Why Doesn’t All Dairy Count as Carbs? By Megrette Fletcher MEd, RD, CDE

October 8, 2015 by


In celebration of ’31 Days of Counting Carbs’ we’re asking some of our favorite certified diabetes educators to share some friendly advice and tips to help you improve your diabetes self-care.

October’s Diabetes Late Nite guest, Megrette Fletcher MEd, RD, CDE, who is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating shares this blog post:

Some of the most popular foods found in the dairy case such as cream cheese, half and half, sour cream, cheese, cottage cheese and eggs don’t contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. Depending on the item, they’re considered either a fat choice or a protein choice.

For example, cream cheese, half and half and sour cream are considered fat choices.

Protein choices would include cheese, cottage cheese and eggs.

How do these dairy products fit into your diet when you have diabetes? The good news is that since they don’t have many carbohydrates, they won’t raise your blood sugar levels significantly when eaten in moderation. However, milk-based foods are animal products so they may contain saturated fats which may contribute to the risk of heart disease.

TUNE IN: October’s Diabetes Late Nite with inspiration from Kelly Clarkson on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 6 -7 PM, EST.

Asha Brown Helps Us Raise Awareness of Diabulimia

October 5, 2015 by


We Are Diabetes Founder, Asha Brown is one of the stars on our latest Diabetes Mystery Radio podcast: “Phantom of the Okra.” Asha’s personal story of living with diabulimia inspired the storyline of this year’s diabetes mystery podcast.

The term “diabulimia” (also known as ED-DMT1) has often been used to refer to this life-threatening combination and the unhealthy practice of withholding insulin to manipulate or lose weight. People suffering from ED-DMT1 may exhibit any number of eating disorder behaviors or they may only manipulate their insulin and otherwise have normal eating patterns. This risky practice can have catastrophic health consequences.

Below Asha Brown helps us sheds more light on the topic of diabulimia in this blog post:

We Are Diabetes Founder, Asha Brown is one of the stars on our latest Diabetes Mystery Radio podcast: “Phantom of the Okra.” Asha’s personal story of living with diabulimia inspired the storyline of this year’s diabetes mystery podcast.

Are you struggling with diabulimia? If so, please know that you are not alone. Please contact the We Are Diabetes Organization for help.

Below Asha Brown shares the lessons she’s learned in her recovery from diabulimia in this blog post:

Eating disorder recovery is different for everyone; no two journeys are alike. However no matter what path an individual takes to find solid recovery from an overpowering addiction, powerful life-changing lessons are learned along the way.

I lived with an all consuming eating disorder for ten years. I lost my joy, my passion and my spirituality. Making the choice to seek help and surrender everything I knew (or what I thought I knew) and accept help in an inpatient facility was just one of the many powerful factors that helped me find freedom from my eating disorder. During my time in inpatient treatment, I finally had a safe place to explore my feelings, my fears and learn from my mistakes instead of punishing myself for them.

I’ve learned so many powerful lessons in the past six years of my recovery journey. The most powerful lesson has come from being honest with myself, with my loved ones and with my healthcare professionals. Telling the truth seems like such a simple concept; but after so many years of denial, resentment and shame, I discovered that every component of my life had been shrouded in little lies or “half-truths” that I had been telling myself in order to cope. Detangling the lies from the truths in my life took time, bravery and commitment.

Here are the two most important lessons that I’ve learned, so far, on my recovery journey:

1. Live in your truth.  Be honest with yourself and validate the feelings you have. Cultivate honest relationships. 

I spent so much time worrying that the way I really felt about living with T1D and the way I felt about my body and food would be shamed.  I was very careful never to share my true feelings.  I felt alone and lost with the emotions and anxieties that I struggled with inside. I was ashamed of my true feelings and spent years hating myself for having them. I hid them from my most beloved family and friends.

When I finally shared my secrets to my family and to my husband, I was unexpectedly met with compassion, concern and support.  Although they could not completely understand, they wanted to support me and help me find the medical and psychological help that I needed. Being honest to my family, my friends and to countless doctors and healthcare professionals has been one of the most difficult things I have had to conquer and it has changed my relationships with all of them in so many positive ways.

2. Be honest with your words.  Learn how to say no and be honest about your ability to commit.

I spent years making promises that I couldn’t keep. I wasn’t honest with myself or others about what I could commit to versus what I could actually accomplish. During the first year of my recovery I realized this was something I really wanted to change. In order to do that, I had to stop committing to things that I knew I couldn’t do, or didn’t have time to do; I had to embrace the concept of being able to say, “No.”

Before my journey into recovery I worried that if I ever said “no” to a commitment or someone asking me to do them a favor they would get offended. While that always remains a possibility when I utilize the word “no” in my life today, more often than not I find I now have a great deal more respect from my family, friends and co-workers. Knowing your personal limits and being smart about how much you can commit to requires personal perception and self-respect. Having ambition is important, and while I still do possess a great deal of ambition for my life and my dreams, it’s important to also be realistic about how much one can accomplish in any given amount of time. I honor the commitments I have now, and it’s helped me learn how to better honor myself.

There was a time that I thought that I was the only one struggling with this chronic illness and disordered behaviors with food and I hated myself for it. Now,in my work with those who reach out to me through We Are Diabetes, I hear that shame and guilt echoed from across the country. Those who are still suffering in silence and shame with their diabetes and eating disorder need to know that there is hope!  There really are healthcare professionals and treatment centers that can help you. For more information on support and resources visit wearediabetes.org.

VISIT:  We Are Diabetes  is an organization primarily devoted to promoting support and awareness for type 1 diabetics who suffer from eating disorders. We are dedicated to providing guidance, hope and resources to those who may be struggling, as well as to their families and loved ones.

LISTEN NOW: ‘Phantom of the Okra’ Diabetes Mystery podcast featuring  We Are Diabetes Founder, Asha Brown, Actor and Author Peter Arpesella, Best-Selling Author Tonya Kappes, Mama Rose Marie, Poet Lorraine Brooks and Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek.

31 Day of Counting Carbs Helpful Tips

October 3, 2015 by


All month long we’re talking about carbohydrates in celebration of our ’31 Days of Counting Carbs’ campaign on Facebook.

Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred source of energy. All carbs are broken down into glucose – essential fuel for the body, especially the brain. Carbohydrate can be classified in two main types:

  • Starchy carbs: foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, noodles, rice and cereals.
  • Sugars, such as: natural sugar, eg fruit sugar (fructose) and milk sugar (lactose), added sugar, which includes granulated sugar and honey.

Both the amount and type of carbs you eat and drink will have an effect on your post-meal blood glucose levels.

If you’re new at counting carbohydrates, Divabetic wants to help you every step of the way. Here are 3 quick tips to keep in mind as you begin to use carb counting as a tool for managing your diabetes.

  • Double-check the measurements of the food item.
  • What is the portion or serving size?
  • The carbohydrate you count is the ‘Total carbohydrate’ rather than the ‘Total sugars’.

Why not do some “carbohydrate homework”?  Record nine meals and blood glucose levels pre- and 90 minutes post-meal. (3 different breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners.) Write down the foods you eat, the amount, and if possible the total carbohydrate grams and the fat grams.  Once you see the connection between what you eat and the glycemic response, you can determine what your optimum meal plan should be.

NEED INSPIRATION? Listen to the Golden Rules for a Diabetic Diet with Jessica Issler RD, CDE.


How Low Can You Go? 31 Days of Counting Carbs

October 2, 2015 by


In celebration of ’31 Days of Counting Carbs’ we’re talking about low carbohydrate diets for people with diabetes.

An increasing amount of research is showing that a low carb diet is a strong choice for people with diabetes according to the global diabetes community,  Diabetes.co.UK.

Reducing your carb intake can mean that people need not produce, or inject, so much insulin. As insulin helps to store fat, less circulating insulincould help to prevent, reduce or reverse weight gain.

A further theory is that by restricting the amount of carbohydrates, people are often restricting their calorie intake to some extent, which also helps it weight loss and weight management.

Not only have low carbohydrate diets been shown to improve blood glucose levels and aid weight loss but evidence also shows the diet to be strong in terms of heart health.

What counts as low carb?

Charity Diabetes UK provides the following brackets for daily carbohydrate intakes.

A research study in 2008 used the following brackets to categorise daily carbohydrate intake:

  • Moderate carbohydrate: 130 to 225g of carbs
  • Low carbohydrate: under 130g of carbs
  • Very low carbohydrate: under 30g of carbs

How much you lower your carbohydrate intake should depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • The medications you are on
  • How active you are
  • How easy you find it to reduce your carbohydrate intake
  • How sensitive your blood sugar levels are to carbohydrate

Speak to your doctor before deciding how much to reduce your carbohydrate intake by.


TUNE IN: October’s Diabetes Late Nite with inspiration from Kelly Clarkson on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 6 -7 PM, EST. This podcast features guest, Megrette Fletcher Med, RD, CDE, who is ais a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating.

Are Their Carbs in Milk Alternatives? By Megrette Fletcher

October 1, 2015 by


In celebration of ’31 Days of Counting Carbs’ we’re asking some of our favorite certified diabetes educators to share some friendly advice and tips to help you improve your diabetes self-care.

October’s Diabetes Late Nite guest, Megrette Fletcher Med, RD, CDE, who is ais a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating. shares this blog post:

Some of my clients ask me, “Are there carbs in milk alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, or soy milk?” The answer is generally, yes, but to find out exactly how much, you’ll need to check the nutrition label. This article provides the approximate amount of carbs in milk alternatives.

How many carbs are in milk alternatives?

dairy alternative gridCarbohydrates are important when you have diabetes because the carbs in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink affect your blood sugar levels. This table provides a list of some popular flavors of milk alternatives and their carbohydrate content. I developed this general reference list by taking the average of the carbohydrate content of three popular brands.

For comparison, one cup (8 ounces) of regular, 2%, 1%, or skim cow’s milk has 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrate. You’ll generally find that only the plain or sugar free option of most milk alternatives have fewer carbohydrates than cow’s milk.

Why do some people choose milk alternatives?

Some people are lactose intolerant and struggle with digesting cow’s milk. Others eliminate animal products as part of a vegan diet. In addition, these products are shelf stable so they may be easier to take where access to refrigeration is limited.

What about other nutrients in milk alternatives?

It’s important to consider other nutrients in addition to carbohydrates. The protein content in most milk alternatives is typically less than cows milk. As you may recall fromEat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, protein promotes the greatest satiety of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein).

The vitamin and mineral content may differ as well. Many milk alternatives are fortified with calcium so their calcium content will be similar to milk, but again, the nutrition label will be your best source of information about the nutrient content for each product.

BUY NOW: Pick up a copy of Megrette Fletcher and Michelle May MD’s book, ‘Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes’.  This book helps readers discover how eating and physical activity affect their blood sugar so that they can make decisions that support their good health without sacrificing delicious meals or dinner out with friends. This four-part system helps readers think, nourish, care, and live with diabetes – without restriction or guilt – to discover optimal health and the vibrant life they crave.

TUNE IN: October’s Diabetes Late Nite with inspiration from Kelly Clarkson on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 6 -7 PM, EST.

What Happens When You Mix Baked Goods with Murder?

September 30, 2015 by


A good paperback mystery doesn’t have to be oozing with countless decadent recipes to be good. However the concept of combining the two has proven to be quite successful for Best-Selling Authors Joanne Fluke, Lee Hollis and Debbie Macomber, who are known for layering their mysteries in double fudge.

So can a ‘sugarcoated mystery’ actually help educate people about diabetes?

That’s what inspired the premise for this year’s mystery radio podcast, ‘The Phantom of the Okra.’

“I wanted to write a mystery for mystery lovers with a sweet tooth affected by diabetes,” says Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek. “And tackle the myth that people with diabetes can’t eat ‘sweets’ in a new and different way.”

The setting for our diabetes mystery is the 6th Annual Bake Bethesda A Pie Contest at Central Farm Markets in Bethesda, MD. Central Market is a wonderful open air market featuring a vast array of produce from local farms and artisan foods.

“I’ve had the pleasure of hosting the Red Tomato Carpet for their Annual Bake Bethesda A Pie Contest for several years,” says Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek. “I think  providing diabetes education in unexpected places, like a bake-off is highly effective.  People are more open to talking about the issues that are stopping them from managing their diabetes in non-clinical settings.”

‘AADE Educator of 2015’, Susan Weiner CDE, RD who also stars in the mystery podcast agrees.

“I think it’s better to talk to people with diabetes about their food habits and discuss together how to eat some of the foods they love in smaller portions,” says Susan Weiner.

“The truth is people with diabetes can eat anything they like including pies,” she adds. “They just need to monitor their portions and be aware of how the food they’re eating like those high in carbohydrates effect their blood glucose levels.”

The show packs action, suspense and diabetes education advice along with some of Chef Robert Lewis aka ‘The Happy Diabetic healthy recipes to fill readers’ appetites without excessive calories, sugar and fat.

LISTEN NOW: ‘Phantom of the Okra’ Diabetes Mystery podcast featuring  We Are Diabetes Founder, Asha Brown, Actor and Author Peter Arpesella, Best-Selling Author Tonya Kappes, Mama Rose Marie, Poet Lorraine Brooks and Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek.

Why Do White Peaches Lack Flavor?

September 28, 2015 by


On a recent trip to Montreal I stopped by the Jean-Talon public market.

The Jean-Talon Market is one of the oldest public markets in Montréal. When it originally opened in May of 1933, it was named “Marché du Nord” (north-end market) before becoming the Jean-Talon Market, named in honour of the first Intendant of New France.

The Jean-Talon Market is known for its numerous local fruit and vegetable vendors as well as the cultural diversity of its shopkeepers. The great thing is that the vendor provide free samples! I literally ate my way through the market as we shopped. I love the taste of all the produce except the white peaches!

White peaches maybe high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A, niacin and potassium, but in my opinion they lack flavor.

Experts say that white peaches are low in acid, allowing for their natural sweetness to be more pronounced. What sweetness? I tasted nothing but fuzz.

White peaches also more delicate and easily bruised, which kept them from being sold in most stores until the 1980s, when hardier varieties were developed. According to Russ Parsons in How to Pick a Peach, older varieties of white peaches (and nectarines) had a bit of tang to balance the sugar, but the ones sold today are more uniformly sweet. You can still find some of the older varieties at farmers’ markets.

As for cooking, the two types are interchangeable according to preference. We generally think the delicate, floral sweetness of white peaches is excellent for eating out of hand or grilling, but like the more intense flavor of yellow peaches for baking.

LISTEN NOW: Phantom of the Okra Diabetes Mystery podcast

Patti LaBelle Proves She’s a Divabetic in the Kitchen!

September 27, 2015 by


Divabetic inspiration and Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle showcases her “divabetic” cooking skills in an her hourlong special Patti LaBelle’s Place, premiering Sunday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the Cooking Channel.

“I’ve been cooking all my life, coming up with little recipes for hot sauces and different ketchups,” says Patti LaBelle. “It just expanded. I guess it’s like singing, that’s a natural for me, and so is cooking.

A “Divabetic” cook isn’t just a glamorous cook who can make foods look good, they’re also able to prepare foods for their family to help them thrive and not feel deprived. What they serve on the plate isn’t just ‘healthy’ it tastes good. The big question we’re asking ourselves about Patti’s cooking skills is whether or not she’ll be preparing healthy or decadent meals on her special.

“They’re both healthy and some not so healthy. I’m a diabetic so I will cook everything for anybody, but I’m not going to eat it, though, because, of course, I have to cook healthier now for myself,” says Patti LaBelle.

Patti LaBelle, who is living with type 2 diabetes,  has learned to how to modify her meals in order to stay healthy.

“I had to stop eating cheesecake, that I love, and fried chicken. In moderation, I can have a piece of fried chicken. You know, whatever I would eat, it would be fried, and then potato salad and macaroni and cheese. Things like that I can’t really have anymore,” says LaBelle.

Patti LaBelle, who is the author of three cookbooks, the most recent Recipes for the Good Life!, will be joined by Whoopi Goldberg, her Dancing with the Stars partner Artem Chigvintsev and Destiny Child’s Michelle Williams.

LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Mystery podcast: Phantom of the Okra starring Asha Brown, Susan Weiner, Patricia Addie-Gentle, Debra Moser, Terri Seidman, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Peter Arpesella, Leisa Chester Weir, Mama Rose Marie and Mr. Divabetic.

Which Shoe Do You Do? A Divabetic Dilemna

September 25, 2015 by

shoe.002Finding the right shoes for a woman living with diabetes can be quite a ‘divabetic’ dilemma. Not only are you searching for a comfortable shoe but also one with style. Unfortunately these two concepts don’t always seem to go hand in hand.  Trust us, you won’t see a sexy orthopedic heel at NY Fashion Week any time soon. (If yo don’t believe us google ‘diabetic shoes’ and see for yourself!)

Shoe shopping can’t be all about fashion either. People with diabetes who wear poor footwear can trigger serious problems, such as foot ulcers, infections, and even amputation.

We want your feet to be happy and healthy! So Divabetic Image & Style Advisor Catherine Schuller has agreed to help us search out the most ‘Divabetic’ friendly shoes for you. We will posting ‘what to wear ‘s well as ‘what not to wear’ on the Divabetic Facebook page.

Need some Divabetic friendly shoe advice now? Here’s some advice from Webmd



Shop later in the day, because feet swell throughout the day, especially if you have heart disease and kidney problems. Choose a cushioned sole over a thin, leather sole, because the shock absorption is better.  The back of the shoe should not collapse to one side or the other, because it won’t provide good support. Choose laced shoes over loafers, so they fit better and provide better support.

Steer clear of super high heels and narrow dress shoes because they can’t feel the pain and stress that such shoes place on the forefoot and toes.

When it comes to shoe selection, numerous factors crop up including do you have normal sensation in your feet? Do they have any foot abnormalities or deformities?

No one really wants to wear granny shoe but you to make sure that what you’re putting your foot into is not going to give you a problem.

LISTEN NOW: Shoe Shopping Advice with Dr. Maasi J. Smith

31 Days of Counting Carbs in October

September 24, 2015 by


Throughout the month of October Divabetic will be posting carb counts for some of our favorite fruits and vegetables daily. Our goal of presenting ’31 Days of Counting Carbs’ is to help you get past any feelings of overwhelm you might experience when counting carbohydrates so you can stay healthy with diabetes.

Believe it or not, once you learn how to count carbs, you’ll find it easier to fit a wide variety of foods into your meal plan. Many people with diabetes think carbohydrate counting is much easier than using a more traditional exchange meal plan.

What is Carb Counting?

Carbohydrate counting is a method of calculating grams of carbohydrate consumed at meals and snacks according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. Foods that contain carb have the greatest effect on blood glucose compared to foods that contain protein or fat.

Who Should Count Carbs?

Carbohydrate counting can be used by anyone with diabetes, not just people taking insulin. As a tool, carb counting,  can help you have tighter control over your blood glucose readings. Being as precise as possible with your carb intake and medication will help you better manage your blood glucose after meals.

Know Your Carbohydrates

Most of the carbohydrates we eat come from three food groups: starch, fruit and milk. Vegetables also contain some carbohydrates, but foods in the meat and fat groups contain very little carbohydrates

Counting carbohydrates allows flexibility in your meal plan, but you can’t abandon your meal plan and eat as many carbohydrates as you desire. Keep in mind your overall goals–to keep your carb intake at a certain amount each day, and keep your glucose as close to normal as possible–and you’ll do well. Remember to consult your healthcare team before making any of the changes discussed here.

LISTEN NOW: Golden Rules of A Diabetes Diet podcast



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