Saturday, October 18, 2014

Diabetic Foods and Cooking

A few notes on sugar free cooking.

As my doctor put it, I am not diabetic, but I should eat as if I am.

It appears that the most important dietary modification to diabetes and weight control, is to avoid any food that digests rapidly.

At first the list looks daunting: Wheat, potato, rice, alcohol, glucose, sucrose... essentially all common carbohydrates must be avoided - which makes one wonder what is left, since that is about 90% of all the junk on the supermarket shelves!

Oats and Rye

I don't mind going on a caveman diet of meat, salad and nuts, since I'm a committed carnivore already, but wheat bread is curiously addictive and getting over it is not easy.  There are many different kinds of wheat: Spelt, Durham... so be careful that you don't buy an alternative that isn't an alternative at all.

Rye bread is commonly available at bakeries, but it is a little chewy - an automatic consumption limiter.

My wife is an engineer of economics, loves cooking and did a few experiments with rye, oats and barley kernels.  She quickly figured out that it is very easy to make rye and oats flour: Simply chuck the grains into a coffee grinder and press the button - brrrrrrrrrrrrzzzzzzt - done, perfect flour!

The other surprising thing is that when oats flour is used in baking, it doesn't taste like oatmeal porridge as one would expect.  Baked oats confectionery works and tastes the same as wheat bread and cake - probably because of all the other ingredients.  So between oats and rye, we got wheat eliminated easily and she bakes bread, cake, pancakes, strudel - anything - with oats and rye flour.


Barley makes a perfect alternative to rice.  It is a little different, but sufficiently the same that we don't miss rice at all.

Sucralose, Aspartame, Xilatol and Stevea

For baking, it is important to use a sweetener that doesn't denature at high temperature.  Sucralose is available in boxes as a fluffed up powder that can be used almost 1:1 (more like 1:2, since it is extremely sweet) to replace sugar.

Be careful with diet sodas.  Many people are sensitive to phenylalanine (produced when Aspartame is broken down) and it increases muscle tension.  Too many diet sodas and you will feel creaky as if you are a 100 years old.  If you overdosed on sodas, bear in mind that phenylalanine takes about 14 days to get out of your system again, so be patient, you will eventually be able to turn your head again.  I can handle one diet soda every other day - no more.  Alcohol free beer is much better and I can chug as many of those as I want with no side effects.

Xilatol is used in 'dental' chewing gum.  It is derived from wood.  The only reason I mention this here, is because Xilatol gum will kill a dog - it makes a dog stop breathing.  Don't leave gum lying around where a puppy can get it, or you could become rather unpopular very quickly.

I don't like the taste of Stevea root much, but I cannot imagine life without chocolate...

Life in the Slow Lane

Once you made the above modifications, you will enjoy life in the slow metabolic lane.  Various nuts and little round cheeses is my way of snacking and when we go out, I drink either nealco Zlatý Bažant (Golden Pheasant) or Bavaria (yum), or Diet Cola (yech).


The other important thing is exercise - the more the merrier.  I prefer swimming, since gym machines always hurt my hands and I need my fingers for typing.  So I swim about 3km per week - it sure helps living in a hot country, although it is rather chilly today - only 34 Celsius!

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