As a firm believer in the power of natural medicine, I make it a rule to consider the benefits of food before consuming it. This may sound a bit obsessive, but it's true. And this way of life has never failed me. In fact, it has been my reliable source of healing and well-being.
Let me answer some of your frequently asked questions with reference to certain health challenges.
Q: Do I have to starve myself in order to live with diabetes?
The answer is a resounding no. There is life after diabetes, this ailment that affects more than 230 million people worldwide. Because it is one of the fastest-growing diseases in this modern age, one inevitably has to ask what truly causes it.
The risk of developing diabetes is influenced by your lifestyle. Two things you must do:
1. List down your daily habits.
2. Answer truthfully: Do they contribute to your wellness or illness?
If you are at risk of developing diabetes or already have it, you must, above all, be vigilant. Diabetes results in a buildup of sugar (better known as glucose) in the blood stream. This happens when the body cannot make enough of the hormone insulin or is unable to use insulin (which is supposed to regulate the sugar) properly. A buildup of glucose in the bloodstream can result in increased risk of heart disease, kidney and circulation problems.
Ninety per cent of diabetics fall under the type 2 category, while 10 per cent are called insulin dependent (or juvenile onset diabetes). This auto-immune disease requires insulin injections. Another type, gestational diabetes, is normally temporary, developing during pregnancy.
Take note: Pre-diabetes is due to the body becoming resistant to insulin and the risk of this becoming type 2 is high.
Research, however, shows you can reverse this risk by simply improving your diet and lifestyle.
1. Daily moderate exercise
2. Increase fiber intake
3. Switch to a low glycemic diet
These strategies can be more effective than conventional medication in reversing high blood sugar conditions.
Whether you have diabetes or not, this regimen applies to all who wish to prevent diabetes.
1. Watch your fat intake. Too much fatty foods will lead to weight gain and worsen insulin resistance.
2. Try to lose weight. Use low-fat cooking methods (steam, boil, bake, grill) instead of fried. Eat pasta al dente instead of well-cooked.
3. Eat legumes. Beans of all kinds have low GI.
4. If you're eating a salad, get vinegar-based dressing, which is acidic and can slow down food digestion.
5. If you love rice too much, try mountain rice (black, red, etc.) or basmate and the newly bred doongara rice.
There is no need to radically change your diet if you have diabetes. All you need to bear in mind is that you have to keep your blood glucose level within the normal range to minimize long-term health problems.
6. Eat only low-fat dairy.
7. Minimize salt intake.
8. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Buy only lean meat (trim fat before cooking).
Avoid butter, lard, sour cream, creamy dressings, creamy sauces.
Eat only low-fat cheese.
Avoid takeaway supermarket pastries and pies (as they may have trans fats).
Buy low glycemic fruits and veggies-broccoli, sweet potato, taro, yams, green peas, sweet corn, asparagus, pears, apples, bananas, kiwi, mango, grapes.
Avoid condensed milk.
Believe it or not, all yoghurt types are okay, custard pudding, cow's milk and soy milk.
Durum wheat pasta, rice noodles, soba noodles, ravioli are okay, too.
Stock up on barley, a high-protein grain.
Buy only whole grain breads, pumpernickel, pita bread, sourdough, stoneground flour breads.
Breakfast starters: Homemade muesli
Mix 2 cups whole grain rolled oats with
2 tbsp wheat grain
¼ c oat bran
½ c almonds or cashews
¼ c raisins
½ c dried or baked apples
Note: The coarser the oats the lower the GI. Try old-fashioned rolled oats, my choice.
Mix your muesli with yoghurt or low-fat milk. Mix 1 tbsp of raw wild honey to taste.
Because breakfast is the best time to get your energy for the whole day, have a good serving of scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix 4 eggs together with low-fat milk and 4 cups tomatoes, mushrooms and 3 tbsp of vinegar.