Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Warning: A rant. No cute kitty pictures or nature pictures today.

A few weeks ago, I posted about upgrading some things in my life, including my physical condition.

Because I'd fallen off the low-carb wagon and my diabetes had gotten a lot worse, I signed up for a diabetes management class. I was hoping to learn some good low-carb recipes, some info about recent developments in diabetic research, more about how the glycemic index works, some good books about diabetes management, etc. Also, I'd started a new diabetic drug—prandin—and I wanted to learn more about it. I also needed motivation to take charge of my diabetes.

Of the three classes so far  in the six-class program, none has addressed my concerns. These first three classes have been about following the food pyramid and eating low-fat foods. Years ago I learned that the food pyramid wasn't healthy for diabetics and that I couldn't eat the recommended 45 to 60 carbs per meal without having my blood sugar levels go way over 250 (normal is 90-100). I knew that experts in the diabetic field—such as Richard Bernstein, MD, and William Davis, MD—didn't believe in the food pyramid or the high carb diet that the American Diabetes Association recommends and which doesn't work for diabetics.

At last Friday's class, we were given a handout called "Eat Less Fat." It was originally prepared by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in 1996. It looked sort of like a coloring book and  was loaded with misinformation. Here are some of the pages:

Eating dietary fat doesn't necessarily make you fat unless you eat a lot of it. Fat is one of the three sources of energy, the others being protein and carbohydrates. (In fact, some medical personnel are starting to recognize benefits of a ketogenic diet.) Carbohydrates—not fat—are the problem for diabetics. See Chapter 9 of Dr. Berstein's Diabetes Solutions book for more detailed info. 

No way will I ever spray this stuff onto pans that touch my food. I'm trying to avoid "chemical" food and eat more natural stuff.  I'm pretty sure the propellent used in the aerosol isn't natural. (Pam, the leading brand of non-stick vegetable oil sprays, uses propane, isobutane and n-butane as propellant gases.) I looked at the Pam label in the grocery store yesterday. One of the ingredients listed was silicon.  

I won't do this. Lower fat means higher carbs. As I mentioned earlier, diabetics have problems processing carbs. I know I do. See Chapter 10 of Dr. Berstein's book for more info.

Corn, butter beans and peas are all high carb vegetables! Some diabetic experts—such as Dr. Bernstein—have them on the diabetics' forbidden food list. Margarine is a chemical concoction, and some of the oils in margarine are from genetically modified crops (canola, for instance). I don't care to eat a helping of something grown with Monsanto's Round-Up. (More info about margarine is in Enig and Fallon's article, "The Truth About Fats.")

Arrgghhh! Potatoes are one of the worst foods for diabetics! I love potatoes, but eating them makes my legs and arms ache and my blood glucose levels soar. 

Consequently, I'm taking charge of my diabetic problems. I'm ignoring the this handout and the other misinformation from the class (and from the Amierican Diabetes Association!) and embarking on other ways to manage my diabetes. 

More about what I'm doing—and how I'm doing—in upcoming posts.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insurance and Medicare will usually pay for a limited number of "nutrition" appointments with a certified diabetes educator. I wish you luck with your struggles to gain control. It's worth the effort!

8:54 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

The class I'm taking IS with a certified diabetes educator.

8:59 PM  
Blogger M.F. Atkins said...

We went to see Jeanie Redick in Roanoke. I highly recommend her. I was shocked at how high the carbs were in yogurt. Um, I thought the food pyramid was OUT and the plate with half veggies was IN. So sorry your class wasn't helpful. That's frustrating.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

The "plate" still has way too many carbs for a diabetic.

8:15 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

The diet with the American Heart Association has the same problem. It calls for all low-fat, but any of the processed low-fat foods are full of sodium. I swear these things are all bought and paid for by some corporation.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Agribusiness and big pharma.

2:38 PM  
Blogger a bit of earth said...

Ugh! I share your frustration. Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with systemic lupus, and found (all by myself, with the help and encouragement of a good physician) that by eliminating processed foods, buying local and/or organic, and growing my own (including raising my own chickens) I could not only feed my family healthier, more wholesome food, but I got sick much, much less often. It's been years now since I had an episode, and as I've gotten older, I have easily maintained my weight through eating "Real" food and getting regular exercise. I also limit the amount of time I spend sitting - I work at a standing desk. But back to diet: I eat unsalted, real butter instead of margarine, organic whole or 2% milk, and baked my own breads, cakes, pies, muffins, and other snack items. I don't buy commercial granola bars or most cereals because they're loaded with JUNK. We make jams, chutneys, salsas, canned peaches, and are always coming up with a new way to cook fish and fresh chicken! I buy unbleached flour, unprocessed honeys and maple syrups, molasses, and unbleached cane sugar. Twenty years ago it was harder to do this than it is now because it wasn't as common as it's thankfully become.

Agribusiness and Big Pharma are the devil incarnate. Find out what's in your food, and stay away from things you can't pronounce, are out of season, and have been shipped farther than you'd send your child to college (one exception: free trade coffee).

Sorry for hi-jacking your blog! But this is one of my hot buttons, and I'm as upset as you are about the ridiculous advice you received. Good for you for giving in to the impulse to rant. I hope you directed a good amount of it toward the entity who distributed such tripe.

Best regards,

8:11 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Thanks for your input, Susannah!

8:40 PM  
Blogger K.L. Townsend said...

Ugh, so it's not just me who is having a hard time with this. My mom is diabetic, and I have PCOS, which means I should follow the diabetic diet as well. Yet, I can't get any help and I don't understand why I keep being told to eat carbs. I need carbs, sure, but the RIGHT KIND.

I don't understand why no one is getting the obvious contradictions here.

10:50 AM  
Blogger K.L. Townsend said...

So my entire comment has been eaten? Ugh.

Anyway, I was going to say I agree that the obvious contradictions are ridiculous. I am not diabetic but have PCOS so I am trying to watch my carbs. Imagine how shocked I was to find food pushed on diabetics are loaded with carbs. Sure, we have to eat carbs, but certain ones should be minimized or eaten occasionally. And such a heavy emphasis on unnatural stuff.

Trying to eat better has become a daily frustration for me. There seems to be no where to turn. Not even a nutritionist helped me.

Good to know it's not just me.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Your first comment wasn't eaten, KL; it just came in a bit delayed. As long as major contributors to the ADA include big food companies and big pharma, I doubt that the ADA will promote what really works for diabetics. The nutrionists who are approved/trained by ADA are going to follow the ADA line. Thank goodness Gary Taubes, William Davis, & Richard Bernstein are actually helping diabetics.

12:13 PM  

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