Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Frugal diabetic – one

I’ve been asked to explain how I’ve gotten my A1C level lowered while relying on food banks and discount bins for my food and being frugal.  This is my story.  I’m writing the posts in between packing to move and finishing quilts.  You do not have to agree or disagree with me.  I write these posts only to encourage other diabetics, and non-diabetics as well, to consider the possibilities for better eating and take control of your own diet.

Before someone accuses me of giving medical advice without a license let me tell you I am NOT a nutritionist nor a medical professional.  I’m just a little old lady on a mission to get myself completely off diabetes medications.  In my research about diabetes and diet I found out there is no so called “cure” for type 2 diabetes despite all the hyped up claims a person sees these days.  However, diabetes can be put into remission even on a very limited budget.   Diabetes remission is my goal and this is my story.

Many years ago I was diagnosed as pre diabetic.  At that time I weighed about 175 pounds and I’m an even five foot tall.  At that time I weighed 50 pounds more than I should.  Most of my adult life I had weighed 125 but as I got older I slowly grew heavier.

The nurse practitioner who gave me the bad news sent me to see a nutritionist for diet instructions.  The nutritionist says she wants me on a 1200 calorie diet.  She used little plastic food to show me what portion sizes look like.  She tells me to exercise more.  To drink more water. To use artificial sweetener.  Etc. Etc. Etc. I spend an hour listening to her robot drone talk and then she says “now go home and do it yourself” and the office visit ends.  No follow up visits.  No hand out literature.   Nothing.  Years ago that was all you got.

So, I start dieting to loose weight.  If there was a diet out there I tried it.  I tried them all with only temporary success.  I even went on that liquid diet Oprah Winfrey said was so great twenty years ago.  I remember she pulled a wagon full of fat for everyone to visualize how much fat she’d lost.  It was a diet where a person doesn’t eat food at all for several weeks.  You drink a liquid made from a special powder three times a day.  In 3 months I was back down to 125.  Know what happened after the diet ended?  Yup, it all came back plus more.

A few more years of yo-yo dieting my weight was much worse.   Two (or maybe three) years ago I weighed 235.  I was told I had type 2 diabetes and put on metformin.  My A1C was 11.9.  Again….. a visit with a nutritionist who droned for an hour then sent me home.

I felt worse than ever.  Like a failure.  Why the heck couldn’t I loose weight and keep it off?  I knew dieting didn’t help cause I really had tried them all.  I was fat, miserable, sick, and like I was going to die. I knew there had to be a way to be healthy again.  All I really needed was better information about medicines or diets.  I mean really, if the nutritionist learns about diabetes enough to teach patients then I could learn too.

So I decided to do my research.  I went to the library looking for books about the disease diabetes and diabetes diets.  Its strange but when I asked about text books used by dietitians no one could name any.  Not even one text book title. I also went to the internet looking for diabetes information.   Do you have any idea how many diabetic sites, books, gurus, and other so called professionals are out there?  Let me tell ya’ there are a LOT of them!  Every single one of those will give you very different instructions about controlling your diabetes….. for a modest fee of course.

One day I woke up and told myself enough is enough.  Its all too confusing.  I don’t want to do this anymore!  I was getting no where fast.  I was tired of trying to figure out the points, the carbs, the calories, the sugars, the… oh what ev’a of eating.  Most of all I was very tired of feeling deprived of all the good food everyone else was eating.  I wanted to say to heck with everything and eat my way through a half gallon of ice cream and a dozen chocolate bars.  Ooo, and a couple of bacon and cheese topped whopper burgers with fries and a giant regular soda!  No, I didn’t really go that far but I wanted to.

I kept asking myself why is it so darned difficult to understand a diet?  A diet is a diet is a diet ain’t it?  I had lots of questions and no one to ask that wasn’t after my money.  Was I just stupid or was diabetes really this complicated?  Would I always feel deprived?   Would I eventually die from the complications?  Where the heck was my will power?  There had to be something about this diabetes disease that’s being kept a secret and I was determined to find out what it was.

My research eventually led to me toward looking at “the healthiest generation” of the 1940s and their diets.  The WW2 years is said to be when people all over the world were the healthiest throughout history.  Ok, what happened during the 40s?  Food rationing.  Food accessible in equal amounts called “fair shares” for both the poorest and the richest citizens.   Victory gardens in every available yard space.  Not just in the USA but all over the world.

If this is true and it really was the healthiest generation then that means the baby boomers are the offspring of the healthiest people ever.  Something about that doesn’t quite add up in my confused brain.  Why would the world’s healthiest generation produce offspring that have become the obese, diabetic, pill popping, sickest generation?  I really wanted to know more so my research took a different direction.  I would look into what the diets were for the WW2 generation.  My parents, Grandma Mama, and me as an infant.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

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24 comments on “Frugal diabetic – one

  1. sarahtimmins
    June 4, 2016

    Just happened to see your blog in a search for frugal living for seniors. You are an absolute delight. Wish I could be your neighbor. I too am waiting for the next message of light! Well done.

    • Anita
      June 4, 2016

      LOL, I’ve been called a lot of names over the years but I’ve never been called that before. Thank you for reading.

  2. Jackie
    June 3, 2016

    Excellent! I don’t mind waiting for the next installment! Gives me something to look forward to. Anita, you write very well!

    • Anita
      June 4, 2016

      LOL, I think I write terrible. I believe my messages are ok but I struggle to use the correct words that explains my point of view without offending anyone.

  3. Margie in Toronto
    June 3, 2016

    I am so interested to read further Anita – it’s so tough to lose weight even under optimum conditions and with a decent income! I don’t face any of the challenges you do but I’ve also managed to take more control of my weight and my health. It has been a slow process and it will always be a battle but it’s worth it. My issue is high BP rather than Diabetes (although i know at least 5 friends who now have Type 2 diabetes). I’ve slowly lost nearly 60 pounds (more to go) and I’ve gone from being maxed out on my meds to only taking the minimum dose with the aim being to wean me off totally over the next few months. I’ve been lucky in having help and encouragement from my doctors but it’s still down to me. I stick to around 1200 calories a day with lots of fruit & veg, protein at each meal, and I have really lowered my consumption of carbs and sugar. This is what has worked for me but everyone is different. And it’s hard work having to ensure that everything is prepped and lunches are prepared for the office etc. – all of which I’m sure you have discovered.
    I can’t wait to read the rest of your story – thank you for taking the time when you are so busy with your move.

    • Anita
      June 4, 2016

      My point exactly. Wealthy or poor we all struggle with the same health problems. Yes, I agree it is hard work but if we don’t take charge of our own health who will?

  4. Donna
    June 3, 2016

    Thank you so much Anita for taking on this huge project – and I do mean huge! I have been everywhere you were, including viewing the plastic fruit and Oprah’s wagon. We must have talked to the same dietition. In 2011 I had gastric sleeve surgery and lost 180 lbs. No more high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. But now I am starting to gain weight! My husband has diabetes and is thinking about the surgery. But I am afraid it is a temporary fix since the weight gain. I am afraid I will end up back where I was, where he is now. People say don’t eat so much. That does not work. I do not eat anywhere near what I used to and I am starting to gain. Looking forward to your posts on this subject.

    • Anita
      June 3, 2016

      I’m sorry that you had to go through surgery to loose weight. I thought about doing that myself a couple of years ago but I was too afraid of going under the knife. I’m sure glad I didn’t. Yeah, people blame the victims….. us. They blame us for over eating when we are simply puppets of the food, diet, and medicine industries. I hope your husband will read my posts before making a choice. Education never hurts.

  5. pattinround
    June 3, 2016

    What a cliffhanger! I can’t wait for the next installment. My story is so like yours it’s not funny.

    • Anita
      June 3, 2016

      Thanks, I hope I can do the posts justice. I’m not a natural born writer, I have to work very hard at getting my point across without sounding weird.

  6. Linda Hillin
    June 3, 2016

    Excellent post. I anxiously await the next one. You’re speaking to me.

    • Anita
      June 3, 2016

      Thanks, it looks like lots of people are waiting the next chapter. If I didn’t have so many things going on right now I’d stay with the computer longer and write longer posts.

  7. Kathleen
    June 3, 2016

    TO BE CONTINUED!!!! Lol ain’t it always that way,get into a really great show and “TO BE CONTINUED” 🙂 …. But I know this will be worth the wait Anita.
    Busy,busy,busy packing,quilting,and ya gotta eat and sleep sometime.
    Anxiously awaiting “The Rest of the Story”.
    😉 😉 😉

    • Anita
      June 3, 2016

      Yup, that’s what happens. Don’t worry there will be several more chapters. I’d like to keep going like the energizer bunny but my batteries aren’t new anymore.

  8. Knit for You Designer
    June 3, 2016

    I’m trying to take control. The key is to cut sugar and carbs. The problem is every product contains sugar. I even read that some meats contain sugar (processed foods)

    • Anita
      June 3, 2016

      You are so right about that. Sugar is in absolutely everything these days. Even cuts of meat (not processed) and baby formula. There are 56 different names for sugar. Any food can contain several forms of sugar by different names. I’m going to cover the subject of sugar in more than one of my posts.

      • Knit for You Designer
        June 3, 2016

        Knowing that, one can only eat fresh vegetables low in carbohydrates, eggs and fresh meat. Hmm… as far as food storage, I should be stocking more meat and buy fresh vegetables weekly.

        • Anita
          June 4, 2016

          Its my belief carbs have been unfairly accused of causing the obesity epidemic. It’s not the carbs but the overly processed sugary foods that did it. Be careful that you aren’t buying meat containing meat glue. I wrote a post about it awhile back.

          • Knit for You Designer
            June 4, 2016

            What!, Meat glue.

            • Anita
              June 5, 2016

              Yes, meat glue. Cousin of pink slime. The meat industry’s dirty little secret. Its what makes some meat smell like a wet dog when you cook it and it tastes like dirt. There are no regulations about using it either. I wrote a post about it back on January 22. What are we eating? Its scientific name is transglutaminase and is used to make scrap cuts of meat look like prime cuts. You can find a couple of links to really good explanations on that post.

              • Knit for You Designer
                June 5, 2016

                We band that in the US

                • Anita
                  June 5, 2016

                  Sorry, I haven’t seen anything showing there are any restrictions on using meat glue in the US. I only found several reports from the meat industry defending it and that it has FDA approval. It is legal and organic but that doesn’t make it ethical. I live in KY.

          • Kathleen
            June 5, 2016

            I didn’t believe this when I heard it the first time…but there is SUGAR IN OUR SALT!!!!! Go look on the side of the round container!!! aahhahahahaha!! Crazy people!!!
            I started using sea salt and grinding my own salt and pepper also.

            • Anita
              June 6, 2016

              I don’t have any salt to go look at but I will next time I’m in a store. I rarely use salt but whenever I do its kosher canning salt. I haven’t started grinding my own pepper yet.

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