Is Everything But Green Food Bad for You? by Caron Golden

Have you just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Been told to modify your diet and lose weight? How was your first trip to the market post diagnosis? You wouldn’t be alone if you were frustrated and felt that you had to put back every package of food you loved because the label revealed it was too high in carbs or fat—and that everything but green food was bad for you. But that’s not true. 

Is Everything But Green Food Bad for You? Soon you’ll learn enough to educate your family and friends who will want to help, but get it wrong. They might suggest replacing a slice of pie with a hefty bowl of fruit, which you can’t have since fruit can be high in carbs. They might also say you should juice for health, even though fruit juice is one of the last things you can have because that’s just concentrated fruit without the fiber. Learn about what to do and be strong in choosing what you do.

Learn to pick and choose options that are good and better sources of carbs. Whole wheat pasta and breads over conventional products. Brown rice over white rice. Sourdough bread (it has a low glycemic count thanks to the lactic acid that ferments the dough) over a white flour baguette. You’ll learn better options than others—perhaps falling in love with the perfect sweet honey crisp apple or juicy peach over a brownie. In a sense, you’ll adopt the philosophy of Stephen Stills, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

These food-related lessons can get you thinking about the choices you make as you take this journey:

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  • —Eat mindfully. Only eat what truly tastes delicious to you and say no to the rest.
  • Stop eating once you just begin to feel full.
  • Enjoy small tastes of favorite foods—but only if you can truly limit them to just small tastes.
  • When you dine out, ask if the chef can prepare a dish for you that’s aligned with your needs. Chefs get it; just ask without being too demanding.
  • Find markets that sell naturally small portions of favorite foods so you can have the satisfaction of eating the whole thing. Love baked potatoes? Look for small russets. Buy small apples, oranges, or bananas. 
  • Choose brown rice varieties over white. You may come to love the earthy nuttiness of brown basmati and brown jasmine rice. 
  • Explore whole grains like farro, hulled barley, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and wheat berries and enjoy them as side dishes or a salad base.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices to pump up flavor. Make your own herb and spice blend to season vegetables and meats, soups and stews, or a vinaigrette.
  • Need a snack? Low-carb veggies are the usual players, but, surprise, air-popped popcorn is also an option. It’s all about the volume and portions.
  • Vary your diet and experiment with new ingredients, new ethnic foods, new types of produce or preparation. Fennel bulbs, for instance, can be shaved into salad, but they’re also delicious cut in half lengthwise, sprayed with olive oil and topped with grated parmesan, then roasted.

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