Wednesday, 17 May 2006

A Diabetes Diet

Over the last few years my diet has changed dramatically. As someone who is blessed with a naturally slim frame I have never had to diet to lose weight, but I maintain my current healthy weight with a great diet/eating plan. In fact, if you do plan on losing more than about a stone in weight then I would visit your doctor for more tips on how to do this without risk.

To tell you that how I maintain weight is perfect would be totally wrong of me, but I can advise you to follow my steps because I know what works and what doesn't. But before I really begin I must also say that I have been brought up by great parents who taught me to eat everything, and so I do! If there is something that you don't like, there are loads of other diabetic recipes and ideas that you will eat and appreciate.

Since I am a student, all of the recipes are affordable but I do like to buy fresh and organic produce from where I live. I believe that this is important because it can be the most good for your body and contain more nutrients and vitamins than most supermarket produce. I like to source food from my fortnightly farmers market in town, which sells amazing meat and dairy produce and fresh in season fruit and vegetables. This is another important thing to remember, that eating fruit and veg in their season means that they will taste better as well as doing you good. I have a lot of influence from Western European cuisine (mainly France and Italy) as you will tell, but I do not profess to be a chef and everything is easy to make and very convenient.

I have read countless diet books and diabetic recipe/diet books, and I came to a conclusion that I think really works. I fused all the good things from the diets (but not from every diet) and sort of put together my own one. We will call this the Juvenile Diabetes Healthy Diet.

The "rules" that I would lay down are as follows:

1. Cut back on snacks and then change the type of snacks you eat.
Certainly my biggest downfall although it wasn't really apparent to me. When I first started at University, I had little or no routine which meant that filling my day was difficult and popping into the kitchen for a snack, no matter how healthy it felt, was a regular occurence. This is one of the hardest things to do for some people, but establishing a great routine is essential to great diabetes care. The types of snacks to be eating are unsalted nuts, dried unsweetened fruit, fresh fruit, fresh veg (I love fresh red pepper and cucumber), dark chocolate (richer and nicer and you only want 2 squares usually).

2. Cut back on white flour, embrace wholemeal carbs.
This is the most essential part of your diet, and the thing that can show the biggest increase in loss of weight. Some diets in fact jsut focus on this point, and are ery successful. Wholemeal (especially stoneground wholemeal) is so good for you and has so much more flavour in it that switching is much easier than you think. Most people are really surprised at the ranges you can get in you supermarket, again remember that the bread that is best for you is the one that is freshest with least perservatives or added ingredients. Also, brown or basmati rice is great with a lovely nutty texture. Wholemeal pasta is great and for your potatoes I would totally recommend the smaller new potatoes.

3. Stop drinking cocktails, start drinking wine.
Cocktails are full of sugar, colourants and preservatives. As a student I have had loads of practice at going out and not drinking cocktails, so my drink of choice is Malibu and Diet Coke if I feel I have to drink something and I make it last all night. I can then top up with Diet Coke (which has almost no sugar in it) and it looks as though I am drinking Malibu, who is to know. If you are out at a restaurant, red wine is much better than anything else you can order, (except water of course!) and it has been proven that the anti-oxidants in red wine are great for keeping a healthy heart. The recommended amount is one glass a day with your evening meal.

4. Start cooking more fruit and vegetables.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. And there are so many different ways in which to cook vegetables, but I find that raw is the best follwed closely by steamed. Both of these ways preserve all their natural goodness aswell. I will follow this post with another diabetes recipes post.

5. Drink more water.
I know you have heard people say this many times before, but the benefits of drinking more water are endless. A few tips on how to get more water into your day are firstly to put bottles of water at all the places you go in the house or work. So keep one in your desk, on your desk, a glass in the kitchen, the bedroom, the sitting room, etc. Try and drink all these glasses up and you will be well on your way to 8 glasses a day. The trick is to add a glass every few days or so, if you try to drink all that water in one go you won't be so inclined to drink 8 glasses again, trust me! Have a go, it's amazing how great you will feel.

Diabetes Diet

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Diabetes Type 1 - What is this?

I always get confused about what type of diabetes I have, but basically Type 1 Diabetes is insulin-dependent and Type 2 is non insulin-dependent (tablet and diet). If you have type 1 diabetes than you will know all about what this means, but if you are worried about whether you may have it or a friend or you just want to knwo for a research project, then here are a few details:

Diabetes Symptoms
Remember that these will be different for everyone, and you don't have to have all (I have only commented on the ones that I had) of them. If you have any symptoms you should go to your doctor to get yourself checked out, or go to your local pharmacy and get a testing kit.

- Increased thirst
- Increased urination (I was diagnosed with cystitis as this has a similar effect)
- Severe headaches (I was diagnosed with migraines)
- Weight loss for no apparent reason (pictures of me before diagnosis, I look like I have an eating problem)
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue (I was constantly tired for no apparent reason)
- Absence of menstruation (I did not have mine until I was 17, some might call this a blessing!)

It took my doctors at least a year to realise that I had diabetes and not any other illnesses, as you can tell from above. If you ask for a diabetes test, they can check you really easily and quickily.

When I was diagnosed I was sent straight to my local hospital where they hooked me up to a drip just in case. This was because I was very close to going into a coma (and possibly dying). They took loads of my blood to test, mainly for other infections and diseases. Because of such a late diagnosis the doctors were worried that I would have other complications, but everything has been ok. I was put onto 2 injections a day, one before breakfast and one before sleeping.