This is a question that I am often asked in the diabetes office.  So many patients come to me frustrated because they are told to ‘Don’t eat anything white’, ‘if it tastes good then spit it out’ or ‘try cardboard’. Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The answer is SIMPLY to eat more GOOD foods than BAD foods. Our society is overfed and undernourished. Real or GOOD food is the solution and is colorful, tasteful and wonderful.  You just have to be willing to make changes. 

What is GOOD?

  • Water and lots of it
  • Limit sweeteners. Use natural sweetness such as molasses, honey, agave, or fruit.  Stevia is a good source as well.
  • Vegetables, lots and lots of them.  Most vegetables have significant anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects.  Some of the top ranked are garlic, leeks onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, asparagus, green beans, radishes and rutabaga. Try vegetables all sorts of ways. The internet is full of great recipes. Get creative with use spices.  Replace white potatoes with summer squash or sweet potatoes. 
  • Fish from the OCEAN. Healthy fish have scales. Avoid bottom dwellers, these are the garbage collectors and include shellfish, lobster, crab, crawfish and catfish. Avoid fish at the top of the food chain which are predators and contain large amounts of mercury. These include tuna, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish.
  • Organic animal products. This means animals that are raised free-range, in open spaces and allowed to graze.
  • Good fats such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut, palm and grape seed oils.
  • Fruits needs to be consumed daily is small portions since they are naturally sweet. Avoid genetically modified fruits or GMO.  Grapes are NOT supposed to taste like cotton candy!! An apple a day keeps the doctor away remains TRUE and SIGNIFICANT. Leave the peeling on.
  • Grains need to be whole and organic. Avoid wheat which has been genetically modified. Avoid white bread that has been BLEACHED of color and stripped of more than 20 vital nutrients.  ‘Enriched’ is an ugly word on a food label.  It means that something had to be added back to even be considered food. Try Ezekiel bread (in the freezer section). Choose grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, barley, millet, rye, spelt, amaranth, oat, farro, brown/black/red rice and freekeh. Try cauliflower as the base for your pizza instead of bread or zucchini pasta.

Tips for success

  • Avoid Empty Plate Syndrome or EPS. Hunger is not easily ignored. Preparing healthy meals and snacks will help you avoid grabbing something less nutritious.
  • Only eat when you are hungry.  When you eat healthy, one meal per day is adequate for most.
  • Consider fasting. There are many ways of fasting. You could simply avoid one particular item from your diet for a period of time such as caffeine. Or you could take in nothing but water for 3 days. I know this is extreme but has been proven to have tremendous health benefits.
  • Every meal needs to be a balance of fat, protein and carbs. Avoid all carb meals such as oatmeal for breakfast. Instead, eat a small bowl of oatmeal and add meat, cheese, nuts, avacado or other foods containing fat and protein.
  • Avoid stress eating.  When you are wanting that donut, ask yourself if you would rather have an apple. If the answer is NO, then you are not HUNGRY!  Find comfort in exercise, family, religion of friends. 
  • Work on sugar high cycles.  The more sugar you eat, the more you want. Sugar is a drug to the brain.  Gradually replace high sugars foods with more nutritious choices.    
  • Grow a garden or visit farmers markets.
  • Visit the grocery often.  Fresh foods that are not loaded with preservatives perish quicker.
  • Try a meal deliver service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. This may be a little expensive but could get you started on the road to health.
  • Healthy eating eliminates the need to count calories or carbs. The results will occur naturally.
  • Make small, sustainable changes. No one likes to change but a little bit at a time will bring great rewards. I have witnessed this MANY times in our office.

Live Long. Choose Healthy!

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560,,  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.