Last night marked a celebration of sorts for the plant-based community and Chipotle–the masses were duped into eating tofu. Chipotle ran a promotion for a free burrito later, if you first bought their new plant-based, vegan option called sofritas, basically spicy tofu.
I was on pins and needles. During class, I daydreamed of tofu. While on the bike, my friend Michael had to listen to me imagining a widespread, vegetable takeover of the OKC metro. Then, we got to Chipotle.
By 7PM, my buddy John had already arrived at the location. He’d made it through the 40-person line and was sitting at a table near the door. I naturally looked at his bowl to see if the sofritas were in there. They weren’t. In their place, stood chicken. Knowing the kind of despair he was about to inflict, John immediately said upon laying eyes on me, “Bro, they ran out of sofritas but they’re still honoring the free burrito deal.”
Bummed as I may be, I bounced back and had the usual black bean, rice, grilled veggies, hot salsa, pico, guac, and lettuce bowl. The sofritas will have to wait. You can almost see the disappointment on my face.
Afterward I started to think about how big of a minefield the burrito represents for us folks with diabetes. Let’s face it, complex carbs (beans and rice… and tortillas) are really complicated to manage! Personally, I eat at these burrito spots like Freebirds, Qdoba, and Chipotle probably once a month.
Over years of experience, I’ve noticed a few trends and have a couple of recommendations for those looking to “Do The Burrito”:
1) Go without the tortilla.
This seems simple enough but it’s always tempting. Give yourself a chance to feel good two hours from now by ditching those 46 carbs. Without the tortilla, I guess I don’t do the burrito, technically.
2) Whether you go white or brown rice, they’re both going to hit your blood sugar hard more than an hour after you eat.
After taking your normal ratio of insulin to carbs, or however you calculate your insulin needs, be sure to check back for a high, sudden spike in blood sugar. In my experience, those complex carbs fight back after the insulin bolus starts to wear off.
3) Avoid the initial surge in upward blood sugar with exercise.
Having extra support on board to utilize those carbohydrates as they begin to breakdown has helped me.
Last night, I finished up a bike ride 30 minutes prior to eating with the blood sugar at 85. An hour after eating it was 130. Two hours after it went up to 225. Then it stabilized and slowly made it’s way back down in range as the night went along.
Overall, I am on team burrito, without the tortilla. I understand the hazards and am willing to deal with some variability after eating it. If you too enjoy burritos, and even made it to Chipotle last night, drop us a line and tell us how it went!