Type 2 Diabetes Food info to help you eat well.

Food for Type 2 Diabetes

What we can eat and what we can’t.

When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic the doctors’ advice is generally “change your diet and exercise more”.   The doctor may recommend you see a nutritionist.  Anyone who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic knows how difficult it is to work out what you can eat and what you can’t.  Of course, diets abound complete with recipes but sticking to them long term may be difficult.    Unfortunately, once you are type 2 diabetic consider it to be life-long. Tweaking your own diet may work out much better in the long run and be much easier to sustain.  A radical change in diet for whatever reason has been proven by many not to work long-term.  Modifying a diet, on the other hand, is easier to accept as a lifestyle change.

What follows is an attempt to take some of the confusion out of the myriad of information that’s out there.

Tweak your diet to help deal with Type 2 Diabetes

An interesting exercise is to see the main food types you use as a staple every day.  For instance, for every main meal, you may include a hefty serve of potatoes as a side dish.  Perhaps cheese or cream sauces are your thing.  Maybe, bread is a mainstay for when you are feeling peckish.  Recognizing what you are eating frequently may give you clues on what needs to change.  It could be as simple as changing the type of bread you are consuming.  Or cutting down the portion size or cooking the food preference differently.

The six things to look at when making a decision about what to eat.

To determine what you can eat the following needs to be taken into consideration:

  • Glycemic load.
  • Glycemic index.
  • sugar content.
  • fat content.
  • resistant starch.
  • portion size.

Dr. Bernstein, in his book Diabetes Diet, explains how GL and GI are measured. I have drawn on his information below as well as from Jenefer Roberts’ book “Can I eat that?”

Breaking it down: the Glycemic load (GL) is a measure of how much the carbohydrate in a standard portion (usually 100g) raises the blood glucose level.  A high GL would be 20+; Medium GL = 10-19 and a Low GL is 10 or below.

The GL and portion size are probably the more useful but the other 4 factors mentioned above should be taken into the equation when determining what to eat.

Dr. Bernstein warns that some foods with a low GI may cause significant increases in blood glucose in people with diabetes.  He also states “the GI was never meant to be the sole determinant of what foods you choose to eat.”

Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a standard amount of carbohydrate (usually 50g) from a particular food will raise the blood glucose level.  Foods containing a lot of fiber and the conversion of carbohydrates to blood glucose that take longer are rated as low GI.

Eating food with a high resistant starch can reduce the glycemic impact of a subsequent high GI meal.  Sources of resistant starch are as follows:

  • Pearl barley
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Bulgar wheat
  • Sourdough bread
  • Long-grain brown rice
  • Green bananas

Combining foods with a high GI and a low GI will result in a medium GI.

Four favorite foods you can still eat


Small potatoes are better than old potatoes or the larger ones.  Cook and put in the fridge, leave for 24 hrs and make a potato salad from this.  The idea is to chill the potato first and you can either eat it cold or reheat.  Or cook potatoes and steam a similar quantity of broccoli and cauliflower on top.   Mix in a generous amount of spinach and mash.  All this lowers, in theory, the GI.  Unfortunately, Baked potatoes and chips are not recommended no matter what is done to them.


Rice:  Converted rice with a low GI rate is best.  The GL rating is unavailable.  Although it is a little hard to come by you can buy it on Amazon.com Uncle Bens original parboiled long grain rice. It cooks quickly, is less sticky and fairly filling.

Basmati Rice has a higher amylase (a resistant starch) than other types of rice so it should have a low GI.  Precooked in a pouch Basmati Rice is around a medium GI where regular rice that you cook up yourself is Low.


Type of Bread                                    GI                                                           GL

Baguette White                               95 (high)                                          15 (Med)

White Bread, wheat                      70  (high)                                           10 (low)

Hamburger bun                               61 (medium)                                      9  (low)

100% whole grain                           59 (medium)                                    7  (low)

Pitta Bread White                           57 (medium)                                   10 (low)

Corn Tortilla                                        52 (low                                               12 (med)

Pumpernickel Rye                           53 (low)                                                5 (low)

Wheat Tortilla                                    30 (low)                                                 8 (low)

Using a bread machine to make your own is quick and very easy apparently.   I had a quick look at the cost of a bread machine and a couple of reviews.  The cost is anywhere from around $50.00 to $200.00.  Of course, there are machines that cost much more.  A criticism on some machines is they tend to shake around a bit when kneading the dough.  However, that was at the lower end of the price scale. Apparently, homemade bread is denser and therefore is more filling than store bought bread.  In theory, this should cut down the amount of bread you feel you need to eat.  I’m not so sure about this theory.  The aroma of home baked bread does tend to increase my appetite.  I’m not sure if it has the same effect on you.


Research has discovered that chilling Pasta the same as recommended above for potatoes will provide resistant starch.  You can either reheat or have as a cold pasta salad.  Wholemeal spaghetti boiled (al dente) or fettuccini boiled rate with a low GI and a medium GL.  Always keep portion sizes to recommended size when determining what you would like to eat within the guidelines of GL and resistant starch.

Summary for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic

Most importantly, the portion size when working out the GL rating and most definitely those foods that are classified as having resistant starch. Incorporating resistant starch foods into an otherwise high GL meal can reduce the impact of the glycemic load in type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic. Furthermore, GL and GI ratings are both concerned with carbohydrate. Consequently, the overall rule of thumb is less carbohydrate and less processed food, results in better after-meal blood glucose.


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  • Book “diabetes diet” written by Dr. Richard K Bernstein
  • Book “Can I eat that” written by Jenefer Roberts.



Honeybee pollination

Honeybee keeping is big business. It is worth billions of dollars.  For instance, the pollination of almond trees in California is the direct result of the honeybee.  In fact, Almond country in California spans approximately 650 km encompassing around 240000 hectares and 60 million trees.  Row after row of precisely spaced trees plays host to two honeybee hives per acre. That is around 80000 bees per acre or 40 billion bees in total.  A total regimented landscape with trees blocked out for early or late harvest.

This monoculture is a perfect example of modern large-scale agriculture.  Single crops, grown on an industrial scale have been responsible for substantial increases in our food supply.  Monoculture is used all over the globe.  However, it is not just better management and new varieties that have increased yields.  The humble honey bee is critical to a successful harvest.


Honeybees commence a 5-month pollinating tour of the USA in  February. The bees arrive but not by nature’s directions.  Instead, they are trucked in on huge trucks containing 500 hives at a time stacked four high.  Some of these bees have been flown in from Australia to partake in the pollination work in the US.  Overall, it is safe to say that these little creatures certainly rack up some travel time during their 5 months work assignment to different locations.  It is also accurate to say that bees pollinate 90% of our commercial food crops. We are most definitely dependent on them.


Basically, bees in a natural setting would probably venture about 5 kilometers during their days foraging.  In the evening they return home to a hive that has remained in a stable location for a very long time.  Bees navigate by the sun and landmarks.  They even have a sophisticated communication system where they can direct other bees to food.

Honeybees also have an impressively structured society.  The worker bees forage and return with food to the hive each night.  this food sustains the queen bee and the rest of the residents in the hive.  The young nurse bees care for the newborns while the queen increases the population of the hive via her eggs.  Guard bees guard the hive against robbers and alert soldier bees to defend the hive.  A simple but effective structure that has worked for the bees for over 100 billion years.  That is if we take the age calculated of a fossilized bee stuck in a piece of Burmese amber.


Honey bees are not dying in the hive so much as they are simply not returning to the hive.  This leaves the queen, eggs, and larvae to starve.  The young nurse bees abandon their posts and fly away from the hive.  This type of behavior only occurs when the deserter honeybee is diseased.  It is a way that they ensure safety in the hive by leaving and not infecting others.  This is not just a few bees that have bailed on the establishment.  The numbers of losses and disappearances are astonishing.

More than 800000 colonies in 2007 mysteriously died and one million in 2008.  Some commercial beekeepers reported losses up to 90% since the end of 2006.  These incredible numbers are not limited to one country.  In Croatia, five million bees disappeared in 48 hours.  Canada, Europe, Asia and South America have reported large losses. Bees can be seen as mother earth’s health check.  If something is not right, it will show with the bees and that appears to be exactly what is happening.


The phenomenon dubbed “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD in 2007 sparked a global investigation. Academics and researchers are looking at the following credible suspects.

  • Genetically modified crops.
  • Pesticide poisoning.
  • An invasive parasite,
  • malnutrition.
  • The stress of being moved long distances.

Entomologists were convinced that the cause was either a new virus, a virus that had mutated into a more virulent strain, or a virus that had combined forces with another pathogen, such as a fungus, to create an HIV-like disease that destroyed bees’ immune systems.  A virus was discovered in 96% of hives where losses had occurred.  This virus, discovered in Israel in 2004 was investigated further and found to be more a symptom than a cause.

In addition, a nicotine-based pesticide called imidacloprid was suspect.  Bayer, the company who produces this pesticide cites studies to say that their pesticide is not the culprit in the demise of the bee colonies.   Other studies though say that the chemical does disorientate bees, impairs their memory and communication and causes nervous system disorders.


In the past.

In America, the first recorded disappearance of bees was in 1869.  Large numbers of bees disappeared in the US and Australia at intervals throughout the 19th Century.  An epidemic wiped out 90% of honey bee colonies in the UK between 1905 and 1919.   It would appear there is a link between weather patterns and honeybee disappearance.  When bees have disappeared in the past the summers have been hotter than usual.  However, as reported by researchers this may be a factor but not necessarily the whole cause.

Losses in current times

Beekeepers not only lose colonies in the winter but also throughout the summer.  In 2015, summer losses, at 28.1%, were the same as winter losses. However, the combined results showed beekeepers lost 44.1% of their colonies between April 2015 and March 2016.  This high rate of loss is close to the highest annual loss rate over the 6 years that annual colony loss numbers have been collected.

Smaller honeybee apiaries do not appear to be experiencing as many losses as bigger honeybee apiaries.


According to Stationary Hive project, there may be a number of factors that are contributing to bee loss.

  • The habitat surrounding the apiary may contribute.  Large intensive agricultural landscapes may affect colony losses.   Where the percentage of the intensive agricultural land area increased within a 2-mile radius, a correlating percentage of colony loss occurred within the apiary.
  • undisturbed natural habitat in proportion to the intensive agricultural land area used.
  • Higher use of pesticides over larger intensive agricultural landscapes provides more exposure to the honey bees.
  • Hotter weather patterns.



Many of us are home and garden owners.  As such, we all have times that we reached for the pesticide or herbicide.  Either the path needs weeding and it is certainly easier and quicker to spray, or something is eating our favorite plant.   Being mindful of the products we use on our own gardens is surely a step in the right direction.  The commercial beekeepers are searching for an answer and replenishing their honeybee stock as losses occur.  However, as most of us do not engage the services of commercial bee supply for our gardens it is prudent that we protect ourselves and our beneficial insects by using the safest products available.

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Stationary Hive project (refer link above)

Book title: A world without bees by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum published by Guardian books 2009





Organically grown fresh food is clean healthy food.  I cannot find evidence to suggest otherwise.  Questions frequently asked about organic food, are 1.  “Is the product definitely grown organically?” and  2. “Is organic food really healthier or is it a marketing scam?   I have written this article to answer those questions.  I outline what requirements Australian and Amercian Certified Organic growers must meet to obtain and retain their status.  Like so much else that gains in popularity, the movement towards organic healthy food is not an exception.  The door is opening for scams and misinformation.

Healthy local market produce


Whenever popularity increases so does the opportunity for scams.   Misrepresentation to the consumer, either through ignorance or as a marketing ploy is likely to emerge.   Therefore, knowledge of some restrictions imposed on certified organic growers puts us in a better position.  This knowledge will give us the opportunity to question when we see the word “organic.”  We as consumers have the right to know how our food is produced. Therefore, if you see “organic” on a fruit and vegetable stall at the local market, question the vendor.  Many farmers at local markets are growing organically but are often small ventures.  The fees associated with organic certification may be just too much for this type of farm to outlay.  On sellers of fruit and vegetables may use the word “organic” as a marketing ploy.   I believe the more information consumers have, the less likely they will be misled.


The health of people living in specific areas has been studied in the past. The studies have found certain populated areas have a better than average overall health score.  These healthy pockets in the world have a common theme.  The finding of people’s habits and lifestyle have all reflected consuming locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables.  Of course, other factors may have contributed such as water quality, general stress levels, community engagement etc.  I did read a suggestion that it could have something to do with sensitivity to the environment itself.   Where you are living is where you have adjusted to physically.  Researchers discovered that when people moved from an area they had been living in for some time to a new area, their immunity dropped.  Once they were living in the new area for a while, their immune system improved.  This suggested our bodies physically adapt.


Certified organic growers – America

American growers apply to the US Department of Agriculture for approval and certification.   5 basics listed on the USDA website.

  • The farm or business adopts organic practices, selects a USDA-accredited certifying agent, and submits an application and fees to the certifying agent.
  • The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations.
  • An inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation.
  • The certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations.
  • The certifying agent issues an organic certificate.
  • The land must remain prohibited substance free i.e. no toxic chemicals, synthetic fertilizers etc. for a period of 3 years prior to approval of certification.   Restriction continues after approval.

The application attracts a fee according to size of operation

Furthermore, it is illegal to label, sell or represent as organic until it is passed by the USDA.

Once certified annual reviews and inspections to retain the organic certification will be carried out.

Farms that sell less than $5k per year are exempt.  However, using the word “organic” still requires that organic farming processes are to be followed.

Certified Organic growers – Australia.

I have looked in brief at the requirements by regulatory bodies for Australian Organic growers.   The Australian Certified Organic’s site, an accredited site for organic certification, shows similar requirements to the US.  However, Australia currently does not regulate the word “organic.”   This makes verifying organic food produce difficult unless it is “certified organic.”  As above, a few questions on farming practice and method helps give assurance of safe healthy food. Obviously, produce that is “certified organic” helps remove doubt.  Farmers are audited and compliance is mandatory to retain their certificate.


Strict regulations ensure safe products when Certified Organic.  Thus ensuring healthy food.  The farms must produce in line with the following:

  • Non-GMO
  • Pasture fed
  • Free to range
  • No synthetic herbicides and pesticides used
  • Free from fumigants
  • No Hormones used in production
  • Free from Antibiotics
  • Certified Organic farms are regularly audited.


In my previous article ” Discover healthy foods dirty secrets” I wrote about Pesticides and Herbicides, lingering on or in our food.  I also wrote about GMO’s and the independent studies that suggest GMO’s are unsafe for humans and the environment.  I restate what I have said before.  Regulatory bodies stating a “safe level” to ingest these toxic chemicals is a very big ask to blindly accept.  One statement I read said that the FDA was not pushing for human trials on GMOs as they are not drugs.  I refer back to my article I published on Turmeric.  This humble spice can change our DNA in a positive manner in just 6 weeks.  What does GMO food do to us?  Are GMOs healthy food or not?  Do we get health benefits out of any of them?  Independent unbiased studies are a must for us to base our decisions.


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What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy sticky substance that attaches to the walls of the arteries.  Your doctor will determine the cholesterol levels via a routine blood test.  The blood test results will return a reading of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) bad and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) good.  Consequently,  if the LDL level comes back high, bad, there is a strong chance that this will contribute to plaque build up in your arteries.   It is plaque build-up that is linked to heart attacks and strokes.  So, what can we do to improve our LDL?

lowering cholesterol

Improving your bad cholesterol LDL level

Exercise assists in lowering LDL levels.  Exercise physiologist, Michael Crawford, recommends starting with moderate intensity exercise and progressing to high-intensity interval training, HIIT.  Therefore assisting in raising good HDL.  Good HDL levels discourage plaque buildup.

The following are recommended foods to help lower LDL

Walnuts lower bad cholesterol

  • Two servings of fish a week.  This is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Plain almonds, walnuts, and other nuts.  Walnuts are good for blood vessel health.  Avoid weight gain by using a handful of nuts only.
  • High fiber foods, i.e., pears, kidney beans, oatmeal, oat bran, apple, prunes, barley, and bananas.
  • Add avocados to sandwiches or in salads.  Also, one study has shown that eating an avocado a day can improve the LDL in overweight or obese people. Do not eat guacamole with corn chips.  Corn chips are usually high in fat. Substitute corn chips with raw vegetables.
  • Cut out table sugars and high fructose corn syrups.
  • Read the labels and do not have Trans Fats.   The label may not show the words trans fats, they can also be labeled as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” or “hydrogenated oils.”

Some research

Furthermore, researchers are now finding that individuals process cholesterol-rich foods differently from one person to another.  Cardiologist Stephen Nissan MD says research is beginning to show that genetics is the driving force behind cholesterol.  Most of all Dr. Nissan does stress that trans fats are a must to avoid.   Because Trans fats do tend to raise cholesterol and tend to increase the risk of heart attack they are better left out of your diet.

Researchers from the University of south Florida, the Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance and various other international institutions in Japan, Sweden, UK, Ireland, US, and Italy, concluded that LDL may not be as bad as once thought and higher levels of LDL are not linked to all-cause cardiovascular mortality.  A specific data search from one literature database was used to source 30 studies for review.  Consequently, the review is only as good as the studies they reviewed.  As a result, the search criteria had limitations in selecting the studies examined and it is possible that it may have missed out other important factors.   Therefore, the conclusion to the review does not provide solid evidence that LDL is good for you.

Gene therapy research

Another study, published in 2015, showed positive progress towards gene therapy used to correct gene disorder.  This study looked at inherited high blood pressure from a gene disorder.  Dr. Bisset and his colleagues used a mouse model to carry out the research.  With one administered dose, they were able to restore normality to the affected mouse.  “Our study marks the first time a human metabolic disease is induced in an experimental animal model by human hepatocyte transplantation and treated by gene therapy,”  the scientist say.  Dr. Bisset also commented, ” While this model does not mimic everything within the human lipid system, it is more similar than other models, which may speed up the process of bringing lab work to the bedside.” Hence this study is showing the direction for further work and finally a solution to those plagued with high blood pressure where diet may not be as effective.










Lose weight and keep it off with organic food and positive mindset.

I have heard many people say “but I don’t eat much, I can’t understand why I am still gaining”.   Why can’t I lose weight?  Hmm, there certainly is a lot of talk about weight loss diets, the obesity epidemic, healthy diets, etc.  Never before in the history of mankind, has there been so much pressure put on people to look a certain way, act a certain way and think a certain way.   Never before has there been so much information easily accessible either.  Weight loss should not be difficult.  Keeping weight off should not be difficult either.  Why is it then?  I believe that one major reason in a lot of cases is that weight gain is a symptom of our modern lifestyle rather than the real issue.

What stops us from keeping weight off when we lose it.

Emotional issues, along with too much pressure surrounding achievement, mortgage repayments, high-pressure jobs, being good parents, etc., etc., are all high on the list of making it difficult to lose weight.  Exhausting!  These can drive us to over consume comfort food to feel better.  We know that food will serve that need in the short-term.  The result is more weight to deal with and the initial problem or issue is most likely still with us!  We have also gained another issue, that of even more weight to lose.  That completes the vicious cycle of trying to lose weight.

How can we stop the vicious cycle of weight gain and improve our health?

Emotional upsets are part of life; many of them are out of our control.  Unless we live a charmed life, something will always be out there waiting to come along and cause either a major or minor problem.  How we deal with the upset will determine if we have to carry the weight along with us as well.  Focus on the health benefits rather than the “I must lose weight” focus.  When you have this type of focus it’s easier to find an appropriate diet that maintains your health while you lose the weight you intend.  Be sure that you compliment yourself, know yourself as the valuable and unique person that you are and be confident that you can forge ahead and smash the diet you have chosen.   Dieting like most other things that are undertaken does take effort and time to achieve results.



Some helpful tips and information while on a diet.

  • Always have water with you and try to drink about 2 liters (approx 4.5 pt) a day.
  • Keep some apples that you can eat in between meals if you’re hungry.
  • If your chosen diet suggests salads for lunch, ensure you read the label if you are adding cold meats to the salad.  Make sure the meat is all meat with nothing added that could increase your weight.
  • A before photo sometimes works as a motivational boost.
  •  In the first week of a new diet, you can usually expect to lose a few kilo.  However, this is mostly water.  The next week the weight loss should be less and this is normal.  In fact, losing weight too quickly can result in health side effects.
  • Do make sure you find a way to reward and praise yourself each week.  You made a decision and you are sticking with that decision.  If you deviate from your diet every now and again, don’t be harsh on yourself, return to the diet and stay positive.
  • Do make time to do some exercise.  The endorphin released during exercise will boost your mood.

Our food is changing

The New York Times published an article 2013/05/26 tilted “breeding the nutrition out of our food”.   In this article, they referenced a quote from the Greek Physician, Hippocrates.  This was said nearly 2,500 years ago.  “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  This article talks about what has been happening to our food.  It is worthwhile learning about food in our modern world, it has changed and this article from the New York Times is a good start.  We also have the added concerns of food that is not grown organically.  However, many large stores are now stocking organically grown food as a choice

What’s next

There are many diets on the net to try out.  I personally have tried a very low carb, high protein diet in the past.  I did take a multivitamin supplement with this diet.  It should be noted that not all supplements have been shown to have an effect but in the multivitamin mix, you should get the benefit of absorption of some of the minerals and vitamins if not all.  To be safe, always check with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program and diet.  The diet that I used, I found that I did not need to do a lot of exercise and weights for my body to gain some definition.  I was not looking for a great body built look, more a nicely toned body look.  This type of diet worked for me but there is evidence out there that not all people react the same way to the same foods eaten.  I did not need to stay on this diet for a long period of time.  My strategy was to lose weight from a diet I could easily transition to maintaining my goal weight.

I would recommend you read about the vitamins and minerals in different foods and what foods are considered detrimental to a healthy well-maintained weight.  This type of information is helpful to maintain your weight and fitness level once you are at your desired weight.

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I wish you a healthy and fulfilling life.


Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opinion/sunday/breeding-the-nutrition-out-of-our-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0