Pre-diabetic and looking ways to get healthy

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Pre-diabetic and looking ways to get healthy


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Old 05-24-2011, 14:38   #1
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Red face Pre-diabetic and looking ways to get healthy

Hi everyone,

My name is Sam. I'm a woman from the US, living with my husband and child in India. I was diagnosed pre-diabetic last year, at age 33. Before getting pregnant with my now 2 year old daughter, I was very health conscious and active. But when I got pregnant, I threw all that out the window and did as many women do and ate whatever I felt like eating. Now, I'm still doing that! It's addictive and hard to stop! So, as of late last year, I am struggling to return to a healthy and regularly active lifestyle, while living in a town with few Western food choices.

I am also interested in finding out about "alternative" remedies to help reverse diabetes and pre-diabetes. With several people in my family with diabetes, I want to help myself and others with this ever increasing disease.

I'm glad there are others I can talk to here!

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Old 05-24-2011, 15:14   #2
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hi Sam...I'm new as of today also *waves* I think its always helpful to talk to people who are living the right lifestyle

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Old 05-24-2011, 15:55   #3
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Glad you found us, Sam. When people say 'alternative remedies' that makes me think they mean anything except cutting down on carbohydrates. Some people take cinnamon or other things to help lower blood sugar, but no matter what alternative methods are used, carb intake must also be lowered.

There are all kinds of diet plans to choose from, be it vegetarian, vegan, or meat-lover. I hear that in India they do eat quite differently than we do, but with some ingenuity you should be able to find ways to make low-carb versions of some Western dishes.

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Originally Posted by Sam M View Post
But when I got pregnant, I threw all that out the window and did as many women do and ate whatever I felt like eating. Now, I'm still doing that! It's addictive and hard to stop!
Some of us go quietly into the 'low carb world' while others of us go kicking and screaming. But keep in mind, the longer you put off adjusting your diet, your blood sugar will most likely go up, and that is the last thing you want. Good luck and welcome to the forum.

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Old 05-25-2011, 22:39   #4
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Hi Sam. There is no way to reverse Diabetes but we can manage our diabetic symptoms by watching what we eat and adding exercise and sometimes meds. Probably the absense of a Western diet is a good thing. Most Western food is high carb and highly processed. The key to maintaining good bgs is to limit those carbs so a typical meal doesn't spike you. Everyone has different bg goals. I want my bg response to be similar to a non D, so I rarely eat more than 10-15 carbs at a meal. I would concentrate my meals around protein, fat and tons of veggies. Avoid rice, bread and any flour product. Some of us can eat fruits in small amounts. It is a good thing to test your bgs 2 hours after you eat. Use this number as a guide to how your pancreas is working. I like to keep my bgs below 100-110, others may choose higher. By choosing lower carb foods you can accomplish this. Also I know Coconut Oil is available in India. It is a great addition to our diets. The fat helps stabalise my bgs. I haven't heard of any Alternative treatment that works. Lots of people may take herbs and different teas, but these are not enough to cure diabetes.

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Old 05-26-2011, 04:14   #5
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Hi Sam, sorry to hear you've got D as well. There is no cure. Best thing for you to do is to Stop eating crap foods. Throw out anything that is white. Walk a lot and get a lot of exercise.

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:51   #6
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welcome Sam I have goan indians married into my family, so I have some understanding of their diet. My observation is that they eat a carb rich diet mostly and a lot of salt. I love the spices though. So I can understand your frustration if you're surrounded with mainly indian foods only. They love their fruit too, but we can only eat small amount of that as diabetics. Try as much as you can to eat less carbs and more starch free vegies. Luckily basmati rice is a better option when it comes to carbs, so I'd choose that over the breads like chipati. I'm sure you will find this a great place for support and info. Keep us posted on how you're doing.

 
Old 05-26-2011, 12:24   #7
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Hi Sam and Welcome.

Here is my usual spiel on diet (in this case "diet" simply means "what I eat", as opposed to a drastic short-term weight-loss change)... I'm not sure how it translates to the area of India in which you live but I would suggest that the principles likely stay the same.

Real whole food, is the order of the day... preferably local and in-season, grown/reared on nutrient rich land, fuelled by sunlight... grass-fed beef and pastured chickens for example. This means eat whole (unprocessed, unpackaged, unadulterated) food, which includes a natural balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates (as well as vitamins, minerals etc...) ...there really is no need to be afraid of natural fat... it's gotten a bad rap.

Those of us with (or at risk of developing) Diabetes need to pay particular attention to the foods which have the most effect on our Blood Glucose (BG) levels. There are obvious things to watch out for like candy, cola, cakes and sweets (these are high in refined/concentrated carbohydrates)... next in line are the "white" foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, breakfast cereal... but even something assumed to be healthy like orange juice has about as much sugar as a cola... fat reduced milk can have an higher proportion of lactose (sugar), especially in low-fat products such as yogurts; which may have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) added to replace the fat... and so it goes on. That does not mean you need to feel deprived or hungry to eat this way, not by any means. You may even find you can work in an occasional family cake... for example. The keyword there being "occasional" as it used to be when our Grandparents baked cakes only for Birthdays etc... not everyday (muffins, donuts, pastries) for breakfast.

If you have an home BG test meter, you may hear the phrase "eat to your meter" and this deceptively simple message is very wise... test around your food and figure out what works best for YOU.

Learn to read nutritional labels AND ingredient lists. Be aware of hidden "sugars" -- mostly ending with "ose" -- and starches (such as Maltodextrin) which also quickly break down into sugars.

Some ideas for snacks: nuts, cheese, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher), pork rinds/scratchings, cold (home cooked) meats, boiled eggs, peanut butter.

While we are encouraged to eat "so many servings of fruit and veg daily", many of these can spike our BGs so test, test test... for me, green leafy vegetables seem to work best... but you may also help reduce/slow the BG spike by mixing foods... for example: instead of eating an apple by itself, try just half the apple in slices with some peanut butter or cheese... or have a few berries with some cream.

I'd suggest that BG control be your primary aim... while minimising the need for insulin which is the major fat storage hormone -- reducing excess fat mass, improving cholesterol/lipids, hypertension etc... all these tend to improve with more normal BGs.

I am not big on setting unrealistic "exercise" goals... flogging yourself at the gym... unless you feel especially motivated to do so. I think you are better off with something sustainable in the long term. There are many health benefits of activity but I'm not convinced that losing weight is a major one. I do believe in building activity into your daily routine (rather than finding excuses for missing the gym)... take the stairs, park further away, get off the bus a stop earlier... go for a walk at lunchtime... take "smoke breaks" at work where you walk around the block instead. Physical activity can help with your BG numbers as it tends to lower Insulin Resistance (IR) , as well as using up glucose but as with food, it is advisable to test and see how it affects you.

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Old 06-04-2011, 07:52   #8
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Thank you everyone for the replies and the advice! It is great to have the support. I will "work" on changing my diet (I already am somewhat) and tell you how it goes...and ask for more advice when needed. I have already been eating more protein and fat, which had not been a big part of my diet before pregnancy. I had never really thought of eating a low carb diet, and was usually vegetarian/vegan...which makes getting the protein more difficult.

Still wish there were some good supermarkets around though! What they call a supermarket in this town is smaller than a convenience store! Good meat is not easy to come by, I feel hesitant to buy the chicken and fish on the side of the dusty road, sitting directly in the heat! It's a whole other world here...also, if you go to a restaurant and order a hamburger, you get a veggie burger (though the picture looks like a real hamburger).

Anyway, I'm sure I can do it! Eggs, nuts, cheese, nut butters, coconut meat and oil, dark chocolate (love that one!), beans and legumes (these are not a carb, are they?), and low-starch veggies. I am riding my bike regularly, and now my husband is joining me (along with our daughter), which is great family time.

Thanks all!

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Old 06-04-2011, 08:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam M View Post
Thank you everyone for the replies and the advice! It is great to have the support. I will "work" on changing my diet (I already am somewhat) and tell you how it goes...and ask for more advice when needed. I have already been eating more protein and fat, which had not been a big part of my diet before pregnancy. I had never really thought of eating a low carb diet, and was usually vegetarian/vegan...which makes getting the protein more difficult.

Still wish there were some good supermarkets around though! What they call a supermarket in this town is smaller than a convenience store! Good meat is not easy to come by, I feel hesitant to buy the chicken and fish on the side of the dusty road, sitting directly in the heat! It's a whole other world here...also, if you go to a restaurant and order a hamburger, you get a veggie burger (though the picture looks like a real hamburger).

Anyway, I'm sure I can do it! Eggs, nuts, cheese, nut butters, coconut meat and oil, dark chocolate (love that one!), beans and legumes (these are not a carb, are they?), and low-starch veggies. I am riding my bike regularly, and now my husband is joining me (along with our daughter), which is great family time.

Thanks all!
Hi Sam,

Welcome to the forum!

Unfortunately you are in a part of India that is probably the *most* vegetarian in the country (I assume you are in Chennai), so good meat might be hard to come by. Try to see if you can locate one of the newer chains of supermarkets. These should have chicken that are called "broilers" in India and are usually frozen and come from known farms.

I don't know about your town specifically, but if you can find a Muslim area (most large cities in India have an old part of town where the majority population is Muslim) - you will get a great variety of meat - but have only the cooked dishes.

The good news is that you are in a place where all sorts of herbs can help you out. Try Fenugreek. Its a very old traditional prescription fo diabetics and seems to work well in a lot of people. Best way to have them is to soak a few seeds in water over night and just drink the water - you can also swallow the seeds. Alternatively, you can find dried fenugreek leaves that you can sprinkle readily on any dish (though I would advise you to cook it a bit because it can be bitter if raw).

I would encourage you to try the variety of herbs and spices in different combinations to see what works for you as a balance of taste and effect on BG levels. I have found that whenever I have super spicy Indian food, my BG stay very well behaved. But I don't think the effect is due to the "heat" - but simply the array of spices used - and I cannot pinpoint which ones are the ones that are being good to me. So I am experimenting as well.

All the best!

S.

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Old 06-04-2011, 14:33   #10
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Hi, Sam, I have not lived in India, but adopted our daughter from there!

While I have been vegetarian for 38 years, I ahve had to find a way to low carb, in order to get my blood sugar controlled without insulin. Now that I have insulin, I have decided that eating low carb and minimizing insulin dosage is the safest approach, plus it keeps my weight down ...

I have always said that if it was medically necessary I would eat meat, but thus far have not found it necessary. I have managed to cut my carbs back to somewhere between 20 - 60 per day, usually in the area of 45g. I am posting NOT to advocate vegetarianism, but rather to say, even in India, you can low-carb. Many of the most tempting and traditional foods around you will be carby ... good luck.

The thing that has helped me most is self-education: testing, eating, testing some more. Knowing even the odd things I can tolerate and cannot, and their amounts, has been really helpful.

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