The one thing that my mother-in-law and I have in common is our love for travel. We can spend hours chatting about the sights we have seen, the stories we have uncovered in the palaces of Rajasthan and the shacks in Thailand over a cup of garma garam chai.
The first time I noticed a change in our routine was when I realized that she had stopped adding sugar to her tea. She did not enjoy the sugarless tea, I could see it on her face, but as she had been diagnosed with diabetes, it was a sacrifice she had to make.
I did not like the idea that she may have to make many such sacrifices because of her disease. As a caregiver, I started to read up on how she could control her blood sugar level without the measures disrupting her life too much.
While looking for ways that fluctuations in her blood sugar levels could be minimized, I came across the concept of Glycemic Index and how dietary modifications can help regulate blood sugar levels.
I learnt that Glycemic Index (GI) is the value that is given to food items based on how quickly they cause an increase in blood sugar level. The purpose, I learnt, to understand GI is to include food items that are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
To give you an example, potatoes or white bread are high GI items. Green vegetables and most fruits are low GI.
If you have a diabetic person within the family or friend circle as I have then our role becomes important. Here are five ways I have found helpful when bringing dietary changes for my mother-in-law:
List of Contents
Food Habits and GI Value of Food:
Instead of arbitrarily choosing to add/remove food items from her diet, I realized it was better to swap a higher GI cereal with a lower GI cereal. This way, she didn’t need to compromise on her food habits and was happy that she could still eat some of her favourite foods.
Go for Rich in Fiber Food Items:
When my mother-in-law was first diagnosed with diabetes, she was recommended to include fibre-rich food in her diet since it has a low GI value. She loves eating berries now and swears by the paanch beech hua badam that she has in the morning every day. Seasonal fruits and veggies are also a part of her diet.
One thing that I learned as a caregiver is to emphasize the balancing of the overall GI value of a meal.
For example, instead of stopping my mother-in-law from eating chapattis, a better option is to incorporate slow sugar releasing atta (wheat flour) for making chapattis and more. Aashirvaad sugar release control atta is a blend of whole wheat and a special grain mix with the goodness of methi & oats. Thus, it is a low GI value food item with high protein content. This atta releases its sugar slowly in the body thereby preventing sudden sugar level spikes.
Stress-Free Eating, Timing & Pre-meal Medicine:
Eating should always be enjoyed. I understand that with diabetes you may have to alter some of your meal combinations but that’s ok. I contacted our nutritionist to draw up a meal plan for my mother-in-law that was actually very practical and made according to her food tastes.
She explained the importance of having meals at the proper time so that sugar level does not drop and a diabetic feels comfortable.
Exercising and Being Fit is Important:
Now my mother-in-law and I have another thing in common – we love comparing our steps count. A fitness band was the best gift I could have given her! It keeps her motivated and moving and she self-disciplines to ensure she gets at least 5-8k steps every day.
I hope practising these changes will help in managing diabetes more effectively and living a more fulfilling life.
Furthermore, if you want to book a free appointment with a nutritionist, click here.