Holistic Diabetic Self-Care
- Limit or avoid saturated fats, dairy products, fatty meats, greasy foods, and fried foods.
- Avoid weight loss diets and instead focus on eating well.
- Try to come up with a meal plan for yourself that allows you to have at least three good meals a day, even if you’re on the run. Maybe you can start the day off right by making a pot of brown rice. From there, you can keep several pre-cut veggies and lean organic meats and fish in the fridge to quickly steam or stir-fry. Do whatever you need to do to have healthy food accessible so that you don’t miss any meals.
- The general rule for following a healthy diet is finding whole (unprocessed), local, organic, fresh foods that are in season. Also, it is important to eat a variety of foods every week. It is best to rotate foods in and out, allowing for a wide variety of nutrients and flavors. I suggest finding a good farmer’s market near you and shopping there for your produce. That way, you’ll be sure to eat a variety of foods that are in season and that come from a source you can trust. Also, in Chinese medicine we recommend eating warm foods rather than raw or cold because they are easier for your body to digest.
Limit or Avoid:
- Refined sugars (especially white and brown)
- All Sugar Substitutes, except Stevia (find at Home Economist)
- Refined Wheat and other Refined Grains
- Corn Syrup
- Trans-fats and Hydrogenated Oils (read labels)
- Fruit Juice, unless diluted with water
- Cold or raw foods and beverages. This includes salads, iced drinks, and, of course, ice cream
- High fat or greasy foods
- The ideal diet for diabetics is 30% protein, low fat, and low sugar.
- You may want to buy a whole foods cook book to help give you ideas of what to eat.
- Stevia, molasses, Agave, Brown Rice Syrup or Barley Malt syrup in small amounts for sweeteners.
- Fresh fruits, especially organic and locally grown, 2 servings per day.
- *Blueberries (high in antioxidants), great for blood sugar levels.
- Green veggies like broccoli, greens, spinach… stir fried or lightly steamed.
- Olive Oil, Canola Oil drizzled on foods (but only cook with butter or coconut oil in small amounts because they can hold up under high heat).
- Whole grains, Rice and Rice products (bread, pasta, cereal)
- Oats- great for breakfast with blueberries and cinnamon.
- Meat: the size of your palm is a serving of meat. Sometimes it helps to use meat as you would a vegetable, mixing it in with salads, pasta, wraps,… rather than having it as the main course by itself. (Organic meat is best if you can afford it). Meat does create acidity in the body, so keep it to a minimum.
- Ginger: this spice is best used fresh. You can use it in stir-fries and rice dishes or drink it as a tea. It’s wonderful for the digestive system and is anti inflammatory.
- *Cinnamon: great for lowering blood sugar levels.
- *Fish: shoot for fresh rather than farm-raised.
- Rice, Soy, or Almond milk. Keep trying different kinds and varieties until you find one you like. All brands taste slightly different, so try a few. Try not to overindulge in these though because they do contain sugar.
- Fresh herbs
- Eggs: 2 per day max
- Fruit Teas: Home Economist should have lots of kinds of tea: Peach, Berry, Mint…
- Try to chew the first five bites of food at each meal 50 times. This helps slow down your eating, connect the mind and body, and improve digestion. After the first 5 bites you may chew normally.
Exercise: 30 minutes 6 days a week! No excuses, this is the single most important change you can make for yourself. Exercise can be anything that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up. Try walking at a brisk pace, swimming, biking, yoga, aerobics, martial arts,… Doing things around the house or office doesn’t count (gardening, walking around the building, laundry,…). You need to change the patterns in your life in order to get healthier.
Supplement Suggestions (always speak with a health professional before starting new medications or supplements)
- Fish Oil: Get a flavored version that has been tested for heavy metals.
- Cinnamon: sprinkle on your food each day.
- Low sodium tomato juice: 6 oz per day.