In the United States and Canada, November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time dedicated to diabetes awareness and advocacy. In recognition of this month, we wanted to share some basic information about the condition as well as some diabetic-friendly recipes!
Diabetes can result from an inadequate production of insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar), the body’s inability to use insulin properly, or a combination of the two. Type 1 diabetes is due to a complete lack of insulin and Type 2 diabetes is the incorrect usage of insulin. In both cases, these changes in insulin typically cause high blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels, which can result in frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, weight gain, unusual weight loss, fatigue, cuts and bruises that do not heal, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Diabetics must actively monitor blood sugar levels so that they stay at a safe level.
It seems obvious that eating sugary treats such as candy or other sweets would increase your blood sugar levels, but another important food group to watch is carbohydrates. Carbs affect sugar levels rapidly because they are composed of both simple and complex sugar units, which are broken down during the digestion process and enter the bloodstream immediately.
In addition to minimizing carb intake, it is also important for diabetics to have a fiber and protein-rich diet. Fiber is a complex carb found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. It isn’t digested, which means it won’t spike glucose levels by itself and it can slow the digestion process of sugars in the same meal! Pairing it with protein will further slow digestion so that you are less likely to have spikes in your sugar levels. Here are some fiber and protein-rich recipes that we recommend:
Breakfast: Try an egg-white omelet with bell peppers, mushrooms and a side of turkey bacon for a power-packed protein boost. Serve with two slices of low-carb, whole-wheat toast for an extra-filling way to start your day.
Lunch: Craving pasta? Have some whole-wheat spaghetti with spinach, peas, garlic and chicken. This back-to-basics recipe will give you the protein and fiber you need without overdoing it on the carbs.
Dinner: Season some beef in low-sodium beef broth and soy sauce, hoisin sauce, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Serve it with brown rice and steamed broccoli for a healthy meal.
Dessert: Peach Melba is a sweet snack perfect for diabetics. Puree raspberries with ricotta cheese, powdered milk and unsweetened grape juice, and spoon the mixture over blanched peaches to satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking sugar levels!
For more information on keeping up a healthy lifestyle, read about our Balanced Care Method™, which promotes a healthy diet, mental and physical activity, social connectedness, purpose and calm.