Coping with Diabetes During The Holidays
Managing your diabetes can be especially more challenging during the holidays
with all the temptations and sweets that keep bombarding our senses in the weeks
following the holidays.
Body awareness is very important in managing diabetes. See your doctor
regularly. Signs and symptoms can arise that may seem completely unrelated, when
in fact they could be. Do not allow your pride or ego to get in the way of your
1. Proper eye care should be maintained. If any changes in vision, sudden loss,
dizziness, blurring or pain in or around the eyes occur, see your doctor right
away. Retinopathy, eye infections and blindness are more common in diabetics.
Eye Exam: Dilated eye exam - yearly.
2. Thyroid problems are more common with diabetes. Tell you doctor if swelling
or pain around the neck or throat occur.
3. Lung infections, pneumonia and influenza are more common in diabetics. If you
are a smoker, quit now!
4. Heart disease is a major cause of death in diabetics. Tell your doctor if you
are experiencing weakness, shortness of breath, swelling, dizziness,
palpitations, or other sensations in the chest. Blood pressure: each regular
5. Bladder infections and other bladder issues can be due to complications from
diabetes. Urine Test: Microalbumin measurement - yearly (based on the HEDIS
6. Kidney failure is the lead cause of death among diabetics. Nephropathy is
caused by blood vessel damage, which disrupts the kidney's filtering system. Ask
your doctor what you can do to reduce the risk.
7. Foot care is most important. Exam you feet daily. Notify your doctor if you
have ANY signs of tingling, sticking, sharp, stabbing or dull pain. Also if you
have unexplained pain, spots or loss of normal sensation. Neuropathy or nerve
damage is a particular trait of diabetes. Problems can often occur at the big
toe. Foot ulcers, if left untreated, can infect the bone and lead to amputation.
Foot Exam: Check feet at each regular diabetes visit Comprehensive foot exam -
at least yearly (more often in patients with high risk foot conditions).
8. Loss of sexual function. High blood pressure, heart disease and issues of
circulation can effect nerves. Damage can occur, which can inhibit orgasm.
Infection, vaginal dryness in women or erectile dysfunction in men can all be
complications from diabetes.
9. Peripheral nerve damage can occur anywhere, but particularly at the joints
10. Take your readings as much as possible! Keep a watch on hemoglobin A1c and
blood fats to see if eating more sweets leads these number on an unhealthy up
swing. There are three distinctly different times of day to consider testing
blood sugars. First thing in the morning, before meals, and after meal blood
sugar numbers can each reveal a wealth of information to help solve the mystery
of blood sugar numbers. Blood Test: A1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) At least 2
times a year if stable Quarterly, if treatment changes or you are not meeting
11.Keep your blood fats in target range such as total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and
12. Pay attention to good hygiene and skin care. Eat a proper balance of
nutritionally low GI foods. Weight: Each regular diabetes visit.
Most people who have diabetes know they should be testing their blood sugar on a
regular basis. However, many of them do not realize what the numbers mean and
simply go through the motions of testing. Without realizing when to test and how
important these numbers actually are.
First thing in the morning is known as a FASTING blood sugar. It should be taken
soon after rising; before food, drink, exercise, or medications of any kind.
Normal is less than 100. Goal is 70 - 115
A before meal blood sugar is known as PREPRANDIAL. This means before lunch or
before supper. At this point in your day, you've usually had something to eat
and drink, you've usually had some activity or exercise, and you've probably
taken some type of medications. All these things can effect your blood sugar
numbers. This is different than a FASTING blood sugar test taken before
breakfast, medications, or exercise.
Normal is less than 100. Goal is 100 - 120
An after meal blood sugar is known as POSTPRANDIAL and means after a meal.
Timing is important on this reading because it should be taken 1 ½ hours to 2
hours after a meal.
Normal less than 140. Goal less than 160
Experiment actively with diet, with the frequency and size of meals, and with
all aspects of lifestyle to lower the amount of insulin required. This means
taking on a lot of responsibility for your own health. A task you can absolutely
Full Spectrum Diet Suggestions: Avoid the White color group
-Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
-Use breads with whole grains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
-Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
-Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
-Use Basmati, Doongara or Japanese koshihikari rice
-Enjoy whole grain pasta, whole grain noodles, quinoa
-Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing
-Incorporate good fats like nuts and olive oil
-It is ok to use low-fat dairy foods, in the morning
- Note: these red-orange foods (Watermelon, Carrots, Cantaloupe) are in the
med-high GI range.
Incorporate these wonderful herbs to enhance the flavor of all your foods:
billberry, basil, chives, cinnamon, dill, fenugreek, garlic, ginseng (Panax,
Korean, American) oregano, parsley, rosemary, stevia, thyme.
Blood sugar regulators include: alanine, banaba, beta-glucan, bitter melon,
chromium piccolate, guggul, gymnema, rehmannia.
Water is essential in any healing process. Distilled water is the best. 6-8
eight ounces glasses per day. Try not to drink liquids that contain caffeine or
A diet combined with both insoluble fiber (fiber that doesn't dissolve in water)
will keep most people regular. You get fiber from eating lots of vegetables,
wheat bran, whole-grain breads and cereals and fruit.
An apple can regulate blood sugar levels. Apples contain naturally-occurring
chemical compounds known as phytochemicals, polyphenols, or flavonoids, some of
which have been proven to have antioxidant activity that inhibits, or scavenges,
the activity of free radicals in the body. Cell damage from free radicals can be
a factor in certain cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other conditions. The
major antioxidant components in apples are polyphenols contained mainly in the
skin known as quercetin glycoside, phloretin glycoside, chlorogenic acid, and
Extend your nutrient throughout the day with three main meals and three snacks.
Small portions or servings as opposed to one or two "gorged meals" not only
reduces blood glucose and insulin concentrations, but also guards against the
development of hyperglycemia. Consumption of fiber rich foodsbarley, carrots,
oats, legumes, beans, onions, peas, and lentilshave been associated with
improved blood glucose control, and are better for long term use than soluble
fiber supplements such as guar, pectin, and locust bean gum.
Research has discovered a whole range of plants with hypoglycemic action. Among
them are artichoke, banana, barley, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, nettles, oats,
peas, spinach, sweet potato, and turnip.
What You Should Avoid:
Limit foods that have little or no fiber such as ice cream, cheese, meat, snacks
like chips and pizza, and processed foods such as instant mashed potatoes or
already-prepared frozen dinners. Too much white flour and refined sugar.
What you don't eat may be even more important than what you do eat. Avoid
alcohol, caffeine and sugar, because they tend to worsen index levels. If you
can't avoid them, then at least cut down.
Reduce Processed and Refined Foods:
Avoid fried foods, white pasta, white rice, full fat dairy, white potatoes,
white bread (baguettes, bagels, pita).
Processed food can rob your food of nutrients and vitamins that your body needs
to fight off stress and promote good health. Try to buy whole foods, unprocessed
foods and try and stay away from "instant" foods, preservatives, artificial
flavors, saturated fats, refined foods, hydrogenated food and MSG.
Reduce Sugar Intake:
Too much sugar can rob our body of essential nutrients. Simple carbohydrates
from baked goods, pastries, most crackers and cookies must be limited to a very
small portion or completely removed from the diet.
Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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