Managing diabetes is not easy. It takes time to show the symptoms and often deteriorates your body from the inside. Lifelong medication seems to be the only option. But do you know that a slight change in your diet and lifestyle can actually bring down your sugar levels? Ayurvedic diet for diabetes is the perfect solution to end the dread of diabetes naturally.
In Ayurveda, diabetes is a urological disorder. Type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle disease. It happens when your body is not producing enough insulin or the insulin is not able to bind to the cells.
The insulin does not bind to the cells when fats line the walls of your cells. This creates a layer between the cells and the insulin which prevents it from getting inside.
Now both these problems arise because of our sedentary lifestyle and the quality of food we eat.
The food sold in the superstores are highly processed and often contain things that are not recommended for even healthy people. Excess use of palm oil in food ingredients is a common factor for causing these health disorders.
Read labels and you will see the amount of sugar and salt these unhealthy things contain. Diabetes is your body telling you to go back to the diet that is fresh, fibrous and easy to digest.
If you see a cheeseburger oozing out with sauces you need to run away from that thing immediately. It contains all the three things that are not god for anybody. Fried meat/potato, processed bread, sauces with fats and processed vegetable oils.
I know what you are thinking. When we have eliminated most of the things we eat every day, then what is it that I can eat on an Ayurvedic diet for diabetes?
No, I am not telling you to go completely carb-free or sauce free. I am just telling you to bring moderation and balance in your lives.
Also, the Ayurvedic diet for diabetes is a plant-based diet and does not recommend a carnivorous or a meat-based diet.
Ayurvedic diet for Diabetes- Basic Dietary guidelines
1. No coffee or tea on an empty stomach in the morning.
2. No cereals just after waking up.
3. No packaged snacks in the evening or at night before sleeping.
4. No cold foods from the store. These cold foods have a lot of inertia and since they have been cooked a few days in advance, the food actually loses its life energy or prana in Ayurveda.
The fresher the food, the higher the nutritional value.
5. Eat your dinner by 8:30 pm and do not eat anything after that till the next morning. Fasting 12 hours before eating the next day is highly recommended in Ayurveda.
This overnight fasting helps in autophagy. This also helps in burning a lot of fat at night.
Ayurvedic diet for diabetes
In our last post, we discussed having herbs in the morning that are bitter or astringent in taste. This helps in flushing out excess sugar in the blood.
In Ayurveda, it is recommended to balance your imbalances using the opposite quality.
In diabetes, there is excess sweetness in the blood which is a characteristic of Earth and water elements.
It is important to balance it with opposite qualities like bitterness which possesses the qualities of air and ether.
The bitter taste is very good for bringing down your sugar levels. In Ayurveda, it is used for balancing Pitta and Kapha but should be taken only in moderation by Vata dosha people as it aggravates Vata.
The bitter taste is a very good scraping agent for excess fat and stored toxins in the body. It especially affects pancreas, liver and spleen. Both these factors make bitterness a great friend for people with diabetes.
Also, in Ayurveda, there are a lot of compatible and incompatible food combinations. It is important to understand the basic guidelines of an Ayurvedic diet first.
Bitter herbs used in Ayurvedic diet for Diabetes
Fenugreek is a very powerful herb in managing excess sugar. Water from soaked fenugreek seeds can be taken every morning to control blood sugar.
The soaked fenugreek seeds when kept for another day sprout up. These sprouts should be taken alongside your breakfast to increase metabolism and control the release of sugar in the body.
Soak Chiratta sticks overnight and drink the water in the morning. This should be done regularly for 90 days to see the results. Chiratta is a herb used to fight inflammation, excess sugar and skin problems in Ayurveda. It promotes mental clarity and detoxifies your digestive system.
10-20ml of bitter gourd juice should be taken everyday to balance your sugar. Bitter gourd can also be included in your diet in the cooked form. This can be stored for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Giloy stem is beneficial for diabetes patients. The roots can be boiled for 15 minutes in a pan. When the water has reduced to 25%, it can be removed from the stove. Let it cool off and drink this water first thing in the morning or before sleeping. It is a powerful herb used for diabetes. It also helps with high cholesterol, inflammation, fever and upset stomach.
Papaya leaves are extremely bitter and that makes them extremely effective against diabetes. It has a great role in boosting the immunity of your own body. It helps in increasing your platelet count as well. It also burns off excess weight from the body.
Neem leaves are extremely beneficial for the body and the skin. Ayurveda recommends eating fresh neem one month before the monsoon to support healthy skin and body.
Neem leaves reduce excess blood sugar from the blood and remove infections from the body. It helps in keeping candida infection in your gut in check. It also helps in removing excess ama from the body.
Do not eat these herbs if you are pregnant or lactating without consulting with an expert.
Breakfast options for Diabetes
1. Barley in multiple forms
Barley is the most ideal grain for people suffering from diabetes. Barley has a very low glycemic index, the lowest of all grains. The GI of barley is 25. It is extremely rich in fibres and helps in keeping your digestion strong and your elimination smooth. This prevents toxins from accumulating in the colon.
Including barley in your diet is a must for diabetes patient.
Replace grains like wheat for some time. Though what is the staple in many countries and regions across the world, but the variety we eat now is sweeter and less healthy.
Barley can be taken in multiple forms like oatmeal, barley crepes, oats porridge, cooked and cooled barley porridge in spiced buttermilk.
Upma is a traditional south-Indian recipe which is very easy to make and is light on your stomach. It is made from semolina grains along with a lot of vegetables and spices.
3. Gram flour crepe
Gram flour is a powerful plant protein that should be included in your diet if you are looking for plant-based healthy alternatives. Thi power-packed flour can be used in making crepes or besan chilla. These crepes are salty along with a lot of herbs and spices.
Poha is flat rice flakes that can be cooked quickly and easily to replace your morning bread. It is an extremely healthy dish and again can be made by adding vegetables, herbs and spices.
5. Bread and veggies
Another great option is to eat bread, chappatis or pasta/ noodle with your choice of cooked vegetables. In Ayurveda, bread is made using black gram flour and gram flour, or barley, corn or pearl millet (Bajra).
A bread made from barley or rye is a perfect way to start your day. You can make your own bread or your favourite bakery that makes a fresh one every day. You can combine this with vegetables and light dressings like lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Grill it and savour it.
Eating less is a very important thing we need to learn as humans. We have been eating too much and moving too little. Lack of movement, coupled with stress and food habits are the leading cause of lifestyle disorders.
I would recommend eating light during lunch. If you tend to get extremely hungry during the day, try eating fruits and salads instead of bread and pasta.
Eating twice a day has very beneficial effects. It allows the body to use the food in the body optimally. It gives your organs some time to take a break. When you eat more your organs work continuously. These strained organs than are not able to function properly.
When you start eating less during the afternoon, your body stops craving for food. The restless feeling will go away sometime.
List of fruits diabetics can eat
Diabetics should avoid sweet fruits like dates, mango, grapes and pineapple.
They can, however, eat all sorts of fruits otherwise.
List of vegetable diabetics can eat
Diabetics can eat all sorts of vegetables. However, they should limit their intake of sweet vegetables like potato, sweet potato.
They should eat a lot of greens like spinach, kale, cabbage, beans, celery. they should also include colourful vegetables like bell peppers, beetroots, carrots, tomatoes etc.
The best dinner for diabetics is a combination of all the macros, carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the right amount.
1. Some people are concerned if white rice is good for diabetes. When taken in the right amount and in the right form, rice does not spike your blood sugar. Eating rice with clarified butter or ghee reduces its glycemic index. This helps in releasing the blood sugar slowly.
Lentils add the right amount of protein to the meal. There are so many varieties of lentils to choose from. The variety of food helps in fueling the body with the right vitamins and minerals.
Ayurvedic diet for diabetes includes a lot of lentils and legumes like Black Eyed Peas (Lobhia), Black Gram Lentils Split and skinned (Urad Dal), Black Gram Whole (Sabut Urad ), Chickpeas, Bengal Gram (Kala Chana), Split Bengal gram (Chana Dal), Kidney Beans (Rajma), Lentils, Red/orange/pink (Masoor Dal), Split Mung Beans (Mung Dal), Green gram whole(Hare Moong), Pigeon Peas, split (Arhar).
2. Vegetable curry
Include vegetable curries or soups in your diet during dinner. Since eating raw at night might cause bloating and dryness, it is advisable to eat steamed, cooked or grilled vegetables. A lovely Thai curry in coconut milk or a vegetable korma curry along with rice is a great combination.
You can also eat the Ayurvedic Khitchari which nourishes and detoxifies your system from the inside. It is the perfect dinner and is a one-pot easy to make a meal. eat Khitchari with your choice of chutney or pickle for an enhanced flavour. It is a very light meal which is even taken during the Ayurvedic detox or Panchakarma.
Ayurvedic diet for diabetes is a simple easy to digest diet. It works primarily on your intuition. if you listen to your body, you will feel what it needs right now. However, we are spoiled by the choices we see all the time.
These are just a few options you can eat in this Ayurvedic diet. There are so many possible meal options which will help you regulate your blood sugar.
Managing diabetes or reversing it is a matter of making healthier choices. These choices will dictate your health for the rest of your lives. Are you ready to take on the challenge?
If you have been managing your diabetes using a plant-based approach, share your stories here. This will help our community to learn from each other and motivate them to follow the same.
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.