Category Archives: food

Dieting and Diabetes

So you read my previous post on diabetes (see post on bread), and you’re wondering how to reverse this?  The answer is of course diet and exercise. Specifically, lose about 15% of your body weight at diagnosis (this seems a vague recommendation to me, but an achievable goal).

So how do you achieve this? I was motivated, so I decided to follow the Newcastle recommendations and go on a starvation diet for a few weeks.  That is, less than 800 cals/day. I’m reasonably healthy, not pregnant, etc., so no major worries. You should probably check with your doctor (I didn’t, but she was OK with it when I later saw her). The big danger of starvation diets is muscle loss, so make sure you eat lots of protein and do lots of exercise.  If you are bona fide diabetic, you really NEED to check with your doctor to make sure you dont go hypoglycemic and stuff. Having said that, the Newcastle study worked with diabetics. So use your common sense.

The next question is how the heck do you manage to eat so little every day without going crazy? Its not as hard as you think; the Newcastle study used shakes/meal replacements mainly, but that seemed stupid to me (apart from the ease of measuring the calories exactly, which is useful for a scientific study).

First in were good quality protein – to protect the muscles. That means 200 calorie portions of sliced meats; eggs; turkey burgers, steak, tuna, etc. I ate two such portions a day, For the remaining 400 calories, you can fill up on the following foods

2 cups spaghetti squash – about 100 cals, I think. 1 large cucumber, maybe 75? Lettuce -eat as much as you like. Green beans – read the bag; a huge plate will have maybe 60 cals. Dont forget to add in FLAVOUR – chicken stock powder, salt, chili powder, hot sauce, peperoncini, Arugula, parsley, dill, mushrooms.

So for example; breakfast scramble: 2 eggs, stir in handfuls of greens, roughly chopped, 2 grated cloves of garlic, tsp. hot sauce.

Greens and mushrooms; boil 1 pound frozen beans (130 cals) with 8 mushrooms (15 calories) with some chicken stock powder and salt.  Drain; stir with 1 tsp butter (1 pat of butter is about 40 cals). So for less than 200 cals, you have mushroomy, chickeney, buttery beans – a whole pound.

Lunch; 1 head of lettuce, with handfuls of arugula, cilantro, parsley, all mixed with peperoncini, capers, you name it. If you havent used up all your calories, add in some sliced meats or goat cheese, maybe half an avocado.  Half a lemon’s worth of juice as a dressing. You can make a huge salad for few calories. Try adding salted cucumber, daikon, celery…

The trick is to bulk up with low-calorie vegetables, and at the same time, eat meat with its fat for (1) protein and (2) satiety. Foods to avoid for a satisfying starvation diet include vegetable oils (100 cals per tablespoon) and white carbs (flour, rice, potato, bread…). Don’t be a nazi about it, but you are trying to convert your body to a fat-burning system away from a carb-burning system. Think Paleo, not Atkins.

Overall, the Paleo diet seems to be one of the best, but once the starvation diet is over, you are going to want to slowly add back in small quantities of whole grains, maybe a potato or a sweet potato now and then, etc. Think of carbs the way we used to think of fat – as a sinful treat, to be eaten in small amounts and rarely. Fruit is OK, in small proportions. Preferably sour rather than sweet fruits – berries and apples rather than pineapples and canteloupes. But again, don’t be a Nazi; enjoy your food.

With this kind of a philosophy, I went from 195 to 185 in about 2 weeks, then to about 175 in about 2 months, now I’m getting close to 165 after another 4 months. My food tastes great – seriously – and I’m not going hungry at all. I’d be a lot lower if I didnt pig out on peanuts and chocolate occasionally, and some wine. The thing is to work WITH your body; it can have treats with no guilt so long as the weight loss plan stays more or less on track. If the weight goes up a couple of pounds over a few days, then bring it back down by eating less/exercising more again. No biggie. Remember; quick losses/gains are water weight.

What this means – I think – is that the carbs in your body – glycogen – have lots of hydroxyl groups (-OH). Thus, they bind a lot of water. When you increase your store of carbs, you hold onto more water, and when you deplete your store of carbs, you lose the water. So keep avoiding large amounts of carbs and if you do eat a slice of pizza, say, go for a hike to burn it off again (the carbs more so than the fat; specifically, lower the blood sugar and deplete muscle glycogen; the first 20 mins of exercise largely uses carbs; then it switches to burning fat when these stores run down).

Rinse and repeat until you get to be the weight you want; then you can up your calorie intake to maintainance levels – balancing salads and beans with higher calorie foods.

Try avocado-lemon dressing on a salad – squish a Hass avocado in your hands and mix with the juice of one lemon, mix into a large green salad. Very tasty, good mouthfeel, high in fiber, maybe 200 calories. Throw in half a cup of chickpeas. Then eat 5 slices of bacon with your breakfast the next morning. See? Its easy. Eat steak, but maybe eat only half of what you used to per serving, and serve with salad or beans, not fries.

DO NOT EAT:  Deep-fried breaded foods.