What Can I Eat?

The answer to this question depends on the nutritional protocol that you have decided to follow. There are, of course, many variations on the four (4) major approaches to diabetes management (these are covered in more detail in the “Approaches to Diabetes Management” page and respective sub-pages).

The dietary protocol that seems to work best for many Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics is represented in this Food List for Low-Carb High-fat [printable PDF]. However, if this does not work for you, please continue to scroll down through the options below:

Standard American Diet

This is the easiest “food list” to make because it can contain almost anything you want to eat. Diabetics who eat the Standard American Diet are not managing their diabetes other than possibly taking “diabetes pills” or insulin shots as prescribed. They may or may not be exercising portion control and may or may not be exercising at all.

Food pyramids are a popular way to show food lists by category and relative quantity. But some may like detailed written lists. Below you can see:

USDA Food Pyramid

This is presented here primarily for some historical perspective. Many of you may remember this food pyramid from your childhood or when you were raising your own children.

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American Diabetes Association

The U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped using the Food Pyramid in June 2011. The plate method is now used. You can play with this tool on the interactive page at http://diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/diabetes-food-pyramid.html.

The premise of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is, “Living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived.” The implication is that truly healthy eating makes one feel deprived. From what I can determine, ADA is very mainstream, middle-of-the-road, and compromised. ADA guidelines are very much “conventional wisdom” rather than “present truth.” ADA holds on to what they feel is “tried and true.” They seem to imply that anything other than ADA recommendations, such as low-carb high-fat or high-carb low-fat vegan, is a “fad diet.” However, if your goal is to follow ADA guidelines on nutrition, you can find handy food lists at the following location: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/. If you’d rather have your food list in a paper copy, you can order one (for a price) at: http://shopdiabetes.org/1587-Choose-Your-Foods-Food-Lists-for-Diabetes-Single.aspx

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Loma Linda Vegetarian Food Pyramid

This looks a lot like the standard USDA food pyramid of 1992 but with flesh foods removed and replaced with legumes. There is a greater focus on vegetables and fruits and a separate category for nuts and seeds. Dairy and eggs have a relatively small place in the hierarchy. And, sadly, vegetable oils are recommended.

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LCHF (Low-carb High-fat)

Diet Doctor Visual Food Guides

Low-carb can be defined as anything from 20 grams to less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. LCHF is described as “fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat.” As part of a short “course” in LCHF for Beginners, here are detailed visual guides to the amount of carbs in common foods: http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf#advice.

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Atkins Fruit & Veggie List

While we don’t wholeheartedly recommend Atkins for diabetics (we feel it is too high in protein and too high in carbs and too many processed food products bearing the Atkins brand name), here’s a food list available online with a link to download a PDF copy: http://lowcarbediem.com/atkins-low-carb-fruit-vegetable-list/

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Ketogenic Food Lists

For anyone who is seriously interested in a very low-carb high-fat (or ketogenic) diet (20-30 grams of carbs per day), I have compiled a food list based on Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-carb, High-fat Diet (2014) by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman, MD; A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual: No Sugar, No Starch Diet (2013) by Eric C. Westman, MD; and The New Atkins for a New You (2010) by Eric C. Westman, MD; Stephen D. Phinney, MD; and Jeff S. Volek, PhD. With lists modified for Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics. You can find a printable PDF copy on our blog at Food List for Low-Carb High-fat [printable PDF].

The Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics food pyramid below defaults to Adventist non-vegetarian, including pescatarian. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can just omit the flesh foods. Dietary vegans can also omit the dairy and eggs.

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Vegan Keto

A comprehensive detailed food list, complete with charts, for foods permitted on a vegan keto diet. See this page at http://herbivorepost.com/vegan-keto-food-list/.

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Raw Food Diet

Of all of the nutritional theories out there, The Raw Food Diet is arguably the most restrictive and most different from the Standard American Diet.

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High-carb Low-fat Vegan

Here are two variations on a vegan food pyramid promoted by high-carb low-fat vegan dietary protocols such as NEWSTART®, The McDougall Program, C.H.I.P, and TakeTen of St. Helena. Note that these programs are not specifically for diabetics but diabetes is included in a long list of physical maladies that these programs purport to “cure.”

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Additional resources in Books, Movies, and Videos.

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