Top 4 techniques to manage your diabetes – Advice from a dietitian
There are different types of diabetes. All are manageable, some can even be reversed.
But no matter what type of diabetes you have, if you fail to manage it, you can face serious health complications, such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney problems.
Healthy eating is a central part of managing diabetes, but to manage it effectively you also need to adopt lifestyle modifications. So here are 4 easy techniques you can include in your routine to help you manage your diabetes and possibly even reverse it (if it’s type 2 diabetes).
"Raw Before Consumption" – Consuming raw foods, such as veggies or salad, 30 minutes to 1 hour before every meal can help you lose weight.
It can also help you regulate the pH level in your body, make it easier to control your blood sugar level, and get more nutrients than you would from just your cooked meal.
- Before breakfast, eat fruits, nuts and seeds.
- Before lunch or dinner, eat sprouts or very lightly steamed/sautéed veggies (e.g. carrot, beetroot or radish).
It’s all about the quantity and how you’re eating, rather than what you’re eating.
Whether you have diabetes or not, maintaining a proper diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But when you have diabetes, you need to understand how certain foods might affect your blood sugar level.
“Respect Nature’s Clock” – Our bodies listen to the biological rhythm of nature. If we eat food based on nature’s clock, our blood glucose level will be naturally supported. But if we go against it, we’re more likely to have heightened, irregular sugar levels. For example, if you eat dinner late and go to bed immediately after, you’re not giving your body enough time to digest your meal. This will impact your glucose levels.
Although Western clinical research is only now beginning to explore how circadian rhythms impact nutrition, Ayurveda has long argued that when and how we eat is just as important as what we consume. Ayurveda recommends we eat our largest meal at noon and an early dinner around sundown, so that our bodies have sufficient time to digest, repair, and rejuvenate before we go to bed.
CM vs PM
As carbohydrates have the greatest influence on blood sugar level, learning how to calculate carbs (a.k.a. CM, the "counting method") is an important part of many techniques to control diabetes. However, this doesn’t mean that all forms of carbohydrates are bad for diabetics. Some carbs are actually good for us.
For instance, you may have heard that complex carbohydrates are better than simple carbs. That's because complex carbs support long-term health, helping you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. You can include complex carbs in your diet in the form of whole grains, corn, oats, peas, and even resistant starch such as rice – Resistant starch contains more fibre and is digested more slowly, making it more filling and a good option for weight loss. Because it’s digested slower it also helps avoid blood sugar spikes after meals. You can turn simple carbs found in brown or white rice into resistant starch by refrigerating it overnight and eating it the next day.
However, as diabetics become more focused on reducing their carbs and increasing protein portions, they can often forget the essential balance that the body needs to maintain. This is where PM (the "plate method") comes in, as it can be a better strategy for managing diabetes.
The counting method is a good approach if you’re checking the portions of your ingredients or if you suffer from extreme chronic kidney disorder. But the plate method makes sure you get a balanced meal that includes carbohydrates, protein and fibre.
To begin, you need a plate that’s not too large. When you've found the right plate, it's time to fill it. With 2 imaginary lines, divide your plate into 3 portions; a half, and 2 quarters. Fill the half portion of your plate with non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, eggplants, mushrooms, okra, tomatoes, and so on. Fill one of the quarter portions with lean protein, such as eggs, fish, salmon, chicken, or lean pork (for plant-based proteins, you can include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and nut butter). For the final remaining quarter portion add carbohydrates (remember, focus on complex carbs).
As well as adjusting your diet, another key method to help improve your diabetes management is PMM – “Post-meal movement”.
Physical activity is a critical strategy to control diabetes. When you work out, your muscles convert sugar (glucose) into energy. And regular physical exercise helps improve your body's sensitivity to insulin. Simply walking around for 5-10 minutes after every meal will improve your blood sugar management. Even minor tasks, such as housekeeping or gardening, can make a difference.
The key with PMM is to do it regularly. Many studies show that the more consistently you follow a daily movement routine, the longer the effects last.
Now that you've learned 4 techniques to help manage your diabetes, it's time to start incorporating them into your daily routine.
But keep in mind, the formulas only work if your attitude toward healthy food and living improves. You shouldn’t feel bad about eating particular meals because they'll raise your glucose levels. And you can eat sweets as well. Just make sure you balance your diet, eat in moderation, and do regular activity after each meal.
Don’t gorge on food and eat greedily, unconcerned about your sugar level. Don’t practise these techniques half-heartedly; they won’t be effective, and your prospects of managing your diabetes will disappear quicker than you can imagine.
And be mindful. The more positive vibrations you send out into the universe and the more grateful you are, the quicker the results will show – It’s all a mind game. Medications can only do so much, and for the best results you have to believe in yourself and the process, stay positive, and celebrate your successes.
Looking for more articles like this?
Explore the connection between diabetes and sex. Learn how to maintain a fulfilling sex life while managing diabetes.
Explore the potential of stem cell therapy for diabetes. Learn about the benefits, risks, availability, and future directions in India.
Discover the benefits of diabetic footwear. Learn what options are available in India, and how to choose, care for and make the most of diabetes-friendly shoes.