My wife has been wanting to got to Fresh Market ever since a coworker of hers, one with a diabetic husband, recommended it as a place to get things friendly to a diabetic. Now I have been to the Dunwoody Fresh Market. The easy availability of fresh fruits, quality meats, and small portion cheeses doesn’t hurt. However, I tend to think the main supermarkets, such as Publix and Kroger, are better places to get diabetic specialty items, things like sugar free jams and preserves, Glucerna bars, etc.

Anyway, before I tee off on the high end groceries in general, let’s talk a bit about the layout of Fresh Market. On entering you pass through flowers and the bigger editions of these stores have a florist on hand. Next is fresh produce, which is of good quality and tends to be expensive. If you want things like exceptionally sweet carrots or golden raspberries, they have them here. In terms of size, this one is more Trader Joe’s sized than Whole Foods sized, but there are still important differences between Joe’s and Fresh Market.

Unlike Trader Joe’s, the two Fresh Markets I’ve seen have bakeries and a butcher and a good but small collection of fish. There are a lot of prepared sweets in Fresh Market (none of which I can eat) and they have a deli-like section to get things like Boar’s Head meats and high end  cheeses. They have good breads and an above average collection of dairy products. The store in general is full of eye candy and an interesting place to shop.

Are the high end grocers diabetic friendly?

To be brutally honest, I don’t think any high end grocery deserves to be called diabetic friendly, because they’re not. The sheer quantity of unmeasured, excessively rich prepared foods guarantees that. And when they offer prepared foods I can eat, like cooked whole grains, or a beef stew, where are the measuring cups? Tongs  and oversized bowls don’t cut it under these circumstances. Having to walk through these displays to get to cash registers and not having an effective way to partake is almost criminal.

That said, I don’t think they deserve the phrase diabetic unfriendly either. Small portions of protein and fats are key to someone like me being able to keep up my calories outside the home. Nuts, olives, small meat and fish portions and especially low fat cheeses make my quality of life much better. Rich selections of oils add variety to the kinds of food I can eat because two things I can be versatile with are fats and proteins. I can eat almost any vegetable, and it’s hard to eat too many. Fruits I can eat in measured quantities. Some diabetics can fit in the high cocoa chocolates (70% or more) as a calorie boost.

One of my issues when dieting is that I don’t eat enough. One way to boost my caloric input during the 2.5 meals I have to eat at work is to keep canned fish around. Sardines would be perfect, but they are also rich in purines and that doesn’t sit well with my other health issues. I like canned salmon when I can get it. I didn’t find any canned salmon at this Fresh Market but I did find canned mackerel. This Fresh Market has a rich collection of olives, which are diabetes friendly and a wide variety of ounce sized cheeses. They even had Black Diamond, a cheese that in the 1980s was proclaimed by some to be the best cheddar in North America. 3/4 ounce slices make it easy for someone like me to make last minute adjustments in a diet lacking calories, and in the process, I’m not giving up quality taste.

Black Diamond: 7g protein, 10g fat per ounce.

Chips and the diabetic.

I’d have to say finding how how diabetic sensitive tortilla and potato chip labels are to diabetes was an accident, and I’ll note that Jeff’s article on Adventurous Tastes, titled “Is the Serving Size Game Coming to an End?” was a key to noticing this. He was complaining about how stupid chip labeling is, that they use a portion size that’s ridiculous. I was agreeing with Jeff and while doing so, actually read the label and noticed the magic number: 15 grams of carbs. 15 grams of carbs is one starch exchange, the size of a single serving for a diabetic.  All I can conclude is that someone in the chip industry has diabetes, or a relative with diabetes.

Recently I went to the closest Walgreens to me and looked at the carb portion of a single serving size of every bag of chips, tortillas, tortilla scoops and popcorn I could find All of them had a serving size whose carbs ranged from 13 gram of carbs to 19 grams of carbs, and a substantial plurality were dead on 15 grams of carbs. So, it appears to be an industry wide phenomenon.

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