I was totally shocked, and in a state of denial for days when Mukeshbhai, my friend and insurance agent called and told me that my blood test indicated that I was pre-diabetic. I did one more blood test to confirm the news. As I digested the news, and spoke to my doctor, I realized that I had to take it seriously.
I am vegetarian, and I am careful about my diet and I exercise regularly. How could I have a pre-diabetic condition? As I thought more about it, and read several books and web-sites, I realized that in my supposedly ‘balanced’ life-style, my diet or work-leisure activities were not balanced at all. My diet was full of sugar and cards. Indian mithai with every meal, sugar in all the Gujarati preparations, sugar-rich sports fitness drinks, Starbucks with sugary flavors, soda, rice etc. were in a higher proportion than necessary in my diet. Plus the stress from work – selling the company in which I was working in (2 in a row), relocation, selling a home etc. were all stress factors which contributed to the health condition. When I spoke to GuruMaa, She suggested Yoga and Meditation as the way out of my pre-diabetic condition.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Genetics and environmental factors play key roles in causing this disease. When you have a Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test reading between 100 and 125 mg/dl then you have pre-diabetes. A reading of over 126 is considered to be diabetes. There are 2 basic types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that unlocks the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency.
Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose. Glucose is the basic fuel for the cells of the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause your cells to be starved of energy or over time, hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves and the heart.
People with diabetes can live a long, healthy and normal life if you take precautionary measures, take appropriate drugs and or alternative therapies. Adjusting your diet, reducing stress, exercising, practicing Yoga and meditation, taking appropriate ayurvedic medicines can help you to control diabetes, or for pre-diabetic patients from postponing diabetes for a long period of time or forever.
1. Become vegetarian
2. Focus on non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans. Avoid sweet fruits such as bananas or mangoes.
3. Eat whole grain foods e.g. Brown rice instead of starchy white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of semolina pasta, whole wheat paratha instead of naan
4. Eat non-fat dairy such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese; eat paneer
5. Choose water over all sports drinks and sodas
6. Choose olive oils instead of solid fats which are high in saturated and Trans fats. Avoid ghee and butter.
7. Cut back on high calorie snack foods - chips, cookies, cakes, ice-cream, chocolates, candy etc.
8. Watch your portions, avoid heavy meals and carbs after 6 pm; if possible, have 5 smaller meals every day
9. If you are over-weight or obese – lose weight by not any fad diets, but by following the above rules
10. Eat seeds of bitter gourd or karela and fenugreek.
11. Eat grapefruit, Indian gooseberry (aavla) & Jambu
12. Eat bitter gourd, string beans, cucumber, onion and garlic.
13. Eat more raw vegetables & herbs - eat more salads
14. Avoid alcohol.
15. Eat barley, mung, chickpeas.
1. Avoid stress.
2. Should take care not to injure yourself as diabetic patients take longer time to heal.3. Take extra care of your eyes
4. Take extra care of your feet
5. Exercise at least 5 times a week
6. Avoid late dinner and take a walk after your dinner
Yoga and Meditation
1. Cobra (or Bhujang asana), Locust (Shalanh asana) and Bow (Dhanur asana) are most useful
2. Breathing exercises or Pranayama is very effective; alternate nostril breathing should be a good starter
3. Meditation is a great stress- reliever
1. The most common herbs are Neem, Gurmar leaves, Karela and Nayantatra
2. Turmeric, jambhu;. Sagar kota, Bel, Shilajit, Turmeric and Tripahala are also useful
3. Ayurvedic drugs like Chandraprabha, Arogyavardhini, Asanad, Shilajit vati, Trivanga bhasma and Vasant kusumakar are very useful – but consult an ayurvedic expert first
4. Try Panchkarma to cleanse your body
5. Take water in the morning stored overnight in a copper vessel.
I strongly believe that prevention is better than cure; nature and ayurvedic cure is better than allopathic cure and with a positive attitude, diabetes can be controlled if we implement the above rules.
References: American Diabetes Society website and publications, various ayurveda books, various books on yoga, various web-sites.