Can't Afford To Control Diabetes?

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Can't Afford To Control Diabetes?


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Old 04-13-2016, 15:48   #1
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A common thing I hear from friends looking for ways to control their diabetes is that they can't afford to actively control their diabetes.

These are some of the things I have been told.
  • The LCHF lifestyle is too expensive to follow. It is cheaper to buy starchy boxed food when you're on a tight budget.
  • I can't afford to cook one thing for myself and something else for my family.
  • I don't have a glucose meter and strips are too expensive.
  • I don't have insurance and can't afford all the medication or frequent doctor appointments.
I was thinking it might be nice to have a discussion about ways we have found to control our diabetes even during times when we are having financial difficulties.

What are your thoughts on this? What tips can you share with others?
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Old 04-13-2016, 16:30   #2
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It took awhile to adjust. I was used to packaged, processed foods, as was my family. But now, almost 9 years after my diagnosis, our lives are filled with fresh vegetables, cheese, meats, chicken fish, some fruits: pears, small mandarins and berries and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert. The bigger adjustment was learning to take the time to cook--that's where the savings lie. Take the time or spend the money...pick one! I finally learned that my health and the health of my family are completely intertwined. After testing about 6 times per day in the first two years, I can now predict what foods I react to with highs and lows. I test far less frequently now. Just occasional fasting numbers and weekly weight check are my guides. I still take metformin, 1000mg twice/day. And I ride my stationery bike daily while watching my favorite shows on my iPad.

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Old 04-13-2016, 17:53   #3
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The following tips are just some things that have worked for me.

The number one thing you can do to help make things more affordable is to CHOOSE to start taking CONTROL of your diabetes instead of allowing it to control you.

I am not one to trust everything I am told or even what doctors tell me. I have to find out for myself and the only way I could do that was by testing A LOT in the beginning so that I could find out how food impacted my blood sugar.

During that time of constant testing, I started shopping for affordable test strips. Many have found affordable strips at their local Walmart. For me, it was cheaper at my local HEB grocery store. Others may find less expensive options on Amazon.

It was during that process that I discovered the LCHF lifestyle through trial and error, so the next thing I had to do was find affordable food. For fresh produce, I found a small local farm to market type store that is open 6 days a week. It is actually cheaper than the big box stores and much higher quality. Others have found local farmers markets. For meat, I watched the sales big time and also belong to the local Costco.

The amazing part of it all, is the more I controlled my blood sugar through the LCHF lifestyle, the less medications I have needed and I don't have to worry about the expense of dealing with complications from diabetes. More control can also mean fewer doctor appointments.

Just my 2 cents...

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Old 04-13-2016, 19:30   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricket VS View Post
Attachment 7594

A common thing I hear from friends looking for ways to control their diabetes is that they can't afford to actively control their diabetes.

These are some of the things I have been told.
  • The LCHF lifestyle is too expensive to follow. It is cheaper to buy starchy boxed food when you're on a tight budget.
  • I can't afford to cook one thing for myself and something else for my family.
  • I don't have a glucose meter and strips are too expensive.
  • I don't have insurance and can't afford all the medication or frequent doctor appointments.
I was thinking it might be nice to have a discussion about ways we have found to control our diabetes even during times when we are having financial difficulties.

What are your thoughts on this? What tips can you share with others?
The price for not controlling diabetes now includes vastly increased medical costs later to treat the consequences.
  • Glucose meters are dirt cheap - strips are not. Shop around for the cheapest strips, and a nearly free meter will probably come along with them.
  • Economize on strip use by:
    1. Skipping the pre-meal and the fasting tests. The pre-meal is far less critical than testing how you react, and fasting BG is really only useful for diagnosis since it is the last thing to drop.
    2. Testing at 1.0 hour after eating, and only doing a second test if the number is high enough to cause concern. The peak is generally between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours. The one hour test is a better predictor of whether you are eating foods that bother you than 2 hours.
    3. Being boring. Find a few tried and true meals that you know how your body reacts to. Eat those. Lots. You won't need to test (or at least not regularly) if you are eating things you know are safe. Add one or two new meals over time - when you can afford to spare a few test strips.
  • Shop Walmart. I hate recommending that, but I just wandered through their produce section and the food looked good, at at least a 20% discount from grocery stores.
  • Shop Aldis. They have a surprisingly wide selection of organic foods - again at a significant discount from (standard) grocery stores.
  • If you are on public assistance, explore a CSA (community supported agriculture) share. There is a growing movement to accept food stamps (or reduce the price). That would give you an entire summer (June - late October) of fresh veggies. Ours last year (no food stamps, but a $100 reduction in exchange for 24 hours of farmwork) was $500 for more veggies than we could eat - many split a share so it is even more affordable.
  • If you eat high carb, your medication costs (diabetes and likely statin, BP, etc.) will be lower.
  • No solution for the separate meals thing. That is a challenge for me. My spouse (also diabetic) eats high carb. She doesn't really know what carbs are . . . a long story. But it would actually make her health worse if she ate what I prepare since she will continue to eat high carb snacks - and high carb combined with higher fat is worse than high carbs.

What I encounter among diabetics, in addition to cost concerns, is not understanding why it is worth the bother - especially since the medical authorities tell them to continue eating relatively high carb.

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Old 04-13-2016, 22:07   #5
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neodiver - that's a really good, comprehensive list.

I'll comment on the difficulty in satisfying everyone in the family as far as meal preparation. My husband is the same as your wife, so I try not to give him ultra-fat foods.

Entrees are easy - just drain the fat. (I'll spoon some from the drippings back into my portion)

Add butter or drippings to cooked vegetables on the plate.

Make plain potatoes or rice for the carb eaters - no need to make them fancy. Then just give them a pass.

When I'm cooking for company that are carb eaters, I usually fix a meat and two vegetables. I'll have bread for them. I will sometimes fix potatoes depending on who is coming over.

---
Last year or so my husband decided to stop eating starches with his meals, so I was able to quit fixing potatoes for him. He still eats a lot of bread and sugary desserts, but I'm not the one who's fixing these (he has to buy them for himself).

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Old 04-14-2016, 00:02   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricket VS View Post
A common thing I hear from friends looking for ways to control their diabetes is that they can't afford to actively control their diabetes.

. . .
What are your thoughts on this? What tips can you share with others?
I'm afraid that many who have all the excuses simply don't want to "change".

Strips don't cost any more a day than a cup of coffee if used at key times, and "cooking different meals" is just plain not necessary.

Who wouldn't eat baked chicken, sweet potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus and a tossed salad ???

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Old 04-14-2016, 03:52   #7
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Quote:
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I'm afraid that many who have all the excuses simply don't want to "change".

Strips don't cost any more a day than a cup of coffee if used at key times, and "cooking different meals" is just plain not necessary.

Who wouldn't eat baked chicken, sweet potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus and a tossed salad ???
As yummy as that sounds, not everyone can afford that meal for a family. In lower income families, sometimes it is a matter of a few boxes of macaroni and cheese and a can of veggies or long spaghetti with lower cost canned sauce. It is those families I am trying to find solutions for.

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Old 04-14-2016, 09:02   #8
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I don't have kids, so my story isn't necessarily a good example, but...

I find that I end up having extra money in my "discretional spending" account since I was diagnosed. I'm not a huge fan of cooking, and I used to get my breakfast at the drive-thru every day (coffee and some kind of bagel sandwich or donut: easily $6). I also did get meals for dinner sometime from local take-out eateries.

Now that I don't eat carbs for breakfast, I just have a cup of tea and some scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage. That's easily saving me $20 per week. The takeout dinners are limited to a few local "prepared meals" places where I can get delicious entrees with two sides: I just choose double veggies instead of potatoes or rice. These places are cheaper than normal restaurants.

I also go to the movies less frequently, since popcorn was a big part of the movie experience for me. I do Netflix and Hulu... probably saving $20 to $40 a month on movie expenses.

It's been a pleasant surprise to find myself having more money for other things, since I stopped eating so many carbs.

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Old 04-14-2016, 10:14   #9
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I am temporarily living right now in a 3rd world country, and I must say, my dietary needs are costing us arms and legs. I cook meat and vegetables. My kids eat the meal with bread, which is dirt cheap here, so they get full quickly. It takes so much more meat for me to fill up. Cheese and walnuts cost a small fortune. If I weren't diabetic and I could eat fruits (super cheap here what's in season) and add bread, I would spend 1/3 on food that I am spending now. Even vegetables - the cheapest ones are starchy.

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Old 04-14-2016, 12:32   #10
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Quote:
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As yummy as that sounds, not everyone can afford that meal for a family. In lower income families, sometimes it is a matter of a few boxes of macaroni and cheese and a can of veggies or long spaghetti with lower cost canned sauce. It is those families I am trying to find solutions for.
Eggs, manufacturing cream (heavy cream meant for restaurants and really cheap), higher-fat cuts of meat and even cream cheese are all really cheap and nutrient-dense foods.

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