Monday, 2 November 2009

snacks for diabetics: part 1

i've talked about my diet before...and for those of you that are new to the blog, you ought to check it out by following the link:

my diet is pretty much the same now as it was then. little has changed. except i am even more adventurous with my foods! i eat everything; there's nothing you could put in front of me that i wouldn't eat. and although my brother calls me a hippy for trying foods like agave nectar, gluten free flour and pumpkin brownies; i know that the benefits of a well rounded diet are not measurable.

one thing that i am always on the lookout for are good tasty snacks. often diabetic foods have replaced the sugar with sweeteners like sorbitol (and often have 'may produce a laxative effect' on the back of the packet...hmm) and so i steer clear of these, unless people buy them for me as a present; in which case i am obliged to eat them, all be it one at a time, because of the aforementioned effect on your system.

so, instead i look for snacks with natural sweeteners, and different carb speeds. for instance, a dark chocolate, nut, oat and fruit bar will have slow release carbohydrates with the oats (2hours), super slow release fats in the nuts (5 hours) and quick release fructose sugars with the dried fruit - buy unsweetened if you can.

these sort of snacks, will help re-adjust sugar levels more normally, quickly but not unhealthily so. or at least that's my experience. i used to carry around dextrose tablets, etc. and i still do when i go running or something. but the reality is that my life isn't so energetic that my sugar levels could plummet super fast, and need something with such quick acting glucose.

i always weigh up what kind of low it is:
- if it's a mis-bolus, then i'll eat something that's the right amount of carbs to correct it, also something that will act fast, because this can be a fairly quick hypo. so yogurt or chocolate coated raisins are perfect here, or a piece of toast with some jam.
- if it's due to walking more than i do usually in a day (shopping is the usual cause), then i'll choose something that's sort of half and half, usually a cereal bar, because they are great when you're on the go.
- if it's a case of a too high basal rate, then i'll eat some dark chocolate, yogurt or fruit. anything that will get my level slightly back up, but not too high to escalate out of control.

for instance, last night i actually woke up at 1am, a few hours after checking my sugar level and going to sleep (my level was 6.6 and i didn't think i'd had considerable exercise in the day to warrant it going low...but i always forget housework). i was low. hot and shaky low. so, i automatically reached and got a cereal bar, a super-sweetened one, and then some yogurt coated fruit. it was about 25-30g carbs and i woke up with a level of 8.0.

for those of you who wake up in the night with a low, it's a pretty weird experience isn't it? you realise you're awake, you question whether you ought to go to the bathroom, you start to stir a bit more and then realise you're really hot, and then as you go to move the covers from you to cool off, you also realise that you're shaking reach for the nearest snack you can find.

then you have to try and eat whilst still being half asleep, tempting gravity whilst chewing down a cereal bar. and then you lie there hoping you won't get more awake, and that you'll be able to get back to sleep shortly and stop feeling so dreadul. and hoping that you haven't eaten too much that you wake up with a high....

there's also a lot to be thankful for if you do wake up with a low, as it is more terrifying if you don't!