What to eat when the right food isn't available (Hurricane Irma)?

Posted by Carol, Volunteer Mentor @retiredteacher, Sep 12, 2017

I have eaten wrong foods and spiked my blood with one meal on some occasions, but when there is a disaster and electricity is out, the only food that keeps is canned. Several days of peanut butter, canned meat, chips, crackers, cheese, and those types of things that are not on the list of the Diabetes Diet are all that is edible.
We’ve had to eat “wrong” for two days and my blood is up, up. If I don’t eat, it spikes, and if I eat the wrong foods it spikes. A disaster causes problems for diabetics and others who are supposed to avoid canned foods. No way to get to a grocery; no electricity, just all the wrong things.
Any suggestions?

retiredteacher

I am not really qualified to address the role stress plays in diabetes for everyone, but it does have a negative effect on me. I have talked to several friends I am in touch with, and they agree that stress does seem to elevate the blood numbers. My stress is pretty much a constant. I do not sleep well at night. I feel as if I’m wasting time if I’m asleep, and that makes me stressed. I know I need to be calm and relaxed, but that isn’t always possible. When I am stressed, my blood pressure also increases and so does my blood. I am trying to research to see the correlation. My endo. also told me that I was too stressed, and that made my body have to work harder to absorb the stress. I don’t know if that is true or not. I do know that when personal problems change my routine, my blood sugar is higher. For now my husband is having heart problems. He has been a cardio patient with heart disease for seven years. This includes a heart attack, numerous heart caths, blood pressure at stroke level. All of that keeps me totally on edge. I get upset when my blood is high, and that causes more stress. I do not know if other people react this way, but this is the way I am. Even at my age, I cannot change. I am going to be stressed out and in control of what’s going on. That’s one reason I have a problem with most people in the medical profession. I read and research before appointments so that they cannot talk med-speak to me, and I ask questions that make them know that I am informed. Each person has to know his/her body and be aware of what’s happening. Being stressed is difficult. If people can learn to calm themselves, that can be effective. Rather than cry and yell about diabetes, I do my best to control it with what I know. Diabetes is a disease that I will always have, but I must be on top of the disease and do what I can to keep it from taking me down. This old lady still has a lot of fight left in her.

retiredteacher

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@retiredteacher

Thanks for checking. We have had a problem since Erma came through. For some reason our water (which is public even though we live in the county) developed a muddy, gritty smell. Our whole county is affected. We have called everyone we know who is supposed to be in charge, and they say it’s algae from the river that filters through the treatment plant or whatever has to happen. They don’t know what kind of algae, and they claim it’s harmless. Now, I don’t trust that! If they don’t know what it is, how do they know it’s harmless? So we have been using bottled water and believe me that is a hassle. I cannot imagine what all of the people are going through who have lost everything from Harvey, Irma, Maria and doing without even the small comforts of living.
We are fine, but my morning blood is still high and my afternoon drops, as usual. It is not consistent, so I am not sure what causes it, and I know there is no one else who does. I have an appointment with my endo. in three weeks. I’ve asked before about it, but the answer is to see the dietician, and she is clueless. So I adjust it myself and see. I have almost become a vegetarian because I seem to do better with veggies than with meat. From what I’ve read, as a person gets older, the efficiency of the body slows and sometimes that causes a higher blood read. So, at my age that is probably part of the problem, since I am definitely not a spring chicken! There has been personal stress which is common in my life, and stress contributes also. So many factors that it’s just too much to check everything. I continue to do the best I can and have good days and bad days, as most people.
As people say, “Just keep on keeping on.” I hope everyone here is doing well. I look forward to cooler temperatures and Fall. I have decorated, even though it’s still 90 degrees outside.
Better health to all.

retiredteacher

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@retiredteacher I can’t believe that they say it’s harmless but they don’t know what it is! I doubt many are drinking it, to me that is crazy. That’s one advantage we have in a town without a water supply. Everyone has wells, and our water is wonderful. It comes from 700′ down! There is a minimum lot size of 1.5 acres, we have more than 2, so that gives plenty of space for septic and water to be a distance from each other.
JK

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@retiredteacher

I am not really qualified to address the role stress plays in diabetes for everyone, but it does have a negative effect on me. I have talked to several friends I am in touch with, and they agree that stress does seem to elevate the blood numbers. My stress is pretty much a constant. I do not sleep well at night. I feel as if I’m wasting time if I’m asleep, and that makes me stressed. I know I need to be calm and relaxed, but that isn’t always possible. When I am stressed, my blood pressure also increases and so does my blood. I am trying to research to see the correlation. My endo. also told me that I was too stressed, and that made my body have to work harder to absorb the stress. I don’t know if that is true or not. I do know that when personal problems change my routine, my blood sugar is higher. For now my husband is having heart problems. He has been a cardio patient with heart disease for seven years. This includes a heart attack, numerous heart caths, blood pressure at stroke level. All of that keeps me totally on edge. I get upset when my blood is high, and that causes more stress. I do not know if other people react this way, but this is the way I am. Even at my age, I cannot change. I am going to be stressed out and in control of what’s going on. That’s one reason I have a problem with most people in the medical profession. I read and research before appointments so that they cannot talk med-speak to me, and I ask questions that make them know that I am informed. Each person has to know his/her body and be aware of what’s happening. Being stressed is difficult. If people can learn to calm themselves, that can be effective. Rather than cry and yell about diabetes, I do my best to control it with what I know. Diabetes is a disease that I will always have, but I must be on top of the disease and do what I can to keep it from taking me down. This old lady still has a lot of fight left in her.

retiredteacher

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@retiredteacher sometimes I think my PCP gets annoyed with me because I too try to be informed.

The thought of stress playing a role in Bg is interesting. I right now am going through a lot of stress and my BP is up into the low 150’s, it’s never been there before. I am wondering if the stress is causing it or perhaps the thyroid medication. I was dropped down to 25 mag and wonder if I even need that.
JK

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I feel your pain @retiredteacher
Having diabetes is a royal pain in the derrière! I have type 2 and eat lots of peanut butter. But not with crackers. Just by itself or with celery. I can’t imagine what you’ve been thru dealing with your diabetes during Irma! Hang in there! We don’t have to be perfect — all we can do is the best we can at the time!

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We are back to normal after Irma. It is too hot for late September; it’s been in the 90’s with humidity also in the 90’s. It feels damp everywhere, but that’s fairly typical for our area. Irma is gone and repairs are made and our water is back to “normal.” We are lucky that we didn’t have the damage so many thousands of people did and that so many thousands are dealing with in other areas.
I also have Type 2 diabetes. It is a pain and takes away most things my husband and I enjoyed. Traveling to the beach for fresh fried seafood, eating yummy steaks with all the trimmings, tailgating on Football Saturday with everything grilled, fried, and luscious sweets to snack on. I love veggies, but there are times when eating vegetables just aren’t good. I don’t want a salad to tailgate! I have a severe sweet tooth, but I haven’t had but one small piece of cake and one piece of candy in 16 months. That’s unheard of for me. I also haven’t had a piece of fried chicken or chili or spaghetti and all the comfort foods—-just veggies and chicken; the same every day but Sunday when we have 90/10 hamburger steak. I am not a cook, so my attempts at my age are not that successful. My husband gets meat and potato hungry and sometimes just heads to a drive through for a big, yummy burger and fries. Sometimes I wonder at my age if I just ignore the restrictions and eat what I want how long it would be before I died. Then I realize that I think I’ll stick around a while longer if the Good Lord lets me.
So I keep on keeping on.

retiredteacher

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@pdilly

I feel your pain @retiredteacher
Having diabetes is a royal pain in the derrière! I have type 2 and eat lots of peanut butter. But not with crackers. Just by itself or with celery. I can’t imagine what you’ve been thru dealing with your diabetes during Irma! Hang in there! We don’t have to be perfect — all we can do is the best we can at the time!

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@pdilly @retiredteacher I have pb on celery but also on Wasa Crisp and Light. Three of those are only 70 calories! I generally have just one so that’s almost as good an option as celery.
JK

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@retiredteacher Boy, do I hear you. I miss a lot of those things too. I live outside of Manchester NH and there is a restaurant there that claims to have invented chicken tenders and they are delicious. Everyone goes there for them. I don’t have them. You can get them cooked a different way also but when cooked the other way they have marinating for an extended amount of time in a salty marinade. I have to keep my sodium low too. 🙁 When my son and daughter come home a trip to that restaurant, “The Back Room” is always a necessity.
I do still eat steak, just a small one and only once a week but I love beef.
JK

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@retiredteacher

I am not really qualified to address the role stress plays in diabetes for everyone, but it does have a negative effect on me. I have talked to several friends I am in touch with, and they agree that stress does seem to elevate the blood numbers. My stress is pretty much a constant. I do not sleep well at night. I feel as if I’m wasting time if I’m asleep, and that makes me stressed. I know I need to be calm and relaxed, but that isn’t always possible. When I am stressed, my blood pressure also increases and so does my blood. I am trying to research to see the correlation. My endo. also told me that I was too stressed, and that made my body have to work harder to absorb the stress. I don’t know if that is true or not. I do know that when personal problems change my routine, my blood sugar is higher. For now my husband is having heart problems. He has been a cardio patient with heart disease for seven years. This includes a heart attack, numerous heart caths, blood pressure at stroke level. All of that keeps me totally on edge. I get upset when my blood is high, and that causes more stress. I do not know if other people react this way, but this is the way I am. Even at my age, I cannot change. I am going to be stressed out and in control of what’s going on. That’s one reason I have a problem with most people in the medical profession. I read and research before appointments so that they cannot talk med-speak to me, and I ask questions that make them know that I am informed. Each person has to know his/her body and be aware of what’s happening. Being stressed is difficult. If people can learn to calm themselves, that can be effective. Rather than cry and yell about diabetes, I do my best to control it with what I know. Diabetes is a disease that I will always have, but I must be on top of the disease and do what I can to keep it from taking me down. This old lady still has a lot of fight left in her.

retiredteacher

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Perhaps it is late to respond to this comment string. However, I have found a very simple exercise to relieve my stress throughout the day.

I went to a Cancer Retreat over the weekend (at Ghost Ranch, NM) and we did an exercise called “iomogi” breathing (not sure about that spelling). Basically, you breath in deeply through your mouth to the back of the throat, and out the same way. You breath deeply into your stomach and release your breath slowly, starting out of your stomach. Each breath you count to 6 while inhaling and exhaling. As you feel confident that you can breath into the back of your throat you start breathing in and out of your nose, if you cannot make that switch (I have not been able to) not to worry it will work either way. Some people can get up to 30 seconds with each breath!

The point of this exercise is that it helps to relax your autonomic nervous system. Related some chemical in your brain and you automatically relax. I did it when my heart rate was up to 110, and I was able to relax and lower my heart rate.

Now I am not the type of person who tries these alternative exercises, but I realized I needed an open mind to get all the benefits of my retreat. Wild as it seems, It worked!

If someone knows what this breathing exercise is called, I would be grateful if they would let me know.

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@pdilly

I feel your pain @retiredteacher
Having diabetes is a royal pain in the derrière! I have type 2 and eat lots of peanut butter. But not with crackers. Just by itself or with celery. I can’t imagine what you’ve been thru dealing with your diabetes during Irma! Hang in there! We don’t have to be perfect — all we can do is the best we can at the time!

Jump to this post

Hi JK, @contentandwell

I agree with the PB – sometimes I just eat it off a spoon (sounds tacky, I’m sure). I’ve also spread it on a half a banana (probably an Elvis thing) or apple slices. It is high in protein and I just love it as well!

Teresa

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@retiredteacher and @contentandwell — that really does sound hard having to pass over all those special foods and the food part of certain celebrations and traditions. Seems like it would actually feel like you were grieving all of that.

Do you substitute for other foods or give yourself another kind of treat that is not food, or how do you deal with that?

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I wouldn’t use the word grieving. Pity Parties cause people to distance themselves so I eat what I think will be the lesser of the evils and enjoy myself, as others do. I don’t think there is a person who hasn’t had a cheat treat ever. We are human and we do not always follow the rules. I do not drink. I do not smoke, so an illegal serving of something won’t be the death of me. I haven’t found anything that gives me the same reading two days in a row. I don’t think that’s possible—too many variables every day. I do the best I can and try to be consistent, but it doesn’t always work. I just see if adjusting items makes a difference; it’s trial and error for me since I don’t have a diet that says exactly what and how much for every meal. Again we are all different. I mostly eat vegetables and chicken. If I’m out and about, I don’t substitute. I eat what I’ve found is okay and don’t obsess over every bite I put in my mouth. Diabetes is a frustrating disease that I despise, and at my age it just makes the golden years really rusty, so I do it my way, since all I’ve researched basically says that’s what it has to be because we have to regard individuality.

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@lisalucier

@retiredteacher and @contentandwell — that really does sound hard having to pass over all those special foods and the food part of certain celebrations and traditions. Seems like it would actually feel like you were grieving all of that.

Do you substitute for other foods or give yourself another kind of treat that is not food, or how do you deal with that?

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@lisalucier I don’t substitute really. If you want something that you can have nothing else will do so I just eat what I can eat but do not consider that substituting. I am pretty good with it all at home, but I find it difficult when eating out. That’s why when we go on vacation next week I am happy that we have reserved a VRBO, I can control what I eat. Sure we will eat out sometimes but it won’t be three meals a day out.
JK

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@lisalucier

@retiredteacher and @contentandwell — that really does sound hard having to pass over all those special foods and the food part of certain celebrations and traditions. Seems like it would actually feel like you were grieving all of that.

Do you substitute for other foods or give yourself another kind of treat that is not food, or how do you deal with that?

Jump to this post

JK, @contentandwell

That sounds like a good plan. I hope you have a lovely trip!

Teresa

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@lisalucier

@retiredteacher and @contentandwell — that really does sound hard having to pass over all those special foods and the food part of certain celebrations and traditions. Seems like it would actually feel like you were grieving all of that.

Do you substitute for other foods or give yourself another kind of treat that is not food, or how do you deal with that?

Jump to this post

Today I found a good meal for me, at least, at Applebee’s. They have a smoked salmon on spinach and two sides. I got roasted veggies (squash and red bell peppers) and steamed broccoli. I don’t like fish, but the salmon was not that extreme fish taste and was really good. I took my blood at the time after eating and it was 98! That is very good for me—-anything under 100 makes me happy. I know salmon is on the “good: list of foods and the veggies are a usual for me, so I had fun eating out and having something that did not spike my blood. I have also found that eating at Cracker Barrel works for me, but only if I eat vegetables. that is proportioned already and my blood is always good after a vegetable plate. I get green beans, turnips, steamed broccoli and cabbage. Always under 100. I drink water and have no bread. So that’s two meals I can eat out with not quilt.
Have fun on your vacation.

retiredteacher

REPLY
@lisalucier

@retiredteacher and @contentandwell — that really does sound hard having to pass over all those special foods and the food part of certain celebrations and traditions. Seems like it would actually feel like you were grieving all of that.

Do you substitute for other foods or give yourself another kind of treat that is not food, or how do you deal with that?

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 Teresa thanks, we are on the first mini-leg, staying overnight at an airport hotel for our early flight tomorrow. I have been so busy this week that this the first time I have had time to get on!
JK

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