? I think your housemate should be informed of this, because the whole thing can be reversed. Let her know that something called the ketogenic diet will greatly improve her health issues - including some that she'd never expect.

Try not to demonize natural animal fats. They are very healthful, and do not cause cardiac or stroke issues. Whole milk, butter, eggs, and meat fats are delicious and healthy. If she follows the keto diet religiously for 3 months, she will be so pleased with how she feels and how her test results are trending, that she will be encouraged. And once she's feeling better, she can sneak in a dessert now and then, without detriment.
I don't demonize them. We eat them a lot, and I have no intention of eliminating them altogether. However, I think it's possible to overdo anything.
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Old Yesterday, 11:15 AM
 
14 posts, read 2,681 times
Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post

I don't have an immersion blender. Could I do the same thing in a standard food processor?
Yes. I was without an immersion blender for a few months and did this, but it's definitely a lot easier with one. (They are only about $20. Don't get a cordless one if you do go that route - a plug-in has more power.) But sure, in a pinch, the food processor will work.
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Old Yesterday, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
20,189 posts, read 13,255,364 times
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If the goal is to stabilize blood sugar, then you need to reduce carb consumption. Honestly, you need help from a dietitian. But for this you need your housemate to be onboard. If she fails to discipline herself, all your efforts on her behalf will fail.

I would not eat dry cereal. When I was doing low carb, I could not find a single acceptable low carb variety. And then there are the carbs in skim milk. I think oatmeal is a decent choice, because of its other properties. And you can choose whatever you want as a milk.

You need a target number of carbs for a day, and that would come from a pro. Once you know how many carbs you have to work with, you manage meal planning around that. Your housemate should have received some guidance about a diabetic diet. I’ve followed that, and it is doable. One of the benefits of closely managing carbs is how much better you feel after you have done it for awhile.

One thing you have to get in the habit of doing is to check all processed foods for their carb values. That’s how you track carbs. Think tomato sauce is a heathy food? Check the carb count on a can or jar, and be prepared to be shocked at the carb content of a serving.

Another thing to do is to switch to whole grains for wheat or rice products. Fiber is important in slowing absorbtion of carbs. Again, you will be checking carb counts for each serving.

But there is support for diabetic meal planning online, and with a local dietitian. Check to see if housemate’s insurance covers a visit. Or she should ask for help at her doctor’s office. There is no reason to go it alone here. You need help in knowing how to manage blood sugar, beyond simple instructions to manage your blood sugar.

If your housemate binges on sweets, she probably is addicted to sugar and carbs. There is no doubt that eating carbs gives you a short term rush of pleasure. This should be acknowledged and addressed.

Edited to add:
http://www.themetabolismmiracle.com/ I think you can pick up A used copy of this book pretty easily. It pitches itself as a weight loss diet plan, but it is really about diabetes management. You could skip the induction period, and go straight to the diabetic maintenance diet, which is reliable and doable. Author is an experienced diabetic nutritionist.

Last edited by silibran; Yesterday at 11:54 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:23 AM
 
8,581 posts, read 4,301,632 times
Reputation: 29803
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post
I don't really think she is at a point where she needs to scrupulously limit all carbs, but mostly to limit those that are overly processed: white flour, white rice (seems to be the worst offender for her), etc., and of course, added sugar. I'm trying to find whole-grain alternatives to replace some of these foods.
Does she test her glucose levels? If she starts to see how certain changes to her diet affect the numbers, it becomes more concrete and easier to see. If the goal is to control her glucose and A1C, cutting out the "whites" will be a good start, but it may not be enough to make an appreciable difference. The numbers will help determine that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post
You are probably right about the emotional attachment. It's the only thing I can think of that someone would worry about the sugar in an apple, peach, or cup of plain yogurt with berries and a tiny drizzle of honey, but not about the sugar in a slice of cake.
To be honest, my level of "give a d@mn" changes day to day and even hour to hour. In that moment with the yogurt and berries, she's found a bit of resolve. But by the time the cake shows up, her frustration with the whole situation causes her to say "eff it!!" and give in. That's exacly what happend with me and the pizza. I had been scrupulous all week, and that night I was just in an emotional state for a number of reasons, and I just didn't care anymore. That lasted until I saw my reading and it put that pizza in perspective. That's a big reason why it would be good for her to be testing on a regular basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgirl64 View Post
Honestly, I am as concerned about the cholesterol issue as I am about the carbs. We both love cheese, butter, heavy cream, sour cream, mayo, which is why one of the things I asked about was good alternatives to milk or cream. I can easily cut back on the butter by using olive oil instead, and use guacamole or some other condiment on sandwiches, instead of mayo, but right now one of the main things I want to find is some acceptable replacement for cream and milk in cooking. That, to be honest, will be my learning curve, as I use a lot of both.
This is one area where I should be more concerned, but I'm just not there yet. So I don't have any help to offer. It's also frustrating because it seems that every day "they" say something different. Is butter evil or not? Eggs were once the devil, and now they're healthy. I can't keep up.
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Old Yesterday, 11:27 AM
 
8,581 posts, read 4,301,632 times
Reputation: 29803
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Originally Posted by silibran View Post
Think tomato sauce is a heathy food? Check the carb count on a can or jar, and be prepared to be shocked at the carb content of a serving.
Boy, ain't that the truth!?!? I have been known to spend a half hour in the tomato sauce aisle comparing labels! That's one food where you can see a wide disparity in carb counts. It's kind of amazing.
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