The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled between 1980 and 2014, from 108 million to 422 million. No doubt that number has risen considerably in the last four years too. This chronic disease is sweeping across the world in its many forms affecting adults and children alike. Diet is without doubt fundamental to diabetes management. As a nutritional therapist, this is where my knowledge comes to the fore. Diabetes prevention and management are two main client problems that I help daily. With National Diabetes Day occurring on 14th November, I want to share how nutritional therapy can truly benefit those living with diabetes.
Dealing with Diabetes Medically
Diabetes is a life-changing disease. When you are diagnosed, your physician should explain what it means and how to manage your diabetes medically. You probably recall being told that either your pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin (the hormone that regulates our blood sugar) or that your body struggles to use the insulin it produces effectively. By injecting insulin, you may monitor and manage the amount of insulin working in the body. It’s likely that your doctor also talked to you about the foods you should avoid and which foods to increase in your diet but putting this into practice is another thing altogether.
Nutritional Therapy is an Education in Diabetes Management
Nutritional therapy is a fantastic way to manage diabetes holistically. In essence, it supports you in taking the next steps beyond medical management. Rather than simply telling you which foods are good, and which are not so good, an experienced nutritional therapist can explain and educate their clients. This involves teaching the effects of particular foods with regards to blood sugar and insulin as well as putting together a bespoke meal plan which will both support the body and help to manage your diabetes – without dulling a love for food.
Nutritional Therapy Offers a Trusted Support System for Managing Diabetes
Whilst the internet holds a wealth of resources, when it comes to sorting fact from fiction it can be difficult to know which sources to trust and easy to become overwhelmed. Even Diabetes UK debates the information provided by the NHS on diabetes management since there is so much offered - and perhaps too much to take on board in one sitting! Then there are companies who produce so-called ‘diabetic food’ which has been largely regarded as an expensive fad that could be detrimental to blood glucose control rather than supportive as you would assume.
A certified nutritional therapist will likely have extensive dealings in diabetes management (be sure to check!), and can therefore be trusted to provide professional support with an evidence and experience based approach. They may also directly address your queries and concerns regarding diet and diabetes management.
Nutritional Therapy, Weight Loss and Diabetes Management
For many people living with type 2 diabetes, their onset is as a result of being overweight or inactive. As a nutritional therapist I have had the pleasure of helping many clients with healthy weight loss programmes. For people with diabetes, weight loss is often an essential component of their diabetes management. With a well-sourced diet plan at the core of your nutritional therapy, you can enjoy a healthy, delicious diet that not only supports your diabetes management, but helps with weight loss and provides the energy to do more regular exercise.
If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes and would like some support in your dietary diabetes management, I can help. Get in touch today to take the first step in taking control of a full and healthy life.
In the meantime, why not try some of my delicious low GL recipes?
Low GL Breakfast Pancakes
Everybody loves pancakes, don’t they? And they can be part of a healthy lifestyle too! You can pick the recipe you want (there is even a vegan option) and choose your topping/ filling so that it fits with your taste buds!
Pick a pancake recipe from the 3 options below. To cook the pancakes (all options), melt a little coconut oil in a hot frying pan and fry on each side for about 60 seconds.
♦ BANANA PANCAKES 1 medium banana, 2 eggs - mash the banana and then mix the eggs in thoroughly.
♦ OAT PANCAKES 40g oats, 1 egg, 8tbsp unsweetened milk of choice – mix everything thoroughly.
♦ VEGAN OAT PANCAKES 40g oats, 1tbsp flaxseeds mixed with 3tbsp water and leave for 10 mins, 6tbsp milk of choice. Mix everything thoroughly.
NOW CHOOSE YOUR TOPPINGS
♦ CINNAMON YOGHURT mix 2tbsp plain Greek yoghurt with 2tsp coconut palm sugar and 1/2tsp cinnamon.
♦ BERRY CHIA JAM mash 2 handfuls of fresh or defrosted berries mix in 1tbsp chia seeds and leave for 10 mins.
♦ NUT BUTTER 1 heaped tbsp of pure nut butter.
♦ PICK A FRUIT 1 handful of berries, 1 chopped apple / pear / nectarine, 2 chopped plums / apricots.
Spicy Squash and Tofu Soup
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 large butternut squash, prepared and diced
• 1 ½ tsp cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• ¼ tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
• 3 vegetable stock cubes in 1 litre of hot water
• 200g organic tofu, drained
• Salt and ground black pepper
• Parsley and chives, freshly chopped
1. Heat oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and garlic
2. Gently cook over a low heat until the onion has softened
3. Add the dices squash, cumin, coriander, chilli, nutmeg, thyme and stock
4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15mins
5. Break up tofu into chunks and add to soup
6. Blend the soup return to the pan and gently reheat
7. Season to taste then add the fresh herbs and serve
Orange and Almond Cake
• 2 large oranges
• 6 eggs
• ½ lb ground almonds
• ½ lb sugar – use xylitol
• 1 tsp baking powder
1. Line a 9 inch/22cm approx baking tin with baking paper. Use a tin with removable base if possible.
2. Wash and boil the oranges (unpeeled) covered in water for nearly 2 hours.(Bring to the boil and then simmer).
3. Let them cool then cut them open and remove the pips.
4. Turn the oranges into pulp by rubbing them through a sieve or by putting them in an electric blender.
5. Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
6. Add all the other ingredients, mix thoroughly and pour into the cake tin.
7. Bake in preheated moderately hot oven (400F, gas mark 5) for between 30 and 45 minutes. Check at 30 minutes - if still wet leave for a little longer. It will not go flat when checking.
8. Cool in the tin before turning out.
9. This retains its moisture and will keep for a good week. It can be frozen.
10. For entertaining top with melted dark chocolate infused with chocolate orange liquor.