If you’re a diabetic, preparing for a disaster can be particularly challenging especially if you’re insulin-dependent. I’ve recommended increasing physical fitness in many of my other articles but I really want to stress it again.
In the last decade, the number of Americans with diabetes has increased by a whopping 50%, and many of those cases are attributed to diet. If you have type 2 diabetes that you can gain control of by losing weight, you increase your chances of survival dramatically if you do so.
That being said, if disaster strikes and you ARE diabetic, stockpiling foods can be a challenge especially if you’re insulin-dependent. If your body doesn’t produce any insulin at all, it’s imperative that you stockpile your insulin in order to survive, but you already know that.
First off, you need to know the rules of the glycemic index. Foods high in fiber slow the release of sugar (glucose) into the system. Foods low in fiber but high in sugar are turned almost instantly to glucose and released rapidly into your blood stream.
How fast your body breaks down the food and releases the sugar that it contains is what you need to control, so you obviously want to shoot for high-fiber, low sugar foods. The goal for you is going to be finding the correct balance of carbohydrates and fiber in order to maintain blood glucose levels that will keep you from crashing or spiking. You’ll also need protein, vitamins and minerals.
Typically, when certain cells in the body detect sugar in the blood, it signals the body to release insulin, which is sort of a key that unlocks your cells to allow the glucose in to be used as energy. As a type 2 diabetic, your body is either resistant to the insulin that your body produces, or your body produces little to no insulin. Either way, foods that release sugar rapidly can be deadly to you because that sugar builds up in your blood and can put you into a coma, then kill you.
So yeah. You need to watch what you eat. Let’s get to that.
Though I’m certainly not a doctor, I do have a diabetic friend who has already made a dietary plan in case SHTF. She’s planning on transitioning into ketosis, a state in which you reduce your carbohydrate intake severely and depend upon fats and protein as your energy sources.
Given a lack of carbohydrates, protein is your body’s back-up fuel and doesn’t require insulin to be broken down and used by the cells for energy. This is going to be tricky for her but it seems like a sound plan, especially considering she’s insulin-dependent despite a healthy diet and lifestyle.
You’ll note below that some of the foods that I list as “off the list” typically aren’t but I’m putting them on this list because they DO spike blood sugar and eating them alone or in large amounts could be disastrous. Considering I don’t know how severe your or your loved one’ diabetes is, I’m assuming the worst sort that can be controlled by diet.
If you’re a diabetic in a survival situation, there are going to be foods that you need to avoid like the plague. Breads, sweets, flour, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables and most fruits are going to be out.
Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn and peas – they are also off the list. It’s not that these veggies are necessarily bad for you, but they’re high in carbs so you need to avoid them unless you’re eating a small portion with something extremely fibrous, such as beans.
When you’re canning foods, go as easy on the salt as you can if you have high blood pressure. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, it’s still probably a good idea to go light on the salt, especially if you have metabolic syndrome.
You have a wide variety of foods that you can choose from.
One of the first high-fiber, protein-rich foods that come to mind are beans. Assuming you have your insulin or your body is able to produce some of its own, beans have so much fiber that they actually help slow down other types of carbs as well. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals so consider dried beans a staple in your stockpile.
Obviously, green vegetables are going to be a good source of nourishment for you, too. Most greens have little to no carbohydrates and are extremely high in fiber.
Spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all great options.
Broccoli, especially, is a good food for you to grow in your survival garden, can or dehydrate because it contains chromium.
Chromium is a mineral found in meats, whole grains and some fruits and vegetables. It’s good for diabetics for two reasons. First, it’s been shown in some studies to boost insulin production. It’s also been tentatively shown to be directly involved in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.
Though the American Diabetes Association says that results are inconclusive, there’s no upper dosage of chromium (meaning it hasn’t been shown to have an “overdose” dosage), it can’t hurt to assume that the studies showing good results are correct.
The average male aged 14-50 should consume at least 25 mcg per day. Females of the same age should consume at least 25 mcg per day. 1/2 cup broccoli has 11 mcg! Other survival foods that are good sources of chromium are lean beef, eggs and turkey.
Lean Meats and Fish
This is where most of your protein is going to come from and as a matter of fact, meats and fish are where my friend is planning on getting most of her protein and energy. Choose lean meats because they offer all of the protein that you need without clogging your vessels with garbage that can lead to heart disease.
Healthy fats, especially olive oil and coconut oil, are something that you should stockpile because they have been shown to reduce inflammation that’s linked to both diabetes and heart disease.
The monounsaturated fat in these oils won’t increase insulin resistance like butter does and it may actually help revers it.
Olive oil also slows digestion, which will help keep your glucose levels from spiking.
This stuff is gold for diabetics. It’s so packed with fiber that it’s almost like a glue that lines your stomach and intestines to significantly slow the conversion of carbs into blood sugar. Adding oatmeal into a diabetic-friendly granola bar or loose granola makes for great travel food if you need to bug out. Dried berries and nuts would also be great to add.
If you don’t like oatmeal, use oat flour mixed with eggs to bind your granola bars (add some artificial sweetener if you want to add additional sweetness) or use the oat flour to thicken soups and stews.
All berries are good for you because they’re packed with fiber and provide antioxidants. Dry them or can them.
Just be careful, especially if you dry them, to eat them in a limited amount and consume them with other foods, such as oatmeal, that add further fiber to help with the sugar in the berries.
Blue and red berries contain anthocyanins that are believed to help lower blood sugar by boosting insulin production.
Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges and mango are great sources of fiber and many nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Apples are also super high in fiber and relatively low in sugar. All of these fruits are good to dry or can, but don’t add sugar!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are extremely high in fiber as well as good fats including omega 3’s and protein that all work together to keep your blood sugar low.
They also help prevent heart disease and are good sources of plant sterols that help lower cholesterol.
Peanut butter is a great way to feel full longer and increase fiber and monounsaturated fats.
As I’ve already stated, you’re best way to prepare for survival if you have type 2 diabetes is to do what you can to get it under control now. A small percentage of type 2 diabetics have the disease due strictly to genetics despite a healthy lifestyle but the vast majority of people with this condition can control it with a healthy lifestyle that includes eating right and exercising.
If you are preparing for survival as a diabetic, the advice in this article may be useful in helping you do so. If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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