Cereals are rich source of calcium, iron, and vitamin B. A cereal, which is coarser and grainier, is considered more healthy and nutritious. Experts say that a good cereal meal provides you with essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables- Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and essential micronutrients. Do you know the more colorful the fruits, denser the nutrient. Eating five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables is considered good for health.
To stay healthy, we need some fats in our diet; however consuming a fatty diet is harmful to our body. Experts suggest that the limited intake of saturated fat rich food items like ghee, butter, coconut oil etc. minimizes the risk of heart diseases and high blood cholesterol levels.
It is said that drinking about 8- 10 liters of water every day keeps the body hydrated. However; during summers or if you have an active lifestyle it is good to drink more water. Soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugar cannot replace the good benefits of water.
Experts say that exercise is the cornerstone of healthy living. Performing a 30 to 45 min daily exercise and sports like swimming, aerobics, power yoga etc. has shown good effects on our body.
Diabetes food myths and facts
Myth: People with diabetes should never have sweets!
Truth: Good news folks! People with diabetes can have sweets occasionally. American Diabetes Association advocates that desserts and sweets are to be relished and consumed on special occasions and festivals albeit, your blood glucose level are under control and you are taking prescribed medicines regularly.
Myth: People with diabetes cannot have juices.
Truth: People with diabetes can very much enjoy fresh juices, but they definitely need to avoid canned and packed juices because of its added sugar content and high glycaemic values.
Myth: People with diabetes cannot have fruits.
Truth: People with diabetes should offcourse have fruits keeping in mind the glycaemic indexes. According to National Institute of health, USA fruits are a very good source of fibres and vitamin C “ascorbic acid”. All citrus fruits are rich source of vitamin C which boosts our immune system to fight against common diseases.
Myth: A big NO-NO to potatoes
Truth: People with diabetes may have potatoes (baked, grilled or steamed) in meals. Potatoes are to be ideally consumed, along with non-starchy vegetables and salads.
Myth: Diabetes diet is a very strict diet
Truth: A Diabetes diet is one of the healthiest diets, and has no hard and fast rule. Diabetes diet can be even followed by people without diabetes. You may select from a variety of options like the Mediterranean, flexitarian, vegan, Ornish to know more refer to Diet options in Famhealth.
Myth: Say no to all carbohydrates and yes to proteins
Truth: Yes carbohydrates do turn into sugars, but having overload of proteins and no carbs may lead to fatigue and cardiovascular diseases. Having more of proteins eventually leads to accumulation of fats in the body leading to cardiovascular diseases. ADA suggests, making a smart choice of having low carbohydrates will keep you energetic and prevent you from feeling low and tired.
Myth: Diabetes diet does not contain eggs, as they contribute to high cholesterol levels in the body
Truth: People with diabetes may have eggs, as eggs are a good source of protein and vitamin D. ADA says, “What really matters is the way it is cooked”. Boiled eggs with yolks removed can be consumed, to ensure that it does not aid to cardiovascular complications.
Myth: You can eat whatever you want if you are taking medications
Truth: This is one of the major myths associated with diabetes. Medications only help you to convert sugar to energy, but if you supplement your body with more than required amount of food then, it will lead to spiking of blood glucose levels and poor diabetes management.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
My doctor is insisting on Insulin, what do I need to know ?
Insulin is produced in our body naturally by the pancreatic cells and helps the body in converting sugar into energy. When our body produces insufficient or no insulin then doctors recommend taking Insulin additionally, to ensure body metabolises carbohydrates into sugar, and sugar does not accumulate for a prolonged period of time in the form of blood glucose.
There are myths associated with taking Insulin, read below to find out the most frequently asked questions by people living with diabetes.
I have been asked by my doctor to take Insulin, is my Diabetes getting worse ?
Taking Insulin does not necessarily mean that your Diabetes is getting worse. To control your high blood glucose levels your doctor may prescribe Insulin therapy. By not taking the Insulin therapy you may further develop Diabetes-related complications such as Glaucoma in the eyes and malfunctioning of the kidneys or the liver, neuropathy, foot problems, nerve related issues etc. People with Type 2 Diabetes often use combined therapy of medicine and Insulin to keep their sugar levels in control.
Will injecting Insulin be painful ?
Injecting Insulin is not as painful as you may think. Your doctor will direct you how to inject Insulin in the right way and painlessly. Insulin should be given in the areas where one has more flab and less muscle. There are many new types of syringes which are thinner and painless to use, so this should not be a cause for worry.
Once I begin Insulin, will I have to take it for the rest of my life ?
The answer to this question is different for different types of Diabetes. For people living with Type 1 Diabetes this is true; however, for people with Type 2 Diabetes, studies have shown that taking medication on time, physical exercises and diet control can lead to reversal of the condition. Some people simply do not want to start Insulin because of the fear of having to take it forever. However studies have revealed that once the blood glucose levels are under control, patients have been able to switch back to oral medication and no longer have to depend on Insulin.
Travelling with Insulin is tedious, can I miss my injections ?
Doctors all round the world strongly recommend that people who are Insulin dependent must not miss any injections. If you miss your regular dose, it will disrupt the ground you have gained in Diabetes management and take you back to square one. Your blood sugar levels will shoot up and create an imbalance of toxins in the body, leading to further complications.
It is a good idea to make your own small back-pack where you could keep your syringes, Insulin, cotton, gauze and astringent handy. Insulin has to be kept in a cool place and, hence, sometimes needs to be refrigerated. If you are travelling, check with your pharmacist for new types of Insulin pens and cartridges, which might not need refrigeration.
What I can do as family/friend of a person living on Insulin ?
If your partner has Insulin-dependent Diabetes, we understand that you would have your own set of stresses that can be mentally and physically exhausting. You would need to be able to support your partner in different ways, such as establishing and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, checking your partner for wounds that may be concerning, learning to give Insulin shots correctly and painlessly, as well as routinely check blood glucose levels.
There are quite a few things that you can do to help yourself and your partner. First and foremost, in order to support your partner in living with this condition, you need to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Establish a health plan for yourself, which will keep you in good shape to deal with the stresses that go along with Diabetes. It is even better if you can exercise together. Taking up meditation and yoga is also a very good way to reduce the impact of stress on your body.
You do not need to give up your life and pleasures in order to support your partner. For example, develop a balanced diet plan that takes care of your partner’s nutritional requirements, but do not forget to add your favourite dish to the equation!
Consult with your doctor to plan an evening out, away from the regular routine. Understand and follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to dos and don’ts for eating and drinking on your evening out, and you will be fine.
Make sure to have a backup for yourself. As you support your partner in living with Diabetes, you need not give up your interests. Have family/friends provide you with backup whenever you need to step away for some time. This also takes care of the condition known as “compassion fatigue” in caregivers.
It is also good to have support of other people living with this condition just in case you yourself are under the weather for a couple of days.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
Compliance and Checklist for Diabetes by Famhealth
Despite significant modern advances in diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, compliance still remains the most crucial aspect of blood glucose level control. Scientific research in National Institute Health USA, suggests “Poor glycaemic control may be reflected by both the failure of diabetes self-management by patients as well as inadequate intervention strategies by clinicians”. Hence identifying the barriers in compliance and treatment adherence is an equally important aspect for successful diabetes management.
Barriers in compliances may be due to various reasons but as per research the majority of non-compliances in diabetes management could be due to In-adequate information, Cultural differences, Religious beliefs, Family dynamics, Emotional imbalances, and sometimes poor communication skills.
According to the American Diabetes Association, The major compliance regimen for people living with Diabetes includes:
On time Medications:
Medications on time, helps you to maintain a “good control” of blood glucose levels in your body. People living with diabetes are often prescribed multiple medications for diabetes and other co morbid conditions. To ease your medicinal intake you are advised to check with your doctor on the sequence of medicines to be consumed as per priority for e.g. which medications to consume before/after meals. To manage and ensure medicinal compliance you are encouraged to take the help of friends/family/colleagues who can effectively remind you to take your medications on time every time!
Food & Nutrition:
According to Dr. Mona registered dietician from USA says, “Good food is good medicine and bad food is bad medicine”. You are advised to have frequent diabetes friendly meals, to reap the maximum benefits of successful diabetes management. To know more refer to our Food section.
Regimen: Having a daily exercise regime not only helps you to stay fit and healthy, but has also helped so many people in reversing their conditions remarkably! At Famhealth exercising can never get boring! Get to know the new forms and join our community to experience fun “do it with us” exercising modules.
Monitoring blood glucose levels:
Checking your blood glucose levels timely as recommended by your doctor helps to administer the effect of food, medicines and physical activity in your body. It is almost a reflection of how well you are managing your condition. You are encouraged to take help of your partner/family member/caregivers to learn the right ways of monitoring blood glucose levels to ensure diabetes compliance.
Family/friends/caregivers play a vital role in helping a person living with diabetes to overcome all the barriers and come on top their conditions
Check blood sugar levels as often as recommended by your doctor. By checking your blood glucose level, you can know how food, physical activity and medicine affect your blood glucose.
Inspect your feet daily for cuts, injuries, blisters, infection and changes in skin pigmentation.
Inspect your mouth, teeth and gums. People living with diabetes often are prone to periodontal gum diseases, doctors’ advice brushing twice daily and flossing once in a week.
Check for infection, cuts, blisters, or colour changes all over the body including your underarms, groin area, area between toes, etc.
As you may be already aware, people with diabetes must avoid hot water baths as hot baths often lead to wrinkling and blisters in skin.
Keep your supplies close: Make an attractive kit bag and keep all the necessary medications and food items within your reach. Replenish the kit daily to keep your energy elevated, and blood glucose levels normal.
Last but not the least take your medications on time and at least exercise or walk for a minimum 45 minutes daily to regulate blood glucose levels.
Non adherence to the above treatment compliances often leads to frustration in families and also in doctors treating diabetes individuals
The Correlation Between Diabetes And Food by Famhealth
As Diabetes is a disorder due to the body’s inability to process sugar, there is a direct and intrinsic relationship between Diabetes and food. In fact, managing food intake is also one of the first steps in managing and living with Diabetes.
Once you have received a positive diagnosis for Diabetes, one of the first things the doctors advise is managing your diet and nutrition. At this point, it’s helpful to become aware of the term “Glycaemic Index” and what that means for your diet plan. Glycaemic Index is a value associated with food items that indicates the food’s effect on an individual’s blood glucose levels.
Selecting the right food items by checking out their Glycaemic Indices is very important in managing Diabetes with diet and nutrition. Choice of low glycaemic value foods can help you come out a winner and stay on top of your condition!
What to eat?
One of the first questions that comes to the mind of people and families living with Diabetes is: “What to eat?” The good news is, people living with Diabetes can, in fact, eat almost anything, as long as it is in small portions, barring selected high processed sugar items, discussed in our food corner of Famhealth,s diabetes community.
The term “diet plan” can be a stress point in itself, as it hints at the need to change established eating patterns. However, if you have been diagnosed with Diabetes, this is one stress you need not take, as the “Diabetes diet plans” are some of the healthiest plans and can easily be followed by anyone, with the possible exception of small children.
In fact, there are no specific, rigid meal plans that are to be followed. People living with Diabetes can eat almost anything –moderately.
Do you want to control fluctuation in your blood glucose levels?
Sometimes you will note your blood sugar levels are fluctuating form high to low. There is a simple reason behind this – chances are there is something that you have been eating that is not fitting in with the management of your condition.
Blood sugars are affected by many things that include the food you ate, how long ago you ate, your physical activity, stress levels, sleep patterns, and your emotional wellbeing. If you use Insulin to address these fluctuations, chances are you may get stuck in a high-low cycle that is bad for your long-term health.
It is a good idea to keep a daily record of your meals and physical activity levels as it has an impact on how stable your blood sugar levels are. People with diabetes need to eat small meals frequently, especially when they are on medications such as Insulin, to watch out for low blood glucose levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, a daily intake of 1400-1500 calories is a must, in accordance with the individual’s BMI and physical activity levels.
Do check with your doctor about how much activity and how many calories your body needs daily as you plan your diet and exercise routine. An ideal diabetes meal includes a variety of low carbohydrates, proteins, fibrous non-starchy fruits and vegetables. However, before we delve into the list of suitable food items, let us take a quick look at the myths and facts surrounding Diabetes-friendly foods.
Smart Eating Strategies
Keep a Food Diary
One of the smartest ways to manage your condition is to record what you are eating throughout the day. Leading dieticians around the world recommend keeping a detailed record of what you are eating so as to better understand how they impact your condition. Studies in United Kingdom confirm that people who maintained food records lose the extra weight, and keep it off better than people who did not record their intake.
Watch your food labels
Want to grab your favourite drink or take a bite of the potato chips? It is a good idea to read the nutritional information given on the package label. Knowing the calorie content and glycaemic index can get a little cumbersome, but research suggests that awareness of the calorie content and sugar levels helps people living with Diabetes keep track of unsuitable food items that may spike their blood glucose levels.
Start with a good breakfast
Starting the day with a good breakfast powers you up with energy and helps you maintain your blood glucose levels throughout the day. There is enough research out there to support this statement. The old saying “breakfast like a king” stands correct if you choose low carb breads & cereals, fresh juices, boiled eggs, nuts, oats, yogurt, cheese, and milk.
Eat by the plate method
This is an interesting method advocated by ADA, which subscribes filling half of your plate with non-starchy fruits and vegetables, one fourth of your plate with lean proteins such as grilled fish or chicken and the balance with low carbs. This is a popular model which not only aids in weight loss, but also keeps the blood glucose levels under check.
Carbohydrate counting, also called carb counting, is not a diet plan, it is a meal planning strategy for people with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. Carbohydrate counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates in the foods that you eat every day. Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients found in food and drinks. Completely cutting down on carbs may lead to fatigue and restlessness. One must choose wisely and replace unhealthy carbs with Diabetes-friendly and healthy low-carb foods. According to National Institute of Health, USA, healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy eating plan as they provide both energy and nutrients such as vitamins & minerals and most importantly fibre. Fibre can help in preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol levels, and controlling your weight. Unhealthy carbohydrates are often food and drinks with added sugars. Although unhealthy carbohydrates can also provide energy, they have little to no nutrients and they often spike your blood glucose levels leading to poor diabetes management.
Eat more small meals
People with diabetes should eat four to five small meals during the day, instead of three large meals according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Eating small meals allows the body to replenish itself, while at the same time slower, continuous absorption of food prevents cravings and hunger pangs. Among the benefits associated with this are decreased blood sugar levels after meals, reduced insulin requirements during the course of the day, weight loss and lower blood cholesterol levels.
Always stock up your refrigerator
Stocking up your refrigerator with healthy food items is all about keeping your supplies ready. This prevents you from eating high calorie and sugary food items when you feel hungry or have any cravings. You can choose from a wide variety of fruits, nuts, cheese, and low carb multigrain breads and protein shakes to quickly make mini-meals and avoid binging.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.
Heat oil over medium flame. Add chicken, carrots, celery, spring onion, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 to 8 minutes or until chicken is brown on all sides and vegetables are cooked. Stir in chicken broth, potato, green beans and ground black pepper.
Bring the broth to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Stir mixture into cooked stew mixture. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Serve the stew into four bowls. Sprinkle each serving with cracked black pepper.
Make 4 servings (Amount per serving)
Total Sugars (g)
Total fat (g)
Remember to manage your portion sizes. Recommended portion size should not exceed 2 servings/helpings. Consuming diabetes friendly recipes in inappropriate portion sizes may lead to spiking of your blood glucose levels.Note
5 Dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked and drained
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp Lemongrass, chopped
5cm/2” piece fresh root ginger’ chopped
1 tsp Turmeric
4 Shallots, chopped
6 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
For the curry: 1 Organic, free-range chicken, about 1.6 kg/3½ lbs
2 Garlic cloves, peeled
2 cm/1” piece Fresh ginger root, peeled
2 tbsp Coconut oil
12 Shallots, peeled
2 tbsp Cashew nuts
2 tbsp Fish sauce
Water or chicken stock to cover
First, dry the coriander seeds, star anise, cumin seeds, whole cloves and cardamom pods in a small dry pan until fragrant. When cooled, remove the cardamom seeds and discard the pods. Grind the spices in pestle and mortar. Combine these with the other curry paste ingredients and mix to a paste either in a mortar or in a food processor.
Wash the chicken, joint into 8 pieces and remove the skin. Mash the garlic cloves and ginger to make a paste. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil and fry the garlic and ginger paste until golden. Add the curry paste and chicken and simmer for several minutes, turning frequently. Add the whole shallots and cashew nuts. Season with fish sauce. Cover with stock or water and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
Note: The combination of chicken and nuts gives this dish a very high magnesium content (125g per serving). Magnesium is key mineral for diabetics: and it has been shown that people with low magnesium are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Johnny Johnny yes papa … eating sugar no papa, open your mouth ha ha ha. Isn’t this famous old poem “so true” for many of us? Well, sugar cravings can be smartly handled and satisfied by natural effective alternatives, read on to find out.
Indulge in fresh and seasonal fruits:
Eating fruits is not only beneficial for your health, but the natural “fructose” content in fruits satisfy your “sugar cravings” too. Fresh and seasonal fruits like berries, avocado, cherries, pear, apples, grapes, mangoes, bananas, pomegranate, kiwi etc…. are readily available in the market and can be used as fillers/minimeals in diabetes diet plans. Adding fruits to your cornflakes for breakfast can be a great way to replace sugars totally. But remember packed and processed fruits should be avoided as they carry “hidden sugars” which may spike your blood glucose level.
Add Flavour to your meals:
Spices and herbs can do wonders to your diabetes meals. Why stick with the bland and boring taste, spice up your meals. Add a pinch of cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, white pepper, black pepper, red dried chill or chilli flakes etc and have a great tasty meal. This will not only satisfy your taste buds but also keep you away from sugar cravings.
Looking for a drink?
Do you quench your thirst with high sugar aerated drinks? Replace it with low fat milk, fruit juices, coconut water (rich in minerals and antioxidants) or simply water. Quenching your thirst with water is the best way to cut out on sugar and calories. Research hints replacing high sugar drinks and mock tails with non-soda drinks not only help you curb sugar cravings but also helps the extra calories away.
Aroma & beverages
We all love our tea’s and coffees’. Mostly we are recommended by our dieticians to consume it minus the “sugars” but did you know adding aroma to beverages can curb sugar cravings. Scientific studies reveal that adding jasmine leaves or cardamom powder in your tea can curb sugar cravings to a larger extent.
There will be occasions where you will want to pamper yourself, research hints a tiny portion of “dark chocolate” rich with cocoa will not only satisfy your “sugar tooth” but also help you in keeping your sugar cravings under control. Scientific studies also reveal that “Dark chocolate” keeps you away from depression and elevates your mood. You are advised to check with your doctor/dietician about the portion sizes. Exceeding the recommended portion sizes may lead to spiking of blood glucose levels.
American Diabetes Association suggests, eating frequent meals in intervals keeps sugar cravings in control and also helps you in losing the weight. Also eating frequently and keeps your blood glucose levels in control.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below,
Diabetes new Zealand magazine