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Freezer Bag Meals For Diabetics
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doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Freezer Bag Meals For Diabetics on 05/28/2012 12:02:00 MDT Print View

Does anyone out there know of any low carb recipes, books, websites, etc for making dehydrated meals? I bought Laurie Ann's, and Sarah's books, but alas there is no nutrition information in either. I am a type 2 diabetic and have to count carbs to keep my blood sugar at the right levels. I'm trying to avoid the whole jerky, trail mix thing. Looking for meals, like pasta and stuff, only without a lot of carbs. Any ideas?

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Freezer Bag Meals For Diabetics on 05/28/2012 20:41:25 MDT Print View

I've had good luck with making my favorite chili and dehydrating it to rehydrate freezer-bag style for backpacking. Same for stews or soups.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
T2 Diabetic on 05/30/2012 10:24:01 MDT Print View

Doug.... keep in mind that your need for carbs when doing an intense activity like backpacking will increase on the trail. Keep in mind that even a 12 km day of hiking can give you up to 72 hours of reduced blood glucose levels.

I've responded to the email you sent and will do my best to help you as much as I can. If you didn't see the message then I can certainly resend it. I definitely have a better understanding of what you need as opposed to Sarah (don't take offense to this please Sarah)... because I have T2 diabetes as well and living with this disease everyday (and having reversed it) makes me well versed on the subject.

Chili and such is relatively low carb. Beans and legumes have a fairly low glycemic index so your levels won't rise as quickly as they would with a white rice or pasta. Quinoa has both carb and protein and also a more slow and steady rise. I do find that I am able to eat more like a non-diabetic on the trail however I do have to watch it a great deal.

Anyway... NutritionData.com is a great tool for getting the info you need but it is a little cumbersome. I also use GlycemicIndex.com a great deal.

PS the Quinoa and Spinach Soup on page 170 works really well for me.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 05/30/2012 10:25:13 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Freezer Bag Meals For Diabetics on 05/30/2012 10:50:40 MDT Print View

Doug, in spite of my strong advocacy of low carb eating (see the "My Paleo" thread), as a fellow diabetic, I agree with Laurie, when it comes to diabetes, especially after all I've learned about diabetes, nutrition, and exercise over the last three months. When doing high exertion, long duration (longer than 20 minutes) activities your need for carbs goes up. The longer you exert yourself the higher the need for carbs. Fat is just not going to keep up with the metabolic demand; the more fat you consume, the more insulin resistant you become, since fat inhibits the absorption of glucose, often by quite a significant amount. It is of particular concern for diabetics, and some of the benefits of lowering your carbs that apply to non-diabetics, become problematic for diabetics, because already the body is having problems with producing or using insulin.

On the other hand, the fat that you consume very much helps keep you from bonking and helps your body lower its over dependence on too much insulin to provide calories (since it is insulin that transports the glucose to where it is needed). Relying solely on carbs for your energy is neither healthy nor safe. For one, protein itself is transformed into glucose by the liver, though at about 50% of the potency of carbs. So consuming proteins while exercising also helps to curb your dependence on carbs and too much insulin, while providing your body with the necessary calories it needs while hiking, while at the same time maintaining your muscles. And, two, fat is a vital (and long known in medical circles as a given) element in your body's ability to regenerate itself and prevent system-wide inflammation. The decades old information that all fat is bad and that fat is bad for health is simply untrue... humans can survive without consuming any carbs, but would very quickly die if either protein or fat were completely removed from the diet.

I'd say, when hiking, especially long-distances and high exertion, up your carbs, not lower them. But also make sure you get enough protein and more fat than you'd normally think you'd need. And make sure the carbs are low glycemic, complex carbs, not something like pasta. Some of the rules that a non-diabetic would get for low-carb have to be modified for a diabetic. And care must be taken that you avoid bouts of hypoglycemia, especially from high glycemic foods, which will tend to make you bonk very suddenly and drastically.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
diabetics on 05/30/2012 17:27:58 MDT Print View

Plus what Miguel said... protein is extremely important. Balance. That's the word I was looking for.

I also have a chart that gives an idea of how much carbohydrate you need to sustain activity for a certain period of time and intensity. It was quite useful for me this weekend when I was running the trail relay. I had a hard time wrapping my head around how much carb to eat between laps. Send me a private message and I can share a copy.

doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
FB Meals on 05/31/2012 09:03:28 MDT Print View

I guess I should have been a bit more specific. Not necessarily look for low carb meals so much as lower carb meals. I'm doing ok on the breakfast and lunch meals, I'm looking mostly for dinners after I'm done on the trails, when I don't need the carbs as much. Also I like to feel full so I'd likely end up eating 2 servings worth. The recipes I have found that have the nutrition info all have carb levels of about 120g per 1 cup servings and I just don't want to go that high. Also I don't really hike so much as amble so I'm not really burning all that many carbs. BTW, I didn't get your email Laurie.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: FB Meals on 05/31/2012 09:38:35 MDT Print View

120 g of carbs per cup? That's incredibly high! For an average, no-hiking day, most diabetics (actually anyone, really) shouldn't need more than 100 g of carbs per day... and thats at the higher end of the low carb spectrum, the weight maintenance level. And while you'll need more carbs while hiking, 120 g per cup per day would probably push your blood sugars up way beyond what your insulin and physical exertion and calorie burning can handle, especially with high glycemic food like pasta. I'd suggest something that would give you around 30 g of carbs per meal. Also figure that by simultaneously consuming protein, you'll add about 50% of the total protein amount as glucose, too (since any amount of protein above 20 g is automatically converted into glucose), so, in addition to the 30 g of carbs that you consume, if, for instance, you have 120 g of protein, calculate that 20 g of that is absorbed as protein, while the rest is converted into glycogen in the liver, and 50% of that glycogen (glucose from protein is not as efficiently absorbed as true carbs are) is converted into glucose, so add 50 g of extra carbs to the actual carbs... With the carbs from your carb source and the glucose from your protein source you'd be consuming roughly 80 g of glucose (or more sensible for understanding, roughly 80 g of carbs).

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: FB Meals on 05/31/2012 10:03:41 MDT Print View

As an example... hilly trail running this past weekend (which is very similar to how my body reacts on trail or portage with a pack).

My pre-lap blood glucose was 5.3 mmol/L (95.4 mg/dL) and I knew that I was going to be doing intense hill running for 40 to 60 mins. I had 40 gram of carbohydrate. I split it up into two servings. One was about 30 minutes before my first lap and the second about 10 minutes later. I also carried 16 grams of Clif Shot Bloks in my waist pouch in case I needed them.

Three quarters of the way through my run (which started 10 minutes later than expected)... which made it about an hour after ingestion of the last carbs... I needed to eat the two Clif Bloks. When I finished, stretched and returned to camp my blood glucose was 3.8 mmol/L (68.4 mg/dL) and I had to have some carbs. I messed that up and had too many (I figure it was about 60 grams) and then my blood sugar ended up being 9.2 mmol/L (165.6 mg/dL) prior to my next lap. I panicked because I never let my numbers go above 7.2 mmol/L (129.6 mg/dL) post-prandial. I don't like running when it is high like that because glycogen can cause a bigger spike. So I switched my second lap with one of my teammates and walked around for an extra 30 minutes. By that time my levels had dropped to 6.8 mmol/L (122.4 mg/dL) and I did my second lap. Halfway through the lap I crashed and had to carb again. It cost me a bit of time but it's all part of the learning curve. This was the first time I had run a relay.

Backpacking is similar and it took me a while to decide how many carbs I needed. I average around 180 to 200g of carb a day when I am on wilderness trips or I am doing longer more intense runs. My numbers are generally a little lower for a good 24 to 48 hours although sometimes it can be as long as 72 hours.

I also look at the fiber content when intense activity is involved. If the nutritional info indicates more than 3 g of fiber then I subtract that from the total carbohydrate. Fiber affects the peak and duration of the rise and that is important to know.

Edited to add... the pre-race carb was a bit more than I usually use for a 4 km run (that's usually about 20 g) but these laps were some of the steepest hills I've been on since my last backpacking trip and the loop was 4.2 km - that and I was running on sand which is a bit more difficult.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 05/31/2012 10:14:13 MDT.

Robert Collins
(robertcollins) - F
Great thread! A little more from a T1 diabetic on 07/03/2012 11:08:42 MDT Print View

If there's one word I've seen that really maters in this thread, it's "balance."

About me: 41 year old type 1 diabetic, into backpacking, hunting, fishing, cycling, running, snowboarding, skiing, (AT, no tele yet) snowshoeing... I've been on a pump since 2003, and on a continuous glucose monitor since 2010.

For backpacking, I don't bonk like I do running or cycling, so I don't rely as much on gels. (although I really like the honey stinger if I do need it) The only time I do need that is if my heart rate is in excess of 150 for a long time. (hard climbing or high elevation) Times with a pack coming to mind involve packing an elk out of a wilderness area 6 miles from the car and getting 2 trips in a day. For that day, it was a gel.

Here are a few tidbits I know, random, but useful (maybe?):
1. Explorers in Antarctica live mostly on FAT (they're likely not diabetics?) I remember reading an article saying that heavy reliance is put on olive oil. Practical for everyday backpackers, maybe not, and for diabetics who are backpackers, probably not.
2. Don't forget the impact of fat, protein, & fiber on slowing digestion.
3. Timing of consumption impacts how your body works. When your blood glucose is low (below 80) your body burns stored fat. I like staying at 120+ when I'm working hard. Correcting for low blood sugar should be different than supplying food for fuel. I use dextrose (aka Sweet Tarts) if I need, even during exercise with blood diverted away from the digestive tract, it's fully digested in 30 minutes.
4. Type 1 diabetics on insulin pumps have a unique tool to manage, the temporary basal rates. Basal insulin is a constant trickle of insulin that counteracts glucagon released by the liver. This has to be programmed into the pump and modified based on activity. When backpacking, I usually run 60% of normal basal rates. Bolus insulin is administered for carb consumption and to correct for elevated blood sugar. More user calibration and carb counting required.

My best advice is to provide yourself choices and keep track of what works. If you're type II, your management is more flexible and your bonking less severe. Before I knew what I was doing and got on the pump, I had hit blood sugar levels of 17 twice, once elk hunting, the other backcountry snowboarding. Taking shots of long acting insulin and lack of familiarity with adjusting to activity were the prime factors in those mistakes. Carb, protein, and fruit/vegetable with every meal is good advice, better advice is to chose carbs wisely, avoiding refined flour or quickly digested carbs as much as possible. For lows, 15 grams of CHO from Sweet Tarts with water is magic.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Freezer Bag Meals For Diabetics on 07/15/2012 12:50:47 MDT Print View

Just saw this thread Doug and I too am a Type 2. Pasta is an easy one....look up Dreamfields pasta. Much healthier for you as well as it is made for diabetics. Much lower in carbs than traditional pasta and whole wheat pasta.

Edit:
Also, my dietitian told me while backpacking I can eat as much as like and not to worry as much about my carb intake as much due to the exercise while hiking

Edited by kennyhel77 on 07/15/2012 12:54:12 MDT.