The question of what to eat on an Insulin Resistance Diet was the first thing that popped into my head after the basic meal plan was explained to me. Lean fish, meat, chicken were the obvious choice but what about the rest?
The Insulin Resistance Diet that was prescribed to me allows the following:
Vegetables – Eat Your Greens, Well Not All Greens…
You can choose from the following: broccoli, broccolini, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, capsicum, celery, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, onion, shallot, leeks, green beans, asparagus, bok choy, choy sum, snow peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, rhubarb, leeks, chives and if you can stomach them, you can have cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage.
At first it seems limiting but there’s enough variety here to make a meal tasty and not just palatable.
Sauces, Condiments and Hello Flavour
Most supermarket bought sauces and condiments have sugar added or used as a preservative so I have taken to checking the label when I’m shopping.
The list includes soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce (I’m already thinking of Asian style dishes), tomato paste, a whiff of vinegar, lemon/lime juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
The Spices of Life
I was relieved to learn that most of the herbs and spices I use are allowed such as garlic, thyme, oregano, bouquet garni, basil, rosemary, ginger, chilli, turmeric, nutmeg, pepper and paprika.
The list I was given reads like a hospital menu sheet so I will spare you that. You can have clear soups, miso soup, stock cubes and vegetable soup made from the allowed list above.
We know we are supposed to drink at least 2 litres a day but I find it difficult to imbibe even half of that in summer. Tea, coffee, herb tea and water will become your best friends. A little tomato juice is allowed, about 1/4 of a cup but make sure you buy a brand that has no added sugar.
For the first time ever in my life, I was told not to eat fruit. It’s all concentrated sugar. Usually, a limited selection of berries is allowed like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and the odd passionfruit.
In case you’re wondering what you can eat for dessert, the answer is… nothing.
What About Artificial Sweeteners and Diet Products?
The diet allows for artificial sweeteners, and products made with them such as diet jelly, diet cordial, diet soft drink (really?) and so on. My preference is to go without the artificial flavour and compound elements that give the illusion of sweetness with a bitter aftertaste.
Hang on… what about Dairy?
Diary has been my beef with this diet. I don’t drink milk and I don’t like yoghurt or the natural Greek style yoghurts much. My calcium intake has always come from eating cheese. Brie, Blue Cheese and Vintage Cheddar are among my favourites. But cheese has a high fat (and cholesterol content to those counting) and I was advised not to eat it.
Osteoporosis runs in my family so I was not prepared to give up cheese altogether while on this diet. After pleading with my specialist, I was allowed to eat 25g of cheese a day as an afternoon snack. You’ll be reacquainted with your neglected kitchen scales.
Other Exclusions – Wait… there’s more?
We know that we are to reduce/cut down on carbs significantly from our diet. That means no white bread, pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, kumera, and turnips, and the sweet sweet satisfaction that comes from such pleasures. But did you know that corn, peas and beetroot are also out?
Add a bean mix, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, hommus, quinoa, and lentils (a very limited quantity of lentils on the odd occasion) to the restricted list, and take a deep breath.
And now for the steak knives…
It’s not the end of the world but I looked at it as a chance to go through the pantry and the fridge and sort out what to eat. Planning my meals one week in advance makes it easier to stick to it, particularly when shopping for fresh ingredients.
All that was left was to put the plans into action and do the best to reverse insulin resistance.