Hi! And welcome to another edition of The Single Dad’s Guide to Health. I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote my last health post. And part of this has had to do with the recurrence of gout, which I will get to shortly. So it’s made the last two weeks kind of crazy. And honestly, when I take the pain medication, it does tend to make me a bit lethargic. Writing, takes brain power, no matter how little of it I have to bring. So thank you for your patience. With that, the Guide proudly presents the Single Dad’s Guide to Health: the Diabetes Edition.
As I referred to previously, the last couple of weeks of my health has been one roller coaster of a ride. Part of this is to do with the crazy vacation schedule I had with my daughter and other work issues. I had lost about 15 pounds, which was a good start on my road to health, but it appeared 5 pounds of that came back. And before I knew it, gout had returned to my toe right before I was picking up my daughter. In addition, my car seemed to have trouble starting that day and so things spiraled from there.
Thankfully I was able to get help from a friend to restart my car. And what’s great is that my car continued to run after the Wednesday, with no apparent glitches. Unfortunately for me, gout seemed to keep running as well. And it hung on to my foot as if it were Pooh Bear hanging onto a honeypot. This has made walking a chore, and not something to be desired. What’s horrible about this, as I am sure you are well aware, is that at the time you need more exercise to reduce the uric acid crystal count and make things better for your body, your body is telling you that you can do nothing. It’s like your body is fighting you trying to do the things which would make you better. How great is that?
Let’s get back to the health journey though. And as those who have followed me from a couple weeks back know, the gout diagnosis was one of only three diagnoses this past month. And so to cover the whole story, I need to cover the other two. This week we will be talking about diabetes.
To understand where I am coming from on the topic of diabetes (and I am by no means an expert), you have to understand my family history. First, there is that of my uncle who had type one diabetes. This, for those of you who do not know, refers to the condition where the person has diabetes for life. They need to make dietary changes from the moment they are born, or they will struggle. In addition, they will need insulin their entire life. So there isn’t much you can do about the situation. You are stuck and you have to take care of yourself.
Next, there is the diabetes of my father, who falls under the type 2 diabetic condition. This usually means that after time you become overweight, and your body stops producing insulin, a chemical which helps your body clean out all the sugar which rushes around in your bloodstream. Without this cleaning, the excess sugars do damage to all kinds of areas of the body, like type 1 diabetes would do. Only it does it more slowly over time, so it’s less noticeable.
My problem with my father isn’t that he had type two diabetes. He got overweight and that affected him. And the fact I am getting it at the same time as my father did, isn’t entirely unexpected. There is a genetic component to the malady. The problem I have with diabetes type 2 appears to be the way it’s treated.
Drugs inundate society. We are a drug hooked culture at this point. I don’t mean drugs like heroin or cocaine, which have their own craziness. I am talking about prescribed drugs. Whether it be head drugs, pain pills, antibiotics, or pills to help with cholesterol, diabetes, or gout, we all take copious amounts of medication throughout our lives. I get, as an allergy sufferer, doctors believe certain medications are maintenance drugs and need to be taken daily. But I rebel against the notion that drugs should be a daily thing. Unless life-threatening or debilitating (i.e. diabetes type 1, AIDS, schizophrenia), drugs should always be taken for short periods of time to stabilize a person until they can get healthy naturally. But that’s not what they do.
I have watched both my father and my ex-mother-in-law start with diabetes medication. It starts off with a pill that they take and monitor how they are doing. Do they ever get off the pill? No. Instead, the condition gets worse. They don’t really lose weight. And things go haywire. They end up having to take the insulin shots instead of just the pills. How can this possibly be healthy when the prognosis is things getting worse and not better?
As a result, I am looking at the diet and exercise regimen to fight off the full diabetic condition and hopefully, allow my body to heal itself naturally. And while exercise will have to be a part of this long-term solution, one has to remember what I am going through with my other condition to wonder what I am going to do to improve my health. But we shall see. In the meantime, let’s look at the diabetic diet and see what pitfalls may befall me.
The Diabetic Diet –
The following includes the list of things which are good for my health while trying to keep the pre-diabetes at bay.
1) Beans – This seems to be in common with both gout and diabetic diets. (My daughter says most beans taste like dirt. It only figures they recommend dirt to consume.)
2) Dark Leafy Green Veggies – As my daughter would say . . . duh, daddy. (I’ve been doing this for the past month. Tired of eating salad much?!?)
3) Sweet Potatoes – Blah! (Looks like my thanksgiving veggie of choice.)
4) Berries – So it would appear berries and cherries are a thing now. Fruit cocktail anyone?
5) Tomatoes – Here is a fruit (or is It a veggie), that I can get into. I can think of many ways of incorporating into my diet…. Unless of course, it affects my gout . . . then . . . ugh!
6) Fish High in Omega 3’s – Here is where we might have a problem with gout. As Tuna and Sardines are probably no-nos when it comes to diabetes. Something crazy going on here I have to say.
7) Nuts – Well, looks like I will be perusing the nut aisles more often. Will it make my writing nuttier? Only time will tell. (And yes, I did throw that dad joke in there.)
8) Whole Grains – The operative word here. Whole. If it doesn’t say whole, it’s not whole grain. Get it? Got it! Good!
9) Milk and Yogurt – Evidently the lactose in milk is not a problem here. Cannot complain about that. I am going to have to be incorporating this more into my diet. Although I’m guessing I will tire of just the yogurt. I think berry and cherry smoothies are in my near future.
As you can see, there is some overlap between the things which I can eat. And then there are the good things for me which I probably should avoid, unfortunately. My real fear with the diets it’s that they are good. My real fear is that I have been a variety person my whole life. I love to try different things. And limiting the things which I can try will make dieting more difficult. I am going to have to find some unique recipes if I’m going to get through this, without a doubt.
Let’s move on to the Avoid foods list.
Diabetes Foods To Avoid
1) Butter – I have heard so many different stories about butter, I am honestly confused which is right and wrong and this point.
2) Cream Sauces – I can only say . . . duh! Although missing that tres leches cake will hurt.
3) High Fat Red Meats – Thankfully it’s just a double reason to avoid some red meats. Still, want to eat that filet though.
4) Processed meats like hot dogs and sausage – Will definitely be giving those up.
5) Whole fat dairy products – While my daughter does like them, I think I can avoid them . . . somewhat.
6) Canned Fruits – Not a problem there because . . . gross!
7) Fruit juice with added sugar – I prefer mine 100 percent, but even that comes with limits here.
8) Jams and Jellies – Rats! No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
9) Dried Fruits – I admit this will be a hardship. I really do love those dried fruits in a trail mix.
10) Bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers made from refined grains – Sounds like shopping will be an adventure.
11). Instant rice or noodles – Goodbye Ramen!
12) Starchy Carbs – Auf wiedersehen mien French Fries! I’m honestly shedding a tear for McDonald’s fries. Ugh!
13) Flavored Coffee Drinks – Sayonara Starbucks Frappuccino! (Plus I had to get to the unlucky 13 here because . . . of course, I did.
When doing the research, I honestly felt like there would be some more overlap to these things. This does not mean I will be rushing out to Jamba Juice as I am sure they have so much added sugar the pre-diabetic in me would revolt. Thankfully, there was really only one beneficial thing for the diabetic which would be harmful to the gout person in me: Shellfish. I don’t know that I will be able to cut out shellfish forever. So I a going to have to find other ways around it. Or use a lot more imitation crab in my cooking which sounds like a cooking faux pas to me. Whatever the deal, I’m glad for the lack of overlap.
Of course, the main problem isn’t the lack of overlap. The main problem for most people is that we are all children at heart. We occasionally need the crazy sugary beverage or the delicious pasta dish in our life to remind us of the good things in life. Which means, deep down, with a list of no no’s like this, we would all rebel against it. That’s my main fear. So I am going to be hopeful, establishing the occasional cheat day will not be too much of a problem. The bad thing is I’m not sure how well this will work with gout. We shall see.
Taking A Look Back At Last Week
Moving aside from diabetes, I want to look at how the week in health went. While I explained some of the issues which cropped up in conjunction with gout, I want to take an honest assessment of what I did right and wrong the previous week. So let’s hop to it!
1) I Didn’t Exercise Like I Should –
While I have done some leg lifts and other minor exercises, having a toe have issues is way worse than I could communicate effectively. You never really realize how important a toe is until it’s not working right. And then it affects your whole life. I don’t blame myself entirely for the lack of exercise. But I need to find ways to do stuff even when incapacitated.
2) I Did Pretty Well With My Diet –
I can honestly say I have avoided red meats and processed meats entirely. While this is nice for my diet, I do miss my sandwiches. I loved those turkey sandwiches, which are problematic for both ailments.
3). Water Intake Was Excellent –
I cannot express how much I have increased my water intake. Yes, I do worry about doing too much. But I don’t love water, so the drinking more of it probably won’t go overboard. And it does help me feel better, especially my toe.
4) “Me Time” Didn’t Happen Much –
I know this is a strange inclusion for a health post. But honestly, having time to do the things you love is so very important. With better mental health, there will naturally follow better physical health. I need to find a way to get more.
5). Sleep Time Was Not Restful Like It Should Have Been –
I really need to find a way to get those seven hours of regular sleep. This is a goal for this week most definitely. Life will be changing and finding some way to get normalcy will come with sleep. So here’s to a better, more restful week.
It would appear that more people agree on dietary measures with certain ailments than I would have thought of to start out this health journey. I suppose that’s a good thing. Secondarily, I am hoping the limitations in diet will help me be more creative, and not less so in my food choices. This will mean a lot more experimentation in the kitchen, which I am not opposed to. Lastly, suffering from a condition, no matter what it is, should never rob you of the enjoyment of life. There is so much out there to offer. It just comes down to balance. Maybe your life got out of balance. This is the time to bring it back into balance and improve your health. I wish you well on your health journey. And stay tuned to next week as I cover high cholesterol and dietary issues there.
Continue The Conversation
So what dietary issues have you struggled with? What things have you done to help you improve your health? And what other health topics would you be interested in having me cover? I would love to share recipes, or even have you comment and leave links to recipes so that others can find them as well, which would incorporate some dietary restrictions.
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Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life