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The Seven Things Diet and a hale season, all in all

December 16, 2008

My husband’s prescribed remedy for any sort of acute or chronic illness is “eat red meat and climb mountains.” I am largely in accord, but have modified the protocol somewhat to suit a few extenuating circumstances, aka, Other Considerations. Climbing mountains does not assure being home in time to give the Cat his insulin shot or replenish his food. The fact that my knees and spine are a little drifty these days on variable terrain is a bore.

For the benefit of friends who ask, and readers of my Addison’s posts who might be interested in an update, I’ll list the specific foods I have found helpful in controlling the insulin resistance that I think has been an underlying cause of daytime fatigue.

I discovered recently that I, as do some other people with Addison’s disease, have developed insulin resistance, or glucose intolerance. I have also learned that I can control it pretty well by eliminating all sugar and starches. This means: no sugar from any source, no potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, or any grains, or “high-fructose” anything. Eliminating the foods that pitched my blood glucose too high has also kept it from going too low.

I have to add the following caveats: I am not a nutritionist, I have researched this only for my own purposes, I’m a picky eater and there are doubtless lots of things I could eat but don’t like (fish, for one thing), and I have the discipline (read that, “motivated resignation”) to stick to a monotonous diet indefinitely.

I tried an experimental piece of bread after a couple of weeks of eating within these limits. One slice of whole-wheat bread containing zero sugar (I made it myself and know what is in it), thickly spread with zero-sugar almond butter, elevated my blood glucose into the 170s. So: “No bread” remains a rule.

So, what can I eat to maintain glucose levels that look good on paper and don’t cause me to conk out in the afternoon? Seven foods and two drinks: I can have beef, squash (or other vegetable, but not corn or peas), cheese, eggs, nuts, and fruit. I drink water and coffee. I can have tea but these days I prefer coffee, probably because it has a pleasantly strong taste and not much else does.

It’s practically impossible to devise a diet that will mitigate high cholesterol and insulin resistance, but the nuts help to balance the eggs, and I use no sauces or dairy products except the lower-cholesterol varieties of cheese. I carry a food thermos everywhere because nothing is very filling and I need to eat something every two or three hours. The thermos is just because I don’t like cold food.

The returns are outstanding. I can stay awake all day. I sleep well and for most of the night, and wake up rested. I can withstand cold weather. This is a huge improvement over this time last year, shortly after my dx of Addison’s. It’s an improvement over any year I can remember.

Overall, I’m pretty optimistic–maybe except when it comes to anything concerning Chicago. But even when it comes to Chicago, where there’s life, there’s hope.

  1. December 18, 2008 2:15 am

    That was a very nice post i just ended up reading…

    And i’m so much inspired, and yeah truly where there’s life, there’s hope. :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences


  2. Jane permalink
    December 18, 2008 9:18 am

    Wow, I’m so glad you’ve hit upon this remedy for the fatigue, etc. I’ve known you long enough to know that this is a major step forward in your quality of life, Friend. Good for you. I’m rooting for you!

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