In his book, Food Rules An Eater’s Manual, the author Michael Pollan, narrows down the topic of how to eat to live healthy to these seven words, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Although this seems to be a very simplistic way of looking at a healthy diet, it really makes a lot of sense, especially for the diabetic (of any type).
When Pollan talks about what we should eat, he says, “Eat food.” Let’s look at what he means and how Dr. Neal Barnard is in agreement.
In today’s post, we will only be addressing food.
What is food?
If we think about food as everything we put into our mouths that gives us some form of nourishment, then food can be anything from a piece of lettuce to a piece of paper.
A piece of paper? Yes. A piece of paper.
From the website, https://forum.bodybuilding.com, there is an unclear definition of the nutritional content in a single piece of paper.
They state in one of the answers:
“paper is made from wood fiber.
wood fiber is cellulose; cellulose can not be digested by humans (cows and horses etc can).
since it can not be digested it has no caloric value (to humans), but has the benefits of dietary fiber; promote GI motility etc…
oats contain fiber but also carbohydrate.
there are much better ways to get fiber in the diet than eating paper!
whole grains, fruits and vegetables…”
I’ll admit that when I was a kid, I ingested a lot of paper. I would get bored in class and slowly eat up a piece by the end of class. Of course, some of that paper also ended up as spit balls, too!
But I digress…
Obviously, not everything we eat is food or at any rate, good food.
Most of us probably know that there is nutritional value in Romaine lettuce and not so much in Iceberg lettuce. That doesn’t stop us from eating the Iceberg variety, though. In fact, when given the choice, I almost always pick the Iceberg variety. Go figure.
From my research food can be described thusly, If it has more than one (two at most) ingredients on the label, leave it on the shelf.
Pollan suggests that if “your great-grandmother (or grandmother, depending on your age)” wouldn’t recognize it as food, then it probably isn’t something you should eat.
There are a lot of foods on the grocery store shelves that masquerade as food, but are really more like a complex combination of stuff you wouldn’t feed to a goat! (And they eat almost anything!)
What does Dr. Neal Barnard have to say?
In his book Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, Dr. Barnard gives some pretty strict limitations to the diet plan if you hope to reverse type 2 diabetes.
The book is mainly a vegetarian way of eating completely taking out animal meat, bi-products, fats, all dairy, etc. He also talks about the S.O.S. plan which stands for no added Salt, Oil or Sugar. That’s probably just smart practice anyway.
I enjoy his book profoundly because he breaks things down and makes it clear what should and should not be eaten to help reverse type 2 diabetes and keep it from re-emerging.
He offers practical meals and recipes that will help get you on the right path.
I do believe it works, but it is rather hard to maintain when you are not accustomed to eating that way.
When I followed the plan, however, I saw my blood sugars get to within normal levels without doing any other changes. I didn’t add exercise or anything else. I only changed the way I was eating. As soon as I switched back to eating meat, oils, eggs and other “forbidden” foods, my blood sugars went back up.
A friend of mine suggests….
A friend of mine who has been managing her eating lifestyle through simple means, disagrees with Dr. Barnard.
She is a very brilliant woman who has degrees in math and science, so I tend to believe that she knows what she is talking about. She has been maintaining healthy blood sugar levels for many years following her own plan which includes:
- No white foods, except dairy, but no ice cream.
- Grapes—six and no more (too much fructose)
- Two (2) ounces of meat per day for health
She said that the daily intake of foods should be about 1/3 fat, 1/3 carbs and 1/3 protein.
Her mantra is simple. It goes like this: No cake, pie, cookies, chips, candy or pop.
“No nutritionally vacant foods should be in your house,” she suggested.
I’m glad she has not seen my pantry lately!
In all seriousness, though, I made a realization today, that if I didn’t have all the foods I enjoyed eating in the house and only had the foods that I didn’t especially care for (like vegetables) then we would throw a lot less food away. Why? Because I would be hungry and finding nothing else to eat, I would eat the kale and Romaine lettuce and the like.
Now, I have options like potato chips.
When I am faced with the option of chips or kale…which one do you think I would pick?
Summing it up
Once we find out what food really is, it will be a lot easier to choose which foods to eat. Keep in mind that everyone has ideas about which foods are the best to eat. And remember if your grandma or great-grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food, then it probably isn’t fit for consumption!
Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 12 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.