Diabetes Diary: How This Mom Modifies Haitian Food for Diabetes

I didn’t sleep very well last night. My chest felt very heavy and my leg was cramping, which is the result of some of the nerve damage caused by the stroke. I get up and test my blood sugar and blood pressure. Both are higher than normal, so I take my medications and go back to bed for a bit.

8 a.m.

My husband makes me oatmeal for breakfast using almond milk, protein powder, cinnamon, nuts, and apple pieces.

9 a.m.

I pack an apple, peanut butter crackers, and my 64-ounce bottle of water (which I carry everywhere) to take to my doctor’s appointments today. I always make my medical appointments, like follow-ups with specialists or for lab work, on Mondays because my husband has the day off from work, so it ends up being a long day.

2 p.m.

I wait to get home to make lunch because I prefer not to eat fast food, as it can be harder to stabilize and maintain my blood sugar levels afterward. Today I make a big kale salad with tuna and pita bread.

5 p.m.

It’s almost dinnertime, and my son helps me prepare a comforting meal. We make spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and steamed veggies for Meatless Mondays, which I follow to eat more vegetables.

7 p.m.

I’m so exhausted from my day of appointments, so I start winding down. I check my blood sugar, take my medications with a cup of water, have some hot tea, and I’m off to bed.

(Day 3) Tuesday

6 a.m.

I pull out my testing kit to check my blood sugar level, and it’s higher than normal. I take my medications and rest for a bit before getting out of bed.

8:30 a.m.

I grab two bottles of water, and I head out for a walk with a friend. I truly love our morning walks around the neighborhood because it gives me a chance to reflect and meditate and pray to God.

9 a.m.

I toast two slices of wheat bread and top them with avocado, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of garlic pepper. I eat that with a side of fresh strawberries and peaches, along with a cup of hot tea.

10 a.m.

I go grocery shopping and visit the produce section first. I stock up on bananas, apples, and other grab-and-go fruits and vegetables I can put out on the counter for my son’s snacks. I supplement this trip with food from my garden, including tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, okra, and collard greens. I started gardening so I could have high-quality veggies without spending as much at the store.

12 p.m.

I make a guacamole taco salad for lunch using spinach, kale, and lots of avocados that I got from my neighbor’s backyard. Many of my neighbors are also from the Caribbean, and they enjoy growing fruits from back home like mangos, soursop, and star fruit. We all share our harvests.

3 p.m.

I make fresh juice on Tuesday, which was a big change from when I used to drink a lot of soda. On the weekends, my son helps me cut up fruits and vegetables that we use to make smoothies and juices throughout the week. One of our favorites is lemonade made of ground dates instead of sugar.

6 p.m.

I love our Taco Tuesday tradition because it’s a fun way to get everyone involved in the kitchen. We prepare ground turkey, chicken breast, and chickpeas for our fillings and top our tacos with veggies like lettuce, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms.

7 p.m.

Janelle B. Smith

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