Dealing with Diabetes during Covid19
Author: Vaibhav Garg
Sports and Clinical Nutritionist, Founder of Purecise
Our Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi just launched an initiative which will probably change the way the Indian population views health. It was about time something like the FIT India Movement was launched. What is staggering to note though are the statistics released by the ICMR. During this pandemic, as the Diabetic capital of the world, the number has risen to more than 7.2 Crores, and the number of Obese people stands at 13.5 Crore. It is sad that in a country like India, where we pride ourselves on the vast academic knowledge, that we are seeing such numbers.
Personally, having been dealing with Diabetics for over 5 years on a daily basis, it is safe to say that it starts with the mindset. Just because we have had certain food & lifestyle habits and did not suffer from diabetes a few years ago, means that we can continue being the same way and live a healthy medication free life. Few of the notable causes are listed below. For the readers out there, we will be focusing only on type 2 Diabetes through this blog, which is a lifestyle induced disorders- it can be prevented, and reversed if the appropriate changes are made:
1. Sedentary Lifestyle- This usually tops the charts when it comes to Indians. We are too lazy and always find the easy way out.
2. Processed Foods- No, brown bread is not healthier, it is just maida (refined wheat flour) mixed with coloring. Did you know that one slice of bread can raise your blood sugar levels up more than a spoon of sugar?
3. Sugar Alternates/Substitutes- Even if your food packets say ‘No Added Sugar’, they are still adding a bunch of fructose syrup or artificial sweeteners like Aspartame or Sucralose. They qualify under the tag ‘No Added Sugar’, so guess who’s being fooled?
4. High/Uncontrolled Stress- Yes, more and more 30 year olds are suffering from Diabetes and heart disease today.
5. Lack of Sleep- If we spend numerous hours socializing and in front of the screen, the quality of sleep is bound to suffer.
No for all of you who think you are on medication and really do not need to make any lifestyle changes, well, you are highly mistaken. The medicines prescribed to you by our doctor are only designed to manage the symptoms. In the long run, it will have side effects. One must be prepared to take the tougher route if you are to live a disorder free, medicine free life.
Its all about the hormones. How your Insulin functions will be the primary factor that determines the status of your blood sugar levels. If we eat processed foods and have high levels of stress, it will result in decreased insulin sensitivity and excess formation of cortisol that slows the body down and results in weight gain. We need to work towards balancing these hormones for healthy blood sugar levels.
Let’s look at some sure shot remedies that will ensure you can reverse your diabetes:
1. Hit that kitchen pharmacy- We have wonderful Indian herbs and spices that work efficiently to lower blood sugar levels. We have aloevera, turmeric, cinnamon &fenugreek to name a few. When used in the right proportions& combinations, they can help improve insulin function and regulate sugar levels naturally. Try out cinnamon mixed with water 30 minutes post your lunch and see the magic.
2. Colorful foods only- Cut out all the white processed foods from your diet. Say no to sugar, Maida and bakery foods. Reduce the consumption of dairy as much as you can as these are all inflammatory foods, resulting in decreased insulin function. Add loads of fiber in the form of seasonal vegetables and fruits like pomegranate, kiwis, apricots & berries.
3. Be Active- Yes walking is good, but if you really want to reap the benefits of exercise, indulge in yoga, some high intensity training like kick boxing or cross fit, or if you can, add some resistance based exercises as well that involve the use of weights and equipment. Include whatever you can depending on how much time you can make. But not doing anything at all is never an excuse because it is very convenient to take the easy way out.
4. Meditate- As I mentioned earlier, stress is a major factor in inducing diabetes. If stress is overwhelming you, look at simple meditation techniques to help calm you down. Getting those stress hormones (aka cortisol) down is vital to reduce blood sugar levels. You may do this at any time of that day, even in your office if you are willing to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
5. REM Sleep- It is very important to get deep sleep at night, that too 7-8 hours’ minimum. I am not referring to just lying in bed and being active on social media or twisting & turning. 7-8 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep. If you can incorporate a lot of what has been mentioned above, the quality of sleep is sure to improve. Also, you may want to put away any screen a couple of hours before bedtime. You will surely notice the difference.
6. Mindset- Most of what we do doesn’t just happen to us. We induce thoughts that result in some kind of action. If you want to get better, if you want to reverse your diabetes, no one can stop you but you. Change that mindset and start working towards recovery. You or anyone you know does not have to live with diabetes for the rest of their lives.