Back in November I shared my shocking blood profile results, specifically my unexpected borderline prediabetic A1C % and disappointing triglyceride #. Since then I’ve been diligent with making the right food choices and embarked on a journey to transform my body to add muscle and reduce belly fat. Last month in May, I requested my primary care physician for an A1C test follow-up via email. I received an email back to tell me that they checked my previous results and I didn’t require another one if I was on a low-carb diet and had an exercise regimen. I immediately emailed them back to express my concern about being at a higher risk for it because of my racial background as well as being diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both of my pregnancies, which convinced them to finally schedule a blood draw for me. Otherwise, I planned to go elsewhere even if I had to pay for it. After a few days, I was a little nervous to check my results, but it turned out I am heading in the right direction. My A1C went down to 5.2% from 5.7%!
I want to share the dietary changes I’ve made that helped lower my blood glucose levels
1. No more after-dinner snacks. It used to be a norm for me, a glass of wine to unwind with a piece of dark chocolate. But my undisciplined self couldn’t stop at just the wine and chocolate, at times I’ll have crackers or tortilla chips or peanuts – I loved shelled peanuts. And I snacked every night. It was more for comfort than anything else.
2. Emphasis on more vegetables at every meal. Last month, I posted about how I try to fill my day with as many vegetables (read A Veggie-Filled Day). Today I read an article written by Ben Greenfield about his friend who summarized a book he read about the “50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People“. One point made was about eating plenty of vegetables.
Eat 7 times more vegetables than meat: It’s interesting because all the groups of people the author studied ate meat, dairy and animal products…
I have read almost every health book ever written and the only thing they all have in common is saying we should eat lots of vegetables. From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paleo advocates to the USDA recommendations to the most hard-core Vegan, everyone agrees – Vegetables should be the highest volume food type we eat. – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/50-secrets-worlds-longest-living-people-snsw/#sthash.Vh2eSQED.dpuf
3. Less pasta, bread, and rice. I still make spaghetti but use ‘zoodles‘ – zucchini spiralized into noodles, lasagna with eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms as the layers, and cauliflower rice for rice. All these substitutions amount to more vegetables on my plate!
4. Addition of fat (the good kind) – I try to eat fish 1-2x/week and also take a fish oil supplement. I love nuts (see Addicted to Nuts post) and getting better with beating my addiction to it. Seeds are another great source – I add flaxseeds to our homemade pancake mix and oatmeal and make chocolate chia seed pudding for a snack. I also eat an avocado everyday. This article from mindbodygreen.com gives an excellent insight on Why You should Eat Avocados everyday.
5. Goodbye to frappucinos, mocha lattes and sweet teas. That may have been the most difficult transition for me but I don’t miss them now. My palate has adjusted to iced black coffee and unsweetened teas that if I have a little bit of the sweet kind, it tastes too sweet for me.
A major change was necessary to improve my health and I am pleased with the results, so far. I believe these changes also helped with improving my performance as a runner. So I will continue to strive for selecting the types of food that will give my body the nourishment it needs. It sure is a work in progress but I’ve conquered the biggest hurdle which was taking the first step in the right direction.
Have you made any lifestyle changes to improve your health? What was the biggest challenge in doing so?