This is the area where nearly everyone with diabetes has been working to change on and off since their diagnosis. Evidence around food and diabetes is changing as we write and that is one of the reasons you might be confused about the advice out there.
Before we begin, we do have some advice.
1. Dump the dieting mentality. However you eat it should bring you joy and health. That is your acid test.
Is it yummy - Do I like it?
How will it make me feel when I have eaten it?
Asking yourself if you will enjoy something but ALSO following it through to how it will make you feel once you have eaten it will help you make choices that are sustainable. The chocolate cake with sugar icing might get through the first two questions, yummy yes, and I like it, yes, but in 2 hours with high blood sugars and no energy.... See? It has to do both, give you pleasure AND keep you well. That way of eating is definitely possible. It will be slightly different for everyone reading this.
There are definite shades of grey here with these questions. At some stage you may well have to push yourself to try a new food you are unsure of, or a different way of eating. And sometimes you don't know the answer to either question. You might find that one of your everyday foods leaves you feeling tired and washed out. It is a matter of balance and of asking yourself this about your food, continuously till you understand the relationship between your diet and yourself more clearly. As your sugar levels get more stable and your energy returns you may well find that foods that seem ok now, are not doing you much good at all. Sometimes the only way to know is to test and test and test again. It can be time consuming (not to mention expensive) to test your sugars after eating, but we think it is invaluable for you to get to know you own body, and we really encourage you to test after each meal. At least for a while. The results might surprise you.
We are not orthodox dietitians and this is not the advice you will find elsewhere. Most orthodox advice encourages whole grains. Lots of them. As mentioned, we are not dietitians - Rhaya is a naturopath, Anna is a raw food chef and Mike is a chef. But we have fed many many people with type 2 and we are not impressed with the orthodox advice. Very few of the people with type 2 we have worked with can have a serving of grains without their sugars spiking later. You can, of course adjust for this with your short acting insulin - if you use it. Mostly though, our clients want to reduce their sugars and their medications. And to achieve these two things together, you might need to forgo grains. So, the question becomes, can I be happy on a diet like this? Can I sustain low carb eating for the next few years? How can I use grains in a way that won't drive my sugars up?
The answer to all these questions is (you guessed it) highly individual. What you might find is that you are happy having grains on the weekend only and eat low carb during the week. Perhaps you will only have carbs with your evening meal and eat low carb or grain free during the day? There are lots of ways to make this work, but we do warn against trying to get 5 servings or more of carbohydrates per day. There is plenty of energy to be found in fats and proteins, and these macronutrients won't push your sugars up.
We believe that if you want carbohydrates, go for foods like sweet potatoes - that bright orange color is from beta carotene and it's good. Make your carbs count if you want them and if you can, maybe work at cutting them right down.