So what do you eat? Once upon a time, I use to respond to my name. Now, I respond to that question only. Okay, I’m somewhat kidding, but I get that it’s a curious decision: going plant-based with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. To shed light on the question and provide guidance, I’m rolling out the mini-grocery list of essentials for the person looking to make the plant-based leap, while keeping the whole pancreas deficiency thing in mind.
First, we need to address a big concept: when animal products are no longer a part of your diet, one will tend to eat more carbs. The calories have to come from somewhere right? In my opinion, there aren’t very many low-carb comparable items to grilled chicken and eggs. Sure, tofu or some other meat substitute can be close, but part of the switch involves eating food that has more nutrients, and oftentimes, more carbs. Last thing: even as I eat many more carbs that I use to, say two years ago before the switch, I take vastly less insulin.That sentiment is echoed by almost every plant-based person with T1D.
Alright, let’s get on with it. Here are the plant-based essentials in the T1D kitchen:
Gotta go with the non-sweetened version here. Slims our margin for error, when you’re probably already adding this to cereal. We’ll to cereal in a second.
Don’t fooled by this so-called healthy food. If it’s got chocolate or sweetened cranberries in it, beware. If free of the sugar-added stuff, a great go to snack and lower carb.
Some of you are already gagging. Gag away. This stuff is awesome, low-carb, and protein-rich. Probably not something that should be consumed at every meal, so I shoot for having it every other day, one meal per day. The sprouted forms are more absorbable.
Almond Butter and Celery
These two together make sweet sweet music. When I only have one, I don’t eat it. When I have both, I can’t stop eating it.
Dark Leafy Greens
Nutrients for days, low-carb, and surprisingly easy to cook. Saute or steam. Spinach, kale, collards, romaine, and chard all get the job done. A must have every day.
No explanation needed. Just good.
Cereal and I have a history. One filled with love, regret, and intrigue. Our relationship has matured: now I refuse to buy versions that have added sugar. It’s helped out the a1c by no surprise.
Sure, loaded with carbs, but not once have I had to take the full amount of insulin for the carbs listed. The magical fruit in many forms…
I’ve come to love this stuff, especially in cereal. Without fish, it’s a simple way to fill up on Omega 3s.
For 1 cup and probably a months’s worth of antioxidants, they register 21 carbs. If you added a quarter of a cup of these bad boys to anything, that’s only 5 or so carbs. Solid blood sugar and nutrient compromise.
By no means is this a complete list, just a list of functional foods densely packed with nutrients, with a hint of blood sugar mindfulness. Drop us in your own additions below!