I’m Shelby Kinnaird and I have always loved food. I grew up surrounded by terrific Southern cooks in Richmond, Virginia. Members of my family never met a bread product, dessert or fried food we didn’t like. White flour? Always. Refined sugar? Check. Vegetable shortening in the deep fryer? You bet.
In 1999, I found out I have type 2 diabetes. What? No more dessert? Watch the fat? Count carbohydrates? This didn’t sound like it was going to be much fun. I met with a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and learned to manage my diet via food exchanges. I started taking walks every day after work. I dropped 30 pounds and felt great. For several years, I managed my diabetes without drugs by simply paying attention.
Then, life happened. I went back to school, got divorced and moved to another state. Eventually, I changed careers, became self-employed, got remarried and moved to yet another state. During all of this upheaval, managing my diabetes did not remain my top priority. I didn’t monitor my glucose levels. I slowly gained weight. I started taking metformin. I rarely found time to exercise.
I don’t have to tell you, it all caught up with me. My A1C went through the roof, even though I was on metformin. When my doctor told me my kidneys were not as healthy as they should be, I knew it was time to start paying attention again.
There had to be a way to eat delicious food that was also healthy and diabetic-friendly. I started reading about new foods and experimenting in the kitchen. I liked the way I was eating so much more than cooking from “diabetic cookbooks” that favor artificial ingredients and try to make healthier versions of old standbys that never quite measure up. My philosophy of eating evolved into using fresh, local foods whenever possible, incorporating lean proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables. I also eat a lot more hearty dishes that happen to be vegetarian.
My diet isn’t perfect. I still need french fries once in a while. But, I’ve found that if I track what I eat, keep my daily calorie intake at about 1600 and monitor my blood glucose and weight, I do okay. I’m hoping that by sharing my philosophy of eating and some of my recipes, I’ll be able to help you do okay too.