Wednesday, August 12, 2009

PMS and Type 2 Diabetes: A Tricky Combination

MizFit's timely (for me) post today, "PMS Cravings & Active Rest," reminded me of something that frustrated me beyond belief at first: why, every so often, did my blood glucose levels rise (both fasting and post-meal with stuff that usually didn't raise them much), out of the middle of nowhere? Until I realized that "out of the middle of nowhere" was typically PMS week, and no wonder I felt extra irritable about it! I then read in Sheri Colberg's excellent book Diabetic Athlete's Handbook (highly recommended, especially for insulin-dependent athletes) that women tend to be more insulin resistant during the time between ovulation and the start of one’s period (luteal phase)? (p. 41, Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook) It's all those raging girl-hormones at work.

Well, talk about cruelty! :-) Especially when I can no longer satisfy PMS cravings with a bag of Salt & Pepper Kettle Chips and a pint of Phish Food.

Scoot on over to MizFit's article and read all the great ideas for dealing with the cravings. (See comment #49; tuff's Frozen Peanut Butter Cups recipe looks very tasty!) MizFit mentions why we should seek out more Omega 3 sources when cravings hit, even if they don't seem particularly appetizing. There may be something to it, though: I have been consuming more Omega 3 sources on a daily basis (fish oil pills, flax, chia...occasionally fish and walnuts, but not as often as I ought to) as well as choosing less processed carbs, and I have noticed that I don’t have super strong PMS cravings anymore. (I wonder if Metformin affects PMS food cravings? I couldn't find anything particular about this.)

Even so, sometimes I just want a "schmall schmackerel (as opposed to a "mackerel," even though that would probably be a better choice) of something sweet", as Pooh-Bear would say. Here are my go-to items. Some of these would not have worked for me earlier on, when I was working to get my blood sugar levels regulated and to eliminate my sugar cravings. I still check things that I introduce back in with my meter, and I count the carbs toward (vs. adding them on top of) a meal or snack. I'm happy I did the up-front work (exercise, making better food choices), though, because before diagnosis, I never thought I'd be able to eat some of these items again if I had diabetes. Any-hoo, with no further ado....

Well, there's a little more "ado"...

Disclaimer: The foods/products that I mention on my blog are my own personal preferences, and they work for me...they might not float your boat or be your best choice for your diabetes. Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about them. Also, for what it's worth, I am not compensated for mentioning ANY products in my blog.

Okay, no more "ado," I promise:

When only chocolate will do (chocolatey/sweet/salty/creamy): I find dark chocolate *very* satisfying and fairly carb-friendly for the 70% variety…just plain, or sometimes with peanuts or peanut butter. (I found that after eating clean for a few months, I lost my taste for milk chocolate. Too sweet.) Or here's a very simple hot chocolate recipe.

When I want comfort food (sweet/salty/good fats/creamy/warm): Oatmeal and peanut butter with some sugar-free maple syrup. I really love the steel-cut oats these days...I'll be trying oat bran next and see if I like it as much. I put a 1/4 cup of milled flax seed in my oatmeal for extra nutritional goodness.

Because I'm weird this way (warm/fats, good and bad/creamy/mushy): Coffee, half-and-half, and chia (ground or whole seed--different textures, same...odd-but-goodness). I know, it IS weird, but it works for me sometimes when my green tea+chia doesn't satisfy.

An apple a day...(sweet/salty/fats, good or bad/cold/mushy+crunchy): Good ol' apple and peanut or almond butter. Or cheddar cheese. My favorite variety, Gravensteins, are in season right now; if you can find them, try them! They have a wonderful tart + sweet flavor.

And the ubiquitous (sweet/sour/cold/mushy...crunchy/good fats optional): Nonfat Greek-style yogurt with fresh fruit. I like mine with berries, oranges, or apples. I also put cinnamon in mine, and sometimes milled flax seed, other times some walnuts and a tiny drizzle of honey. I also found this Chia Goodness cereal stuff that's acceptable carb-wise if just sprinkled on...the cranberry/ginger flavor is quite strongly flavored but works well in yogurt, its consistency being similar to granola.

Processed, but quick (sweet/salty/crunchy/sticky/FAST): I like the South Beach Living peanut butter & chocolate crispy meal bars (1 carb, 2 lean meat) or their high-protein peanut butter cereal bars (1 carb, 1 lean meat). Read the label and see if it works for you...they're not the cleanest-of-clean eating, but I find them to be darn convenient and okay for me in moderation. (Like now, when I need to pound something down before hitting the gym.)

Because I'm human (whatever strikes my fancy--not recommended, but....): I have been known to eat some potato chips. (This works best if I plan for an measure out an ounce into a dish, and sit down, and savor them...otherwise, I'm picking out of a bag and it's too easy to lose track.) I've also bought sugar-free candy and eaten more than I'd planned to eat. I don't go as crazy as in the pre-D days, and I usually feel physically icky the next day, so it's something that is tending to happen less often over time. Especially if I work in reasonable amounts of stuff I really like (see "when only chocolate will do") into my regularly scheduled feedings. And don't get me started on salted, roasted nuts...still a tricky food for me.

Finally, my original go-to when in processed carbs/sugar detox mode (warm/sweet/spicy): Good Earth Original tea. I like it because it tastes much more flavorful and sweet to me than regular herbal teas. I also like mint tea with sweetener.


Miz said...

we love oatmeal and peanut butter around here so much we have renamed it SPACKLE and it's part of the Casa de Miz vernacular.


Foodie McBody said...

I love this list!!!!! (and especially the descriptors - so perfect) LOVE the coffee with half and half combo. Do you add the chia to make it healthy? That is one thing I've never given up and not about to: my daily coffee with half and half. No skim milk for me. I put half and half in my English breakfast tea too and it totally DOES it for me, more than even a dessert would.

Pubsgal said...

Miz: "Spackle?" That's great!!! That name made me...(wait for it!)...CACKLE! ;-D (And yes, *you* are the person who introduced me to that heavenly combo!)

Foodie: Thanks! I feel the same way about half-and-half. I dabbled with fat-free half-and-half, and I really ought to do a blind taste test to see if I can truly tell the difference, but the regular seems less chalky to me. Sometimes I'll cut it with the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but I have not yet replaced it. Wish I preferred black coffee, but oh well.

Regarding the chia, I usually put it in green tea, but sometimes I like it in coffee. It's definitely an acquired...texture more than taste, but I like it. I'd advise trying a small amount at first to be sure you like it, rather than buying a big ol' canister. Miz's guest post on Cranky Fitness (Ch-ch-ch-Chia!") describes the health benefits. Depending on what's on sale at Whole Foods, I get either the ground chia or the whole seeds. The ground chia is very powdery, and when it absorbs liquid, it gets mushy. The chia seeds kind of remind of me of those tapioca pearls they put in drinks, except they are smaller and have a crunchy center.

FitnessSurfer said...

The PMS insulin resistance thing might explain part of my friends problem. Her PMS is even way out of whack and inconstant. I'll be sure to pass this one on.

Peppermint tea is my favorite way to relax.

Juice said...

Reading this made me hungry!