If you’ve been diagnosed with the ‘silent killer’, your diet will need an overhaul – AND, NO, that does not mean a sentence to awful food. Read on…
To be diagnosed “diabetic” or “borderline diabetic” by a doctor seems like a big, ominous and scary thing for any person or loved one but all is not lost. The month of November is earmarked for the cause “#BeatDiabetes,” a campaign that I have supported in order to foster awareness about the illness and rally community support. I want to help in any way I can to make the lives of those with diabetes easier.
In many ways, Type 2 Diabetes, which is the more prevalent of the two forms of the disease, is a lifestyle disease. I think we could even say it is a modern lifestyle disease as the world has changed and people from all over the world are abandoning healthy, traditional, unprocessed whole foods diets in favour of more convenient foods in our mad rush in this rat race called life.
This means that the way we go about our lives- what we eat and much physical activity we perform – can make the difference in whether or not we develop diabetes, regardless of genetics. It also means everything for those who are already diabetic because many type 2 diabetics will be able to manage their diabetes solely through diet and exercise if they are vigilant and consistent. Since we are foodies here, we will just say, exercise vigorously for at least 30 minutes daily so we can focus on the food bit.
if someone in your family has been diagnosed, it is a good time for everyone to adapt a healthy diet together
Don’t be a hater
If you have family or friends fighting Diabetes, help them to beat it by supporting their efforts to improve their health and providing them with healthy foods. Do not leave unhealthy trigger foods lying about. In fact, if someone in your family has been diagnosed, it is a good time for everyone to adapt a healthy diet together.
Taste still matters
A diabetic diagnosis is not a sentence to awful food! In fact, some of the best tasting dishes are already diabetic friendly! This does not mean you should feed them steamed broccoli and dry chicken breast for the rest of their lives. Put yourself in their shoes. Such a boring diet would not make anyone excited about getting out of bed. What matters is how you cook them, because three major factors affect the taste of food- the actual quality of the ingredients (fresh, unprocessed, whole foods), selection of natural flavour enhancers, and the actual cooking techniques.
Take a cooking class
If you are struggling to find ways to make healthy meals for diabetics, take a healthy or diabetic cooking class. You will learn how to prepare tasty dishes and get ideas so you can come up with countless new dishes. If you are interested in taking a healthy cooking class for diabetics contact us and we can arrange a package for you.
Cut starches and sugars
Essentially diabetes occurs when the body cannot respond well to high blood sugar levels, so the most vicious offenders- namely sugars and starches- have to be cut from the diet. This means all forms of sugars in general and starches as well as foods that quickly convert to sugars in the body. So of course, breads, grains, and starchy vegetables (think corn, potatoes, carrots) as well as most fruits, (especially mangoes and bananas) need to be reduced drastically if not eliminated altogether, however smaller portions of 100% wholegrain breads, flours, rice/grains may be tolerated by some but this requires previous testing of blood sugar levels to gauge safe amounts. If some starchy vegetables are tolerated, use sweet potatoes and carrots but only in very small quantities. Berries, green apples and watermelon are OK in small portions and should always be eaten with some protein to slow down the absorption of sugars. In fact, all carbs should be eaten with some protein to slow down the digestion and subsequent impact on blood sugar. Note that all vegetable contain carbs, though leafy vegetable contain negligible amounts. If you are cooking for a visitor, err on the side of conservative and offer protein, healthy fats and vegetables only
Stick to protein and non-starchy veggies
This is the thing that makes all the difference and makes cooking for diabetics so much easier. Forget biryani. Like seriously. Hold a funeral and bury the biryani pot, as those huge rice dishes cannot be made for diabetics. The trick is just to keep the food simple. Stir-fries, vegetable sautés, steamed or roasted vegetables are the only sides you really need to accompany your meat, seafood, poultry or plant based protein. If you think about it, that adds up to less cooking.
Add virgin cold pressed coconut oil
Coconut oil is one thing you should definitely be using to cook for diabetics. While it does not go well with certain foods, you may add it to smoothies or have the person take one tablespoon daily whipped into their morning coffee or tea.
Stay so far away from vegetable aka soybean, aka hydrogenated oils aka margarine aka shortening, that if you see them heading your way, you hurriedly cross the street. This means you must read the labels on everything that comes in a package because it is in everything. You want to use healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil and real grass fed butter. You can choose to use less, but have the real thing.
Buy whole, unprocessed foods
You want the vast majority of your foods to be stuff you can get from a farmer’s market, butcher or fish market. Keep meals simple and use mostly fresh ingredients because sugars and wheat and soy are in almost every commercially packaged food. You also must learn to question labels as some brands from certain countries in the region do not operate under strict labelling laws and often leave out certain ingredients off their labels. You really have to either turn into a food police or just buy foods in their simple unprocessed forms.
Experiment with diabetic friendly recipes
You can explore low carb, gluten free baking yourself to provide healthy sweets for the diabetics you have to feed. There is a lot of information now available online and recipes for both sweet and savoury delights so be sure to check around. We have loads of diabetic-friendly recipes on this blog and often times recipes labelled low carb or gluten free could be used for diabetics. If you don’t feel like baking, there is actually a one of the kind store called The Protein Bake Shop that offers high protein, gluten free treats, just check that they are also low carb. The owner is a nutritionist as well so she could offer some advice on how to incorporate these foods into the diet.
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) community outreach, Chef and Steward has joined forces with the internally recognised Landmark Group in the quest to #BeatDiabetes. Catch our videos on their #BeatDiabetes FB Page and #BeatDiabetes Instagram and sign up to join us for the Diabetes Walk in November. Remember to follow Chef and Steward everywhere as well Facebook Twitter Pi