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“Good morning, everyone, welcome to my podcast,” announced Cassie as she adjusted the microphone. “November is National Diabetes Month, and it’s a time to spread more awareness about this chronic disease. Did you know that according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), around 10% of people aged 20-79 across the world are living with type 2 diabetes? This number is expected to soar to 643 million people by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. It’s essential to understand the risks and effects of this life-threatening illness so that we can prevent it. To discuss her personal journey with type 2 diabetes, I’d like to introduce our guest today, Carol. So, Carol, tell us a bit about your experience after diagnosis.”
“Hi Cassie, thank you for having me here on your show today. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago and it has definitely changed my life. It was a real eye-opener in terms of what I should do to live a healthier lifestyle. Before then, I used to spend most of my days sitting in front of my computer and when stressed, I would often indulge in starchy comfort foods that were loaded with carbohydrates which convert into sugar once eaten. The sugar, also known as glucose, enters the bloodstream, increasing one’s blood sugar levels gradually, which over time leads to unwanted health problems.”
“Give us some examples of these foods?”
“Thanks for the opportunity, Cassie. I often wonder if people know which foods convert to unhealthy sugar when eaten:
White Bread is made from refined flour, which is low in fiber and high in carbohydrates. This makes it easy to digest and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.
Potatoes are high in starch and carbohydrates, which can cause a fast increase in blood sugar levels. This is especially true for potatoes that have been cooked and mashed or fried.
Pasta made from processed flour is high in carbohydrates, making it easy to digest and triggering rapid blood sugar spikes.
Rice is high in starch and carbohydrates, which can cause a swift increase in blood sugar levels. This is especially true for white rice, which has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients.
I also have a sweet tooth and would reward myself with cookies, ice cream, and, of course, cupcakes. Those foods also cause blood sugar spikes, which are particularly bad if you eat them at night and then go to bed; the sugar interferes with quality sleep.”
“How did you alter your lifestyle when you were diagnosed?
“The news was a real shock to me. My brother was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy and has had substantial vision loss. He also has chronic kidney disease due to type 2 diabetes, which led to heart disease. Seeing what he’s going through made me understand that this could happen to me too, so I started walking for half an hour daily and then increasing it to an hour. I also began practicing yoga twice a week.”
“My sympathies are with your brother, Carol, but I’m glad to hear about the constructive changes you’ve made. Did you change your diet as well?”
“I realized food should never be a reward or something to celebrate with. Every time I wanted some chips or candy, I asked myself if it was worth risking my eyes, kidneys, and heart for this moment? This mindset eventually made it easier to cut down on processed foods and sugary snacks. Instead, I started eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
“Would you tell us some of the top foods that are now a part of your diet?”
Carol nodded. “Sure, some of those foods are:
Leafy Greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that help lower blood sugar levels.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for a quick snack.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are high in healthy fats and protein, also making them an excellent snack option for people with diabetes.
Whole Grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat sourdough bread are high in fiber and nutrients that help regulate blood sugar levels.”
“Those are some great options. You could even make a tasty salad with many of those ingredients. Can you share some recipes that you use to make healthy dishes?”
“Sure, and speaking of a delish salad, here’s one and a couple of other one-pot meals I make regularly:
Spinach Salad: Combine baby spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, chopped walnuts, crumbled feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette for a nutritious salad.
Quinoa Bowl: Cook quinoa according to package instructions and top it with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers.
Stir-Fry: Stir-fry vegetables like bell peppers, onions, carrots, and broccoli in olive oil and add tofu or chicken for protein.
“I’m trying those recipes. They sound healthy and delicious. Finally, can you give us a list of the top things to do to help avoid and manage type 2 diabetes?”
“Thanks for having me here today, Cassie. My goal is to be cured of this menace. To manage my type 2 diabetes and get to that goal, these are the healthy habits I swear by:
I exercise regularly to keep my blood sugar levels balanced and lose weight
I eat whole foods that are high in fruits, veggies, and nuts.
I avoid processed snacks with a lot of added sugars and unhealthy fats.
I routinely test my blood sugar levels to make sure they are within range.
I drink enough water each day, so I’m always hydrated.
I get plenty of restful sleep at night for better regulation of blood sugar.
I manage stress through meditation and yoga.
I now realize you don’t have to be destined for type 2 diabetes. Eating right, keeping a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking can all drastically reduce your risk of developing this disease. That said, it’s always smart to check with your doctor before making any drastic diet or lifestyle changes.”
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