When people look in our fridge, they comment on how much food is in there, much of it already prepared and ready to consume. There are a few reasons for this. One is that we are a family of six, seven with our nanny… the two youngest members only need me for their food supply (they are 5 month old twins, still exclusively breastfeeding). However, from Monday to Friday our nanny eats with us so we are feeding three adults and two children. The second reason for our well stocked fridge is that I am a diabetic eating a vegan, gluten –free diet. We therefore do not eat out very much, and are quite particular about how we eat.
In an effort to keep my daughters, aged 3 and 5 years, healthy and free of the disease I have had to deal with, I try to feed them a diet based on whole foods, with minimal meat, wheat and dairy. I hope that by limiting the common allergens that I cannot tolerate, my children will be less likely to develop the same intolerances. So there is a loaf of spelt bread in the lower right hand corner, and one lonely organic chicken breast somewhere in there, but mostly our fridge is filled with gluten free, vegan food.
Up on the right hand side you can see two cartons of almond milk…. we buy these by the case because at least two of them seem to disappear each day! The only dairy is a small container for my husband’s coffee and tea. On the left are applesauces and soy yogurts that provide snacks for my 5 year old’s school lunches. We always have spinach in the fridge because my husband and I start our day with a green smoothie made with greens, protein powder and fruit. When we started drinking green smoothies for breakfast almost four years ago I saw a huge improvement in my blood sugar control. It is a much more balanced meal than most breakfasts, which tend to be heavy on carbohydrates.
The containers of food hold meals like chickpea sweet potato curry, lentil soup or roasted root vegetables. My nanny and I make large amounts of each recipe so that we get extra meals out of them. I used to do all my cooking at night, after the kids were in bed. Since the twins were two months old and we hired our nanny, I am better able to keep up food production and I am eating really well. My sugars are better controlled than they were post-partum with my first two children and I am able to make enough milk for two chubby babies. My husband and I also credit our healthy diet with giving us the energy to not only survive having 4 young children, but to actually enjoy the experience most of the time! Even when I was getting about three hours sleep a night (in 30-45 minute segments) I was able to function as long as I fuelled my body with healthy food.
In the drawers at the bottom of the fridge there is lots of produce. My kids eat raw veggies with their dinner and have fresh fruit as snacks, especially before bedtime. In the freezer underneath we have frozen fries and buckwheat waffles, along with some other convenience foods that play a part in our meals. We usually have homemade cookies ready to take out for snacks. Soon we will be filling it with homemade baby food for the twins!
For me, the foods I see as off-limits are based more on my food allergies than my diabetes, but eating this way has definitely helped my diabetes control. My insulin requirements are lower and I don’t have nearly as many highs and lows when I am eating a plant-based diet. I think cooking my own food, versus eating out, makes it much easier to estimate the carbohydrate count. After healing myself from 5 years of digestive disease and fatigue that followed my diabetes diagnosis, I truly believe that food is medicine. So our fridge is an important place in our house!
Michelle’s Smoothie recipe (to make 2-3 servings). I estimate it is about 20 grams of carbohydrate a serving:
-Two handfuls of greens (unless you have an awesome blender, don’t start with tougher greens, use spinach or romaine, which blend nicely. Otherwise you end up “chewing” your drink!)
-half a banana
-half a cup of pineapple (great enzymes for digestion) or berries (I like frozen blueberries for a nice cold smoothie)
-a scoop of VEGA whole food health optimizer/ supplement
-a sprinkling of Vitamin C powder
-a touch of agave nectar to sweeten (optional or could use another sweetener)
-about a cup of water
-1/4 cup of milk (i use almond milk)… use more milk and less water if you like it creamier.