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Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu?
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Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu? on 07/21/2008 07:08:15 MDT Print View

For any of you who are Type II, I am in need of suggestions of how to plan meals. My trips consist of 10 - 12 days without support or drop offs.

I typically packed dehydrated/freeze dried and am obviously heavy on the carbs. Typical weight runs about 1.5 to 1.8 pounds per day.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
"Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu?" on 07/21/2008 13:57:50 MDT Print View

Stick with meals that have at least 5 grams of fiber. Eat more freeze dried vegtables/soups. Not so much on the noodles. At least not for every meal.

I like to buy Nile Spice's Black Bean Soup. 32 Grams of Carbs but 12 grams are fiber. 170 Calories. Then I add freeze dried vegtables (your choice - green prefered - no white or yellow).

Also - I love to use the Fungus Among Us soups and I cut them down and mix them with rice, noodles, or whatever starch, because the flavor is so good.

The other trick is small meals every two to three hours. Prick yourself to see if you really need it... Being a diabetic on the trail is a pain in the ***. But I am not giving the trail up. I just wish there was more help.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu? on 07/21/2008 18:17:07 MDT Print View

look to foods like lentils (or any pulses for that matter) and quinoa

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu? on 07/21/2008 21:25:30 MDT Print View

You might take a look at my friend Mike's site:
He is Type 1 and goes out for extended periods - he has quite a bit up on his site on his experiences.

Jason Griffin
(JGriffinRN) - F
Diabetic Food on 07/21/2008 22:02:49 MDT Print View

My suggestions have already been suggested. Like you said you are heavy on the complex carbs which is important but don't overdo it. The fiber is important as well; in general not just in hiking. Make sure whatever you eat that you tailor it to mimic very closely your normal diet (small but frequent meals; an afternoon snack; and probably most importantly a nighttime snack - maybe peanut butter and crackers or cheese and crackers). Due to the high activity level of backpacking you shouldn't be at too much risk for hyperglycemia but more risk for hypoglycemia so check your FSBS often just as you would when you are excercising and compensate as necessary. I can't stress enough the nighttime snack; everyone's glucose is intrinsically at it's lowest at approx. 2 a.m. and you don't want to have a 2 a.m. glucose of 30 in the middle of nowhere. Also carry your glucose tabs or gel with you. Whenever you get to worrying about what your diet is while you're hiking just go back to the basics of your diabetic education and make sure the foods you are taking are in line with what your normal diet should be and with the way you know your body works. Do that and you should be fine. In addition to checking your glucose often you might get into a habit of doing a quick self assessment every hour for any s/s of abnormal glucose that might be too subtle for you to have noticed yet (like claminess, shakiness, or lightheadedness - things that could also result from high levels of activity), that might help you curb problems before they get larger.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu? on 07/23/2008 20:14:06 MDT Print View

I thought of this thread as I was packing up a big chunk of my friend Mike's food. I sponsor Mike and one part of our deal is meals.

He is coming back for another trip in the Queets Rain Forest. He is Type 1 so watches his food pretty carefully. What that meant was high protein, high fiber, I watched the sugar contents, kept everything for the most part healthy.

Nearly 10 days food:


JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: Type II diabetes (non-insulin) menu? on 07/23/2008 22:52:12 MDT Print View

Being Type II myself I have had a great deal of "fun" learning what works fo rme and what doesn't. I am sure all people are different depending on meds and so forth, but for me, on 10-12 day trips I don't take my Glucophage or my sugar drops way too low. Exorcise is enough to control the insulin release so what I do to counteract is number one.. I don't worry about sugar content of my meals. (its always low anyway) #2 - While hiking or exerting myself, I eat every two hours like clockwork. Usually a Snickers, Luna, or Clif bar, or pre-measured GORP.

On the meals themselves like dinner, I eat whatever I like because my calorie intake during the exerting part of the day has kept insulin and sugar on track and your body will stay in that mode into the evening.

I think the best thing you can do is to track your own sugar while you are hiking to find out what and how your body reacts to the foods you eat. Take whatever menu suits your fancy and work with it on your trip to educate yourself.

As you know Type 1 is an entirely different animal. Sometimes what works for them can apply, but usually not so in the same sense. Most Type II's can naturally maintain sugar levels when doing long days because the body adjusts and releases insulin to help burn the fat your fueling your body with.

Good luck!


Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Diabetes (Type 1 too...) on 07/24/2008 06:20:50 MDT Print View

Thank you very much for posting this topic as resources for adventuresome diabetics are few and far between. I am an adult onset Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic and have struggled with food choices while on the trail. It seems pushing myself only welcomes a hefty bonk when constant monitoring isn’t a convenient option (I’m referring to monitoring outside of common schedules since energy expenditure is so much greater on the trail).

If anyone has resources for food options or lists of foods which work, I’d appreciate them being sent my way.

Also, thanks for referencing Mike’s Rainforest Treks ( as his situation is nearly the exact same as mine and was well worth the read.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Diabetes (Type 1 too...) on 07/24/2008 08:05:30 MDT Print View

James, when Mike is around he doesn't mind talking about what works for him. He is busy right now (getting ready to leave for his trip) but when he is home people can catch him :-)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Diabetes (Type 1 too...) on 07/24/2008 08:40:14 MDT Print View

This is very welcome information for me, too, since I, too, am an adult onset Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic. I've had some pretty scary experiences on the trail due to hypoglycemia incidences. Even now it is the difficulty of preparing the food for my harder trips that often scares me away from carrying out the trips because of worry about not bringing enough or bringing the wrong kinds of food. It is hard to balance what is healthy with what is light, especially here in Japan where a lot of the foods for hiking recommended in Sarah's book or other outdoor books are just not available (though there are other foods available here that are not available elsewhere). I think I've gotten my gear selection down pat, now it is the food I have to concentrate on.

Martin Wilde
( - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hiking with Type 1 diabetes on 07/24/2008 11:29:42 MDT Print View

I am an adult onset Type 1 person. I have hiked/backpacked the last 4 years with it. Last year I did the JMT and in a few days the TRT.

The main thing that I changed was to avoid the sugary and high glycemic index foods. Thus things like Pop Tarts, instant oatmeal (which is full of pure sugar), GU, Gatorade (high dextrose corn syrup) and rice. Instead I select foods that have complex carbohydates that break down slower and have less insulin spiking. As many others have mentioned - lentils, quinoa, pasta, couscous, chickpeas (garbonzo beans), top ramen, soba noodles, tomatoes, dark chocolate (in moderation), peanut butter, granola, bulghar wheat, blueberries, cheese, salami, Rye Krisp Crackers and so forth are in my diet.

I do not recommend you doing a high protein only diet on the trail as you do need the carbohydrates and fat for energy. Of course high protein is needed to repair/rebuild your muscles.

The climber diet of "shooting GU" every 45 minutes and high sugar works great for a day trip - but it wreaks havoc on us with insulin issues.

Yes Pop Tarts are the universal trail food - but they really have no nutritional value and cause bonking for me.

I may be lucky in that I don't require alot of insulin as my pancreas still produces some (just not enough!). I have found that if I study the trail, I can adjust my insulin needs based on my physical exhertion. So if the trail calls for a long uphill section, I know that I will be burning out lots of the sugars I have taken in and thus able to reduce or better calculate my insulin needs for a particular meal. Another method is to nibble as you go - thus you are burning up your food intake as you go and you sugar levels are not spiking and thus needing insulin.

I am an avid FBC user (a Sarah/Laurie groupie or convert?) and I just avoid the recipes with instant rice and substitute couscous in those recipes to reduce the insulin demands that rice has.

Don't worry about checking your blood sugar all the time, after a while you will get the knack of how much insulin to take based on what the trail ahead requires. I check mine before each meal or if I feel sluggish or light headed (not from the altitude..) - if it freeks people out - that is their problem. Getting a proper diet on the trail of good foods will actually make you a stronger hiker than people who abuse their body with trail junk food. The insulin you take actually increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals into your body as it is more highly concentrated that your natural insulin. So reducing the garbage in is a good thing.

As far as lows - yes I will occasionally have them and I will sometimes take some GU to get it back up to normal. Also my doctor says don't worry about your sugar level running a little high (120 to 150) as you will be burning it out. Also keep in mind you have an exercise hangover after hiking for the day and thus you may need to reduce your insulin needs at night. So you may want to experiment taking less Lantus (background insulin) than normal as that is what keeps you regulated between the quick action Humalog. This is what my doctor recommended and it works pretty well for me.

Take care and just remember - while you have diabetes - it does not have you and may make you a healthier person in the long run than people who abuse their bodies with junk food.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
You all might check this out on 07/24/2008 18:03:21 MDT Print View

Hodgson makes a line of whole wheat couscous with Flax seed and soy added. I used it in the couscous dishes above. It is some very nutritionally buff couscous! High in fiber and protein, nothing but those three items added. Good stuff!

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Hiking with Type 1 diabetes on 07/24/2008 20:11:10 MDT Print View

"I check mine before each meal or if I feel sluggish or light headed (not from the altitude..) - if it freeks people out - that is their problem."
This is why I like hiking solo. I'm not a babysitter. This is also why I was so anal retentive about who I would dive with when I lived near the ocean. If you're diving or hiking with others, medical conditions should be discussed and understood. If you maintain the selfish attitude of "that is their problem", it just may be YOUR problem one day if someone you're with doesn't understand. If there's an issue or the potential for one, it's best to be up front about it and explain so those in your group know what to do in case there is an emergency.
The buddy system works. Please use it. Being safe helps to ensure you'll get to do those fun things again.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Hiking with Type 1 diabetes on 07/25/2008 19:12:40 MDT Print View

I'd hedge he was referring to people getting squeamish by seeing blood, etc.
It isn't selfish to say "it's their problem" or "it is their issue" because frankly, it is!

If you are testing in front of your partners it is pretty obvious you have discussed it and or they know about your health issues.

As for buddy systems - my friend Mike hikes solo most of the time. He is careful and does carry a PLB.

Martin Wilde
( - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Blood Testing in front of others on 08/20/2008 13:39:13 MDT Print View

Okay I was a little hard in my comment about it being "their problem". What I meant was that you should not feel like you need to go run into the bushes to test your blood or take an injection. I tend to be discreet about my testing and sometimes mention that I need to take care of business. Most people are curious about how I get along and usually applaud that I don't let it deter me from being out there.

You are correct that you should let your hiking folks know that this is part of your life and as most folks do with any other medical condition.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Blood Testing in front of others on 08/20/2008 19:53:00 MDT Print View

Martin, I applaud you for getting out :-) It is too often people give up when they have medical issues and assume they cannot do the good stuff anymore!

Dicentra OPW
(dicentra) - F

Locale: PNW
more food on 08/21/2008 10:17:59 MDT Print View

I'll second checking out the rainforesttreks site!

Here's more of Mike's food... I did the other half of his 10 days worth of supplies. Not shown is an entire shoe box full of various bars.

ETA: The desserts and candy were something he specifically requested - not something he eats a lot of at home, but (from what I understand) he is more able to eat it on the trail b/c of the amount of physical activity.

mike's food

Edited by dicentra on 08/21/2008 10:20:05 MDT.

Martin Wilde
( - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sugary Foods on the Trail on 08/21/2008 11:21:29 MDT Print View

Mike is correct in that we can eat sugary foods on the trail as the physical activity just burns it out!

Hmmm - maybe that is why I look forward to hiking so much :)

I also see he likes Larabar's too - someone once told me that they were a "girly bar" - phoey on them.

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
What I learned on the trail/river on 08/21/2008 13:02:50 MDT Print View

It was a learning experience. I need to tweak things a bit but not as much as I feared. I did find myself burning the carb's pretty heavy in the mornings and needed a small mid-morning snack. Lunch was pretty much dialed in. As long as I watched my portion size for dinner and kept it near 60 grams of carbs I was fine.

It was disappointing seeing how much activity it took to burn off the extra carbs. I was hoping that when I am at home that maybe I could consume 90 grams of carbs per meal with exercise. It is going to take more exercise than I originally realized. Now, I am hoping that a significant weight loss will greatly impact my insulin resistance.

Edited by worth on 08/21/2008 13:03:39 MDT.