Are you a big fan of PB&J sandwiches? Do you also get extremely passionate and defensive about PBJ sandwiches?
I’m curious because I once had a client at the pharmacy ask me where she could find the “best supplements for prediabetes”. As I always do, I answered the question with even more questions… 😉
“Do you have prediabetes? Have you done blood tests recently? Why are you looking for supplements? Do you take any medication?”
The woman I was speaking with that day had just left her doctor’s office. She had just been told that she was prediabetic and that she should “loose weight” and “control her blood sugar levels”.
While this isn’t bad advice... it’s lacking a bit of direction. Where does one even begin?
Since she wasn’t given much guidance, the woman left her doctor’s office and headed straight to the pharmacy to buy supplements…
Enters Sara, the pharmacist (that’s me!).
I explain that while there are many supplements on the market that claim to lower blood sugar levels, I didn’t recommend taking any of them. For many reasons:
There isn’t enough evidence to support the use of any specific supplement.
There are always side effects, even with “natural” supplements.
Some supplements can interact with other medication you may be taking.
They cost a lot of money.
And most importantly, they don’t fix the issue at its root cause.
What’s the root cause? Very often, nutrition (or your food choices) carry a big chunk of the responsibility.
So I asked the woman what her eating habits looked like. Clearly, she wasn’t liking where the conversation was headed so she gave me a very short answer: “I know I eat healthy foods, that’s why I wanted supplements”.
It’s not hard to tell when people are trying to escape a certain topic! So I pushed a little more and asked her to give me an example: “what did you eat for breakfast today?”
Her answer escaped her lips pretty fast: “A peanut butter and jelly sandwich”.
Then, before I had a chance to say anything, a look of despair crossed her face as she cried out:
“Are you telling me that I can’t eat PB&J sandwiches anymore??!”
She didn’t even let me answer that question and stormed out of the pharmacy. But not without yelling at me first:
“What kind of pharmacist are you? Why won’t you just do your job and give me supplements like I asked you?”
Well… I’m the kind of pharmacist that truly cares about your health. The kind that doesn’t try to sell expensive (and ineffective) supplements that won’t really help improve your health or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming… I didn’t expect her to get so offended when I asked her about her eating habits.
But I know not to take her comments personally. This woman simply wasn’t ready to take control of her own health. It was just easier to accuse the pharmacist of being incompetent instead of trying to understand the importance of food choices on her own health.
The reality is, if you love PB&J sandwiches so much, I will never tell you to stop eating them forever. But I will suggest this:
Instead of white bread, use brown or whole-grain bread, with no added sugar.
Look at your jar of PB: is sugar the first ingredient listed? If so, get rid of it and look for all-natural PB. You know… the one with only one ingredient listed: peanuts.
Jelly: there are many alternatives to the regular sugar-packed jams. My favourite is to use a few slices of real fruits (banana, apple, berries…). But if you insist on having a jelly texture to spread on your sandwich, at least go for the sugar-free brands!
Finally, -and this is the most important thing to remember-, if you’re eating PB&J sandwiches occasionally, and the rest of your food choices include whole grains, plenty of vegetables, a good source of protein and healthy fats, then you probably have nothing to worry about!
Don't worry, you don’t need to change everything all at once. Start with one meal. Check your blood sugar level 1-2 hours after you finish eating. And make adjustments to your food choices and your portions accordingly. Until you find what works best for YOUR body! Then repeat that process, with a different meal or snack. Every little change counts. And you will gradually build healthy eating habits!
If you’re ready to start making changes to your eating habits but you need help understanding where to begin, sign-up for our course “Outsmarting Type 2 diabetes” where you will be given all the tools you need to get started. This course was created by our dietician-nutritionist Emily Zidel and is packed with useful information and yummy recipes.
And if you’re looking for the perfect little food journal and blood sugar tracker, we have created one with YOU in mind! Click HERE to get your hands on it. 👀
That’s all for now. Reach out if you have any questions, I’m always here to help 🙏
Much love, Sara
PS. If you ever go to the pharmacy, hoping to get a supplement that will “fix” your blood sugar levels so you don't have to make any changes to your nutrition, and the pharmacist gives you an expensive supplement… then please change pharmacies!! Look for a pharmacy / a pharmacist that truly cares about your health.