Diabetic Cooking

CEFreemanDecember 19, 2012

Hi all!

A friend of mine has been diagnosed with Type II diabetes (such a fit fellow, too! Not weight related, unfortunately).

He loves to cook, but you know how you have to rethink everything you put into your mouth!

I was wondering if anyone here knew of a really great Italian, Asian, or another carb-laden cuisine modified for diabetes!?

I'd like to pick this up for him and his wife for Christmas.

Thank you for your advice!

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I don't have any book recommendations. But I have some actual cooking suggestions while we're on the topic.

I'm going low-carb for weight loss reasons and I recently went through the fairly difficult task of locating substitute ingredients for starches. In addition to the common options like making mashed "potatoes" out of cauliflower or celery root and spaghetti from spaghetti squash or shredded zucchini, I found a noodle substitute that is awesome. It's called Shirataki noodles and they're made from some Japanese yam that isn't even a yam at all. It's mostly fiber and water, so it's low-carb. I found it at my local Whole Foods market in the vegan section. There's one brand I like better that uses tofu in the noodle. It's clearly labeled Tofu Shirataki and I highly recommend it.

I also found tofu noodles at a Chinese market. This noodle is actually pure tofu, as opposed to the tofu shirataki I mentioned above, that's been pressed firm and sliced into noodles. I though it was a decent substitute for lo mein.

As a thickening agent for soups and sauces, I use pureed vegetables in soups and Xanthum Gum in sauces. I made a delicious creamless and flourless monkfish chowder the other day just by pureeing cauliflower. I did use butter in the puree so while it wasn't as low-cal as it could have been, it was definitely low-carb. The butter added some needed richness to the chowder.

I still haven't gone with any sugar substitutes. I haven't done any low-carb baking yet. For savory dishes, I just omit all sweeteners. I've been letting the natural sweetness of some veggies do the trick.

For cheese and crackers snacking, I've resorted to flaxseed crackers such as Flackers. It's a reasonable substitute.

So far, I've been able to adapt quite a few of my personal recipes with just a few ingredient changes. Hopefully some of these tips can help someone.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Hi Christine, Sorry to hear about your friend. I am mom to a T1 son who was diagnosed at age 3, now 11. There are no good cook books, but I do think Cooking Light is a great resource.
Two important things: I urge you to tell you friend to get diagnosed by an endocrinologist specializing in Diabetes. Many times doctors without a lot of experience with the disease will see an adult with high BGs and call it T2, because T2 used to be called "Adult Onset" and T1 used to be called "Juvenile". The diseases are actually very different as T1 is an auto immune disease(frequently triggered by Strep, though this is still a suspected and not proven link) and T2 is not. T1 is the inability to make insulin, T2 is typified by insulin resistance and they must be treated differently. There is also a Type 1.5 AKA as LADA (Latent Autoimmmune Diabetes of Adults) which is very frequently misdiagnosed as T2 and must be treated differently than T2. An accurate diagnosis is not based on Blood GLucose numbers alone, there would have been other blood tests, to measure GAD antibodies, and Serum Insulin levels(a type 2 would have had sky high insulin levels, a type one negligible).
Secondly, cooking for a diabetic is often thought of as low carb cooking, but it is not. Low fat is also very important. Frequently upon diagnosis, your insurance will cover at least one visit to a Registered Dietician. This would be a great thing for your friend to take advantage of.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:41PM
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Oh, me, me!!

Sorry to hear about his diagnosis. Our friend's son is a (very) BUFF young policeman, and he was just diagnosed type 1!!! Even in the hospital, they were having a terrible time getting his insulin regulated.

Anyway, MIL who lives with us is a longtime type 2 diabetic, and they just sent her a new cookbook with her supplies!! It is GREAT! I have used 4 recipes out of it in the shorttime I have had it.

It is called "FAST and Flavorful" great diabetes meals from market to talble
By Linda Gassenheimer. Published by the American Diabetes Association

Looks like you might order it from www.shopdiabetes.org


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:04PM
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amazon has it for 14.54. says paperback - 8 x 9 book

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Ahh, thanks!

I lost 45 lbs on Atkins once. (I've lost millions of pounds in my liftime.) I suggested he look at these sites, too, because (you're right, localeater) balance is important and paramount in diabetic dining. Now the new products sound great. They certainly didn't have good noodle supplements 10 years ago when I was low-carb.

I recommend a site called Netrition. You can find fantastic low carb products there. I'll have to look at the crackers I still get there. They're rather flavorless without cheese, but cheese is our friend!

I've got a very extensive nutritional background, so I'm trying to help. He's a creative cook and although I don't know his wife, I'm sure they'll do just fine together. He's a little wigged. They also checked him for thyroid, because he has dropped almost 30 lbs for pretty much no reason. They feared cancer or the worst, too. It's "only" diabetes. OMG. Localeater, I'll print your recommendations for him. Thank you.

I'll order the book right now. Thank you, springoz and desertsteph!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Christine, I'm sorry to hear about your friend's diagnosis. All 3 of my sons are type 1 (diagnosed at 2 yrs, 9 months, and 14 years old) and they are all adults now, so I've been cooking and baking this way for a l-o-o-ong time. I've never found a cookbook I've really liked (I'm going to check out Springroz's Fast and Flavorful), but use Cooking Light and the ADA's Diabetes Forecast magazine recipes all the time. The Forecast has a section of recipes every month, as well as a lot of great information for all types of diabetes. I've tried lots of their recipes over the years, and I've had more winners than losers (which is more than I can say for most diabetic cookbooks I've bought). The magazine is $28 for 12 months.

I second localeater's concern that your friend be diagnosed by an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes to be sure that type 2 diagnosis is correct. The misdiagnosis of an adult with type 1 has happened in my extended family more than a few times. It is really important to get that diagnosis right the first time! Best of luck to your friend, and bless you for giving him such a great gift!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:51AM
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My sister is doing very well keeping her A1C down without medication. She's following The Sugar Solution, which gives the diet to follow. I see they also have a cook book.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:06AM
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Christine wrote: "he has dropped almost 30 lbs for pretty much no reason."

Sudden weight loss, pre-diagnosis, is much, much more common in type 1 than in type 2. Another reason to see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:38AM
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I thought I'd let you know I bought the cookbook last night.

I am also printing some of the recommendations I've received. There's only so much I can get into his personal business, but I like and respect this fellow and would like to help him out. He is, of course, a bit freaked.

Thank you for your info.
flowers n co, that's a toughie! But it sounds like you've certainly worked things out well. Did your kids learn to cook as well? I think, like many dietary situations, it sounds like a good safety measure!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 8:59PM
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DS2 and DS3 cook fairly well, but DS1 barely boils water. They all eat pretty healthy now, but there have been periods for each of them (mostly teen and young adult times) when they didn't watch what they ate. That can't last very long before the diabetes forces them to pay attention. Now they all take it pretty seriously and are doing well.

If you friend is fit and healthy, he probably eats healthy, too (at least for the most part) so there may not be too much adjustment for him as far as diet. The biggest adjustment may be checking blood sugars (poking his finger/arm) and taking medication regularly.

My dad was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes right after he got out of the Navy when he was 21. He always said if he had to have an incurable disease, he'd take diabetes because he could live with it comparably well. We always thought complications from diabetes would factor into his end of life, but he got cancer and passed away at 58 (22 years ago). My mom's side has type 2 diabetes (although mom doesn't have it but she's 81, stays active, and watches her weight).

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Your family sounds particularly equipped to deal with diabetes! In a way, how lucky for your boys.

I will see my friend tomorrow when I go to work and ask the questions you guys have recommended here.

I appreciate it all!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:45PM
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