When I went back to my hometown, my relatives, friends and neighbors would come to see me. But as well as people I know well visiting to catch up on my news, I would also have less familiar visitors. These visitors were fellow diabetics, curious to meet the “superman” who had reversed his diabetes. They wanted advice. They wanted to know a future was possible.
After learning about my miraculous story, as you’d expect, they were all impressed with the fact that my condition had been reversed in just 3 months. But they had reservations about my methods. “Clint,” they said to me, “We’re very happy for you, obviously, but for the past 6 years you’ve been surviving on propolis, eggs, and pricey deep-sea fish. A low-carb diet is all well and good, but going through life on such a boring diet is too much to ask!” My closer friends tried to reason with me: “We understand that you are the most well-educated person from our village, but everyone has their own principles.
Now these people have gone up in the world and finally have access to good food, you can’t expect them to follow a strict diet. What is the point of prolonging their life for just a few years if it means eating such boring food?”
I disagree. Life is more than just enjoying good food. If you decide to live with diabetes and all its complications, just so you can eat specific food, I think you’re making the wrong decision.
If we’re dealing in facts, then the truth is I don’t survive on just those few foods. Sure, in the first few months of my diagnosis, when I didn’t know much about diabetes, my diet was limited. Boring even. I was worried, and had to be very careful. But as my knowledge and understanding of nutrition grew, my diet became more varied. My meals are both interesting and delicious, and I am confident that a low-carb diet can be just as satisfying to the taste buds as it is beneficial to the body.
Diabetics don’t have to survive on chicken, fish, eggs, meat and dried fruits. We can also enjoy vegetables and fresh fruits. With a little effort, and some inspiration these ingredients can become the most delectable of dishes. Even sweet food is within reach with the plethora of natural sweeteners available on the market. Options such as stevia, fruit of Grosvenor Momordica and erythritol have low calories and no sugar. I even made myself a low-carb birthday cake on my birthday. (However, I would not recommend some synthetic sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, because they may have a variety of side effects and even cause cancer).
As long as you understand the principles of the low-carb diet, diabetics can enjoy life just as much as the next person. I hope the truth-seekers from my hometown can find comfort in these words.
In fact, the low-carb diet is no mysterious secret. It’s simply a way of eating based on the natural balance of our bodies. We already know that it is a diet based on the balance of the human system. You have a wealth of foods at your disposal-a whole garden, with you as the master freely picking your favorites from a field of variety and vibrancy. What we do need to consider when undertaking a low-carb diet is balance. Notably the balance of energy our bodies need, and the balance of nutrients and minerals necessary for us to function well. While a conventional diet concentrates on carbohydrates for energy, in the low-carb diet we replace this with fats and protein.
In a conventional diet, the daily energy supply proportion of carbohydrates can reach 70% with fat and protein representing the remaining 30%. Fellow diabetics who choose to adopt a low-carb diet have two choices: one is to take a gradual approach to reducing the percentage of carbohydrates in their diet, while increasing the proportion of proteins and fats. Alternatively, you can take an immediate approach. If you’re highly adaptable or your blood glucose level is relatively high, it's best to reduce your carbohydrate energy proportion to the target level at one go like I did.
After considerable research and experimentation, my suggestion is to lower your intake of carbohydrates to less than 10%, increase your fat intake to 70% to 75%, and maintain your protein intake at 20% to 25%. This can effectively keep your diabetic condition under control.
To reach this goal, you should avoid rice, noodles, sugar, and meat. Eggs and vegetables are the most valuable ingredients in our vibrant field.
To make things easier to follow, here are the 5 principles we live by on a low-carb diet:
1. Be aware of your total energy intake;
2. Limit the proportion of carbohydrates;
3. Eat more meat, eggs and vegetables;
4. Avoid or eat fewer simple carbs. The 10% of carbohydrates in your diet should be made up of coarse grains;
5. Ensure that your diet is varied and delicious and you will keep to the plan.
The Chinese Nutrition Society in 2000, states that an average adult man needs 2400 to2700 kcal a day, and women 2100 to 2300 kcal. So, how do you calculate the energy of your food? Let's first take a look at the energy content of daily food ingredients.
As we are giving up rice and noodles, we won't list them here. We will start with beans.
Beans to avoid:
High-starch beans include adzuki beans, mung beans, broad beans, peas, cowpeas, kidney beans, lentils and others. Their starch content is as high as 55% to 60%, while their fat content is less than 2%
Beans to include:
Soybeans are our best option, with a protein content of 35 to 45%, and a low starch content.
Here are the calorie values of various delicious soybean products:
- bean curd: 98kcal/100g
- skin of soya-bean milk: 409kcal/100g - dried bean curd: 140kcal/100g
- smoked bean curd: 147kcal/100g
- dried bean curd milk in tight rolls: 459kcal/100g
- soybean milk: 13kcal/100g
- fried bean curd:244kcal/100g
Vegetables to avoid:
While potatoes may be considered a vegetable, they are really a starch in disguise. For a beneficial low-carb diet, we must stay away from them.
Vegetables to include:
Cruciferous vegetables should be our first point of call. These vegetables have lotus-shaped leaves, no stipule, and petals in the shape of a cross. These foods have many other benefits, including improving immunity and even fending off aging!
- Chinese cabbage
- Wild Cabbage
- Rocket salad
- Cabbage mustard
- Leaf mustard
- Turnip-Pak Choi
- Orychophragmus Violaceus
- Pak Choi: 15kcal/100g
- Chinese cabbage: 15kcal/100g
- Cabbage mustard: 19kcal/78g
- White radish: 20kcal/95g
- Leaf mustard: 24kcal/91g
Meats to avoid:
While beef and chicken breasts should be your first options, there’s no need to cut out pork or duck. And you can have a reasonable amount of that Chinese delicacy, twice-cooked pork.
Meats to include:
So, your focus should be:
- Lean pork
- Fatty pork
- Streaky pork
- Pork leg
- Chicken breast - Lean Beef
- Pig liver
- Pork tripe
- Pork chop
- Duck’s gizzard
- Beef tendon
- Lean pork: 143kcal/100g
- Fatty pork: 816kcal/100g
- Streaky pork:349Kcal/85g
- Pork leg: 190kcal/100g
- Chicken breast: 103kcal/100g
- Lean Beef: 106kcal/100g
- Duck: 240kcal/68g
- Broiler: 389kcal/76g
- Pig liver: 129kcal/99g
- Pork tripe: 110kcal/96g
- Pork chop: 264kcal/68g
- Duck’s gizzard: 92kcal/93g
- Beef tendon: 100kcal/95g
Fruits to avoid:
Many people think that the sugar content of fruits is relatively high and they dare not eat them. In fact, many fruits are treasures of a low-carb diet, such as avocado, tomato, strawberry, blueberry and others. Plums, apricots, cantaloupes, apples and kiwi fruits can also be eaten but only between meals. At the same time, their intake should be strictly watched, and they should only be eaten occasionally to satisfy a craving for something sweet.
Fruits to include:
As well as the above fresh fruits in moderation dried fruits are ideal food for fellow diabetics. They are not only easy to obtain, but also rich in nutrition. You can carry them in your bag for replenishing energy at any time where there is not enough food for a low-carb diet.
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanut kernels
- Lotus seeds
- Pine nuts: 640kcal/32g
- Walnuts: 627kcal/43g - Sunflower seeds: 597kcal/50g
- Hazelnuts: 594kcal/21g
- Peanut kernels: 581kcal/100g
- Almonds: 514kcal/100g
- Lotus seeds: 344kcal/100g
Fish and seafood
Fish and seafood are a diabetic’s best source of calories, vitamins, and protein. Fish was why Canadian aborigines had such healthy bodies. Deep-sea fish are the best option, but if you can’t access these then there are plenty of other ways to integrate this fabulous nutrient source into your diet.
Fish and seafood to include:
- Dried squid
- Dried scallops
- Dried shrimp
- Dried cuttlefish
- River eel
- Blunt-snout bream
- Spanish mackerel
- Little yellow croaker
- Large yellow croaker
- River prawn
- Dried squid: 313kcal/98g
- Dried scallops: 264kcal/100g
- Dried shrimp: 194kcal/100g
- Shrimp: 101kcal/60g
- Dried cuttlefish: 287kcal/82g
- River eel: 181kcal/84g
- Blunt-snout bream: 135kcal/59g
- Spanish mackerel: 122kcal/80g
- Loach: 96kcal/50g
- Little yellow croaker: 99kcal/63g
- Large yellow croaker: 99kcal/66g
- River prawn: 84kcal/86g
A note about eggs:
Eggs are an important ingredient for a low-carb diet, because they’re so rich in protein. While providing a large amount of energy, they can also provide phospholipids, riboflavin, inorganic salts of calcium, phosphorus, iron and others, and vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B1and vitamin B2 needed by the body. Calorie values:
- hen's egg: 138kcal/87g
- duck egg: 180kcal/87g
- quail egg: 160kcal/86g
- yolk of a hen's egg: 328kcal/100g
- hen's egg white: 60kcal/100g
- duck egg yolk: 324kcal/100g
Of course, calorie values aren’t the only thing we need to think about on the low-carb diet. We also need to consider other nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.
For example, while important sources of vitamin-B complex, vitamin C and various minerals, foods such as grapes, apples, red dates, pumpkins, and carrots are also high in sugar. So, while we eliminate these from our diet, we need to supplement the necessary nutrients in other ways. I personally recommend nutritional supplements, which can supply the required elements without increasing your sugar intake.
It’s true, if you happen to be a person who never cooks then you really need to work hard to enjoy varied meals on a low carb diet. But, even if you simply learn to boil water, blanch ingredients and add some olive oil, you can enjoy delicious ingredients every day. I'm speaking from experience.