Even if—in the face of your prediabetes diagnosis—you’ve remained calm and not gone cold turkey on carbs (congratulations!), the first few days of shifting your diet away from carbs will likely still be a real bear. This is especially true if you are in the habit of eating items with concentrated amounts of sugar. Warning: you may be irritable and have mood swings. (Yes, this sounds like a drug commercial. But sugar can feel like a drug, even if it’s not.)
Jettisoning the most egregious ‘pure sugar’ offenders represents low hanging fruit. Speaking of fruit, a morning juice habit can be one of the hardest to break. Replacing your favorite juice with something that most closely approximates what you are used to is a great tactic, even if you don’t plan to consume it in the long term. In my case, I depended on Vitamin Water Zero’s orange flavor—which tastes more like Tang than OJ— to get me through not just the first few days, but the first months.
In general, quick substitutions that re-create your usual sensory experiences—until you become accustomed to new ones, and your taste changes over time—will help you eliminate the worst offenders. Still, even a minor overhaul of one’s lifetime habits can feel daunting. I used to consume, for example, a stack of ‘whole wheat’ pancakes, topped with ‘natural’ maple syrup, along with the orange juice. No wonder I was prediabetic! My pancreas hurts now just thinking about it…
Whether you are pastry, toast or cereal person— or you prefer rice, porridge and condensed milk—I recommend stocking up on ‘go to’ breakfast replacements that can also fulfill your sweet craving any time of day.
Specifically, your first, post-diagnosis shopping list might include: low-carb (whole grain, no flour) bread; eggs; stevia, cinnamon and vanilla; cream and/or coconut milk or cream; unsweetened, Greek-style yogurt; butter; unsweetened peanut butter (or your preferred nut butter); fresh berries; rolled oats; unsweetened almond milk, avocados, lemons and no- or very low-sugar dark chocolate (see Goodbuy’s chocolate section if you are looking for suggestions).
From this list, you will always have a range of no-bake sweets at your disposal including 1) French toast (grilled with butter), covered with stevia and cinnamon, topped with fresh berries and/or a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt (mixing the yogurt with vanilla and stevia and maybe some coconut milk—this also makes a great sweet on its own) 2) Peanut butter on toast with stevia, cinnamon and either fresh berries (a jam-less PBJ) or melted dark chocolate (faux Nutella, anyone?) 3) Oatmeal with stevia, cinnamon and berries and/or dairy or coconut cream. 4) Hot chocolate made with almond milk and stevia but with a bit of dairy or coconut cream to richen it up 5) A chocolate, vanilla or peanut butter shake with stevia (and possibly cinnamon), using almond milk and avocado (which mimics the texture of ice cream, especially in versions without the nut butter) as a base, adding a tad of cream for richness if needed. 6) Lemonade made with stevia—a great replacement for most juices.
Note: if you find stevia too bitter start with, try whatever sweetener will get you through your transition—you can always change it out later for something healthier. Same if you are concerned about saturated fats—you can always drop them down the road. Last but by no means least, definitely eat one of those eggs or two (or some other protein and/or veg) before your sweet, so your portions keep you in the lower carb zone…The main thing is to employ—and even enjoy—some great options now, and not to focus on a future of deprivation. You will get to tomorrow soon enough. Be kind to yourself in the meantime.