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.
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