This post was sponsored by Abbott, all opinions are my own.
Blending Food and Tech to Manage Diabetes
You know me, I’m a huge tech geek and wellness junkie; So when I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with a Three-Michelin-Star chef, learning about the FreeStyle Libre system and getting diabetes cooking tips, I was thrilled.
I knew I was going to like Chef Alvin Leung, who owns a Michelin 3-star rated restaurant in Hong Kong, Bo Innovation, from the moment I met him; He is very laid back with a quirky sense of humour. Then I learned he was raised in Scarborough, Ontario, which is where I grew up! Another thing I learned is that he lives with diabetes, a disease which inhibits the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
We spent the afternoon cooking up some diabetes-friendly meals. While we cooked he shared some great cooking hacks from his own kitchen on how he manages his glucose levels with food, which I’ll share later.
Let’s get personal
When I was 15 years old, my grandfather passed away from diabetes-related illnesses. We were very close. He constantly suffered from blood sugar swings which caused many issues with his kidneys. I wish I knew then what I know now so I could have helped him with his nutritional needs. Now that I have a wealth of knowledge, I want to help others who suffer with similar issues.
Every body is different
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my business is based on the idea that no two bodies are alike. I offer my clients personalized advice based on their health, personal goals, and body type (including allergies, food intolerances, blood type, etc.). With diabetes, the body’s ability to process sugar, and how it affects glucose levels is different from person-to-person.
Ideally, to control blood-sugar levels, you want to be eating foods that rank well in the glycemic index (GI). The GI ranks food or drinks containing carbohydrates on how much they raise your blood sugar levels, and any food that ranks over 55 will generally spike your blood sugar levels to unhealthy amounts. Simple enough, right? Just don’t eat foods that rank over 55 and you’ll be fine…
Wrong. Knowing if something you are consuming has a high or low GI is a good start, but because our bodies are all different there are so many other factors involved with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Some other factors include may include: Other foods eaten at the same time, the food’s fat and protein levels, how the food is cooked and knowing whether your body is sensitive to that particular item.
The FreeStyle Libre System
I love the FreeStyle Libre, a flash glucose monitoring system, because it’s personalized and convenient. Using innovative technology, the FreeStyle Libre system measures your glucose levels every minute With every scan you get your current glucose levels, an 8 hour graph, and an arrow showing where your glucose levels are headed. Based on your readings, you can tailor your diet and lifestyle to maintain healthy glucose levels and eliminate the need for routine finger pricks.
Given that 95% of diabetes is self-managed, the FreeStyle Libre system eliminates emotional stress, and the burden diabetes can often cause loved ones and caregivers. The FreeStyle Libre system is compact, water resistant, and easy to travel with, making pin pricks (the #1 complaint from people living with diabetes) a thing of the past! Oh, and did I mention the FreeStyle LibreLink app, which monitors your glucose levels with your iPhone, works even if you aren’t on Wifi. This system is truly life changing for anyone living with diabetes. If you’d like to learn more visit www.myfreestyle.ca
My tips for cooking for diabetes
- Avoid using store bought dressings, they are full of sugar. Make your own dressings at home, or better yet use a topper. Learn more about toppers in this YouTube video.
- Use vegetables to replace carb-dense noodles and rice. Zucchini and butternut squash can replace pasta, and cauliflower can substitute as rice.
- Remember not all grains are created equal; Some grains are much less harmful to your blood sugar levels, while others will instantly spike them. The most diabetes-friendly grains include: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet, Quinoa and Teff.
- Toast sweet potato slices instead of bread; I love this hack!
- Don’t overcook your food, you lose important nutrients and increase the GI of a food when you overcook it. Thanks Alvin for this tip, and for sharing your kitchen with me!
I’d love to hear from you! Please share some of your favorite diabetes-friendly cooking hacks.
Since our bodies are so unique to us it only makes sense that we use personalized technology to measure our blood sugar levels.
I’m Elle! A Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist. I’m a multi-passionate woman, but nutrition and understanding how the body works is really my passion. Through my own personal journey, I have trained my body to heal itself using strategic, natural tools and techniques. Now I’m ready to help others!
As a new Mom, I understand that wellbeing is a journey. I hope my expertise will inspire other parents to choose nutrient-rich foods and the right products to create a happy, healthy and sustainable home. Click Here to Continue Reading