Facing Down a Diabetes Diagnosis
But What Can I Eat?
For patients who ask him that question, Rubin always has one response: Everything!
Of course, what he means is that diabetics have a wide range of food options—including whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats—available to them. He encourages people to focus on what they can eat, and he proved the many choices diabetics have by asking top chefs to create diabetic-friendly recipes for his Diabetes Cookbook for Dummies.
“I wanted people with diabetes to realize that they can still eat really delicious food while having diabetes,” Rubin says. “Anyone who says you can’t eat good food because you’re a diabetic has not really looked out there.”
Once diabetics have their diets down pat (after consulting their medical team, of course), exercise is the next crucial element to helping regulate blood sugar.
“Exercise can help increase the body’s sensitivity to the action of insulin,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health. “And insulin, of course, helps the metabolism of glucose.”
Diabetics: Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now
Depression was the first thing that hit 61-year-old Roger Dreikorn, from North Muskegon, MI, when his doctor told him he had type 2 diabetes. At the time, he had been working as an insurance underwriter where he saw hundreds of people suffering from the risks of the disease every day.
“When I found out I had diabetes, I thought, ‘oh, not this,’” says Dreikorn of his 1997 diagnosis. “I sat there and said, ‘you know, I can give up or keep trying.’”
So he kept trying, but it wasn’t easy. “In the first 30 days, I envisioned a life of salads, which for me was very depressing because chocolate is my middle name,” he says, laughing.
Dreikorn buckled down and learned how to moderate his sweet tooth by eating smaller portions of his favorite desserts, and adding fruits and veggies to his diet. He also started working out at his company’s fitness center, taking spinning classes and using the elliptical machine three to six times a week. Eventually, Dreikorn lost 50 pounds.
“I do fall off the wagon sometimes,” he says. “But I would tell people to just get back up and keep trying.”