Greetings to one and all! I'm here to ask advice about my mother.
My mother has type 2 diabetes. At the end of April she will be coming to spend 3-4 weeks with me and I'd like to know what kind of advice you can offer me for that period. I should mention that she is not taking meds for it an is supposed to be managing it via her diet - which would be nice but she's not taking any care about it. Anyway, she's my mother and not vice versa so I'm looking for ideas to at least try to (get her and) keep her on track while she's here and to make eating enjoyable for her too.
What kind of advice can you give me? Any suggestions? Any dos and don'ts? Is there anything that I really need to know? I'd be grateful for any and all ideas!
I'm not a type 2, but some things are universal. The bottom line is that she has to take care of herself and make her own decisions. She will probably be most happy if you are not the diet police (those are awful). Ask her what is best for her and what she wants to eat and then use your imagination a bit. If you can cut back on the carbs somewhat that will help keep her blood sugar levels lower. But again, you can't do this for her and there is no point in nagging. That's my take on it anyway. Enjoy your visit.
Cora is right about the "cutting back on carbs" advice. You can gain a better understanding of food issues and their impact on blood sugar levels by reading the following free chapters from Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book: Chapter10.pdf (Essential Diet Guidelines) 05-Aug-2009 1.2M AppendixA.pdf (Commonsense Scientific Analysis of "Good" vs. "Bad" Foods) 05-Aug-2009 782K
When shopping for prepared foods (anything that comes in a box or can, including frozen), you will have to be a conscious label reader and avoid products that contain high carbohydrate and sugar content. A recommended article (also PDF format) is: Reading and Understanding Nutrition Facts Labels (PDF file from North Dakota State Univ_ag.ndsu.edu)
If you really want to know how she's doing, take her out to lunch and see what she orders. If she's ordering hamburgers on white buns and french fries, pizza, pastas, fried food, sundaes, etc., she's not watching what she's eating and eating healthy.
Basically, you can't make her be compliant. If she complains about being tired, thirsty, goes to the bathroom all the time, has tingling in her hands and feet, says her eyes are blurry, she's not doing well, and probably out of control.
If she orders fish, meat, a salad, double veggies instead of french fries or pasta, and doesn't eat much bread, she's probably watching what she's eating.
Ask her to tell you how she eats, so you can keep from becoming a diabetic. That should give you an idea of how much she knows about carb levels at one time(not to have too many for each meal....I keep mine at around 35-45 a meal. I also take 10-15 carbs for a snack in between.
Find out what her A1C level was when you talk to her, and that should give us a clue on how she's doing. It tests 3 months of her blood sugars. She should be sticking to whole grain items, which is absorbed better by the body, rather than white rice, bread, or pasta.
I would avoid being the food police. Offer healthy snacks such as fresh veggies, or cheese and whole grain crackers.
Please do not set her up to fail by offering doughnuts and chips or taking her to your favorite pasta restaurant which may have few low carb choices.
By all means ask her about how she plans her meals or if she has met with a dietician or diabetes educator. You may pleasantly suggest ideas or changes but know she may put on the breaks and turn you off if pushed too far.
Most of all, enjoy her company, try to serve modest choices and build some appropriate physical activity (walking?) into every day.
Thank you all for your great advice Forgive me for taking so long to answer.
The idea of being the food police repulses me so I won't be doing that kind of thing (it's generally counterproductive anyway). In any case, I have 9yo twin daughters who would not appreciate a starvation diet (lol- kidding ...).
Her eating habits have been awful recently - she would survive on bacon sandwiches if she could and, until recently, hardly ever sat down for a meal - she would just snack all day. She lives in assisted housing and I have finally persuaded her to go to the restaurant there for lunch every day (to get a balanced meal and also to avoid her becoming a hermit). Since then she seems to be a bit better. She certainly sounds a lot chirpier on the phone
Anyway, like I said, I'll be doing all the cooking so I needed guidelines. Thank you for telling me about carbs - I had no idea. Does dairy make any difference?
The good part is that we eat a lot (like TONS) of fruit and veg and she likes that but she just can't be bothered to cook them. Also, the house preference is for fish and chicken (another couple of things she likes but can't be bothered cooking) so she should enjoy her food while she's here. I just wanted to be sure that I wouldn't be doing her any harm - she is already blind ...
Just be sure to not give her too much fruit...it's full of sugar. Mine goes up when I have pineapple! Try for blueberries, strawberries, small apples, etc. You can put some Cool Whip on that, for a sweeter taste. If she's eating healthier, her mood shold be better, too.
Costco has ready cooked chickens for $5.00 here. They're huge! They can be used for four days for sandwiches, chicken salad, etc.
Keep in mind that diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. I was essentially a vegetarian when I developed diabetes. Vegetables contain a much higher carbohydrate content than most diabetics realize and the fructose in fruit can really jack up blood sugars. Portion sizes is the name of the game and lightly cooked veggies generally have less of an impact (at least on me) than well-cooked ones. For example, I can eat a raw (but peeled) sweet potato without too much impact but my BG level really surges if it is cooked/baked.
Don't forget to give your Mom a hug at least once a day.
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