Thursday, July 11, 2013

Assembling Freeze Dried and Emergency Foods for Diabetics

This is my favorite Augason Farm product.   This can be used in oatmeal, with other cereal, or can be reconstituted and added to other fruits you have making perhaps an apple and strawberry compote.

    A number of companies now provide entrees, vegetables, fruits, soups, and some desserts in freeze dried packaging much of which can be used for 25 to thirty years depending upon the individual product.  Unfortunately, many freeze dried entrees which are ready made are higher in carbohydrate that is desirable for many diabetics.
                   As the parent of a daughter who has had Type I (autoimmune) diabetes since age nine, this has always been a concern for us. When she was very young feeding her properly involved a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. We used leaner cuts of meat, and kept corn syrup and other sweeteners out of our food and therefore out of hers.  I did worry when she was very young as to what we would do if we needed to evacuate or had to provide food in a protracted outage. We also worried about "sick day" plan foods. Sometimes, you can't head out and buy a cluster of bananas !   The issue is made a bit more difficult by the fact that many freeze dried food manufacturers have in mind large men who are hiking when they not only create their menus, but formulate the meals themselves.
                  My suggestion, without sounding like a commercial for Augason Farms, is to begin to look at their line of foods.  Although it's true that Food Insurance *  has a line of pre-made entrees which simply requires reconstituting with water and heating, a diabetic requires more of an ability to modify their foods, and freeze dried foods are no exception.
                   When feeding a diabetic child or adult during an evacuation or other emergency, you will need to know a number of things.  You should discuss a "Sick Day Plan" with the endocrinologist who orders medications for your or your child's diabetes. This "Sick Day Plan" is where you will get your medication and dietary guidelines to follow when you or a diabetic child develops the flu or another illness. Your doctor will also tell you how much insulin to use during a sick day and how often to monitor blood sugars.  One of the things you must also find out is how many calories your physician wishes this person to have on a daily basis, both generally and during a sick day.  Some endocrinologists will provide a sample menu to follow, and others will refer you to a registered dietician who is also a CDE or certified diabetes educator.   A physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, registered nurse, pharmacist, or registered dietician can all be certified diabetes educators.   You should get a three ring binder and keep all the information you need in such a notebook, and mark it "Diabetic Sick Day Plan".   If you or your child are diabetic and you use an insulin pump to control your diabetes,  you should also have a page in this book which outlines the type of insulin you are to use, and how often, should you, in some type of an emergency need to abandon pump use for a time.  A person who must abandon pump use may need four injections per day during an emergency. You need to have insulin syringes and the long acting and short acting insulin used for a temporary return to injecting insulin.    When your physician has ordered your medical back up plan, make sure he or she tells you how many calories you are to have daily, and what percentage of these are to be carbohydrates, fats, and protein.   Many times this is delegated to a registered dietician, and she will help you select the exchanges which will allow you to stay within the number of  calories and grams of protein, carbohydrate and fats prescribed.   Once you have this set out for you, in will become easier to make substitutions using something you don't eat on a daily basis, like elements from a freeze dried food company.

    Information concerning one Meal Plan for Type I diabetes mellitus

                Once you have a dietary plan and a pattern for meals and snacks, you will develop a healthy meal routine, which is essential for proper management of either Type I or Type II diabetes mellitus.

This is the University of Maryland information on Diabetes, both Types I and II, including meal plan info.

This is basic information obtained from the above link regarding general guidelines for diabetic diets.  The material within the two sets of undulating lines is solely the work product of the University of Maryland Medical Center.


General Dietary Guidelines

Lifestyle changes of diet and exercise are extremely important for people who have pre-diabetes, or who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle interventions can be very effective in preventing or postponing the progression to diabetes. These interventions are especially important for overweight people. Even moderate weight loss can help reduce diabetes risk.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people at high risk for type 2 diabetes eat high-fiber (14g fiber for every 1,000 calories) and whole-grain foods. High intake of fiber, especially from whole grain cereals and breads, can help reduce type 2 diabetes risk.
Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes need to be aware of their heart health nutrition and, in particular, controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
For people who have diabetes, the treatment goals for a diabetes diet are:
  • Achieve near normal blood glucose levels. People with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes who are taking insulin or oral medication must coordinate calorie intake with medication or insulin administration, exercise, and other variables to control blood glucose levels.
  • Protect the heart and aim for healthy lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels and control of blood pressure.
  • Achieve reasonable weight. Overweight patients with type 2 diabetes who are not taking medication should aim for a diet that controls both weight and glucose. A reasonable weight is usually defined as what is achievable and sustainable, and helps achieve normal blood glucose levels. Children, pregnant women, and people recovering from illness should be sure to maintain adequate calories for health.
Overall Guidelines. There is no such thing as a single diabetes diet. Patients should meet with a professional dietitian to plan an individualized diet within the general guidelines that takes into consideration their own health needs.
For example, a patient with type 2 diabetes who is overweight and insulin-resistant may need to have a different carbohydrate-protein balance than a thin patient with type 1 diabetes in danger of kidney disease. Because regulating diabetes is an individual situation, everyone with this condition should get help from a dietary professional in selecting the diet best for them.
Several good dietary methods are available to meet the goals described above. General dietary guidelines for diabetes recommend:
  • Carbohydrates should provide 45 - 65% of total daily calories. The type and amount of carbohydrate are both important. Best choices are vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. These foods are also high in fiber. Patients with diabetes should monitor their carbohydrate intake either through carbohydrate counting or meal planning exchange lists.
  • Fats should provide 25 - 35% of daily calories. Monounsaturated (such as olive, peanut, canola oils; and avocados and nuts) and omega-3 polyunsaturated (such as fish, flaxseed oil, and walnuts) fats are the best types. Limit saturated fat (red meat, butter) to less than 7% of daily calories. Choose nonfat or low-fat dairy instead of whole milk products. Limit trans-fats (such as hydrogenated fat found in snack foods, fried foods, and commercially baked goods) to less than 1% of total calories.
  • Protein should provide 12 - 20% of daily calories, although this may vary depending on a patient’s individual health requirements. Patients with kidney disease should limit protein intake to less than 10% of calories. Fish, soy, and poultry are better protein choices than red meat.
  • Lose weight if body mass index (BMI) is 25 - 29 (overweight) or higher (obese).
Several different dietary methods are available for controlling blood sugar in type 1 and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes:
  • Diabetic exchange lists (for maintaining a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins throughout the day)
  • Carbohydrate counting (for tracking the number of grams of carbohydrates consumed each day)
  • Glycemic index (for tracking which carbohydrate foods increase blood sugar)

Source: Diabetes diet | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center

Although this is not inexpensive, it can be invaluable in continuing with your child's diabetic diet in a serious emergency.  Not everyone can exist on high calorie meal bars.

    Once you have established exactly what you should have on a daily basis on a diabetic diet, then you can begin to review the nutritional information available on each Augason Farm freeze dried food product.

 For example, for each Augason Farm item, if you click the nutritional information a pdf file pops up,( which I cannot copy and place here) along with specific recipes for each freeze dried food in the Augason Farms line.   If you were looking at the The Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Chunks, you would see that 1/2 cup of these, when reconstituted as directed, have 130 calories with only 10 calories from fat.  There is 30 mg. of sodium, zero carbohydrate and zero fat, and 26 grams of protein.    You would then see recipes. Greek chicken pita pockets, and chicken burritos are two of the recipes they suggest.  

       Once you review each of the foods and learn how to begin to combine the foods it makes possible using many of the Augason Farms products in a diabetic diet.   This is important because then you begin to develop a strategy for which foods in the line you can buy for long term storage and how you would reconstitute and combine foods in order to maintain a diabetic diet during a flood, a protracted power outage, or even a severe winter storm when you might not be able to get out to buy bananas, strawberries, etc. or when you have used up your supply of frozen blueberries.

        Using freeze dried food in a diabetic meal plan takes some pre-planning but it is definitely worth the initial effort of learning what the optimal amounts of everything are in your normal diet. Once you really know what exchanges you should have, you will become very quick and skillful in the substitution of emergency freeze dried food when necessary.

        Please contact me and let me know what you learned should you need to substitute freeze dried food during an emergency with either Type I diabetes mellitus or Type II.

         In a pandemic flu of which the world is due, we might choose not to leave our home for a few days, or worse yet, you might have the flu and need to remain at home Wouldn't it be nice to have food at home and be able to remain there ?

*  Food Insurance does have an 'a la carte line" including some gluten free foods.


mikle abraham said...

Thanks for your post. I have read your post carefully and understand that you have posted a great and valuable information.I think that everyone should follow your instruction to control theri diet.American sourced food for dogs

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you for commenting positively on this post concerning freeze dried food and its use for diabetics. I am working on a post which concerns keeping food supplies for emergencies for animals, including dogs.

Debi Skabelund said...

If you ever want to check out another freezedried option try Thrive Life.

JaneofVirginia said...

Debi, This certainly looks like another good alternative. I notice that the meats and protein sources for Number 10 cans are more expensive than Augasons, but I did notice lots and lots of specials ! Thanks for posting.