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#135273 - 06/18/10 01:59 PM Hiking foods for diabetics
HikerJoe Offline

Registered: 05/25/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Indiana, USA
Hey everyone, I was just diagnosed with type two diabetes. Since my backpacking menues are high in carbohydrates, I need to find alternatives. Any suggestions? At home I am eating more proteins and more green-leafy vegetables but those are hard to take backpacking. Can you dehydrate a steak?

Edited by HikerJoe (06/18/10 01:59 PM)

#135281 - 06/18/10 04:24 PM Re: Hiking foods for diabetics [Re: HikerJoe]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6426
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Complex carbohydrates, especially in conjunction with more fiber (think whole grains) release sugars very slowly. You do need these for backpacking--the exercise is going to reduce your blood sugar considerably and without carbohydrates you may find yourself with hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar). Just be sure they are the right kind of carbohydrates! Whole grains, not white flour, white pasta or white rice (basically empty calories), not energy bars full of sugar or, worse yet, candy bars!

Try searching on this section (see the "sticky" post at the top of the General Discussion Section on how to search; be sure to change the default date parameters); I know there have been a number of posts in the past on diabetic backpacking diets. You're not alone!

Nuts are excellent and contain healthy (i.e., monounsaturated) fats.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#135284 - 06/18/10 05:16 PM Re: Hiking foods for diabetics [Re: OregonMouse]
CamperMom Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1188
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Yeah, what OregonMouse said.

May I suggest some hikes rather close to home to test not only your gear, but your eating plan. As previously posted, you will be burning carbs and whole grains metabolize more slowly.

Adding to the idea list: Look at foods with a "low glycemic index," and read up on what can change a foods rating on that scale. Cinnamon has some compounds that help with how your body uses insulin, fats and protein can slow down carb uptake, so enough cheese in those mashed spuds might make them OK on days that you hike strenuously. There is also evidence that adding cider vinegar to foods lowers their glycemic index. (Other vinegars also work, but maybe not as well.)

My husband was diagnosed with Type II a couple of years ago. We've been working hard to keep his bolld sugar stable. The tricks above help.

Oh, yes, agave syrup is a sweetener that has little impact on blood sugar.

Good Luck!


#135348 - 06/21/10 06:58 AM Re: Hiking foods for diabetics [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I was diagnosed with Type II about a year ago - it was actually one of the better things to happen to me. I've started eating right, lost 50 pounds, brought my cholesterol down (it was approaching 200 before), and generally feel a lot better. For the last 6 months, my A1c level has been stable at 6.0. I do take oral medication, but no insulin. Not knowing the specifics of your case, I'm not going to try to make recommendations for you, but I will share what has worked for my case.

I'm not going to claim any particular expertise on diet; Sarbar and Mouse were immensely helpful there. I have found that, for backpacking, I could still use freeze-dried foods for supper - though I switched to the Enertia brand. (I'm not into drying my own foods.) The Enertia website does a good job listing the carbs and sugars, and I simply stay with the ones that are lower in those areas.

I also started looking for granola bars that were reduced-sugar or otherwise had lower sugar levels (Quaker makes several varieties, and I found some of the Nature Valley brands to be pretty good, too.) For breakfast, I've found I can use a Quaker Oatmeal to Go bar, though I often simply mix some dried fruit and nuts (cherries, raisins, walnuts, and pecans are my favorite) into plain old Quaker oats, in the round box. I prepack the oats, fruit and nuts into ziplock bags. The Quaker Oats have no sugars added, and I find that 1/2 or 1/3 serving (of the serving size listed on the package) of the fruit and nuts is plenty, and doesn't add a lot of sugar.

For lunch, I usually eat a stick of beef jerky, some dried fruit, some nuts, and a granola bar and let it go at that.

When I first tried this menu on a hike, I took blood sugar readings both before and after meals, and stayed well within the "<110 before" and "<140 two hours after" levels my doctor recommended. (Eating a granola bar mid-morning and mid-afternoon pushed me closer to the 110 before lunch and supper than I usually am at home, but I was still under the limit.) I always had plenty of energy.

For me, the additional exercise on a backpacking trip lets me eat a higher-carb diet than I would at home.

Listen to Sarbar, Campermom, and Mouse; they were incredibly helpful in getting me transitioned.


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